A Lovely Wedding Shoot at Stone Chapel at MattLane Farm in Arkansas
Hope & Zack | November 3rd, 2023 | Stone Chapel at MattLane Farm, Fayetteville, AR
Captured by Kari Bjorn | You can find him on Twitter.
We talked to Kari about how it was shooting this lovely wedding, and this is what he had to say…
“As a wedding photographer, getting to work with a couple throughout the entire engagement up to the wedding is a dream! Zack originally reached out to me to capture the surprise proposal at their favorite restaurant, Atlas, in Fayetteville, Arkansas. I arrived early and got a seat with a perfect view of where they would be seated for what Hope thought was a dinner with Zack’s parents. Just minutes after they sat down, Zack got down on one knee and Hope said yes! The following week they booked their engagement and wedding photos.
How the Bride and Groom met
They met during freshman year in 2019 at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Zack studied finance and real estate while Hope graduated in 2023 with a degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Science. Zack now works as a land and real estate auctioneer with his father in Northwest Arkansas, at the family business. Now they live in Fayetteville with their dog, Roscoe, after spending the first year after graduating traveling around Europe, visiting places like Copenhagen, Prague, and the Amalfi Coast.
The engagement pictures
We did their engagement pictures in two spots in and around Fayetteville. Lake Sequoyah is one of the better-kept secrets in northwest Arkansas and the historic downtown area. Very fit for a couple like Hope and Zack, with an urban vibe sprinkled in with the natural beauty of northwest Arkansas in spring.
With a proposal in April, engagement photos in May, and a fall wedding in early November during peak foliage—it seemed like a lot when Hope mentioned they had just found a venue and were planning a big party with over 250 guests invited. I’ve seen big weddings get put together in short amounts of time, but this one felt like it might be stressful. But they pulled it off, easily!
The Wedding at Stone Chapel at MattLane Farm
Hope and Zack chose Stone Chapel at MattLane Farm as their wedding venue. It is a gorgeous spot that sits on the intersection of ranch and ballroom as far as venue styles go. There are live animals on the property along with a warm-toned chandelier ballroom. The bridal suite is one of the best ones I have ever shot in. It is large, with a tall ceiling and plenty of natural light. A wedding photographer’s dream.
The colors of their wedding were timeless and classic—black, white, gold, and green. With a semi-formal cocktail attire dress code, guests were also asked to wear neutral colors as much as possible. This is a trend I’ve noticed more and more in the last year or so.
During our wedding planning meetings, Hope talked about wanting a lot of movement, spontaneity, and candidness in her wedding photos. Authenticity mattered a lot to her. For those reasons we only scheduled a 15 minute long formal wedding portrait session on the wedding day and we brought a bottle of champagne and I kept them walking, running, and jumping throughout those 15 minutes, before we went back to catch the end of cocktail hour.
Hope did not one, but three first looks before the wedding ceremony! The first one she did was with her bridesmaids. The second one was with the groomsmen, and the last one was with her father, with her mom looking on. Zack and Hope then did a ‘first touch’ without seeing each other and exchanging letters with their vows inside. Right before the ceremony, they read them, instead of residing them during the ceremony. She wanted Zack to see her for the first time as she walked down the aisle.
After the ceremony and formal photos, which flew by as they just wanted to party with their friends, the reception started. It was honestly my favorite wedding reception of 2023! All of their friends packed the dance floor for over two hours before sending them off in a vintage bright red Chevy Camaro SS 350 getaway car! Amazing!”