18 days before Robert & Tonya said “I do,” Tonya’s daughter, Casey, sent me a quick DM on Instagram asking if I happened to be available for their wedding date.
Casey and I went to high school together, and I took both her senior and couple photos. I was over-the-moon excited to hear that Tonya was getting married, and it was under 3 weeks away! Saturdays tend to be booked in most cases, but for some reason, I had the feeling I needed to keep this one open. Lo and behold, it gave me the opportunity to take a road trip down to Hot Springs, Arkansas – a quaint little town near the Ouachita National Forest – for Robert & Tonya’s wedding.
Earlier this year, my husband and I took a vacation to Hot Springs. We enjoyed everything it has to offer from its historic buildings to bathhouse row to cute shops lined down the main street. Knowing the place so well – I felt confident driving into town for Robert & Tonya’s intimate wedding. With an understanding of what the city stands for and how important its history is of the hot springs, I immediately knew what locations would be of importance for their couple photos. Bathhouse Row – where you can see eight bathhouse buildings that were designated as a National Historic Landmark District. Each building holds it’s own story – with architecture varying between each one. I found out that Robert & Tonya booked a spa package at the Quapaw Bathhouse – which just so happened to be the same site that my husband and I visited back in May.
I arrived to Hot Springs while the sun was setting, and the holiday spirit was underway with horse carriages and Christmas lights creating a festive atmosphere. The couple was staying at the Arlington Hotel – an American treasure that has been hosting guests since 1875. When you walk in during the month of December, you’ll see a large Christmas tree that leads your eyes into the grand, arched ceilings and beautiful chandeliers in the lobby. The hotel is truly historic, and you can see it in each and every detail. I took the elevator up to the 7th floor to meet Tonya and the girls while they were getting ready. As we were fixing to leave for the chapel, the girls were unsure of how they were going to get there – so I happily volunteered to be their driver, and we threw on “Chapel of Love” for our five minute drive. Smiling and laughing in the back seat, Tonya and her two daughters sang… “because we’re goin’ to the chapel and we’re gonna get married.” I’m pretty sure this was one of the best, most memorable times I’ve experienced leading up to a ceremony.
Upon arrival, Tonya hid in the bridal suite, and I took some photos with Robert and his boys in the darling, little chapel just off the main road of Hot Springs. The first thing I noticed about Robert was that he constantly had a big smile on his face – one that lights up the room. It was evident that the day was the best of his life, and he could not wait to marry Tonya, who was hidden in the other room.
Family arrived to witness the nuptials just minutes before it was about to start. They mingled for a few moments, and made their way to the pews while Robert and his boys, Ogden & Cameron, lined up at the front. First came Anna with flower petals to set the aisle, then came Casey, who carried Tonya’s vows, and next, Tonya who walked down the aisle as Robert watched his soon-to-be-wife approach. The ceremony was short and sweet – sincere vows, ring exchange, and Anna & Ogden reading a prayer in Hebrew. Robert & Tonya shared their first kiss in front of their closest family and celebrated with hugs and smiles after becoming husband & wife.
As family made their way to the Arlington’s Venetian Dining Room for their dinner reservations, Robert & Tonya were ready for their couple photos. We started with a few in the chapel until Tonya changed into a dress fit for taking a stroll through town. Next up, we drove on over to main street and parked for some gorgeous portraits among the Christmas lights. Since the Quapaw Bathhouse is significant to their wedding weekend, we shared some time in front of the Spanish building for some of my favorite pictures from the evening. Our little couple session was a perfect mixture of intimate images that really speak to the relationship of Tonya & Robert. There wasn’t a moment that they weren’t giving love eyes and really enjoying the company of each other.
Finally, we made our way to the Arlington Hotel to join the rest of the family in the dining room of the Crystal Ballroom. It was important to the couple that I capture authentic candids of the guests conversing over wine & dinner. The story ended with a toast as Robert & Tonya stood up to thank everyone that came out to celebrate the two. Truly, I am ever so grateful to have been apart of something so special.
Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Farr!
Robert & Tonya | 12.07.19 Wedding Day
Dinner | The Venetian Dining Room at the Arlington Hotel
Location | Hot Springs, Arkansas
Intimate weddings & elopements are a true passion of mine,
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