These Arkansas brides incorporated both Filipino and Australian traditions into their fall wedding
Brides Charmis Dane and Jennifer Vos (both she/her) married in Bella Vista, Arkansas, on October 9, 2022, after a 20-month engagement. Their choice of fall wedding colors green, gold and burgundy was inspired by the season as well as the weather. “Since we knew we wouldn’t be bringing in a lot of extra decorations, we decided to go with a bolder color palette,” says Jennifer. “We hoped that this would be both a nice bridge between natural and modern aesthetics and also adaptable enough to suit Arkansas’ unpredictable autumn weather. Keep reading for more details from Jennifer about her and her wife’s Arkansas LGBTQ+ wedding.
OVERALL VIBE OF THE WEDDING
I think we were most visually inspired by our venues. Both the Mildred B. Cooper Chapel, where we had our ceremony, and the Garden Room, where we had our reception, are surrounded by trees and greenery, so we tried to find subtle embellishments that would carry that natural beauty through the rest of the celebrations.
HOW DID YOU PERSONALIZE YOUR WEDDING?
We were lucky to have venues with a lot of natural beauty, so our decor was pretty minimal. We reused all of our bouquets as centerpieces during the reception and brought in some fresh eucalyptus leaves to add to the tables, but everything else was courtesy of the Garden Room’s wonderful (and extensive) decoration library. We mostly personalized our ceremony, which we had inside a glass chapel in Northwest Arkansas. Charmis’ background is Filipino and mine is Australian, so we included elements from each into our day. We incorporated a unity candle from Filipino wedding traditions into our ceremony—though in all the hustle and bustle, the candle itself didn’t make it to the altar!
That was all right though, as we got to laugh together as we lit our imaginary candle and it was a lovely, unexpected moment. We also worked with our wonderful officiant, Reverend Tim Harrison, to adapt our ceremony’s language to include elements from the Australian Anglican second order of marriage, the central ethos of which is “God is Love.” I grew up Anglican, and Charmis grew up Catholic, so we both found traditional prayers and liturgical language to be very meaningful. Oh, and our wedding party entered the reception to a soaring arrangement of “Waltzing Matilda” courtesy of DJ Afrosia.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR WEDDING ATTIRE
Charmis and I helped each other pick out our dresses, and in the end, we chose our looks based on what made us feel the most comfortable, confident and celebratory. Charmis’ dress was a beautiful satin A-line gown with a lace bodice, and mine was also satin, but had an off-the-shoulder neckline and a ballgown silhouette. We looked for embellishments that tied into our natural theme, such as floral hair pins, and then just went from there as far as what we felt most comfortable in and had the most fun with.
TELL US SOMETHING FUN ABOUT YOUR WEDDING
I think our first dance was the most anticipated moment, as neither of us are particularly practiced or confident dancers but we both wanted it to be special. Getting formal lessons was outside of our budget, so I went to YouTube for help. At first I had a hard time finding beginner tutorials that weren’t traditionally gendered, but then I found Duet Dance Studio and absolutely loved the way their same-sex dances approached leading and following. We watched several of their dances together and just played around with the moves we liked until we had a comfortable range of options to play with on the day. It was really lovely to be able to share that together.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR PROPOSAL(S)
Charmis likes to be cosy so I proposed to her in front of our tree on Christmas Eve, then Charmis proposed to me on 2/1/21 at 9:21 p.m. (or 2121 hours), because I love playing around with dates and numbers.
TELL US YOUR LOVE STORY
Charmis and I met through a dating app. As we got to know each other we realized how close we had come to meeting before then—through mutual friends or being in different parts of the same building—but in the end, we’re both really glad that we met when and how we did. It was the right timing for both of us, and meeting through an app left us no room to second guess each other’s interest.
We had very open discussions about marriage after we had been dating for about a year, I think. It certainly felt like we were on that path, but we thought we should probably live together for a few months before we could really know for sure. But then the pandemic hit and we decided to quarantine together in Charmis’ small apartment for the last two months before our new lease began. It was chaos, but we navigated it so well together that I never had any doubt where we were heading.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR FLOWERS
We had roses and we loved our flowers but didn’t use them extensively. Zuzu’s Petals in Fayetteville did a wonderful job with our bouquets and boutonnieres which we reused as table centerpieces during the reception. They were a beautiful highlight.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST DANCE SONG?
“Can’t help falling in love” by Elvis Presley
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ENGAGED LGBTQ+ COUPLES AND MARRIERS?
I think that the best thing that Charmis and I did during our wedding planning process was to keep an open dialogue about our budget and priorities. We talked early on and throughout the planning process about which areas we wanted to invest in and which we were comfortable cutting to stay within budget, and I think this really helped us keep perspective on what was important to us when the nerves set in.
Search our directory of LGBTQ+ inclusive wedding vendors.
FEATURED LGBTQ+ INCLUSIVE WEDDING VENDORS
Caterer: The Garden Room
Cake: The Cake Occasion
Photographer: Kari Bjorn Photography
Wedding Ceremony Venue: Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel
Wedding Reception Venue: The Garden Room
Florist: ZuZu’s Petals and Gifts (no longer in business)
DJ: DJ Afrosia
Bridal gowns: David’s Bridal
MOST VIEWED STORIES
- How to plan your inclusive destination wedding: a comprehensive guide for all marriers
- Wedding inspiration for queer love in Seattle with handfasting, a disco ball and vegan donuts
- Intimate elopement in Big Cottonwood Canyon in Salt Lake City, Utah, with a handfasting ceremony
- Matty Maggiacomo and Evan Feeley’s proposal video made us ugly cry
- These brides celebrated their love with a magical forest wedding at IslandWood on Bainbridge Island, Washington