Blakely Roberts & Alex Ryals
July 20, 2019 / Bentonville
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Love, set, match. A game of tennis is what brought together Blakely Roberts and Alex Ryals. Their mutual friends set them up on a doubles tennis date while the two attended the University of Arkansas. Blakely’s dad remembers her coming to the house and asking him for a tennis racquet, which was confusing because Blakely had never played tennis. While Blakely may not have impressed Alex with her tennis game, the two become inseparable since that first tennis date.
When it came time to propose, Blakely’s family was in on the ruse. Her family told her that they had plans to see a close family friend’s new office building and would be grabbing dinner with her afterward. They had the family friend send an email to her months prior to set the date, asking in advance which of three dates worked best, knowing two of those dates Blakely was out of town, leaving Nov. 17 as the only option.
“We took the elevator to the 10th floor of the building,” Blakely says. “When we walked out, there were pink rose petals covering the terrace. At that point, it hit me. He proposed, and all our family watched from windows inside. We popped champagne and celebrated with just our immediate family, before I was surprised again with a huge engagement party at my parents’ house. All my family and friends from all over the country came to town to celebrate. My face hurt from smiling so much that night.”
Blakely’s modern Southern wedding style stemmed from a unique chinoiserie design that she fell in love with. Blakely and her planner Amanda Reed took that inspiration and ran with it. They set the tone for the day with an invitation suite that included the chinoiserie print in the envelope liner and letter-press invitations in powder blue and gold.
Blakely and her mom traveled to New York City to find her dream dress. After seeing a Lela Rose gown on the hanger, Blakely knew it was the one. It had a straight strapless neckline, with a subtle belt and a full A-line skirt. Starting at the top of the skirt was appliqué that resembled flower petals that melted down into the train of the dress. “I’ve never put on a piece of clothing that felt more like ‘me’ than this dress,” she says. “It had structure and [modernity] to it, but also had a romantic and feminine feel. I would choose that dress over and over again.”
To complete her wedding style, she wore glittery silver Jimmy Choo slides that she referred to as her “Cinderella slippers.” Blakely also wore her great grandmother’s wedding ring on her right hand. Blakely’s great grandmother and great grandfather were also married on July 20, and the couple’s wedding day would’ve been their 90th anniversary. Blakely and her 12 bridesmaids held bouquets of white tulips. The simple bouquets were inspired by a portrait of Blakely’s mom on her wedding day with a bouquet of white tulips.
HOW THEY CUSTOMIZED
Blakely and Alex had two receptions on their big day. One was held in Eleven, where the dinner was served and where the first dance, toasts and father/daughter and mother/son dances took place. Eleven was decorated with two long head tables that sat on either side of the giant Jeff Koons hanging heart. Arrangements filled with white flowers and blue hydrangeas and white tulips hanging down the sides. Each table setting had a menu with the chinoiserie print and their name in gold ink at the top. At the end of dinner, the servers delivered LED wristbands with the couple’s double R monogram on them that pulsed to the beat of music.
The other reception took place in the Great Hall where the band and DJ were set up. Once everyone had their party bands, Alex and Blakely led their guests to the dance reception. Inside, large white cherry blossom trees surrounded the dance floor. Blakely’s favorite part of this space was the midnight blue glittery dance floor with their double R monogram printed in gold right in the middle. Outside of the Great Hall was the bar, with large white marquee letters that read “Let’s Get Ryal’d Up!”
One of the coolest details was the wedding cake. Looking like a magic trick, a gap between the second and third layers made the cake look as it if the delicate gold vine was holding up the top part of the cake. The cake sat on a bed of white and blue blooms with white tulips spilling off the sides. Not being able to choose just one flavor, Alex and Blakely served five different flavors.
Blakely’s fondest memory of the day was their first dance as husband and wife. Dancing under the beautiful gold heart to “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and surrounded by their friends and family was such a surreal moment for her and one she’ll never forget.
“The whole day flew by so fast, and this was the 2 and a half minutes we got to stop and take it all in,” she says. “I remember my eyes welling with tears because of how loved I felt, and how in love I was with my new husband. It felt like a fairytale.”
Guests were charmed by the variety of floral creations filling the space, including voluminous hydrangea and rose centerpieces with cascading white tulips.
After dinner, the couple led their guests into the after-party space complete with a glittery midnight blue dance floor, DJ and dance band.
WEDDING VENDORS WE LOVE
Amanda Reed Weddings
Tanarah Luxe Floral
Blakeman’s Fine Jewelry
VENUE & CATERING
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
|Photography||Max Grubb with Miles Witt Boyer|
|Furniture rentals||Hank's Event Rentals, Little Rock
Randal Events, Fayetteville
|Linens||La Tavola Fine Linen, Napa, California
BBJ Linens, Niles, Illinois
|Custom runner||The Original Runner Co., Livingston, New Jersey|
|Lighting||Lightworks Events, Fayetteville|
|Custom glitter dance floor||DFW Dance Floors, Dallas|
|Stage and façade||Stage King, Rogers|
|Marquee letters||Alpha Lit NWA|
|Mirrors||Paper Supply Co., Little Rock|
|Cake||Shelby Lynn's Cake Shoppe, Springdale|
|Blue china||Replacements, Ltd.|
|Live event painter||Jane Davidian|
|Band||Lost Wax Band, Kansas City, Missouri|
|DJ||DJ Derrick, Fayetteville|
|Ceremony music||David Mathews|
|Invitations||Shindig Paperie, Fayetteville|
|Custom LED bracelets||CrowdSync|
|Custom acrylic table numbers||Momma Lo Letters|
|Wedding dress||Mark Ingram Atelier, New York City|
|Groom/groomsmen attire||The Black Tux|
|Hair and makeup||Olivia Blair Yeager, Fayetteville|
|Transportation||Ambassador Transportation, Rogers|
|Rehearsal dinner venue||Lakepoint Restaurant & Event Center, Bella Vista|