In the summer of 2018, William Nettles was supposed to be wrapping up a year of service in Seattle before heading off to Episcopal seminary and Madeline Mays was supposed to be at an internship while she prepared for her senior year. “However, God clearly had other, bigger plans for us,” shares William. “Through what we can only call divine intervention, Madeline and I ended up at Camp Ozark – the place where our love story began.” 

After dating for five years, Madeline and William were ready to take the next step in their relationship. As Madeline studied abroad in Japan and loves the culture, William decided to propose at a stunning Japanese garden in Fayetteville, Arkansas. “He asked, I said yes, and then I was totally taken by surprise when both his and my parents popped out!” remembers Madeline of the perfect proposal. “It was the most beautiful day surrounded by our nearest and dearest.” 

The couple selected a very special site for their nuptials: the bride’s childhood church, which is where her parents were married exactly 30 years before. Madeline was gorgeous in an ethereal gown adorned with floral appliqués and embroidery in muted tones inspired by the season. Bridesmaids wore white dresses of varying styles and carried lush bouquets in the same hues seen in the bridal gown. In fact, Madeline’s dress influenced the design scheme of the entire day. 

“We wanted to go for a lush, romantic, summery garden party vibe!” says Madeline. “The inspiration for the wedding really came to fruition once I found my dress. It had the most gorgeous hand-painted flowers that were very reminiscent of summer in Louisiana.” The same floral varieties from the gown were used on the save the date, floral arrangements, and more, leaning into the summery design. “Having a dress with color immediately freed me from any preconceived notions of what a wedding should be, and we just had fun with it!” she adds. 

“We wanted to go for a lush, romantic, summery garden party vibe!”

Following the vow exchange in the church, friends and family made their way to the reception venue. In true Louisiana spirit, a horn band performed during cocktail hour and led a second line into the reception space. The room had been transformed into a fairy-tale garden party with pastel tones, including blush and sage, throughout the décor. Vintage-inspired chandeliers and twinkling overhead bistro lights created a whimsical setting, and high and low centerpieces atop tables surrounded by an array of residential-inspired seating created a comfortable setting. 

“Because we had a lot of guests from Texas and Arkansas, we wanted to show them real Louisiana cuisine!” notes William of the cajun-influenced fare that blew their guests away throughout the dinner service. Afterwards, slices of a lemon-and-blueberry wedding cake were served, as well as fresh beignets in lieu of a traditional groom’s cake. “Powdered sugar went everywhere, but they were so delicious!” smiles the bride of the tasty treat. 

With their hearts full and their palates satiated, loved ones of all ages spent the rest of the night on the dance floor. One of the bride’s favorite memories was when the entire dance floor serenaded her grandmother to her namesake song, “Come On Eileen,” as well as when her husband surprised her with a private last dance to “Golden Hour” by Kacey Musgraves. At the end of the night, everyone enjoyed a late-night snack of the newlyweds’ favorite pizza before a dream sparkler exit following the celebration of a lifetime.

Some of the links included may be affiliate; however, everything we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. When you make a purchase, we may receive revenue. Thank you for your support!