This Couple Tied the Knot Exactly 4,153 Days After They First Met as Children
Surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, an endless number of evergreens, and more than 200 of their loved ones, a pair of longtime sweethearts felt the rest of the world melt away as they said their vows. All that remained was the heavenly setting—and the joy of two childhood dreams coming true.
When seventh-grader Trey Weldon declared his feelings to eighth-grader Maya Dillard at Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School, in north-eastern Georgia, he was a preteen with a plan, not a kid with a crush. "I told her, 'I'm going to marry you one day,'" he says. "I know it sounds crazy, but I never doubted it." Maya was similarly smitten. They'd met two years before, and after many weekends spent shooting hoops and riding four-wheelers together, Trey asked her to be his girlfriend; soon after, they went arm-in-arm to a school dance at the lake house on campus. But there was a hitch: Maya hadn't vetted Trey with her mom and dad, and when they realized how little she knew about him ("I wasn't even sure what his last name was!" she admits), they asked her to put the brakes on. The pair remained friends, unspooling an endless thread of emails until the following fall, when both sets of parents gave their approval for the courtship.
Fast-forward eight years. During Maya's last winter break of college, Trey surprised her at the lake house where they'd had that first dance. Thinking she was returning a video of Trey playing football to his coach, she found her childhood sweetheart surrounded by candles, with a custom-made vinyl record playing Johnny Cash's version of "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." He proposed, and she responded with a breathless, "Yes, yes, and yes!"
The longtime couple, now two youth pastors, wed on April 14, 2018, at Lonesome Valley, 800 acres of forest and meadows ringed by granite-faced mountains in Cashiers, North Carolina. "I always knew I wanted an outdoor wedding," Maya says. "This venue proved that you don't have to be in a church to have a religious experience." At their Christian ceremony, they exchanged personal vows, promising life-long dedication to each other. Then the couple and their 208 guests dined on an eclectic menu of fish tacos, Korean-style wings, and rib-eye steaks under a tent draped in greenery, in keeping with the day's "bohemian and ethereal, yet elegant" vibe, Maya says.
Though the details came together seamlessly, one thing caught Trey by surprise. "I figured I'd be a nervous wreck, surrounded by so many people," he says. "But I was incredibly peaceful." Adds Maya, who shared that sense of calm, "It felt like we'd been waiting our whole lives."
A vellum print of selected Bible verses was packaged with the couple's Paper Birch Designs save-the-date, which was letterpressed in sage-colored ink.
Devoted to serving others, the couple turned their save-the-dates and welcome gifts into opportunities to give back. They incorporated saris from U Count Campaign and soaps from Thistle Farms (both organizations aid survivors of sex trafficking), as well as baskets made by artisans in developing countries. "We felt so thankful to have such a nice wedding that we wanted to share the love," says Maya.
A Bounty of Blooms
Maya's cousin Lexie held the bridal bouquet—a burst of 'Koko Loko' and 'Distant Drums' garden roses, fritillaria, mocha amaryllis, lilacs, hellebores, foxgloves, and pieris.
A teepee outfitted with games, face-painting, and handheld bites occupied the kids. To keep their party clothes clean, they put on custom T-shirts by TRZ Designz, some sporting the word True, others Love.
Florals for the Gents
Boutonnières of soft-hued fritillaria and hellebore buds, cinched with bespoke dusty-purple ribbon from Silk & Willow, nodded to the naturalistic palette of the day.
Kids on the Aisle
Overflowing planters of Queen Anne's lace, garden roses, amaryllis, and other greenery spilled into the aisle.
The processional itself stood out for the groom. "They talk about tunnel vision, but I'd never experienced it until I saw Maya walk down the aisle. The band played our favorite song, 'Crash Into Me,' by Dave Matthews Band, but I didn't hear it. I was overcome with joy," says Trey.
Made with Love
Trey and his father hand-built the wood-and-vintage stained-glass arbor where the couple said their I dos. But this wasn't the only place that the couple marked their entrance into married life. On the Thursday before their wedding, Maya and Trey hosted an intimate blessing ceremony at the Summer Chapel, a church in Whiteside Cove that they later discovered was attended by Maya's great-great-great-grandparents. At the candlelit service, the officiant spoke on the value of a faith-based relationship. "It was an evening to honor God's plan for our marriage," Trey says.
Maya was set on wearing a sleek fitted dress, but tried on a single ball gown to appease her mom. Its lightweight feel, swishy silhouette, and subtle yet intricate floral design instantly won her over: "When I walked out in the Berta, I knew right away it was the one." She paired it with Christian Louboutin flats ("I wanted to be sure I could get around easily outside!") and a Sara Gabriel veil with a hem featuring thousands of Swarovski crystals and delicate embroidery made of tiny hand-tied knots.
Inside the newlyweds' reception tent, a lace overlay and a gauzy mauve runner gave the head table, where the couple's close relatives sat, a vintage feel.
On the rest of the tables, gold flatware and candlesticks gleamed against muted flowers and table linens.
Their cake had lemon, lavender, and orange tiers, and was decorated with vanilla-bean buttercream and fresh flowers and foliage.
The farm's outdoor fireplace became a late-night s'mores station, where guests could warm up from the cool mountain air.
Following the celebration—and eager to soak in new experiences—Maya and Trey traveled farther than either ever had before—to the South Pacific. Near Haast, New Zealand, they checked into Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki, where they joined guided nature hikes and came face-to-face with seals, before renting a car and driving up the western coast. An overnight cruise on the majestic Doubtful Sound and many meat pies later ("Trey loved them so much, he had three in one day!" says Maya), they flew to the Matangi Private Island Resort, in Fiji. There, they snorkeled, played beach volleyball with the locals, and—at last—squeezed in some relaxation: a dip in an outdoor hot tub and a couples massage.
Photography and Videography, Clark Brewer
Venue and Catering, Lonesome Valley
Event Planning and Design, Invision Events
Design Concept, Styling, and Creative Direction, Lacy Geary
Stationery and Laser Engraving, Paper Birch Designs
Cake and Dessert, Cream + Flutter
Music, Dean's Duets (ceremony); Tim P. White (mocktail hour); Emerald Empire Band (reception)
Rentals, Crush Event Design; La Tavola Fine Linen Rental; Professional Party Rentals
Bride's Gown, Berta
Bride's Accessories, Fallon Jewelry (earrings); Sara Gabriel (veil); Christian Louboutin (shoes)
Hair and Makeup, Claudia Mejerle Rogers
Bridesmaids', Flower Maids', and Flower Girls' Dresses, Daphne Newman
Menswear, The Black Tux