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I. love. this. wedding! Photography by the fabulous Tine Hofmann of {TM Photography}, Planning and Design by {Weddings with Tara}, Floral Design {The Bloom Room}. This is a double feature week for Tara and we are thrilled to feature her again. From Tara… “I loved the personalized details of Melissa and Ryan’s wedding. The guests kept commenting all night long how amazed they were how much they ‘saw of Melissa and Ryan’s passion and love in every part of the wedding’. That is an incredible compliment to the couple and all the hard work they put it to making their own. Melissa and Ryan did everything possible to make their guests feel comfortable and welcome. Despite the rain, everything turned out beautifully, and Melissa got her dream of being able to dance under the stars. Melissa was unbelievably organized and so creative..she made my job so simple! It was an honor to be a part of such an amazing union. Melissa looked stunning, and they could not have been any happier!” Thank you so much Tine and Tara for sharing this fabulous wedding with us!  Melissa + Ryan are such a beautiful couple with a strong love and amazing outlook on life.  Their interview was so inspiring to me.  Thank you for sharing your love story with us!  Without further ado… Melissa + Ryan~

The weather was: Rainy. It was the kind of rain you don’t expect in the heat of the summer. Everyone kept telling me, if it rains, it will be a quick thunderstorm and be over. The rain came in around noon and continued a light drizzle through our ceremony at 4 pm. I was hoping it would stop right before the ceremony so we could have the wedding out in the field as planned, but we had to move it under the tent. I was disappointed. As soon as it began however, I knew it was perfect. The soft sound of the rain was so soothing, and the temperature was absolutely perfect the entire day. No one was hot. The rain stopped just in time for pictures and dancing under the stars.
What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Nature. We wanted it all to reflect our love of nature and birds, then we added in rustic and vintage aspects. We did everything possible to make it a full-blown eco-wedding.
What colors did you choose? At first, I didn’t want any uniform colors, but it naturally happened as we planned more and more. We used chocolate brown, pinks, and greens.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I went with my mother, grandmother, sister and niece. It was a special day for me and we all had a wonderful time. But I hated every dress I tried on and began to panic thinking I would never find something I liked. I didn’t want anything that was busy, but I wanted something unique. But I found one. I knew the dress would be my wedding gown after they put the veil on me. I didn’t want to wear a veil, but I fell in love with it. My dress was designed by Marisa and was 100% ivory silk, such a luxurious fabric, and I have to say it was an extremely reasonable price. A friend of mine made the most gorgeous bustle.
Describe your wedding flowers: The florist used all my favorite flowers. Peonies, orchids, fiddle heads, greenery, lilies of the valley, bells of Ireland.
How did the two of you meet?
We met through mutual friends and then bumped into each other at a bookstore and talked for hours. From that day on we were inseparable.
Describe your engagement: Ryan planned the entire day as a surprise. I had no idea where we were going, but he made me get up at 6 A.M. and we drove for two hours. He took me to the top of Linville Gorge and we were standing among thick white cloud that hadn’t lifted yet. It was so quiet and peaceful. He got down on one knee and presented me with a ruby ring. I love rubies. He had photocopied some of my drawings and had a hand craftsman jeweler design it based on my drawings. It is so unique. We spent the rest of the day doing things Ryan planned to represent our relationship. We went to the waterfalls, caverns, and Grandfather Mountain, where we saw deer, eagles, mountain lions, and bears, not to mention breathtaking views.
A date we went on that we’ll always remember: A friend was having a gathering at their house and we stared into each other’s eyes there like never before. Later that night we had our first kiss.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My sister made a chuppah for us. We are not Jewish but we really identify with certain Jewish beliefs and traditions. We designed the chuppah together and she made it all with ribbon and silk. It was beautiful and such a gift.
Special details: We wrote our entire ceremony together. Our Reverend let us take his written ceremony and use parts of it, while we wrote what was important to us around his words. We included many traditions that were important to us. I went to a Moravian college, so we gave a Moravian love feast (a serving of bread) to our parents and grandmothers to show them our love, loyalty, respect and appreciation. We had unconventional readings, such as The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. We also had an altar of the four elements, including a small Hawthorne tree we planted together. We watered it during the ceremony, and in the program we let guests know that we had had a tree planted in each of our guests’ names through the American Forest Organization. We also had four of our close friends make a Mandela out of leaves and petals before the ceremony in the aisle. A Mandela can represent many things, but is meant to dissipate quickly underfoot of passersby or in the wind. It is meant to represent the impermanence of life, youth, and beauty. When we walked through it, the design was destroyed, signifying the completion of the Mandela. We also used part of the Buddhist wedding vows. We used our program to explain the many traditions we celebrated. We had a wonderful local band, the Snake Oil Medicine Show that played the liveliest music. Everyone danced! They were so talented. We wanted the cake stand to reflect the setting, so we had a local man cut a tree trunk from an already fallen tree to place our cake upon. My sister was my only attendant and she didn’t want to carry a bouquet. She wanted a floral bracelet of green orchids, so she could hold my bouquet comfortably. She wore it all night and enjoyed those orchids. My flower girl carried a root basket of petals, and the ring bearer carried a real bird’s nest I had found in my mother’s yard years before. We also designed our wedding bands ourselves, made from renewed metals and conflict free stones, and had them engraved with “Ubi tu Gaius, ego Gaia,” which is Latin for “Where thou goest, I shall go.” Ryan walked down the aisle too with the procession with both his parents, as I walked with both my parents. We just did everything our own way. We made it our own, so everything felt meaningful and full of thought.
Were there any special family traditions you included in the wedding? We gathered together our family’s old wedding photos, had prints made, and hung them on lines with clothespins. I also wore my great-grandmother’s wedding band, over 100 years old, and I had my grandfather’s photo in a small frame attached to my bouquet. We drank wine from the common cup in our ceremony, which is traditionally a part of the Greek Orthodox ceremony, part of my family heritage.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? During the ceremony, our best friend sang and played “Sweet Thing” by Van Morrison. It was so beautiful and gave Ryan and I a chance to stare into each other’s eyes without looking away. It was so powerful.

Check back later for Part II of Melissa + Ryan…

Written with love by Southern Weddings
  1. avatar Emily@oncewed reply

    Absolutely beautiful!! I love it!!!

  2. avatar carmen reply

    I’m so glad to see Tine featured on your blog. Her work is so fresh & original. She deserves to be recognized out side of good ol’ midwest Ohio. This wedding was a phenominal combination of all involved. Beautiful work ladies!

  3. avatar lucky designs reply

    Tine’s work is amazing. We are lucky to have her in Cincinnati!

  4. avatar Curious reply

    Does "Weddings with Tara" do any work outside the southeast. I would love to have her do ours in NYC. What amazing touches!

  5. avatar Melissa Bickey White reply

    Thank you so much for featuring us on your wonderful blog! It means so much to Ryan and I.

  6. avatar steve z. reply

    Tine is an amazing photographer. One of the best in the midwest.

  7. avatar Woodward + Rick Photographers reply

    Beautiful images! Tara and the good folks at Claxton Farm always do such a great job!

  8. avatar Eva Bryant reply

    I adore the personality of this wedding! I stumbled upon this while searching for a venue for our own Tennessee wedding. Where was this held I wonder???!!!

  9. avatar Kristen Hansen reply

    It was at Claxton Farm north of Asheville, NC. It was an AMAZING day for 2 wonderful people.

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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The vintage typewriter for writing personal notes to the couple is one of my favorite wedding ideas!  Nowadays, many young people have never even seen a typewriter.  Such a lovely touch.

Tell us about your reception site: The reception site was beautiful.  It was under a huge tent with tons of candles all around.  The tables were a mix of ivory, apple green, and chocolate brown linens.  All of the floral arrangements were very natural to the area.  We wanted the site to look like it had been waiting for Jared and I for years, that everything had just grow there for us for years.  We used lots of moss, ferns, swamp lilies, orchids, tree limbs, stones, etc.
Favorite design element of your big day:  The flowers!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Seeing each other’s face as I walked down the aisle during the ceremony!
Were there any special family traditions you included in the wedding? We had all of the family members who had passed away with us in pictures.
Funniest moment?  I almost tripped when we came back down the aisle together.  I caught myself though, and I don’t think that anyone noticed.
Three adjectives that describe the day are:  Natural, Beautiful, Antique.
What advice would you give to someone planning their wedding? 
Enjoy every moment because it goes by so quickly and don’t miss a detail.  Be appreciative of everyone who helps, let them know how much they mean to you. Get a good photographer!  That is the one thing you will keep for the rest of your life and you want to make sure every moment is captured!
Best advice or most memorable comment someone made to you during the wedding celebration?  Always kiss goodnight, no matter what!
What’s next for you as a couple?
  Right now we are trying to settle in to our new lives together, but we eventually, maybe in a year, want to have children.

Congratulations, Jill + Jared!  We wish you a lifetime of love and joy~

Written with love by Southern Weddings
  1. avatar Cathy and David – Photographers reply

    Gaaaahhh!! You guys always bring me the coolest stories and pictures. :-D LOVE LOVE LOVE the typewriter idea. Going to have to remember that.

  2. avatar Hallie reply

    Oh my goodness I love the typewriter idea too–I could use my granddaddy’s. Thanks!

  3. avatar Heidi@TrulyEngaging reply

    Wow. Simply stunning! I’m completely inspired by the ambience… of the lighting~ both natural and otherwise.

  4. avatar Melissa reply

    I love everything about this wedding, the typewriter idea is amazing!

  5. avatar kristin @ the fairmount bride reply

    Love the typewriter! What a great idea!

  6. avatar Fabulously Lizy reply

    The typewriter idea is completely original! The shot of them dancing in the tent is gorgeous.

  7. avatar Weddings on the Strand reply

    The typewriter idea is grand. Each wedding can have its own novel ideas and personal touches to make them memorable. And it’s so true that most young folks never have typed on anything but a computer keyboard. Great motivation to participate!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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I love this wedding and this beautiful young couple.  I have to admit tearing up reading their amazing love story.  Tara of Asheville-based {Weddings wIth Tara} always produces beautiful celebrations.  Jill + Jared’s wedding at Lake Eden, shot by {Ryan Bumgarner}, is filled to the brim with sweet Southern organic details.  How amazing are these flowers!? Floral design by {The Bloom Room}. Check out {Tara’s BLOG} for more inspiration.  Thank you, Tara, for sharing this lovely wedding with us!  From Tara… “Jill was so wonderful to work with…down-to-earth, so in love, and excited about all the details going into her wedding day.  Lake Eden was the perfect setting for such a beautiful occasion, and I am so happy that the weather was gorgeous. Stacey, with The Bloom Room, did an impeccable job with the flowers…taking nature’s beauty and blending it with elegant design.   I loved every part of this wedding…especially having a dog as a groomsman!”  Enjoy Part I of Jill + Jared…

The weather on our wedding day was:  Wonderful.  It did rain a little that morning but the sun was shining when I walked down the aisle.
What was the design inspiration for your wedding?  Natural and antique.  I wanted the wedding set up to look like it had been waiting there for us since the day we met, so there were a lot of natural elements with antiques and antique colors.
Ceremony Site: Outside beside a lake as the sun was setting.  We didn’t want to overwhelm the beauty that was already there in nature, so we just tied some ribbons to the tree (so they could blow in the breeze) and placed sandalwood fans in guests seats.
Describe your wedding flowers:  My bouquet was filled with lady slipper orchids, ivory dendrobium orchids, fiddle head ferns, pitcher plants and forest ferns.  The bridesmaid bouquets matched the chocolate brown dresses with green hydrangea and a touch of chocolate brown- fiddleheads, swamp lilies and forest ferns. The bouquets were hand tied with double satin chocolate brown ribbon. We had two flower girls that carried “kissing balls” with chocolate brown ribbon. Jared’s boutonnière was ivory orchid with fiddlehead and forest fern.
Describe your wedding cake:  Our cake was ivory butter cream with chocolate “fern leaves” drawn on the sides with more icing.  There was a mix of 3 flavors including a vanilla, apple and pumpkin flavor to bring out the fall flavors.
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story… We grew up together.  We first met in our 5th grade class where we like to joke that I accidentally hit Jared’s head on a desk making it bleed (and he still liked me, wow!).  But we were friends all through school and both of us had a mutual attraction to each other.  We were just too scared to come out and say it.  Finally, one of my best friends, Lindsay Stephens, “accidentally” dropped a note that just happened to contain information on how much I liked Jared.  I was right next Jared and of course he opened it.  I had no idea until later that month when we were dating.  All I knew was that all of a sudden I was getting lots of attention from Jared and I was extremely excited!  This all happened our junior year at North Buncombe High School.  We were an item from then on- even through college!
Describe the proposal:  Well, kind of a funny story again.  I was taking the trash out for my mom, and as I was opening the front door Jared was standing there with Gerbera Daisies.  I started to hand him a bag to help me, and my mom grabbed both the bags and ran back to the kitchen.  Jared took my hand and sat me on my dad’s favorite chair on the porch (my dad passed away a couple of months before Jared and I started dating, he died of Leukemia).  He dropped to one knee and I started crying and shaking!  Also, I should probably tell you about a very neat thing that happened before my dad passed away.  My dad had gone to the barber shop and met Jared about 3 months before he died.  When he came home he told me that he had met Jared and wished that I would date a nice guy like him!  He said that he seemed like the perfect person for me and would approve of him any day.  So, even though Dad wasn’t here to tell Jared that he could ask for my hand in marriage, he had approved of it years ago.
What attracted me to my husband was:  His personality is absolutely amazing!  It’s kind of funny, but everyone always says, “Everyone loves Jared!”
Why do you love your husband? Wow, I don’t think I could tell you all of the “why’s”. Cheesy, yes, but absolutely true!  He is so handsome, he is always there for me through all of the difficult times, he knows how to make me laugh even when I don’t want to, he has a wonderful smile, the most caring eyes that just seem to say I understand and I am here for you, he would do anything in his power to make me feel better, we always have fun and I just love him!
What attracted me to my wife was:  She is beautiful, fun, and caring.
A date we went on that we’ll always remember: The best was a dinner I made for Jared on his birthday- the first birthday that we were together. Since I wasn’t sure what exactly to buy him, I cooked instead.  It was candle-lit at my house. I grilled steaks and covered them with portobello mushrooms and provolone cheese.  We also had grape juice to drink. I was being “cute” since we couldn’t have wine.  We have tried to recreate this day every year on his birthday.  Sometimes it doesn’t work out that we have a chance to, but when we do it’s just like that first time!

Check back later for Part II of Jill + Jared…

Written with love by Southern Weddings
  1. avatar holly hatam reply

    the boutineires are so cute!

  2. avatar dani @ weddings fresh reply

    oh those boutineires are amazing! love it

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

Reply to: