STUNNING She Said Yes bride Chelsea Hancock married the love of her life, Blake Gaither on May 5th, 2019 at Parkway Place Baptist Church with a reception to follow at the Clinton Library.
Read more about Chelsea's love story and view her stunning bridal's taken at the State Capital below!
Hair style: @knhstyle at @serentitysalon_lr
Hair color, cut & extensions: @haircolorbybridgette @darl3n3 at @salon5014
How did you two meet?
"I attended college in Conway, Arkansas, which is also the area where Blake is originally from. When Blake finished college, he came back to that area to live and start his career, so we both were living in the same place and occasionally saw each other at the same spots in town. Blake and I were introduced in a local restaurant one evening for the very first time. We basically gave each other a handshake and a “nice to meet ya” and that was it. There was no great epiphany or “love at first site” moment. We both went on living our separate lives, and I actually did not think much of it for quite some time. Fast forward many months later- I had moved to Little Rock to start my graduate program and Blake had taken a promotion at work and moved to Dallas. We had been doing some social media “flirting” here and there that went on for a while before either of us worked up the gumption to talk to the other. I guess I had finally had enough and one evening I, admittedly, sent him a message over Facebook. I still go back and read that message from time to time and cringe (A LOT), but I suppose it worked, because he did respond and we exchanged numbers that same evening. We talked and got to know each other for about a month, when he started casually mentioning me taking a trip down to Dallas so we could finally meet….again. I am still not sure he was 100% convinced that I would actually make the trip, but, to his surprise, I decided to take a bit of a risk. A very short weekend in Dallas was all it took. I left that Sunday knowing this would be something truly special. After that weekend, we traveled a total of approximately 68 weekends, in a row, between Little Rock and Dallas to see each other before I graduated from PA school. Looking back, it was slightly insane, but we wouldn’t change a single thing. "
How did he propose?
"Throughout our relationship together, Blake and I frequented the Red Apple Inn in Heber Springs on Greers Ferry Lake. His great uncle, Jack, is actually the general manager of the Inn, and we were always there celebrating birthdays, holidays, and having date nights. It is a beautiful spot and became very special to us. It was Memorial Day weekend in 2017 and we planned to stay there for the weekend and go to the lake. That Saturday night, May 27th, was our 2-year dating anniversary, and we had made dinner reservations at the Inn for that evening in honor of that, so I thought. We finished getting ready a little early (which NEVER happens with me-he had planned it that way), so we popped a celebratory bottle of champagne, just the two of us, and went out on this balcony behind the restaurant that overlooked the lake. It was beautiful. We spent some time just talking and reminiscing over the last 2 years together, then it was time to go inside. On our way in, Blake turned around and stopped me and began to say some really sweet things that I have never been able to fully recall, because in that moment I knew what he was doing. He pulled out a box and got down on one knee. At that time, the gentleman sitting on the bench in front of us “reading” a newspaper dropped the paper and began taking pictures. Blake had hired a professional photographer. I was absolutely hysterical, and I guess at one point I was able to get out a “yes”. We then went to have our dinner, but I couldn’t eat but 3 or 4 bites I was so excited. When we finished, his Uncle Jack then escorted us to a back area with 2 large double doors, and behind those double doors was a room FULL of close friends and family. He had planned a surprise engagement party and had arranged for everyone to stay at the Inn that night with us. We danced to live music and celebrated with everyone all night long. It was perfect."
What are you most excited about being married?
" Honestly, I think we are both just excited to be home and to start our new, married lives together. We bought a home in a suburb north of Dallas about 6 months before our wedding, so we had to put some of the fun stuff that comes with being new homeowners on hold since we were a tad busy with all of the planning. Since the wedding, all we have been able to talk about is how ready we are to finally relax at home and enjoy our neighborhood as a married couple. That probably sounds super boring, but at this point, boring sounds pretty nice to us! Oh, and Blake also promised me a puppy at some point after the wedding was over, so you could say I am looking forward to that, too."
Do you have a funny story about you and your husband?
"I’m not sure if this is more funny or sweet. Maybe it’s a little of both! Our very first date was at a sushi restaurant in Dallas. Blake and I are pretty much obsessed with sushi. Since we were dating long-distance, we did not see get to see each other at least 5 days out of the week, so Blake came up with an idea. One day a week, typically Thursdays I believe, Blake would call a local sushi restaurant there in Little Rock (Ocean’s at Arthurs -one of my favorites) and order some sushi for me to have for dinner to-go. He said since we couldn’t have date nights as often as other couples, we could at least count them as “partial” date nights. Funny to others at the time, I’m sure, but it was definitely one of the things that won me over."
What was your favorite part of your experience when you shopped SSY?
" My entire experience with She Said Yes truly was a dream, but I would have to say that my very favorite part about the experience as a whole was just how personalized it was, from start to finish. While at the salon, the staff made me feel as if I was the only bride on the planet and their one and only customer. They were so patient and attentive. I was able to try on each gown and really take my time with my decisions, without ever being rushed. The day I found my dress at SSY was my first day trying on wedding gowns. In fact, it was actually my very first bridal appointment ever! That being said, I had already scheduled a second appointment that day with another big-name bridal salon. They never once pressured me to choose their gown and forgo the second appointment, but rather encouraged me to do what I felt would give me the full experience with my friends and family. I left in the middle of my second appointment and immediately called SSY. They stayed in the store long after hours for me to come back in with my group and say “Yes to the Dress” with a champagne toast and all! It was the kind of experience every bride dreams about. And each time I came into the salon after that day, I was always greeted, by name, with the warmest smiles and embraces. "
Any advice for other brides planning a wedding?
" I feel like this is definitely a cliché answer, but try and take as many opportunities as possible to just slow down a little and enjoy the process, and the wedding day itself! Take some deep breaths, pray, reflect, whatever you need to do to be as “present” as possible, especially in the special moments with your new husband. Everyone talks about how quickly it comes and goes, but I was honestly shocked at just how true that was for me. I find myself wishing every day that I could go back and do it all over again. With that being said, go ahead and splurge on your photographer AND add in videography. They will be the only things you will be able to take with you to help you re-live that day. It was 100% worth it for me.."
It was an absolutely pleasure working with Chelsea and her family. We had so much fun building her custom Martina Liana gown.
Chelsea, your bridal portraits are beautiful beyond words.
Thank you for sharing!
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Thanks for reading, lovelies!