Ashley and Barret’s ‘Deep Tones and First Looks’ Arkansas Wedding by Meredith Events

Happy Monday everyone, I do hope you have had a good weekend. We are off to Tattershall Lakes in Lincolnshire today, we are going for the week. I am looking forward to a few days of relaxation, spending time with Nik and Dexter and making the most of the last week of the summer holidays. I can’t believe it’s nearly the end of the school holidays already, they have gone by so fast! So the blog will run as normal while I’m away, but do check in on my instagram stories to check out what I am up to. On with today’s wedding and it’s the turn of Ashley and Barret. The wedding was sent in by their Wedding Planner and Designer Meredith Events and was captured by Katie Childs Photo. The whole day is just lovely, with deep tones of red and browns, peaches and golds, a first look, some amazing table decoration and of course one kick ass party.

It was the perfect mix of intimate bonding and friendship with our loved ones before the ceremony, and the perfect party to end the night.

Ashley and Barret were married on 26th October 2019 at 1886 Crescent Hotel, Eureka Springs in Arkansas. ‘Originally, the ceremony was scheduled to be outside in the Fountain Garden, and the reception in the Crystal Ballroom. However, due to weather, both the ceremony and reception were in the Crystal Ballroom. Eureka Springs is Ashley’s hometown, and such a magical place, especially in the fall. We chose the Crescent Hotel because that is the same venue her parents were married. We had 175 guests and it took 11 months to plan.’ 

How they met
We first met in Fall of 2006 when Ash came to Hot Springs with her college roommate, Grace, during their freshman fall break. Grace was one of my friends from high school where I was in my junior year in high school. Instantly, I had the biggest crush on Ash when we finally met at Starbucks. I’m pretty sure we even held pinkies during a movie that weekend, but she of course denies this ever happened. I even asked her to my prom, to which her response was a kind no, but nevertheless my teenage heart was broken. About 10 years later, a simple message over Instagram sent us headfirst into an incredible friendship that seemed to have picked up exactly where we left off so many years ago.

The proposal
Ashley planned an amazing weekend in Eureka Springs where she proposed to me, and even further surprised me with an engagement party including out-of-town friends and family. Rings had previously been purchased (with a local Chicago jeweler who owned a mule farm!) and proposal vows had been written as we mutually had determined we would like our partnership to lead to marriage. That allowed Ashley to plan the perfect unexpected proposal.

How did you allocate your budget?
We first sat down and decided what was most important to us and to our families. It was determined pretty early we valued a good party with food, drink, and a live band, as well as the photo/video work to document everything.

Where did you splurge and where did you save?
For Barret, the splurge was definitely in the custom suit and the accessories to match. We also prioritized the live band, dinner and beverages, live flowers, and a wedding planner. We decided to save on invitations, Ash’s wedding dress (online sale!), wedding cake, and ceremony/reception decor.

How did you choose your photographer?
Katie Childs (and her husband, Jonathan) are longtime friends of Barret, and there was essentially no question who our first choice was. Katie is a super rockstar at taking photos as well.

The dress 
Dress: BHLDN.  Shoes: Sam Edelman. Accessories: Blue Cameo bracelet was Ashley’s Great GrandMother’s (Mombo!), and her earrings were her mother’s (from Eureka’s Magee Jewelry).

The suit and bridesmaids
Suit and tie were by Indochino, shoes were J.Crew x Alden, watch was by Christopher Ward. Ash asked her bridesmen and brideswomen to wear an outfit that they felt comfortable and confident in – and her lovely Best Woman, Joanna Galyen, coordinated a color palette with the wedding party.

Theme or colour scheme
Thanks to our lovely Wedding Designer and Planner, Meredith Corning, she translated our vision into the colour scheme of deep burgundy, sage green, ivory, burnt orange, mustard, and peachy pinks.

Our goal was to rent as much as we could, and then I also searched Craigslist and Facebook marketplace every morning for used items. I also pulled items from our home decor and relied on family and friends for many things too!

We had a “build your own” pasta buffet of sorts. It included multiple combinations of pasta, sauces, and meat/veggie options.

Wedding cake
Our Best Woman made our cake! It was a yummy, moist chocolate cake.

We had a live, 4-piece band playing a mix of new and classic party music. Check out Diamond Empire Band!

Who supplied the stationery?
The design for the save the dates and wedding invitations were from the talented Amanda Ratkovich at Lily and Threads.

Where are you going on your honeymoon?
We have a Scotland honeymoon planned for September of 2020 (pandemic-willing)

Personal touches
Our own vows helped make the ceremony more personable and allow us to say everything most special in our hearts. We also had a lot of discussion around how to be LGBTQ+ and gender inclusive while planning and executing all wedding events, this ranged from the wording of our wedding party (e.g., decided on Bridesmen and Brideswomen, also thought about Bridespeople), to who walked Ashley down the aisle (both her mom and her dad), to the traditions we decided to include in our festivities (Ash had a bouquet she gave to her grandmother, instead of doing a bouquet or garter toss). One of the most special parts for us of the ceremony was when Ashley’s godfather, Davy Bailey, read the passage by Justice Anthony Kennedy when the Supreme Court ruled that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples.

Special moments 
As soon as the ceremony ended, we immediately left for our hotel suite where we were able to eat and relax just the two of us before returning to the reception. It was a perfect, serene moment to temporarily escape as newly weds and enjoy the moment. Another moment that is in the highlight reel was when we took a moment during the ceremony and just looked out at our loved ones in the crowd and thanked them. You could see the love on their faces and it was magical.

Advice for other couples
When you are first engaged, take a second to enjoy the moment. Then, have an open discussion on the things that are most important to each of you, and the things that are not so important. Hold tight and continuously come back to those things as you make choices.
Things aren’t going to go to plan, and that’s okay! Listen to the Bridechilla podcast to hear my favorite response to when this happens.. Has to do with a bucket
You do not have to adhere to all the ceremony and reception wedding traditions. Do your research on the traditions, and choose what is most real and true to you and your partner.
Writing your own vows may seem intimidating, scary, and too vulnerable, but in the end, you feel more connected to the ceremony and the loved ones attending, and also it is amazing to hear the sound of your partner’s voice reading their love letter to you.
Don’t forget to include tips and thank you presents in your budget!

Biggest surprise 
The biggest surprise happened the day before, when we had to make the difficult decision to move our ceremony from outdoors in the garden to inside the ballroom (where our reception was going to be). Meredith, our Wedding Designer and Planner, made the switch without even blinking – and the ceremony felt like it had been planned that way all along. Meredith also worked closely with our florist, who is also one of Ash’s best friends and a Brideswomen (Diana Thompson at Samantha’s Garden), to make the ceremony and reception come to life with flowers.




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