A Love Full of Surprises

By Kathleen Swift

Love brings two people together. Sometimes those two people have different styles and ideas, but as the saying goes, love conquers all.  

For A.J. and Arlisa Campbell, finding a wedding venue to satisfy both of their styles was simple.  “We chose to have our wedding at Silver Spoon because it is a perfect mix of both of our styles.  A.J. grew up on 100 acres in Sarcoxie, and I grew up in the city with chandeliers,” said Arlisa.  The barn venue on 50 acres appealed to A.J., and the elegant vaulted ceilings that showcase beautiful crystal chandeliers appealed to Arlisa.

The venue also provided Arlisa the opportunity to add her own touches of elegance, including dramatic cascades of curtains around the stairway and in the dressing areas. She also incorporated pieces of furniture, statuary and pots from her mother’s home as a part of the rustic, elegant theme.

A.J. and Arlisa met playing summer sports when they were 14.  

“Our siblings both played the same sports,” said Arlisa, “so we often saw each other at sporting events. After high school, A.J. joined the Marines, and when he came home four years later, we ran into each other. We started dating in January 2016, got engaged in 2017 and got married on September 1, 2018.”

For the ceremony, Arlisa chose blush tones with whites and silver. “I wanted a soft, romantic elegance for our ceremony,” said Arlisa.  

Family is important to Arlisa and A.J. His sisters were bridesmaids, and Arlisa’s brother was a groomsman.  

Arlisa wore a lace gown from the Essence of Australia Collection.  

“When I saw Arlisa coming down the aisle, I thought ‘Wow, she is so beautiful. I am not a crier, but I guess I had a dumbfounded look on my face because my dad, who was sitting in the front row, said, ‘It’s okay to smile!’”

 “My step-dad walked me down the aisle,” said Arlisa. “He has been an important part of my life since I was eight. I also wanted to include a remembrance of my grandpa, who passed in 2011, in the wedding. I had a photo of him on a necklace that I used in my bouquet. When we were exiting, my brother saw that I was carrying the photo, and it brought him to tears.”

The reception was a fun event with the same tones in bolder hues and with a touch of fun for the 90 guests. After all, how many grooms get a St. Louis Cardinals grooms cake amid chandeliers and silver? The couple found a way to mix both of their styles and begin a life together. 

“What I love about A.J. is that he is so easy to get along with. He loves going to church and sports, and he is so patient,” said Arlisa.

When it comes to what A.J. loves about Arlisa, he said, “First, let me tell you, she surprises me most of the time. She planned a surprise birthday party for my 25th birthday with some of my closest friends, and I had no idea. During our wedding, she surprised me again when during the lighting of our unity candle, they played a recording of her singing “I Cross My Heart” by George Strait. It’s one of my favorite songs. I leaned over and whispered to her, ‘Don’t ever stop surprising me.’”


Venue: The Silver Spoon Barn in Joplin

Dress Shop: Norman’s Bridal in Springfield

Dress Brand: Essence of Australia

Ring: Custom by Jim at Select Jewelers Joplin

Flowers: Custom by Hollysflowershoppe on Etsy

Unity Candle: Custom by Giftedcandles on Etsy

Food: The Butcher’s Block, Joplin

Cake: Smallcakes, Joplin

Decorations: Festivities Event Rentals in Columbus, Kansas, and Arlisa’s mom’s house (statues and topiaries)

Drapes: Designed by Arlisa, hung by Mike at Legacy Event Rentals

Photos: Tim Tom’s Photography, Joplin

Video: Valley High Pictures in Springfield

Hair: Hannah Smith in Joplin

Make-Up: Kristen Herman in Joplin

Tuxes: Men’s Wearhouse, Joplin

Bridesmaid dresses: Azazie.com