Friday, May 20, 2011

Wedding at Max Patch on the Appalachian Trail

I’m always up for an adventure. Well, yesterday was an adventure!

Like many couples, Susan and Scott were planning a wedding and looking for some suggestions. Susan mentioned that they love the outdoors and were hiking the Appalachian Trail. It takes a lot of dedication and time to hike the entire 2,175 mile trail that crosses through fourteen states from Georgia to Maine. Like most people who hike the AT, Susan and Scott were ‘segment’ hiking.

When she mentioned the Appalachian Trail, I knew the perfect spot. Max Patch, near Hot Springs. It is a wonderful bald with 360 degree views. She and Scott took a little trip to see for themselves. They agreed, it was perfect.

My husband, Guy, went with me yesterday. He doesn’t usually travel with me but he agreed to go and take a few photos. We left home in plenty of time because I always allow for the ‘unexpected’. Yesterday we got an ‘unexpected’. We were ahead of schedule and within three miles when we found the road blocked. We were told that a tractor was stuck. Actually it was an 18 wheeler that had attempted the one lane gravel road. Not sure why he chose this route but it probably had to do with a GPS. My Garmin has taken me on quite a few side roads.
One problem with remote weddings… spotty cell coverage. I had no way of notifying Scott and Susan of our dilemma. We were told the road should be cleared in about 25 minutes so we sat patiently, watching beautiful butterflies.

The road finally cleared and we were on our way…

Although we only live about 20 miles from each other, I met Susan and Scott for the first time in the parking lot. I made sure they had their marriage license with them before we started the hike.

There are several trails to the top of Max Patch. Scott and Susan chose the shortest one. Which, as you can imagine, is not the easiest trail. I had to rest several times during the climb. Once we reached the top, I took a few minutes to catch my breath.

Doesn't the bride look happy!

It was a beautiful ceremony, full of love. 

Marriage is a journey. There are no maps. There is only a commitment to stay on the same path – to love, honor and cherish each other every day.

During the ceremony, I noticed that someone had joined us. A fellow hiker was passing by and decided to take a few photos of the wedding. We talked a bit and his trail name is ‘FireTower’.

The photos say it all. Almost. For their honeymoon, Susan, Scott and their two dogs are hiking to Hot Springs. A trip they will always remember.

May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
and the rain fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again my friend
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Small Private Weddings and Elopement Packages in North Carolina

Are you planning a wedding and feeling stressed?

More and more couples are choosing to marry privately and celebrate later with family and friends. One couple recently told me they were eloping because, ‘we care more about our marriage and future together than just the one day'. To be honest, my husband and I eloped. We didn’t have a lot of options available but it was great fun! For us we wanted to ‘be’ married, not ‘get’ married.

Elopement packages are a great way for couples on a budget to plan their special day without accumulating excessive debt. Perhaps you are buying a new home, finishing your education or planning a fantastic honeymoon. 

A small, private ceremony can be memorable and romantic without straining your budget. And, anything goes! You can be formal and wear a beautiful wedding gown and tuxedo or you can choose to wear shorts, t-shirts and sandals.

There are so many reasons that eloping is a perfect option.

To save money
To have the style of wedding that reflects your personalities
To avoid offending family that my live a long distance away
To reduce stress associated with large wedding
To eliminate the possibility of getting nervous/emotional
To stay in control
To save time

Years ago, eloping meant going to the courthouse (or jail, depending on the location of the magistrate) and getting married. Luckily that has changed and there are many options available.

You don’t have to settle for a standard, one size fits all, ceremony. If you’re looking for a beautiful location for a personal, love-filled wedding day you might want to consider our retreat center, located between Charlotte and Asheville. 

We are not a wedding venue with one wedding scheduled right after the other. There’s time to relax, breathe and enjoy this special time. There are several outdoor locations and when the weather becomes a problem weddings take place inside our main cabin. If you want to celebrate with family and friends we can accommodate a few guests.

We are available for short-notice weddings. However, you must have a valid NC marriage license.

Our packages include:
Services of a non-denominational minister
Individually prepared ceremony (religious, spiritual, or non-religious/civil)
Choice of special elements
Customized vows
Recorded music
Complimentary digital photo CD
Use of private dressing area
Keepsake marriage certificate
Filing of the marriage license

Optional items:
Champagne/sparkling juice toast with keepsake champagne flutes
Petite wedding cake
Bridal bouquet & boutonnière
Overnight accommodations at riverfront house
So… does this sound good? Call or email. I will be happy to answer any questions.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Leah and Derek, Together Forever

What an honor to share in Leah and Derek’s special day at the Cottages of Spring House Farms. Family weddings are such fun and this was a perfect location.

Have you ever seen a cuter flower girl?

I noticed that everything was well coordinated and mentioned this to Leah. She told me that she had previously worked as a wedding planner. It all made sense! She had taken care of all the tiny details. Even the ribbon on her bridal bouquet was decorated with hearts that contained their initials.

As part of the ceremony Leah and Derek made personal promises to each other. Leah read hers, Derek spoke from his heart. 

After their promises to each other, they made promises to their daughter, Isabella. She did not understand the significance of these words but her parents did. They were already united as a family. This was the day to acknowledge it publicly.

Zee had arranged for a small reception following the ceremony.

Isabella was allowed a little taste of the icing.

We left the happy family celebrating! Plans were already in place to return next year to celebrate their first anniversary.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Wedding at The Thistle House in Granite Falls

It’s hard to believe that a year has passed since that first email from Jackie and Ronnie. Jackie was a full time nursing student and since her graduation was a few days after their wedding, she wanted to plan everything well in advance. After a few emails, I was pleased when they asked me to officiate their ceremony. We immediately began working on their wedding ceremony.
Saturday May 7th was the day they had been planning for. The weather was absolutely perfect. When I arrived their family was busy making preparations for the wedding and reception.

This was my first wedding at The Thistle House in Granite Falls. The Bed and Breakfast has a perfect spot on the lawn for outdoor weddings. I wandered around taking a few photos while I was waiting for everyone to arrive.

Lovely Koi pond.

Instead of a wedding cake, there were tiers of beautiful cupcakes. They were certainly tempting. 

There was a small cake, on the top tier, to be shared on their first anniversary.

I loved the favors. What a clever idea. How fun to watch the flowers sprout and grow while thinking of the newlyweds.

While the photographer was hard at work, I was able to get a quick photo of the happy couple. Two hearts, One love. The beginning of Always!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Touch of England - Jennifer and Keith Marry at RiverMist

For the last few weeks all eyes have been on England and the Royal Wedding. It was a beautiful event witnessed (and critiqued) by millions. The wedding required a huge amount of preparation and coordination. I haven’t heard estimates on the actual cost of the wedding but I’m sure it’s staggering. With all the planning and expense, at the end of the day they were married and everything was a memory.

On May 2nd, we made wedding memories at RiverMist. Jennifer, along with her parents and brother traveled from England to marry the love of her life, Keith, who is stationed at Fort Bragg.

Jennifer, like many brides, wanted a simple stress-free wedding. She gave me complete freedom to make the arrangements.  I contacted a local florist to design her wedding bouquet, boutonniere, and of course a corsage for her mother, or as Jennifer referred to her, Mum. Everything was ready and waiting for their arrival.

After pining the groom's boutonniere we were ready to begin. Jennifer’s Mum had requested special music, Pachelbel's Canon. It was a wonderful way to begin the ceremony.

Our weather has been perfect and Monday was no exception. It was a little overcast which is optimal for outdoor photos.

Jennifer's father was happy to escort his daughter.

The family gathered around as Jennifer and Keith made their promises to ‘share life’s journey.’ Their first kiss was a short sweet kiss, (similar to the much talked about kiss shared by Kate and William) 
Immediately after the kiss was THE hug, hearts beating together.

After taking a little time to be alone, the couple came inside for cake and champagne. 

It was a touching moment, during the toast, when Jennifer's father told Keith to ‘take care of their little girl’. 

Jennifer was a little worried about cutting the cake. Keith had told her that sometimes the bride or groom smear cake on each others face. She had nothing to fear, Keith is a gentleman.

Since we are not a wedding venue with one wedding scheduled right after the other, there’s plenty of time to sit and visit. The clouds had lifted and the deck was nice and sunny so everyone decided to have their refreshments outside.

Photos were downloaded and the cake and champagne flutes were packed for travel. The newlyweds headed to Asheville to enjoy a few days alone.

It’s always such a special time when couples drive away to ‘begin their new life together’…..