The largest wedding reception in Manahttan’s history will go down on Saturday at the K-State Alumni Center with as many as 1,040 people attending the wedding and reception.
When Manhattan residents Chelsea Spencer and Dylan Evans decided to tie the knot, they knew it was going to be a big event. They hired a wedding planner to organize every detail of the wedding down to the design of the dresses.
Spencer and Evans graduated from Kansas State University and plan to live in Manhattan after they are married. Spencer is a grade-school teacher for Geary County, and Evans owns a livestock business.
Michael Nolte, owner of Nolte’s Bridal in Overland Park, said he has been planning the wedding for the couple for the past 10 months.
“For the complexity of it, I needed every week,” Nolte said.
In addition to ordering the invitations, flowers, cakes, food, drinks, and entertainment, Nolte also helped design all the attire for the bridal party, including the wedding dress and mothers’ dresses. He said the advantage of acting as a bridal shop and planner is he understands how it all fits together. That helps him coordinate the entire event down to the flowers on the cake matching the bridesmaids’ dresses.
The event will begin at Seven Dolors Catholic Church Saturday afternoon where a maximum of 400 people can sit in the sanctuary, according to Rick Stillwagon, Manhattan fire marshall. Because of the large guest list, there will be cameras televising the event on closed-circuit TV to the gymnasium across the street, where more guests will watch the wedding. Stillwagon said the Luckey Junior High gymnasium can hold a maximum of 600 people with chairs set up in aisles, like it will be set up for the wedding.
From there, the revelers will go to the alumni center ballroom and an air-conditioned tent attached to the west side of the center for the reception. Cocktails, followed by dinner and dancing with an open bar will take place there.
Big-screen TVs in the tent and cameras in the ballroom will also be in the center to make sure everyone gets to experience the happy day. Stillwagon said with the tables and chairs set up in the alumni center only 352 people will be dining in the ballroom.
After dinner, an after party will take place behind the center in a clear plastic tent that will have an acrylic light-up dance floor, white leather furniture and “jag” rugs for party people to “dance under the stars.”
On Sunday, there will also be a morning-after brunch served at the center for guests who want to attend.
Nolte said he wanted to use as many local vendors as possible, but not overstress them with such a large order.
“I didn’t want to stretch any vendor beyond their capability,” Nolte said. “So a lot of vendors are coming from Kansas City.”
For the flower arrangements, he hired a local florist he has used in past weddings he has planned in Manhattan. He said the couple picked roses as the main flower and the colors are champagne, gold and ivory with accents in pale pastels. He also hired local eateries to cater the after party, such as Pizza Shuttle, Varsity Donuts, Cozy Inn and Call Hall Dairy Bar.
The dinner will be catered by vendors from Kansas City because of the number of people that will be served.
Dinner will include a dual entree, which are two smaller main courses rather than one larger main course. He said the couple chose filet mignon and Boursin-stuffed chicken as the entrees.
Two palate cleansers are also incorporated in the meal. A palate cleanser is a light, tangy drink or treat that is designed to clear the taste of any heavy-tasting food to allow the diner to fully taste the following dish. He said one palate cleanser is fresh orange juice mixed with vanilla-bean ice cream and club soda. The second cleanser is lime sorbet and soda.
As for the wedding cake, it is a seven-tier ivory cake with gold trim icing. Between each tier are fresh soft pink roses hiding the pillars holding each tier above the next. He said the bride and groom plan to save the top tier for their first anniversary.
As for entertainment, Nolte hired two DJs and a live band out of Kansas City. He said for the wedding dance, he chose Atlantic Express, a band that plays R&B and Motown style music.
“The only problem I have with hiring them is I can’t keep people off the dance floor before the bride and groom dance,” Notle said.
One DJ will alternate playing with the band; the other will provide music for the after party.
With all the vendors, tents, entertainers and flowers, Nolte admitted this was an expensive wedding, though he wouldn’t give a number.
He admitted it was neither the largest in attendance nor the most expensive wedding he has coordinated. He said he has coordinated smaller weddings with bigger budgets and larger weddings on smaller budgets, but of the 1,073 weddings he has planned over the last 33 years, this one definitely makes his top 5 list in size and cost.
Through it all, he said he has truly enjoyed working with the family and will carry fond memories of his experience with the down-to-earth families from Kansas.
“This will be a wedding I will truly miss,” he said. “They have been some of the nicest brides and grooms I have ever worked with.”