Choosing to get married in Cashiers, North Carolina, was a “no brainer” says bride, Jill. “My family has spent time in Cashiers my entire life. My grandparents built their mountain home with their own hands, my parents were engaged in Cashiers, and it was my father’s favorite place in the entire world. Cashiers is not only beautiful, but the smells, people and relaxed atmosphere really embodied what we were going for with our wedding.” One look at this lovely wedding and we know you’ll agree!
Photography by Virgil Bunao.
From Jill and Charles:
Your ceremony in three words. Special, Traditional, Concise
Who officiated your ceremony? Dr. Robert J Robinson was our church’s preacher throughout my childhood. He has seen me grow up and has been a close friend of my family for years. He is retired now, but it was unbelievably special to have him officiate our wedding and to meet with Charles and me prior to the event.
How did you go about planning your ceremony? My hometown preacher offered a beautiful ceremony template that he utilizes when he officiates weddings. Charles and I loved his view on marriage and the flow of the ceremony and just went with it!
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? We utilized the traditional wedding vows, and opted not to see each other prior to my walk down the aisle.
What was your ceremony music? I LOVED picking out the music for our wedding. Music is a big part of my life, so planning the music was so fun! I chose a brass quintet as the brass instruments are much clearer and have strong volume in an outdoor ceremony. (Strings can often not carry well in the “elements”.) The quintet played the following:
Quiet Music: Danny Boy // Seating of the Mothers and Grandmothers: Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring – Bach // Bridal Party Processional: Prince of Denmark’s March – Jeremiah Clark (In retrospect, this was not the best choice because the song is short, and we had a LARGE bridal party (12 each). The melody sounded a bit repetitive, but it was a regal song and sounded AWESOME with the brass quartet.) // Bridal Processional: Highland Cathedral. (I had a vision early on that I wanted a bagpiper to play Highland Cathedral and the brass quintet to play what an organ would play in a church setting. The Smokey Mountain Brass Quintet LOVED the idea and the director created his own arrangement just for us. It was unbelievable. The mountain setting with the bagpipes and celebratory brass was really beautiful!) // Recessional: Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee. (This song’s energy embodied how we felt after officially being married. Happy, bouncy, and thankful! It was perfect to conclude the service!)
What were your ceremony readings? We did not have readers, but Dr. Robinson incorporated Ruth 1:16 and Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 into our service. We discussed them in our premarital counseling, and Charles and I loved their messages.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? I loved how our preacher incorporated personal information about Charles and me into the ceremony, and the reverence that was felt throughout the service.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? Charles and I never practiced the “you may kiss the bride” kiss, so right beforehand I got nervous! “What do I do with my hands?” But, but it all worked out!
How would you describe your reception? Priority #1 was to provide a gorgeous, but laid back backdrop for our friends and family to have fun and celebrate. My “vision” was to be able to look into the crowd and see my favorite people in the world having a ball, dancing, eating, and mingling. The Chattooga Club was the perfect place for this, and luckily, the weather was perfect!
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? The Cashiers area itself was a big inspiration for me. Most of the shops and restaurants and clubs are very rustic and natural, and I wanted our wedding to feel this way too. I was very aware of the fact that I did not want white linens, table clothes or flowers, because white is not a color in the Cashiers pallet. The mountains of North Carolina are so stunning, they were the focal point of our ceremony and reception. Having an al fresco wedding was perfect for enjoying our surroundings!
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? I LOVED our first dance because I was able to share a special moment with Charles but also because we looked around and saw our favorite people in the world genuinely happy for us. We felt so loved and lucky. It was also pretty awesome to be on stage together and belt out songs to our friends and family!
First Dance: To Make You Feel My Love – Garth Brooks
Mother/Son: Days Like This – Van Morrison
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. I sang the national anthem. I know it’s weird, but it’s kind of a thing I do! The Atlanta Showstoppers are the best wedding band on this planet. They were SO FUN. Charles had some solo time on stage with them that was pretty hilarious. Overall, planning the wedding and reception with my mom was the most special part of the event. We had the best time together and realized how decision-making can be FUN!
Did you include any other traditions in your wedding? Charles’s best man was his father. This is a Southern tradition that I find unbelievably special.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? It’s cliché, but “Don’t worry about the small details too much”. It’s so easy to get too wrapped up in things that don’t matter. I tried to always remember that this is about Charles and me getting married, and that’s what is most important.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? When you make a decision, don’t dwell on it, move forward. It feels good to check things off the list, and second-guessing can cause stress! Also, just keep in mind how much your guests love you and make sure that they are comfortable and well taken care of!
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? I can’t think of anything big that I would change! I would have proof read the programs better, because we had to re-order them twice because of careless mistakes….oops!
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? Food and beverages for the reception will eat up your budget! I would make sure to tackle this line item up front instead of waiting for it after other decisions are made. Food and the band were at the top of my priority list, so they were allocated the most budget, while things like a cake were cut. Prioritizing is important early on for budget planning.
Is there anything else that helps tell the story of your wedding? Overall, it was really the best day of our lives. I know people say that all the time, but it’s true. I can talk about the details for hours, but the thing I’ll always remember for the rest of my life is the love that Charles and I felt for each other and the love we felt from our guests. I have never felt so lucky and calm, and those amazing feelings are because of the good people in our lives.