This Hawkesdene wedding is gorgeous. Diana incorporated simple and elegant details that aligned perfectly with the natural setting. And the setting is just magnificent. Hawkesdene is little tucked-away venue in the heart of the smoky mountains with amazing mountain views. And of course Torrence Photography captured the whole thing beautifully! Don't forget to check out Diana's Hindsight Advice
Diana + Danny
May 25, 2013
Andrews, North Carolina
Why a Mountain Wedding?
For us, it was all about feeling a true connection to the space that we chose for our wedding venue. Although there are many beautiful places for a wedding celebration, there are few that can truly speak to you in a way that just feels right. The mountains have always had that draw for us and we wanted a truly special destination where we could relax and enjoy a long wedding weekend with our closest family & friends. The Hawkesdene House in Andrews, NC fit the bill perfectly, with incredibly attentive staff, the most beautifully maintained landscape and gardens amongst nature's backdrop of forested mountains and winding creek, and onsite lodging and catering that made the logistics of planning an outdoor ceremony/reception quite effortless.
Where did you find your inspiration?
Our inspiration came from within, knowing the intimate and family-friendly experience we wanted to share with our guests and our desire to let the natural beauty of the surroundings offer the opportunities for exploration and casual leisurely interaction for everyone. In everything, the style was ‘simply elegant', in an effort to have all elements enhance the already magnificent surroundings rather than attempt to overshadow or overdo it. Simple and natural instead of formal and fussy suited our personalities and blended well with a destination mountain wedding.
What were some personal details you incorporated?
We included all the children and young adults (ages 21 and under) in a creekside entrance processional through and over the covered bridge to the ceremony location. We only had a Maid of Honor/Best Man stand with us and since we are extremely close with all the children & young adults in attendance (16 in total) it was important for us to include everyone as a special part of the celebration.
The Bride's nieces each sang a song and The Groom's daughter read a poem as part of the wedding ceremony. These selections were chosen by each of them as a special surprise/gift for us.
The Bride's floral arrangement included a handmade wrap around the floral stems. The fabric wrap was made by a friend with a remnant of the chapel train which had been altered/removed from the Bride's gown. The Bride honored the memory of her Grandmothers by including a delicate strand of lace/ribbon around the fabric floral wrap which held several meaningful charms from one Grandmother's favorite charm bracelet and by wearing a delicate antique watch that had belonged to the other.
The wooden reception namecard holders were handmade by a friend of the Bride from fallen tree branches in his backyard and curled copper wiring. They provided a wonderful earthy touch that fit in nicely with the natural surroundings and simple elegance of the reception table.
Your favorite moment of the day.
Hers: Walking down the slate steps along the creek toward my husband-to-be with an open & peaceful heart surrounded by the beauty of nature, the love of family & friends, to the harpist's sweet sound of Canon in D (Pachebel's Canon) and the fragrance of the most beautiful roses in my floral bouquet. It was truly magical!
His: Turning around for the first time to see his bride, prior to the ceremony, when we enjoyed a quiet moment together and some ‘first look' photos with the photographers. Sharing that special moment, just us, without anyone else and being able to share how awestruck, proud, and happy he felt.
Things you're glad you did.
- Chose a more casual weekend reunion-style mountain wedding with our closest family & friends to allow time for real interaction and relaxation with everyone instead of just a formal one-night wedding affair.
- Hired a professional photographer for the duration of the ceremony and reception to ensure good quality photographic memories of the occasion.
- Chose vendors we felt comfortable with and allowed them the space and opportunity to work their magic/use their creative talents to make our vision come to life. Trusted that they have the experience, knowledge, and talent to make it happen without trying to micromanage every last detail for them.
- Hired on-site hair/makeup artists to pamper the bride & several other family members and friends with day-of hair & makeup styling. Everyone enjoyed the treat and were thankful they didn't have to worry about “getting ready”.
Anything you wish you hadn't done?
- Left the seating arrangement until the last minute.
- Opted not to hire a professional videographer.
What was the best piece of wedding advice you got?
Really take time for the two of you. It all goes by so quickly on the day, make sure you carve out time to truly enjoy each other's company and to celebrate the experience together.
What piece of wedding planning advice do you wish you followed?
Do not schedule anything for the last week before the wedding, except your personal exercise and/or beauty care regimen. Get plenty of sleep and leave your schedule completely open to allow time for last minute things that will inevitably surface.
Anything you wish you hadn't worried about?
- Fortunately no, which allowed for an extremely stress-free wedding day. But typically this worry list includes: Things beyond your control. Expectations of others. Minor details and dramas.
- Finding a way to stay grounded & centered and keep your balance, as an individual & a couple, through it all will allow you to look back with no regrets, no worries, and nothing but fond memories.
Anything you wish you had known about sooner rather than later?
Some guest RSVPs. Allow yourself more time than you think necessary to receive RSVPs so you are not pressed to give final catering counts while still awaiting last-minute guest responses.
How did you choose your vendors?
A list of previously used and recommended vendors was made available to us from the Hawkesdene House owners. We chose ones that, based on our initial phone conversation and any follow-up communication, seemed most responsive and in touch with our needs.
What is your very best advice to other mountain brides?
There are any number of things that can (and may) “go wrong” in the planning stages leading up to, and even on the day of, your wedding. Most of these fall into the category of details and “stuff” that noone but you will notice, care about, or ultimately remember anyway. Accept the fact that your grandest vision may encounter a few hiccups along the way. Allow yourself the freedom and permission to let go of things that don't turn out exactly as you had dreamed/imagined/planned. Don't drive yourself crazy with details. Delegate a close friend, family member or wedding planner to be the point of contact for all logistical details on the day so you do not need to concern yourself with these items. Allow yourselves the time and opportunity to focus on the things that really, truly matter…the happiness and sanity of the bride & groom. Set aside enough time for the two of you to relax and enjoy (really enjoy) the experience. Don't allow yourself to get caught up in the drama & emotions that sometimes accompany big events, gatherings of friends & family, and other uncontrollable elements such as weather, travel delays, etc. Bottom line: Don't sweat the small stuff! And apart from your true joy & happiness as a couple throughout the experience, it's all small stuff.
What would I do differently if given the opportunity to do it again?
Hire a professional videographer. Although we didn't see the value/necessity of hiring a professional videographer and had a friend that was willing to set up a video camera with tripod to capture the essential elements of the ceremony, the quality did not compare. The resulting video really highlighted to us how much we enjoyed viewing the ceremony ourselves afterward and would have appreciated sharing a really good quality version with others who were unable to attend in person.
We would highly recommend the following western North Carolina vendors:
Hawkesdene House (Andrews, NC): An amazing venue for weddings, family-style reunions, and other intimate gatherings. Top notch owners & staff, incredibly cozy and comfortable on-site lodging, delicious food prepared in house, and peaceful serene surroundings amidst the beauty & backdrop of the North Carolina mountains. The owners' solid reputation and experience in special event coordination, onsite catering and gracious southern hospitality are well deserved. Kudos and thanks to Rob & Phil for creating such a warm and welcoming environment to call our own.
L7 events: Howie Worley and his team at L7 Events appear to effortlessly pull off the simplest or grandest vision for your special event. The attention to detail is unparalleled and the creative vision & styling is superb. We discussed a general vision and color scheme/preference for our wedding ceremony and reception and left the rest of the details and floral selections to them. It was incredibly exciting to see the final result! It was stunning!
Torrence Photography: Stephen & Claire Torrence, of Torrence Photography, are the most talented and incredibly supportive and flexible photographers. From the first conversation, where we discussed basic contractual details to the brainstorming conversation where we discussed the day's timeline and specifics for the ceremony and reception, Claire couldn't have been more genuinely helpful, encouraging, and supportive. Her input and insight were extremely valuable and helped put everything in perspective in advance of the day. Stephen & Claire's presence on the day was purposeful yet relaxed, with no added pressure or expectations. They were able to capture incredible moments without appearing obvious and without things looking and/or feeling staged. They truly work to ensure your personality is reflected throughout the photographic experience and the final images were delivered in a timely manner as promised.