Wedding vows were exchanged by Melissa Ann Rhodes and Stephen Michael Carter at 3 p.m., Aug. 28, in Anthony Chapel at Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs. Dr. Rex Horne officiated the ceremony.

The bride is the daughter of Samuel Rhodes Lt. Col. ARANG (Ret.) of Bonne Terre, Mo., and Mrs. Gina Hellums of Fort Smith. She is the granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Leo Faulkner, Mrs. Nelda Baber and Mr. and Mrs. Richard Rhodes, all of Fort Smith.

Parents of the groom are Dr. and Mrs. Michael Carter of Conway. He is the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Hendrix of Conway, and Mr. and Mrs. Don Carter of Little Rock.

The chapel entry was flanked by two large arrangements of Snapdragons, white hydrangeas, oriental lilies and orchids in varying shades of yellow.  The chancel of the chapel held two large displays of candelabras. Upon entering the chapel, a personal photograph album created by the bride and groom was displayed featuring their engagement photographs. Guests signed and wrote personal notes inside the album.

The bride, given in marriage by her father, wore an ivory strapless fitted gown of Organza by Pronovias. It featured a sweetheart neckline with a criss cross effect to below the hips. A full mermaid skirt of organza ruffles flowed into a chapel length train. The bride wore a veil with a simple layer of illusion falling at the shoulders. Her jewelry included a wrist wrap of pearls, which were a gift from the groom. The bride carried a bouquet of white flowers, which included snapdragons, hydrangeas, oriental lilies and orchids.

Music for the ceremony was provided by the grandfather of the groom, Eugene Hendrix, and aunt of the groom, Julie Dodge, both of Conway. They sang "The Lord’s Prayer," accompanied by Donna Evans of Conway.  Pianist Donna Evans presented prelude music, which consisted of favorite hymns chosen by the bride and groom. The bridal processional was Pachelbel’s "Canon in D." The recessional was "Technicolor" by Tim Myers.

Matrons of honor were sister of the bride, Stephanie Rhodes Grimm of Fort Smith and Cheska Valentine Neal of Conway. Bridesmaids were Megan Raley Bradley of Van Buren, Jenny McNulty Strange of Conway, Ashley Nelle Davis of Conway, and Kara Kamruddin Cooper of Plano, Texas. The bridesmaids wore black knee length strapless dresses. They each wore hand-made, fair-trade turquoise earrings, a gift from the bride and carried a bouquet that was a smaller copy of the bride’s, but in yellow. The bridesmaids walked to the chapel across a stone bridge shaded by yellow paper parasols, which were a gift from the bride.

The brother of the groom, Kevin Austin Carter, of Conway, served as best man. Groomsmen were Phillip Andrew Bell of Conway, brother-in-law of the groom Christopher Randal Lloyd, of Conway, Jay Rajen Vyas of Little Rock, Grayson Reddoch Greer of North Little Rock, and Andrew Randal Greenway of Waco, Texas.  Ushers were uncle of the groom, Dr. Benjamin Dodge and cousin of the groom, Andrew Dodge, both of Conway.

Following the wedding ceremony, guests were invited to a reception at the home of Dr. and Mrs. Benjamin Dodge of Conway. The bride and groom entered the home down a winding staircase to the applause of their guests. The bride’s cake was displayed on a round antique table in the foyer surrounded by portraits of the bride. The groom’s table featured the groom’s favorite apple pies by his request. A buffet dinner was served from the dining room under the direction of Mr. Bill Wallace. Guests were seated throughout the home and wrap around porches at Round tables covered in white, textured linen and the bride’s chosen flowers. As the bride and groom exited the reception, guests lined the porches, brick walkway and steps with sparklers to send them off.

On Friday evening a rehearsal was hosted by the groom’s parents at Rolando’s in Hot Springs. It was a theme around the couple’s future move to Costa Rica.

After a honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, the couple is at home in Arlington ,Va. The bride is employed by the Department of State and the groom is employed by International Justice Mission, both in Washington, D.C.