A Charming Carolina WeddingWords by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Revival Photography
LK and James knew they wanted a wedding in the bride’s home state of North Carolina and to maximize the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains. “We felt like our options in my hometown of Hickory were limited,” says the bride. “There were some great options, but not what we had in mind. James wanted a place with a view. He loves the mountains and Asheville seemed like a really happy place to start our forever,” says the bride. When it came to getting guests’ support, this was perhaps the easiest part of their wedding away.
“We were nervous at first about taking on the idea of a destination wedding,” says LK. “Everyone really liked the idea of an Asheville wedding, but we weren’t sure how possible it would be to pull-off with all of the details that go into planning. After our first meeting with Tara, our wedding planner, she assured us that this would be a definite possibility. We knew with her help that we could make our vision come to life. None of this would have been possible without her help…she was an absolute angel!”
While the couple was initially hesitant to host a wedding away, staying on-track and remaining optimistic aided them in the process. “It could not have been more enjoyable,” reflects the bride. “There were a few minor hiccups, but nothing that wasn’t easily resolved with a pep-talk from my mom and dad or fiancé. The only problem was not being 100% familiar with everything in the [Asheville] area…” One area of uncertainty was in regards to accommodations.
“Asheville had strict regulations for blocking hotel rooms for guests that involved us taking too many risks of paying the difference if guests did not fill all of the rooms,” explains LK. “At first this was a huge source of stress for me…it turned out to be a bit of a blessing. We blocked rooms at Aloft in downtown Asheville where we stayed and a lot of our guests opted to use those rooms. Other than that, we put on our website, that due to the strict regulations, we would request people find their own accommodations. It worked out great because people were able to use their travel points for the hotel of their choice without being constricted to the hotels we chose. We offered a shuttle from Aloft to the venue pretty much all night and it worked out great!”
Come W-Day, the couple had lots of great and personalized details! A favorite of the bride’s was the sentimental touch waiting for guests once they sat down to dinner. “It was super important [to us] for our guests to feel like we wanted them all there and [for them to feel] acknowledged [and know] our thankfulness to have them there. I ordered blank tags and hand-stamped 250 myself that said ‘Thank you for joining us for our first meal as Mr. and Mrs. Johnson.’ No two tags were the same and there was a hand-done look to all of them that hopefully conveyed to our guests that all of this was very personal to us. The tags were tied around the silverware at everyone’s place setting.”
The couple admits that a destination wedding was more costly than a hometown wedding, but that the benefits outweighed the costs. “We had to stay in a hotel just like our guests,” says the bride. “For that reason, I would say it was more expensive, but worth it not having the pressure of people staying in our house or running in and out to get things that may have been forgotten or last-minute details. When you get married in your hometown there is so much added stress that can go along with it. You feel pressure to go and fix things if there is a problem or run to your house if you forgot something. There was such peace of mind once we left our house that Friday morning. We had everything we needed, the cars had been loaded the night before and our lists were complete. It made the whole experience so exciting and added a sense of adventure that I think really topped-off the whole weekend.”
LK and James clearly accomplished the wedding weekend of their dreams, they have some advice for other couples looking to do the same. “[Get a] wedding planner! If it is not in your budget to hire one, buy a [planner or organizer]. They come with an itinerary of what you should be doing and when. The best thing we did was to stay on track and if you take it one day at a time instead of cramming, you can really enjoy it.
“Additionally, what made the process so much easier was that with every choice, I gave myself three options and picked the one I liked best. Be decisive and trust your gut. It is so easy to get overwhelmed now with Pinterest and the Internet being so accessible. Those are great tools to have, but don’t overwhelm yourself with choices.”
Vendors: Photographer: Revival Photography, Wedding Planner: Tara Bland of Tara B’s Eventful Planning, Ceremony/Reception Site: The Crest Center and Pavilion in Asheville, North Carolina, Stationery: Hen and Chicken Papers, Cake: Sugar Plum Fairies Cakes and Confections, Hair: Dustie Boyette & Amber Houston with Strandz Salon & Spa, Makeup: Tiffany Throneburg with Salon on Main, Gown Designer: Martina Liana from J Majors, Groom’s Clothing Designer: custom suit from Nordstrom, Bridesmaids/Groomsmens’ Clothing Designer: Mori Lee/Suit City, Chocolate Covered Berries: Cornerstone Bakery, Cake Topper: Creative Stamps (Etsy), Chalkboard Signs: Anie Illustration (Etsy), Garter: The Honeybee Shop, Custom Chevron Table Runners: Fantasy Vintage Bridal, Custom Hankies: Linda's Sew Fashionable, Custom Bridesmaids Tumbler: Kim Ramirez Creations, Custom Seating Sign: Gingerbread Romantic, Cake Stand: E. lsabella Designs
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