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The Ravington - Arkansas Wedding Venues

 

The Ravington

 – Arkansas Wedding Venues Spotlight – 

This week I had the pleasure of touring another one of my favorite local Northwest Arkansas wedding venues, The Ravington, in the adorable little town of Centerton, AR. Centerton is a great place to live and visit – my family and I lived just a few blocks away from this building for a few years, actually – it’s quiet, safe and a little bit rural, but also so close to all the major conveniences of Bentonville and Rogers. It’s hard to think of a better place to put a wedding venue!

When my family and I lived there this building was an antique store, so imagine my surprise (and joy!) when I had heard that it had been bought and was being turned into an event space. Amber and her husband Eric had an amazing vision for this nearly-110 year old building, and they’ve truly brought that vision to fruition and now have one of the most charming venues in Northwest Arkansas (and as an Arkansas wedding photographer, I know a little about this topic, haha)!

Now scroll down and read a little about what Amber has to say about their journey, and enjoy the images of The Ravington’s gorgeous spaces. Especially that bridal suite!! And the ceremony backdrop that came from a castle in India. And the dedicated groom’s man cave room upstairs (with it’s own bathroom and shower)! And…well, there are just too many great things about this place to name!

 

What is your name and role at the venue?
My name is Amber Gustafson and I am the co-creator, co-designer, co-owner, and co-crazy co-parent with my husband and business partner Eric. We own The Ravington.

When was your venue built?
293 N. Main Street, now known as The Ravington, was built as the first General Store for the town of Centerton in 1909

Was it always an event space? If not, what was it?
The Ravington is only 1 year old as an event space! Over the past 110 years, the property has been a General Store & Mercantile, a factory making “lucky” rabbit feet keychains, a Methodist Church, then Stubbs’ Main Street Treasures Antique store.


The Ravington - Arkansas Wedding Venues The Ravington - Arkansas Wedding Venues

 

If it wasn’t always an event space, why did you choose to turn it into one?
In September 2015 the building was purchased by high school sweethearts Eric and Amber originally from Northwest Arkansas. The Gustafsons spent 14 years in Los Angeles where Eric worked as a musician, finish carpenter and a builder of fine furniture. Amber founded Amber Events, an upscale wedding and event planning business that planned weddings all over the world. We, Amber & Eric, wanted to create a unique, elegant, funky, fun, versatile, artistic, and dramatic location to celebrate a wedding, host a charity, have a fashion show, showcase talent, film movies & tv shows, impress clients and vendors, and inspire team members.

When did the property hold it’s first wedding?
May 29, 2016, just 7 months after renovations began!

Are there any interesting stories about the history of your venue?
Older Centerton residents claim that the Bank of Centerton, which shares a wall with The Ravington, was robbed two times before it closed down in 1935!

What is the thing you most commonly hear brides and grooms love about your venue?
Our couples love the uniqueness of our property–every direction you look there is a beautiful and special detail. We work hard to source items that you cannot find in stores, so many of the architectural items on the property are sourced from old buildings such as the 11′ tall Aqua door in the ballroom that was originally from a Palace in India. You can’t buy something like that at Home Depot!

What is your favorite thing about hosting weddings?
We love seeing the creativity of our clients and what they do with our property. We’ve had mod industrial weddings, shabby chic weddings, boho weddings, and classic weddings. It is great to see the couples make the space their own!

The Ravington - Arkansas Wedding Venues The Ravington - Arkansas Wedding Venues The Ravington - Arkansas Wedding Venues

What is your favorite thing about your venue?
We love our clients seeing the white and gold salon for the first time. It brings many brides to tears it is so beautiful.

What is your best advice for brides and grooms booking with you?
Create a wedding that is true to YOU as a couple. Your guests should walk away saying “that was so *them*!” not “that was a nice wedding”.

Do you have any plans for growth/updates to the venue?
Always! We’re never finished! Currently we are working on the courtyard bringing in more plants and we are building a beautiful new entrance into our courtyard to make it feel more private and exciting to enter. Custom made copper doors will add an element of mystery and excitement!

The Ravington - Arkansas Wedding Venues The Ravington - Arkansas Wedding Venues The Ravington - Arkansas Wedding Venues

Do you ever host other events?
We do! We host many nonprofit events and just did a 2 day filming for TLC’s “Counting On” with the four eldest Duggar daughters!

Any lessons you had to learn the hard way?
Keeping a 110 year old building is a full time job! After every single wedding there is a list of items to fix.

 

The Ravington - Arkansas Wedding Venues The Ravington - Arkansas Wedding Venues  The Ravington - Arkansas Wedding Venues

Any memorable weddings or moments that affirmed why you opened your venue?
The 7 month renovation was HARD and much, much costlier than we estimated. I (Amber) was 7 months pregnant that first wedding and when the bride walked down the aisle I watched from the back and ugly cried for probably 10 minutes I was so happy! It literally took miracles to get us to that day! It was such a relief that we made it that I just sobbed and hugged my mom and kept repeating over and over “we did it! we did it! we did it!” Every wedding since then has prompted no tears from me, just joy!

If you were able to have an “ideal” wedding at your venue, what would it look like?
As cliche as this sounds, every wedding at The Ravington is our ideal wedding as we designed the property to be customization to each couple. We want each person at The Ravington, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, etc to feel truly welcome and at home here.

Do you have any wedding vendors you recommend (caterers, DJs, planners, etc)?
We have an 8 page vendor list that we are constantly adding and deleting vendors from!

What is the best way to get in touch for information about booking your venue?
Check out our website at www.theravington.com and follow The Ravington on Instagram & Facebook.

The Ravington - Arkansas Wedding Venues The Ravington - Arkansas Wedding Venues

The Ravington - Arkansas Wedding Venues

Arkansas Wedding Venue

Inn at Carnall Hall

 – Arkansas Wedding Venues Spotlight – 

 As a NWA wedding photographer, I spend a lot of time in different Northwest Arkansas wedding venues …definitely way more than the average bride has ever spent in them. I always share my favorite places with my clients, of course, but I wanted to take that a step further and put some of these amazing places right up here on my blog for the whole world to see and read about! I mean, the people behind these venues work so hard for their sweet brides and grooms and deserve a little time in the spotlight!

I’m thrilled to start this Arkansas wedding venues series with one of my favorite, classiest venues in NWA: The Inn at Carnall Hall. Here in Northwest Arkansas – a.k.a. Razorback Country – we are a people obsessed with the beautiful University of Arkansas right down highway 49 from me in Fayetteville. The Inn at Carnall Hall is located on the U of A campus and is a venue rich with history dating back to 1905. That makes it over 100 years old!

As soon as you walk up onto (any of the three) gorgeous, large southern porches, it’s immediately obvious that the craftsmanship and care that builders in 1905 put into their buildings is still very much intact and as beautiful as the day Carnall Hall was completed. 

I went to take the photos of the Inn last week, and I was so tickled to find some gorgeous fresh florals from Jules Design and several copies of one of my favorite magazines in Arkansas (heyyyy Arkansas Bride!) in the lobby. What great companies for the Inn to partner up with!

I’m a little bit of a sucker for an amazing historic building and wanted to know more about this one, so I sent a short interview over to the beautiful and talented events staff (Hayley and Sabra – these girls know what’s up!) and I’d love to share the information they sent to me with you. Enjoy these photos and interesting history about this great venue’s past!

What is your venue’s name and location?
Inn at Carnall Hall at 465 Arkansas Ave, Fayetteville

What is your name, and what do you do at the venue?
Sabra Rochell – Sales and Events Manager and Hayley James – Sales and Events Coordinator

Arkansas Wedding Venue Arkansas Wedding Venue

When was your venue built?
1905

Was it always an event space? If not, what was it?
Ella Carnall Hall, built as a women’s dormitory in 1905 (finished in 1906), was one of six new buildings on the campus completed that year. Carnall Hall ceased being used for academic purposes in 1991, when the restoration of Old Main created more space for academic departments.  A chain link fence was placed around the unused building.  Carnall Hall continued to deteriorate and by the late 1990’s had become a candidate for demolition.

Ella Carnall Hall took on new life on October 2, 2001 when the University’s board of trustees approved a plan for a private developer, Carnall Inn Development Co., LLC (CIDC, Inc), to turn the structure into a historic hotel and restaurant.  James Lambeth was the lead architect for the project, with May Construction Company as the contractor.

 

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What is your favorite thing about hosting weddings?
The reward of all the hard work when the bride is happy walking down the aisle.

What is your favorite thing about your venue?
The outdoor space, history and location!

What is your best advice for brides and grooms booking with you?
Book as early as possible! Leave yourself time to plan details so you can enjoy the process and not stress because you are rushed.

 

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Are there any interesting stories about the history of your venue?
Carnall Hall was a priority for the campus.  There had been no dormitory for young women while two new ones had been built for young men – Buchanan Hall and Hill Hall, neither of which remains today.  Carnall Hall was designed to be an island unto itself, with its own kitchen, dining room, toilets and bathrooms, and an independent steam heating plant.

The placement of Carnall Hall on the extreme Northeast corner of campus was no accident.  It was put the farthest possible distance from the men’s dorms.  The strict separation of the sexes on college campuses was standard practice until the last third of the 20th century.

Ella Carnall Hall was accepted for listing on the National Register for Historic Places in December, 1982.

Carnall Hall was no longer used for a women’s dormitory after 1967, by which time more modern residence halls had been built.  In 1969, Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity began using Carnall Hall as its Fraternity house, remaining until 1977.  The anthropology and Geography department joined them in 1979.

What is the thing you most commonly hear brides and grooms love about your venue?
The rich history and location!

 

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Do you have any plans for growth/updates to the venue?
Yes – we have updates planned for Winter 2017 – Spring 2018. Soft surfaces will be updated throughout the property, including sleeping rooms.

Do you ever host other events?
Yes, lots of University of Arkansas Events are held here. We also love to host Bridal Luncheons, Rehearsal Dinners, Showers, Birthday Parties, etc.

Any lessons you had to learn the hard way?
Most of the management team and sales team is new – so we are all still learning!

What is the best way to contact your venue for information about booking?
479-582-0400 – ask to speak to the events staff!

 

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Readers, thank you so much for stopping by to check out this first post in my series of Arkansas wedding venues!

Please check out the rest of my work at corriechilders.com …and I will talk to you soon!

Northwest Arkansas Wedding Photographer Have you heard of Day After sessions? Most people actually haven’t, or if they have they are confused about what exactly it is. The day after your wedding you’ll probably be exhausted and not in the mood to get all dressed up again, right? But don’t write it off so fast because despite the name, Day After sessions don’t actually have to take place the day after your wedding! Sometimes they do happen the day after the wedding, but sometimes it’s weeks or even months later. It’s so wonderful to be able to wear your dress again, get a gorgeous bouquet made and connect with your love during an extra wedding portrait session. There are several reasons to do one of these sessions with your Northwest Arkansas Wedding Photographer, and here I’d like to discuss six really great ones:

  1. Because you want really great wedding portraits, but you’d rather spend the most time with friends and family on your wedding day: One of the best things about your wedding day is getting to see your friends and family all in one place. What other occasion brings together every single person who you love in your lives and throws a big party for them? So while obviously I believe strongly in the importance of wedding day photography, when my brides and grooms decide to only take a couple portraits and then scurry off to their reception, I completely understand! We can always get together when you get back from your honeymoon and get those portraits for you guys then!
  2. Because you hired a photographer who didn’t deliver (or because you didn’t hire a photographer at all): Did you find yourself being talked into using your fiance’s sister’s journalism student nephew as your wedding photographer? If so, and if you’re struggling to love any of the photos from your wedding day, don’t fret! This is another great reason to get dressed up in your wedding dress again and have a Day After session with a different photographer!
  3. Because you have your pick of all the amazing locations near and far that you couldn’t have ever fit into your wedding day: Want wedding photos in Yosemite National Park? In the Lavender Fields in France? Or at sunrise on Whitaker Point or Stout’s Point right here in Arkansas? Just think of having those epic images hanging on your walls and passed down generations! Even if you don’t want to go somewhere epic, think of the possibilities just being able to spend a couple hours in locations other than your venue and it’s immediate surrounding area. You’ll have such an amazing variety of images!
  4. Because the weather didn’t cooperate or you ran out of time for portraits on your wedding day, for one reason or another: Believe me, I know exactly how it is to try to plan your timeline to accommodate everything that needs to happen on a wedding day. Sometimes, especially on the shorter Winter day weddings, there’s just not enough time for everything! And sometimes, even with the most thoroughly planned wedding timeline, something happens and things are thrown off. I’m an expert at going with the flow and doing everything I possibly can even in these circumstances, but unfortunately sometimes that means cutting down portrait time! If this happens to you, know that YES, you can have a do-over! With these Day After sessions, we can control when it happens, where it happens and reschedule if the weather doesn’t cooperate. You can’t do that with a wedding day!
  5. Because you are having a destination wedding and you want to take full advantage of the location: If you’re flying somewhere spectacular to tie the knot, it’s a fantastic idea to plan for another day of portraits to use that location to the greatest extent that we can! On your wedding day you’ll be confined to your venue and the surrounding area, so this is a fabulous way to get photos of you and your honey all over the island (can you tell I’m envisioning you guys/me somewhere tropical right now?)! So if you’re flying me to your wedding or if you’re traveling to NWA, definitely let me know ASAP if you want to do a Day After session so that this Northwest Arkansas Wedding Photographer is sure to have time on my calendar while we’re together!
  6. Because you just love photos and want as many as possible in your gorgeous dress, with the love of your life! No explanation necessary, right?

 

Are you ready for your awesome post-wedding session now? Let’s plan it! Even if I didn’t take your wedding photos, I bet we can make some magic.

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