Romantic Wedding at The Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Kelsey and Jared had a destination wedding in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park at The Trillium Venue. They came in from D.C. and brought guests with them from all over the country.

They had invited the photographer to attend their rehearsal dinner a couple nights before the wedding at Lonesome Dove. That, coupled with being with them the entire day of their wedding, they learned a few things about Kelsey and Jared. They both have pitch perfect a cappella voices. They have major Type A personalities. Jared picked on his sister their entire childhood to show her how much he loves her. Kelsey used to sing 24/7 when she was a kid. The gratitude they have for each and every guest in attendance at their wedding overflowed out of every word they spoke. They don’t take a bad picture even if they’re stuffing their faces with hors d’oeuvres.

They planned the whole thing from D.C. and still managed to choose a wonderful team of vendors that just absolutely slayed every piece of their wedding. The Trillium Venue is gorgeous and has a breathtaking view. It doesn’t need a ton of elaborate decor. Just a few simple pieces on the beautiful palette is all it takes. Kelsey and Jared worked with Devynn Crawford and balanced that act perfectly. You’re going to literally drop your jaw on the table when you see all the details at this wedding.

How did you meet?

Jared and Kelsey met through mutual friends during the summer of 2016 when Jared hosted a brunch at his apartment in downtown DC and Kelsey was interning in DC for the summer. They didn’t hit it off, however, until Kelsey moved permanently to DC in 2019 after law school. She didn’t know a lot of people so reached out to Jared. They met up in the pouring rain and grabbed an unexpectedly romantic drink in a bar in downtown DC. Jared started going to yoga to impress Kelsey (and she was impressed) and the rest is history.

What is your proposal story?

Jared and Kelsey had decided to rent a cabin in the Shenandoah Valley to get out of the city. Predictably, the day before New Year’s Eve, Kelsey was working non-stop to close a deal and was extremely cranky. She felt that Jared (who had taken off the days in between Christmas and New Year’s) was acting off and she didn’t know why. When they arrived at the cabin, he kept asking if she would be done working by the time the sun set. Luckily, Kelsey was able to take a break and as they were watching the sun set over the mountains with a bonfire blazing beside them, Jared got down on one knee and asked Kelsey to spend the rest of his life with him. She obviously said yes and told her work colleagues she couldn’t work any more that evening. The next day Jared surprised Kelsey with a photographer to take engagement photos and capture the memory fully.

Tell us a little a bit about your wedding

We knew we wanted somewhere in the mountains since mountains have played a big part in our relationship and when we saw the building plans for the Trillium, we fell in love with the view. Jared loves a black tie event and Kelsey loves black and white so wanted it to be very classy and keep the color scheme very neutral.

Tell us about your attire choices.

Jared chose to wear a white smoking jacket to honor his grandpa who also wore a white smoking jacket to his wedding. Kelsey’s dress fulfilled all of her requirements of a gorgeous train and pockets.

What was the most important to the two of you while planning? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?

We knew we wanted to splurge on the view, the booze, and the music since that is what we most value as guests at a wedding. We also had a cigar bar to add to the black tie class. We skipped doing favors, a menu, programs and a videographer because we didn’t think we needed them!

What were your favorite parts of the day?

The two ring bearers (who are Kelsey’s nephews) did a great job walking down the aisle calmly, but then walked to the corner and faced the corner with their backs to the crowd until someone went and grabbed them a few minutes later.

Dancing outside with all of our friends and family underneath the cafe lighting with the sun setting behind the mountains was exactly what we pictured for the reception.

Tell us about your wedding cake.

We both like such different flavors that our cake tiers were split between chocolate cake with salted caramel icing and vanilla cake with raspberry filling.

Please describe any DIY, handmade, or personal details.

Kelsey wore her mother’s veil and her mother-in-law’s sapphire ring. Jared wore a pocket watch that belonged to his great grandfather.

Did you include any family heirlooms or special traditions?

Kelsey wore her mother’s veil and her mother-in-law’s sapphire ring. Jared wore a pocket watch that belonged to his great grandfather. Jared’s sister officiated the wedding, which made the whole ceremony feel extra special and personalized.

Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?

Don’t get sucked into making each thing the BEST thing. Make a list at the beginning of wedding planning of what 3 things are most important to you and pull it out when you start to get too in the weeds on the details. And it really is worth all the trouble. It was such a joyous day.