Blossoms of spring signal blogging season – but first, let’s look back at the beautiful last wedding of the fall

How beautiful the Janton-Mason wedding on Sept. 6, 2014, was! This fabulous photo, courtesy of Pictures by Katie, highlights what a lovely setting the garden makes for special occasions.

How beautiful the Janton-Mason wedding on Sept. 6, 2014, was! This fabulous photo, courtesy of Pictures by Katie, highlights what a lovely setting the garden makes for special occasions.

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.”

The wedding party approaches the garden.

The wedding party approaches the garden.

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.

Cara and Derrick Mason say they couldn't have found a better place for their ceremony and reception, which were attended by between 175 and 200 people

Cara and Derrick Mason say they couldn’t have found a better place for their ceremony and reception, which were attended by between 175 and 200 people

“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!”

theme

 

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!”

Happy faces, beautiful moment ...

Happy faces, beautiful moment …

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.”

The Mason's advice for couples considering a garden wedding? "Do it! It's an amazing place to get married – and you can go back and visit anytime!"

The Mason’s advice for couples considering a garden wedding? “Do it! It’s an amazing place to get married – and you can go back and visit anytime!”

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!”

The Mason's cake, made by a friend's grandmother who bakes out of her home, was layers of pound cake with buttercream frosting between the layers – perfect for their DIY theme.

The Mason’s cake, made by a friend’s grandmother who bakes out of her home, was layers of pound cake with buttercream frosting between the layers – perfect for their DIY theme.

"It really was just such a fun night," Cara says. "I remember just taking a moment and looking around at everyone dancing and laughing. It was just so perfect. So many family members from near and far and lots of friends from all areas of our lives, together to celebrate with us. It was everything we ever could have asked for. "

“It really was just such a fun night,” Cara says. “I remember just taking a moment and looking around at everyone dancing and laughing. It was just so perfect. So many family members from near and far and lots of friends from all areas of our lives, together to celebrate with us. It was everything we ever could have asked for. “

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.

Love locked in place. We wish you the happiest of lives, Cara and Derrick. And thanks for letting us be a part of your celebration.

Love locked in place. We wish you the happiest of lives, Cara and Derrick. And thanks for letting us be a part of your celebration.

Underground love match is sealed at the Garden

Sean and Kadi Lindsey, the happy couple exit the first garden wedding of 2014.

Sean and Kadi Lindsey, the happy couple exit the first garden wedding of 2014.

Kadi Redford and Sean Lindsey exchanged vows April 26, which gave them the distinction of having the first 2014 Bernice Garden wedding.

The Lindseys couldn’t be happier about their decision to marry their “best friends” in the garden.

Their love story is slightly unconventional – as Kadi says with a laugh, “It was definitely not love at first sight” – so the garden, to them, was the perfect choice.

“We were looking for an outdoor venue and had gone to look at a few, but none really fit us,” Kadi says. “I put a post on Facebook asking people for their suggestions for venues, and my friend Sylvia Blain suggested The Bernice Garden.

“I will never forget it; it was about 2 in the morning when I read her suggestion. I was so excited – Sean and I went right then to look at it and immediately fell in love [with the location]. We went back during the day the next day and it was perfect! It’s just so ‘us.’”

As dusk fell, the garden glowed.

As dusk fell, the garden glowed.

But who are they, you might wonder, and what makes their story unconventional?

Kadi is a special education teacher and Sean waits tables. They met five years ago through work and were engaged for 2 ½ years before tying the knot.

When they met, Kadi was waiting tables at The Underground Pub and Sean was the drummer for a band called Notion that played there occasionally. Kadi says she had a crush on him within a couple of months of meeting him, but it took a while for the relationship to click.

“I got to know his band mates and their wives, and everyone was so nice. One day, they invited me and the other servers to a cookout. I went, hoping that the cute drummer would be there, and he was!”

They spent quite a bit of time together that night, which was just the tentative beginning.

“From then on, we hung out here and there, but it wasn’t really going anywhere. I liked him, and I knew he liked me, but it wasn’t getting serious. I had reached the point that I decided that I was going to move on since it wasn’t going where I wanted it to go.”

That was when things changed, Kadi says.

“It was like he read my mind and BOOM! He was all of a sudden this amazing, sweet, fairytale of a guy, buying me flowers, taking me on dates, doing little sweet things all of the time. From then on, it just got better and better.

“We always had a relationship different from any other. We are best friends; he is my rock and I am his. We have both become better people because of each other; he has the biggest heart and is the most caring, loving person I know. He does everything that I need from him, plus some. I never would have thought that that long-haired drummer would become my amazing husband.”

Sean and Kadi cut their beautiful, outdoorsy-themed wedding cake.

Sean and Kadi cut their beautiful, outdoorsy-themed wedding cake.

Kadi is obviously overjoyed about her choice in husbands – and they were both totally pleased with their choice of The Bernice Garden for their ceremony.

“I would highly recommend it to anyone,”’ Kadi says. “It was amazingly gorgeous, which was nice since we didn’t have to have many decorations at all. It was perfect for having the ceremony and the reception at the same place. There are electrical outlets everywhere, which was very helpful.”

The Lindseys' guests found it easy to park and fit in the garden space.

The Lindseys’ guests found it easy to park and fit in the garden space.

We love this idea: a chalkboard "program," perfect for a teacher's wedding.

We love this idea: a chalkboard “program,” perfect for a teacher’s wedding.

They were pleased that parking was not an issue, even with 125 to 150 guests, and loved that their little dog, Franklin, could be part of the ceremony. And, Kadi says, “We didn’t have to worry about lighting – the lighting was perfect. It was just amazing overall.”

What a perfect night – and a perfect photo.

What a perfect night – and a perfect photo.

Kadi’s final thoughts on The Bernice Garden as a wedding venue make our hearts swell, too.

“It was beautiful and accommodating, and it really made our day just perfect. I can’t believe that we were able to find such a perfect venue that fit our needs as well as our personalities. We love that it’s open to the community and that many people play a part in its allure with their sculptures, gardening, etc.”

Kadi and Sean have plans to come back to the garden for their first anniversary to add a lock to the Wish Locks sculpture – as a symbolic gesture. We’re guessing their love doesn’t need a lock. Just look at those faces.

Kadi, Sean and Franklin are one darling, happy family.

Kadi, Sean and Franklin are one darling, happy family.

Photos courtesy of Megan Wilson Photography

It’s May! It’s May – divine in every way

Teacher Morgan Ealy encourages tudents to make "your wish for Rockefeller Elementary" as she snaps on the school's wish lock on a recent field trip to the garden.

Teacher Morgan Ealy encourages tudents to make “your wish for Rockefeller Elementary” as she snaps on the school’s wish lock on a recent field trip to the garden.

Once again, we’ve had a flurry of activities in the garden with more to come this weekend. Some of our neighbors have mentioned seeing the beautiful wedding recently – we hope to have more about that before long – which was just the first of several to come.

Last week, we had the pleasure of welcoming field-trippers from Rockefeller Elementary School, who walked to the garden for a bit of learning and lot of fun (plus cookies and lemonade).

Little Rock Convention and Visitor's Bureau president Gretchen Hall discusses the importance of tourism to the state – and time off for mental health.

Little Rock Convention and Visitor’s Bureau president Gretchen Hall discusses the importance of tourism to the state – and time off for mental health.

Tuesday, May 6, the Little Rock Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, in conjunction with City Hall, held a Travel Rally Day event in the garden with presentations, a video contest-kickoff (little rock.com/dayoff/) and complementary tastings of Loblolly Creamery Arkansas strawberry ice cream.

movies

This Friday, May 9, we’re home to “Movies in the Garden,” a fundraiser for our neighbors on South Main, KABF, 88.3 FM. The fun starts at 5 p.m.

The second vintage market will have twice as many vendors as the April edition.

The second vintage market will have twice as many vendors as the April edition.

Saturday morning the second vintage market of the season starts at 9. We have vendors galore, and Southern Salt Food Company will be there with breakfast and lunch. Be there by 2, because the market closes promptly at 3.

Besides, the good stuff goes fast! Don’t miss it.

Then Sunday, our always lovely farmers’ market will also serve as a trolley stop and ticket sales point for the Quapaw Quarter Association’s 50th Spring Tour of Homes. What a wonderful Mother’s Day event.

More to come. It’s going to be a busy spring and summer.