How about this beautiful Appalachian wedding from Dixie Pixel?! Says the bride, “I’ve always wanted to get married in the church I grew up in, which is just about ten minutes outside of the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Tim knew this, so before he proposed he drove all the way from where we live in St. Louis to my hometown, to ask my parents’ permission. While there, he snapped a few photos of the church and used them in his proposal. So, it was a no-brainer that we’d get married at that church, in the Smoky Mountains, and everything else followed that decision.”
The groom describes one of his favorite parts of the day: “When Kathleen and I had a few moments to ourselves for photos before the wedding ceremony, there were a few moments in which I was standing out of the shot spectating. Seeing Kathleen on a hillside covered in wildflowers, in her bridal gown, with the Smoky Mountain horizon, was a scene that I will never forget. She was having the time of her life and looked absolutely stunning. She makes a wonderful Maria von Trapp.”
Says the bride, Kathleen, “I grew up going to the church where we were married. It sits about 50 yards from the banks of the Little River, and my five siblings and I would make a beeline right to the river after Sunday school, strip off our shoes and tights, and jump in to wade, skip rocks, and generally ruin our church clothes. It’s a strong and happy memory for me of time spent with my favorite people on this planet, so I liked the idea of extending that to our wedding day and to Tim and his brothers. After our ceremony ended and we walked out, we, along with all of our brothers and sisters kicked off our shoes, rolled up pants, hiked up skirts, and walked right in. It was silly, but also a reminder of how our our families have joined during the wedding and our marriage.”
Burlap details played up the rustic venue, while touches of gold added a little sparkle. In lieu of a guestbook, the bride and groom asked friends and family to pin their hometown on a map.
A table of desserts included three cakes: vanilla with fresh raspberry filling, vanilla with lemon curd, and chocolate with chocolate filling.
There were two signature cocktails: Classic Manhattan Rittenhouse Rye for the groom (Sweet Vermouth, Orange bitters, cherry) and a Rosemary-Lemon French 75 for the bride (G-Vine gin, St. Germain, lemon-rosemary simple syrup made by the bride, splash of champagne).
SEE THE FULL GALLERY FOR MORE PHOTOS FROM THIS SMOKY MOUNTAIN WEDDING
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? When you’re surrounded by such natural beauty, there’s no way to compete and no reason to do so! It became clear early on that we didn’t want to choose wedding details that would feel unnatural in a small country church, a cantilever barn, or the Smoky Mountains in general. This played out in various ways: we didn’t have a defined wedding palette, I didn’t choose bridesmaids dresses beyond a color (off-white), we incorporated herbs and greenery from my dad’s garden, and our guests were served family-style dinner. Even the bridal processional was a theme from the Appalachian Spring orchestral suite by Aaron Copland – untraditional, but just right for our location. The one exception I made to this whole approach was working in bits of metallic gold here and there, as a small foil to the rustic setting.
What was your favorite moment or part of the day? Besides the obvious (getting married), there are a few moments that really stood out… During the party part of the reception, there were so many people dancing and singing at the top of their lungs that the entire barn floor was literally shaking. I remember stopping in the middle of one of the songs and looking out and over the crowd, and realizing that almost every single person we love and who loves us were celebrating wholeheartedly, and it felt overwhelmingly special to me. The day was first and foremost about marrying Tim, but second in importance to that was sharing our happiness with our friends and family, and this single moment really highlighted that.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? During my wedding planning stress and freak out moments, my friends, sisters, and mom would remind me that at the end of the day, Tim and I would be married. It’s almost impossible to remember this when you are in the midst of wedding planning craziness, but it is 100% true. I can’t say that wedding and reception details don’t matter at all, but don’t let those details detract from the fact that it’s a marriage first and foremost, and a wedding after that.
What advice do you have for other brides? Go easy on yourself. Getting married is probably something you’ve never done before, and who does anything perfectly the first time? Engagement parties, showers, bachelorettes, and your wedding day itself brings with it a lot of new and unexpected experiences and emotions. It’s easy to tell yourself you should be feeling, doing, or saying certain things, but try to avoid that. Experience everything as it comes, and allow yourself to feel loved and special!
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? If you want to save money, don’t procrastinate with your planning. Saving money usually means more work, what with DIY-ing, price-comparing, finding and using coupons, or searching for second-hand items. If you’re completing projects last minute, you’re much less likely to choose the cost-cutting route. With the help of family and friends, everything was made or sourced by us, but a big reason we were able to do that is because we were doing things like buying guest bags, searching for vintage decanters, and wrapping favors months before the wedding.
Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day? My mom has a natural soap company, and within a month or two of dating I gave some soap to Tim. He loved it, and immediately asked me how he could get a lifetime supply. Well, I guess the answer to that was marrying in to our family! Naturally, our favor to our guests was a small bar of that same soap, with a little label explaining that story. Burlap welcome bags also Rainwater Farm products: a mountain hiking survival kit with Rainwater Farm bug spray and Rainwater Farm sunscreen lip balm, as well as a granola bar and reusable water bottle; plus a front-porch-sittin kit, with a deck of cards, mix CD made by the groom, and Tennessee-made Moon Pies.