When Cara Janton and Derrick Mason attended Little Rock Central High together (he was class of 2001, she 2003), not only did they not know they’d someday be wed not too far from their school – they didn’t even know each other existed.
Central is a very large place.
But, Cara says, “fast forward to summer of 2008 and we meet at the local watering hole, The Fountain, via mutual friends.” That night they discussed sports, then they saw each other occasionally for six months or so until he moved away briefly.
As things would have it, that’s when the relationship began to blossom: After Derrick left “we ended up talking on the phone for multiple hours every night. He finally moved back to Little Rock, and we basically started dating one month later. We’ve been best friends ever since.”
That friendship grew to love, and though Derrick was the first to say “I love you,” Cara says she quickly realized “he was who I wanted to share the rest of my life with. I didn’t want to imagine getting old with someone else.”
Derrick pulled off a great surprise proposal and the hunt for a wedding site was on.
“We looked forever for a venue,” Cara says.” I’m a big researcher so I looked all over the place, inside and outside of the box. We had been to many fun events at the Bernice Garden including the Cornbread Festival and the SoMa Mardi Gras Parade, and we also live in the neighborhood. So we were familiar with the space, but I didn’t really think about it seriously at first as a venue.
“But the more we thought about it, it was perfect for everything we wanted. It’s outside, but covered, unique, naturally beautiful, conveniently located for out-of-towners, we could have the ceremony and reception there, and no restrictions when it came to vendors. So ultimately it was PERFECT!”
Cara says the wedding theme, if you could call it that, would be fun/simple/DIY/rustic, as shown by the “All You Need Is Love” banner above. They had mason jars filled with tea lights, photo collages – Cara says her sister really took the “DIY decor bull by the horns.”
But many people helped.
“I would love to give a shout out to our friends and family that helped decorate the day of and take down the decorations that night,” Cara says. “Everything turned out exactly as we imagined!”
Cara says one of her favorite things was the memorial chair in honor of her maternal grandmother who passed away just a couple of months before the wedding. “She really wanted to be there,” Cara says. “I like to think she kept the storms away that day.”
Cara says one of my favorite things about getting married in the garden is “how the space transports you from being in downtown Little Rock. You are right in the middle of the city, but it basically makes you feel like you are in your own magical, whimsical space and it is just you and all of your friends and family!
“Also it’s just so dang beautiful, that you really don’t even have to decorate!”
An added bonus is that not only can Cara and Derrick visit their wedding site whenever they like, but they also added a permanent element to the site, by adding a lock to the “Sealed with a Wish” sculpture.