Shayna and Julio’s Hawkesdene Wedding

Shayna and Julio were married at the stunning venue, Hawkesdene House in Andrews, North Carolina. Their Hawkesdene wedding was a destination wedding for all of their guests and it was easy to see that all were thrilled to be there. The ceremony, the food, the views, and the dancing made this an occasion to remember.

Michael and I got to hang out with Shayna and Julio first when we all went hiking for their e-session last summer. We loved, loved, loved getting to hang out with them as we hiked together up to Black Balsam. We instantly connected with this amazing couple and knew we were going to enjoy sharing their wedding day with them.

From Shayna’s father who has passed away. This one brought tears to my eyes.

Here is a bit more from this awesome couple about themselves and their wedding day!

A bit about Shayna: Shayna is a kindergarten teacher in Orlando, FL. She is kind and loving, nurturing and firm. She loves to be silly and goofy. She loves to dance and watch TV shows.

A bit about Julio: I am a software developer in Lake Mary, FL. I am a video game fan and I enjoy binge watching our favorite shows on Netflix. I like to play soccer and throw a Frisbee around.

How did you meet? We met at the front office of our apartment complex. Shayna was a leasing agent and I was an unemployed college kid who played pool constantly. I ended up meeting her one day when the door to the rec room was locked and I needed to get the key from the office.

Describe your first date? Shayna and I hung out with our mutual friends all the time. We got to see each other almost every day and watch shows and play guitar hero. It wasn’t until nearly 6 months of being together that we finally went on our first date. It was very simple. Dinner and a movie. I was the least stressful first date ever because we had already been together for so long.

How long have you been together? 9 years as of July 23rd.

What are your favorite hobbies and activities to do as a couple? Watching shows and movies on Netflix and HBO are our go-to activity. We also like playing Kingdom Hearts and Borderlands 2 (two very contrasting video games). We love playing Frisbee. And we are also obsessed with escape rooms. Which brings us to the next question…

Who popped the question and HOW? I popped the question on a Friday evening in our apartment by locking her in our office and not letting her out until she said yes. Yes, really. Because of our obsession with escape rooms I decided to build her one. I emptied out the office and hid clues all over the place. The answers to all the puzzles were things meaningful to our relationship, like the date of our anniversary or the order of the vacations we have taken. It ended up being a lot of fun to make, and even more fun to watch her do. When she realized what I had made, she didn’t stop laughing for a solid 5 minutes, time which I happily deducted from her hour.

Why did you pick Andrews and Hawkesdene? We picked Andrews because of Hawkesdene. And we picked Hawkesdene because it was a gorgeous venue in the mountains, surrounded by nature and beauty. The staff was extremely receptive and kind and they felt so organized.  We were immediately confident that the wedding would be incredible. It was.

What adjective best describes your spouse on your wedding day?

Julio about Shayna – Radiant.

Shayna about Julio – Perfect.

What tangible detail of your wedding day did you love the most?

Shayna – The pictures of her father and sister on her bouquet (they are no longer with us). She also loved the message from her dad embroidered inside her dress.

Julio – Shayna’s dress

How many guests attended the wedding 63

What did you and your guests eat at the reception? It was a phenomenal meal of…

Strawberry goat cheese salad

Grilled flank steak with avocado guasacaca sauce

Carolina Pork Tenderloin with Apple Preserves

Heirloom tomatoes with garden basil and mozzarella

Broccolini sautéed in garlic butter

Smashed potatoes

Artisan Bread & Herb Butter

What was the flavor of your wedding cake? Apple hummingbird with cream cheese frosting… but the best part was the whole dessert bar that came with it. Raspberry, strawberry, apricot, and blueberry tarts. Brownie shooters. Carrot cake cupcakes and chocolate peanut butter cup cupcakes. Macarons. Mini apple pies. Peach cobblers in a jar. It was amazing.

What is the one of the funniest things that happened on your wedding day? Our dog getting off her leash and sprinting down the path towards the cottage. Or possibly singing BINGO to get our ring bearer to smile during pictures.

What was your first dance song and why did you pick it? Perfect by Ed Sheeran. It was melodic and sweet and it describes how we feel about each other… perfectly.

What stood out to you the most when you think of your wedding The wedding was very “us”. It was relaxed and goofy. We made fun of each other during our vows. We were surrounded by the people we love and that love us. It was more than we could have ever hoped for. The moment that stands out to me the most is when I was standing on the Hawkes Nest, staring at a gorgeous sunset holding hands with my gorgeous bride, thinking to myself that I couldn’t believe how fortunate I was. The moment that stuck out in Shayna’s mind the most was when my Grandfather ended the reception by singing a song to us in Spanish. It was so emotionally charged and beautiful.

What is on your “bucket list” to do together as a married couple? We want to go on an Alaskan cruise. We also wish we could open an animal rescue.


Shout out to these awesome professionals for their amazing work!

Venue coordinator – Jami Dyer at Hawkesdene House
Dress Designer – Stella York
Where you purchased your dress – One & Only Bridal Boutique
Makeup artist – Salon El-Khouri
Hair designer –Salon El-Khouri
Floral designer – Andrews Florist
Caterer – Hawkesdene
DJ or Band – Sound Extreme Entertainment
Officiant – Phillip with Asheville Marriages
Cake designer – Sugar Cloud Baking Company
Videographer – Casey and Kristen

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