Fotioo & Groat
Neither Neil Groat or Jamie Fotioo expected to end up in Conway working in the admissions office at Hendrix College, but that's ultimately where fate allowed the two to meet.
For two years they were on staff together, but didn't meet until Jamie was promoted in 2007.
Jamie, a graduate of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville had attended the university with Neil's childhood friend Scott Hode who was on the baseball team.
“When he asked if I knew Scott, I said yes and proved it by singing his walk-up song — think `Hode Hode Hode Ho' to the tune of Cab Calloway's `Hi De Ho,'” she said. “I think this impressed Neil, and it was easy conversation from there.”
After dating for a few years, the two had been talking about marriage. Jamie admits she had no idea when Neil would propose.
“Knowing that it would be a date when I least expected it, he ended up proposing to me on his birthday,” she said.
With Jamie being a self-proclaimed
cupcake connoisseur, Neil was waiting after a night out with an opened box of TracyCakes cupcakes that spelled out “Will you marry me?” accompanied by “an absolutely stunning and perfect new accessory for my left hand from Lauray's The Diamond Center.”
“The answer was obviously `Yes!'” she said. The big day: July 12, 2014
Best Man and Maid of Honor: Best men were Ted Groat and Doug Crise. Matron and Maid of Honor were Nikki Daniel and Susannah Wright
The location: We got married at St. Luke's Episcopal Church where Jamie's paternal grandparents, parents, and sister were all married, with Rev. Dr. Nicholas Verdaris of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Little Rock officiating. Marriage is one of the seven Sacraments of the Orthodox Church, and we were particularly excited to celebrate this Sacrament together.
The reception: Our reception was held at the beautiful Arlington Hotel Crystal Ballroom. Guests enjoyed several Greek delicacies prepared by Jamie's mom and a seven-tier traditional white and strawberry wedding cake with spiral-textured buttercream icing from Jamie's favorite – Ambrosia Bakery. Chocolate sheet cake and baklava were other dessert options.
The Rockets – an amazing, 11-member band out of Little Rock kept guests on the dance floor well into the evening, along with plenty of Greek dancing by Jamie's family.
A photobooth by Razorbooth and Greek boubouniera – small bags containing five white sugared almonds, or “koufeta” in Greek which represent five wishes for the new husband and wife: health, wealth, happiness, fertility and a long life – offered unique favors for guests.
The look: We wanted a warm, elegant and timeless atmosphere for our wedding, and the color palette of ivory, various pinks, and gold helped achieve this look. Everything from the bridesmaids dresses to the table linens reflected this vision.
The reception, in particular, exceeded our expectations. Our original florist end-
ed up closing its business before our wedding. With less than two months' notice, Jessica Zimmerman and her team at A Southern Tradition in Conway were able to create floral arrangements in different styles and heights, all in glass vases, adorned each table in the ballroom and featured dahlias, various roses, ranunculus, hypericum berries, hydrangeas, Queen Anne's lace, snapdragons, dusty miller, silver dollar eucalyptus and other greenery. The wedding cake featured similar flowers to help tie into the rest of the theme.
The atmosphere was very important to us, and A Southern Tradition definitely went above and beyond to make our dream a reality.
The dress: An ivory, silk, taffeta, strapless gown by Wtoo with a sweetheart neckline and pleated bodice with full shirred skirting that extended to a sweep train. The empire waist was accented with a crystal beaded sash. My veil was a double caged veil of soft ivory French tulle.
Most unforgettable moment: Having my dad by my side when the sanctuary doors opened, seeing family and friends, and then spotting Neil at the end of the aisle smiling and waiting for me was amazing. We'd seen each other earlier in the day, but I still got tears in my eyes as I walked down the aisle to a special arrangement by Lynn Payette of “The Wedding Processional” from “The Sound of Music” because, it was a special, once-in-alifetime moment.
And the day after our incredibly busy wedding weekend, we loaded up our cars and went home to Conway to pack for our honeymoon. We were in separate cars and called each other several times during the trip to keep each other awake. Less than a mile from our house, I was pulled over for speeding. I was so tired and so ready to get home that I apparently wasn't paying attention to just how fast I was driving – all which I explained to the officer. While I did shed a tear or two, I think the fact that my car was packed with wedding items helped prove my story. He gave me the best wedding present of all – a warning – which I saved for our wedding book to help us remember such a funny story!
The honeymoon: We spent our first days as husband and wife on the beautiful island of Bali — the “island of the Gods” — in Indonesia.