Steph Smith Weddings
Brianna Rae & Joe Maurer May 27, 2017• Bentonville 21c Museum Hotel

Brianna Rae & Joe Maurer
May 27, 2017• Bentonville
21c Museum Hotel

There’s always some detail that reminds a couple of how they met. For Brianna Rae and Joe Maurer, that something is penguins. The two met in 2013 while Brianna was bartending at The Penguin Dueling Piano Bar in Columbia, Missouri. Joe had a crush on Brianna from afar, and finally got the nerve to order a drink from her one night. The next day, Joe popped up on Brianna’s Facebook as a suggested friend. She thought it might be a sign, so she added him. Minutes later, Joe messaged Brianna. The two have been inseparable ever since.

Joe swept Brianna off her feet with a magical proposal on New Year’s Eve in 2015 at The Magic Tree in Columbia. The tree is a Christmas tradition in town, and it illuminates a little park with tens of thousands of light bulbs. After the proposal, the couple immediately went back to The Penguin piano bar to celebrate with friends where it all began.

Steph Smith Weddings
Brianna Rae & Joe Maurer May 27, 2017• Bentonville 21c Museum Hotel


The Inspiration

Unlike most brides, Brianna wanted to be completely surprised from start to finish with her wedding. She left everything in the capable hands of her mother and their wedding planner, Amanda Reed. The only thing Brianna and Joe knew going into their wedding day was what they’d be wearing.

“I am not kidding when I say this—I didn’t even know our color scheme,” she says. “We wanted to be totally surprised. We were absolutely blown away with the results, and I would not change a single thing. It was magical to us.”

As an added bonus, the venue, 21c Museum Hotel, is known for its penguins— Brianna and Joe’s favorite animal and, the name of the bar where they met.

Steph Smith Weddings
Brianna Rae & Joe Maurer May 27, 2017• Bentonville 21c Museum Hotel

Steph Smith Weddings
Brianna Rae & Joe Maurer May 27, 2017• Bentonville 21c Museum Hotel

Steph Smith Weddings
Brianna Rae & Joe Maurer May 27, 2017• Bentonville 21c Museum Hotel

Steph Smith Weddings
Brianna Rae & Joe Maurer May 27, 2017• Bentonville 21c Museum Hotel

Steph Smith Weddings
Brianna Rae & Joe Maurer May 27, 2017• Bentonville 21c Museum Hotel


How They Customized

Music to Our Ears
First Dance
“Can You Feel the Love Tonight”
by Elton John

Since the entire planning process was hands off, Brianna and Joe were just as surprised as guests when they walked into 21c to a colorful soiree. One of Brianna’s favorite highlights of the day was walking into the reception hall for the first time and being blown away by the work of her wedding planner and mom.

The few bits of customization that Brianna and Joe knew about was that Stephen Winter, a close friend of Brianna’s, and the piano player who happened to be playing the night she and Joe met, sang at the couple’s wedding.

Amanda Reed had the couple fill out a list of fun facts about each other that she used to make personalized cocktail napkins. One of the napkins told about the moment Joe knew he wanted to marry Brianna. Joe said it was when Brianna bought him an XBox One for Christmas in 2014. Coincidentally, Brianna had already planned to surprise him with an XBox groom’s cake, further proving that the stars aligned perfectly for this beautiful and unique wedding.

Steph Smith Weddings
Brianna Rae & Joe Maurer May 27, 2017• Bentonville 21c Museum Hotel

Steph Smith Weddings
Brianna Rae & Joe Maurer May 27, 2017• Bentonville 21c Museum Hotel

Steph Smith Weddings
Brianna Rae & Joe Maurer May 27, 2017• Bentonville 21c Museum Hotel

Steph Smith Weddings
Brianna Rae & Joe Maurer May 27, 2017• Bentonville 21c Museum Hotel

Steph Smith Weddings
Brianna Rae & Joe Maurer May 27, 2017• Bentonville 21c Museum Hotel

Steph Smith Weddings
Brianna Rae & Joe Maurer May 27, 2017• Bentonville 21c Museum Hotel

Steph Smith Weddings
Brianna Rae & Joe Maurer May 27, 2017• Bentonville 21c Museum Hotel


The Details

  Photographer Steph Smith Weddings
Venue 21c Museum Hotel, Bentonville
  Event Planner Amanda Reed Weddings, Springdale
  Florist Flora, Fayetteville
Caterer The Hive, Bentonville
  Cakes Marissa Aubuchon
  Pies Fork + Crust, Rogers
Drinks The Hive, Bentonville
  Rental Company Eventures Party Rentals, Fayetteville
  Lighting Lightworks Events, Fayetteville
  Wedding Stationery So Inviting, Fayetteville
  Calligraphy Momma Lo Letters
  Reception Musician Stephen Winter (piano bar musician), Little Rock
Wedding Gown Tesori, Fayetteville
  Groom & Groomsmen Attire Men's Wearhouse
  Jeweler Buchroeders Jewelers of Columbia, Missouri
  Hair Ashley Gregory Beauty, Fayetteville
  Makeup Genoa Falar Makeup Artist, Fayetteville
  Rehearsal Dinner Venue Tavola Trattoria, Bentonville
Wedding Vendor We Love

Steph Smith Weddings
Brianna Rae & Joe Maurer May 27, 2017• Bentonville 21c Museum Hotel

See this Real Wedding as it appeared in our print edition
Discover more inspiration in our Real Weddings section.