Photography: Stephanie Parsley Photography |
Libby + Lou
Little Rock // 9.18.21
Miles away from their native Little Rock and Fort Worth, respectively, Libby Whitbeck and Lou Wood struck up a conversation about East Africa at a party in Washington, D.C. “Lou was five months from moving to Malawi with the U.S. Department of State, and I studied Swahili in college and had previously lived in Tanzania,” Libby says. “Lou was only in D.C. for training before moving, and we were inseperable for those few months. We eventually took on the challenge of dating very long distance for the two years he worked in Malawi.”
Lou popped the question post-safari when Libby was visiting him in Africa. In August 2019, “he proposed to me on his back ‘khonde’—the Chichewa word for patio—with wine, music, and lights,” Libby recalls. Postponed twice due to COVID-19, the couple worked with Anne-Claire Allen Planning & Design over the course of two years to design a celebration reflective of them. When looking for a reception venue, they fell hard for Little Rock’s Dreamland Ballroom. “We loved the jazzy 1920s vibe of Dreamland,” Libby says. “Without even knowing about all the famous artists like Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington who played there in the past, you feel like you are walking into a piece of history.” A jewel-toned palette, mix of wildflowers and greenery, and antique or period-replica furnishings enhanced this look throughout the ballroom.
At the reception, guests dined on Southern fare while singing along and dancing to the sounds of White Ford Bronco, a ’90s cover band. At the end of the night, a path of glowing sparklers lit the way for the couple’s departure. After a honeymoon in France and Portugal, Libby and Lou are now at home in Washington, D.C.
The couple’s whimsical invitation suite featured custom illustrations of Libby, Lou, Dreamland Ballroom, and even their pup, Teddy.
Libby wore earrings made of tanzanite, “a stone particular to a part of the world Lou and I love and initially connected over,” Libby says.
Lou’s Favorite Memory of the Day
“I snuck a beer into the chapel and pulled Libby into the bathroom where we shared a private moment and a cold beer prior to walking down the aisle. My mom snapped a picture of us. That is my favorite picture from our wedding of just the two of us.”
Libby’s Advice for Brides-to-be
“A week or so before the wedding, let go! You can’t control anything at that point, and it’s time to take it all in and enjoy yourself.”
Setting the Tone
A mix of styles and a rich palette came together to create the couple’s vision for their celebration. “The vibe was that of a party in 1920s New Orleans—loud music, rich colors with lots of greenery, and historic touches. It fit great with the grandeur of the historic Dreamland Ballroom,” Libby says.
Once a mood was established for the reception, Libby had the idea to have their cake displayed on a birdbath. A floral installation around the base and flowers on the cake highlight its splendor.
Strike Up the Band
Having a live band was top priority for Libby and Lou. “We both love to dance and sing, so we wanted our wedding to be a big, vibrant party,” Libby says. White Ford Bronco, a ’90s band they were familiar with from D.C., brought the exact energy they wanted.
Cake Mickey’s Cakes & Sweets Catering Heritage Catering Floral design Tanarah Luxe Floral Entertainment (Reception) White Ford Bronco Hair Suzy Balkman Makeup Belle & Blush Planning & design Anne-Claire Allen Owens, Anne-Claire Allen Planning & Design Photography & videography Stephanie Parsley Photography Rentals Eventology and White Door Events Transportation Arkansas Destinations Venue (Ceremony) St. Mark’s Episcopal Church Venue (reception) Dreamland Ballroom