Benjamin and Allison Engelbrecht win first Kentucky Proud Weddings Contest
Native Kentuckians and newlyweds Benjamin and Allison Engelbrecht welcomed the $5,000 grand prize for winning the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s first Kentucky Proud Weddings Contest.
“It’s really going to help us start our lives,” Allison said. “Ben is living in a bachelor pad, so we don’t have very much furniture. It will help us outfit our bedroom and living room. We also hope to save some, so we’re excited about it.” Allison just started medical school at the University of Louisville. Benjamin is a staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force stationed at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia. They were married May 26 at Echo Valley Winery, a Kentucky Proud business near Flemingsburg.
Allison, who is from Morehead, said she decided to enter the contest after seeing pop-ups promoting the contest on her Facebook and Instagram pages. The couple used several Kentucky Proud products in their wedding, including Four Roses bourbon in their wedding cake, a bar stocked with Kentucky Ale beer, and other locally sourced items from their caterers in Morehead.
“I think it helps to be able to put [money] back in your community,” Allison said. “At our farmers’ market back home [in Morehead], when you see the Kentucky Proud sign, you’re helping your community, your neighbors, and the Bluegrass State that made us what we are today.” “To be honest, I didn’t know much about Kentucky Proud before she [Allison] started digging in this,” said Benjamin, who grew up in Clark County near Winchester and likes the idea of buying local. “Winchester is very local oriented too, with lots of businesses and shops, so it’s in our culture.”
Allison said she used the Kentucky Proud Weddings website at kyproud.com/weddings to search for venues and shop for items. “We toured a couple of places from the website,” she said. “We ended up picking our alcoholic beverages and sourced some other things from Kentucky Proud locations, especially with the contest going on.”
Allison said her parents recommended she visit Echo Valley Winery. “My parents had been to Echo Valley for a function,” she said. “They told us, ‘You ought to visit there; not many people know about it.’ “Their barn is absolutely beautiful. It used to be a tobacco barn, and they took down the second story and used all the reclaimed wood on the inside.” Allison also credited her parents for helping organize the wedding.
“They did everything in their power to make our wedding the most special day of our lives,” she said. “I know it would not have gone as well as it did without them.”
Benjamin proposed on the five-year anniversary of their first date while vacationing at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. “He was on leave and pretended to give me grief about going to Disney,” said Allison, who admitted that she was hoping to get a proposal on the trip. Instead, Benjamin presented her with a teddy bear as an anniversary gift.
“I was so mad!” Allison said. “It was our fifth-year anniversary, and all I got was this teddy bear.” After the nightly fireworks display, Benjamin dropped down to one knee in front of the iconic castle inside the entrance to Disney’s Magic Kingdom, pulled out a diamond ring, and asked Allison to be his wife.
“I had no idea,” she said. “He got me pretty good.”
The couple met in 2010 when both were tumblers on the same gymnastics camp in Morehead. Allison attended Rowan County High School, while Benjamin was home schooled.
The Engelbrechts flew to San Juan, Puerto Rico, on their honeymoon, where they boarded a ship for a seven-day cruise. The former Allison Fletcher received her bachelor’s degree from Morehead State University. After graduating from medical school at the University of Louisville, she plans to practice family medicine in a rural area in her native eastern Kentucky.