Classic DIY Mountain Wedding in Asheville North Carolina

Sarah + Jimmy
July 30, 2011
Asheville, North Carolina

A few of you saw this wedding when it was first published. Then, it disappeared. Long story short, it was accepted for print and the magazine editor wanted to be “first publisher” so I pulled the post. I come from an academic background and know how important print publications are. So I decided to go for the win-win-win solution for everyone. Now we get to see this delightful outdoor wedding with fresh eyes. Enjoy!

DIY Wedding Asheville

All mountains, but especially the mountains in western North Carolina, are infused with a make-do culture. You make do with what you have and use what's around you. This wedding, with its wooden rounds gathered and cut from a neighbor's back yard, the mason jars that are both ubiquitous and steeped in Appalachian history, and the DIY table numbers, offer sweet reminders to live life to the fullest.

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Briefly tell us a bit about your wedding, the planning process.

We really wanted a wedding that reflected our relationship and our personalities, so we focused on that through all the decisions we made. I'd also describe the theme of our wedding as simple/rustic/vintage/outdoorsy. Our ceremony at Grace Episcopal Church was presided over by our college pastor, and many of our good friends were also a part of the ceremony as greeters, readers, and singers/musicians. Grace Episcopal provided a gorgeous setting with its stone walls, dark wood beams, and lanterns. Our reception was at the Crest Center Pavilion, and we feel like we couldn't have picked a better location. The Pavilion is about 5 minutes away from downtown Asheville and provides incredible views of the downtown area, as well as the mountains. Some of the special elements that we incorporated were: cards on each table that had one of our favorite quotes on one side and a goal for our first 10 years of marriage; a painting and guest book created by Jimmy's mom; photos of our parents and grandparents on their wedding days; apple pie as our groom's cake (This is Jimmy's favorite dessert.); and coffee beans from Flat Rock Village Bakery, where we went to breakfast the morning Jimmy proposed, as our guest favors. As storm clouds passed over us (without a drop of rain), it started to cool down, and we enjoyed the outdoor terrace and lawn overlooking the mountains as much as the actual Pavilion. We danced to music by The Business, an absolutely fabulous band from Asheville, and had a wonderful night with family and friends.

What are three things you're glad you did?

  1. We are really glad we were thorough in our search for venues that best suited us and the feel we wanted for our wedding. It was frustrating at times because it was a long process, but we loved both of our venues. They both provided an intimate and gorgeous setting that we were looking for. Plus, the Crest Pavilion was incredibly accommodating and flexible, letting us change things that made the venue reflect us and our style more.
  2. We went through our wedding budget early on, and together we prioritized what we wanted to spend more money on and what we didn't care about as much. For example, we are really glad we decided to go for a band instead of a DJ even though it cost a little more — The Business was incredibly fun, talented, and provided a fantastic feel to the wedding reception.
  3. We focused on creating a wedding that reflected our personalities. One of our favorite ways that we did this is through our table quotes and goals. On each table, we had a card — on one side was a goal that Jimmy and I had for our first 10 years of marriage (We made this list when we first got engaged.) and on the other was one of our favorite quotes (We both really love quotes.)

Three things you wish you had done?

  1. I wish we had taken more time over the weekend to really take it all in, breathe, and relax. (Even though we had people reminding us to do this and we tried our best, we still felt like we were incredibly busy throughout the weekend.)
  2. We had breakfast with our families the day after our ceremony and because many of our guests were staying at the same hotel, we were able to see them and say goodbye, but we wish we would've held an informal brunch for any guests to stop by, especially because so many of our guests live far away, so it would've been nice to have some time to say goodbye to each of them. With this suggestion, though, we HIGHLY recommend waiting a day to leave for your honeymoon if you are taking one. We waiting until Monday, and it was one of the best decisions we made. It is so nice to not be rushed to get to the airport the next morning and to have a day to relax and pack for the honeymoon.
  3. We all got into Asheville on Thursday afternoon, but I wish we would've arrived on Wednesday in order to really have time to enjoy one of our favorite cities instead of spending most of our time to prepare for the wedding.

Things you wish you hadn't done?

I can really only think of one: I wish I hadn't waited until a few weeks before to finish a lot of the DIY projects for the wedding.

Things you wish you hadn't worried about?

I can only think of two:

  1. My mom and I are both very detail-oriented, so I remember we spent a lot of time stressing over details that probably didn't make that much of a difference (like font sizes on our signage and programs, the best way to fold the tablecloths and burlap over our favor, guest book, and cake tables, and the shade of white that we wanted for the program pages)
  2. The weather — it's totally out of your control

What is your very best hindsight advice?

Planning a wedding can be crazy. Sometimes we found it difficult to not talk about the wedding, so we set aside a weekly time in which we enforced a “no wedding talk” rule.


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Team Wedding

DIYed projects:

  • ceremony programs
  •  mason jar luminaries and mason jars wrapped in burlap and twine (for centerpieces)
  • cards on centerpieces with quotes and goals,
  • log slices for apple pies (We found an neighbor who didn't want a few logs, and Jimmy cut them.)
  • all reception decor — tablecloths, lanterns on floor, tables, and terrace, smaller grapevine balls to coordinate with the large ones above the dance floor from Blossoms, two chalkboards — one as a welcome sign and the other to list out the menu
  • Coffee bean favors
  • wooden directional sign for our wedding

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