Allison & Ben knew that friends and family would be coming from all over the states to attend their wedding, so they wanted to find a spot that was perfect for a destination wedding. They chose to have their wedding in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Hmmmm … not your run-of-the-mill location for a destination wedding, you say? But for Allison and Ben, two young architects, it was ideal. Early on in their relationship, they fell in love with Faye Jones’ Thorncrown Chapel. When you see the pics, you’ll see why. Their family & friends flew in from every corner of the country to celebrate in the wonderfully quirky town of Eureka Springs, as Alli & Ben took their vows in one of the country’s most architecturally unique chapels.
from Alli & Ben … We do have to say that planning a wedding in Eureka Springs, from Boston, was a complicated and delicate matter. After we had the chapel and date secured, our next step was finding a reception space and putting together the whole event! Completely overwhelmed by my lack of knowledge about Arkansas, I hired an amazing Wedding Planner, Jessica Kersey of Finishing Touch Event Design. It was the BEST decision we made during the process. Not only did Jessica give us expert knowledge into the best local resources, but she guided our vision, managed the details from start to finish, negotiated the best prices with our vendors, and kept everything working like a well oiled machine the day of. I absolutely recommend hiring a wedding planner – the level of service and attention you receive, in addition to the reduced stress, is worth every penny.
from Jessica at The Finishing Touch … Alli & Ben crafted one of the most touching ceremonies I’ve ever had the pleasure to be a part of, including not only their personal vows to one another but also a tartan pinning ceremony. The tartan pinning was a beautiful nod to their Scottish heritage. During this portion of the ceremony they were each welcomed into the other’s family as Alli’s mother pinned her family tartan to Ben’s lapel and Ben’s mother pinned his family tartan to Alli’s gown.
The chapel was absolutely stunning with light streaming in from every side …
Alli carried a gorgeous bouquet of hydrangeas, ranunculus, billy balls, cockscomb, and dahlias, all tied with her family tartan. Ben wore a boutonniere of ranunculus, billy balls, and wheat stalks tied with his family tartan.
After the beautiful ceremony, guests enjoyed a delicious cocktail hour on the East Lawn of the historic Crescent Hotel. To carry through the southern theme, guests were served Warm & Fuzzy Apple Cider in mason jars and relaxed in a rustic lounge created using tree stump end tables and a wooden palette coffee table in addition to the more traditional furniture.
As guests entered the Crystal Dining Room, they signed the guest book, which was a book on the architecture of Faye Jones. Guests signed the pages and the book now rests on the couple’s coffee table in their home. Guests were then directed to their seats by antique windows which listed each guests name and the table to which they were assigned. It was a very fitting touch to use this architectural salvaged detail for these two very talented architects.
Upon finding their seats, guests were served their choice of a duet of Pecan Encrusted Salmon and Filet or a Vegetarian Butternut Squash Ravioli. Their dinner tables were covered in gorgeous silk lamour linens and topped with a burlap table runner. At each place setting, were the favors, a CD of traditional Scottish music which was played during the cocktail hour. These also doubled as place cards to help guests find their seat.
To top off the tablescape, we created all of the floral arrangements in beautiful fall colors to go along with the Rustic Fall theme Alli had fallen in love with for her southern wedding. She wanted the centerpieces to look like a “collection of treasures” rather than traditional centerpieces. To accomplish this we spent the entire year collecting vintage tea tins, tea cups, milk glass vases, pitchers, and my favorite centerpiece container: vintage sewing machine drawers. Each table was adorned with a collection of vintage pieces overflowing with gorgeous flowers. We used hydrangeas, roses, ranunculus, dahlias, thistle, billy balls, and much, much more!
After dinner, the newly weds were toasted by many family and friends before cutting their delicious cake. Then the party began! Guests filled the dance floor as Pearl Nation entertained them until late in the evening.
Alli & Ben’s Story
Ben and I met when he came in for an interview at the Interior Architecture firm I was working at as the Business Manager. I was immediately drawn to his charm and, of course, his handsome smile. Within minutes after his meeting, I told the Principal Architect that Ben needed to be hired because not only was he a good fit, but he was also going to be my boyfriend! The Principal Architect laughed it off like anyone would, but five years later he’s now my husband!
Being involved in the Architecture and Design industry for many years, Ben and I have a penchant for inspirational environments. When Ben was studying for his architecture degree, he learned about E. Fay Jones, and we were both taken by the brilliance of Thorncrown Chapel. Two years later, when we got engaged and were considering a venue, Thorncrown Chapel immediately came to mind. Considering our friends and family are spread all over the country, we knew no matter where we held our wedding, the majority of our guests would be traveling. A destination wedding to Eureka Springs, Arkansas was the perfect choice: it had our ideal wedding venue, which brought together our shared love of nature and inspirational design, was centrally located to the majority of our guests, and it was a unique, magical town that we knew our friends and family would love.
We knew that we wanted our wedding to be personal and intimate, honor the coming together of our many loving family members, and provide for a unique guest experience. One of our favorite moments that has stuck with Ben and me was when we saw each other for the first time during a private photo session with our photographer (the “first look”). It not only settled our nerves, but gave us a chance to comfort each other and have a special moment before the “big” show began. From the ceremony, nothing compares to reciting our own personal vows, and incorporating a Scottish tradition called “Pinning of the Tartan,” that we modified to include our mothers, which was a unique and meaningful recognition to our family heritage. Being part of a space that meant so much to us. We left the church’s intrinsic beauty as it was, no extra decoration was needed; except for two standing lanterns that flanked the alter, representing our many grandparents (6 sets) as the guiding light that watches over us. At the cocktail hour and reception, we loved the scenic view, and the food was delicious, but our favorite part was seeing all of our detailed planning come together in the space. The atmosphere was incredible; warm, unique and full of personal touches that exuded our history together: the vintage, “found object” centerpieces and decor we spent months collecting, sipping hot apple cider on fall’s first crisp night, listening to Bluegrass and Scottish music at the cocktail hour (featuring my family’s band, Al Hopkins and his Buckle Busters, from 1920s Appalachia), and seeing a room aglow with candlelight filled with 85 of our loving family and friends – it was an unforgettable feeling!
We were truly honored that so many of our friends and family made the trip to rural Eureka Springs, AR to be a part of our wedding weekend. It was hugely important for us to make their experience comfortable, unique and fun! We were pleased to hear that everyone had an incredible time. People have told us that “every element was impeccable, “and that “they saw Ben and me in every detail.” We’ve heard “best wedding I’ve ever been to,” and “most unique location.” But our favorite compliments came from our parents, who told us they were proud of what we put together, and honored in how we celebrated our families, heritage and, of course, the love between us. If we could be a fly on the wall and watch the entire day unfold again, we would.
Photography: Hudson Photography, Fayetteville, Arkansas / Wedding Coordination & Design: Finishing Touch Event Design, Little Rock, Arkansas / Ceremony Venue: Thorncrown Chapel, Eureka Springs, Arkansas / Reception Venue: Crescent Hotel, Eureka Springs, Arkansas / Catering & Bar: Crescent Hotel, Eureka Springs, Arkansas / Floral Design: Finishing Touch Event Design, Little Rock, Arkansas / Wedding Cake: Eureka Sweets, Eureka Springs, Arkansas / Entertainment: Pearl Nation, Springfield, Missouri / Linens: BBJ Linens / Rentals: Eventures Party Rentals, Fayetteville, Arkansas / Invitations and Paper Goodies: Sister of the Bride / Get Away Car: Eureka Springs Limousine Company, Eureka Springs, Arkansas