Fo­tioo & Groat

The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - Front Page - Story by Beth Bright

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.

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