I’ve been wanting to share some of my favorite parts of our wedding with y’all, since it was a real labor of love, much like this blog, and I want to give props to the fantastic people and independent businesses who helped us along the way. Since it’s the week of Valentine’s Day, I thought now might be a nice time!
My sweetheart Shawn and I spent the first weekend of this June at the beautiful Brahma Ridge Event Center outside of Asheville, Carolina eating, drinking, dancing, laughing crying, sitting around the campfire and connecting with friends and family. Oh right, and getting hitched. The setting was fantastic. Brahma Ridge has three houses for rent onsite, where we stayed with several of our friends. They also allow free camping for any wedding guests, so we had several folks set up tents and camp all evening long. It made for a perfectly laid back atmosphere. Because so many of our guests (including us) were coming from out of town, we expanded the traditional “Rehearsal Dinner” and invited all of our guests to a welcome dinner and talent show on Friday night.
Brahma Ridge (photo by Brett Marshall)
We spent the day decorating the tent with various things I’d made, but the real focal point of the decor was a curtain my friend Kelly
hand-painted and hung for us, as well as mason jar candle votives with cozies that my friend Kate knitted by hand. It was great being in the tent and seeing all the things we’d made come together, but it was even better when my friend Brynn reached over and touched my hand while I was in the middle of moving a table and asked, “Is this what you want to be doing right now, Dale?” I thought about it, and decided that no, I’d rather be up at the house getting taking a shower and getting ready for the evening and she told me they had it covered, it would all get done, and I should come back when the party started.
Hand painted curtain (photo by Amy Smotherman Bugess)
The meal, consisting of lots of little things for grazing and gulping, was provided by Saffron Fine Foods,
a family-run catering business, owned by the folks responsible for HomeGrown, a quirky and delicious restaurant in West Asheville that serves great local food. On the menu: mac n’ cheese lollipops (these were definitely the crowd favorite), fried green tomatoes, a variety of salads served individually in little cups, a slider bar (chicken pesto, ground beef and lentil sliders), new potatoes with caviar and creme fresh and mini pies for dessert! They also served up a tasty blackberry champagne (or ginger ale) cocktail.
Blackberry Champagne Cocktail (photo by Shaena Mallet)
One of the most fun parts of the evening was when I went up to the cabin right before dinner as guests were still arriving and when I came back down, everyone was wearing these adorable feather headpieces with pictures of me and Shawn on them along with our wedding date. My friend Kathleen had made them and passed them out while I was gone. What a sweet, unexpected treat!
Our flower girl Avery sports one of the headpieces. (photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess)
After dinner, we invited our guests to perform in a talent show, since so many of our friends and family are performers. We had everything from Mongolian folk songs to stand up comedy to a hilarious play my friend crafted from emails Shawn and I had sent her during our courtship. A highlight was when my uncle Ray played “Rocky Top” and several of my friends started clogging along. Everyone who performed got a little award pin I made for their efforts. For a finale, our friend Rachel, who was emceeing, had the brilliant idea to invite everyone who wanted to up to sing Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” which is Shawn and I’s kind-of-ironic-but-we-kind-of-really-like-it go-to karaoke duet. The entire show was hilarious, moving and really really impressive.
Amazing choreographed dance by our friends (photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess)
Our friend (and ceremony photographer) Shaena played an adorable song on the uke (Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess)
The official party ended with my friend Julie called several square dances while her husband Adrian and our friends Brett and Mike played music. Because we were constantly switching partners, it was a great way to unite the group and let people to get to know each other a little bit. While many folks headed to bed after the square dance, the late-nighters made s’mores around Brahma Ridge’s fire pit.
Julie and the band! (Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess)
Square Dancing! (Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess)
It was a warm and wonderful way to start the weekend, and my only worry was that we’d thrown toogreat of a party, and that the actual wedding would pale in comparison to such a fun night. Stay tuned tomorrow to see if my worst nightmare came true!!!!