Courtney and Stephen’s Moon Themed Eclipse Wedding by Sun and Sparrow

What happens when there is an Eclipse on your wedding day? Well Courtney and Stephen totally embraced the fact and put on a huge Eclipse party for their guests, with eclipse glasses as favours, signage and table decorations. Courtney and Stephen’s wedding was a beautiful blend of personal touches, emotional moments, and unforgettable experiences, creating a day they and their guests will cherish forever. It happened on 7th April 2024 at one of the glass chapels in Arkansas with food by Vibrant Occasions and photos by sun and sparrow.

Eclipsing Hearts On a Cosmic Wedding Adventure

How they met
Courtney Gill and Stephen Parrish’s love story began in O’ahu, where they moved after college—Courtney for Teach For America and Stephen to pursue a graduate degree in Natural Product Chemistry. Their paths crossed at a pre-tournament welcome party for a co-ed ultimate frisbee event, where they connected over a shared love for mochi ice cream at Bubbies Ice Cream shop. This sweet tradition laid the foundation for a beautiful friendship that blossomed into romance.

The Proposal
The proposal was equally enchanting, set against the picturesque backdrop of Ashford Castle in Ireland. What started as a casual request to film a swing dance turned into a life-changing moment when Stephen spun Courtney into a proposal with her grandmother’s ring. The intimate and heartfelt moment was perfectly captured by their friends, adding to the joy and surprise.

A Wedding Day Full of Romance
Their wedding day was a blend of romantic elegance and personal touches. The couple’s photos in the gardens exuded romance, and the early evening ceremony in a sunbeam-filled chapel immersed everyone in natural beauty. The vintage getaway car provided a charming private moment for the newlyweds, complete with a celebratory bottle of champagne.

A Unique and Intimate Reception
The reception at Chittum Venue at Forest Lakes was both spacious and intimate, with decor that subtly nodded to the eclipse. Highlights included black salad plates eclipsing larger golden sun plates, eclipse glasses with QR codes to a playlist, and cosmic cocktails like the Personal Space Issues and the Astronaughty. A surprise live saxophonist kept the dance floor alive all night.

Food played a significant role in their celebration, with Vibrant Occasions crafting a diverse and delightful menu that catered to various tastes and dietary needs. Guests were treated to a range of passed hors d’oeuvres during the cocktail hour, including mini chicken and waffles drizzled with maple syrup, creamy jalapeno mac-and-cheese served in mini martini glasses, spinach artichoke crostinis, and avocado steak toast topped with smoked beef tenderloin.

The dinner menu was equally impressive, featuring a self-service buffet that included blackened chicken breast with Cajun cream sauce, bulgogi brisket with Korean BBQ sauce, and spice-rubbed pork tenderloin with a bourbon ancho sauce. Sides included a colourful medley of roasted harvest vegetables, buttery Yukon Gold twice-baked potato casserole, and a fresh garden salad with house-made dressings. For vegetarians, a delicious stuffed acorn squash filled with a blend of rice, sautéed vegetables, dried cranberries, and toasted walnuts was offered, topped with a vegan cucumber aioli.

“We were able to have a rounded out menu that even included some Asian fusion cuisine that reminded us of our years living in Hawaii – the bulgogi brisket was a great balance of that bulgogi flavour while not being too sweet. Our friends still haven’t stopped talking about the harvest vegetables and mashed potatoes,” says the bride, Courtney.

The dessert table was a highlight, featuring a round carrot cake with coconut pecan filling and cinnamon buttercream icing, as well as an assortment of cupcakes: lemon with strawberry buttercream and chocolate fudge with hazelnut buttercream.

Floral designs pulled the garden’s greenery into the reception, with tall floral pieces framing the sweetheart table, creating a dramatic yet intimate setting for the bride and groom.

Creating Lasting Memories
Courtney, with her background in neurobiology, incorporated unique elements to maximize memory retention, such as scented tea-lights and a post-ceremony ice water plunge to create lasting memories. They also started a tradition of exchanging cards and gifts annually, placing special items in a trunk to be opened on their first anniversary.

A Sentimental Surprise
Courtney’s parents were folk singers, and actually sang at quite a few weddings – including their own. On their wedding day, they played a recording of their original song “Beautiful Person” that they had written for their wedding. The string quartet learned the song from a recording and played it for Stephen and Courtney’s wedding recessional as a special surprise for her parents. The chorus goes, “You’re a beautiful person, you’re a beautiful child; You’re a beautiful person and you’re gonna be mine for a beautiful while.”

A Memorable “Buddy-Moon” Honeymoon
Their honeymoon, a “buddy moon,” included one-way tickets to Greece and plans to travel with friends through the Mediterranean and the Balkans, making memories in Greece, Montenegro, and Croatia.



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