Benjamin Martin Photography
Casey Hunter & Dustin Bissell Sept. 3, 2016 • Athens Athens Cemetery Church & Grounds

Casey Hunter & Dustin Bissell
Sept. 3, 2016 • Athens
Athens Cemetery Church & Grounds

Casey Hunter of Newhope and Dustin Bissell of Dierks let fate (and the help of Casey’s brother-in-law) work its magic at a cookout. A short while later, Casey was hired at Dierks High School, where Dustin is a coach and teacher. “We knew it was love when we realized we were best friends,” Casey says. “When it’s right, you know it.”

Dustin proposed with the help of Casey’s 5-year-old daughter, Blair. She held up a sign that asked if he could be her new dad. The sign also said, “Check yes or yes,” but all three knew the answer was an emphatic “Yes!”

Benjamin Martin Photography
Casey Hunter & Dustin Bissell Sept. 3, 2016 • Athens Athens Cemetery Church & Grounds


The Inspiration

More than a theme, Casey wanted to invoke a feeling during their wedding day. She wanted everything to feel effortless but in a chic way. Ashley spent hours working on mixing and matching all the details, such as the groomsmen’s ties and pocket squares, the bridesmaid dresses, the 1950s vintage cake topper, and all of the dishes and glasses were separate pieces she bought at flea markets. Casey says that many people living in rural Arkansas feel like they have to have their wedding hours away to find a nice venue. “I wanted to do the opposite and bring all of our needs here,” she says. “It was work, but so worth it.”

That church has been having annual camp meetings for well over 100 years, even though there is not a congregation that meets weekly. Casey's family is still the caretakers of the property. "My favorite part about it is the majestic oak trees surrounding it and the charm of the original woodwork inside. When you are there, it feels very peaceful," says Casey.

Benjamin Martin Photography
Casey Hunter & Dustin Bissell Sept. 3, 2016 • Athens Athens Cemetery Church & Grounds

Benjamin Martin Photography
Casey Hunter & Dustin Bissell Sept. 3, 2016 • Athens Athens Cemetery Church & Grounds

Benjamin Martin Photography
Casey Hunter & Dustin Bissell Sept. 3, 2016 • Athens Athens Cemetery Church & Grounds

Benjamin Martin Photography
Casey Hunter & Dustin Bissell Sept. 3, 2016 • Athens Athens Cemetery Church & Grounds

Benjamin Martin Photography
Casey Hunter & Dustin Bissell Sept. 3, 2016 • Athens Athens Cemetery Church & Grounds

Benjamin Martin Photography
Casey Hunter & Dustin Bissell Sept. 3, 2016 • Athens Athens Cemetery Church & Grounds


How They Customized

Casey and Dustin wanted long, rustic wooden tables to contrast with the chiavari chairs. They couldn’t find any to rent, so Casey’s mother built all the dining tables herself. The couple had large floral letters made that hung outside the church door of their initials that are actually in their house now. Casey’s uncle became ordained just to perform family ceremonies and was the officiant. Since Casey and Dustin wanted their guests to ultimately have fun, they had customized lawn games such as baggo for them to enjoy during the reception.

One element that truly made their wedding unique was the sparkler send-off. Kids at the wedding accidentally caught the whole batch on fire at once resulting in a huge flame. Ashley says the church almost caught on fire, but luckily everyone was alright and it made for an unforgettable moment.

Benjamin Martin Photography
Casey Hunter & Dustin Bissell Sept. 3, 2016 • Athens Athens Cemetery Church & Grounds

Benjamin Martin Photography
Casey Hunter & Dustin Bissell Sept. 3, 2016 • Athens Athens Cemetery Church & Grounds

Benjamin Martin Photography
Casey Hunter & Dustin Bissell Sept. 3, 2016 • Athens Athens Cemetery Church & Grounds

Benjamin Martin Photography
Casey Hunter & Dustin Bissell Sept. 3, 2016 • Athens Athens Cemetery Church & Grounds

Benjamin Martin Photography
Casey Hunter & Dustin Bissell Sept. 3, 2016 • Athens Athens Cemetery Church & Grounds


Video

 


The Details

Photographer Benjamin Martin Photography
  Venue Athens Cemetery Church & Grounds
  Event Planner Robin Cooley
  Florist Jennifer Whisenhunt Jones, Winthrop
  Rentals Big Event Party Rentals, Texarkana;
Special Events, Texarkana
  Caterer Naaman's BBQ, Texarkana
  Cakes Julie's Deli, Texarkana
  Band Midnight Hurricanes, Mineral Springs
  Videographer Eric's Xtreme Video, Texarkana
Wedding Gown Low's Bridal & Formal, Brinkley
  Bridesmaid Attire Ted Baker, Nordstrom, Dallas
  Groom & Groomsmen Attire Dillard's, statewide
Bride's Engagement Ring
& Wedding Band
Romance Diamond Co. Jewelers, Fayetteville
Groom's Band Sissy's Log Cabin, Little Rock
  Hair & Makeup Monica Turley, Hope
Wedding Vendor We Love

Benjamin Martin Photography
Casey Hunter & Dustin Bissell Sept. 3, 2016 • Athens Athens Cemetery Church & Grounds

See this Real Wedding as it appeared in our print edition

Discover more inspiration in our Real Weddings section.