Kelly and Jared’s wedding was our first at Hawksdene in Andrews NC. Even though it is an hour and 45 minutes away from Asheville it was SO worth the drive. The venue and the views were spectacular.

Honestly though, our favorite thing about this wedding was this couple… and I am not just saying that. Kelly was genuinely happy all day. She had a permanent smile on her face and radiated joy. Jared was super nice too and Michael and I got really “close” to him as we all crammed on a 4 person gator to go to the view. (Jared sat between Michael and I… the poor fellow!)

We will pipe up more throughout the blog, but for now, here is a bit from Kelly and Jared!

A bit about Kelly: Born in Charleston, SC. Navy brat. Also lived in Great Lakes, IL; Jacksonville, FL; La Maddalena, Italy; and Yokosuka, Japan before her family settled down in North Carolina. Attended the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) for her junior and senior years of high school before continuing to UNC Chapel Hill for college and law school. Loves hiking, camping, cultivating a sprawling patio garden, and loving on our dog (Jack) and cat (Joey).

A bit about Jared: Born in Austin, TX, moved to Sewanee, TN for college and continued east to Chapel Hill, NC for law school.  Loves music and playing guitar.  Avid basketball (Spurs and Tarheels) and football (Longhorns, Tarheels and Cowboys) fan.  By day, a lawyer; by night, anything else.

How did you meet?  Kelly and Jared met near the end of their first year in law school.  Over Spring Break that year, while Kelly was on an outreach trip providing free legal services to rural areas in eastern North Carolina, Kelly’s apartment nearly burned down.  A tenant in her building was doing laundry and the drying machine caught fire.  One of Jared’s good friends, Justice Warren (who served as the officiant in their wedding), was with Kelly on the outreach trip.  Upon return, Jared asked Justice about Kelly, whom he had noticed around school earlier in the semester.  Among other things, Justice mentioned the fire.  At the time, Kelly and Jared had the same landlord and lived on the same street.  Jared ran into Kelly in the mailroom of the law school just before the last weekend of Spring Break, and armed with a topic–the fire–he struck up a conversation with her.  Unfortunately, he forgot to mention his name. Over the next few weeks, Jared made every effort to “run into” Kelly around school or in their neighborhood.  Kelly still did not know his name and was sure she would inevitably be embarrassed by that fact later on down the road.  Luckily, the law school had an online picture directory where she was able to find him.  After a number of short (probably awkward) conversations, Jared met Kelly in the courtyard of the law school while she was studying.  Despite being annoyed that he asked to sit with her instead of sitting at one of the many empty tables, she acquiesced to his request to study with her.  After a small bit of studying and a large bit of conversation, Jared had successfully convinced her to have dinner with him.

Describe your first date?  Jared got hit by a car.  Not a fender-bender–Jared wasn’t driving.  No, on their first date,  Jared took Kelly to dinner at a restaurant called Acme in Carrboro, NC. After they had parked the car, on the walk through the parking lot toward the restaurant, a car backed into Jared.  Fortunately, there were no injuries, other than to his already-anxious sense of pride.  Nonetheless, it sparked what was to be a funny, enjoyable evening, filled with talk of each other’s travels, life history and interests.  Without recalling how long it lasted, it was certainly not long enough.  They subsequently went on dates two, three and four, in the span of about five days. It may not have been perfectly clear then, but that was the beginning of what each hopes to be a lifelong friendship, partnership and marriage.

How long have you been together?  A little over 4 and 1/2 years.

What are your favorite hobbies and activities to do as a couple?  Travel, cook (mostly vegetarian and vegan food), and plan our future restaurant and brewery endeavors.  We love life and enjoying it together. We brew our own beer, cook as many traditional and odd things as we can, and love to travel to new, and familiar, places.

Who popped the question and HOW?  Jared planned a day trip to Paris.  Paris, TX.  It’s about a two-hour drive from Dallas.  After spending the first part of the day running errands, we set off to see the little town and have a nice dinner at one of the quaint restaurants in downtown Paris.  Jared had the ring in his pocket the entire drive out there.  Kelly had no clue what was going on.  We arrived first at the local landmark–a miniature Eiffel Tower with a cowboy hat on top (Texas, for the win).  After taking the obligatory selfie and a few other photos, we asked the only other couple there to take a photo of us.  After taking a few photos, Jared asked if they wouldn’t mind getting just one more.  As the couple backed into position to snap the final shot, Jared (with the ring slyly in his hidden hand) dropped to a knee and proposed.  The couple kindly snapped as many photos as they could and congratulated us.  We enjoyed a nice evening and dinner in Paris, and after getting pulled over for speeding on the drive home (no ticket, thank you officer), we celebrated with champagne and late-night pizza.

Why did you pick your venue, Hawksdene?  We were searching for a venue that met three key criteria: (1) it had to be located in the mountains of western North Carolina; (2) it had to be relatively full-service as far as the essentials go; and (3) all of our family and wedding party had to be able to stay on-site or within walking distance.  Hawkesdene was one of only a small few that met all three.  Further, it had excellent reviews.  We visited about a year prior to the wedding date.  Despite being rainy and cold, it was stunning–we knew it was the perfect venue.  We cannot say enough good things about Hawkesdene.  It is a beautiful place, and the staff and ownership are incredibly professional.

What adjective best describes your spouse on your wedding day?  Kelly (for Jared): Charming   Jared (for Kelly): Glowing

What tangible detail of your wedding day did you love the most? We love our wedding rings. We purchased them many months before the ceremony, on a trip to San Francisco. And several times in the months leading up to the wedding, we would be sitting on the couch in the evening (usually after several glasses of wine) and one of us would say “want to wear our wedding rings for a bit?!” The other one would inevitably respond with “YES!” and we would pull them out of their little boxes and wear them for a few hours, all the while talking about our upcoming wedding.

How many guests attended the wedding?  Approx. 115

What did you and your guests eat at the reception? Flank steak, grilled salmon, green beans, mashed potatoes, caprese salad, and baguettes.

What was your first dance song and why did you pick it?  Tony Bennett – “Steppin’ Out with My Baby.”  We knew we wanted to do a fun dance; likely swing, but we didn’t have a specific song in mind.  As we watched a movie one night, this song came on at some point.  Musically, it was perfect.  We looked up the lyrics and confirmed it fit for a wedding dance song.  It did, we prepared a dance, and there you go. Not particularly romantic, but the song we often identify most as “our song” (or something close to it) is “Wait So Long” by Trampled By Turtles–a bit too fast for a first dance.

What stood out to you the most when you think of your wedding?  The people–friends and family–that went above and beyond to make sure the day was as perfect as it could be.  We didn’t have a wedding coordinator, so we leaned heavily on our wedding party and parents.  They came through, big time.

What is on your “bucket list” to do together as a married couple?   Wow. That’s a long list.  Here are a few.  We want to travel, everywhere.  In particular, we’d like to explore the beauty nearer to us–the national parks in Utah and the West, generally; Canada; etc.  We also want to travel across Southeast Asia (Thailand, in particular; Kelly studied abroad there for 7 months in college, and she is dying to take Jared) and New Zealand.  We want to live in Paris for a while, maybe New York too.  We’d also like to start a cafe/brewery/coffee shop at some point, for which we’d make and serve dishes we’ve cultivated over the years, our own brewed beer and interesting coffees sourced from around the world.  There is no particular order to the above, and we have so many other goals, but we look forward to checking each off our list.

 

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This is Jack. Kelly and Jared’s rescue pup… who was seriously camera shy! He was super sweet though and you can tell they adore their pup.
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First look with dad.
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A sweet moment with Jared and his dad.
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Here comes the bride.
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That moment when a groom sees his bride for the first time.
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Kelly’s mom. 🙂
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Michael always follows the couple out to capture moments like this.
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Michael also sticks around to capture moments like this when the family comes to congratulate the couple. These are some of the best moments we have ever seen during this time. When I saw these photos pop up on my computer (Michael had taken all of them) I absolutely swooned. SO much joy and sweetness.
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This is the view from the top of the mountain. It was absolutely stunning!
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We were so thankful that Hurricane Matthew had already dumped it’s rain here in WNC so we could have the reception outside!
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Kelly and Jared surprised their guests with a choreographed dance. Everyone went nuts and loved it!
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Toast from Dad.
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Jared’s mom and Kelly’s mom.
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We had to take a moment away from the reception for some photos with Jack.
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He got a treat for being so awesome.
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A dance with grandma.
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We love moments with grandparents!
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Kelly’s grandfather.
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Michael and I might have snagged some of these awesome sunglasses. 🙂 They busted them out during the reception along with boas and top hats. As you can see in the photos below their guest had a blast with them!
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Last song.. last moment on the dance floor. What a great party!!!
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Congrats Kelly and Jared!! Here’s to a lifetime of awesomeness.
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Shout out to these professionals that made this wedding rock!

Venue coordinator –Jamie at Hawkesdene

Dress Designer – Watters

Where you purchased your dress – A and Bé Bridal (Dallas, Texas)

Makeup artist – Rachael Hoch

Hair designer – Rachael Hoch

Floral designer – Andrews Florist (for the boutonnieres and bouquets). Kelly and the bridesmaids are in charge of all floral decorations for the rest of the venue (wholesale flowers ordered online from Global Rose).

Caterer – Hawkesdene

DJ or BandEmerald Empire Band

Officiant – Justice Warren (friend of the bride and groom)

Cake designer – Magdalena Sanders

Videographer – Michael Clark

 

  • Runette Ford - These are beautiful. I was unable to make it due to Hurricane Matthew. These pictures allowed me to imagine I was there celebrating with Kelly and Jared.

  • Kelly Henning - Breathtakingly, beautiful photos!
    Loved seeing the family.
    Congratulations Kelly & Jared

  • Edie Ford - Beautiful pictures and blog

  • Gini Missavage - These pictures are so amazing! They are some of the best I’ve ever seen. Of course, the people in the pictures had something to do with that. Thank you for sharing your amazing day.

  • Donna - Pictures of Kelly and Jared’s wedding that I did not take. Fran

Michael and I love a good Biltmore Estate wedding. Ashley and Joe’s wedding was our first wedding on the Tennis Lawn of the Biltmore Estate with the reception taking place at the Italian Gardens. It was absolutely stunning.

Ashley and Joe travelled from Charleston to be married in Asheville. They were a super sweet couple and we enjoyed getting to know their family and friends during the joyful festivities. They have a great sense of humor and it shows in the photos.

Congrats to Ashley and Joe!! Thank you for allowing Michael and I to share in your day. Many blessings as you begin this new chapter in your story.

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Ashley looked absolutely stunning in her gown and veil. This photo of her above makes us swoon.
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Ashley’s mom is absolutely gorgeous!
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We loved the detail in the straps on her dress!
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These gals were so so much fun!
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And these sweet moments with dad. So special.
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These two looked SO good on their wedding day! Wendy with Blush Asheville nailed the makeup!
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Joe is such a clown sometimes. We love that. He was being funny in these photos posing like this… but we actually love how they turned out!
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We love this location for a Biltmore wedding!
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Michael stumbled upon this private moment of Joe right before his guest started arriving to the ceremony.
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Here comes the bride! Also, shout out to Gwenn from Wedding Inspirations.

This was also our first time getting to work with Gwenn and her side kick Elena. They handled all the details with such professionalism.
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Wink wink.
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One of my favorite things to capture at weddings is this moment. “I now present to you Mr. and Mrs. Caradonna!” Such happy faces!!
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Sunsets off the south terrace are some of my favorites.
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Cocktail hour was on the library terrace with this view!
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The reception tent was just below the library terrace on the Italian Gardens.
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I loved their gold flat wear! It was very classy.
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Such happy people! It wasn’t hard to capture candid moments of people laughing and smiling.
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One of my absolute favorite things about their wedding was their amazing band, Atlanta Rhythm and Groove. They were fantastic!
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The funniest event of the day, in my opinion, was when the band got Ashley and Joe to hop on the stage and dance. BOY! Ashley and Joe can dance! Michael and I were laughing so hard and Ashley and Joe were having so much fun.
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Ashley had a great time dancing. I love her so much.
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The mother of the bride was right there with her.
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Joe’s solo moment. Lets just say he doesn’t do anything half way. 😉
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This is the first opportunity we have had to photograph an exit in front of the house! Ashley and Joe had their guests throw rose petals as they exited. It was beautiful.
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Shout out to these wedding pros that made this day happen!

As Asheville wedding photographers we shoot often at the Crest Center and Pavilion. We love it there too… even weddings in the rain. (I am a sucker for twinkle lights in the background of our photos and the Crest is full of them!)

Ashleigh asked me (Meriah) at the beginning of the day if I would be honest with her at the end of the day… she wanted to know if she was the most tearful bride we had ever had. She never asked me at the end of the day but all I have to say is “Ashleigh, you made our day!” As wedding photographers we love those tearful moments shared when there is supposed to be emotion. We are “moment junkies” after all! I would say there was a great balance of tears and laughter during your wedding!

I also have to say the way Ashleigh and Adrian met has been one of my favorite stories to date! That story and more about their wedding directly from them below! (Also Ashleigh and Adrian tell on me a bit… see how I made a major goof in a text message thanks to auto correct!!)

A bit about Ashleigh: Born in Orlando, FL but moved as a baby to NC and raised there.  I love the state North Carolina. I am a diehard Pittsburgh Steelers fan, my parents are from a small town near Pittsburgh, PA and they raised my sister and I watching them play.  I am a Neonatal Intensive Care nurse and absolutely love the sweet babies I help take care of.  I am a lover of animals and nature. I love being outside.  I love to laugh more than anything else.  And My family and friends are my entire world. 

A bit about Adrian: Born in Romania, Adrian and his parents escaped communism when he was five years old and moved with 3 suitcases to Canada. At the age of 10 moved to Cary, NC and built their lives there. He loves ice hockey and is a diehard fan of the Carolina Hurricanes and of course he now loves American football and the Pittsburgh Steelers (thanks to his beautiful wife’s family ;). He loves camping, playing hockey, and spending time with friends and family. 

How did you meet? We met on Halloween night 10/31/13.   I was planning to stay in Greenville, NC (where I was living and working at the time) in my PJs and watch scary movies.  On a whim at around 6 pm, after some influence from my mother, I decided to get dressed up and take up my sister (Katelyn) on her offer to drive to Raleigh and spend Halloween with Katelyn and some of her friends.  Meanwhile, in Cary, NC, Adrian was having his annual Halloween get together, watching scary movies while handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters .  Originally Adrian was supposed to have to work the next day, but having broken his hand playing hockey he was out of work at the time and decided he would be able to go out downtown Raleigh with his friends.  Adrian and I both just happened to end up at the same bar, one which he claims he normally would never go to (The Big Easy), but somehow his friends convinced him to go.)  There was a brief moment in which each of our groups of friends had left us each standing at the bar alone.  We made eye contact with each other.  Adrian approached me and asked “Who are you dressed up as?” to which I replied “Kat Von D, and what about you ?” and he responded “I’m Dexter, can I kiss you?”.  At first I was thinking who does this guy think he is? But then I looked up into those irresistible brown eyes and saw his handsome smile and I almost instinctively said “Yes”.  And so we spent the rest of the night at each others side, dancing and kissing.  It just felt right. 

Describe your first date? Adrian texted me the next day after Halloween and asked to take me on a “real date” . First he took us out to a nice dinner and then he took us ice skating afterwards. He even brought me an extra pair of thick socks because He thought I might wear a dress to dinner. And although he could have shown off his expertise in skating and hockey skills, he never let go of my hand or left my side the entire time.  I am very old fashioned and He has always been such a gentleman and I loved that about him right away.

How long have you been together? 3 years ago we met on this Halloween, we haven’t been apart since but we officially became a couple on 12/8/13.

What is your favorite hobbies and activities to do as a couple? We are known as the couple who never sits still, we are always on the go and love traveling. We love the mountains (mostly Asheville of course), the beach (Carolina Beach), camping, cooking, good beers and wine, and food. We love to laugh and our family and friends are extremely important to us. And of course our biggest hobby is preparing every year for our Halloween party by decorating, watching scary movies, drinking pumpkin beers, getting dressed up to hand out candy and have friends over to celebrate after.

Who popped the question and HOW? On top of Mount Pisgah, one of our favorite hikes that we do when we visit Asheville. We once found a secret spot hidden away from the rest of the crowd that we had one time decided to take our camping gear to and made pancakes at the top while enjoying another one of our favorites, Highland brewery beer. We had such a great time and memories there so Adrian made a secret plan and took us back to that spot on 10/24/15. I was just thinking it was a regular hike for a nice day. But once we got up to that spot he proposed! 😉 He had set up a GoPro to record the whole thing and even had a bottle of our favorite champagne in his backpack to enjoy after . It was so thoughtful and such a beautiful day. <3

Why did you pick Asheville and the Crest Center? Asheville is our home away from home. It has always been our favorite place to travel to when we have a few days off together. It’s the city we came to on our first trip as a couple together. It’s the city we first told each other we loved each other and the city we became engaged. We love Asheville. And the Crest Pavilion was so beautiful. It had gorgeous views of the mountains and everything we wanted for our day. Also, when we went to visit the venue to decide if it was the one, a lady bug landed on my arm as we stood out on the ceremony lawn. This made us both smile and know it was the right spot because on our very first date, a lady bug landed on my hand and Adrian looked at me and said that lady bugs are a good luck. We later learned from Adrian’s father, Viorel this story (in his words):

“In Romanian folklore the ladybug has a magical place and is most beloved: if it lands on the hand or arm of a not-married girl, watch it: the ladybug’s fly will show you where you will find the man of your dreams and the place where you will get married! … See? These 2 ladybugs knew exactly what they were doing!!”
What adjective best describes your spouse on your wedding day?
Adrian for Ashleigh: Breathtaking – adjective  meaning – astonishing or awe-inspiring in quality, so as to take one’s breath away.
Ashleigh for Adrian: Wondrous – adjective literary meaning inspiring a feeling of wonder or delight; marvelous.
What tangible detail of your wedding day did you love the most?
Ashleigh: I loved my wedding gown but more importantly my grandfathers basketball pin that was pinned inside of my gown. But my most favorite item was the embroidered handkerchief that Adrian surprised me with before the wedding, which I wrapped my bouquet in.

Adrian: The pocket watch that Ashleigh surprised me with as a gift before the  wedding, it was engraved on the back with one of our favorite Avett Brothers quotes, “I’m yours and that’s it, forever” “10.7.16”. Oh, and I liked our koozies 🙂

How many guests attended the wedding? Around 100

What did you and your guests eat at the reception? The houdearves included Bacon wrapped BBQ shrimp, brochette, and sweet&sour meatballs. The dinner buffet included chicken Marsala and steak sirloin, with rosemary roasted potatoes, and haricot vert greenbeans.  Our dessert bar included mini pies, mini cheesecakes, and mini cupcakes.  Our “non traditional” cake was actually a pie. We both wanted one of our favorite sweets which include anything Peanut Butter and Chocolate, so that is what we wanted to cut into.  A PB & Chocolate pie, instead of the traditional wedding cake which neither of us envisioned for our wedding day.

What is the one of the funniest things that happened on your wedding day? Adrian and I worked so hard (along with the help of our amazing bridesmaids and groomsmen) to not see each other the day of the wedding, until I walked down the aisle to him.  We were successful ALL day, even in the same hotel together, until the very last minute when I left to go get hair and makeup done just before heading to the venue.  He was walking down the hall toward the elevator as I was leaving towards the lobby, we both gasped and laughed, and he ran back the other way to hide while I ran to the doors as fast as I could.  It was so funny!  

P.S. (related to another occasion)
As we all know, it rained the day of our wedding.  But what was funny about this is the day we were doing our engagement pictures Meriah sent me a text referring to the possibility of rain and that we were still good for our engagement shoot because, and she texted, “I love shits in the rain”… auto corrected from  “I love shoots in the rain”.  This still makes Adrian and I laugh so hard 😉 (Meriah here… Yep, that really happened!!)

What was your first dance song and why did you pick it? Jackson Browne “Never Stop”. It was a song that Adrian played for me one night in our cabin in Asheville, the night he told me he loved me for the first time.  That song is very special to us.

What stood out to you the most when you think of your wedding? Just the feeling of being so happy and feeling so much love in the room.  It was radiating from everyone and between us.

What is on your “bucket list” to do together as a married couple? Our bucket list includes starting a family and having children, buying a home and having lots of animals including dogs, goats, and mini pigs. 😀 Traveling the country and the world, in particular getting to travel to Romania together for me to meet the rest of his amazing family and seeing his heritage. We would love to have a small ceremony there one day to celebrate our marriage with everyone.

Congrats Ashleigh and Adrian! Come back to Asheville and hang with us soon!

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We all cried.
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Ashleigh, her mom, and her sister. SUCH sweet moments.
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First look with Dad. It was a super special moment.
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Adrian and his mom. Her seeing him for the first time.
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Adrian had several family members travel from Romania to attend his wedding.
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Adrian’s crew prepped him for the wedding “Rocky Balboa” style. VERY FUNNY!
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Even the minister got teary eyed during the vows!
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They met this guitar player in a bar the month before. They loved the music he played and asked him to travel to Asheville to play for them at their wedding! He also sang them a special song during the reception.
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The toasts were both funny and sweet.
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Dad made us loose it.
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The rain stopped and a fog rolled in. We slipped out of the reception for just a few more photos amongst the twinkle lights. These are some of my favorite moments of the whole evening.
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Shout out to these professionals that made this day rock!

Venue coordinator – Jocelyn Huntley

Dress Designer – Elizabeth Dye

Where you purchased your dress –  The Sentimentalist (in Atlanta, GA)

Makeup artist –  Kim Atwood

Hair designer – Lauryn Doerr

Floral designer – Casey Collins

Caterer –  M7 Event Solutions and Caterer

DJ or Band – Sound Extreme Entertainment

Officiant –  Eric Bombeck

Cake designer –  Meg Schearer with Whisk Avl

Videographer –  James A. Vrazel with Beautiful Life Films

S U B S C R I B E
T W I T T E R
I N S T A G R A M
F A C E B O O K