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she would marry him, someday. “We talked a lot about our future from early on and we always felt so comfortable around each other,” she says. Another thing that drew her to Connor, Meredith says, was the close relationship he had with his family. “We both are very close to our families and its something I really value in life.” After graduating in August 2012, Meredith moved to Boone to be near her parents and attend graduate school at Appalachian State University. For the first time in four years, the couple was living in different cities. But, Meredith says, “We did visit each other frequently and there was never any doubt in my mind that we would be together forever.” Her older brother, Bryan, attended graduate school at UNC-G and was able to get to know Connor better; they enjoyed playing intramural sports and going out for trivia nights together. “It made me happy to see two of my favorite men in the world hanging out together and becoming friends,” she says. Upon graduation in 2013, Connor moved to Cary to work with Deutsche Bank. At the time, Meredith had one more semester before graduating with her master’s degree in history. On Dec. 7, 2013, a couple days before she was to graduate, Connor surprised her “with the most amazing proposal,” she says. They had already started talking about marriage and knew they wanted a June wedding in the mountains. “Typical me wanted to start planning to make sure we could make this dream happen,” Meredith says. “Connor was supportive, but still wanted to get me the ring and propose the traditional way.” She had no idea when or how it would happen. So, when encouraged by her dad to take a break from her final papers, and join him and her mother for a hike at Moses Cone trails, she willingly joined them and her golden retriever, Hailey. “It was important because I didn’t know how many more hiking opportunities we would have together, since I’d be moving away soon,” she says. It was a foggy day, but they headed out for their familiar hiking spot, thinking

they wouldn’t see much from their favorite spot where, many times before, they had enjoyed “a gorgeous view of Blowing Rock,” she says. “Once we got closer to the view point, I suddenly heard a male voice calling out ‘Hailey, Hailey!’ she says, admitting to her shock when she realized the man calling for her dog was Connor. “He was supposed to be in Cary,” she says. ”I kept asking him why he was there.” Taking her hand, Connor led her to the viewpoint, completely fogged over at that point, with Hailey in tow. “After talking to me for awhile about our relationship and how much he loves me, he got down on one knee and proposed,” Meredith says. “It was a perfect proposal in a perfect location with the perfect people there to celebrate with us. Plus, my father recorded it while my mother took pictures.” Her parents knew the plan the whole time and kept the secret well, she adds. Planning a mountain wedding

The couple knew they wanted a mountain wedding, “a relatively intimate affair,” Meredith says, with only family and close friends attending. Considering their large families, their guest list of 110 “was perfect.” From the beginning, Meredith wanted to be married at Banner Elk Presbyterian Church. “During the summer of 2013, I had done some research for Lees-McRae College on its architectural history,” she says. “The college founder, Edgar Tufts, was also the founder of the church. As a history buff, I fell in love with the history of both the church and college, as well as the beautiful stonework on the church and the stained glass windows.” Wanting an outdoor reception, they chose Banner Elk Winery as the site — “a perfect place for an outdoor reception,’ Meredith adds. With venues secured, they began working with Elizabeth Hempfling, their wedding planner — “amazing from the beginning,” Meredith says, “and really understood what I wanted. She was really great to work with and was always in communication with us.” Elizabeth took a lot of stress off the

bride and her parents, Meredith says, and recommended great vendors — Leigh Ann Pozell/Snow in July Designs, for stationery and printing, local bluegrass band, Boss Hawg for music, Tina at Reid’s Catering for “good southern food,” and “the perfect cake by JoAnn Hallmark.” Happy to be accompanied by her parents to pick out her dress (at Did Someone Say Party), Meredith chose the second dress of about 10 that she tried on. “I wanted a simple dress with lace,” she says, never thinking she would choose a sleeveless dress. “But I did and it was perfect and comfortable and made me feel like a true bride.” Meredith and Connor wanted their wedding to reflect who they are, she says. “We wanted everyone to have fun, including those who didn’t dance, so we included outdoor games like corn hole, ring toss, inflatable bowling, badminton, and a large Jenga game.” Bluegrass music kicked off the wedding, followed by an iPod mixture of oldies and country that she and Connor both love — hand-picked by Meredith and her dad. For her bridesmaids’ attire, Meredith chose her favorite shade of green; the décor throughout the ceremony and reception also included variations of greens, browns, and white. “I wanted everything to have a natural feeling, including the flowers,” she says. Her bouquet consisted of wildflowers, which, along with that of her attendants and all the ceremony arrangements, were designed by a family friend. Kristi Turbyfill at Events by Elizabeth Ashley designed flowers for the reception. “Both did an amazing job at picking flowers that blended well together,” she says — “and all decorations and flowers enhanced the inherent beauty of both the church and the mountains,” just as she desired. The wedding events, including the bridal portraits, were “perfectly captured” by Fletcher & Fletcher Photography, the couple says, as was the video by Hart to Heart Media. A special touch was a “heartfelt talk” by Meredith’s grandfather, Jack, by the campfire at the end of the reception. Continued on next page January-February 2015

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Profile for Mountain Times Publications

All About Women January-February 2015  

All about women of the High Country

All About Women January-February 2015  

All about women of the High Country

Profile for mtimes