To understand Shari and Joe you need to understand Wilson, Arkansas.
The history behind this small Delta town is pretty interesting and sort of runs central to their personal & work lives and is also a sort of Kevin-Bacon-Six-Degrees-Deal of how I was actually already connected to these two before we ever spoke! Read on, it'll make sense soon, I promise..
Okay so a few years ago my sweet friend Leslie took on a job running the show at a place called Wilson Gardens. In case you don't know much about farming, it's a really difficult job: the hours are literally like 12-15 hours day minimum! Never afraid of a challenge though, Leslie's face just lit up talking about how this was so much more than just a farm, but a much bigger project: a town reinventing itself! There's an interesting NY Times article about this which I've shared below, but the long-story-short of it is this: A very rich man purchased basically all of the land in Wilson, Arkansas -- Some 60+ square miles coveted for it's rich farming land and pivotal location along the Mississippi River and central location to larger cities. But rather than just another corporation buying farming land, the story is just getting interesting!
The new owner, Gaylon Lawrence, purchased the land with visions of reforming the town into a cultural hub focused on art, education and sustainability. He believed in it enough to drop a cool $110 million on it. On a town with a population of less than one thousand people, in the middle of nowhere Arkansas. One of the first things he did was to hire a young chef and his wife to run the local cafe. Enter Shari and Joe. They now run Wilson Cafe which was *obviously* where we had to do their engagement session. And going full circle: Leslie and Wilson Gardens provide much of the produce for their Cafe (and apparently much of Memphis and Nashville too from what I've been noticing around town!).
So now we get to The Delta School which is where Shari and Joe got hitched! The Delta School was another of Lawrence's first projects established in Wilson, and the school itself has a super unique approach to education. The kids actively learn about sustainability and have the most adorable greenhouse on the premise (obviously pictured below!).The schoolhouse was the absolute perfect backdrop for their homegrown-inspired wedding which featured tons of local vendors and the sweetest romantic touches that really shined against the moody backdrop of the dark wood where the reception took place, which I think was where the kids usually eat their lunches!
So yeah! A very rich man hired one of my friends to run his farm and then hired Shari and Joe to run the cafe and then Shari and Joe decided to get married in the school he built and then they just so happened to book me and all the dots connected! What a small, big world it is!! Enjoy :)
For the full NY Times article mentioned above, click here.
Venue: Delta School, Wilson Arkansas
Second Photographer: Elizabeth Hoard Photography
Event Planning: Elizabeth Lytle // Ties&Taffeta
Event/Prop Rentals: Stockroom Vintage
Catering: Wilson Cafe and Chef Roberto Barth