Miss Lauren McConnell of Conway and Mr. Robert "Bear" Van Ness of Little Rock were married at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 5, 2013, in a double-ring ceremony on the beach in Seagrove, Fla., officiated by the Rev. Michael Young of Seagrove.
The bride is the daughter of Mr. Jay and Mrs. Tami McConnell of Conway. She is the granddaughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. T.A. Bowman of Little Rock and Mrs. John P. McConnell of Conway and the late Mr. McConnell of Conway.
The groom is the son of Mr. Lewis and Mrs. Jan Van Ness of Little Rock. He is the grandson of the late Mr. and Mrs. James Wren of Platte City, Mo., and Mr. Charles Van Ness and the late Mrs. Charles Van Ness of El Dorado, Ark.
The sunset beach ceremony included an aisle made up of white benches and a pair of seven foot white painted trees placed in the sand. A sisal rug was laid on the sand with a "Shoe Check" sign for the guests to place their shoes upon arrival to the ceremony.
The bride was escorted by her father to the "Bridal Chorus," sang by Barry Fish. The recessional was "How Sweet It Is," by Barry Fish. Other vocal selections presented were "Marry Me," also by Barry Fish.
The bride wore her mother’s wedding dress. She had it altered by Jamileh Kamran of Little Rock, to make it her own. The bridal gown was a floor length gown of candlelight, silk organza over taffeta and French Alencon lace pearls. The lace-covered bodice featured a sweetheart neckline with a deep plunge back accented with miniature-covered buttons. The creamy, silk skirt fell to the floor and was edged in deep French lace and pearls. The bustle fell from a dropped waistline into an ultra cathedral length train with ornate lace and pearl designs. The ultra cathedral length veil was edged in matching lace and motif designs.
She wore her late grandmother’s diamond chandelier earrings. Her bracelet was an antique broach placed over a five-tiered freshwater pearl cuff, designed by Gina Brockinton of G. Spinelli Jewelry. The bridal bouquet was a hand-tied bouquet of combined white hydrangeas with gardenias and white dendrobium orchids cascading.
Laine McConnell of Conway served as maid of honor.
Bridesmaids were Brittany Davis of Conway, Lauren King of Little Rock, Susan Van Ness and Ashley Van Ness, both of Fayetteville, and Kayla White of Maumelle.
Honorary bridesmaid was the bride’s cousin, Brett McConnell of Rogers, Ark.
The bridesmaids wore Tiffany Blue bobbinet strapless cross draped empire dresses with floor-length A-line skirts. Each bridesmaid carried a different white flower bouquet with a flowing bridal ivory satin ribbon. Their jewelry included a custom three-tiered fresh water pearl necklace given to them by the bride and designed by G. Spinelli Jewelry.
Tami McConnell, mother of the bride, chose a coral gown with a fitted pleated bodice and a halter neckline.
Ring bearers were Hunter Bowman of Fayetteville and Dawson Davis of Conway.
They each carried a wooden sign announcing "Here comes the Bride."
Wren Van Ness of Fayetteville served as flower girl.
Best man was Charlie Van Ness of Fayetteville.
Groomsmen were Landon Ezell and Bo McConnell, both of Conway, Charles Roscopf of Dallas, Texas, Turner Sibley of Conway, and Lewis Van Ness of Little Rock.
The reception immediately followed at V Seagrove.
Three large round dining tables featured a tall glass trumpet vase with white branches, white hydrangeas, and Tiffany Blue stones extending from the branches. The tables along the windows featured taller, slender glass cylinder vases with floating candles and small demi-trays with floating candles and votives. The outdoor tables featured white glass paned lanterns with pillar candles. The guests were served passed hors d’oeuvres including: shrimp corn dogs, tuna tacos, and beef tenderloin canapes. The guests then dined on a raw seafood bar and various hot hors d’oeuvres. Later in the evening servers presented pork belly sliders for everyone to enjoy.
The three tiered Tiffany Blue wedding cake was a contemporary design with one large cascading ivory flower that sat atop a Tiffany Blue Nu Silk Linen underskirt topped with a beautiful ivory rosette overlay. The groom’s cake consisted of warm chocolate bacon brownies, which is the restaurant’s signature dessert.
The entertainment for the evening was provided by The Barry Fish Band from Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville of Panama City, Fla. The band performed on the large cedar patio dance floor in front of an ocean blue mosaic tile backdrop.
The bride and groom left the reception through a line of guests holding gigantic sparklers and drove away in a luxury golf cart.
The attendants placed a "Mr. and Mrs. Van Ness" sign across the back with a white silk hydrangea wreath.
During the week of festivities, the bride and groom’s parents hosted a sunset beach bonfire for the attending guests.
A bridesmaid luncheon was given Oct. 4 overlooking the ocean view. Hostesses were Kristi Barton, Cheryl Daniels, Beckye Ezell, Julie Luton, Andrea McConnell, Teresa McConnell, Anita Paul, and Karen Zimmerman.
The evening prior to the wedding, the groom’s parents hosted a rehearsal dinner at the Old Florida Fish House. The highlight of the evening was a video production featuring pictures of the bride and groom from childhood to present. The video was produced by Marisa Kirby, with help from the bride’s sister, Laine McConnell.
Mr. and Mrs. Van Ness currently reside in El Dorado, Ark.