An Elegant Handmade Affair in North Carolina
Abby and Julian
Some say love takes you to new heights, and when you marry in the country's highest town (elevation 5506 feet), there's no denying it. For college sweethearts Abby Fernandez and Julian Hollar, their May 28, 2011, nuptials highlighted the natural surroundings of Beech Mountain, North Carolina, with touches of their eclectic style.
The bride hand-painted the invitation's designs, then scanned and printed them onto card stock. The suites were tied with yarn and mailed in envelopes addressed by the bride and her friends. Each envelope featured a grouping of mismatched postage stamps.
The Beech Alpen Inn on Beech Mountain, where the bride and her family have been vacationing since she was a small child, offered breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. "The inn is about a seven-minute drive from our house," Abby said. "It just seemed like the perfect place."
The Bridal Look
Abby, following in her mother's footsteps, wore her grandmother's wedding dress. With slight alterations, the gown (originally made in 1949) became the bride's dream dress. She accessorized it with shoes from Dyeables (embellished with DIY fabric flowers) and Mikimoto pearls given to her by Julian on their first anniversary.
Peggy Mendel of Pearl's Garden created the floral elements of the day, including the bride's bouquet of hydrangeas, roses, freesia, stock, and cotton. It was finished off with skinny picot-edged ribbons.
Portraits of the bridal party were taken before the ceremony at the top of the mountain. The spot, called "Oz," has a yellow brick road.
The bridesmaids selected their own dresses using the color palette given to them by the bride as a guide.
A Special Gift
Abby made lockets for each of her attendants to show them her love, gratitude, and appreciation. Each locket read "I love you for your [attribute]." Abby selected a trait she admired in each one of the girls -- be it humor, joy, creativity, dependability, encouragement, generosity, acceptance, or strength, and included it inside.
The Bridesmaids' Bouquets
Like their dresses, the bridesmaids' bouquets were also unique. Though they were created with the same elements (hydrangeas, roses, stock, cotton, lavender, and variegated pittisporum leaves), the amounts varied in each bouquet.
Seizing the Moment
A trio of bridesmaids took advantage of the natural setting.
Julian and his groomsmen wore light-gray suits and ties in a range of hues.
Julian wore a boutonniere with a rose, a daisy, and two sprigs of fresh lavender.
The Ring Bearer
The Ceremony Decor
The preexisting structure was decorated with fresh greenery and blooms.
The Ceremony Decor
Along the aisle, shepherd's hooks held small arrangements of daisies and baby's breath.
Two of Abby's best friends sang as she and her father walked down the aisle.
During the ceremony, Abby's brother read Romans 12:9-13, and Julian's sister recited an excerpt from the book "Captivating" by John and Stasi Eldredge: "Now -- can you see how the desires of a man's heart and the desires of a woman's heart were at least meant to fit beautifully together? A woman in the presence of a good man, a real man, loves being a woman. His strength allows her feminine heart to flourish. His pursuit draws out her beauty. And a man in the presence of a real woman loves being a man. Her beauty arouses him to play the man; it draws out his strength. She inspires him to be a hero."
A Unique Entrance
Flower girls Lauren and Claire, both cousins of the groom, carried a banner of pennant flags that read "Here Comes the Bride." Originally a garland made by bridesmaid Kate Grigsby for Abby's bridal shower, it was adapted for the ceremony by wedding planner Ashley Baber of Ashley Baber Weddings.
The bridal party encircled the couple for a moment of prayer.
The newlyweds walked up the aisle to "You Make My Dreams" by Hall and Oates.
The Bridal Party
After the ceremony, the bridal party posed on picnic tables for photographer Heidi Geldhauser of Our Labor of Love.
The Guest Book
A friend of the couple stitched them a quilt, which was set out for guests to sign.
The Cocktail Hour
Abby's grandmother's old croquet set was enjoyed by guests during cocktail hour.
The Cocktail Hour
Best man Steve Baker made a corn hole game, which Abby painted.
The Cocktail Hour
Tables were set with natural linens and centerpieces of hydrangeas, roses, cotton, and stock. Guests dined on butternut squash soup, herb-encrusted chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, and green beans almondine.
Lavender -- grown by Julian's father -- was packaged in sachets made by the groom's maternal grandmother, who lives in France. Ribbons printed with the couple's names and wedding date tied them closed. The sachets were placed under a handmade garland. Abby created it by covering letters with fabric remnants left over from the reception area's bunting.
A dessert table housed a variety of confections and was decorated with another handmade garland. The backdrop was made from window curtains that had been sewn together.
A three-tier vanilla and chocolate cake with buttercream icing was capped with a topper found on Etsy.
A second single-tier cake, decorated with letters forming the couple's new monogram.