Smoky Mountain Elopement by the River

1 Engagement Rings Spence Cabin Elopement JoPhotos Via MountainsideBride.com

Jessica and Niels met through a teaching program that brought them both to Detroit, MI in 2010. They lived in the same neighborhood and were friends for a year before starting to date.

Niels asked for Jessica's dad's blessing to marry her a full 6 months before he proposed. Around that time, a huge mesquite tree in the couple's front yard was uprooted by a storm. Niels saved the wood, and planned to turn in into a box to be used during the proposal, but was delayed when he nearly lost a finger! After recovering from surgery, he finished the box. When he asked Jessica to marry him, they were chilling in their jammies at their house. He explained how the wood was separated at the top, and naturally came together at the bottom of the box in the same way they did.

Of course Jessica said yes!

2 Wedding Hair Spence Cabin Elopement JoPhotos Via MountainsideBride.com 3 Grooms Style Spence Cabin Elopement JoPhotos Via MountainsideBride.com 4 Greenery Bouquet Spence Cabin Elopement JoPhotos Via MountainsideBride.com 5 Classic Bridal Makeup Spence Cabin Elopement JoPhotos Via MountainsideBride.com 6 Unique Engagement Ring Spence Cabin Elopement JoPhotos Via MountainsideBride.com 7 Bridal Keds Spence Cabin Elopement JoPhotos Via MountainsideBride.com 8 Floral Updo Spence Cabin Elopement JoPhotos Via MountainsideBride.com 9 Lace And Organza Wedding Gown Spence Cabin Elopement JoPhotos Via MountainsideBride.com 10 Father Of The Bride Spence Cabin Elopement JoPhotos Via MountainsideBride.com 11 Father Of The Bride Spence Cabin Elopement JoPhotos Via MountainsideBride.com 12 Red Grooms Glasses Spence Cabin Elopement JoPhotos Via MountainsideBride.com 13 Father Of The Bride Spence Cabin Elopement JoPhotos Via MountainsideBride.com 14 River Ceremony Spence Cabin Elopement JoPhotos Via MountainsideBride.com 15 Spence Cabin Elopement JoPhotos Via MountainsideBride.com 16 River Ceremony Spence Cabin Elopement JoPhotos Via MountainsideBride.com 17 River Ceremony Spence Cabin Elopement JoPhotos Via MountainsideBride.com 18 Spence Cabin Elopement JoPhotos Via MountainsideBride.com 19 Spence Cabin Elopement JoPhotos Via MountainsideBride.com 20 Ceremony Tears Spence Cabin Elopement JoPhotos Via MountainsideBride.com

22 Crying At Alter Spence Cabin Elopement JoPhotos Via MountainsideBride.com 21 Grooms Style Spence Cabin Elopement JoPhotos Via MountainsideBride.com  23 River Ceremony Spence Cabin Elopement JoPhotos Via MountainsideBride.com 24 Outdoor Mountain Ceremony Spence Cabin Elopement JoPhotos Via MountainsideBride.com 25 Outdoor Mountain Ceremony Spence Cabin Elopement JoPhotos Via MountainsideBride.com

 

Why a mountain wedding?

We wanted something intimate and natural. Some of our fondest memories are from times we spent in nature. Niels found Spence Cabin by searching the GSMNP's website. A day-use cabin meant we could still be in a National Park while having the privacy we wanted. Our immediate family and my grandmother attended, so we had 8 total guests. We will be having a wedding celebration this fall with our friends and family.

Tell us about your attire choices.

Niels knew he wanted a navy blue suit and a floral tie! My dress vision wasn't as clear, and it took several tries to find a dress that was comfortable and would work in an outdoor setting. I chose this dress because it was the first dress I put on that I could actually see myself getting married in.

What was the most important to the two of you while planning?

It was really important to us that the wedding was in a natural setting and that our family was able to come and be comfortable in that space.

Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?

It was really important to us that the wedding was in a natural setting and that our family was able to come and be comfortable in that space.

What were your favorite parts of the day? (memories and stories)

All of the moms were involved in the ceremony. My mom read scripture, Niels' mom read a poem, and my grandmother signed our marriage certificate. Niels' sister and brother in law grilled the night before for our “rehearsal dinner.” The whole weekend was really sweet and simple, and we got to spend a lot of time together as a new family.

Tell us about your wedding flowers.

Niels and I wanted really minimal decor, we wanted the trees and the river to be our decorations. Our florist was local to the area and picked out greenery and florals from East Tennessee so that my bouquet and the archway blended in seamlessly with the park.

Did you include any family heirlooms or special traditions?

My grandmother's original wedding band is now my wedding band. She gave it to me when I was a little girl, and it was special for her to see it in use again.

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

My views on the wedding ceremony really shifted throughout our 2-year engagement. Niels and I originally wanted to elope, but the more we thought about what marriage meant to us, the more we wanted to include our family. Niels and I were already living in partnership. Since the ceremony is to publicly and legally unite as a team, we decided that we really wanted our family there with us. Our officiant gladly incorporated a vow into the ceremony for our family (a “we do”) and the whole thing felt very right. And we are very fortunate to be able to celebrate again with our friends and family this fall. So I guess my advice would be to really talk through the wedding with your partner and come up with something that feels just as right for you.

1. Why a Mountain Wedding?

We wanted our ceremony to be intimate and natural.

2. What are three things you're glad you did?

I'm glad we had the ceremony within driving distance so my grandmother could come. I'm glad we had the wedding on a Monday because all of the vendors were available with not much notice. I'm glad I got the airbrush makeup because it looked really natural and lasted all day.

3. What are 3 things you wished you hadn't done or hadn't worried about?

I wish I would have gone to bed earlier the night before the wedding! I should have asked Niels to put tissues in his pocket because I needed them (thankfully Niels' dad came to the rescue mid-ceremony). I shouldn't have worried about getting the marriage certificate. There definitely wasn't a line at 8am on a Monday.

4. How did you find your vendors?

Mostly on wedding blogs and websites.

5. What's your biggest piece of advice for other couples planning a mountain wedding?

We had a hard time finding a spot that worked for us and searched for months before finding Spence Cabin. National and State parks have a lot of amenities, so I guess our advice would be to start there when finding your destination.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Wedding Vendors

Photography: JoPhoto | Venue: Spence Cabin | Hair and Makeup: Southern Belle Beauty | Wedding Gown: Willowby | Groom's Attire: Brooks Brothers