Brooke and TJ's Irish Fairytale inspired woodland wedding is just dripping with enchantment and romance. You'll adore the charming floral crowns and greenery from LB Floral, gorgeous portraits by the river by JoPhoto and the iconic scenery of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Promise!
Brooke + TJ
Spence Cabin, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
October 23, 2016
Wedding day weather: Sunny and chilly
Number of guests: 65
Your budget: $13,000
Biggest splurge: Flowers and uplighting
Biggest savings: Venue
Why did you choose the Mountains for your wedding?
I love being from East Tennessee and we both love the Smokey Mountains. It's beautiful and peaceful but still wild.
Wedding day theme:
Woodland Fairy with Irish Details was the theme we went for. We used jewel tone colors along with gold.
Where did you find your inspiration?
I searched for blogs about mountain brides, woodland brides, and Irish brides. I looked up Irish folklore and traditions. Pinterest was also very helpful in getting ideas of how we wanted everything to look. I read a lot and there are many books I read that described beautiful woodland fairy weddings that I tried to recreate.
How did you choose to personalize your wedding?
We made ribbon wands with bells and the guests waved them as we exited our ceremony. My husband and his groomsmen wore cabby caps to tie in their Irish heritage. I collected wood frames and placed our pictures in them on display at the reception. I pinned my parents original wedding band to my bouquet along with a hat pin from the 30's which was a gift from a family friend.
What was your favorite part of the reception?
We visited each table and took a second to hug our guests that came to celebrate with us. When we did this our photographer took our picture so we have lots of photos with our guests. And of course dancing! We had a blast dancing together!
What are three things you're super glad you did?
- Hired a wonderful photography team. So many people don't understand the difference a wonderful photographer makes.
- Hired a day of coordinator. I didn't think I would be able to afford one but I tell everyone now that it was the best choice I made. The day of we didn't worry about a thing because Farrah was there taking care of it.
- Skipped the first look. This gave us more time to get ready the day of and seeing each other for the first time while walking down was amazing.
Anything you wished you hadn't worried about?
- I wish I hadn't worried so much about everyone else and what they were doing the day of. I should have been more relaxed and just enjoyed my time with my friends and family.
- I wish I hadn't forgone assigned seating. I think it would've been better if we had made a seating chart for the guests.
- I wish I hadn't skipped bridal portraits. I would love to have those pictures now and I think it would have helped me with the wedding blues to have another day in my dress.
What was the biggest challenge in planning your mountain wedding and how did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge we faced was our venue didn't have cell phone service within a three mile radius. This meant that guests who didn't use their gps correctly or leave with plenty of time couldn't call if they got lost. I put detailed directions on our website and told everyone in advance to leave with plenty of time. Also since it is in the National park we had a strict end time which we never would have made if it hadn't been for friends staying behind to help us and the vendors clean up.
How did you find and choose your vendors?
I started looking up venues online and from there I met people who pointed me in different directions. My coordinator and photographers connected me with almost all my vendors. Finding my venue is actually a good story. I had seen one picture on Pinterest that led to no where but was my dream venue. The night before I was supposed to sign a contract on a different venue and give up on that one picture dream I was clinging to I came across JoPhoto on Facebook and they had shot weddings at Spence Cabin which was the venue I had been trying to find all along. It felt meant to be.
What is your best piece of advice to other mountain brides who are planning their weddings?
People say the day flies by, believe them it does. Also they say a three hour reception is enough, for us it wasn't. Four would've been better. Three may be enough for your guests but you miss the first hour taking pictures, getting settled in, and taking a moment for yourselves. We would have enjoyed another hour to take in the beauty we created and dancing together in the post wedding glow. It really is the best day ever.
Great Smoky Mountain National Park Wedding Vendors
Photography: JoPhoto | DJ & Uplighting: Ogle Entertainment with Special Notes Entertainment Agency | Floral Design: LB Floral | Catering: Calhoun’s Restaurant | Hair & Makeup: Tony Williams (no web site) | Officiant: Chaplain Fred Patterson | Rentals: Sweven Vintage and Rustic Rentals (only a facebook page, no web site) | China: Sassy Settings | Wedding Coordinator: Foothills Bridal Connection | Cinematography: Haven Media