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Bride Tori’s joyful wedding at The Biltmore Estate.

Please meet today’s bride, Tori! Of course, I think that all our bride’s look stunning on their wedding day’s, but it’s hard not to smile while looking at nearly all these photos of Tori – that bed jumping photo is exactly how I hope every single one of our brides feels when marrying her groom! According to Tori, she and her beau Matthew are just “Two goofy people who happened to meet at the perfect time.” While Tori might say “goofy,” I’d say joy-filled! Based on the above comment, I’m a tad surprised by her favorite part of their wedding. Tori said, “The ceremony was our favorite part! I honestly didn’t realize how much fun it would be to get married.” Well, now I see why! That might be one of my favorite reason’s to date. You absolutely want to keep scrolling for more of Tori and Matthew’s Biltmore wedding!

Big SW hugs to Natalie Watson for these sweet photos!

Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. I went with my mom to every shop, and she was always the perfect person to bounce ideas off of. I wanted it to twirl, and I did NOT want strapless. Low and behold, my mom and I fell in love with a twirly strapless gown that we both knew was perfect!

Did you decide to do a first look? We did do a first look, and we’re both SO glad that we did! There were no distractions — we just enjoyed the moment. Another bonus is that at the reception we didn’t have to take time to leave and take photos. We could enjoy our time with each other and with our families.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? One requirement of the wedding was that it be outside. I was raised in north Georgia, so mountains were the backdrop to my life. The Biltmore had the incredible view that I always wanted and amazing service to go along with it.

What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony? The ceremony was our favorite part! I honestly didn’t realize how much fun it would be to get married. We exchanged traditional vows, and we also each wrote a letter to each other. They are now hanging on our walls at home.

What was Southern about your wedding? Ha! Everyone and everything. I’m from Georgia; Matt is from Florida; we fell in love in North Carolina. We got married in the mountains. We ate pecan pie to celebrate. We had bourbon in our glasses to toast. We ate s’mores, danced to “Wagon Wheel,” and prayed that we would get through whatever life threw at us.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. A quartet played instrumental music as we entered and exited the ceremony. The parents and grandparents walked in to “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran and the bridal party walked in to “I Want you Back” by Jackson 5 (so much fun watching them dance in!). I walked in to “How Long Will I Love You” by Jon Boden, which was also our first dance song! And we all exited to ‘Shut Up and Dance’ by Walk the Moon. Matthew and his mother danced to “Boys of Fall” by Kenny Chesney, a throwback to when Matt was a football star in high school. My dad and I danced to “Georgia on my Mind” by Ray Charles, a perfect trace back to my roots.

What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? We had pie! This was my second requirement of the big day. I like cake, but I LOVE pie. We had pecan, chocolate, and peach streusel (another homage to my Georgia roots!). We did have a small coconut cake to slice in to for a first bite, but the pies were where it was at!

Tell us your love story in one sentence. Two goofy people who happened to meet at the perfect time :)
Tell us all about the proposal! MATTHEW IS AMAZING! New Year’s is the one holiday that we always spend together. He told me he was going to fly in to Atlanta on December 31st and meet me downtown that evening. I spent the day shopping for a New Year’s dress with my sister and being surprised by my favorite cousin to get my nails done. Right when I thought it was time to go towards Atlanta, my sister and cousin started driving in the other direction. They handed me a laptop and headphones and told me to watch. All of my friends and family began to tell me how much they love me and how they have loved getting to know me and Matt separately and as a couple. When the video was over, we parked, and I was told to put on a blindfold, hold their hands, and follow them. When the blindfold came off, I saw a sidewalk lined with luminaries and flower petals. I followed them until I saw my goofy, tall, perfect boyfriend standing under twinkly lights with a goofy grin dancing to a song from our favorite movie, “About Time.” The rest was perfect, including a friend hiding in the bushes to take pictures and our families back home to celebrate with us.
When did y’all get married? September 3rd, 2017
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 120

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? We didn’t want a big fabricated event — we wanted an outdoorsy, charming, casual wedding, our favorite things with our favorite people. Asheville Event Co. made sure that the reception was exactly what we envisioned. They really listened to what defined us as a couple and celebrated it.
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? We definitely had differing ideas, but they allowed Matt and me to come together and support each other. We learned what was important to each other, and we really advocated for one another.
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? There were a lot of moving parts! We had a fun gathering for our friends on Friday night, followed by a day at summer camp (the summer camp that Matt went to and worked at) on Saturday. Then we had our rehearsal and rehearsal dinner that night, and all Sunday was full of prepping. We were excited/nervous about everything that had to be done, but Missy (at AEC) made it really easy!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We didn’t focus on the embellishments too much, but instead focused our efforts on the entertainment and food. We found what was important to us and focused on that. The rest was an added plus, but not something that would make or break our day.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Be around people that bring you up! There will always be people that make the planning a little more stressful. Remember that this is a day for you to celebrate with your betrothed. Surround yourself with people that make it exciting and happy, and that will make it enjoyable.

Photographer: Natalie Watson | Videographer: Magic Hour Creative | Planner: Asheville Event Co. | Venue, caterer, lighting, and dessert baker: Diana at The Biltmore Estate | Florist: Blossoms at Biltmore Park | Rentals: The Biltmore and CER | Band: The Free | Paper products: The Happy Envelope | Bride’s gown: “Agatha 13704” in ivory by Watters Wtoo | Bridal salon, veil, earrings: The White Magnolia | Hair stylist: Love, Daisy | Makeup artist: Blush by Wendy Balance | Bride’s shoes: Steve Madden | Bridesmaid dresses: Watters 244 in Plum from Bella Bridesmaids | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse | Ceremony musicians: Ron Clearfield

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Kyla Shattuck reply

    I love their joy! I can completely relate to Tori’s sentiments about the ceremony, too! :)

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As you’re planning your wedding, be sure to set aside some of that brainstorming time and a few of those clever ideas not for the day you say “I do,” but for the days around it! When I was planning my wedding, one of the sweetest parts was all of the opportunities my engagement gave me to celebrate the ladies I loved most, through bridal shower hostess thank you gifts, the lunch I ordered in for everyone on the wedding day, and my bridesmaid gifts. If my gals had been local, I would have LOVED to do a get-together like this one from Lauren Liddell Photography and Lovegood Wedding & Event Rentals, too! Those who do have local ‘maids, I’ll live vicariously through you :)

Thank you to this talented team for sharing these sweet ideas!

Photographer: Lauren Liddell Photography | Planner and stylist: Lovegood Wedding & Event Rentals | Venue: Wisteria Bed & Breakfast | Rentals, decor, and ring box: Lovegood Wedding & Event Rentals | Florist: Maidenhair Floral and Event Design | Cake: The Twelve Five Cakery | Cookies: Candi’s Cookies | Catering: Elements Catering and Floral Design | Paper products and pillows: Adam Trest Home | Fashion: BHLDN | Hair and makeup: Molly Gee Designs | Gift boxes and jewelry: Simple Joys by Ginny | Ribbon and runner: Nettle Textiles | Stamps: Lovegood Market

Lovegood Wedding & Event Rentals and Elements Catering are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory, and BHLDN is a wonderful SW sponsor!

emily Written with love by Emily
2 Comments
  1. avatar Pixel Weddings reply

    Such a beautiful wedding! stunning!

  2. avatar Sheffield Wedding Photographer reply

    we love the wedding photos! wow!

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Y’all know all about the Sweet Tea Society, but you may be slightly less familiar with the Southern Weddings mission statement. It’s posted all over our office, so it’s something that’s always at the forefront of our minds. It goes like this: “Our mission is to inspire brides to cultivate a life full of love–celebrating their families, the culture of the South, and what matters most to them–and then to draw from that rich well to create a meaningful beginning to married life.” Reading through Toree and Forrest’s interview, I could hardly believe how much they brought this exact mission to life. From the farm-turned-venue that has been in Torree’s family for generations, to the “call to community” Forrest’s father made during their ceremony, to the oh-so-Southern “front porch” of their reception tent, and more, every moment and detail celebrated their families and overflowed with love.

Thank you so much to Mary Rosenbaum for sharing Toree and Forrest’s beautiful wedding with us!

When I started looking for wedding dresses, I wanted lace, a keyhole back, and straps or sleeves. We went to several different shops and found a few dresses that I liked, but none that screamed “That’s it!” My mom and I made a couple more appointments for the next weekend, and in the meantime I tried on her wedding dress. I loved the lace bolero she wore! We wound up going back to Olia Zavozina, where I had tried on a simple dress. I fell in love with it when I learned they would be able to incorporate the lace from my mom’s wedding dress onto mine.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes, we did! Forrest and I wanted to have some time alone together before the ceremony. It was a sweet time to calm our nerves and reflect on what the whole day was about. Also, seeing each other first allowed us to take most of the pictures before the ceremony. We wanted to make sure we didn’t miss any part of the reception we had been planning for so long.

We got married on my family’s farm, so it was very special to us! I grew up going to the farm, and in the recent years, I had often thought about how pretty it would be to get married out there. The part of the farm where we got married came through my dad’s paternal grandmother. She was born there and the ceremony took place in the orchard where she played as a little girl. My grandfather was the only child of four who stayed and carried on the farming tradition. My grandfather passed away in 1987 and the farm was rented out because no one lived there at that time. My dad purchased the farm back in 2011, in less than pristine condition. I didn’t know if it would be a possible venue, because the only structures on the farm were a century-old barn and my great-grandmother’s house that had not been occupied since 1940, but my parents embraced the idea of a farm wedding, and from then on, it was a team effort. The countless weekends and hours my parents, brothers, and friends spent working on the farm made the idea possible. Being married on the family farm embodied the ideas of legacy and community that we wanted to emphasize on our wedding day.

We didn’t have a specific Scripture reading, but Forrest’s dad led a charge to community. He explained the importance of community and how each guest at the wedding played a part in shaping who each of us is. He made statements such as “If you were at the hospital when Toree or Forrest was born, please stand up” or “If you went to school with Toree or Forrest, please stand up.” By the end of the statements, every guest was was standing and we sang a congregational hymn, “In Christ Alone.” It was a beautiful testimony to how blessed we are by the people in our lives.

Oh y’all…the next two pictures make my heart leap! So beautiful.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I think the whole wedding was Southern! The wedding took place on the family farm. Our love story was written (in short) on barn wood leading up to the wedding site. The guests were brought up to the ceremony site by hay trailers covered in quilts and pulled by my dad’s antique Ford tractor. The drink bar was made out of barn wood and we served lavender lemonade and sweet tea. Passed hors d’oeuvres included mini BLTs and sweet potato biscuits with country ham. There was a “front porch” on the tent. Dinner was a buffet of Southern fare, including squash casserole, farmer’s green salad, homegrown tomato and mozzarella, fresh seasonal fruits and berries, an assortment of homemade breads, and more. At each place setting, there was a monogrammed napkin in a burlap and lace silverware holder. The tablescapes included linen, burlap, lanterns, and family silver.

The wedding cake was white with buttercream icing. It was a round three-tiered cake, and each tier had a different pattern in the icing. We had to consider the weather when making cake decisions, and although fondant might have been the best option for the warm temperatures, I was not a fan, so the cake was the very last thing set up before the wedding began! The groom’s cake was a square, two-tiered chocolate cake with chocolate icing, covered in chocolate-covered strawberries, and it was placed on an American flag table. We also had cookies and milk as a post-dancing snack, which guests could also take them home as a favor.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We loved having a live band. They played a variety of music that kept all of the guests entertained on and off the dance floor. From easy listening music during dinner to songs that had our college friends and grandparents on the dance floor, the band really made the party.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The Chinese wish lanterns! After dinner and cake, all of the guests came out into the field to light the wish lanterns. Guests worked together to light and send off the lanterns into the night sky. We watched them float up and across the farm until they blended in with the stars. It was a beautiful sight!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in middle school and even “dated” for a week in eighth grade! We went to different high schools, but remained friends and kept in touch. We eventually wound up at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville together, and during November of our sophomore year, we officially became a couple. I left to study abroad that January (2010), and we were not able to talk, or even email, that often, so we kept journals. When I got home in May, we read the journals to each other, and it was amazing how similar our thoughts and entries to each other were! In the fall of 2010, Forrest and I found ourselves talking about getting married. A year later, I left for Memphis to begin pharmacy school while Forrest stayed in Knoxville. It was a hard year apart, but enduring the long distance proved our commitment to one another. In May 2012, the week after I got back from Memphis, we took a trip to the beach and he proposed!
Tell us all about the proposal! We were headed to Florida with friends for our annual May beach trip. Forrest and I got there before the other couple arrived and he asked if I wanted to go for a walk on the beach. While we were walking, I noticed he was being extra sweet. Right as I realized what was happening, he turned to me and told me how much he loved me. The next thing I knew, he was down on one knee asking me to marry him! I said “YES!!” Then, he told me to look up at the boardwalk and wave to the photographer (little did I know, it was one of my best friends), because we were going to meet him at the sailboat to take pictures. We went back to the house and got dressed for “engagement pictures,” and when we returned to the beach, both of our parents were at the sailboat! I had no clue they were in Florida! We went to the house Forrest’s parents were staying at to celebrate, and there on the porch were a dozen of our college friends and the rest of our families. I will never forget that day and week with our closest friends at the beach celebrating our engagement!
When did y’all get married? June 8, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 300
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes, we wrote our own vows. Our favorite phrase was “I will pursue you with a love that bears all things, believes all things, and hopes all things until we return to the garden in Christ’s promised covenant.” Christ is the foundation of our lives and marriage. Our prayer is to fiercely pursue one another with love that endures the hardships of marriage. Until the day that we walk with God, Forrest and I will strive to put one another before ourselves.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. It was very important to us that our entire ceremony was Christ-centered, so all of the songs were instrumental hymns. The moms and grandmother were seated to “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” was played while the bridal party walked down the aisle. I walked down the aisle to “Before the Throne of God Above.” “Be Thou My Vision” was played after we exchanged rings and while the congregation prayed silently for us. We walked out to “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz. We felt like it was a good transition song from the seriousness of the ceremony to the party of the reception.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes! I had my monogram and wedding date in blue on a patch inside my dress. My Jimmy Choo shoes were new. My grandmother’s rings were tied to my bouquet as my something borrowed, and the lace on my dress from my mom’s dress was my something old.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge was our venue. While it had lots of character and meaning to us, there were so many basic things that had to be meticulously planned to make it all work. From bathrooms to lighting to power to parking to food preparation, every detail had to be thought out.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We made several things ourselves and called in help from our friends! We made the silverware holders, the flower boxes for the aisles, and the favors, and we took old Starbucks Frappaccino bottles and turned them into personalized milk bottles. A friend monogrammed all of the dinner napkins. One friend made the chocolate chip cookies. Another friend split buying the table cloths with us so that we had enough for our wedding and then theirs. A church friend let us borrow mercury glass and another friend let us borrow burlap table toppers she had made. Many of my mom’s friends were there to help set up and decorate on the morning of the wedding.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Remember that at the end of the wedding, you will be married, and that is the most important part of the entire event!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We look forward to writing our own story through shared hobbies, outdoor adventures, and having out best friend as our roommate! Forrest is looking to start his career as an intern architect and I will be finishing my last year of pharmacy school at the University of Tennessee.

Photographer: Mary Rosenbaum / Videographer: Bryant Bural / Planner: Marcia Husband / Venue: Private residence / Florist: Cathy Miller and Jimm Wright of Spring Hill Florist and Gift Shop / Cake Baker: Barbara Owen / Cookies: Sandy’s Cookies / Caterer: Kristen Winston Catering / Rentals: Stewart’s Special Events / Lighting: Tech Works Decorative Lighting / Band: The Craig Duncan Band / Bride’s Gown: “Elegant Dream” by Olia Zavozina / Paper Products Printing: Coleman’s Printing / Hair Stylist: Premier Haircuts Cool Springs / Makeup Artist: Fern Lawson / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Rhea” in Grey Ridge by Donna Morgan / Men’s Attire: “Traveler’s Suit” in Navy by Jos A. Bank / Ties: The Tie Bar / Bathrooms: Royal Restrooms

lisa Written with love by Lisa
12 Comments
  1. avatar Lindsay Colvin reply

    Oh my GOODNESS those purple bridesmaid dresses, swoon swoon swoon! Also, such a sweet line she shared from their vows, so touching!

  2. avatar Rachael reply

    Wow my heart is melting – the photography i just gorgeous – way to go mary! Each photo is so intimate you really captured the emotion behind this day!

  3. avatar Catherine Grace reply

    Oh My Heart !!! That Bolero is gorgeous.

  4. avatar Emily reply

    There are so many lovely details, but the groom’s cake table might be my favorite – so perfectly Americana! And I love the late night cookies and milk :)

  5. avatar Rachel Nordgren reply

    Those lanterns! That lace bolero! The vintage tub for the drinks! Marvelous details, and that line from their vows is richly beautiful.

  6. avatar Joyce reply

    This is one of the best thought out weddings I have seen in SW. If I ever get married again I want a beautiful lace bolero like the one this bride borrowed from her mother. Getting married on the family farm…wonderful….and the music they chose! Just right! And I so liked how the family and friends worked together to prepare. May they have just as lovely life together.

  7. avatar Steph reply

    That’s my best friend!!!! You chose the most beautiful couple and wedding to feature. Just perfect :)

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