Real Wedding: Leslie Benford & Eric Redmon
Leslie Rochon Benford & Eric Norman Redmon
After meeting Eric Redmon at the Fayetteville Athletic Club in 2013, Leslie Benford fell hard. Eric worked with the afterschool children at the athletic club and always called her "Miss Leslie." Leslie, a childcare worker at the athletic center and a twirler for the Razorbacks had seen him around, but didn't really know him until they worked together. She knew he was the one because everytime he was around her she felt like they were in a movie.
On August 30, 2014, the same night that Leslie won her first qualifying pageant for the 2015 Miss America competition, Eric asked Leslie to be his girlfriend. When she first told him she loved him he said, "Good, because I love you, too."
The weekend Eric proposed, Leslie was trying to find a ride to the Miss Arkansas pageant, but everyone she was talking to kept backing out on her. Turns out Eric was messaging them and telling them not to take her with them. Although she requested he propose anywhere but her church, that is exactly what he did. Looking back, she wouldn't have wanted it any other way.
While Leslie's dad was praying, all their friends snuck into the room and sat on the first couple of rows. When the prayer was over, Leslie turned around as Eric started a slideshow that ended with a speech and a proposal!
Leslie and Eric tied the knot on August 5, 2017, in front of 230 of their closest friends at Embassy Suites Hotel in Rogers.
Because they wanted a classic, timeless and vintage aesthetic, Leslie and Eric chose black and white as the main colors for their wedding. Greenery was the main accent used in flowers and in the reception to make the black and white feel more fresh and lively. According to Leslie, the crispness of the black and white matched their personalities. "We keep it classy, but we still know how to have fun," she said.
Faith was incorporated throughout the wedding, as well. Leslie and Eric took communion together during the ceremony, symbolizing the relationship they were entering into as one flesh rather than two separate people.
How They Customized
A major personal element of the wedding for Leslie and Eric was the venue. While they didn't have a church wedding, Emabssy Suites in Rogers was the temporary meeting place for Leslie's church from the time she was 12 until she was 15. Knowing they wanted a larger wedding than most venues allowed, Embassy Suites seemed like the perfect middle ground.
Eric's younger brother also carried framed photos of late family members down the aisle as a tribute, which was very special for both sides of the family.
During the reception, Leslie twirled with her college teammates, which was one of her favorite parts of the day. After being a majorette for four years, performing with her former majorettes and feature twirlers is a memory she will never forget. As a member of Phi Beta Sigma, Eric's groom's cake was a tribute to the fraternity.
For those who could not attend, the ceremony and portions of the reception were also live-streamed on Facebook, which the couple enjoyed rewatching after the big day.
Music to Our Ears
Bridal Party Procession: "You and I" by Michael Buble played live by pianist Andrew Taylor and vocalists Brooke Brackett and Michael Rothmeyer
Procession: "Ravished" by Ultimate Call
First Dance: "Why I Love You" by MAJOR
Dance Floor Hits: "I Will Bless the Lord" by Byron Cage and "I Luh God" by Erica Campbell ft. Big Shizz
Photography: Jo Johnson Photography
Videography: Power Tribe Photo & Video
Venue: Embassy Suites and Hotel, Rogers
Rehearsal Dinner Venue: Valley Harvest Ministries, Rogers
Rehearsal Dinner Caterer: Eric & Carla Redmon
Bridal Boutique: Tesori Bridal, Fayetteville
Groom: Exclusive Clothiers
Bridesmaids: David's Bridal
Groomsmen: Men's Wearhouse
Jeweler: Blakeman's Fine Jewelers, Rogers
Hair: Ashley Oxner, Salon Fix
Makeup: Eboni Watson
Event Designers: Tammy Waddell & Monique Harris
Event Planner: Grand Affairs Events
Day-of Coordinator: Tammy Waddell
Florals: ZuZu Petals & Gifts, Fayetteville
Lighting: Embassy Suites Hotel, Rogers
Cake: Rick's Bakery, Fayetteville
Caterer: Embasy Suites Hotel, Rogers
DJ: DJ Connection
Musicians: Andrew Taylor, Brooke Brackett, Michael Rothmeyer
Save-the-Dates: Wedding Paper Divas
Thank-you notes: Target
Honeymoon Travel Agent: Around the World Travel