Liz + Josh created a beautiful Asheville wedding — somehow the magical marriage of springy and bright and rustic mountain style. Their invitation serves as the perfection introduction to a night full of family heirlooms, fun signage and pretty flowers and fruits.
As a UNC grad, I’m head over heels for L + J’s proposal story — a sunset proposal at the picturesque Old Well on campus. Biggest thanks to Angela Cox for sharing this gorgeous wedding with us!
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Yes, we did. Mainly because I love the way the photos of those moments look, and I love how they help to tell the story of a wedding day: the photos of that intimate moment between an almost-husband and wife are so powerful and emotional. I loved the idea of capturing that feeling on our wedding day.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Planning the content of the ceremony was really important to us. We chose one reading that our officiant incorporated into her sermon, and then two others that were read by my first cousins, as well as a final blessing from Rumi to end the ceremony.
Describe your wedding flowers: Oh my gosh, how do I begin? This was by the far the most important part of the décor to me. I love and adore the work of one Asheville’s best florist, Jessica Gregory with Aria Floral, and as soon as we got engaged I knew I had to work with her! My color palette was to be light robin’s egg blue, with neutral accents in the burlap tablecloths and the guy’s linen suits. We used the florals to pop in lots of beautiful coral, hot pink, peach, pale yellow, cream, white, light pink, orange, and bright lime green as well as deep waxy green. I had this dream of using lots of fruit – peaches, Ranier cherries, cut pink grapefruits for their beautiful color, lots of vines, river rocks, and plenty of candle light throughout. I wanted a few tall pieces with hanging candles and then lots of the fruit and flower/orchard feeling carried throughout. I also found photos online of these amazing hanging flower boxes, which were just sort of a fantasy, but Jessica surprised me and made one out of a vintage planter that hung above the vintage mantle Josh and I had hunted around for and found on craigslist. It was GORGEOUS!
We’re seeing more and more of these chalkboard ceremony programs. I love the effect — graphic signage in place of paper goods (though y’all know how much we love paper).
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. This was a really important part for me!! My good friend Lauren and a family friend from my parent’s church played flute and hammered dulcimer as the bridal party and mothers processed in. Then we had two songs specifically that we had played for my processional and for the recessional. I walked in to the first 3 minutes of the Fleet Fox’s “The Shrine/An Argument” The lyrics and song were sort of inspirational for us as we planned our entire ceremony, and helped us envision the kind of hushed, intimate, and meaningful feeling we wanted everyone to leave with. We even used the lyrics to create a chalkboard hanging banner that we hung in one of the trees near the ceremony entrance, so everyone could read them. The moment when I started walking and could hear the song filling up the silence in the little mountain glade near a stream – it was perfect and so meaningful, just what I dreamed it would be. We recessed out to “Wouldn’t it Be Nice” by the Beach Boys. We just LOVE how that song starts and
Our wedding was designed to be a tribute to our beautiful Southern mountain home, where Josh and I were both raised. I absolutely loved the assortment of Appalachian quilts we used in our ceremony – Josh’s 90 year old grandmother is a life-long quilter and had created many of them. Her eyes lit up when she saw the brown horse-themed quilt she had made almost 34 years ago for Josh’s nursery. The china plates were also a tribute to our traditional Southern families. We used my mom’s pattern, my maternal grandmother’s pattern, Josh’s grandmother’s and great aunt’s pattern, Josh’s mother’s pattern, my Aunt’s pattern, and my great grandmother’s pattern. Not a single one was broken, to our relief! It was such a treat to see people admiring them. One guest was so excited that her late mother’s pattern was the plate that just happened to be placed at her seat. One detail that wasn’t photographed, unfortunately, was an old wheelbarrow we found in my dad’s garage and set up half-way up the rather steep hill that all our guests had to “hike” through the vineyard, between the ceremony and reception site. We filled it with ice and bottled water and beer, with a barnwood sign we made directing guests to take a little break, grab some refreshment, and enjoy the view! A lot of guests seemed grateful that we thought of it!
Oh how romantic is this photo? Sweet kisses, string lights and a night of celebration? Perfection.
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Josh and I were both born in Western NC, he in Franklin and I in Asheville. His family moved to Asheville when he was in the fifth grade, and we attended the same high school. However, he was three years older than I, so I only knew of him by name. Years later, after we’d both graduated from college and lived elsewhere, we both found ourselves back in our hometown. We had a pair of mutual friends who’d begun dating, and they would often tell each of us that they wanted to introduce us. One evening in June of 2008, the meeting was finally facilitated, along with several other friends, and I found myself have a great conversation with Josh. At the end of the evening, I was excited about the possibility of getting to know him better; he’d gotten my phone number and a few nights later, he called and invited me along with a group of friends to 80’s Night at Broadway’s, one of our favorite little dive bars in Downtown Asheville. It’s a big-time dance party to all the music of our mutual childhoods. After five hours of dancing non-stop, we both knew we would be together. We had our first kiss that night when he dropped me off at home.
Describe the proposal. I am a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and though Josh went to UNC-Greensboro, he has several UNC alums in his family, so we are both die-hard Tar Heel fans. Every year, it’s our tradition to get each other basketball tickets to see a few UNC home games for Christmas. In February 2011, we headed down to Chapel Hill for the weekend to see a Sunday basketball game. I had some sort of weird premonition while packing for the weekend away that something big might happen, like a proposal. When no proposal happened Friday and nothing happened Saturday, I decided it was just a fluke with no real basis. We attended the basketball game on Sunday (Heels won!) and as the sun was setting, Josh wanted to do one last walk around Carolina’s beautiful campus before we got in the car to drive back to the mountains. We wandered around, heading toward one of the two main quads on campus. The Old Well is a small columned rotunda in the middle of campus, with a beautiful Carolina blue domed roof and white Doric columns surrounding a marble drinking fountain in the middle. It’s one of UNC’s most beloved symbols and a prominent icon on our campus. Legend has it that anyone who drinks from the fountain (or “well”) will have good luck. As we approached it, Josh suggested we each drink some water there for luck. I kind of laughed, but agreed. As I turned around, Josh was kneeling behind me with my beautiful vintage engagement ring in his palm. There are always a small smattering of tourists and students around the Old Well, so needless to say, his proposal had a little audience! Of course I said “Yes!!” as soon as I figured out what was going on.
In what month did you get married? We got married June 2.
How many guests attended your wedding? 175
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: One of my best friends also got engaged within months of Josh and me, and she and I decided to take a little impromptu trip to Atlanta to start our wedding dress search. I really had no idea what I wanted – I had never imagined myself a bride, and couldn’t imagine what would be flattering on me and what I would be comfortable in. My friend and I both agreed we might even get simple white eyelet sundresses – maybe we’d forego the typical wedding dress route. As soon as we each tried on our first “real” wedding gown, that idea went out the window! We went to lots and lots of boutiques, just to see what options existed. A Swiss-dotted tulle drop-waisted dress from James Clifford stuck in my mind over all that I tried. When I returned to Asheville, I couldn’t stop thinking about it, even though the trip had been intended as just exploratory. I started calling around to shops in NC to see if anyone near us carried the dress I’d found. The designer was only available in two boutiques in North Carolina! My mom had seen a picture of it online, but of course I wanted her to see me in it, in person, to make sure she agreed that it might be “the dress.” We called the boutiques, and just one of them happened to have the actual dress in the shop to try on – as part of a trunk show that ended the next weekend! So, we left at lunchtime on a Friday to drive to Raleigh together to try the dress before the trunk show ended. She loved it, and on second sight, I loved it even more! I bought it that day.then builds with a drum into the first chorus! It just makes me smile! There was no other option.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert: This was another thing that I had a specific vision for. I am a person who lives for the details, so I had so much fun planning these specific visual elements, like the look of the cake. I wanted something that go with our Appalachian mountain feel – nothing too perfect or clean – so fondant was definitely out (plus I don’t like that it’s not all that good to eat. Cake should be edible!) I worked with the amazing Tiffany Goode of Tiffany’s Baking Co. and we decided that shaved white chocolate would give a beautiful, rustic, free-flowing texture to the three-tier round cake. I definitely wanted a few big sugar flowers, too. We went with three big peonies that were soft blush pink. It turned out just beautifully and was delicious as well.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: A few of my top favorites were our vintage mantle with the rows of multi-height hurricanes on top, the moss covered trays I created with corks and beautiful tea-stained tags and calligraphed names that we used for our escort cards, the beautiful chalk board menu and “program” which my friend, the very talented Mandylynn Holt created, the vintage plates we used for dinner and dessert, the strawberry plants that Jessica used to decorate some of the feasting tables, and the alternating hay bale rows and farm benches we used for our ceremony seating. We covered all the bales with vintage quilts collected over many years by the women in Josh’s family and a few close friends.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? With two parents who are small business owners, it just wasn’t possible to have a “dream wedding” budget. When we first started playing with numbers, I admit I experienced a few weeks of disappointment that it seemed there was no way we could afford to do the beautiful Southern mountain wedding that I wanted. But, with some creativity, Josh and I worked out a savings plan and got creative and DIY with as many details as we could. I didn’t want to sacrifice any of the little touches that are so important to me, so we took lots of time and planning energy to find a way to make them all happen, despite a limited budget. I ordered all the fabrics wholesale, and my mom sewed all 30 of the burlap tablecloths and almost 100 feet of linen runners! We scoured yard sales and flea markets and estate sales for over a year to find deals on more dinner plates and dessert plates. We were successful in never paying more than $3 a plate, while using real china for all our pieces. My now-husband, both of our fathers and several of my best girl friends spent two days setting everything up. It was so gratifying to have everyone pitch in to make such a beautiful, memorable, special day.
What range did your wedding budget fall into? We spent between $10,000 and $25,000
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? The flowers, hands down! They were really the one area I spent “above average” on, and it was SO worth it. I feel flowers and candles and lanterns just MAKE an event, and Jessica’s work was exactly what I wanted – I loved every little vine and cherry.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Walking down the aisle, hearing the beautiful and haunting Fleet Foxes song, and looking at all our friends and family surrounding us in the beautiful mountain meadow, with my new husband waiting just ahead of me at the end of the aisle.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Take your time! Try to be organized and disciplined with your lists of what you need to do and when you’d like to do it. Share the calendar somewhere you can both see it. Know yourself and build your wedding vision around what you’ll enjoy spending your time on. I was SO glad the entire time that I hadn’t taken on a bunch of crafts or décor projects myself — that’s just not what I love to spend my time on. Instead, I did a few big things and found great talented friends and artists on Etsy to help with the rest. Josh and my Mom were also BIG helps. Use your mother and fiancé – they want to be involved!!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? I’m not sure yet! We’ll see where life takes us! We’re both busy with our jobs and looking forward to a trip to NYC to visit my sister this fall. We have some projects around the house we’re looking forward to working on when life settles down, and I can’t wait to celebrate the holiday season as a married couple, finally!