Photography: Alice McLain Photography |
Yaya + Rene
Little Rock // 10.2.22
Love evolved naturally for Victorine “Yaya” Ciswondo and her groom, René Leonard. After meeting at the University of Central Arkansas’s recreation center in the fall of 2018, Yaya asked him out. “We went on a sweet and awkward first date, and that was it,” she recalls. However, during winter break they began to message each other, and their connection became more romantic.After a couple of years of dating, René proposed on Yaya’s birthday at Two Rivers Park in Little Rock. “He told me he would be picking me up for a picnic and to dress nice,” she recalls. He popped the question by a pond covered in lily pads, and two of their friends came to surprise Yaya. Afterward, they celebrated with her family.
Opting for a fall wedding, the pair decided to marry on a Sunday to allow a full weekend of celebrations with friends and family before the formal ceremony. They chose Rusty Tractor Vineyards for its stunning setting and open floor plan. The venue also complemented their desire for a down-to-earth celebration. “We both love natural earth tones and simplicity in our lives,” the bride says of their style preferences, which were reflected in the celebration.
It was also important to them to incorporate Yaya’s Indonesian heritage into the big day, which they did through the menu. “René’s family from Louisiana loves good food, and they had never tasted Indonesian cuisine before. They love trying new things, so we thought this was the perfect place to do so,” she says. Salads with peanut sauce, garlic beef and chicken meatball soup, and spicy fried potatoes were selected to please an array of palates.
At the celebration’s end, the couple exited the venue as their guests blew bubbles. After a honeymoon in Montauk, New York, Yaya and René are now at home in Little Rock.
The invitation and wedding day florals all tied into an aesthetic Yaya describes as “classy, simple, and earthy.”
Boulevard Bread Co. created a vanilla wedding cake with cream cheese filling for the affair.
A family Affair
For her something borrowed, Yaya donned the same veil her aunt had worn on her wedding day along with her mom’s pearl earrings and mother-in-law’s pearl necklace. Her dad served as the officiant for the ceremony, and, afterward, her aunts and uncles catered the big day with classic Indonesian food.
Yaya’s Advice for Brides-to-be:
“Soak up the memories starting from day one. It’s easy to get caught up in the details and to stress; but at the end of the day, all those little details aren’t what’s important.”
Bridal gown Low’s Bridal Cake Boulevard Bread Co. Catering OMG Hibachi Entertainment DJ JellyBean Photography Alice McLain Photography Venue Rusty Tractor Vineyards Videography Walter Lyle Photo