Who doesn’t swoon over a love story that begins after meeting in kindergarten? That’s exactly how the stars aligned for a young McKenzie Marcinek and Walker Buehler, MLB World Series Champion and star pitcher of the Los Angeles Dodgers. “In the 8th grade, our class went to the mall, and McKenzie walked up to me and asked if I wanted to walk around with her,” reveals Walker of their junior high years. “I was pretty shy at the time, and I remember thinking and admiring how confident she must have been to be to have done that. I was mesmerized.” 

Walker knew he wanted to propose for a long time and had received the blessing of McKenzie’s father. Walker had also already purchased a dazzling diamond ring that paired McKenzie’s simplicity with the extra flair he desired. As McKenzie and Walker drove cross-country from Arizona – where the Dodgers were in the middle of spring training – back to their home in Kentucky due to the Covid shutdown, somewhere in middle America, he realized: I want to do it now!  “We got home, and I proposed the next evening,” he shares of the urgently romantic gesture to his longtime love. 

Since the couple planned to wed during baseball offseason, the bride settled on a winter date but didn’t want a Christmas-focused wedding theme. Instead, she opted for an amorous, winter white wonderland forest, which felt more her style. “We wanted to incorporate our Southern roots and the chic feeling of living in LA into the décor elements,” explains McKenzie. It was also important that they were married in the Catholic Church. “I come from a big Catholic family and before my grandma passed away, I promised her I would get married at our parish,” confides the bride of the sentimental importance. 

Though McKenzie had taken the lead in wedding planning, Walker had his own set of demands. “Ice cream, a bourbon bar, and a greenery wall,” he smiles. “I have no rhyme or reason for why those were so important, but they were, and McKenzie and our planners were very sweet to appease me,” says the groom. “She still makes fun of me for wanting the greenery wall, but they got it done and I loved it.” 

“We wanted to incorporate our Southern roots and the chic feeling of living in LA into the décor elements.”

A gorgeous wedding invitation suite showcasing a custom monogram, wax seal, and a sleek horse printed on the envelope liner introduced the forest green and white theme. The color palette was beautifully carried out in the details of the big day. Bridesmaids dressed in floor-length vanilla gowns paired with faux-fur shoulder wraps walked down the aisle of the bride’s childhood house of worship, followed by three darling flower girls wearing frothy white dresses. 

Finally, the bride appeared: exquisite in a couture lace gown with an illusion deep V-neck bodice. Two sweet ring bearers carried the end of her flowing cathedral veil as she gracefully made her way to Walker. She carried a full garden-style bouquet featuring lush mixed winter greenery, Italian ruscus verdure, anemones, garden roses, tulips, and ranunculus blossoms wrapped with a blue sapphire necklace of the bride’s nana made from her grandfather’s cuff links as her “something blue.” Walker was equally stylish, in a tailored green velvet tuxedo with black lapels and a bow tie to match. 

“Snow” fell as loved ones entered the reception venue and took delight in the dreamy details, including fur blankets and rugs for interesting depth and texture, plush white couches set up around the dance floor, hundreds of twinkling lights, and a collection of Christmas trees set on the stage – draped in glamorous, dark-green velvet – where the live band would perform. The pièce de résistance, however, was the floral chandelier crafted from white hydrangeas, roses, and greenery suspended over the dance floor, which had been bedecked with the couple’s monogram. 

Guests mingled, visited the bourbon bar, took delight in Graeter’s ice cream scoops, enjoyed slices of wedding cake, and happily chatted about the amazing welcome gifts placed in their hotel rooms: KFC chicken buckets included favorites such as bourbon balls from Old Kentucky Chocolates, beef jerky, Ale-8-One ginger soda, and a bottle of Blanton’s. 

The newlyweds reveled in all the love they felt from family and friends and knew that there was nothing they would have done differently. McKenzie advises, “Find a good planner!” As the new Mr. and Mrs. left the reception, they knew they needed Taco Bell before settling in for the evening. “That ride home felt very ‘us’ and was a perfect cap to the perfect night!” confirms Walker.

This real wedding was originally published in the Fall 2022 issue of Inside Weddings magazine. 

To order a copy of the Fall 2022 issue, visit our library of Inside Weddings back issues available for purchase.