A Model and NFL Player's Stunning Garden-Inspired Wedding in Ohio

It didn't take long for model Audrey Plant and NFL player Johnathan Hankins to meet in college—the two actually bumped into each another the very first month of their freshman year at the Ohio State University in 2010. After graduating and relocating to Carmel, Indiana, Johnathan, a defensive tackle for the Oakland Raiders, popped the question seven years later in the couple's home. Per the bride's request, he even flew in Audrey's closest friends and family, just for the occasion.

Speaking of family, Audrey kept her loved ones close to heart throughout the planning process. "My grandpa is 94 years old," she says. "It was important to me that the wedding would be accessible for him." With that in mind, the couple opted for Audrey's childhood church, St. Andrew, and a local hotel, the Hilton Downtown Columbus, to host their September 22, 2017, nuptials. "The lighting and the detail of the church is beautiful," adds the bride. "The church means so much to my family that I just knew it was the right place to get married." Audrey's affinity for organization and long-held vision—a classic, enchanted-garden feel—largely brought the couple's big day to the life, along with the help of their planner, A Charming Fête.

Keep reading to see how Audrey and Johnathan personalized their garden-inspired wedding, with Jenny Haas on hand to capture the celebration.

The bride was sold on a Carolina Herrera silk Mikado ballgown with a plunging V neckline and wide, inset waist for her first bridal ensemble. "I knew for the church, I wanted something timeless and classic," she says. "I didn't want anything to overpower or take away from the ceremony." She paired the dress with Aquazzara heels, diamond jewelry, and a custom Monique Lhuillier veil.

Audrey chose a navy accent color to outfit her bridesmaids. "Classic, clean lines and flattering for all body types," she says of their gowns. The bridesmaid bouquets also bore resemblance to the bride's all-white arrangement, infused with garden roses, peonies, ranunculus, and lisianthus.

Johnathan and his guys went for a timeless black-tie look, all sporting custom tuxes from Gentleman's Playbook. A gold Rolex and Magnanni shoes topped off the groom's outfit.

The couple did little by way of ceremony decor, given the church's inherently beautiful interior. The bride did add her own touch to the outside of the venue, however. "The floral arch at the exterior entrance, covered in greenery and white roses, was a must for me!" exclaims Audrey, whose father walked her down the aisle.

"It was surreal being in the church I grew up in, marrying the man I love," adds the bride.

Following the ceremony, Audrey slipped into her second look—a fit-and-flare V-neck Marchesa gown with detachable cape flutter sleeves and 3D organza flowers. "I saw this dress a year prior and just knew that I needed it," she says.

A 60-foot dance floor, flanked by trees and adorned with a custom gold mirror monogram, completely transformed the hotel ballroom reception venue. Audrey wanted the stage for the live band to serve as an additional wow factor. Her goal was easily accomplished thanks to a plethora of lush, white flowers, which accented the boxwood backdrop and carried out the garden-inspired wedding theme. A 15-foot 3D "Hankins" sign also doubled as an extra focal point and photo op for guests during cocktail hour.

The bride and groom put the immaculate dance floor to good use, commemorating their marriage with a sway about the room to "Stay With You" by John Legend.

Afterward, the couple's parents joined in for their respective father-daughter and mother-son dances. Audrey chose "You're My Best Friend" by Queen, while Johnathan and his mom busted a move to Boyz II Men's "A Song for Mama."

Picking the cuisine ended up being a breeze for the pair's reception. "I wanted food that was approachable and easy to eat," Audrey explains of the comfort-food filled reception meal. Menu options included a grass-fed burger, made from local Ohio products, and chicken parmigiana—the groom's favorite!

The pair also pulled out all the stops for dessert. Along with their vanilla wedding cake, Audrey and Johnathan wowed their guests with 600 pastries, including monkey bread, croissants, and buckeyes, an Ohio staple made from sweet peanut butter dipped in chocolate.

Later in the evening, the ballroom doubled as the after-party space with a jumbotron, DJ booth, custom-made hats, and confetti. "I wanted to do an after-party because that’s so us, and our friends are all back together," says the bride. Audrey's third and final two-piece wedding ensemble featured a Chantilly lace-trimmed silk-and-wool-blend satin cami with matching tapered pants.

The bride offered some rather unorthodox wedding advice for couples prepping for their own nuptials. "Plan out the crazy scenarios!" she advises. "Some may say not to, but it helps me since I’m a control freak. It helped me get prepared from having the tiniest of things to large items. I felt so at ease on the day of the wedding because my 'plan' was already in place."

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