A Horse-Loving Bride’s Equestrian-Themed Wedding at Radnor Hunt
Including viewing—and betting on!—the Belmont Stakes during cocktail hour.
Horses and horse races have always played an auspicious role in Kathleen McCarthy and Zachary Malet’s relationship, so it made sense for their Radnor Hunt wedding to have an equestrian theme — especially because the Belmont Stakes horse race was scheduled for the same time as their cocktail hour. Kaleidoscope’s Lisa Marie Chimento helped bring their wedding vision to life, and the beautiful color-rich day was captured by Asya Photography.
We weren’t kidding about the horses: Kathleen and Zack first met in a Hartford, Connecticut bar called Rocking Horse Saloon. Zack’s approach was risky — he interrupted Kathleen mid-conversation to abruptly introduce himself — but it paid off. They exchanged numbers by calling one another, and, later that night, Kathleen returned one of his “missed” calls.
The pair wound up talking for hours. They discovered they had many things in common: Kathleen’s younger brothers were Villanova grads, where Zack’s mother had once been a law professor; both ran track in high school; Kathleen was an equestrian, and Zack’s parents frequently attended and wrote about equestrian events in the Philadelphia area.
“My friends and I would nickname suitors,” says Kathleen. “After our lengthy conversation that first night with so many things in common, we jokingly referred to [Zack] as ‘Love of My Life.’”
Their first official outing as a couple was to the Belmont Stakes horse race in New York, and they went on to date for three years before Zack proposed on a weekend trip to Michigan. After picking up pizza and watching the night sky in the back of a rented pickup truck, Zack informed Kathleen he had a surprise for her, but she’d need to come to where he was standing by the front of the vehicle.
“That’s when he got down on one knee,” Kathleen remembers. “He told me that if I did not like the ring that it was okay, because he had bought it outside the airport earlier the day before. It was a placeholder so I could design my own ring.”
Zack also revealed that he’d been trying to get her to come to the front of the car so that he could record the proposal. Though it was too dark for the real one to be captured on video, they wound up reenacting the moment numerous times for fun.
The couple initially wished to tie the knot quickly (within six months of the proposal), but quickly learned that it would be hard to find vendors on such short notice. They settled on Randor Hunt because it was where they’d first introduced their families (Zack is originally from nearby Narberth), and chose June 9th for a wedding date because it was the date of the Belmont.
“Everything felt full circle,” says Kathleen. “And we thought that a ‘day at the races’ theme would be fun for our guests and fitting for our relationship.”
On the day of, Kathleen and Zack planned a special ceremony underneath the same tree where they introduced their families.
“We challenged ourselves to write our own vows, included speeches from family members, and called our mothers up for a special thank you,” says Kathleen.
In lieu of a first look, the couple opted for bird’s-eye-view drone photos of the venue, and the welcome table included Kathleen’s saddle, childhood riding helmet, boots, and crop, and a painting of her horse, Peter Parker, created by a family friend. Guests posed for photos with raced-themed props in front of a custom step and repeat, and the couple’s wedding party wore dresses and suits gifted to them by the bride and groom. Cocktail hour included Pimm’s Cups (the perfect racing drink), and, of course, a viewing of the Belmont horse race.
Kathleen and Zack selected “Die a Happy Man” by Thomas Rhett for their first dance, and opted for two minimoons in Bermuda and Switzerland. Though they’re likely no longer introducing themselves to strangers at Rocking Horse Saloon, the pair still calls Connecticut home.
Venue: Randor Hunt | Photography & Videography: Asya Photography | Event Planning: Kaleidoscope Weddings | Florals: Fresh Designs Florist | Catering: Sage Catered Events | Wedding Cake: Bredenbeck’s Bakery | Groom’s Cake: Cakes and Candies by Maryellen | Bride’s Gown: Sottero & Midgley | Bridesmaid Dresses: Weddington Way | Hair: Wink Spa and Al Dibonaventura Barber & Stying | Makeup: Wink Spa | Groom & Groomsmen Attire: Bonobos | Music: Pop Philly for EBE Talent | Transportation: Krapf Transportation | Invitations: Chris Tipton from Fresh Impression Letterpress Studio | Officiant: Reverend Kent Foster of Ceremony Heaven | Hotels: Wayne Hotel and Courtyard Marriott Devon | After Party Venue: The Great American Pub | Rehearsal Dinner: La Cabra Brewing
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