All About Weddings 2023

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It’s time to celebrate your love! As an engaged couple, you may already be bombarded with the seemingly never ending list of questions about your upcoming wedding day. What will you wear? Where will it be? And how are you going to afford all that?

Take a deep breath and rememberthis day is about you, your partner and your life together. It’s a celebration of your commitment to one another, the joining of family and friends and the start of a new chapter.

To help you stay focused on your love and navigate the piling up to-do list, the High Country has no shortage of resources to make your wedding planning seamless. From florists to caterers and everything in between, local vendors are equipped to help you achieve the perfect day you envisioned. The 2023 edition of All About Weddings - an award-winning special publication of the All About Women magazine - features researched planning advice, tips and tricks and breathtaking photospreads to spark some inspiration.

Our contributing writers and local experts are here to answer all your questions about the daunting task of planning a wedding. Whether you choose to DIY decor or hire an event planner for each step of the

way, this magazine will assist you in making decisions about floral arrangements, hairstyles and venues while providing tips to stay calm, budget responsibly and stay true to you.

Photographs from local photographers showcase the endless possibilities of ways to celebrate your union. Mountainous hike elopements, traditional religious ceremonies, dance-filled receptions and intimate vow renewals are all highlighted by the beautiful backdrop of the Blue Ridge mountains, autumn leaves and artisan-crafted venues that make the High Country the dream destination for weddings of any kind.

We appreciate the work of our advertisers, contributors and photographers in bringing together this magazine that celebrates love here in the High Country. After all, when the planning is done and the big day comes to a close, the married couple will have their wedding day to look back on as a celebration of their life together.

Wishing you all the fun, love and happiness on your wedding day and beyond! Congratulations!


Gene Fowler


Jillyan Mobley

Anna De La Cruz

Aubrey Smith

Bailey Little

Barbara Holdcroft

Chanda Richardson

Heather Brandon

Jordyn Daniels

Marion Edwards

Mary McKinney

Sophia Lyons


Meleah Bryan


4 | All About Weddings 2023 editor’s note
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6 | All About Weddings 2023 CONTENTS tips and trends 08 Staying Calm 12 DIY Wedding Makeup Tips 14 Wedding Hairstyle Inspiration 16 Navigating the Mountain of High Country Photographers 18 Tips from our Brides 20 The Ever-Changing Art of Floral Arrangements 22 To Change or Not to Change: That is the Question 62 Groom’s Looks 66 Low-Cost Wedding Tips 30 46 36 52 38 54 32 48 40 58 weddings 30 Ali & Mitchel 32 Brittany & Phillip 36 Chelsea & Jonathan 38 Natalie & Ben 40 Hannah & Joe 46 Aspen & Michael 48 Kierney & Chad 52 Tracy & Marcus 54 Sadie & Tristan 58 Nikki & Jake engagements 60 Jenna & Chris 61 Kiri & Emily venues 74-79 catering 80-81 more 04 Editor’s Note 24 Jess & Matt: A Wedding (Planning) Story 64 Dream Catchers and Open-Eyed Dreamers 68 Unique Venues for Divine Ceremonies
PatrickMorgan KellerWilliamsHighCountr y 828-7 73-2960 | Rick Miller MillerProperties,Inc. 828-262-3830 BrokerInterest Located in beautiful Boone, NC off Brookshire Road, you will find Boone’s newest development, Townhomes At Brookshire. Created to give residents a place that is bo th affordable and convenient, Townhomes At Brookshire is less than one mile from the New River, Industrial Park, Brookshire Park, ASU Soccer Field and Greenway Walking Trail, yet only 5 minutes to downtown Boone.

Staying Calm Leading up to the Big Day

Planning a wedding is often described as the most exciting and stressful experience for brides-to-be. The pressure of all preparations which combine to create this momentous occasion can easily become overwhelming. However, there are many activities and self-care practices to take advantage of which can alleviate stressors.


Attending a yoga class or practicing yoga as an individual is a great way to

loosen your muscles and clear your mind as you prepare for your big day.

In Ashe County, Frank and Jeannine Williams own a peaceful, quiet yoga retreat.

What led them to pursue their own yoga studio was the effect that practicing yoga had on their own lives. They wanted to share the benefits with other people. A deciding factor in their search for a location was choosing a community where yoga was not readily-accessible to residents.

Based on her knowledge and experi-

ence, Jeannine would explain the benefits of yoga to a bride and/or their wedding party as a way to alleviate stress and relax. She explained the importance breathing has in practicing yoga and said some asanas (poses) are specifically designed to relieve anxiety, providing a calming and peaceful experience.

Frank spoke about the importance of carving time out of your day to turn off your phone and all outside noise.

“Yoga is a great way, as you come onto your mat, to forget about everything that is off of that mat and just be there in that

8 | All About Weddings 2023
Photo by Art of the Float

particular moment,” Frank said.

Ridgetop Yoga Retreat & Cabins is for everyone, inclusive of every age and every level. The Williams’ main priority is to make people feel welcome in their classes.

Jeannine has worked with wedding parties in the past, teaching classes both at venues and at the studio. She shared that one wedding party who participated in a general class the morning of the wedding were thankful that they participated. Some brides will travel to Ridgetop Yoga Retreat & Cabins for an on-site class with their groom and/or bridal party. Jeannine recommends participating in a yoga class the day before the wedding.

One piece of advice the Williams give to those hoping to fit yoga into their busy schedule is utilizing their online studio in order to practice at their convenience. Frank emphasized that doing yoga does not have to be structured by one-hour long time windows. This is a common misconception. Yoga can be as simple as someone spending 10 minutes quietly, just breathing.

“Yoga has eight limbs and only one of them is the movement,” Frank said. “So the other seven are just as important.”

In their classes, they try to incorporate as much of the other seven limbs as they can. The eight limbs of yoga are Yama (restraints), Niyama (observances), Asana (posture), Pranayama (breath control), Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), Dharana (concentration) Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (pure contemplation).

One of the main tips the Williams offered for beginners is making sure the first class they attend is truly for beginners. Those hoping to incorporate yoga into their lives should attend different classes until they find the teacher and studio that best suits them. Jeannine shared that it is important to commit to yoga for a period of time. The more frequently you attend classes, the more you will get out of it and the more likely it is to become a routine.

Ridgetop Yoga Retreat & Cabins is located at 2161 Boggs Road in West Jefferson, North Carolina. For more information about their services or to book a class, visit their Facebook Page @Ridgetop Yoga Retreat & Cabins, call (239) 322-9942 or email

Juu ie Vos

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Westhaven Aesthetics & Wellness began providing services to Ashe County and neighboring counties in March 2022. It is a medical spa which offers a range of services such as high-quality aesthetic services, laser hair removal, sauna therapy, IV hydration and infusion therapy and massage therapy. Westhaven Aesthetics & Wellness provides a menu of services for wedding events, bridal parties, bachelor(ette) parties, women’s retreats and destination events.

Providers at Westhaven include Sarah McNeil, APRN, CRNA- Provider/Injector, Kimberly McNeil, Pharm. D- Pharmacist/ Associate and Silvia Durango, Massage Therapist.

Both Sarah and Kimberly have always had a passion and interest in skincare, makeup, botox and other preventive measures.

Westhaven is a result of an idea Sara had during Fall of 2021. She decided that since there was not a MedSpa in Ashe County or surrounding counties, it was a community need that she wanted to be met. Previously, residents of Ashe and surrounding counties would have to travel to a larger city such as Charlotte or Asheville to receive services offered at MedSpas. After she spoke with Kim and Carrie, who were both on board, they completed the background work which took about 3-4 months. Now it is Ashe County’s first and only MedSpa.

“There was a longstanding independent interest in aesthetics and different

procedures,” Kimberly said. “We just kinda married those interests into a growing passion. The opportunity to bring something to the area that was not here, not just because of personal interest, but because of community need, was a big conversation with us.”

Westhaven’s Kimberly and Carrie McNeil grew up in Ashe County and were aware of the limited access to self-care treatments. Sarah grew up in Atlanta and is originally from South Carolina.

She used to work at some of the largest hospitals and resources were never in question.

“You’re bypassing a huge effort from your body to extract those nutrients from either foods or supplements that you take by mouth,” Kimberly said.

For bridal parties or completing any preparations for an event, IV hydration and infusion therapy makes it easier for your body to absorb the nutrients it needs, such as Biotin or Vitamin C. In terms of relaxation, IV hydration and infusion therapy will be time to yourself spent recovering and replenishing nutrients that are lacking or have been used up due to activities such as exercise.

Some suggested drips for brides and wedding parties are Quench, Immune Boost, Myers Cocktail, Beauty, and Hangover Magic. Alleviate is a blend that provides prevention and relief from symptoms associated with stress, tension, acute migraines and headaches. Hangover Magic can be used to prepare your body for a special event or assist in the recovery process after the party is over. The highly

encouraged beauty drip helps restore hydration and improves the appearance of hair, skin and nails. This is accomplished by providing powerful antioxidants to enhance your beauty from the inside out. As hydration is restored, skin will reap the benefits and have a glowing appearance, which is highly sought after for brides and their wedding parties.

Hydration drips that Westhaven offers as a concierge (mobile) service are Beauty, Quench,

Hangover Magic and Alleviate. Additional drips are offered in-house. IV Hydration services are available a-la-carte and IV drips can be prepared for each individual based on their needs or desires. If needed, ingredients from one drip can be added to another in order to individualize treatments.

At Westhaven, there is an infrared sauna that offers an enjoyable, pleasant experience. Carrie shared the benefits of the sauna and how it works. The sauna warms the body from within instead of only heating the air around its occupant. The low to moderate consistent heat helps increase blood flow and helps soothe the body and mind. With every infrared session, occupants experience detoxification, pain relief and eased muscle tension.

Westhaven Aesthetics &Wellness is located at 875 Mount Jefferson Road, Suite 3 in West Jefferson, NC.

For more information about services or to schedule an appointment, visit the website at, the Facebook page @Westhaven Aesthetics &Wellness or call (336) 846-7546.

Floatation Therapy

Floatation Therapy, also known as sensory deprivation, provides a way to help people access states of mindfulness. The goal is to minimize every outside sensation, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and enhance feelings of happiness and wellbeing.

Brad and Angela Heavner are the founders and owners of 180 Float Spa in Boone. Their personal experience with float therapy was what drove them to bring this service to Watauga County. While searching for recovery techniques and ways to achieve a healthier lifestyle, the Heavners discovered float therapy. They both tried it for the first time in Ashe-

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Westhaven Spa & Aesthetics. Photo submitted

ville, NC. With their first float, they both had different experiences. Angela experienced more of the stress relieving benefits while Brad experienced physical pain relief.

“For me personally, I’ve always wanted to have a business and start something,” Angela said. “Once I experienced that, I knew that was what it was.”

When booking an appointment at 180 Float Spa, people have the option to choose between the Evolution Float Pod and the Deluxe Float Suite. The two different styles work the same way and provide the same benefits. The choice comes down to user preference and individual comfort levels. They are also given the choice between a 60 or 90 minute float.

The Evolution Float Pod has a clamshell-style lid that closes down over the top of its occupant.

While inside, floaters remain stationary, enjoying a warm and cozy experience. According to Angela, some describe it as being back in a mother’s womb.

The Deluxe Float Suite is a spacious tub-style room and floaters experience more movement and rotation of their body during sessions.

“We always suggest people try both and then see which one they like,” Angela said. “There’s no rhyme or reason to who likes what over the other one, but once people try both most people have a preference.”

Angela encourages people to try float therapy two or three times because it is such a new experience. Sometimes it takes

more than one time for people to let their mind truly relax and reap the benefits of sensory deprivation.

Both float tanks offered at 180 Float Spa are filled with water that is 10 inches deep and contains 1,000 pounds of pharmaceutical grade Epsom salt. This allows participants to float effortlessly, even if they fall asleep during their session. The water temperature inside mimics external skin temperature, removing the stimuli of touch. Angela explained that this results in floaters not being able to decipher which body parts are inside or outside of the water.

“Your mind is not having to concentrate on all of these things, where in regular day life and in the world we are pretty bombarded and overstimulated on a constant basis,” Angela said.

She described the goal of float therapy as allowing your mind to relax and enter a deep state of consciousness, causing brain waves to begin slowing down. As a result, this will provide stress relief and relaxation. Float therapy is the first time that a person’s body feels weightless, allowing the spine to decompress. This makes it a great option for pain management and tension relief.

The Evolution Float Pod and the Deluxe Float Suite are both equipped with user-controlled light and music options in the form of starlit ceilings and calming spa music. Floaters do have the option of experiencing full sensory deprivation by turning off both light and sound. All of

these controls are easily accessible and may be adjusted during the length of a float based on the user’s comfort levels and preferences.

180 Float Spa provides a full orientation before a scheduled float. Showers are provided for use before and after a float session. Both float rooms contain all items needed for an enjoyable experience such as ear plugs, a foam headrest, washcloths, towels and a robe. For their float session, guests may choose to bring swimwear or experience floating while nude.

In addition to the two float rooms, there is an infrared sauna for people to enjoy and use as another method of relaxation.

“You can stay in longer because it works at a lower temperature,” Angela said. “It uses the infrared wavelengths to heat your body directly versus heating the air around you like a traditional sauna.”

Angela described it as being less stuffy and more pleasant than traditional saunas. There is a digital tablet inside of the infrared sauna for guests to have the option of listening to their own music. She shared that several guests will spend time in the sauna before a float session to provide a full relaxation experience.

A dimly lit room with a fish tank, couch and tables is located inside the spa. Following a float or sauna session, guests are provided with a place to relax and are offered a complimentary cup of hot tea or glass of water. There is also a styling room for guest convenience, equipped with amenities such as mirrors and a hairdryer.

The name 180 Float Spa was inspired by the 180 degree difference that was experienced by the Heavners and is now experienced by their guests.

“Those really profound experiences are rewarding to see when someone comes out,” Angela said.

180 Float Spa is located at 249 Kimberly Drive in Boone, NC.

To learn more about services or to schedule an appointment, visit the website at or call (828-832-8180). Photos and promotional opportunities can be found on their Facebook page @180floatspa.


Bailey currently works for Ashe County Schools and freelances in her spare time. She enjoys drinking coffee, listening to music and traveling. She can be contacted at

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Full frontal view of the exterior of the Evolution Float Pod. Photo by Justin Chew Photography

Makeup Tips

Congratulations! Your wedding day is so special and exciting—it is all about you and the beginning of the rest of your life. You will definitely be the center of attention and all eyes will be on you.

Helping a bride look her most beautiful is what I do as a professional makeup artist. If you are doing your own makeup, I have put together a few tips to help. Of course, I can’t properly give a tutorial in this short article but I can spotlight some things to consider.

First you need to seriously consider your “look” and find inspirations to follow. Nix the crazy trendy stuff and go for a look so that your children won’t ask you what in the world you were thinking years down the line. A classic, timeless look will stand the test of time.

from a Professional Esthetician

Good skin care is paramount to creating a canvas on which to work your magic. A clean, moisturized face is the start - now let’s begin the makeup process!

Face primer is a must because it provides a smooth surface for your foundation - it turns an ‘orange’ into an ‘apple’ - and amplifies its staying power.

Foundation is the next step to creating a flawless base! You can use cream, liquid or powder, though I opt for the cream or liquid as powder tends to fade faster. Choose a shade that matches your skin tone and apply with a damp sponge or foundation brush, starting in the center of the face and blending outwards and down to flatten any facial hairs.

All of us have imperfections that can be corrected with a little concealer. For most,

the under-eye area is usually the culprit. Choose a color closest to your skin tone or lighter, depending on your preferred look, and apply with a concealer brush and stipple and blend any lines of demarcation with a sponge or your finger.

Aways set foundation and concealer with loose translucent powder to get a smooth finish. Press it onto skin and whisk off with a fluffy powder brush.

Your brows frame your face so it is important to follow your natural brow line. I recommend no rerouting, no TikTok or Instagram latest trends - or you too might be asking yourself in 15 years when you’re looking at those pictures, “What was I thinking?”

For brows you can choose from pencils, gels and powders. I like to fill in with pencil

12 | All About Weddings 2023 Do-It-Yourself
Laurel Littler Photography Laurel Littler Photography

and finish off with powder. For bushy brows, a gel is great to spool them in place.

Eye Primer is a must for holding shadow color and consistency. Lids tend to get greasy and color creases and disappears.

Your eyes will reflect your happiness and joy on your wedding day. I recommend natural eye shadow shades like taupes, browns, beiges, ivories and golds, just assure that the colors enhance your eye color. Basically three shadow colors are used - a highlighter for the brow bone, a mid-tone all over eye and a contour to define the eye shape.

Use two matte shades and one shimmer, never frosted as it will appear greasy.

Eyeliner gives further definition to your eyes and choices are pencil, gel and liquid. Pencil is more forgiving and can be smudged and softened. Liquid is for experts with a precise hand.

Lush lashes are absolutely beautiful and false lashes will definitely elevate your look. If you feel you can’t apply, recruit a friend who can do it!

Bronzer and blush work together to bring your face alive and give a natural healthy glow. Apply bronzer to cheekbones first then brush blush on apples of cheeks sweeping back towards the hairline.

You have a choice of liquid, crème or powder. Powder blush should be applied after powder application to the face while crème or liquid blush can be applied directly after crème or liquid foundation.

Please, please exfoliate those lips! You want them soft and kissable. Prep lips with lip balm or moisturizer at the very beginning. Blot off any excess and apply lip liner over the entire lip and top with a pretty lip color of your choice. I like to use a long wear matte on my brides and top with a gloss.

A quick tip! If your partner is concerned they’ll end up wearing your lipstick, simply lick your lips before the big kiss!

A few spritzes of finishing spray and voila! Take pictures of your look and ask for opinions from a bestie.

All About Weddings 2023 | 13 CallforHours Newland,NC (828)733-0186 Yoursource forvintage dinnerware rentalsin thehigh country. y MARION EDWARDS Marion Edwards is a Licensed Esthetician, Professional Makeup Artist and Certified Trainer for Motives Cosmetics. She can be contacted at 828.773.1500.

Hair to make them stare

Wedding Hairstyle Inspiration

You’ve set the date, picked out a venue and started exploring food and rental vendors in the area where your wedding will be. Deciding what to do with your hair doesn’t have to be a difficult process with inspiration and a little collaboration.

Whether you’re planning on doing your own hair or working with a stylist, the first step is to find inspiration. Wedding boards and the Instagram pages of stylists near the place you’ll be getting ready is a solid first step. The High Country is lucky to have talented stylists at numerous salons in the area, including Mane Habit, Shear Shakti, Canvas Beauty Bar, Serendipity Salon and more. Some people may want to consider trendy magazines and celebrity styles, too.

Allie Oliver of Battle Born Beauty, based in Banner Elk, North Carolina, said that this season’s trends emphasize classic, glamorous, timeless styles for all hair lengths. Brides working with her have been requesting middle parts and slicked-back looks whether up or down. Women with textured hair often choose to highlight Battle Born Beauty, based in Banner Elk.

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Photo by Enowen Photography

their natural curl pattern with half-up and updo looks.

The low bun is classic and classy, a tried-and-true staple for good reason, and other elegant styles are highly requested. Galy Gabriel with Mane Habit Salon has also worked with requests for boho chic looks, bringing in texture, volume and accents for romantic and free-spirited vibes. Simple, endearing accessories, like crowns, florals and hair pins, can bring a touch of the wearer’s personality to a well-loved style.

Shorter cuts, including styling for pixie cuts, are also growing in popularity, emphasizing a sleek, chic, executive vibe. Brides and women in the bridal party don’t have to have all the fun, either: styling for men and boys, especially with longer hair, is growing more common.

“Even little boys,” Oliver said. “I did a wedding where their son was involved, and it was cool to have him feel a part of that. It’s truly a memory for a lot of folks.”

The season and type of ceremony is also a part of choosing the most fitting (and comfortable!) style for you. Brides with outdoor weddings in the summer might be less hot with a half-up or updo

style, while winter weddings might call for hair down. Gabriel likes to work with halfup, half-down styles with curls for more formal weddings, and low-key low buns and less texture for more casual outdoor weddings where humidity might make it difficult for more intricate styles to hold.

Oliver and Gabriel both emphasized doing a trial before the day of the wedding when working with a stylist. A trial is the best opportunity for the person being styled and the stylist to talk about the vision for the look, make sure the style is realistic for the hair type and length, and provide any necessary feedback to achieve the best possible look.

Booking the trial is also a good idea if you’re not sure whether you’d like to do your own hair or not. A trial gives you and a stylist an opportunity to try and collaborate, and if you don’t enjoy the experience you can still do it yourself. It may even give you inspiration for your own style!

Brides doing their own hair should do a few trial runs of their style as well to make sure it’s going to come out the way they’re hoping for. Enlisting a trusted friend who can see the back of your head helps with ensuring everything is in place.

On the day of the wedding, the maxim “come with clean hair” is typically true: it’s easier to add texture and grip with product than washing and drying the hair when you’re already operating on a schedule. Brides with curly or textured hair may prefer to come in with second-day hair or with conditioning products immediately after washing.

Some stylists are prepared for washing and/or drying; confirm this in advance to avoid a snag that morning. Plus, Oliver said that the power of the “everything” shower the morning of the wedding is a beautiful way to have a fresh start in the new chapter. She suggests getting the party started that morning, having a good time with the people you love.

“Entryway champagne pops should be a thing!” she said. “You’re supposed to look amazing and have fun, sit back and enjoy it.”


All About Weddings 2023 | 15
Sophia Lyons is a 2021 graduate of Appalachian State University’s journalism program who fell in love with the High Country. They kayak, powerlift, and work on fine crafting in their free time.

The High Country is abundant with photographers of many different styles so when it comes time to find one for your special day the task can seem daunting; but with a couple tips and tricks, you’ll be navigating the mountain of options with ease and will be on your way to finding a photographer that fits your vibe in no time.

Think about what you want in a photographer.

First, define the styles of photography you want in your wedding photos. When figuring out what you’re looking for, Pinterest and Google can be great resources for inspiration. Photographer Sarah DeShields says common wedding photography styles include light and airy, documentary, ethereal, dark and moody, true to color and film and analog.

After grasping an idea of what styles and elements you’re aiming for, another simple Google search can help you locate photographers within those styles in your area. DeShields recommends searching keywords that describe the kind of photography you’re attracted to paired with the

Navigating the mountain of High Country photographers

location or venue of your wedding. This can help navigate the large and possibly overwhelming number of options in the High Country.

“There are so many different styles of photography, and I will say in the High Country we have everything,” said DeShields, owner of Enowen Photography. “I mean, we have such a broad range of photographers, which is wonderful, and we’re all, you know, quite different from each other.”

Spend time on a photographer’s website.

Once you find a photographer you’re interested in, get to know their website well. Photographers put a lot of time and effort into their online portfolios, and they offer an examination into not only their work, but also who they are as a person.

“I find that the couples that I gel with almost immediately are ones that have spent a lot of time with my work before even calling,” DeShields said.

By examining an online portfolio, you get to know their style and can see if it’s something you want to emulate in your

own photos. Attention to how photos are edited can help you decide if you’re looking in the right direction. Maybe you like a photographer’s tendency to shoot bright and colorful photos, or maybe you’re more attracted to dimly lit black-and-white images. Whatever the style, if you like what you’re seeing, the photographer could be a good match.

Schedule a consultation and let them know why you’re interested.

Consultations are vital in clearing the communication between you and your photographer — it’s a time to learn more about their work and how they go about shoots, view samples of what they’ve done before, and of course, talk logistics. A consultation or phone call before booking is key in ensuring a certain photographer is the right fit to capture your special day.

While it’s an important opportunity for you to interview a potential photographer, it’s just as important to let them interview you. Photographers will often have an array of questions to learn more about you and what you’re looking for to make

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MorningWild Photography

your dreams come true. Don’t be afraid to let them know what you like about their work and what you’re hoping they can do for you.

“Usually when I do consults with my prospective couples, I ask them what they’re looking for in a photographer because I feel like it’s my job to serve them, and I want to make sure that I can meet their needs,” said photographer Megan Gielow, owner of MorningWild photography.

Get to know your photographer and let them get to know you.

Though you’ll likely have a long list of questions going into a consultation, it’s important to prioritize making a connection with your photographer and ensure they’re a good fit personality-wise. Your photographer plays an important part in your special day, so it’s vital they’re someone you get along with.

“Your photographer is with you more than, really, any other vendor or person on your wedding day,” Gielow said.

Photographers want to be there for

Attention to how photos

Photography. “They’re doing a lot of the behind-the-scenes throughout the day.”

Ask to see a full gallery.

While websites and Instagram portfolios are a great way to get to know photographers, they’re simply curations of their best work across multiple different shoots. To get an idea of how a photographer approaches a single event, ask to see a full gallery. It’s important to examine the consistency of photographs within a gallery, how the photographs are edited, and see if there’s a good mixture of ranges and angles within their shots, as well as how they capture the “little moments” of the day, Olson said.

you and do what they can to make your day perfect, so don’t underestimate the importance of connecting with them and ensuring they’re someone you can trust — they’ll often be doing way more than snapping pictures.

“There’s so much more than just taking the photos. They’re the ones fluffing your dress, giving you a hug, clearing the room if you can’t handle it, talking to your grandmother, all those things,” said photographer Whitney Olson of Olson Design

Full galleries are good glimpses into what you can expect from a photographer, so if you like what you see, it may be a good sign.

Aubrey Smith is a third-year student at Appalachian State University from Cary, NC studying journalism and public relations. She can be contacted at 919-770-6465 or

All About Weddings 2023 | 17 ROMANTIC.ELEGANT. BEAUTIFUL RodneySmith PHOTOGRAPHY NowAcceptingBookings
are edited can help you decide if you’re looking in the right direction.

“DON’T FEEL PRESSURED TO DO ANYTHING YOU DON’T WANT. People are going to say ‘oh, you should do this thing’ - just stay the course and do what you know you want.” -

“THERE IS A LOT YOU CAN’T CONTROL - like the weather! So enjoy the day, everybody there and most of all, each other.” - Nikki

“MY ADVICE WOULD BE TO TAP INTO WHAT YOU VISION FOR YOUR WEDDING. Don’t get so captivated in what the media says you have to have. Make it your own and be happy about your own vision. Don’t feel like you have to force the status quo. Be happy with what you chose because you will be the ones looking back on it years later.”

“MAKE SURE TO TAKE THE TIME TO FULLY ENJOY EACH MOMENT OF THE DAY. One thing that helped me stay relaxed during the day: I told everyone to not mention the time, but rather what was next on our agenda. This helped me to not worry about staying on time, and to stay more in the moment rather than dwell on what time it was.” - Natalie

“AGREE AND IDENTIFY YOUR TOP 3 PRIORITIES EARLY ON AND WRITE THEM DOWN! It’s easy to get into analysis paralysis over all the details, but the day goes by way too fast to spend too much time thinking about something that may not even be that important.” - Tracy


“GET STARTED EARLIER ON THE CAKE because we were down to the last session on that one… I was also getting married in a very popular area, so a lot of people in the area got taken really fast.”

“WEDDINGS CAN BE VERY STRESSFUL. REMEMBER IT’S NOT ABOUT EVERYONE ELSE - this is the day that you’ve always dreamed of- and you won’t get that time back. Time goes by so fast. Remember to breathe and embrace every moment.” - Kierney

“I THINK THAT NOT EVERYBODY WILL HAVE THIS LUXURY, BUT THERE IS ACTUALLY SO MUCH THAT YOU CAN DO YOURSELF OR DO CHEAPER, especially now that everything with the “wedding” label on it is automatically marked up. … I don’t think you have to look up a checklist online and do every single thing on that checklist to have an amazing wedding.” - Chelsea

“ENJOY THE PROCESS OF PLANNING! You can help yourself with this by locking down your vendors far enough in advance so you aren’t scrambling and you have enough time to plan with them. Look at your vendor’s Instagrams or websites to make sure they align with your style/ personality. Be very open with them about what you’re envisioning. Have fun with it and don’t stress! The wedding day flies by so try to enjoy your time beforehand, as well!” - Hannah

“YOUR WEDDING DAY IS JUST ONE DAY… Truly focus on building your relationship with each other and work through things together during the engagement process because it will pay off after the big day.” - Ali

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The ever-changing art of Floral Arrangements

Florists in the High Country can certainly relate to the old adage that “change is the only constant in life.” The concept of getting married is still popular, but the “adjustments” that some of them are experiencing now are quite different than even the ideas that were popular a year ago.

Florist Julie Wyatt from the Village Florist from Jefferson in Ashe County has noticed a difference in the bride’s requests for their bouquet flowers. If there is a “trend” it is to move away from the traditional colors of blue and white to choosing colors all over the map. Even the roses are incorporated into a “wildflower look” that features many colors within the bouquet.

Lori Benfield, who owns and operates Mountain Vision Florist in Newland has noticed that her requests for the bride’s

bouquet are trending toward free flowing flowers that are big and bushy. Although her mission is to honor the request of the bride, she often has to caution that a long bouquet will cover the wedding gown. It becomes a particular problem when the bride is of small stature – she doesn’t want the flowers to cover the dress. Sometimes the bride will just give her the colors and see what happens.

“After all,” she says, “I do know what looks good.”

However, it is her job to please the bride – not the mothers – even if she is not in favor of an idea.

Florist Aeriell Youngbar of Bouquet

Florist in Boone indicates that many of her brides have been leaning toward bouquets that are not as oversized as they once were.

Millefleuers of Banner Elk owner and floral designer Mason Heistand has noticed a trend toward very colorful bouquet choices. She has seen the requests move from just white to very colorful arrangements using dahlias and peonies, which they grow on their property. She also has noticed an increase in the requests to use herbs, moss and fern in bouquets. This is particularly popular with smaller weddings.

Most of the florists expressed having difficulty with ordering flowers. Although some flower types are easier, they notice that shipping is “iffy” and more improvement in the supply chain is needed. Aeriell believes that one reason for this problem is that the farms used for growing the flowers were shut down because of Covid, and therefore not as many flowers were plant-

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Rodney Smith Photography

ed, thus limiting the source. Some flowers have been very difficult to get, especially some colors of roses. Conversely, a grower like Mason Heistand has a wide variety of blooms available because they are able to grow so much of their own supply.

Another new concept is the “do-ityourself” floral decorating. This is generally not used for the wedding party, but a number of brides will make their own arrangements for the rehearsal dinner or the reception.

Lori Benfield from Mountain Visions Florist says that she will order the flowers for the bride, who usually takes them home to make the table decorations.

She comments that sometimes they’ll stay in the shop, using her work table, and responding to her suggestions along the way.

In Boone, Aeriell knows where the brides can order flowers by the bucket or by the bundle and then craft their own creations for the rehearsal dinner or the reception. Conversely, Mason Heistand is a floral designer who handles all of the flowers for the venue from the wedding party to the table decorations.

Although elopements are still in vogue, the timing of the event is key to having flowers for the wedding party. If a florist is particularly busy, it might be hard to prepare much more than a small bouquet and a boutonnière on short notice. If the request is for two people with a wedding party of four to six people, Aeriell comments that this can usually be done. But some of the requests are for what she called micro-weddings that involve 30 guests or less. Often these can be scheduled during the weekdays at popular venues since the venue wants to fill in dates on their calendar.

All of the florists indicate that they are booked well into the Fall of 2023. Julie Wyatt of Village Florist commented that last

year there were many open-air weddings, and that they are noticing more bookings for the fall season.

Lori Benfield of Mountain Visions Florist comments that the open-air ceremonies might also include flowers for a pet. She indicates that she will help with dogs but will not accommodate a cat request.

All of the florists agreed that preserving the bouquet is the job of a specialist. This is a difficult task: Julie Wyatt described it as taking apart the entire bouquet, preserving each item, and then rebuilding the bouquet. This is then sealed in a glass case. Many florists will offer the name of an establishment that will undertake this job.

The florists of the High Country don’t need any advice from the Greek Philosopher Heraclitus – they already know that “change is the only constant” in their business. And they’re ready for it.

Bouque tF lorist

All About Weddings 2023 | 21 Aeriell Youngbar HEADWEDDING &EVENTSDESIGNER 828-264-3313 186BooneHeightsDr.
BARBARA HOLDCROFT, PH.D. Barb lives in the High Country with husband Kirk and daughter Katie. She is the Special Olympics Coordinator for Avery County, has done some adjunct teaching for several local colleges and is a contributor to the Avery Journal-Times Buffalo and the Bird Photography

It’s not just about the wedding - it’s about the marriage!

There are so many decisions to make while planning a wedding, but don’t think they stop there. Traditionally, wives have adopted their husband’s last name once they have their official marriage license, but over time the societal pressure to reconsider this custom has grown exponentially.

Many women in opposite-sex couples feel pressure to uphold tradition while also maintaining their identity as an individual. Your grandparents may urge you to do what has been done historically while your younger sister might send you TikToks

To Change or Not to Change: That is the Question

about how you’re upholding the patriarchy - there are so many opinions! But remember, like all other wedding and marriage decisions, this one is yours.

According to the National Women’s History Museum, the earliest known instance of an American woman maintaining her maiden name after marriage was notable activist Lucy Stone, who married in 1855. Years after her passing in the 1920s, the Lucy Stone League was founded by prominent feminists to help married women preserve their surname and, in part, identities in a time when wives were expected to fulfill the role of homemaker.

Despite this effort, most news outlets report 70 to 80% of women taking their husband’s last names when married. There are many reasons a woman may choose to adopt her husband’s last name after marriage, including:

• The tradition is important to her

• She views it as a symbol of commitment

• She prefers his last name over her own

• She does not have a relationship with those who share the same last name

• She wants to have the same last name as their children / future children

While the majority of heterosexual

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Laurel Littler Photography Cynthia Viola Photography Buffalo and Bird Photography

couples do make the decision to have the same surname, many people chose to maintain their own last names after marriage. Whether it is a way to denounce patriarchal traditions, maintain a professional identity associated with the name or simply avoid the stress of all the paperwork, it is each woman’s decision to change her name or not.

Though many look at someone adopting their spouse’s last name as a practice in heterosexual relationships, many queer couples choose to do the same.

While the Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that same-sex couples have the right to marry and a marriage license is typically the key element to post-wedding name changes, there can still be added difficulties for queer couples. Laws change state-to-state, and sometimes even county-to-county, so be sure to check your local regulations regarding name changes.

Though traditionally the choice has been for one spouse to take the other’s last name or not, today there are various options for couples to consider.

Hyphenating both last names is an egalitarian choice for couples who want to share the same last name but do not want to follow tradition. With this option, spouses and their children will all have the same name, though it may be a little long. The name change process may be doubled, but at least you can do it together!

Some couples even choose to come up with a new last name altogether! Though not the most popular option, creating a new name allows couples to establish a new tradition for themselves where each partner is treated equally. This process is likely to be more time intensive and complicated, as couples may have to hire an attorney to complete the process.

In heterosexual relationships, a popular choice is for women to take on two last names, their own and their husband’s, or change their middle name to their maiden name. Another alternative for straight couples is for husbands to take their wife’s name, which, according to the Family Story Project, about 3% of couples choose to do.

Ultimately, deciding to change your name is a personal decision. Despite any historical or societal context, the choice should be made for what fits best for you as a couple!

If you have decided to change your name, the process can be quite daunting. You’ll need to plan time to wait on hold and in line at the DMV, but if you have all of the documents you need, you can do it with minimal stress! Make sure to have original copies of all paperwork and multiple copies of your official marriage certificate before making changes to your:

• Social Security card

• Passport

• Driver’s license and other official IDs

• Tax information

• Voter registration

• Bank, credit card and investment accounts

• Insurance policies

• Titles and other legal documents

• Utilities and other recurring payments

• Direct deposits

• Professional email accounts

• Social media accounts

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Jess & Matt A Wedding (Planning) Story

Weddings are back! Okay, okay… weddings never really went away, but after COVID-19-related delays in 2020 and 2021, around 2.5 million couples planned to wed in 2022 according to the New York Times. Additionally, market research firm the Wedding Report estimates that 2023 will see around 2.2 million weddings, which is in line with the number of weddings per year from 2005-2019 as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This surge in weddings means that couples may have to contend with booked venues and vendors, supply chain issues, and rising costs — the average cost for a wedding was $27,000 in 2021 and 2022 according to the Wedding Report, with the same expected for 2023.

I know from experience that weddings require a great deal of planning and flexibility — I worked at a popular wedding venue during college and planned my own wedding in 2010 — so I wondered how a real couple would go about planning their 2023 wedding. Luckily, I had one to ask! My friend, colleague and work suitemate Jessica Stump just got engaged to her longtime partner (in crime), Matt Hatfield.

Jess and I work together at Appalachian State University. She is lovely — fun and quirky, thoughtful, funny and statuesque — and she loves cats and Halloween. Seriously, her hand-crafted costumes are epic and I look forward to her big reveal each October. I’ve only met Matt a time or two, so I was interested to learn more about the happy couple.

Jess and I were able to chat about her and Matt’s story, how they envision their wedding, the planning process, and 2023 wedding trends.

Jess and Matt: A Perfect Match

I already know some of your story, but for the readers, tell me how you and Matt met and decided to spend your lives together.

Our story begins almost 20 years ago, in a college English class at Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky. Matt and I are both writers and we struck up a quick friendship, workshopping each other’s stories and trading class notes. I thought he was funny, creative, intelligent, kind, and maybe even a tad cute (and I still

do!). I found myself wondering why I was wondering what he thought of me.

I think, early on, we fell for each other while falling in love with each other’s work. Unfortunately, our paths diverged after college — I headed off to graduate school to pursue a dream of writing stories and poems and Matt went to L.A. in search of lights, cameras, and the stage. “Goodbye” wasn’t a word we wanted to say, but, unbeknownst to us, our paths would cross again.

Around 10 years after that first meeting, we were each back in the state we both call home — KY, the land of bluegrass, bourbon, and award-winning horses draped in roses. We reconnected online and Matt asked me to crash a friend’s wedding, as his guest. I said yes to what he wouldn’t say was a “date.” At the end of the evening, he asked me on a real date.

This was April of 2013, and our first official date was spent walking the streets of downtown Pikeville, Kentucky (which is near my hometown) during the city’s annual Hillbilly Days festival. Perhaps it was the twanging banjos in the park and the funnel cake-filled air that sealed the deal.

Fast-forward to December 2022: After

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10 years of sharing our lives and engaging in much silliness, Matt proposed. I said yes!

A Spooky, Gothic Wedding

Congratulations! Now you get to plan a wedding or you could elope. I’m not suggesting that you elope, but you could…

We were considering an international elopement but have since shifted course, deciding that we want friends and family members to be part of our day of celebration.

A wedding it is! I know that you and Matt love Halloween and all things spooky and that this aesthetic will be a part of whatever you plan. So, what do you and Matt envision for your special day?

Our dream wedding borrows from and blends different elements of our personalities, which are actually quite complementary: a Gothic ceremony with romantic touches reflects my poetic side and fascination with the macabre, whereas a reception that captures the spirit of an amped-up Halloween party — with nods to horror movie icons and plenty of spooky details — embodies Matt’s relaxed, fun nature and his love of the horror genre (a love we share).

What are your priorities and expectations?

Our No. 1 priority for the day is to have fun, to be truly present in the moment and enjoy celebrating “us” with family and friends.

Personalization continues to be big! Are there any traditions or special touches you want to incorporate? Have you decided on a color palette?

We are considering incorporating either a candle-lighting ritual or a handfasting ritual into our wedding ceremony, and I plan to ask both my father and my mother to walk with me down the aisle. Rather than walking in rhythm to “Here Comes the Bride,” I’m considering a portion of Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” as my entrance song.

Our wedding palette, which is not yet finalized, will likely consist of black, various shades of purple and red, and possibly silver or gray.

Like me, you are marrying in your thirties, which is fairly common. According to, the median age at the time of first marriage has consistently been getting older — 28 for women and 30 for men in 2022. As a more mature (and more fabulous) bride, do you feel more comfortable with what you want for your wedding and more capable of getting it?

Thank you for the “fabulous” compliment; I’ll take it! And yes, at this stage of my life, I feel comfortable and secure in who I am — with all of my wants, needs, preferences, and dislikes — and that extends to my upcoming role as a bride.

I won’t pretend as if my wants and preferences are never questioned by others, never considered “odd,” let’s say, but I no longer feel the need to either apologize or justify why I like what I like, why I am who I am, and that’s a beautiful thing. With refined research and negotiating skills, I’m definitely more prepared to seek out what I want for our wedding day than I would have been 10, or even 15 years ago.

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All About Weddings 2023 | 25
Photos by Fur and Lace Photography

The Plan(ing)

You know what you want and are prepared to get it. I like that!

Like you and Matt, Roger and I were together for 10 years before we got engaged and we were able to (mostly) plan the wedding we wanted — it was an epic food and wine extravaganza! We planned our wedding in around six months — we got engaged in December and married the next July.

Save the Date

How’s your planning going? Have you set a date or season? Day of the week? My wedding was on a Friday evening. Are you open to considering a weekday wedding?

We definitely want our wedding to take place in 2023, in October — the spookiest month of the year — and are targeting dates near the end of the month. We are aiming for a Friday, Saturday or Sunday wedding, as we want to make attendance as convenient as possible for our friends and family members, particularly those who may be traveling a great distance or who can’t easily take time off from work.

That said, a wedding on the actual day of Halloween (Tuesday) has crossed our minds, as well as a Friday the 13th wedding, and luckily this year’s calendar offers that opportunity in October.

Money Matters

I mentioned that the average cost of a wedding for the past two years was $27,000. Have you set a budget for your wedding? Did you know that 49% of couples spend more than they budgeted?

We do have a budget in mind and it’s below the average. We intend to do everything we can to remain within — and, if possible, stay below — the limit we’ve set. Who is contributing to the cost? How will this affect your decisions?

Currently, Matt and I plan to fund our wedding. My parents may also contribute. We feel that we should have complete control over the aspects of our upcoming wedding, regardless of who contributes, as the day is meant to be a celebration of us and our love for one another.

Will you hire a wedding planner? What wedding vendors do you expect to hire to realize your vision?

I am our official planner, lol. For vendors, we’re considering hiring a photographer, DJ, caterer, makeup artist, hair stylist, and possibly a day-of coordinator/ decorator.

A Unique Location

I expect that you are looking for a unique, non-traditional venue. What venues are you considering?

We’ve considered a variety of non-traditional venues — from revamped churches and theaters to historic buildings and supposedly haunted dwellings, including a sanatorium. Unfortunately, the latter no longer hosts weddings.

Our wedding will likely take place in Ashland, Kentucky, which is Matt’s hometown and our first place of residence as a couple. We’re leaning pretty heavily toward a historic train depot in downtown Ashland that features exposed brick, wooden beams and tall, wood-framed windows — all elements that we think will complement the wedding aesthetic we desire.

The Scaremony

Scaremony… see what I did there? Since you’ve likely found your venue, what plans have you and Matt made for the ceremony and reception? 75- to 100-person weddings are the most popular. How many guests are you planning to invite?

We plan to invite around 100 guests, with the expectation that about 60-80% will show.

We did the same and almost 90% showed up! So, make sure to check the venue’s fire code capacity. How about an officiant… do you have one in mind?

Yes! We will ask a close mutual friend to officiate the wedding — and we’re hoping she’ll say yes to our proposal!

You already shared that you plan to have both parents walk you down the aisle. What are your plans for wedding attendants? Will your cat have a role in the wedding?

We plan to have three attendants each, which include best friends, mutual friends, and one of my family members. Unfortunately, our cat, Gus, will not be taking part in the wedding. Although he’s quite dog-like, he’s not as comfortable as a canine when it comes to large crowds and wide-open spaces. We’re hoping to work him into some of our wedding day photos; Photoshop is a wonder, after all. :)

Say Yes to the Black Dress

My short, simple, winery-wedding-appropriate dress cost less than $150, but today, the average wedding dress costs over $1,600. What are you thinking for a dress or other attire?

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I want a non-traditional look. I’ve never pictured myself as the classic “bride in white.” I would describe my perfect wedding dress as long, elegant, formal and memorable. What I’m envisioning is a romantic, dark, flowing dress for the wedding ceremony, one that makes me feel as though I’ve stepped foot into a Gothic fairytale. The way the dress makes me feel is very important.

For the reception, which will have more of a Halloween party vibe, I’m thinking of transitioning into a dress or jumpsuit that plays into the costume I have in mind. Guests will also be encouraged to wear costumes.

Have you tried on any dresses?

Yes! I’ve tried on one dress — a black bridal dress with a long train and lace/ beading detail. It was a surreal moment — a good one; it made the upcoming experience of the wedding seem more real, more present, than its current form, which is merely an idea.

I found my shoes before my dress. Have you thought about your shoes?

No! In fact, I’m glad you brought it up. I’m not a shoe-focused person, but I definitely want a pair that I will reuse throughout the years — perhaps sparkles or satin will be involved. And as a lady of above-average height, I prefer a low heel, no more than 2 inches. To me, the most important aspect is — can I dance in these?

I personally feel that as a lady of above-average height, you should go big — as in 4-inch heels. I have some you could borrow!

Good Eats

Let’s talk food! Roger and I spent the bulk

of our budget on food and wine because we really love good food and eating experiences. And, almost 60% of couples believe food and beverage is the most important consideration. Have you thought about a menu? Will you serve alcohol — maybe a toast with good Kentucky bourbon?

The event menu is definitely up there with our “most important elements of the day.” We’re combing through several options, regarding caterers/restaurants, and hope to settle on food offerings in the next few months. We’re leaning toward a

Southern-style or Italian-inspired menu.

Alcohol may or may not be served; at the moment, we’re reviewing our guest list to determine how many individuals would partake of this offering.

What about cake? Wedding cakes are becoming less and less popular. Do you want a wedding cake? The average cost of a slice of wedding cake is around $3.50 per person.

We are considering several dessert options: a small two-tiered wedding cake,

Continued on next page

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All About Weddings 2023 | 27
Photos by Fur and Lace Photography

decadent cupcakes, and/or a combination of both — a small cake accompanied by matching cupcakes. Macaroons and chocolate-dipped strawberries may also be on the menu.

Finishing Touches

Your dream wedding sounds one-of-akind and very true to you and Matt. How will you keep guests informed of your plans? Will you create a wedding website with all the details?

Yes, we plan to create a wedding website that offers the details of our day, as well as recommendations for accommodations, area attractions, local eateries, etc. I know The Knot and Zola are two online services that allow couples to make free wedding websites.

And, where can I purchase a wedding gift? Will you and Matt register for wedding gifts?

Yes, we plan to make wedding registries with Amazon and Esty, and perhaps a few other companies. We’re especially excited to create an Esty registry, as we both love good art and supporting independent artists.

And, as if planning a wedding isn’t enough, have you given any thought to a honeymoon?

Matt and I are considering these locations for our honeymoon: Paris, France; Hawaii; Ireland; New Zealand; Bali; Maldives; Bahamas. We may delay the honeymoon until spring 2024.

I recommend delaying — Roger and I delayed several months which gave us time to wrap up everything associated with the wedding. And, we went to St. Kitts. Of your locations, I’ve only been to Hawaii, so I cannot offer advice on any of the others.

Don’t compromise so much. While Roger and I mostly made the decisions, his parents contributed a hefty sum, so we felt it was important to give them some say. Unfortunately, Roger’s mother wanted to invite a lot of people and she pressured everyone to attend. I mentioned the fire code earlier… that was how we got her to stop adding guests to the list. Sadly, we had some friends we couldn’t invite because we were at capacity.

Also, we had a winery wedding and the wine was flowing pre-ceremony. This was not planned but it did make for a very chill ceremony!

What is your most memorable moment from your wedding day? And is that your happiest wedding memory, or is that a separate memory?

Like Jess and Matt, many couples are choosing the less conventional route when planning their wedding. Whether it be a non-white dress, unique vendors or creative themes, there are services in the High Country that can make your dream day a reality!


Florals: @boozeandbouquets and @felicityfloraldesign

Live Artist + Card Box: @abbylynneartist

Custom Wedding Invitations: @susannaficklin

Cake and Sweets: @courtney_cakes_nc

Live Poet: @creating.cary

Make-up: @aestheticsbyhannah

Hair: @powerponystudios

Styling: @tyler.ashleyy, @garbagewltch and @claruth

Gowns: @juniperjamesbridal

Headpieces: @loyalblush

Coordination: @hmcoordination

Officiant: High Country Ministries

Mobile bar: @highspiritsavl

Jewelry: @semplicedesigns

Speaking of advice, what questions do you have for me? I mean, I’ve only had the one wedding myself, but I’m happy to share my expertise, lol. Yes, I have a few questions: For your wedding, was there one thing that you think you spent too much on or focused too heavily on? The wedding favors. Roger and I created CDs with featured songs from our wedding, which we thought was a fun and unique idea. Alas, we were left with a bunch of CDs that guests “forgot” to take home. I’d skip this unless you want to do something consumable.

Charcuterie Board: “Buffalo Boards” @buffaloandthebird

Coordination: @hmcoordination

Rentals: Mix Match Rentals

If you could talk to her face to face, what advice would you give your bride-to-be self, now that you’re on the other side?

My most memorable moment is a food memory! Roger and I chose not to have a wedding cake — instead, we had a dessert station with seasonal fresh fruit, gourmet chocolates, mini bread puddings and crème brûlée. One of my fondest memories is watching guests race each other to secure a crème brûlée as fresh batches came out of the kitchen.

I have a lot of happy memories of my wedding. But, if I had to choose one, it would be the surprise Star Wars-themed ceremony. Our officiant, Dave, is one of Roger’s longtime friends and we gave him complete control of the ceremony. Our only instructions were to say a few words, marry us and get everyone to the party. After discussing my love of Star Wars at lunch, he scrapped his original plan and prepared a ceremony comparing marriage to The Force – the energy field that binds the galaxy together. Dave kept us laughing and we got great pictures as a result.

Statistics from and


Heather considers life to be one big anthropological field experience. She observes and reports. She enjoys travel, food and wine and adventures with her husband, Roger.

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Photos by Fur and Lace Photography
2152 Beaver Creek School Rd - West Jefferson, NC Celebrate Everything at Celebrate Everything at OLD BARN OLD BARN winery winery Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Old Barn Winery boasts the romantic, beautiful scenery your heart desires for your next birthday, bachelorette party, or special event. With a food truck and live music on the weekends, you can easily spend the entire day celebrating!

Ali & Mitchel

APRIL 9, 2022

Timber Rivers Wedding and Event Venue | Lansing, NC

Ali and Mitchel’s picture-perfect day included a carriage ride, large wedding party and a strong sense of the couple’s Christian faith. Dancing and worshiping in the snow, the pair celebrated their love with friends, family and God.

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Photos by Laurel Littler Photography

From the Bride

“I had always dreamed of coming in on a carriage and worshiping Jesus - this was achieved and the presence of the Lord was very present on our day. I was 29 when we got married and Mitchel was 27, it was a long wait waiting for Mitchel but it was so worth it and our wedding day was a testimony to that. It was truly the best day ever. You dream about your wedding for so long and our wedding exceeded everything I had hoped it would be. We had so many friends and family supporting us and the venue Timber Rivers was honestly the best. It truly felt like they were family there coordinating a family wedding. Jesus totally was present all day and the snow made it for a magical day all around. If anything went wrong I truly did not even know about it because I was just so happy and at peace all day. The best day of my life.”

Their Story


Ali, special education teacher in the Boone area


Mitchel, works in HVAC and has worked in ministry as a student pastor


“We met through my parents at our local crossfit gym, Crossfit Postal in Boone”



Timber Rivers Wedding and Event Venue in Lansing, NC


South’s Specialty Clothiers in Boone Mall


Janine Harris with Bundles and Blooms @bundlesandblooms on Instagram &

DJ Gambill’s DJ Service out of Ashe County


Appalachian Carriage Inc.


Live wedding painting by @JacobDanilesArt


Avery Moore

@littlebitofstylebyave on Instagram


Laurel Hicks, Laurel Littler Photography

All About Weddings 2023 | 31

Brittany & Phillip

APRIL 5, 2022

Appalachian State University | Boone, NC

A decade after their wedding day, Brittany and Phillip confirmed their love and commitment for one another where their relationship began. At their Alma Mater, the couple gathered with their family to celebrate their ever-growing relationship.

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Photos by Laurel Littler Photography

Back to the Beginning

WhenBrittany and Phillip Bush tied the knot in April of 2012, it was a day to remember. Having been together for three years and having their first born just two years prior, they knew that their love for each other and their blossoming family could only grow stronger. As their 10 year anniversary approached, both Brittany and Phillip decided to renew their vows in the place that started it all.

In their early days at Appalachian State University, Brittany and Phillip’s relationship was certainly a rollercoaster. A blooming crush had formed in the bride and she decided to reach out to the cute boy she saw in the dining hall after her friend had promised her a large order of cheese fries and a sweet tea from Cookout if she went through with it. However, the saying “right person, wrong time,” couldn’t be more true for the couple.

“The timing wasn’t right at that point,” said Brittany. “We spoke a bit back and forth, but nothing really clicked.”

After summer break and students returned to campus, Brittany’s good friend, Michael, needed help rustling through his closet to find his perfect style. As she entered his room, she found that Phillip was his roommate. At that point, she knew it was her second chance.

“He likes to tell people I picked him up on the side of the road,” Brittany said jokingly. “But it’s more than that. I saw him walking on campus the next morning and I rolled down my window and asked if he needed a ride. His response was ‘I was just thinking about you.’ So he got in and we’ve been inseparable ever since.”

A year after they met, the pair had their first child and went on to graduate together in 2011. On April 5, 2012, the two got married at the William R. Davie Park in Charlotte. Brittany went on to pursue her passion as a fourth grade teacher and Phillip is now a testing materials coordinator. The couple currently resides in Charlotte.

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All About Weddings 2023 | 33
Their love only expanded over the years and so the two decided to take it back to the beginning and renew their vows on the campus of Appalachian State, exactly 10 years after they first tied the knot.

“We did things a little bit out of order, but it was exactly how things were supposed to fall,” Brittany said.

Their love only expanded over the years and so the two decided to take it back to the beginning and renew their vows on the campus of Appalachian State, exactly 10 years after they first tied the knot.

With close family and their three children, they stepped into the Founders Bell Pavilion and spoke from the heart, expressing their love for one another and their gratitude for the time they’ve shared.

Brittany and her mother headed over to Dillard’s to browse dresses and when she laid eyes on a beautiful formal blush dress, she knew she had found the one.

“It was perfect,” Brittany said. “I tried it on and it fit perfectly. I didn’t need alterations or anything. We didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg for the renewal. For us, it was more about the moment rather than the attire.”

Phillip picked out a suit that he had purchased a few years before the renewal, which Brittany said she was very grateful for so they could save time and money.

For her bouquet, Brittany channeled her inner artist and created it herself with dried flowers and rhinestones.

The vendor she utilized the most was the photographer, Laurel Hicks. According to Brittany, the photos encaptured their special day perfectly. The last photo they took was at the location where Brittany had offered Phillip a ride all those years ago.

“Everything really worked out,” said Brittany. “Our immediate families made the trip and we met on campus, along with Laurel. I really enjoyed the pictures and it didn’t feel like we were forced to act a certain way. She was able to capture the love and our dynamic.”

“The ceremony itself was very impactful,” Brittany continued. “My dad was sick with COVID-19 a few years back and we were thankful that he was able to orchestrate our wedding. He married us 10 years ago and he also orchestrated the renewal. For all of our family to be there and to kind of tap back into why we did it in the first place was the most special part for us. It made our hearts so full to go back to App.”

Brittany said that couples who are planning on getting married should decide things from the heart. She said that from her experience, making the day their own and not worrying about fitting into the status quo makes all the difference.

The couple expresses their encouragement to take chances and to reach out to someone, even if it’s not the right time. In a few months, you could be opening your door to that same person, taking the journey of a lifetime.

34 | All About Weddings 2023 Their Story BRIDE
testing materials coordinator Vendors VENUE Appalachian State University DRESS Dillard’s TUX Repurposed FLOWERS DIY PHOTOGRAPHY
Littler Photography, Laurel Hicks
Brittany, fourth grade teacher
•Suites •FreeWiFi •Indoor Pool •OnSiteCatering •Event Room •FullBar •BistroRestaurant •Starbucks •FitnessCenter 1050Highway 105Boone,NC28607 828.265.7676 •Mar RecentlyRenovated

Chelsea & Jonathan

DECEMBER 9, 2022

Family Land | Newland, NC

Inspired by their family land, Chelsea and Jonathan celebrated their union with a handfasting ceremony among family and friends. With sentiment in every piece of their wedding, the forest-y feel was created with handcrafted almost-everything.

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Photos by Enowen Photographer, Savannah McAffrey


Chelsea, environmental specialist


Jonathan, consultant


“We knew vaguely of each other in high school but never spoke because we were so awkward, but lucky for us, were forced to talk to each other when our friend groups merged during summers home from college. 12 years later, here we are! ”



Family’s land in Newland, North Carolina that the bride’s family worked to make fit for a wedding


Lovely Bride in Washington, D.C.


Jos. A. Bank


DIY moss arrangements




Sarah O’Toole, bride’s mother


Enowen Photography, Savannah McAffrey

From the Bride

“One of Jonathan’s favorite parts was when we were pronounced married, tied the knot of our handfasting cord, and held it as we walked back up the aisle through a shower of dried leaves and petals as everyone celebrated. One of my favorite parts was making subtle little faces at each other during the ceremony, like pretending to glare, then suppressing laughter, mostly to prove to each other that we weren’t crying (he ended up crying)”

All About Weddings 2023 | 37
Their Story

Natalie & Ben

Big R Orchards | Moravian Falls, NC

With a beautiful autumnal background, Natalie and Ben got married at the peninsula of a lake. The fall leaves made the perfect backdrop for the evening of dancing, ending with a sparkler exit.

38 | All About Weddings 2023
OCTOBER 29, 2022
Photos by Laurel Littler Photography

Their Story


Natalie, Appalachian State University’s College of Arts and Science


Ben, Appalachian State University’s Graduate School


“We met at Appalachian State funny enough. We had a lot of mutual friends and we were actually introduced by our best man.”



Big R Orchards in Moravian Falls, NC


Bridal Traditions Wedding & Prom Attire in North Wilkesboro


Men’s Wearhouse


Shady Grove Gardens in Zionville, NC


The Scarlet Hen


Stick Boy Bakery


Cagney’s Kitchen


Boogie Nights/Mark Tuttle


Alice Fisher


Delores Dement/Canvas Beauty Bar


Elizabeth’s Alterations & Custom Design


Laurel Hicks, Laurel Littler Photography

From the Bride

“My favorite season is Fall, so I wanted to incorporate fall colors and jewel tones throughout the wedding day. Big R Orchards is an apple and peach orchard, with apples being in season in October, so I wanted to have apples as a major theme. Our vision was accomplished with the beautiful flowers, the apples on the tables, the apple butter guest favors, and the leaves being at peak season.”

All About Weddings 2023 | 39

Hannah & Joe

OCTOBER 29, 2022

The White Crow | Banner Elk, NC

Hannah and Joe had a naturally beautiful, simple wedding to celebrate their union. On top of a mountain in Banner Elk, the outdoorsy couple achieved their dream day with breathtaking views, good food and a lively dance floor.

40 | All About Weddings 2023
Photos by Olson Design Photography

Their Story


Hannah, former director of recruitment and selection for wealth management advising, current stay-at-home mom


Joe, regional director of operations for a restaurant concept


“We met on Bumble! Joe lived in Denver, Colorado but traveled to Atlanta a lot for work. I lived in Atlanta when we ‘matched’. I had only been on Bumble for a week and ignored Joe’s response. Thankfully he double messaged me and we instantly vibed. Our first date was perfectsushi, sake and TJ Maxx.”

From the Bride

“Wow, what a day! Some of our favorite parts of our day were me having a first look with our daughter and my dad, Joe throwing the football and getting ready with his guys, being able to pray and worship God with our family and friends, our daughter being in the wedding as a flower girl and having a lively dance floor.

This was the first time Joe’s big Sicialian/ German family and my southern family were under one roof. We all have big emotions and like to have a good time so it turned out exactly as we expected - lots of laughs, tears and dancing!.”



The White Crow in Banner Elk, NC


Aisle & Veil in Roswell, Georgia

Sleeves and alterations - TK Bridal & Alterations in Sandy Springs, GA


Suit Supply in Atlanta, GA


Men’s Wearhouse


Booze and Bouquets -Devon


Flash Flood Media


Bryan Matheson


Stick Boy Bread Company @stickboybreadco


Blue Deer Cookies @bluedeer_nc


Raheim Andrews @raheim_andrews


Booze & Bouquets @boozeandbouquets


Amanda Bryant @amandabryant54


Lydia Osborne @lydiaosborne


Kaley Phan @kayy_phan


Air Haven Limousine @airhavenlimo


Boone Rent-All & Parties Too


Happy Trailers @happy_trailers


Peabodys Wine & Beer @peabodysofboone


Elena Schratz @yourdaydesignsbyelena


Olson Design Photography, Whitney Olson

All About Weddings 2023 | 41

NestledintheBlueRidge Mountainsonthe historic NewRiver,Jefferson Landingisagated mountain resort communityofferinganaward winning golfcourse,exceptionaldiningandbeautiful accommodations.

JeffersonLandingisthe premierweddingvenue oftheHigh Country. We wouldlove to help youplanyourspecialdayand createtheperfect weddingmemories youwillcherishforalifetime.

Fromceremonies to receptions, rehearsal dinners to luncheons, we have everythingcovered. Whether youprefergrandor intimate,countrychic ortraditionalelegance,we'reyour venue. Youhave theoption of anoutdoor wedding,rehearsalor receptiondinnerdown by the stunningNewRiver at Riverside Park,or youmay desireamoreelegant reception at the recently renovatedClubHouse withseating for150plus.Thecenterpiece of the luxuryrusticClubHouseistheMainDining Room with its33-foot-high vaultedceiling,a floor-to-ceilingstonefireplaceandbreath taking views ofthemountains,perfectlylandscaped sceneryand beautiful golf course.Toget youeven closer to nature, theClubHousedoorsopentoa 6,000-square-footpatio withspectacular panoramicviews foryourspecial event.

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Aspen & Michael

SEPTEMBER 26, 2022

Overlook Barn, Banner Elk

With rain for dramatic effect, Aspen and Michael had a wedding with a unique theme suited perfectly for the couple: Woodland Viking Gothic. Surrounded by deep shades of greens and reds, the day’s gloomy weather actually suited the poetic feel of the ceremony.

Photos by Enowen Photography

46 | All About Weddings 2023

Ethereal Gothic

AlthoughAspen and Michael described their ceremony as a bit like the wedding scene from the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie, where a downpour interrupts the vows, the rain couldn’t dampen their radiant smiles. Their “woodland Viking gothic” theme was classy and trendy for an outdoor September wedding.

The couple met on Tinder while Aspen was in college at Wake Forest University, majoring in biology. Their first date was just supposed to be for lunch at her place, then it turned into an all-day thing.

“The rest is history,” Aspen said.

They both grew up in North Carolina, Aspen from around Charlotte and Michael from Wilson. In their daily lives, she’s a wildlife guide and he drives for FedEx.

In July 2021, they got engaged at the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, where Aspen is a guide. She and Michael planned to hike with a friend in an area where lots of bears were known to inhabit.

“I was telling them how to be safe when hiking around bears when I came around the corner of the car and he was down on one knee,” she said, laughing.

After that, they knew they wanted to be married in the fall, eventually deciding on September, and choosing a venue was a priority; because Covid-19 meant many couples had to postpone their wedding or reception plans, the couple was clamoring for a venue during a popular time for mountain weddings plus the influx of additional couples who were comfortable celebrating their weddings as pandemic guidelines had loosened. They ended up choosing Overlook Barn because of its picturesque views and comfortable barn with ample space for an outdoor wedding and reception.

Aspen described the theme as “Halloween-adjacent”: she wore a white dress and no jack o’ lanterns were used in decorating, but they leaned into dark forest greens and

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All About Weddings 2023 | 47

golds for the wedding colors and incorporated woodsy themes and animal skulls into the decor.

Magnolia leaves, ferns, dahlias, and roses in the bouquet and decor carried the dark greens and introduced pops of warm, deep red. Aspen lauded her florist for bringing the “rainforest indoors” vibe to life for the ceremony and reception; foliage decorated nearly every surface available.

To emphasize the woodland fairy, “woodsy gothic” look she was going for, Battle Born Beauty of Banner Elk, North Carolina, wove flowers into Aspen’s long, loosely braided and curled hair, and Aesthetics by Hannah of Johnson City, Tennessee, created a natural, soft glam makeup look. Michael’s hair was tucked into a variation on a low chignon, with his beard trimmed and styled.

The bride’s intricate lace mermaid-style dress came from Carolina Bridal, and menswear from Men’s Wearhouse. Bridesmaids wore different dresses in the same shade of deep teal green, which matched the groomsmens’ ties.

The wooden altar outdoors had animal antlers and bones tied into the foliage decorating the corners. The officiant was the bride’s aunt. The couple had asked guests not to use their phones during the ceremony, leaving it to Sarah DeShields of Enowen Photography, who also did an engagement and boudoir shoot for the couple.

A sign printed with big cats and other woodland animals, such as the tiger, red wolf, Iberian lynx and ocelot, pointed guests to their table assignments. On each table was a card with the table’s assigned animal and facts about them, and each dinner choice on the menu was named after an animal as well. White tealights, tall black taper candles, and an abundance of foliage accentuated the gold table service.

The couple served pulled pork, chicken and beef entrees with Southern and locally inspired sides, including sweet potato fries, grilled squash, onions and peppers, deviled eggs, and hushpuppies, catered by Stonewalls Restaurant of Banner Elk.

Guests were served cupcakes following dinner. Aspen recommends other couples looking to get married in the peak High Country wedding season begin looking for a cake earlier than they did, around six months out. Mohr Fun Events played music for the reception.

Kelly of Roan Wedding and Events served as wedding planner and day-of coordinator, ensuring the couple’s aesthetic vision shone through. After finding their venue, the couple’s biggest priority was ensuring the wedding would look the way they wanted.

“If it wasn’t for Kelly, we would’ve simply eloped,” Aspen said. “I could never have done it without my planner, period.”

Kelly worked to help them streamline timelines and decisions, make recommendations and do all the day-of prep as the day-of coordinator. She helped the couple determine what they needed, good prices for various vendors and determine what was necessary.

The most special moment, though, was the kiss at the ceremony in the pouring rain. It had started to drizzle as the ceremony began, and as the couple read their vows, the rain came down harder.

“Comical isn’t the right word, but when it started pouring, everyone was laughing,” Aspen said. They all stayed put, even though you could barely hear us at that point. We were just trying to get through our vows.”

48 | All About Weddings 2023

Their Story


Aspen, wildlife guide


Michael, FedEx driver



Overlook Barn


Battle Born Beauty of Banner Elk, North Carolina


Aesthetics by Hannah of Johnson City, Tennessee

DRESS Carolina Bridal


Men’s Wearhouse


Stonewalls Restaurant of Banner Elk


Mohr Fun Events


Kelly of Roan Wedding and Events


Enowen Photography, Sarah DeShiels

All About Weddings 2023 | 49

Kierney & Chad

OCTOBER 8, 2022

Wee Kirk Presbyterian Church | Linville, NC

Kierney and Chad envisioned a small intimate wedding in the mountains on a brisk fall day- which is exactly what they got! The beautiful mountain leaves were the perfect addition to their love-filled day.

50 | All About Weddings 2023
Photos by Buffalo and the Bird Photography


Kierney, works for an insurance company


Chad, route driver


“We met through a dating app called Zoosk. We talked for a few months prior to meeting. Funny story- our first date we decided to meet up at Caribou Coffee and there was a power outage at this coffee shop and in the entire shopping center at the time so we had to drive all the way across town to Starbucks to start the date. It was an eventful start to what ended up being the best date!”



Wee Kirk Presbyterian Church in Linville, NC


Magnolia Bride in Kernersville, NC


Bruce’s Tuxedos in Lexington, NC


Bouquet Florist in Boone, NC


Pedalin’ Pig in Banner Elk


Sassy Cats Bakery in Boone


Buffalo and the Bird Photography, Samantha Massey

From the Bride

“We got married at 3:30pm on the most perfect Saturday. The leaves were absolutely beautiful! Our favorite part of the day was the ceremony. I could replay that moment in my head every day as I walked down the aisle to see the love of my life waiting for me. It was a moment that I’ll never forget- it’s like time stood still. Chad says that his favorite part of the wedding was seeing me. We aren’t used to not seeing each other! It gave us both the butterflies.”

All About Weddings 2023 | 51
Their Story

Tracy & Marcus

NOVEMBER 1, 2021

Table Rock / Linville Falls, NC

An intimate, laid-back elopement in western NC is what felt most fitting for couple Tracy and Marcus. Their personal vow reading was backed with the beautiful mountains of Table Rock before wading in the waters of Tom’s Creek Falls as newlyweds.

Photos by MorningWild Photography

52 | All About Weddings 2023



Gilded Bridal with alterations




The Manor in Blowing Rock


MorningWild Photography, Megan Gielow

Their Story


Tracy, head quality systems and compliance for innovation therapies and large molecule at Novartis


Marcus, quality engineer at Eli Lilly


“Markus and I met when we were both working at Thermo Fisher Scientific in Greenville, NC in 2016. We didn’t work very closely together, but the campus was small, so we saw each other often. We didn’t start talking (via social media) until 2018. By then, I had switched companies and moved back to Raleigh. I randomly sent him a DM on Instagram which led to a first date at Raleigh Times – one of our favorite coffee shops.”

All About Weddings 2023 | 53

Sadie & Tristan

NOVEMBER 14, 2022

Twickenham House | Jefferson, NC

Despite interruptions in the planning process, Sadie and Tristan had a wedding day to remember in the mountain rains of the High Country. The woodsy feel and naturally dramatic lighting matched the spooky theme of the wedding.

Photos by Enowen Photography

54 | All About Weddings 2023

Loving in the Rain

Rain fell on a concrete path between rows of family members sheltered under clear umbrellas as Tristan prepared for his bride to be. Spindly trees and white flowers lined the outside of the ceremony perfectly placed to match the noir scene of guests dressed in all black. The cellist began playing the self-composed melody, alerting the group to turn and see Sadie. Her dress is lace, a-line, and backless. Her pearl studded veil trails behind with her floor-length gown. On an overcast and rainy day such as this, most brides would be concerned about the rain. Sadie and Tristan welcomed it, as it matched the spooky, rebellious scene that they worked over a year to create.

Sadie and Tristan are both active members of the military at the Fayetteville base. After brief meetings, and stints of online messaging, Sadie took a leap, driving to Tristan’s barracks with coffee.

“From that day till now, unless it was for work, we have not spent a day apart from each other and I feel like to have a bond that's that raw and authentic, you're not gonna find that with someone who you're not supposed to be with for the rest of your life,” Sadie said.

Not long after falling for each other in August of 2021, Sadie got word of needing to be deployed to Afghanistan. Concerned of what may come, the couple decided to have an impromptu courthouse marriage. After the courthouse, the deployment that led to the quick wedding was canceled. Sadie and Tristan saw this as an opportunity to celebrate their love amongst friends and family.

“Shortly after we got married in the courthouse is when we started planning our actual wedding,” Sadie said.

About 6 months into wedding planning Sadie got deployed to Europe, leaving Tristan and the wedding planner to prepare for the big day. Planning the

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All About Weddings 2023 | 55
Spindly trees and white flowers lined the outside of the ceremony perfectly placed to match the noir scene of guests dressed in all black.

wedding was more than Tristan expected, he was relieved to have the help of the wedding planner, Leigh Harrow.

“For the gentlemen out there, who like me, never thought about planning a wedding before in their lives, I'd say, find a way to be supportive,” Tristan said. “I know that it's overwhelming and you may have no idea what you're looking at, but find a way to be supportive and take loads off where you can. If you're not going to be actively picking the flower arrangements, and actively picking the flower that's being used, find other things to do to be supportive because it's so stressful.”

This was the first time that the two had been apart since the day she showed up with coffee, and understandably when she returned, they were eager to be together again. On the morning of the wedding, the couple sat together for breakfast to prepare for the stress of the day of the wedding.

“I call him my emotional support husband,” Sadie said, “ I don’t like to go anywhere without him. So, on the morning of, we got up and had breakfast until I had to go and get ready.”

In classic mountain fashion, it was colder than usual.

“The dress was stunning..” Tristan said. Tears streamed down his face when she walked down the aisle. So much had led to this moment. They wrote their own vows - Sadie, being the prepared one, wrote her vows well in advance, and Tristan wrote his the morning of. While listening to Tristan recite his vows, Sadie got so caught up in his bewitching vows, that when it came her turn she was silent.

“In the moment I looked at him and said, ‘Tristan I don’t remember them anymore’” Sadie said, “There’s another tip: if you're going to write your own vows, be sure to write them down and bring them with you!”

The venue is in West Jefferson and it is called Twickenham House. They purchased a package from the venue that included decorations, a wedding planner and day of coordinator, and boarding for guests. The venue reached out to a local restaurant, Morchella Provisions, known for their European-inspired boutique eats. Heatherly Events & Flower Design provided the stunning white florals.

Sadie and Tristan look back on their wedding day with love and laughter. Neither of them would change a thing. With love like that, even rain at an outdoor wedding seems like a lucky surprise.

56 | All About Weddings 2023

Their Story


Sadie, military


Tristan, military


As active members of the military, Sadie and Tristan met at the base in Fayetteville.



Twickenham House


Heatherly Events & Flower Design


Morchella Provisions


Leigh Harrow


Enowen Photography, Sarah DeShiels

All About Weddings 2023 | 57

Nikki & Jacob

SEPTEMBER 29, 2022

Lodges at Eagles Nest | Banner Elk, NC

With the breaking of the glass, Nikki and Jacob’s fun-filled yet intimate wedding was celebrated in perfect weather despite a looming hurricane. The elegant wedding was accompanied with the natural beauty of floral arrangements and a mountain setting.

58 | All About Weddings 2023
Photos by Cynthia Viola Photography

From the Bride

“There was a category 4 hurricane threatening Florida, called Hurricane Ian, and a majority of our guests were flying in from all over the state. We were not sure who was going to be at our wedding until the day of. And so have it- we couldn’t have asked mother nature for a more perfect day: the sun was shining, the weather was cool but not so cold that our guests could not sit comfortably on the stone steps outdoors. When we walked out, as almost husband and wife and looked out at the crowd, we saw that most, if not all of our guests, were there. We were happily surprised!”

Their Story


Nikki, elementary school teacher


Jacob, in the watch and jewelry business


“We were introduced by our close, family friends! Jacob asked me out on a date and we’ve been together since.”



Lodges at Eagles Nest, Banner Elk


Giambattista Valli


Fuschia Sky Moss


Canvas Beauty Bar


Choice Cakes


Reid’s Cafe


Cassette Rewind


Dean’s Duets


Boone Photo Booth


Cynthia Viola Photography, Cynthia Viola

All About Weddings 2023 | 59

Jenna & Chris

Their Story

Jenna, senior director, FP&A Chris, vice president of sales


“Chris and I met in Chicago on Bumble. Chris was just recovering from a cycling accident and came to the first date with crutches but we hit it off immediately over some champagne!”


June 18, 2022


“Our proposal was intimate at home in front of our fireplace followed by a night out at our favorite local restaurant, Tandem, to celebrate.”


“Megan is excellent at creating a natural and relaxed environment so nothing was forced and Chris and I had fun laughing and doing silly things like twirls. During sunset the weather turned cold and the wind picked up, but it made for the most magical photos! We had a blast and loved the experience and we treasure the photos captured that day.”


Mountains around Asheville, Hawksbill Mountain


Morning Wild Photography, Megan Gielow

60 | All About Weddings 2023

Kiri & Ashley

Their Story

Kiri Ashley, youth pastor and outreach coordinator Emily Pate, pursuing an MSW


“What began as a casual friendship in our first college class together blossomed into more in the late Summer of 2020.”

DATE Sept. 3, 2022


Kiri proposed to Emily at a gorgeous overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Fancy Gap, VA after the two joked their whole relationship about “running away” to get married.

“I almost lost the ring when her body collided with mine, falling into the dew wet grass in a blur of tears and giggles.”


“The next hour was a beautiful experience expertly guided by Sam from Buffalo and the Bird. She perfectly captured all of the giddy bliss we were feeling in that moment, and delivered a photo gallery that was perfectly ‘us’.”


Outlook on Blue Ridge Parkway in Fancy Gap, VA


Buffalo and the Bird Photography, Samantha Massey

All About Weddings 2023 | 61
62 | All About Weddings 2023 GROOMS From boutonnieres to bowties to bourbon, grooms and groomsmen bring personality to the big day.
Laurel Littler Photography Enowen Photography Enowen Photography Enowen Photography Buffalo and the Bird Photography Enowen Photography Enowen Photography Enowen Photography Cynthia Viola Photography
All About Weddings 2023 | 63

Dream Catchers and Open-Eyed Dreamers

Turning toward a chosen life partner is one of the simplest things we can do in life. Research (e.g., by the Gottman Institute) shows that this simple habit is critical for happiness and health in longterm, committed relationships. However, it is vital to note this habit is “simple, but not easy.” The tension between turning toward our partner and turning toward self is often difficult to navigate and creates a lack of ease. Intentionally turning toward our partner’s dreams and fears, strengths and vulnerabilities – and our own – is simple and difficult, as well as foundational for health and happiness.

Feeling misunderstood or unheard or not understanding our partner may impede willingness to turn toward our

partner or even toward oneself. Ironically, the action of turning toward is necessary for greater understanding and more opportunities. This process can be messy and unclear. Fortunately, consistent use of positive communication and self-calming skills benefit this process. John Gottman describes part of this process in And Baby Makes Three: The Six-Step Plan for Preserving Marital Intimacy and Rekindling Romance After Baby Arrives (2007): “But we have to feel safe enough to pull our dreams out of the closet. When we wear them, our partner may glimpse how beautiful we are—fragile but shimmering. Then, with understanding, our partners may join us in being dream catchers, rather than dream shredders.”

Intentionally noticing the “fragile but shimmering” beauty of our dreaming partner or self may increase understanding and motivate empathy for the dreamer’s fear and vulnerability. It may also energize, develop strength and broaden options to consider, then stimulating the use of these further-developing strengths in the engagement of new opportunities. Turning attention toward this glimpse sharpens the view of beauty is an act of commitment and a loving process of clarification.

Having had the privilege of working with hundreds of couples over the years, I have witnessed the transformation that is possible for individuals and in relationships when this beauty is kept in focus consistently. Usually, this transformation

64 | All About Weddings 2023
Enowen Photography

happens when a person intentionally makes this turn repeatedly across time in many small actions - and sometimes in larger actions - instead of relying on romantic grand gestures. Repeatedly making and acting with intention is commitment.

Of course, the act of turning toward something includes the act of turning away from something else. One thing comes into greater focus and others become more peripheral or move out of view. We can only look or move in one direction at a time. When we consistently choose a direction, the view changes and new options become visible. Within relationships, especially those with a chosen life partner, our attention can deviate from our commitment. Our fears and vulnerabilities can diminish the openness to the fears, vulnerabilities, and even strengths of our partner and our own better selves that lead healing and growth.

Just as we cannot determine if the chicken or the egg came first, as they depend upon one other to exist, we cannot determine if willingness or capacity must come first for these practices of healthy commitment. Willingness and capacity are inextricably interwoven practices and opportunities. Focus on willingness cultivates capacity, and capacity grows more willingness. Willingness can increase capacity and capacity can increase willingness.

Lowered capacity may leave us or our partners less willing to turn toward need, to understand fear, to care well for – not just about – vulnerability. When we find ourselves or our partner unwilling to care well, it may be necessary to boost our capacity through learning something new and getting support to practice it. An increased sense of competence and options can ignite more willingness for these difficult engagements. This process requires humility and an openness to learn.

Likewise, less willingness may lower our capacity to engage our strengths, practice new skills and engage well in problem solving. When our ability or our partner’s ability seems inadequate to address needs, it is necessary to remember the willingness of our commitment so it can guide us to build capacity to care for ourselves, one another, and our relationship well. This process often means turning away from resentments, fears, and insecurities consistently enough to consider new options.

Each of us has received a combination

of useful and sufficient guidance, as well as incomplete or faulty guidance. We have received some combination of nurturing and wounding. Some of us have experienced trauma done to our bodies or other ways that our ability to cope and survive was severely threatened or overwhelmed. Within a secure and loving relationship, our nervous system becomes more grounded and settled, allowing development of greater self-awareness and cultivation of the habits that allow and promote turning toward one another. When this grounded and connected state is consistent, deep

turning toward so that the unknowable will become knowable, and the undoable will become doable when actions are consistently chosen in love and from the guidance of our better selves.

Commitment also turns toward new knowledge and guidance in whatever good and relevant form it is available, seeking help because it is useful and matters, not only because it might be the last resort. These forms include trustworthy role models, books, podcasts, blogs and more from which to learn, trustworthy loved ones from whom to receive support, and qualified professional help. A question I often ask my clients is “What are you not willing to change for the sake of the health of your relationship?” and I make it clear that the health of each person and of the relationship are as inextricably intertwined as the chicken and egg.

According to T. E. Lawrence, “All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.”

wounds can heal and the scars from those wounds can be embraced as beautiful.

Unresolved – better stated, unmetabolized – trauma that is carried in our bodies and spirits can be converted from what is “stuck” into what can feed and sustain. Alternatively, underdevelopment, wounds, and traumas can be made much worse when ignored or mishandled frequently or recklessly, especially within a relationship that is “supposed” to offer security and love.

Turning repeatedly to actively seek the “fragile but shimmering” beauty of our partner’s and our own dreams in order to care well for them activates this settling and healing. This is commitment. Commitment doesn’t rely on what has always been done, seen as true, or even known. It doesn’t even rely on what is currently knowable. Commitment repeats the

Expanding from Mr. Lawrence’s singular inclusion of men, the idea to build or renew the habit of open-eyed dreaming and intentional acting on these dreams is key for a happy and healthy marriage. Some dreams are nightmares. Hold the one who has them so they can rest well enough for open-eyed dreaming. Some dreams are of shimmering beauty. Help that dreamer catch them and feed them. These open-eyed actions are powerful for protecting one another and growing well –not just old – together.

Simple, but not easy. Indeed, the payoff of a happier and healthier marriage and life far exceeds the “cost” of the lack of ease. As you plan your wedding and as you live your marriage, may you practice catching the dreams of your beloved and dreaming with your eyes open wide.


Mary McKinney is a psychotherapist with 30+ years’ experience in the mental health field who is a full-time lover of her family, friends, critters, and trees and a “sometimes” writer and speaker.

All About Weddings 2023 | 65
Intentionally turning toward our partner’s dreams and fears, strengths and vulnerabilities – and our own – is simple and difficult, as well as foundational for health and happiness.

What you need is who you love

Low-Cost Wedding Tips

When thinking about getting married you may easily find yourself becoming overwhelmed with the seemingly countless tasks to be done. What will everyone wear? What venue will you choose? What food will you have? But before you get too carried away, you need to think about the price of it all.

The average cost for a wedding in the United States is $28,000, which can definitely be a little daunting, but there are certainly ways to trim down that price with careful planning, budgeting, thrifting, a bit of borrowing and forgetting a lot of conventionally held wedding beliefs.

Breaking down the budget, the most expensive aspect of a wedding is most likely going to be the venue. When you think about your wedding, what do you envision? Do you think about an open space? Why not opt for a wedding in a friend or family member’s backyard? Something more closed and intimate? There’s nothing wrong with a courthouse wedding. Thinking of something halfway in the middle? The High Country has no shortages of barnes for a more rustic appeal. In the Boone area alone, you can find venues such as the Barn at Fraser Hill, The Mill at Rock Creek and Whispering Waters Farm, just to name a few.

Next to think about is attire, specifically the ring and the dress. Everyone knows of the old, outdated saying that you should be prepared to spend two-to-three months salary on a wedding ring but nowadays that isn’t exactly attainable for many. While an expensive ring is nice to brag about, you can find a perfect and charming ring for a fraction of the price. Try utilizing

pawn shops, local artisans and maybe even sporting a non-diamond forward ring. Plus, the odd-bought ring can open many doors of conversation among friends and family.

The concept of renting a tuxedo (and even a dress!) is common and widely done, but there are other options for the gown. There’s the tried and true tradition of wearing the bride’s mother’s dress, whether it fits like a glove or needs tailoring. Here, the sentimentality can’t be matched.

You could also opt for a shorter dress, which in recent years has become quite vogue with the likes of Lily Allen and Kourtney Kardashian opting for the less-materialed choice. If you’re trying to keep with a more customary look you could consider buying a simple dress, which you should be able to find under $500, and splurge on custom tailoring to make an iconic dress personally tailored to your needs.

Seemingly the most simple and memorable of tips that can be shared is to refrain from trying on the more expensive dress option in the first place. Yes, this is a really exciting time and you want to try all options, but you may find yourself constantly comparing every dress you find to the expensive, over-budget one that, at the end of the day, you’re only going to wear once. Remember, a wedding dress can be anything you want it to be, it’s your day after all!

Next to mention is all of the accessories that come with the big wedding day. Barware arches, chairs - really anything that isn’t the venue itself. You don’t have to outright buy all of that! Sure, here and

there you can show a bit of coin but many venues sometimes have pre-packaged deals to go along with your special day. If your venue is bare bones, you could look into a company that will rent out equipment. In the High Country there exists such a company for multiple-use rentals: Boone Rent-All and Parties Too, and also one for place settings: Miss Match Rentals. Then again, you could borrow miscellaneous goods from friends and family. This eclectic approach is not only sure to weave you closer to your loved ones through the use of incorporating personal belongings, but level off on renting and buying costs all together.

Food is another big factor to weigh in on. Wedding catering can quickly rack up in price, with the average meal amounting to $75 per person. Depending on how many people you have, this can quickly get into the thousands. Before you make that purchase, have you heard of an old-school tradition of a ‘Cake and Punch’ reception? Instead of serving a full-coursed sit down meal, you provide snacks, desserts, and beverages. You can even see ripples of this recently with the phenomena of fashionable grazing tables.

Remember there’s really only three things you need to have a wedding: a couple, someone to officiate and a license. This is a day all about your union to one another and the love you share, cost aside.

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Anna De La Cruz is a Boone-based writer, editor, and social media manager who enjoys documenting the ‘little’ stories across North Carolina. Anna can be contacted at 252-2671257 or
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One of the big ticket items on a soonto-be bride’s checklist is choosing the perfect venue at which to exchange vows and celebrate with loved ones. The venue at which a wedding is held sets the tone for the celebration and is what makes every marriage ceremony unique to a couple. Houses of worship, rustic barns and community centers are some popular venues at which people say “I do” in the High Country. There is no perfect wedding venue, but rather the perfect venue for the couple.

The Barn at Fraser Hill and Appalachian View are two venues located in the High Country which offer unique amenities, with a location that sets the tone for a truly special wedding ceremony.

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Broad River Photography

The Barn at Fraser Hill

Located in Watauga County at 374 Will Cook Road in Boone, is the Barn at Fraser Hill. It is a working Christmas tree farm with incredible views. Christmas trees, which the mountains of Northwestern North Carolina are known for, grow on 58 acres of the farm.

The farm has been in the Cook family for over 150 years and the property, barn and farm is currently owned by William Dennis Cook. His daughter, Austin Kane, manages the venue location of the farm.

Austin Kane said one thing that really sets the Barn at Fraser Hill apart from other venues in Watauga County is its location. The venue provides a country feel, but is located 3 miles away from popular downtown Boone. She described it as having the best of both worlds, where those hosting and attending a wedding can enjoy being out in the country but also can experience the town of Boone.

The barn has been in the family for a long time and was built by Austin’s grandfather. Prior to being renovated to host weddings and events, it was an old run-down hay barn with dirt floors.

“Every single year we have people get engaged in the Christmas trees,” Austin said.” Whenever they come to pick out their Christmas trees, people are getting engaged and they’re saying ‘This would be such a great place to get married” and they have said that for years.”

One day, Austin decided to remodel the barn so it could be used as a wedding venue. This also allowed people to enjoy the beautiful scenery and Christmas trees outside of the 2 month window they are open for Christmas tree season. Since Christmas trees are green year-round and do not turn brown, they provide a beautiful scenic background during the summer months.

Another unique quality about the Barn at Fraser Hill is that it is a family-owned and operated farm.

“This is our family and we want you to feel like part of our family,” Austin said.

She added that their venue is very reasonably priced because they want other people to come and enjoy their day.

“We have always wanted to share it with other people, it is not something that we are trying to capitalize on so much,” Austin said.

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Kelsey & Nate Photography

There are 58 acres available for those who choose to get married on their location. They do have some recommended spaces, but they tell their brides they may pick any location outside or choose to say their vows inside the barn. Several have held smaller, more intimate ceremonies amongst the Christmas trees and then held their reception inside the barn.

She described it as a blank canvas for couples to decide what they want their special day to look and feel like. Couples are allowed to bring in large covered tents if they need coverage for outdoor events.

Couples may book their wedding ceremony at the Barn at Fraser Hill from late April until the second week in November. The family closes the wedding venue after the second week of November to run the Christmas tree business, which lasts until the beginning of January.

September and October are by far the most popular months for the venue.

“You cannot beat fall in Boone,” Austin said.

The barn is a little over 3,500 square

feet and was remodeled from an old dirt floored barn. Austin shared that the remodeling process included digging into the dirt and laying down cement in order to get the final ceiling height. An awning and patio were added to the right side of the barn along with a gas fireplace with a rock exterior.

Another benefit of booking with the Barn at Fraser Hill is that there are no vendor restrictions. This allows them to work with several amazing vendors in the High Country and also allows brides to choose preferred vendors for food, flowers, etc.

In October 2022, a suite was completed which is located above the barn. It is a one-bedroom suite which newlyweds can stay in after the ceremony or for the whole time if they book a 2-day or weekend package. This could also be booked for family members.

Austin shared that they have also talked about extending the front portion of the barn to add an additional open-air, covered space. Last year they added a food prep and bar area.

As a newer venue, as they hold weddings throughout the season, they determine what people want and need to ensure their day is perfect. They receive feedback from both wedding parties and vendors.

“We are very casual, it is a family business and I just want them to enjoy their day, truly,” Austin said.

For more information about the Barn at Fraser Hill, visit the website at, Instagram account @barnatfraserhill or Facebook page @Barn at Fraser Hill. Interested parties may also call (828) 964-3347 or email

Appalachian View

Located at 1117 Sugar Mountain Rd #2 in Newland, NC at an elevation of 4,200 feet is a wedding venue with breathtaking, panoramic mountain views. Living up to its name, Appalachian View provides a truly unique experience for couples seeking the perfect ceremony.

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Jen Yunson Photography

The venue accommodates a variety of ceremonies, from elopements to 200 guest celebrations. Its modern barn-style reception hall, The Venue, is innovative and has the capability to be customized to the individual taste of the bride.

The owners of Appalachian View are Cathy and Dale Buchanan. They are both natives of the mountains of North Carolina. Dale worked as a physician who recently retired and Cathy is a former nurse who has always been an organizer. The venue manager is Nicole Brinkmann and Cheyenne Lee assists part-time.

The team at Appalachian View is very involved in making sure brides have all the support, decorations and amenities they need to plan their big day. There is typically two staff members on-site to assist with any needs. There is not a limit to the number of times a couple planning a wedding and their family or friends can visit the venue prior to the wedding date. Cathy shared that this is important, especially if you are planning your wedding months or a year in advance. It is helpful for couples to see the venue during the season in which their wedding ceremony will take place.

The Buchanans have a cabin in Newland which is located at the same elevation as Appalachian View. They found 85 acres of land during their search for land to build a retirement home that would provide spectacular sunset views. At this time, they had experienced 8 weddings in their family. Attending those weddings allowed them to visit several venues and experience the pros and cons of each. Several people encouraged the Buchanans to build a wedding venue on their recently purchased land.

The Buchanans received incredible support from the High Country Event Professionals. This association includes everyone in the wedding and event industry. They visited wedding venues in the area to receive feedback and share their plans to build a venue. Through these visits, the Buchanans discovered that more decent-sized venues were needed in the area. They consulted with Gragg Construction & Design Inc. and Mike Gragg, who is Dale’s second cousin. Cathy shared her ideas with the company and they were on board with the project. The building process

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Houses of worship, rustic barns and community centers are some popular venues at which people say “I do” in the high country.
There is no perfect wedding venue, but rather the perfect venue for the couple.

was soon underway. The Venue was built to withstand up to 150 mph winds, since wind comes through the location from 3 directions.

The Venue is handicap and wheelchair accessible and has an on-site caterer’s kitchen. There is a built-in bar with indoor and outdoor access that can be used for cocktail hours and receptions. This style of bar allows there to be more control by the venue in terms of how much guests have to drink.

The Venue features a high ceiling with wood beams and stylish chandeliers. At the reception, instead of having to rely on DJ’s lights, there are LED lights in the wooden beams which change colors on rotation or can be set to a certain color.

There is a feature wall located behind the head table or “sweetheart” table which couples can decorate however they choose. Some examples of ways to dress up the feature wall are fairy lights, greenery, neon “Mr. And Mrs.” signs, and even Christmas wreaths during the holiday season. There are 4 strong hooks on the wall that

can be used to securely hang items.

The wooden walls inside the venue are also available to hang decorations and there are cork boards to also be utilized. Also available are flatscreen TVs that can be used to display photo presentations and other media.

The Pavilion is a 1,500 square foot heated, enclosed space. It offers beautiful views of Grandfather Mountain as well as the Western Mountains. It is typically used for rehearsal dinners, indoor ceremonies and bridal brunches. It is handicapped and wheelchair accessible. The Pavilion features sliding glass doors and large windows to take in the beautiful 360 degree view of the entire property.

For outdoor wedding ceremonies, there is a completely flat area located in the side yard. There is a paved path which leads to it from The Venue. The backdrop for this ceremony space is a beautiful view of Grandfather Mountain. This view was the inspiration for the design of the property and it is Appalachian View’s mission to share it with everyone. The outdoor cere-

mony space is large enough to comfortably host up to 200 guests and couples can choose from various wooden arbors to use in the ceremony. The arbors, which belong to Appalachian View, include a cross, triangle, rectangle, hexagon and two types of circles. Staff at Appalachian View set up the arbors and if it is too windy at the time of an outdoor ceremony they do not put them up due to safety reasons.

All event packages include multiple ceremony sites, bride and groom ready rooms, an outdoor gas fire pit with outdoor seating, up to 75 parking spaces for guests with additional parking behind the Pavilion and a choice of white, gray or ivory linens. Appalachian View launders it’s own lines and keeps those on-site in case table cloths need to be changed or replaced at any time. There are round tables, rectangular tables and cocktail tables available and provided by Appalachian View.

The wi-fi connectivity is not an issue at Appalachian View and the bandwidth is strong enough to accommodate a large number of users. This reduces stress expe-

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Sarah Bragg Photography

rienced by videographers, photographers and DJs who sometimes have to ensure they do not have weak or compromised WiFi connections.

Appalachian View has a weather station on-site which they use to track weather conditions. This comes in handy for outdoor ceremonies and helps everyone to plan accordingly if a weather event is anticipated.

There is a separate set of chairs for outdoor ceremonies and for the Pavilion. If there is a chance of inclement weather, staff sets up at both locations in case the ceremony has to be moved indoors.

“We will move the arbor or whatever we need to in last minute,” Cathy said. “Give us 10 minutes and we can switch it over without having to touch what they’ve set and spent time and money on making the reception area.”

One unique amenity that is offered as part of wedding packages are two cabins located on-site. Two are completed, with one still under construction. Both completed cabins are 900 square feet and are equipped with furnished full kitchens, living areas, internet SMART TVs, fans, heat, washer and dryer units, irons and an

ironing board and porches with rocking chairs.

Cabins are available as an add-on at per night rate for a single day or weekdays.

The first cabin, named Ashe, features 2 bedrooms and has wheelchair/ handicapped accessibility. The second cabin, named Birch, has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. Each cabin sleeps 6 people. The third cabin, Chestnut, is expected to be available in the second half of 2023. Ample parking is available for the cabins in a separate parking lot.

Cathy shared that their goal is to eventually have 5 cabins to be able to accommodate 30 total guests.

A popular offering at Appalachian View is the rocking chairs that can be found on both the back porch of the venue and the porches of the cabins, which face the spectacular view.

Cathy shared some of the reactions wedding guests had to the rocking chairs located at the venue.

“I found a good deal on rocking chairs and I bought eight and put them out here,” Cathy said. “All of a sudden in my reviews, people were always mentioning how wonderful it was to have the rocking chairs

out here.”

A lot of times, some of the older family members attending wedding ceremonies, love being able to sit and enjoy the view.

“A lot of the older people were not leaving as early because they could get out of the noise of the band or the DJ and enjoy the evening out there,” Cathy said.

She added that even if dancing has started, everything stops at sunset and everybody goes outside to experience the beauty.

To learn more about Appalachian View, visit the website at, the Facebook page @Appalachian View, or the Instagram account @appalachianview

Interested parties can also contact a staff member by calling (828) 395-5495 or emailing


Bailey currently works for Ashe County Schools and freelances in her spare time. She enjoys drinking coffee, listening to music and traveling. She can be contacted at

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Say “I Do” on top of a mountain. “For Better or For Worse” in the valley of an ancient river. “I Thee Wed” on the grounds of a sprawling estate. Party in an elegant dining room, inside a rustic barn or al fresco. There’s a reason the North Carolina High Country is a top wedding destination, and there are many venues for weddings, receptions, rehearsal dinners, luncheons, brunches and other special occasions. Following are a few of our recommendations.

Anewweddingandeventvenueoffering spectacularviewsoftheBlueRidgeMountains fromthe4200-footsouther ncrestofSugar MountainnearLinville,NC. A3600sqftheated andair-conditioned receptionbuildingwithboth indoorandoutdoorceremonysiteshasbride andgroomsuites,caterer'skitchen,barwith insideandpatioaccess,andanoutsidefirepit with asunsetviewpatio.Thereisampleonsite parking;facilitiesarewheelchairaccessible. ComplimentaryWiFiisavailable.Thisisthe perfectplaceforallcoupleswholoveeachother tomaketheircommitmentofficialin abeautiful mountainsetting.

We have 2newlybuiltonsitecabinsthatsleep 6guestsineach,completewithfullkitchens,a washeranddryer,with 1beingfullyhandicapped accessible. We alsoofferallinclusiveelopement andmicro-weddingpackagesthataregreat for smallcelebrations.


SugarMountainRd.#2, Newland, NorthCarolina828.395.5495 J e n Y u n s o n P h o t o g r a p h y
Shannon Clark Photography Olson Design Photography

Mor ga nt on Comm un it y House

Thisnewlyre-designedandremodeledfacilityhas updatedfurnishingsshowcasingchandeliers, originalbarrelceilings,agreenroomforthe Bride’srelaxinganddressingincomfort.An elevatorfor ease of entry for your guest.Ababy grandpianoandplentyofspaceforseveraltypes ofentertainment.HighspeedWi-Fiisfreely accessible.Thelobbyleveloffersamplespace for yourcrowdtoroamasneededinalarger event Plusmanymorebeautifulworks of artinournooks creatingbeautiful backdrops forpotential photographyopportunitiesonyourspecialday. Wehavean executivechefand fullservice kitchen tomeetallyourdiningneeds.

Additionally,ourbeautifuloutdoorcourtyardarea canbeusedforyourentirewedding locationor addedasamulti-room venue. Itfeaturesa pergola, surrounded by treesandflorals withseat wallsandanattachedfront porchwithoversized rockingchairsofferingendlessdecoratingideas.

All About Weddings 2023 | 75
120 N Kin g Street Morganton , NC 2 8655 1.828.4 38.5364 morgantonco mmuni t yh ouse .com

Enowen Photography

Indoor Event Barn w/Full Kitchen & Light up Bar

Outdoor Pavilion with Grills & Pony Keg Taps

Covered Outdoor Tent w/Stage & Outdoor Firepit

Indoor Restrooms & Addtl Luxury Restroom Trailer

Upstairs Sleeping Quarters w/Balconies

"I wanted to take just a few minutes to thank the Firerock Venue and staff for a PERFECT day! The sincere hospitality, genuine empathy to meet every single need and end results of our overall event will never be expressed enough through words. While we all know nothing is perfect in life, the staff and venue were literally PERFECT! I also wanted everyone to know that the staff should be considered irreplaceable! The constant attention to every detail was nonstop. Please pass on our sincerest appreciation for how WONDERFUL they are!

Thank you again for everything and we will share your venue with everyone we come in contact with!"

Sincerely,Candace Hartley & The Harmon’s

Tables & Chairs Provided for 140 guests (addtl can be rented)

State of the art sound & video equipment ... and MORE!!! Email us at ''

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"Absolutelybeautifuleventdestination.Nicely decoratedwithtastefulelegance.Theentire southernpropertyfeelsveryinvitingandboaststruecharmandhospitality.Theownershave doneanamazingjobwitheverything!!"-Mandy
Celia Rawson Photography
All About Weddings 2023 | 77 Enowen Photography For Upcoming Public Events & Concerts at FireRock Station Scan the QR code Get in Touch! 161 Firerock Station Tr Sugar Grove, NC 28679 828-434-0709 828-434-0841

Venue Information


AMENITIES: Outdoor & indoor ceremony areas; Bride & groom ready rooms; Heating/AC; Catering recommendations; Caterers kitchen; Accessible bar; Separate enclosed ceremony pavilion; Fire pit; Ample on-site parking; Handicap/Wheelchair accessible; Tables, chairs & tablecloths included; Spectacular views


80 - 200 Y Y Y Y

AMENITIES: Pond, Stream, Fire pit, Outdoor Pavilion, On-site parking


AMENITIES: Use of barn; Outdoor tent; Pavilion & grounds; Tables & chairs; Dressing areas for bride & groom; Fully equipped audio & visual smart system; Outdoor grill; Refrigerators; Food warmers & chillers; Wine chiller & ice machine; Outdoor fire pit & lounge chairs; On-site parking


175 - 500+ Y Y Y Y

AMENITIES: On-site catering; Dining; Dressing rooms; Patios; On-site event coordinator; Multiple sites for ceremonies, Receptions; Showers; Pastor referrals; Overnight accommodations; Swim; Tennis; Fitness; Golf; and more


225 inside Y Y N N

AMENITIES: 4 outdoor ceremony sites; 1 indoor ceremony site/main hall; Stone patio; Covered porch; Waterfall feature; Firepit; Fireplace; Catering kitchen; Spacious bridal party suites; Full bar with kegerator

MORGANTON COMMUNITY HOUSE 200 inside, 75 outside Y Y N Y

AMENITIES: Bridal Suite

78 | November-December 2021
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ConvenientlylocatedbetweenBoone,BannerElkandBlowing Rock,FoscoeRentalsofferstheperfectaccomodationsforyou andyourguest.Rusticlogcabins,stylishcondosandspacious townhomesareallavailable...manywithmountainviews,hot tubs,hikingtrails,poolaccessandmore.Letushelpstartyour happilyeverafter.

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Enowen Photography

pages 76-79, 81-83

The Barn at Fraser Hill

pages 69-73


page 68

What you need is who you love

pages 66-67

Dream Catchers and Open-Eyed Dreamers

pages 64-65

Kiri & Ashley

pages 61-63

Jenna & Chris

page 60

Loving in the Rain

pages 55-57

Tracy & Marcus

pages 52-53

Kierney & Chad

pages 50-51

Ethereal Gothic

pages 47-49

Back to the Beginning

pages 33-35

Ali & Mitchel

pages 30-31

The Plan(ing)

pages 26-29

Jess & Matt A Wedding (Planning) Story

pages 24-25

To Change or Not to Change: That is the Question

pages 22-23

The ever-changing art of Floral Arrangements

pages 20-21


pages 18-19

Attention to how photos

pages 17-18

Hair to make them stare

pages 14-17

from a Professional Esthetician

pages 12-13

Makeup Tips

page 12


pages 10-11

Staying Calm Leading up to the Big Day

pages 8-9
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