One highlight for the 350 guests attending the recent mansion lawn wedding of Maegan Ray and Josh London was the sight of a horse-drawn carriage delivering the bride and her father to the ceremony.
Josh contributed another visual feature to the wedding ceremony area by hanging a chandelier from one of the grand old trees facing the entrance to Michael's Mansion, where the ceremony was held. When asked how he was able to accomplished such a feat, Josh said all it took was "some thinking, an extension ladder and a whole lot of want-to."
"Maegan and I laugh now about how we both kept adding more ideas about what we would like to have at our wedding - and how our plans kept growing," Josh said. "I admit the horse and carriage and the chandelier were my ideas."
Maegan and Josh enjoy traveling, camping, riding four-wheelers, shooting skeet and rock climbing - and started out talking about a destination wedding. Taking their vows while riding airborne zip lines in Barbados may even have been briefly considered.
Ultimately, they settled on an outdoor mansion ceremony so they could have more of their family and friends attend.
Maegan, 22, graduated high school in Greenwood with Josh's sister, Lauren, and in December, Maegan will graduate from UAFS with a bachelor's degree in nursing. Josh is 26, and an electrician who worked for Megan's dad's local electrical business several years before he and Meagan became acquainted. Megan said they each were leading small youth groups at their church when they started getting to know each other.
"I would say I favor a shorter engagement, but if you plan on having a big wedding, you will probably need about a year to plan it - and a wedding planner, too," Maegan advised. "It made me more a lot more comfortable to have one and planning all the details fun instead of a chore."
All that planning culminated in a lawn wedding at Michael's Mansion, with more than a dozen attendants in the wedding party and the bride and groom exiting the ceremony in the horse-drawn carriage.
The bride's wedding portrait and the wedding portraits and gowns of the mothers of the bride and the groom - Tammy Ray and Tammy London - were among the many lovely displays dotting the mansion's spacious lawn.
"The day of the wedding was everything I dreamed it would be since I was a little girl," Maegan said. "Even though it flew by and there were a few minor problems, it was everything I had imagined and more. A whole year of planning had finally paid off and all of our ideas somehow just came together. It was a day we will never forget and will cherish the rest of our lives."
And, she and Josh still got to go zip line zooming during their honeymoon in Barbados.
Bride's dress – Low's Bridal, Brinkley, Ark.
Bridesmaid dresses – Danielle's Bridal, Clarksville, Ark.
Bride and bridal party hair – Lauren London, London Style Salon, Alma, Ark.
Tuxedos – Rainwater's Clothing, Fort Smith
Jewelry – Diamonds Plus, Fort Smith
Catering and cakes – Tina Skaggs, Catering Extraordinaire, Greenwood, Ark.
Florist – Collections Floral by Mary Charlton, Fort Smith
Wedding planner – Mary Ann Sandifer, "I Do" Wedding Consulting, Fort Smith
Photo booth – Funky Memories Photo Booth, Fort Smith
Chandelier – Eventures, Fayetteville, Ark.
Venue – Michael’s Mansion, Fort Smith
Rentals – Unforgettables, Fort Smith
Artist – Caleb Baker, Fayetteville, Ark.
Horse and carriage – Lufkin's Circle L Ranch, Sallisaw, Okla.
Photography – Miss Bey Photography, Fort Smith