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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
The Ravington – Arkansas Wedding Venues
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