Flower Power: These black-and-white blooms are a wedding day favorite among brides and designers alike
Chantel + Jeremy
Mulberry // 9.12.20
A good cause first brought Chantel Shuler and Jeremy Neville together. “I was hosting a bar crawl to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation on Dickson Street in Fayetteville,” Chantel recalls. Jeremy came to the event and the two were introduced by a mutual friend. …
Ada + Sean
Springdale // 10.31.20
Distance couldn’t keep Ada Sochanska and Sean Parham apart. The couple, who met while in undergrad at Colorado College, started a relationship knowing Sean would be attending medical school in Little Rock while Ada would stay in Colorado after the pair graduated. After a couple of years long distance, Ada moved to Little Rock to start physician assistant school. “Once living in the same city, we knew without a doubt we would spend the rest of our lives together,” Ada says.
After five years of dating, Sean decided to propose during a Christmas celebration with both of their families. “My parents are originally from Poland, where Christmas Eve is not only a big holiday but also filled with traditions, so I wanted to introduce all of our traditions to Sean’s family,” Ada says. Meanwhile, Sean concocted a plan to get her out on their back deck alone that night while their guests watched from indoors. “I’ll never forget the smiles and hearing the clapping as soon as I nodded my head yes and how happy I was to share that moment with everyone,” Ada says.
Sean is from Fort Smith, while Illinois is home for Ada. Knowing they would have family and friends traveling from several regions for their big day, they looked for a location that would make the trip convenient as well as memorable for guests. Northwest Arkansas checked a number of these boxes, and they booked Sassafras Springs Vineyard & Winery as the venue. The two had initially set the date for an April wedding, but after COVID-19 impacted plans, they rescheduled to Halloween—their favorite holiday. Going for a “playful, tender, and eclectic” vibe, they invited guests to wear costumes, incorporated special Polish traditions into the day, and danced the night away. Ada and Sean currently live in Little Rock and are planning a delayed honeymoon as travel restrictions ease.
We wanted the day to be a big celebration where we could have all of our friends together, thank them for their support of our relationship, and let them know how much they mean to us.” —Ada
Ada and Sean exchanged vows they had written for each other in front of Sassafras Springs’ old world-inspired Chapel Ruins. Both working in the medical field, safety during the pandemic was of prime importance to the couple. Chairs were arranged to allow for socially distant spacing between the ceremony’s 60 guests.
Since the pair were to be married on Halloween, they invited guests to wear costumes. The artist who made Ada and Sean’s invitations also painted custom Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, masks for the two to wear as a nod to the holiday the next day.
Standing at the altar, everything was right in the world for about 45 seconds…It was just us two, and it was exactly what I wanted.” —Sean
As favors, guests received small bags containing dried flower petals and Arkansas quartz crystals, which have become a favorite of Ada’s since moving to the Natural State.
Bride’s gown She Said Yes Bridal Cakes Briar Rose Bakery Catering Catering Unlimited Entertainment (reception) Diamond Empire Band Florals, paper goods, and wedding design and coordination Bartus Taylor, Buzz Events Photographer and videographer Erin Wilson Photography & Films Rentals Eventures Party Rentals and Pretty Old Stuff NWA Venue Sassafras Springs Vineyard & Winery
Kristen + Wesley
Little Rock // 7.11.20
Mardi Gras will always hold a special place in Kristen (Warfield) and Wesley Coleman’s hearts; it was the day of their first date. Mutual friends had been trying to set up the two for a while, but with Kristen living in Jonesboro and Wes in North Little Rock, it proved to be a difficult task. Dinner was lined up for the evening but Wes was unable to attend. Kristen went on with her friends and afterward they decided to head to the train station for a Mardi Gras party. Kristen called Wes and asked if he was coming to meet her or not. “I’m on my way” was his response, and the two hit it off instantly.
After two years of dating, Wes was eager to propose and wanted to catch Kristen off guard. Kristen asked him to join her on a work trip to New York, and he seized the opportunity to plan a surprise during the getaway. On their first day in the city they had dinner at a restaurant under the Brooklyn Bridge. “Afterwards, we decided to get a picture under the bridge. We started to take a selfie and all of a sudden he got down on one knee,” she says. “I was completely shocked and could not say ‘yes’ fast enough.”
Once home, the two began planning for a spring wedding. After touring Goodwin Manor, they knew they had found their ideal location. “I always wanted an outdoor wedding with a beautiful view and perfect weather,” Kristen notes. “The whole place was just a dream.” Originally scheduled for the first weekend of May, the two pushed the big day to July 11 when the pandemic began. “An outdoor wedding in July would not have been our first pick, but we were so anxious to finally get married,” Kristen says.
After the ceremony, dinner, and dancing, guests lined the path where Kristen and Wes made their exit amidst sparklers to a honeymoon in Destin, Florida. Shortly after, they finished building their first home together and now reside in Little Rock.
One of the best things I did was take a look at the entire setup before the ceremony. Once everything starts you don’t really have time to take it all in.” —Kristen
Kristen selected a palette of white and pink for the floral design, which was created by Silks A Bloom. “They did an amazing job making my dreams come true,” she says, noting the installation on the tree and a garland of blooms that draped to the floor on the head table were two of her must-haves. During the ceremony, the two also planted a unity tree together that is now at their new home.
On the balcony of Goodwin Manor, overlooking their guests, Kristen and Wes shared their first dance to Ray LaMontagne’s “You Are the Best Thing.”
Bride’s gown, bridesmaids’ dresses, groom’s and groomsmen’s suits She Said Yes Bridal Cake Michelle Linda Mayer Custom Cakes Catering Crave Catering Entertainment (ceremony) John Jarboe String Quartet Entertainment (reception) Central Arkansas Entertainment Floral design Silks A Bloom Hair Kristina Loesch, The Fix Salon Makeup Carly Westerman, Pout Photographer Meredith Benton Fine Art Photography Rentals A Perfect Bloom Florist & Wedding Rentals Rings Sissy’s Log Cabin Venue Goodwin Manor b MWB Films Wedding coordination Shannon White
Megan + Hayden
Bentonville // 9.26.20
Fort Smith native Megan Cowne met her now-husband, Hayden Cherry, who is from Midland, Texas, while the two were students at Texas Christian University. After graduation, they moved to Dallas and purchased a home there, which later became the site of their engagement.
“Hayden wanted to make sure the proposal was special. With the help of friends, he pulled off a complete surprise,” Megan says. Hayden told Megan he was headed out of town for the weekend, and Megan planned to grab dinner with friends. On the way to dinner, one of her friends asked if they could run by Megan’s house to get something she’d left there. While the girls were inside, Hayden rang the doorbell and got down on one knee. A photographer captured the entire scene, and the two then celebrated with loved ones at their favorite rooftop restaurant. “It was worth the w8—pun intended!” Megan says of the surprise after eight years dating.
After deciding on Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art as their venue, the couple opted for a fall wedding where they could take advantage of the beautiful grounds. “We love Crystal Bridges and thought it would be the perfect setting for a sophisticated yet classic affair,” Megan says. “We wanted our guests to be able to enjoy this great corner of the Natural State.”
The pair also wanted a “rocking band, open bar, and good food” to celebrate the occasion. Guests at the seated dinner enjoyed a delightful trio of appetizers followed by a meal of beef tenderloin and, finally, their choice of flavors from the five-tier cake which included vanilla, chocolate, hummingbird, and butter almond with strawberry mousse layers. Now at home in Texas, the Cherrys are planning a delayed safari honeymoon to Kenya and Tanzania later this year.
All in the Details
Megan drew inspiration for the floral design from her love of chinoiserie, accenting white blooms with blue-and-white accessories. The bride’s bouquet was filled with cascading orchids, her favorite flowers. Hayden proposed with Megan’s late grandmother’s engagement ring, and for the ceremony she wore the pearl earrings he had given her on her college graduation.
Modern Meets Southern
In an effort to blend the museum’s contemporary architecture with Southern details, the couple chose the Frank Lloyd Wright Bachman-Wilson House lawn for their vows, then moved indoors for the reception. Timeless white and green floral arrangements were a natural choice, allowing the beauty of the setting to be the focus.
Our ceremony was my favorite memory of the day. It felt so special to make a covenant to each other in front of our loved ones. And after that, I loved dancing on stage with the band!” —Megan
Cake Shelby Lynn’s Cake Shoppe Entertainment (ceremony) Smoothman Music Entertainment (reception) Diamond Empire Band Floral design Silks A Bloom Makeup Beauty By Ballou Paper goods Paper Supply Co. Photographer and videographer Erin Wilson Photography and Films Rentals Eventology and Moonlight and Rust Venue Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art Wedding design and coordination Natasha Gates Events
Jena + Jay-Michael
Little Rock // 11.27.20
Seven is a lucky number for Jena Harrell and her groom Jay-Michael Arnold; that’s roughly how many years the couple knew each other before their first date. “I was living in Little Rock at the time and Jay-Michael was in Memphis,” Jena explains. As fate would have it, Jay-Michael’s job brought him to central Arkansas multiple times a week. During one of these trips, he learned Journey and The Doobie Brothers would be making a stop in North Little Rock, and he finally took the opportunity to ask Jena on a date to the show. “From that night forward, the rest was history,” Jena says.
The couple dated for four years before their Christmas Eve engagement, which took place in front of the Christmas tree with Jay-Michael’s family there to celebrate. From there, the planning began for what they call a “timeless and intentionally intimate” wedding.
Never stop dating one another as if you’ve just met.”
—Jena & Jay-Michael’s advice to engaged couples
The couple knew they wanted a winter wedding and initially considered the bronze Tiffany & Co. doors at the State Capitol as their backdrop. Upon realizing the setting would be decorated for Christmas on their desired date, they turned to wedding planner and designer Jessika McCuin, who suggested the steps of the Pulaski County Courthouse. “Jessika played a huge role in making our wedding come to life,” Jena says. “She was instrumental in my having little to no stress…which really allowed us to enjoy our engagement and focus on preparing for marriage.” The venue wasn’t the only change from initial plans; because of the pandemic, their idea for a large reception after their honeymoon was put on hold.
However, these changes did not put a damper on their day. With 10 guests in attendance, the couple exchanged vows in the beautiful outdoor setting and later celebrated at The Burgundy Hotel with cake, champagne toasts, and a magical sparkler exit. While the two enjoyed a mini-moon stateside following the wedding, they plan to escape to Rome later this year for their delayed honeymoon abroad.
Bride’s gown Unveiled Bridal Collection Cake PattiCakes Bakery Entertainment (ceremony violinist) Honey Cashion Floral design Tanarah Luxe Floral Hair Devin Pate, DVP Hair Makeup Haley Hanna, Lashout & Makeup Photographer BJ Matthews, B.Matthews Photo Rentals Eventology Venue (ceremony) Pulaski County Courthouse Venue (reception) The Burgundy Hotel Videographer Forestland Films Wedding design and coordination Jessika McCuin Weddings
Leah + Stephen
Floral // 10.3.20
Love was in the air one winter day when Stephen Longinotti walked into Leah Wallace’s workplace to find her decorating a Christmas tree. “We immediately hit it off in the short amount of time we spoke, and eventually exchanged numbers,” she says.
Years later, the holiday season also played a part in their engagement. After attending a church service with Stephen’s family in downtown Little Rock, they decided to go see the iconic Christmas tree at the Capital Hotel. His parents asked to get a picture of the two of them in front of the tree. Stephen took the opportunity to tell Leah he loved her, then dropped to one knee to ask her to marry him. “It caught me so off guard,” she says. “I was thrilled.”
However, perhaps the biggest surprise came in finding the venue for their big day. Leah’s aunt and uncle approached her with the idea to build a minimalist-style, open-air chapel on their farm. “With a team of guys, they made my wildest wedding venue dream come true,” the bride says.
Leah had lost her mom years before and wanted not only to honor her memory but also feel a closeness to her on this special occasion. A framed sign that read: “Reserved for Mother of the Bride: Cheryl Wallace” sat on the front row of the bride’s seating side.
Music also played a big role in the couple’s day with non-traditional choices like “This Feeling” by Alabama Shakes and “I’m With You” by Vance Joy for wedding party entrance songs and “Somewhere Only We Know” by Simply Three for Leah’s walk down the aisle. “We absolutely live and breathe music, so having our unique taste intertwined in our ceremony allowed us to make the wedding truly our own,” she says. The two, who are now part owners in The Chapel at RidgeRunner Farm where they were married, are at home in Batesville and planning a delayed honeymoon to Greece.
Bride’s gown Low’s Bridal Cake Love+Flour Catering The Anderson Sisters Catering (Sweets) Millie’s Entertainment (reception) PartyTime Productions Favors RidgeRunner Farm Floral design and rentals A Perfect Bloom Florist & Wedding Rentals Groom’s and groomsmen’s suits Men’s Wearhouse Hair Larkin Young, Hair by Larkin Makeup Yoseline Selena Roy Perez, Leenna’s Make-Up & Beauty Photographer and videographer Key Moments Photography Rings Jonathan’s Fine Jewelry Venue The Chapel at RidgeRunner Farm Wedding design and coordination Melissa Etheridge, Weddings By Melissa E
Samantha + Cole
Conway // 8.22.20
You could say Samantha Buehler and Cole Thomas’s meeting came down to science: The pair first laid eyes on each other in a biology class at Arkansas State University in Beebe. From there, they dated for seven months before Thomas popped the question.
“We took a trip to the happiest place on earth, Disney World—or at least our happiest place on earth,” Samantha recalls. While there the couple posed for the traditional picture in front of the castle and then went on to ride the rides and see the sights. After a bit of time, Cole asked Samantha if they could go back to the castle to take a few more pictures. Here, he got down on one knee and asked her to be his wife. “I later learned that he had been too nervous to do it the first time,” Samantha says of the sweet moment.
During their engagement, which spanned more than 18 months, the couple hired wedding designer Jessika McCuin to bring the details of the big day to life. “Jessika was an angel and made everything such a breeze,” Samantha says. They envisioned a day that was bright and happy as well as intimate, romantic, and true to them. “Most of our dates consist of going out to breakfast or brunch, so having a super fun brunch-themed reception only made sense for us,” Samantha says. Of course, they also incorporated some of the more traditional elements, including a first dance (they chose Taylor Swift’s “Lover”) and a classic cake with their favorite flavors. The couple currently live in Austin, Arkansas, and are planning a tropical vacation as a delayed honeymoon and one-year anniversary trip.
Bright & Happy
“I knew I wanted a lot of color,” Samantha says in regard to the floral design. “Tanarah Luxe Floral made the magic happen for us!” Fresh flowers were woven into the draping across the front of Legacy Acres where the two exchanged vows, giving it the appearance of blooming vines scaling the building.
Samantha and Cole treated their guests to a brunch like no other. “Cole is in love with hearty breakfast foods, while I tend to lean more towards the sweets,” Samantha says. “We decided a combination of both would be amazing.” The menu boasted everything from chicken and waffles to a cereal bar, served alongside mimosas.
The cake was a true blend of the couple’s tastes with Cole choosing a chocolate layer and Samantha opting for a strawberry one. This approach gave guests the option to pick their favorite as well.
Take the time to enjoy the process. Planning a wedding can be so exciting if you have the right help!”
Bridesmaids’ dresses Bella Bridesmaids Bride’s gown Inverness Bridal Cakes Patticakes Bakery Catering Vibrant Occasions Entertainment (reception) Boom Town Arkansas Floral design Tanarah Luxe Floral Hair Isabella Baker, Serenity Salon and Brittanie Wallace Makeup Haley Hanna, Lashout & Makeout Photographer Lauren Haley Photography Rentals Eventology Venue Legacy Acres Videographer Forestland Films Wedding design and coordination Jessika McCuin Weddings
New takes on traditional wedding gown shapes—for both the bride and the girls standing by her side
Boldly Beautiful: An empowering message of self-love inspired this bright and beautiful styled shoot
Elizabeth Salazar, Bri’Ana Meriweather, Christina Gu, and Nathalie Carney
Every woman should feel beautiful in her own skin. This was the core belief behind wedding videographer Olivia King’s desire to create a styled shoot celebrating a diverse group of women. “It stuck with me that when I’d be scrolling through Instagram, I didn’t see a lot of diversity in wedding editorials,” she says. “As a wedding vendor myself, I shoot so many brides who all look different. I know there are beautiful brides in all shapes and sizes, and I want to celebrate that.”…