David & Lexie
from Jonesboro, AR
Photography and Videography by McGee Creative
First Meeting – January 2013
First Date – January 2013
Engagement Date – September 23, 2016
Wedding Date – September 2, 2017
The pair had their first date soon after that initial meeting. Little did they know that they were beginning a journey toward a lifelong commitment with circumstances that would test them, and ultimately, make them stronger.
Lexie was a junior in college at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro during the couple’s first year of dating, while David worked out of St. Louis on a riverboat transporting grain. This job meant that David was gone six months out of the year. The couple had to come up with new ways to get to know each other during this year.
“This was a new kind of relationship for both of us,” Lexie said. “We had to be creative at long distance and no-phone-service dating. Care packages and four-hour phone calls were our way of getting to know each other. We were blessed after one very long year when David could move home and help me get through my last years of college. Little did we understand at the time just how important it was for him to move home.”
In 2015, Lexie was diagnosed with carcinoid cancer.
Through it all, Lexie and David’s love for each other stood firm.
“I always felt beautiful,” Lexie said. “During the time that I had surgery, that wasn’t the prettiest time in my life. I remember before I went into surgery, I just felt beautiful. He made sure that I always felt that way, no matter what. After surgery, those were the first things I heard – ‘you look so beautiful.’ I never questioned whether he was going to be there. I never felt like I had to put on makeup. I just felt pretty. He still looked at me the same.”
Lexie and David realized how precious their lives and time together truly were. During this time, they focused on living life to the fullest.
Spontaneity became the anthem of their lives. They traveled, camped, went to as many concerts as they could, met new and interesting people, and simply lived. They said that their focus was to stay grounded and try to remind themselves of the true nature of life.
“It's not that we thought I was even going to die. We knew that I was going to be okay, but the experience of being sick made it so clear how precious and short life really is and we wanted to soak up every moment," Lexie said.
Lexie said it was David who acted as the conductor of their spontaneity. As she struggled and thought twice about things in this difficult time, David made sure that they didn’t say “no” to experiences and opportunities to be with others.
David first caught sight of Lexie at a birthday party over five years ago in 2013. That look led to a conversation which sparked an instant connection leading to “a natural love,” as Lexie describes.
From that first moment, David was drawn to Lexie’s love of the outdoors, a shared interest. He was also drawn to Lexie’s passion to serve and to her appreciation of music. Lexie was drawn to David’s sweet personality and to his genuinely kind soul.
Carcinoid cancer is a slow-growing cancer that typically occurs in the digestive tract and is treated mostly by surgery. It is a cancer that often goes undetected until an older age.
Lexie went through multiple surgeries in just a few months.
“Lexie's surgeon said that she was the youngest patient for which he had performed cancer surgery because you don't find this cancer until people are typically much older,” said Joy Maule, Lexie’s mother. “David never left her side through any of it. He is the kindest, gentlest giant of a person you’ll ever meet. We love him. He saved Lexie’s life. How could we not?”
David said that the moment he knew he loved Lexie, and wanted to spend the rest of his life with her, happened a few days before her first surgery. “We were at this concert and out of nowhere they played this song ‘For What it’s Worth’ by Buffalo Springfield. I looked over and she was just belting it out, singing the song. And I thought ‘I’m gonna marry that girl’.”
“You don't really understand just how much you love someone until you think about going without them,” Lexie said. “Looking back, we were hit with this health situation unexpectedly. Neither of us hesitated on being there for each other. The health scare only made our relationship stronger.”
The couple focused on living fully, getting healthy, and getting Lexie through college. In what seemed like a flash, three years had passed.
September 23, 2016 was a normal day for Lexie. At least, it was a normal birthday. She went to work at Hoxie Elementary School, where she teaches second grade. She received happy birthday wishes and flowers from David to surprise and celebrate her.
What she didn’t know at the time was that David had been meticulously planning an entire day full of surprises, all leading up to the surprise of all surprises – the proposal.
From her curriculum director, she unexpectedly received a clue that began a scavenger hunt like no other.
First stop: get her nails done.
What David hadn’t accounted for, however, was how long it would take to get her nails done.
Two hours later and behind schedule, Lexie was sent to her second stop: David’s cousin’s boutique, where she was told she could get anything in the store she wanted and to put an outfit together for dinner.
From there, she was given another clue revealing her final destination: Crowley’s Ridge State Park in Jonesboro, Arkansas.
“I’m driving to Jonesboro and the sun’s going down so I was like ‘he’s not proposing because the sun is going down.’ I’m in a dress and heels in the middle of this forest having to GPS where he’s located because I can’t find him,” Lexie said.
Lexie found herself walking through the forest, calling David’s name as it got even darker. While David had planned to propose at sunset, the unexpected, time-consuming nail stop caused the plans to shift.
Finally, she gets to him.
However, she’s then told to “hold on” as David waits for a group of kids to pass before he drops the big question.
Then, despite the imperfect timing, it happened. David got down on one knee, on the blanket he had carefully laid out, and asked “will you be my wife?”
Needless to say, Lexie said “YES!”
The Celebrations - Engagement
Lexie and David wanted their early engagement period to be intimate and shared with only their families and closest friends.
They celebrated their engagement during a family gathering in Angola, Indiana at Lexie's brother-in-law’s home. It was during that gathering, they put together a few members of their wedding party, honoring them with special gifts to commemorate the occasion.
The Celebrations - Bridal Shower
The celebration of the couple did not stop at the family gathering, though.
David's family also hosted a women-only bridal shower during June of 2017 in Paragould, Arkansas.
The guests were served fresh fruit, cheese and meat platters as well as strawberry cake. The local shower included loved ones of all ages to be a part of the celebration.
In addition to the bridal shower, a bachelorette party was hosted in July by Lexie’s sister April Hemlock in Fort Myers, Florida at a beachside condo.
Guests flew in for the weekend and the fun and relaxation began. From a personal lingerie shower to poolside massages to dinner on an ocean cruise, the weekend was one they won’t soon forget.
The Rehearsal Dinner
With many celebrations behind them and the anticipation of more to come, Lexie, David, and their wedding party geared up for the big day.
The rehearsal dinner was at The Cliffs at Long Creek in Ridgedale, Missouri, the night before the wedding.
David's mom hosted the dinner, which was a catered, classically-southern breakfast-for-dinner buffet with champagne. True to tradition, included on the menu were biscuits with chocolate gravy and a champagne toasting. It’s believed that chocolate gravy came from trading between Spanish Louisiana and the Tennessee Valley, but no one is sure of anything except that it’s a firmly-held southern tradition today. And David and Lexie could not pass it up.
For the kids, there were personal s'mores made in individual pans using Sterno cans for heating.
With 50 people in attendance coming in from so many different locations, the night was a testament to who Lexie and David are as a couple. As the night progressed, a video slideshow of the couple, compiled and produced by David’s sister, was presented to highlight their joyous journey.
The Big Day
Saturday, September 2, 2017 had finally arrived.
The bride, groom, and their respective parties gathered for brunch in Valley View Lodge, Big Cedar at 11am.
Mimosas, fresh fruit, hummus, cheese and meat platter, and bagels and cream cheese were among the items on the brunch menu, hosted by Lexie’s sister-in-law.
Hair and makeup were completed in time for the girls to step into their dresses at 3 pm. With anticipation, Vera Bradley lunch boxes were presented as gifts to the bridesmaids before they were all shuttled to the Big Cedar Lodge Garden Chapel at 4:30 pm for the Ceremony at 5 pm.
Lexie and David wanted to make the ceremony unique to them, but also had the desire to incorporate traditional elements. With David having grown up in the Southern Baptist church, the couple fell in love with some of the bits and pieces of traditional Southern Baptist ceremonies.
“A lot of our lives hadn’t been traditional. We moved in and lived together and I got sick so we had to become really close quickly,” Lexie said. Due to this, keeping traditional elements in their ceremony became very important. Lexie chose to wear a long veil over her face and even had her bouquet wrapped in her mother's lace veil worn on her own wedding day.
The couple parted from tradition slightly with the taking of communion. Since this communion would be their first together, they wanted it to be a very unique and special ceremony. The cup was made from wood from Jerusalem. Lexie said, “We still have the cup from communion and we’ll have it forever.”
David’s grandpa, who travels and sings gospel music in a band called “The Poe’s,” officiated the wedding, adding another layer of personal touch and significance to their ceremony.
Elizabeth Bullock, one of Lexie’s bridesmaids, said that there could not have been a better weekend for their special day. “The mornings and evenings were cool and crisp and the days were warm and sunny. Getting to catch up with some of my dearest friends and celebrating Lexie and David's new life together was truly magical.”
The ceremony was a reflection of their love. Elizabeth said, “When I met Lexie over seven years ago, we dreamed of what our wedding days might be like. Being here to witness Lexie’s excitement in the moment is the good stuff from which friendships are made.”
“Love is so raw and pure. When you really find love, you don’t always find it laced with glitz and glamour. That’s not how it was for us. At first, he was on the riverboat, then I got sick and still had to finish school. It has been a really raw love. We found our love in the middle of life happening,” Lexie said.
The reception was a continuation of the beautiful display of the couple’s love.
From dinner at Big Cedar’s Worman House to dancing on the patio, music set the tone for a laid-back, relaxed atmosphere of love in the mountains. “Big Cedar Lodge has a natural feel, which is much like their love,” Lexie’s mother added.
The bride’s specialty cocktail for the evening was a spiced citrus-mulled wine. The groom’s drink was “Mother’s Little Helper” craft beer brewed locally by Mother’s Brewing Company, Springfield, MO.
Much like Lexie and David, their ceremony and reception were very personal. Including family and friends at every turn was important to them. Not only did David's grandpa officiate, but the photographer and videographer attended high school with the bride.
Lexie's brother and sister-in-law made the wedding cake, a stunning three-tier champagne cake with citrus icing. The groom's cake was a University of Arkansas Razorback carrot cake.
The reception incorporated fun activities for the kids, fine dining, and a location that fit the family’s love of nature.
In fact, the entire weekend from Friday to Monday was full to the brim with activities for the entire family from paddle boat rides to live music to a Big Cedar Fireworks display on the final evening.
But perhaps the most poignant aspect of the reception was the Sparkler Send-Off under the moonlight as the couple walked through the sparklers and into the dark on foot, reminiscent of their engagement in the dark woods almost a year before.
One of the traits that Lexie loves most about David is that he never meets a stranger and cares deeply about everyone. The ceremony and reception reflected these traits and made the night even more special.
Elizabeth said, “Lexie and David are a great team and have been able to work through everything that life has thrown at them.”
The Vendor Team
Rehearsal Dinner Site – The Cliffs at Long Creek
Rehearsal Dinner Caterer – Big Cedar Lodge
Ceremony Site – Garden Chapel / Big Cedar Lodge
Reception Site – Worman House Patio at Big Cedar Lodge
Event Planner – Bringing It Together Events, Mary Douglas
Officiant – Sam Poe (groom's grandfather)
Caterer – Big Cedar Lodge Resort
Florals – Artistry In Bloom, Jill Webb
Other Décor – Antique Heirloom toasting glasses, Lenox Crystal Cross,
Jerusalem Wood communion goblet, provided by Bride's Family
Photography – McGee Creative
Videography – McGee Creative
Music for Ceremony – Casey Freeland
Music for Cocktail Reception – Live Events
Music for Dinner Reception – Casey and the Atta Boys
Cake – Wedding Cake by Jenna Maule; Groom’s cake by Abby Cakes
Invitations – Zazzle designed by the mother of the bride, Joy Maule
Favors – Succulents in glass votives made by mother of the bride, Joy Maule