Allison Hollins and Ben Barshop’s Classic Southern Wedding at a Kentucky Racecourse

Ali Hollins, half of To and From Gifts, married financier Ben Barshop at the Keeneland Racecourse in her hometown Lexington. “It was the perfect place to showcase Kentucky’s beautiful landscape and history all at once,” she says.

The pair met in 2011 at SMU, where Ali was in her senior year of undergrad and Ben was in his first year of the MBA program. They were introduced during the homecoming game tailgate. After they met, they each went their separate ways with their friends. But as fate would have it, they ended up running into each other again in the afternoon. A few days later, they went on their first date at Neighborhood Services, and the rest is history.

After four years dating,  Ben asked Ali that special question in what would be their future home. It was supposed to be a simple lunch, but when Ali arrived, she saw that Ben had prepared a spread of East Hampton Sandwich Co. sandwiches. Right as the couple was about to eat, Ben dropped to one knee, right there in the kitchen. “He knew that proposing in our future home would make our engagement a special memory we would be reminded of daily,” says Ali. After she said yes, family members joined Ali and Ben for a celebration at The Mansion.

Ali grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, and always envisioned getting married in her hometown. Ben was from San Antonio, so whether they got married in Dallas or not, they would have guests coming from out of town. She took this as an opportunity to show everyone—many for the first time—the bluegrass state where she was raised.

In terms of decor, Ali had a classic Southern wedding in mind. Other than green elements from the scenery and the rustic accents from the Keene Barn where they held their reception, she wanted everything else to be in white, from the flowers hanging from the ceiling to the Jenny Yoo tulle bridesmaid dresses. “I had always joked I wanted it to feel like you walked into heaven,” says Ali.

One of Ali’s favorite parts of the planning process was working with Nardos Designs to create her dream wedding dress. With a detachable skirt, it could go from having an elegant train to a bustled ball gown to the perfect little column dress to dance the night away. And dance the night away they did. Ali and Ben’s first dance was to Hall & Oates’ “You Make My Dreams,” the perfect song to start a night-long celebration.

Today, the couple is reminded of their special day by seeing their welcome bag gifts put to good use by their friends: the bags included antique horseshoes for souvenirs—meant to bring good luck. The horseshoes can now be found hanging above their guests’ doors in Texas. Could you ask for more down-home charm?

“He knew that proposing in our future home would make our engagement a special memory we would be reminded of daily,” says Allison.


  • Ceremony & Reception Site

    Keeneland Racecourse

  • Photographer

    Leslee Mitchell

  • Videographer

    When It Clicks!

  • Bridal Gown Designer & Retailer

    Nardos Designs

  • Hair & Makeup

    Ana Crane Beauty

  • Bridesmaid Dress Designer & Retailer

    Jenny Yoo

  • Groom’s Attire

    Q Clothier

  • Flowers

    Lauren Chitwood Events

  • Stationery

    August Blume

  • Cake

    Martine's Pastries

  • Caterer

    Keeneland Racecourse

  • Band

    Burning Las Vegas

  • Wedding Planner

    Lauren Chitwood Events

  • Wedding Hashtag


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