Ali and Derek’s Crest Pavilion Wedding!

Ali and Derek were married at the Crest Center Pavilion in May.  I, Meriah, previously spent time with Ali at her Asheville Bridal Session and was really looking forward to her wedding day.

If Michael and I could use one word to describe Ali and Derek’s wedding it would be laughter. There was SO much joy and laughter between Ali and Derek and their friends and family.

More from us later… here is a bit from the couple themselves!

A bit about Ali:  Will soon be a Medical Coder but right now I work at Mission Hospital

A bit about Derek:  Is a registered nurse who will be starting school in a doctorate program next May to become a nurse anesthetist.

How did you meet? We met at Hickory Tavern in Biltmore Park through a mutual friend, Dru Jenson. All of us were accepted into nursing school and Dru thought we should meet prior to the semester starting.

Describe your first date? Our first official date was at the Biltmore Grand. We saw “The Conjuring” and then hung out with friends at a bonfire after that.

How long have you been together?  Four years this September.

What are your favorite hobbies and activities to do as a couple?  We like to read together (we sometimes take turns reading out loud to each other before bed), play games together, and laugh. We like to laugh as much as possible. We are always trying to find a good scary movie to watch.

Who popped the question and HOW?  Derek proposed in a restaurant while we were on a mini vacation in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The week before, he visited the bride’s father, John, asked his permission and showed them the ring. John said yes, but he said Derek needed to make Ali the most important thing in his life which he agreed to and strives to remember that every day. Derek has a lot of respect for John.

Why did you pick Asheville and the Crest Center and Pavilion?  We wanted a venue that of course had a good location (view) but also something that had room enough for a large party and room for dancing and mingling. The Crest Center had the best mix of what we wanted.

What adjective best describes your spouse on your wedding day? Derek describing Ali: Joyful. Ali describing Derek: Calming

What tangible detail of your wedding day did you love the most?  Derek: Ali was the best tangible item ;). Ali: My bouquet, including the bridesmaids bouquets. They were absolutely beautiful.

How many guests attended the wedding? About 150.

What did you and your guests eat at the reception? Braised beef brisket, chicken stuffed with apples and walnuts, rosemary roasted potatoes and a vegetable medley.

What was the flavor of your wedding cake? Lavender white chocolate and chocolate caramel.

What is the one of the funniest things that happened on your wedding day?

Ali: the funniest thing was Kevin being pinned to the bottom of her dress (Kevin was an integral part of her bachelorette party and was a running joke. He was a playing card of a Chip N Dale’s dancer who she arbitrarily named Kevin)

Derek: The funniest part of the whole wedding experience was the photo session with all the groomsmen when all the brothers, and Josh and Dakotah were together and we were joking about gangsters, ants and termites, and taking pictures like Run DMC and Reservoir Dogs. Great experience for all parties involved.

What was your first dance song and why did you pick it? “Start of Something Good” by Daughtry. Derek introduced Ali to this song early on in their relationship and later on we decided it should be our song.

What stood out to you the most when you think of your wedding?

Derek: How beautiful inside and out my wife is.

Ali: I was pretty calm all day but right before I walked down the aisle it started to hit me (how everyone will be looking at me, this big decision I’m making) but as soon as I saw Derek that all went away. He has that effect on me, he’s my comfort zone 🙂


You could tell there is a special bond between Ali and her ring bearer!

They wanted the “boy band shot” Michael was happy to oblige. 😉

The beautiful Ali!

We loved loved loved Ali’s bouquet!

Those gals be crazy! 😉

Ali reading her letter from Derek.

The “around the door/not seeing each other shot” was full of laughter with these two!

Waving to his bride.

This officiant held Ali’s veil throughout the ceremony. The wind kept blowing it in their faces. 🙂

Congrats to the Mr. and Mrs.!

As moment junkies this was one of our favorite moments of the day. Ali was adopted at 3 months old. I actually didn’t know that until the day of her wedding! Her adoptive parents are amazing. Really AMAZING. Ali and her parents invited the foster parents who had Ali for the first 3 months of her life. Ali did not know they would be there. Ali’s mom introduced them to Ali with, “These are the people who loved you for the first 3 months of your life.” We all lost it. It was an absolutely beautiful moment that left me remembering that life is beautiful.

Onward to the reception!

See what I mean? Loads of laughter.

Ah, that Father daughter dance.

You can tell this fella loves his mamma.

Ali and Derek allowed us to bring them back out when the lighting was just right. My how we love those mountains and to have a beautiful couple standing in front of them!  One of our favorite scenarios for photography!

Let’s do some tossing.

Ali’s parents. We loved them so!

There were some funny dancing moments to be sure!


Congrats Ali and Derek!! We wish you joy and laughter every day of your lives.

Shout out to these vendors for their hard work on this day.

Venue coordinator – Lauren Miles

Dress Designer – Marley Lilly

Where you purchased your dress – Poffie Girls in Gastonia NC

Makeup artist – Ulta

Hair designer – Woodeane @ Upper Cuts in Weaverville

Floral designer – Brown’s Florist in Weaverville

Center pieces by- MOB Lisa Boff and Peggy Snider

Caterer – M7 Events

DJ or Band – Sound Extreme

Officiant – Jason Rhodes

Cake designer – A La Cupcake

Wedding hashtag-   #DnAtietheknot

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The Moses Family- By: Asheville Family Photographer

As Asheville family photographers it is our pleasure to get to photograph our friend’s growing families! And Michael and I have known Melissa since we were all still single. We had the privilege of photographing her and Todd’s wedding some years ago and enjoyed it so, so much. Now Melissa is a mom of a precious little boy!

It was a real joy to go to their home and do an indoor and outdoor lifestyle family session. To see your old friends as parents is awesome… especially when they are as awesome of parents as Todd and Melissa are! Melissa encouraged us to bring the family over and we all had pizza after the shoot and played on the four wheeler. Todd even gave Ezra his first four wheeler ride!

A word that comes to mind when I think of Todd and Melissa as parents is, nurturing. While there, Ezra got his first bee sting. Todd was so concerned and quickly put a home remedy on it to help take the sting out. I remember thinking that Melissa and Todd are rock star parents and I wish they were our neighbors because we would hang out all the time!

What a lovely fall evening with good friends enjoying this stage in our lives.

This playroom made my heart so so happy!

It’s all fun and games till your kid throws an egg across the kitchen floor. 🙂

One of the great things about lifestyle sessions in the home is when your kid gets hungry you can give serve up a snack! 🙂

Time for an outfit change with daddy!

This little red head stole our hearts!

So many cute faces I couldn’t pick just one. 😉

While on their farm property dad lets him drive a bit. 🙂

While hanging out, Melissa had to feed our baby Elliot. I love this moment so much!

Ezra’s first four wheeler ride, messy hair and all. Clay was too timid to allow daddy to drive him around yet. 🙂

Bath time! I love these moments with my kids because they love the water! So glad to capture these moments with Melissa and Clay.

What a beautiful sunset to end a beautiful evening!

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Gisselle and Danny’s Biltmore Front Lawn Wedding!

We love a good Biltmore front lawn wedding and Gisselle and Danny gave us the opportunity to shoot there once again!

Gisselle and Danny came all the way from Miami to be married up here in the mountains of NC on Memorial Day weekend. Michael and I really loved getting to know this couple over the course of the weekend. Michael got to hang with the guys as they played golf the day before the wedding at the Grove Park Inn. He enjoyed getting to know Danny better and was struck by his friendly nature and hospitality. I got to know Gisselle through the course of planning this wedding and I instantly fell in love with her love for life! She knows how to have a good time and her wedding was no exception!

Giselle and Danny are B-E-A-U-TIFUL! And Cuban! It was our first Cuban wedding as photographers. We absolutely loved the party they brought in from Miami! The music played by the amazing DJ- Mike (from The Event Factor) had everyone hopping. He mixed a bit of Cuban music with modern music and Michael and I enjoyed getting to see some salsa moves thrown into the mix. Everyone was so happy and seemed to really have a fantastic time!

Be sure to check out Danny and Gisselle’s take on their wedding at the end of this blog! For now, here are our favorite images from their STUNNING wedding!

We have to give credit to these amazing people for putting in a lot of effort to help make this day a complete success!

Design: By the Bride, Gisselle!
Photographer assistant and roof top photographer: Andrew May
Venue coordinator: Beth Poslusny with Biltmore Estate
Event Day of Coordinator: Brittany, Nicole, and Abby of Verge Events
Videographer: GLG Video
Officiant: Tim Lolley with Blue Mountain Weddings
Lighting and Equipment: Aver Productions
Ceremony Music and Dj: The Event Factor
Cocktail Musicians: Asheville Gentalmen
Caterer and Cake: Biltmore
Makeup crew: Wendy and Kristen with Blush Asheville.
Hair: Lola Salon
Flowers: Luck with the Asheville Flower Gallery
Confetti canons: Confetti & Fog FX (miami)
Paper goods: In10se Design (Miami)
Tent draping and furniture rentals: Classic event rentals
Linens: A touch of class (Miami)


It’s been a few years since their wedding and Danny and Gisselle now have a sweet baby boy!  We went back and asked them a few questions about themselves and the big day and this is what they said!

A bit about Gisselle: Back then I was a regional marketing and events manager traveling around the country for a hospitality company. Nowadays I’m a stay at home mom with our 10 month old baby boy. When I’m not taking care of him, I love anything that has to do with being creative and I guess I still plan parties… but now they are for our own personal special events. Lol

A bit about Danny: Danny is a commercial realtor in Miami Florida. He loves sports, fishing, golfing and spending time with family.

How did you meet? We met on memorial weekend on a cruise to the Bahamas. It started raining and he offered to lend me his towel so my hair wouldn’t get wet and then he kissed me under the towel in the rain.

Describe your first date? Our first official date was dinner at a sushi restaurant. He drove 45 minutes to my house to pick me up because I refused to go out with him unless he picked me up for our first official date.

How long have you been together? 8 years now, 5 years when we got married. We got married 5 years later on the same weekend we met.

What are your favorite hobbies and activities to do as a couple? We love traveling together. Although lately after the baby it’s a tough call between that and sleeping. Lol

Who popped the question and HOW? Danny popped the question in Paris on the love lock bridge. He had always said Paris was the most romantic city he had ever been to. He took me there for the first time and I had no idea he was going to ask. I originally refused to go to the bridge because we had no lock to put on it and thought it was pointless. He later tried to film the moment but back then phone video cameras weren’t as popular. The camera never filmed and some bystanders on the bridge took our one and only blurry picture. And we went back the next day to actually leave our “love” lock.

Why did you pick Asheville and the Biltmore Estate? We have a Biltmore hotel in Miami and my aunt came across the estate and sent it to me, since I had always dreamed of a castle wedding as a little girl. When I told Danny he refused and when he finally gave in we drove up on the thanksgiving long weekend and when we saw the place we knew right there and then that was IT.

What adjective best describes your spouse on your wedding day? Happy. Happy to be married. Happy to start our life together and Happy it was finally over! Lol

What tangible detail of your wedding day did you love the most? The Location. Just being there. We could have had nothing else but just the experience of being there at sunset time. It was so worth it.

How many guests attended the wedding? 160

What did you and your guests eat at the reception? Filet Mignon and Lobsters.
We had chicken and waffles for the passed apps (Danny missed those during the pictures and is still mad at me lol!!)

What was the flavor of your wedding cake? We had two: Red Velvet and Chocolate Ganache

What is the one of the funniest things that happened on your wedding day? One of our groomsmen forgot his tuxedo pants. He never checked his tux when they gave him the garment bag and when the groomsmen were getting ready they all started freaking out. Somehow they called the Biltmore hotel and one of the staff members had his exact size!!! He says they fit him better than the ones he had rented! Lol

What was your first dance song and why did you pick it? I’ve got you under my skin. It reminded me of when we first met because we tried to stay single but it never worked. Although I came in to the instrumental of a Thousand Years and it was such a special moment that whenever anyone hears the song they send it to us because it reminds them on us on our wedding day. So to us that’s now really “our” song.

What stood out to you the most when you think of your wedding? That moment when I came in on a horse and carriage to a thousand years on violin at sunset with the breeze in front of the castle. When we first saw each other – It was like if time stopped.

What is on your “bucket list” to do together as a married couple? Visit South Africa! He wants to go shark diving. I just want to go along for the ride.


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