Photography: B. Matthews Photo |
Jena + Jay-Michael
Little Rock // 11.27.20
Seven is a lucky number for Jena Harrell and her groom Jay-Michael Arnold; that’s roughly how many years the couple knew each other before their first date. “I was living in Little Rock at the time and Jay-Michael was in Memphis,” Jena explains. As fate would have it, Jay-Michael’s job brought him to central Arkansas multiple times a week. During one of these trips, he learned Journey and The Doobie Brothers would be making a stop in North Little Rock, and he finally took the opportunity to ask Jena on a date to the show. “From that night forward, the rest was history,” Jena says.
The couple dated for four years before their Christmas Eve engagement, which took place in front of the Christmas tree with Jay-Michael’s family there to celebrate. From there, the planning began for what they call a “timeless and intentionally intimate” wedding.
Never stop dating one another as if you’ve just met.”
—Jena & Jay-Michael’s advice to engaged couples
The couple knew they wanted a winter wedding and initially considered the bronze Tiffany & Co. doors at the State Capitol as their backdrop. Upon realizing the setting would be decorated for Christmas on their desired date, they turned to wedding planner and designer Jessika McCuin, who suggested the steps of the Pulaski County Courthouse. “Jessika played a huge role in making our wedding come to life,” Jena says. “She was instrumental in my having little to no stress…which really allowed us to enjoy our engagement and focus on preparing for marriage.” The venue wasn’t the only change from initial plans; because of the pandemic, their idea for a large reception after their honeymoon was put on hold.
However, these changes did not put a damper on their day. With 10 guests in attendance, the couple exchanged vows in the beautiful outdoor setting and later celebrated at The Burgundy Hotel with cake, champagne toasts, and a magical sparkler exit. While the two enjoyed a mini-moon stateside following the wedding, they plan to escape to Rome later this year for their delayed honeymoon abroad.
Bride’s gown Unveiled Bridal Collection Cake PattiCakes Bakery Entertainment (ceremony violinist) Honey Cashion Floral design Tanarah Luxe Floral Hair Devin Pate, DVP Hair Makeup Haley Hanna, Lashout & Makeup Photographer BJ Matthews, B.Matthews Photo Rentals Eventology Venue (ceremony) Pulaski County Courthouse Venue (reception) The Burgundy Hotel Videographer Forestland Films Wedding design and coordination Jessika McCuin Weddings