Dramatic Details Made This Old Hollywood–Themed Wedding One for the Ages

Cincinnati Ballet dancer Serena Sovdsnes and her partner Kale Hanavan are glamorous people. So naturally, they had a wedding to match.

As a Corps De Ballet dancer for the Cincinnati Ballet, Serena Sovdsnes is no stranger to the spotlight. Because she spends so many of her days performing on stage, she naturally considered her wedding to be “the biggest performance of [her] life,” she says. “We wanted it to be really over the top.”

Photograph by Leppert Photography

“[We] are both very glamorous people,” Serena says, so an Old Hollywood theme was a natural fit for both her and her to-be husband, Kale Hanavan.

Photograph by Leppert Photography

They were driven to the ceremony in a black 1939 Buick. After an elegant ceremony officiated by Serena’s uncle, they launched the reception with a dramatic, Old Hollywood glam–inspired entrance down the Hall of Mirrors grand staircase into the ballroom. They paused at the top of the staircase, illuminated by spotlight, to voice their thank yous, then descended a red carpet to the tune of vintage music and swept immediately into a choreographed waltz together. “We thought there could be nothing more ‘us’ than that, ”Serena says.

Bridesmaids were draped in long black gowns and matching gloves, which complemented the white gloves Serena wore with her gown, and carried classic bouquets of white roses. Kale, coordinating with Serena, sported a white tuxedo coat, and the groomsmen’s jackets were pinned with white rose boutonnieres.

Photograph by Leppert Photography

Timeless details continued through dinner service with crooning classics from Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra. Dramatic bundles of white roses were perched generously throughout the Netherland’s Art Deco hall, with sky-reaching floral pedestals dripping with crystals. Lofty candelabras and antique-y tea lights delivered extra warmth and romance, and gold-framed table numbers added elegant pops of color to an otherwise black-and-white affair. The showpiece cake, a towering four-tier masterpiece of white and gold fondant, was crafted to mimic the ornate, lacy design of Serena’s gown.

As a heartfelt tribute to Serena’s late grandfather, the couple left an empty seat next to Serena’s grandmother and placed a photo of her grandfather at the altar of their ceremony. “We wanted him to have the best seat in the house, and I think he really got that,” Serena says.

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