Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Unique Wedding - Bost Grist Mill - Concord, North Carolina

Mike never had any doubts about where he would marry Cindy. Since he's close friends with the owners, Bost Grist Mill would be the location.

And the date... Nov. 19th. The same as his parent's and his sister. Who could forget an aniversary in that family!

Mike designed the double heart symbol that was used on their flag and engraved on a crystal cake topper.

What a lucky couple! Two honeymoons. They celebrated at the coast immediately following their wedding. And in a few weeks will be heading west for a snowmobile adventure..

And look at this... how many couples have their picture taken on a shiny John Deere tractor?

Remember....have fun on your wedding day!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Beautiful Mountain Wedding at Leatherwood Mountains

Leatherwood has become very popular for destination weddings. Couples can choose a private 'couples only' wedding in one of the 40 privately owned luxuary cabins. Several other locations are available for ceremonies that include family and friends. And since Leatherwood is known as 'horse country' couples can actually marry on horseback.

Jody and Joe, chose Leatherwood Mountains for their family wedding. They had never visited Leatherwood and made all the arrangements through email and phone conversations. Abbie, the event coordinator, is a pleasure to work with helps couples plan their perfect wedding.

Jody and Joe had children (ages 6 - 15) from previous marriages and it was very important to involve their children in their wedding ceremony. Each child read a portion of a reading entitled 'The Keys to Love"

The key to love is understanding....the ability to comprehend not only the spoken word, but also those unspoken gestures, the little things that say so much by themselves. etc....
Once the ceremony was over, the children were very interested in cutting the beautiful cake that Leatherwood provided. Unfortunately, they had to wait for photos and a trip to Boone for dinner.

Don't they look relaxed! What a great way to get married....

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Family Wedding at The Cottages of Spring House Farm

Like many couples, Crissy and Allan wanted to marry in a private ceremony surrounded by the love of their immediate family. The Cottages at Spring House Farm was the perfect location for their destination wedding. The setting is very private yet very close to Asheville. (Crissy and Allan were looking forward to a candlelight tour of the Biltmore House

Zee and Arthur are wonderful innkeepers and love to have weddings at Spring House Farm. And so does Jerry Lee who joined us for the ceremony.

Originally Crissy and Allan planned on getting married inside the historic home. However, after arriving at The Cottages  (and the weather cooperating) they decided to marry at pond gazebo.

Crissy told me during the planning phases of her ceremony that family will be an important part of their marriage. I suggested incorporating a family sand unity ceremony and she loved the idea. Photos of deceased family members were displayed and candles were lit in their memory.

This family will have many adventures!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wedding at French Broad Crossing

Fall weddings in North Carolina... There are so many beautiful locations it's really hard to have a favorite. On this particular weekend, Hot Springs was my favorite!

If you aren't familar with Hot Springs it is very popular for the mineral water that comes out of the ground at the perfect temperature for hot tubs. And the Appalachian Trail runs right through the center of town.

Donna and Pat were married at French Broad Crossing, a new development in Marshall, near Hot Springs. What a great spot for a fall wedding. The lodge is at the top of the mountain and overlooks the French Broad River.

It was very foggy on the day of their wedding. Not unusual for the mountains and normally wouldn't have been a problem, except their wedding was scheduled for 10:30 am.

As I arrived at the lodge the fog lifted and it was a glorious day full of blue sky and sunshine...
Donna and Pat wanted their ceremony to be memorable and loved the idea of blessing stones. They added their own touch. On a previous trip they hiked to the river and collected river stones for everyone to hold during the ceremony, Guests were asked to send their love and blessings to the stones. After the ceremony the stones were collected and are now proudly displayed in their home.

To carry out the 'stone' theme they had small stones tied to their champagne glasses.

Donna and Pat are now back home in Florida, looking forward to the day they can move to the mountains and bring their river stones back to North Carolina.

How to Get a Marriage License in North Carolina

I've had a few interesting questions concerning a NC marriage license. First of all, you must have a license
to legally marry in North Carolina and I do not issue the license.

Here are some things you need to know:
You do not have to be a resident of North Carolina to apply for a marriage license.
The license is valid for 60 days.
There is no waiting period; the license is issued immediately.
Blood tests are not required.

Where to apply and requirements for a NC Marriage License
The Bride and Groom must apply together at the Register of Deeds office in any county in North Carolina. Most offices are open 8:30 - 4:30 Monday - Friday. A social security card is required. Some offices accept other proof of social security number (tax return, pay stub, etc ...). Check with the individual office for specifics. A picture ID is required. The license is $60 cash (some offices only accept cash) and you both will sign the license at the time you obtain it.

If you are under 21 years old, you will need your birth certificate.

Divorced applicants must provide the month and year of their divorce. If there has been a divorce within the last 60 days, the state requires a copy of the divorce decree signed by the judge. I have found that some counties always require written proof of divorce, regardless of how long it has been since the divorce. Contact the Register of Deeds office in the county you plan on getting your license to verify their requirements.

Certified copies:
Immediately following your ceremony, the officiant and two witnesses must sign your marriage license. It is the officiant’s responsibility to return the completed license (within 10 days) to the Register of Deeds office where it was issued.

You will not automatically get a certified copy. If possible, pre-order your certified copies when you apply for your license. Some offices will not allow you to pre-order. In this case, you will receive a request form to mail after the wedding. The certified copies should arrive in 10 – 14 days after the request is made. Once you receive the certified copy, the bride should contact the Social Security Administration about applying for a new card. (You may need to make an appointment so it’s best to call ahead.) You will also need your certified copies before health insurance,  banking  or other financial accounts can be changed.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Beautiful Fall Weddings in North Carolina

I can’t believe that it’s been almost two months since I’ve updated my blog. Where does time go??

It’s been crazy busy. And no wonder, the mountains are so beautiful and this year was especially so. I was in Hot Springs two weeks ago and I don’t think I have ever seen the trees so full of color…

Just a little piece of advice…if you’re planning a fall wedding next year in the mountains of North Carolina start making your reservations immediately. The venues and vendors book up well in advance and you don’t want to be scrambling around at the last minute trying to pull everything together.

During the last couple of months I’ve had the good fortune of meeting some great people from various states and even had a couple from Canada stop by RiverMist to get married on their way to Florida.

Here are some photos and kind words from a few of the couples who were married this fall.

Victoria, We just got back from Florida today (it was a long drive :-) ). We had a great time in Florida, playing golf, shopping, swimming and exploring. Now it's back to the ole grind.Just wanted to drop you a line to tell you that our ceremony was truly surreal. We loved every minute of it. I kept reliving the event in the days after as it felt like a dream. The pictures really do us justice lol (must be the photographer). Tell Guy that all our friends comment on the great shots. Please thank him for making it truly memorable. The setting was just beautiful. Thanks to you both!!! Donna and Jacques

Donna picked up some flowers on the way so we hand tied her bouquet before her wedding. I keep ribbon and pins handy  and often use flowers from my own garden.

Victoria, I wanted to drop you a note to tell you again how much John and I loved the ceremony. It could not have been more perfect. The words you choose could not have better suited or better defined our relationship and how we feel about each other. Thank you for opening you home to us and making our day so special as we begin our lives together as man and wife. Please extend our gratitude to your husband for taking the beautiful pictures and to Glen for witnessing our marriage. Again, we just cannot find the words to thank you enough and express how happy you have made us! Warmest regards, Tammy and John

This was a first, styling the bride's hair!

Rev. Victoria,
I wanted to thank you again for the beautiful ceremony. We were just looking at our pictures that your husband took. They are very good pictures that we will treasure forever. Our wedding day was all that we had hoped for, a customized ceremony that was stress free. The day was magical for us both. Mr. and Mrs.

Dearest Victoria,
Just wanted to tell you how much Carl and I appreciated you overseeing our marriage. You made it so relaxing and peaceful for us both. You are a blessed person and we would recommend you to anyone. Our life and memories are going to be wonderful and you are a part of that, THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS. May God Bless You and your family for he has ours. Take care and maybe we can stop by and visit someday soon. Sincerely, Carl and Christy

And I have to brag a little... my husband, Guy, is doing a great job with photos....

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tamara and Phillip Marry at Smoky Mountain Mansion in Robbinsville

Weddings just aren’t what they used to be… And aren’t we all glad!

I knew when I arrived at Smoky Mountain Mansion in Robbinsonville it was going to be a special wedding. The smile (and twinkle in Phillip’s eyes) was a sure sign that he was quite a character. And he later proved me correct!

He and Tamara traveled from Florida to the North Carolina mountains to celebrate their marriage with family and friends. He had told me earlier that they loved coming to NC to ride their motorcycles. And yes, motorcycles. Tamara has her own!

After talking with Phillip for a while (and learning about his wedding surprise), I went inside and inquired about meeting with Tamara. I was told that she had been crying all day. No matter how prepared, it’s not unusual for brides to have a ‘little’ meltdown on their wedding day. Tamara was surrounded by loving family and friends and she was finally able to put the finishing touches on her makeup. No more crying once the eye makeup goes on.

Guests were in for a treat as Tamara walked down the long aisle (wearing a dress handmade by a friend) to her groom. Phillip immediately kissed her and told her how beautiful she looked. By now, the attendants and many quests joined in with tears of their own. What a touching moment!

The tension was eased later in the ceremony when Phillip asked me if he could kiss Tamara. We weren’t even halfway through the ceremony but I’m all for kissing so I said ‘sure’. After he kissed her I asked if he wanted to kiss her again. And he did!

Now we were ready for the ring exchange and Phillip’s surprise. When I asked for the rings, Phillip presented Tamara with a plastic Disney princess ring. Everyone laughed. When I asked for the ring again, he presented her with yet another Disney ring.

It took three tries before Tamara was finally able to see her ‘real’ wedding ring. And she was so funny. I heard her tell Phillip after the ceremony that she wanted the other two as well.

I needed to head home so I didn’t stay for the reception. However, I did see some photos and it was quite a celebration. There were probably some tired feet after all the dancing!

Wonderful wedding memories….

Waterfall weddings in North Carolina

North Carolina, particularly Transylvania County, is well known for its beautiful waterfalls. Here are just a few of the more popular waterfalls.

Quite often I receive requests for waterfall weddings. I always remind couples that there are many things to consider when planning a waterfall wedding. First of all, most are not easily accessible. This can be a problem if you’re expecting elderly guests or guests who have physical limitations.
Also, some waterfalls are not suited for a large number of guests. And sometimes couples contact me, wanting to elope to a waterfall. In North Carolina two witnesses must be present for the marriage to be valid. This can be accomplished if a popular waterfall is chosen and you allow extra time for other guests to serve as witnesses.

Most importantly, like many outdoor locations, there is no rain site available for a waterfall wedding. I don’t mean to sound discouraging, just trying to offer some things to consider when planning a waterfall wedding.

I’m always up for an adventure and enjoy helping couples find the perfect location for their wedding. I love traveling throughout our beautiful state and am always looking for great locations for weddings. I’ll be happy to answer any questions and offer suggestions.

Beautiful wedding at P.A.R.I

So what is PARI, you might ask. It is absolutely one of the best kept secrets in North Carolina...that is if you're interested in science, especially astronomy. PARI, is an acronym for Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute and is located at a former NASA tracking station in Rosman, North Carolina. PARI is a non-profit foundation dedicated to providing hand-on educational and research opportunities for a broad cross-section of users in science, technology, engineering and math disciplines.

So… what does this have to do with weddings?? A lot if you’re Margaret and Greg. They had attended several lectures at PARI and loved the long range mountain views. When they started planning their wedding, PARI was their location of choice. Although many events have taken place on the grounds, this was the first request for a wedding. After some consideration, their request was granted and the wedding was planned.
Saturday was a beautiful day as we headed up to the ridge. Margaret and Greg were accompanied by their family and close friends. Well, almost all of their family. We were ready to start the ceremony when Margaret realized her brother-in-law was missing. Seems like he was having fun exploring the facility and no one could find him. Margaret was determined that he was going to share in their wedding day so off she went to search for him. She returned quickly, with her brother-in-law. Everyone was now present (including the wild turkeys) and the ceremony began.

You may be like Margaret and Greg and want a wedding that is a reflection of your personalities and interests.
If so, don’t settle for a traditional wedding. North Carolina provides many, many opportunities for unique weddings. Do the research. You will not be disappointed!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Swag - A beautiful place to get married in North Carolina

Nichole and Timothy are looking toward the future together after a beautiful wedding at The Swag in Waynesville, NC.

Nichole and Timothy traveled from Michigan to marry in in North Carolina. Although they already had a cabin reserved in Bryson City they decided to have their wedding at The Swag after seeing photos on the internet. Sometimes photos can be a little misleading. This was not the case with The Swag and it is much more beautiful in person.
Nichole and Timothy wanted a ceremony that suited their personalities. They included the reading, 'These are the Hands' and wrote their own weddings vows, using selections from the samples that I provided.

They also included a special ring blessing. As the rings are passed over each element they are blessed with earth, wind, fire and air. I love this blessing and have some very special things that I use. The vessel I use for water was made in Poland and was a gift from a dear friend. When she gave it to me she said that she didn't know what I would do with it but it had a special purpose. And indeed it does!

During the wedding some of the guests from the inn were hiking nearby. They stood at a distance during the ceremony. Afterwards they came over to congratulate the newlyweds. One of the couples proudly told us they were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. I asked if they had any words of advice. He said something about always saying 'yes, dear'.... Everyone laughed!

It was very obvious that Timothy and Nichole are very much in love and I wish them 50+ years of hapiness together!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

RiverMist Wedding

I just have to post about a recent wedding at RiverMist! This is way overdue but between weddings and summer family outings it has been a very busy end of the summer.

Racheal contacted me several months ago about having a small wedding. She told me that we offered exactly what she was looking for. She also shared a little about her relationship with Neal. They had been dating four years. Which isn’t too unusual but…. the entire time has been long distance. She has been completing her college degree while Neal, stationed at Fort Bragg, has been traveling around the world (yes, including Iraq).

Their wedding day was the hottest of the year and the temperature had cooled off to a mere 105 degrees at the time of their wedding.

Rachael drove from Georgia & Neal drove from Fayetteville. And what a delight to meet them! She arrived carrying a vase of two dozen roses (a surprise from Neal, who is quite the romantic). I pulled out my florist supplies and went to work. We decided on five roses for her bouquet. One for each year they had been together and one for their wedding day!

Just look at this fun couple. After their wedding they headed to Asheville to enjoy their honeymoon which included sky diving, gem mining and white water rafting. I’m sure their goodbyes came way too soon. However, the separation won’t be long. In December Rachael will complete her second degree and will join Neal, hopefully in North Carolina.

I truly want everyone to have a wonderful wedding experience and it made me so very happy to receive this email from Rachael:

Hi Victoria,
I received the written ceremony, so thank you for sending it. I read it a couple days after the ceremony, and am so happy with all of the beautiful words you said, the prayers, and our vows! I feel like ours was unique and special compared to the "average" wedding ceremony.

I also just want to thank you in general for making our ceremony possible (and keeping the most special day of my life OUT of the courthouse!!). I wouldn't have had it any other way. The pictures your husband took were beautiful -- they looked professional!! -- and everyone loves them. Tell him thank you for us! And the basket you prepared couldn't have been more perfect.

I hope more couples, especially those like us who don't have the resources for a big wedding, are able to find you and have as great of an experience as we did!

God bless you and your family! We will certainly keep in touch!
Racheal & Neal

Monday, July 27, 2009

Elopement vs. large wedding, you can have it both ways

What fun to be part of an elopement!

A few weeks ago I received an email from a distraught couple. Because of family (and money) their ‘dream’ wedding had turned into a ‘nightmare’. They decided they wanted to have a wedding ‘just for them’ so they traveled to North Carolina to marry secretly… It was a beautiful intimate wedding and according to them, ‘exactly what they wanted’. We took photos and downloaded them onto a CD to help preserve the memory.

After the wedding they headed to Asheville to enjoy their ‘first’ honeymoon. What a lucky couple they are. Later this year they will renew their vows with family and friends and have another honeymoon. But it doesn’t end there; they already have plans for a third honeymoon in Europe.

I often hear similar stories. (about wedding planning, not having three honeymoons! That was a bit unusual but I’m all for having fun & traveling) Wedding planning can get out of hand quickly and what is meant to be a fun time quickly turns into a time of stress. It makes me so sad when I hear someone say, “I just want to get this over with”, especially on their wedding day!

Whatever you do, don’t throw up your hands and head to the courthouse. There are other options and you can have a very private ceremony that celebrates your love in the manner it deserves…

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Jacinda and Alan - Married at Blowing Rock

Family weddings are always fun and Jacinda and Alan's wedding was no exception. Their three children were lively and loved having Blowing Rock park all to themselves.

Before I tell you about their wedding I just have to say Blowing Rock is a great location for a wedding. It is beautiful and the long range views are awesome. But to be honest what makes it great is Billy..... He 'wears many hats' at the park so it's not surprising that he is the special events coordinator. You will not meet a nicer, more cordial person. He truly wants every wedding experience to be special and goes out of his way to accommodate guests at the park.

Jacinda had originally contacted me about having her wedding at RiverMist. I told her that I was going to be in Boone with my daughter. (taking her Praxis at App.) and suggested Blowing Rock. After talking with Billy, a time was arranged and a wedding was planned.

Since Susan was with me, she became my assistant for the weekend! I don't know what I would have done without her help. And..... she also took photos for Jacinda and Alan's wedding. As you can see, they turned out great! (My 'not a professional photographer' husband better watch out, he might just get replaced!)

Short-notice wedding... Sounds like things thrown together, all in a panic. This is just not so! Jacinda may have felt a little overwhelmed while she was trying to find wedding attire for five people but I never sensed any panic! Their wedding was truly beautiful, including the flowers!

When children are involved I like to include some type of family unity ceremony. I had in mind what I wanted to do for Jacinda's children. However, I had a change of plans at the last minute as I was breaking apart a piece of rose quartz I had just purchased. My idea worked and the children loved receiving a 'gift' at the wedding. Hopefully, everyone made it home with their 'piece of the puzzle'.
Weddings have certainly changed. And for the better, don't you think? No longer controled by a strict set of rules. And a honeymoon at Tweetsie! What better way for a family to celebrate a very special time together...

Stef and Ken - Happily Married

Ken and Stef met in January and immediately fell madly in love... And all because of a whim Stef had when she decided to create a profile on E-Harmony. Who would have thought? She told me that when she checked her email the first morning after entering her profile, she had been matched with Ken.

The emails started, then the phone calls and finally their first meeting. She said by the time they met they felt like they had known each other all of their lives. It's no surprise that E-Harmony has asked Ken and Stef to film a commercial!

My opinion of services like E-Harmony and Match.com have certainly changed through the years and I have married many couples who have met this way. I remember back in the 80's when a friend of mine went through an unpleasant divorce and was meeting men online. It was not a safe way at the time and she was doing some very unwise things... And I'm sure this still goes on. That's why it's important to use a reputable service and always use good judgement!

Back to Stef and Ken.... I met Stef for coffee a few weeks ago and she told me their story. After hearing about how they met we started talking about their wedding plans. Like so many couples today they wanted a private heart-felt ceremony but they also wanted to celebrate with family and friends. Who says you can't have it both ways! Many couples are choosing to have two ceremonies which is very common in many cultures.

On Saturday Ken and Stef, along with her twin brother Damien, traveled from Charlotte to RiverMist for an intimate wedding. And next year they will celebrate a renewal of vows with family and friends. And, yes, you can have it all... it is your wedding and you can do whatever you want.

After much thought, Stef decided to save her wedding dress for her formal ceremony and opted to wear her prom dress on Saturday. When she was at the prom she would have never imagined that someday she would get married in that very dress!

Even though it was small wedding it was very personal. Damien, escorted his sister and later participated in the ceremony by offering a reading. (He also videotaped the ceremony, offering his commentary, including commercials!!)
Stef mentioned that she would like some type of unity ceremony. Since they are having two ceremonies I suggested they include a wine unity ceremony. She loved the idea and bought some beautiful silver and crystal wineglasses and had them engraved, names, date, & 'Almost Paradise'. And.... the glasses will be used at their next celebration.
Ken and Damien, celebrated by smoking cigars, while I downloaded the photos onto a CD. They left to have lunch together before the newlyweds headed to Asheville for their honeymoon.
I'm sure Ken & Stef will be very happy in the years to come! And all because they were willing to 'take a chance'..... Love, it is truly a wonderful thing!
Celebrate love!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Breanna and Jade Get Married in NC

Yet another wonderful short-notice wedding at RiverMist.

I received a phone call a few days ago from someone who was making arrangements for her sister's wedding. She wanted to know exactly how soon the wedding could take place. Since it was around 10:00 at night I told her the soonest possible time would be the next day..... Jade was awaiting orders and he and Breanna wanted to get married before he received his assignment. After a few phone conversations they decided to wait until the weekend so we did end up having a few days to plan a wedding.

Breanna, Jade, Shelby and PJ arrived at RiverMist around 10:30am on Sunday morning. After we chatted a little I took them to the creek where most weddings take place. Since they had driven from Fayetteville I thought they needed a little time to unwind and this is the perfect spot. My hammock is down there and anytime I 'disappear' my husband knows where to find me!
I asked Breanna if she had a bouquet and she said she realized on the way that she had forgotten about flowers. Well.... I had some beautiful stargazer lillies so while they rested a little I hand tied a bouquet using six lillies and other flowers from my garden. I had been admiring my lillies, particularly this one which was full of blooms. I told Breanna that the flowers had been waiting for her.

Even though we only had a few days, I had time to prepare a beautiful ceremony, unlike the courthouse wedding they had considered. Breanna said that they wanted to get married quickly but wanted a wedding experience. And by the smile on her face during the entire ceremony, I think she had her wedding experience! And again, even though we didn't have a lot of time, they found time to write personal vows to each other. This is always nice and says far more than any words I can speak.
And as an added surprise, we had a sparkling cider toast immediately following their ceremony. It was fairly cool on Sunday, especially for July, so I carried the cider and glasses to the picnic table nearby.
I won't say that the groom seemed a little nervous but he did have a look of relief on his face after they were pronounced husband and wife. We all had a big laugh when we looked at the photos after they were downloaded.
So now, the happy bride and groom are back in Fayetteville waiting to find out where their new home will be. There will be many adventures for these two...