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Destination I Do
Friday, June 19, 2015

A Fab Fall Wedding in North Carolina

Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Harper Noel Photography

High school sweethearts Christina & Erik both grew up in a small, North Carolina town. So, when it came time to say “I do,” it only made sense they would travel from their new home in Atlanta back to where it all began. “We selected Asheville for its incredible atmosphere and gorgeous fall scenery,” says the bride. “We wanted to show off the natural beauty of the North Carolina mountains, so we were married on an overlook deck surrounded by breathtaking views. We also knew that guests who traveled to NC would make a vacation out of it and really enjoy themselves since there is a lot to do and see.”

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While the couple got the gorgeous, Blue Ridge Mountains’ wedding they were after, there were some doubts along the way. “Everyone was very supportive of our decision to marry in Asheville,” recalls Christina. “For a bit during planning, I actually had second thoughts about why I didn’t just get married in my hometown of Hickory, North Carolina and keep things super simple, but ultimately we made the right choice. We knew that guests would enjoy the allure of the gorgeous mountain scenery of Asheville in October, paired with its unique charm. It’s also a great spot where we have some close family and many fun memories from dating.”

The couple’s destination decision was so strong, in fact, that they ran into some logistical complications. “There was a large music festival happening the same weekend and, paired with it being peak leaf weekend for fall foliage, finding rooms that were affordable and close to the venue was not easy,” says the bride. “We ended up booking blocks at three different hotels to give guests pricing options…we tried to give guests a heads-up to book early…”

The couple opted not to hire a traditional wedding planner, so they relied heavily on their own vendor research and their venue’s wedding coordination team. “[Planning] was a great experience!” says Christina. “The factor that made it most enjoyable was selecting vendors that we were proud of and knew we could trust. Since we didn’t hire a wedding planner, we were in close contact with our venue to figure out lots of details and logistics and that made all the difference! Amy and Brenda [with the Crest Center team] not only patiently obliged all of our requests and questions, but they also gave us a sense of calm knowing that everything would be handled with care. They were also very open to creative ideas – which we loved! When the wedding day came, there was very little stress knowing that our venue provided a day-of wedding assistant and we were confident that all of our selected vendors – from florists and photographer, to DJ – were professionals and they made everything seamless so we could just kick back and savor the day.”

Thankfully, the couple’s faith in their vendors wasn’t ill-founded. “We would HIGHLY recommend all of our vendors,” says the couple. “Our cake baker, Ruth & Ranshaw did a great job and we loved that they were a young team of women offering affordable options and creative dessert set-ups. Also, our photographer, Harper Noel, did an incredible job perfectly capturing the special moments of our day. Her level of energy is amazing and she just makes you feel great. We would also recommend doing an engagement session so you have time to get comfortable with your photographer prior to the big day.”

Another recommendation the couple has is to choose a venue with lots of experience hosting weddings. “Our venue played a huge role in helping us to coordinate vendors as they get a lot of practice. We’d highly recommend using a venue that is used to having weddings (and a lot of them), so they know the ropes and what to expect. When planning a destination wedding, it takes a lot of stress off the bride & groom to have selected vendors that have great reputations within the industry. Thankfully, none of ours let us down!”

When asked about the logistics of planning a destination wedding, Christina and Erik urged patience. The newlyweds also had some additional advice for other couples planning their own destination wedding. “Enjoy every moment. From the planning to the day-of, the whole experience flies by and what you remember is how you felt and the love that is present throughout the process. Set a deadline for yourself a couple nights before the wedding to stop worrying about details and just be in the moment. Believe me, if there are little details you forgot – no one will notice but you. Finally, let people help you. When family and friends offer to do something for you or accompany you to a fitting, etc., say thank you. It really is the more, the merrier. And remember – at the end of the day – it’s just one day, but the person you are marrying will still be there in the morning.”

Vendors: Photographer: Harper Noel Photography, Ceremony/Reception Site: The Crest Center & Pavilion, Florist: Nancy Wilfong from Hickory, North Carolina (bouquets, large arrangements & boutonnieres) and Blossoms Biltmore Park (table arrangements), Stationery: B Wedding Invitations, Cake/Truffles: Ruth & Ranshaw, Makeup: Blush by Wendy Ballance, Hair: Emily Anne Wells, Gown Designer: Judd Waddell from Nitsa’s Apparel, Groom’s Clothing Designer: New York Bride & Groom, Bridesmaids/Groomsmens’ Clothing Designer: J.Crew/New York Bride & Groom, DJ/Lighting: Mitch Henson with ATG Entertainment

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