bride with birdcage veil | Photography by Fox Owl Studio

This sweet handmade wedding in Maggie Valley, North Carolina features a gorgeous private residence in the woods, dried flower bouquets and handmade style that is perfect for an Appalachian wedding.
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Stephanie & Ben Forshee
Maggie Valley, NC
October 26, 2013

Day of weather

Sunny but chilly! Highs in 50s/Lows dipping in the 20s/30s

Number of guests


Why a Mountain Wedding?

We currently live in Florida but love the Western North Carolina mountains so much! Our engagement happened during a vacation to the Asheville, so the area already held a special place in our hearts. When we started brainstorming for venue locations we knew we wanted the event to be intimate and the surroundings to be beautiful – in our eyes there was no better place than WNC. Also, since our guests were scattered all over the country, Maggie Valley ended up being a fantastic central meeting point. We were so happy to share our special place with all of our favorite people!

Your budget.

We tried to keep it around $10,000

Where did you find your inspiration?

Once we chose our venue location, it really set the tone for a simple, handmade, rustic type of affair. I read a lot of blogs about DIY-ing an intimate, mountain wedding and spent (probably too much) time on Pinterest.

Biggest splurge:

Our biggest splurge and biggest savings were almost one in the same. The house we used as our wedding venue was definitely our biggest expense, but because it housed both of our immediate families along with some friends for the week, and also provided a rehearsal dinner AND farewell brunch space – we really got our monies worth!! Since our family and friends were spread across the country, most of them had never met before – including our parents! It was super important to us that the wedding was more than just the one big party – we wanted to feel like, in the end, our families and friends had truly gotten to know each other and having a home base for everyone really helped make that happen. We also splurged on our photographers, Fox and Owl Studio, who were a God send!

Biggest savings:

We saved a ton of money by doing almost everything ourselves with the help of family and friends! Ben’s mom, along with some happy helpers, made all of the food for the rehearsal, reception and a morning after brunch! A good friend made our cake as a gift, we bought dried flowers and spent an afternoon making our own bouquets, boutonnieres and centerpieces. And the decorations were either thrifted, borrowed, or handmade. Ben even created a wedding soundtrack using Spotify and with the help of some guest announcers he was able to DJ the whole wedding!

What were some personal details you incorporated?

We really wanted the day to feel like “us” so we incorporated a lot of special little details throughout. Before the ceremony, the best man passed our rings around for a blessing from each of our guests. We Skyped my grandmother in from Ohio during the ceremony. We also took a special moment during the ceremony to light a candle for my dad, and other family members who were there with us in spirit. For dinner, there was a “chili bar” so people could serve themselves and eat at their leisure. I really loved our cake topper, which was painted to look like us by Lovebirds Goods on Etsy. In lieu of a guest book, everyone wrote sweet notes on vintage North Carolina postcards. Ben’s aunt hand stitched a beautiful wedding announcement for us and made strings and strings of pennant garlands! We used all sustainable and biodegradeable plateware so cleanup was easy but environmentally friendly. I could go on and on – we tried really hard to make each aspect personal and special to us.

Your favorite moment of the day.

Steph: The first look was definitely an incredible moment. I was nervous and a little anxious leading up to that point in the day but once I was able to see Ben’s face, all that stress melted away. It was really great to have a few quiet moments together before everything got started! Also, after most of the guests had departed – everyone staying in the house with us gathered in the kitchen for late night snacks and a recounting of the days events, it was really fun to hear about the wedding from everyone else’s perspective!

Ben: My favorite part of the day was walking out of the house to take my place for the ceremony and, for the first time seeing all of our friends and family gathered together. It was really special.

Three things you’re glad you did.

  •  We are so glad that we were able to spend the week before the wedding with friends and family in such a magical place, we arrived in NC the Monday before and people slowly trickled in all week. We planned a couple of gatherings for everyone before the big day and it was really great to have had the extra time!
  • Wrote our own vows. We still had the traditional ones in our ceremony, but being able to speak from the heart to each other was an important and extra special.
  • Handpicked our own wedding soundtrack! We were able to incorporate all of our favorite music at the perfect moments – and at the end of the night we were able to let loose and turn it in to an all out dance party! As an added bonus, creating own playlist means we have it saved and can relive our wedding whenever we want!

What was the biggest challenge planning your mountain wedding?

That we hadn’t actually seen our venue in person until the week of the wedding! We came up with a loose idea of how we wanted to set things up from the photos we’d seen online but couldn’t actually visualize how it would all come together until we got there!

What was the best piece of wedding advice you got?

To steal a minute together and really take it all in. The day goes by so quickly, you have to soak up as much of the magic as you can!

Anything you wish you hadn’t worried about?

The weather! Before we left for the wedding we watched the weather take a turn for colder temperatures and got a little nervous because we had planned a mostly outdoor affair. When we arrived at the rental home we were completely surprised to find that the entire basement level of the house would make a perfect reception space, so it turned out even better than we planned!

How did you choose your vendors?

We only used a few outside vendors, and since we were out of state we relied heavily on Google and positive reviews! One look at Fox & Owl’s photos and we knew we wanted to work with them. We are so lucky to have had them as a part of our day – they made everything about the process so comfortable. They even checked out the venue for us before because we hadn’t seen it in person yet! They really took the time to get to know us and by the end of the wedding felt more like long time friends than vendors! Our rentals all came from Classic Event Rental, who were great at communicating with us and had everything we needed at affordable prices! We found our officiant, Rev. Kathy Jennings, somewhat last minute, after our plan to have a friend marry us fell through. She ended up being one of the most fantastic things about the day – and helped us create a ceremony that was so heartfelt and genuine, it brought just about everyone to tears.

What is your very best advice to other mountain brides?

Hire a day-of coordinator – if you are able. I am so glad that we did most things ourselves, but I wish we would have had someone in charge on the day of to alleviate some of the work/stress for our family and friends. Don’t worry so much about all of the little details – it’ll all come together better than you ever imagined. Do your best to live in the moment, it really does go by as quickly as everyone says! Last but not least, enjoy having all the people that you love together in one place!!!

Maggie Valley Wedding Vendors:

Photography: Fox & Owl Studio, Waynesville, NC | Venue: Private Rental Home, Maggie Valley, NC  | Rentals: Classic Event Rentals, Asheville, NC | Officiant: Rev. Kathy Jennings, Asheville, NC  | Florals: Hammelman’s Dried Floral Bridal Gown: David’s Bridal | Groom’s Attire: Banana Republic | Sustainable Tableware: Susty Party Custom Cake Topper: Love Birds GoodsBridal Hairpiece: Which Goose