Real Arkansas Wedding: Former Miss Arkansas Hannah Billingsley & Country Star Shay Mooney
Hannah Billingsley & James “Shay” Mooney
October 20, 2017 • Natural Dam
The Mooney Family Farm
Hannah Billingsley and James “Shay” Mooney met as most millennials do — through social media. The two had many mutual friends and kept in friendly communication over a few years. In March 2015, Hannah (a former Miss Arkansas), contacted Shay out of the blue to ask if his band, Dan + Shay, ever played in Arkansas. He immediately responded that he would be there in four days, playing in the very town Hannah lived. Hannah says the odds of this happening still astound her because he has since only had two shows in Arkansas in about five years.
The two officially met on March 11, 2015, at George’s Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville. After the show, Shay asked Hannah to be his date to the upcoming Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards in Dallas. The rest, as they say, is history.
“Shay is everything I never knew I needed,” Hannah says. “I truly never imagined being with a man in the music industry, so it took me some time to come around. But God had other plans. Shay was and is patient as the day is long and makes me laugh at every turn. He's my person. I love him more than words can express…”
Hannah immediately enlisted the help of Nashville-based wedding planner Jessica Sloane. Together, they sifted through images to pull what Hannah was drawn to, which gave Jessica a feel for Hannah’s vision. Jessica pinpointed the mood Hannah wanted, which was warm, timeless romance. With that in mind, Hannah went with a color palette of beige, nude and champagne for a classic, ageless look.
The venue was the easiest decision in the planning process for Hannah and Shay. They both grew up on farms in Arkansas, so the couple chose Shay’s family farm as the ideal location for their I dos.
“It was so special for us to be able to marry there, on the land where we were raised,” Hannah says.
“Rolling hills, stretching valleys, and miles of untouched forests. These things all meant home to us. And that was what we wanted… to repeat our vows at home amongst the people who love us most.”
How They Customized
Music to Our Ears
"A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri
"Butterfly Kisses" by Bob Carlisle
Song by Shay to Hannah
“I Told You So”
Despite their celebrity status, the couple managed to make their wedding day feel intimate, with plenty of special details. One of those special details was being married by Shay’s grandpa, Papa Mooney. Hannah and Shay look to his marriage (and those of all their grandparents) as the perfect example of lasting love.
“Shay has written songs about this kind of love,” she says. “I prayed for this kind of love. And on that day, we were married by a man who is testament to this kind of love. Truly, truly a special thing.”
The couple also included their son, Asher, who looked adorable in his tiny formalwear. Other unique details include the perfect guest book Hannah found. She purchased a book with the pages carved out to form a letter. She chose “M” for Mooney. The book she ordered had burgundy cloth covering the book, so Hannah bought a gold leaf and adhesive spray. The golden “M” now holds all of their guests’ signatures and well wishes.
Shay isn’t big on wedding cake, so in lieu of a traditional groom’s cake, they had maple glazed donut bars from Shay’s favorite bakery in Van Buren. Hannah’s mother hand-made every jar of jam and jelly that served as wedding favors for guests. Hannah’s mother’s maiden name and Hannah’s middle name is Love, so they labeled the jars with, “Spread the Love,” as a little ode to her side of the family. In true musician fashion, Shay wrote a special song for Hannah that he sang to her during their reception.
Without a doubt, Hannah says her favorite moment of the day was the first look. When Shay and Hannah began dating, he took her to the top of this massive hill on his farm. The two sat there looking out over the land and talking about their future. Two years later, they were back on that hill preparing to say their vows.
“The wind was whipping my veil around and I was laughing as I held it onto my head and turned to see Shay, waiting for me,” she says. “Patiently waiting. The pictures and video captured in these moments will stay with me all my life. It was perfect.”
“I told myself I couldn't live this
life without you
so I told you the
same and I carved
in an oak tree...”
— Lyrics from Shay’s
song to Hannah
|Photographer||Heather Payne Photography of Hickory, North Carolina|
|Venue||Mooney Family Farm, Natural Dam|
|Event Planner||Jessica Sloane Events of Nashville, Tennessee|
|Florist||Zimmerman Events, Conway|
|♥||Caterer||Simply the Best Catering, Little Rock|
|♥||Cakes||Rick's Bakery, Fayetteville|
|Videographer||Anchor Heart Films|
|Rentals & Lighting||Eventures Party Rentals, Fayetteville|
|Wedding Gown||Posh Bridal Couture of Nashville, Tenn.|
|Hair||Bryan Wood of Studio Nooshin in Nashville, Tenn.|
|Makeup||Jessica Humerick, Little Rock|
|Photobooth||Oh Snaps Photobooth, Tulsa|
|♥||Wedding vendor we love!|