So, I normally don’t throw out my opinions too freely- so many wonderful vendors work so hard to create exceptional weddings in Arkansas, and it’s an honor to be a part of anyones big day. But I do get asked from time to time to recommend venues and local vendors, so I thought I’d start off with some of my favorite wedding venues in Arkansas- from a photographers viewpoint.
- Stone Chapel at Matt Lane Farms, Fayetteville Arkansas This venue encompasses all the beauty of Northwest Arkansas in one elegant, seamless package. From the ivy covered chapel walls, to the pine tree lined drive, and the romantic glass walled reception space- there are countless ways to design and create a wedding that is unique to you. Often times, a venue will have one amazing attribute that attracts people, but can be weak in other areas. Not the Stone Chapel. The bridal suite is large and beautiful, with a ton of natural light to get those perfect light and airy getting ready pictures with you and your bridesmaids. The outdoor stone alter is a perfect ceremony space on warm sunny days, but the indoor chapel is equally as beautiful for any rainy or winter wedding day. I’ve photographed countless weddings at the Stone Chapel at Matt Lane Farms, and have yet to run out of new and unique places to create timeless and elegant wedding portraits. And the covered reception area has hosted some of the best dance parties I’ve been to. Keep your guests in one location the whole wedding day and show off the natural beauty that Northwest Arkansas offers at the Stone Chapel at Matt Lane Farms.
- The Clinton Library, Little Rock Arkansas Located in the heart of the River Market in downtown Little Rock, The Clinton Library’s modern design and architecture are perfect for the contemporary bride. The walls are made entirely of glass with sweeping views of the city, offering beautiful natural light for a wedding ceremony or reception. The bridal suite offers moody clean light with enough space for your bridesmaids to comfortably move. And guests are treated to an after hours experience at one of Little Rock’s most famous tourist destinations. The spaces surrounding the museum are perfectly manicured for amazing wedding portraits, and they often have some pretty cool featured artwork at the entrance (think Chihuly glass sculptures and massive dinosaurs) that can offer a unique, fun backdrop for wedding portraits.
- 21C Hotel and Crystal Bridges, Bentonville Arkansas These two venues often go hand in hand when I shoot weddings in Bentonville. Some couples choose to host their wedding ceremony and reception at 21C, but want to head just down the road to use Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art as the setting for their wedding portraits. It’s a perfect combination of two of Northwest Arkansas most contemporary and unique art-driven spaces. I’ve seen some amazing transformations of the 21C Hotel reception hall- it’s a clean pallet that can perfectly serve the most imaginative wedding ideas. But even as it is, the hotel is a fun, unique venue that showcases the best of the downtown Bentonville square.
- Sassafras Springs Vineyards, Springdale Arkansas When this venue first opened several years ago, about 99% of my weddings were held here. It was just what Northwest Arkansas brides were looking for- an elegant, unique, upscale venue with tons of outdoor space and an incredible vintage wedding chapel. I love shooting at Sassafras for so many reasons, but one of the biggest reasons is the thought and planning that went in to the chapel itself. Often times, wedding ceremony locations may look pretty when you visit, but other factors that you don’t think about may be distracting during your ceremony, like car traffic, train whistles, guests staring straight into the evening sun. At Sassafras, the sun sets to the backs of all the guests, and illuminates the bride and groom as they exchange vows, creating dramatic and eye popping wedding ceremony photos. No matter how many times I photograph weddings at Sassafras, I never tire of using that gorgeous chapel and the amazing vineyards for wedding portraits.
There are so many wonderful wedding venues in this state, and with more opening every year, I’m sure I’ll be adding and updating the list with fresh new locations I visit in 2019!