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Carrington & Christopher

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 PHOTOGRAPHY: COURTESY BENJAMIN MARTIN PHOTOGRAPHY

Chris Chandler – Carrington Tillery Wedding
Text by Denise Parkinson
Photography by
BENJAMIN MARTIN PHOTOGRAPHY – BW STUDIOS – LELA & LYLA

The Courtship:

When Carrington Tillery walked into class on the first day of school at Ouachita Baptist University, she made quite an impression on fellow student Chris Chandler. Although Carrington recalls saying “hi,” Chris remembers it differently.

“She didn’t say hi to me at all,” he laughs. He asked a friend: who is that? The friend, Gannon Lindsey, replied bluntly, “She is way out of your league,” a phrase that only served to motivate Chris. Eventually, his persistence paid off and Carrington agreed to go out on a date. “I asked her out 171 times over a span of 344 days,” Chris reports. A graduate of OBU’s Class of 2012, Chris understood that marriage would have to wait until Carrington graduated in May of 2014. He therefore had plenty of time to strategize the ultimate proposal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The Proposal:

“All of her friends were taking bets on when, where and how I would propose,” Chris says. “I was going to ask her, but only after bluffing her and all her friends. It had to be a surprise!” During a trip to Texas in early 2013, he took Carrington sky-diving (no proposal); afterward, at his family’s lake house, he led her along a candle-lit path that he and his brother had set up beforehand—still no proposal. However, Chris’s scheme was proceeding according to plan.

“We were going to drive back from Texas to Hot Springs for a surprise engagement,” Chris explains. He had arranged for a photographer, videographer, and their entire extended families to be ready and waiting at the Tillery family farm. “He knows how close I am to my family,” Carrington says. “I grew up in our old home place, built in the 1920’s.”

The farm, a slice of heaven near Fountain Lake, was transformed by Chris’s staging operation: 60 feet of fishing line stretched overhead to hold over a hundred photographs from their lives, along with placards spelling out “her good qualities” using the letters of her name. Chris had hay bales placed to form a semi-circle, and lined a path with tulips picked from Carrington’s great-grandmother’s garden.

Meanwhile, exhausted from the weekend of skydiving, Carrington slept peacefully on the way back to Hot Springs as an excited Chris tried not to exceed the speed limit. “My little brother—our chaperone—was riding in the backseat of the car,” he notes. Upon arrival, Chris slipped off as Carrington was surrounded by siblings and siblings-to-be: Chris is the eldest of four, while Carrington has a twin brother named Charles, plus three younger brothers.

The younger siblings led Carrington down the pathway, past three generations of both families—everyone held letters that spelled out “Will You Be My Bride?” She stepped up to meet Chris, who stood holding a very sincere question mark. “Look around and see all the people who love and care about you,” he said. “I want to love and care for you!” A taken knee and a ring later, the two were set to be wed.

“It was perfect,” says Carrington.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY: COURTESY BW STUDIOS

Sunset ceremony in a beautiful arbor constructed at the Tillery family farm

The Wedding:

With 15 months to go before graduation day, plans for the dream wedding advanced rapidly, with a reception slated for the Arlington Hotel and Spa’s Crystal Ballroom. Months after the proposal, the Tillerys took down the old home, which had deteriorated. In its place, they constructed a tall white arbor especially for the wedding. “The old well is still there,” says Carrington. “That’s where the unity candle and family Bible were placed.”

While at OBU, Chris and Carrington attended an OBU student -led worship service called Refuge. One evening, the service featured the pastor from Chris’s home church, Little Rock’s Fellowship Bible Church. “That was the first time Chris and I ever prayed together,” Carrington explains. They asked Reverend Brandon Bernard to officiate at the wedding, as well as Carrington’s pastor, Tim Forrest of Walnut Valley Baptist Church.

Carrington chose traditional colors—champagne, ivory, gold and black—and white hydrangeas and roses. Amid rolling green hills and forested vistas of the Tillery farm, the sunset ceremony took place in the new arbor. The reception, set against the backdrop of the Arlington ballroom’s sparkling chandeliers and golden chiavari chairs, was spectacular.

Chris’s friend Gannon Lindsey—the one who had deemed Carrington out of his league—served as a groomsman, while Gannon’s sister, Amelia, was Carrington’s maid of honor. Tyler Deacon and Dexter Barksdale served and competed as Chris’s two Best Men. The wedding party enjoyed personalized gifts and mementos.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY: COURTESY LELA & LYLA

Carrington’s father, Allen Tillery, provided vintage wheels for the dream wedding.

The Honeymoon:

The newlyweds flew to the island of St. Lucia in the West Indies for a honeymoon that included hiking steep mountain trails and fishing in the ocean. “We went on a private getaway with a driver that told us all about the history of the island,” Carrington says. “We saw volcanoes, sulphur springs—and there were historic bathhouses there, too!”

Now at home in Cordova, Tennessee, Chris is set to begin dental school this fall, while Carrington works for F & I Solutions. “I’m still trying to get up to her league,” Chris says. Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Chandler!

 

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