Since I last created a list like this, so many new places have popped up. Couples coming to the mountains for their elopement or small wedding have plenty of options for dinner afterwards! Small wedding bonus: I'm highlighting spots with private dining spaces.
Asheville is known for its food and drink scene, we've got you covered for any style or cuisine.
Buxton Hall BBQ private event space - The Remingtin Room
Smoked whole hog BBQ is quite fitting for a trip to Western NC. Buxton Hall offers up food that everyone will love in a stylish atmosphere. The restaurant itself is beautiful and The Remingtin Room upstairs brings the same vibe in a cozy space. Head here if you love pulled pork, veggies cooked under the pig and southern desserts.
Rhubarb private event space
Rhubarb is known for its dedication to farm-to-table, a very Asheville mindset. We love our local farms and producers and we love supporting them. Rhubarb is all about seasonal dishes with a southern flair. Not long ago they opened up a private event space with all the charm and romance needed for a wedding reception.
Cucina 24 private event space
Although I've never photographed an event in this space, we often go to Cucina 24 for date night. The Italian food is impeccable with local + seasonal ingredients and an ever-changing menu. We are never disappointed with atmosphere, service or dinner here.
The Montford Rooftop Bar
Full disclosure, my husband runs The Montford so I may seem bias. But! The views of this space speak for themselves, the small team loves interacting with guests and the food + cocktails are killer. I'll say no more since I'm attached to this establishment in some ways but I will say everything on this list is tried and true!
Sovereign is a beautiful cocktail bar that could fit into almost any city. We're lucky it's here in Asheville for the upscale feel, the original cocktails and incredible food from chef Graham. The upstairs private dining space is ready for you and your guests with an eclectic + laid-back feel and local + seasonal dishes. I've been thrilled to take photos for this team a few times and their commitment to quality ingredients is impressive.
Curate is one of the most popular restaurants in Asheville, it's always a booger to get into so make reservations in advance! The chef is well known for good reason, the authentic Spanish tapas cuisine is unique in this region and on point. They opened up an intimate private dining space with a cozy feel similar to a wine cellar. For a funkier vibe, check out their other restaurant below...
I love this spot for inventive cocktails and an fun atmosphere. Asheville is a funky city and Nightbell fits in with style and ambiance. If you love creative cocktails just as much as delicious food, this is your spot.
Although this list doesn't cover everywhere available to you in Asheville, it certainly covers my favorites, cheers!
Don't you love when you run into someone who truly seems to be themselves? They've just grown into who they're meant to be and they embrace it?
I love when my couples give me this vibe. And why would I care about that?
Because creating a wedding brings up so many questions about family, friends, your style, what's important to you. The key to a having a good wedding is to know who you are and what you want for this celebration.
Ann and Kyle had been together for 11 years before tying the knot. And really, what's the rush?
I like to think it gave them all the more time to learn what and who is important to them so they could go through all the wedding options and pick what's a good fit.
With about 40 guests, they relaxed in their backyard on a beautiful September day. They held a sweet ceremony with a DIY backdrop then shared drinks and food with loved ones as the sun set.
Color was king at this wedding. The DIY backdrop was made from old curtain scraps and was as colorful as her on-of-a-kind dress. As she moved int eh dress, colors trailed behind her and everyone kept murmuring they adoration. Guests also noted how "Ann" the dress was, which made me smile.
Ann's brother sang them down the aisle, Ann had a flask in her garter and the toasts made everyone laugh with memories. Their 2 pups ran around with homemade flower necklaces and one even carried a go-pro during the ceremony!
What a great way to say goodbye to summer in Asheville.
Cheers to planning for you two.
Only wear the dress once? Nah.
Megan and I explored Swannanoa together 3 months after her wedding to see what kind of fun we could have with her beautiful bridal gown.
We played in the creek, roamed through the woods and watched the sun set over the field.
We're pretty sure the creek cleaned off all the dirt from dancing at her reception... win-win.
Running in a dress this heavy (7 or so layers) is not so easy but sometimes you gotta give in to your photographer's random requests.
Boy do we know how to stress ourselves out about the "happiest day of our life". We dream and daydream and Pinterest and save and imagine and then stress starts seeping in from the corners. Stress is finding cracks and holes to get through but it's totally up to you to overcome it and still enjoy the process.
A few musings to help you patch those holes, covers those cracks and power through stressful moments so it's not the new theme of your wedding.
My first musing is that this likely won't be the happiest day of your life. Ouch. The expectations alone can through all the wrenches in that ideal.
The happiest moments you'll look back on will (more likely) be when you go dress shopping with your best friend, drink too many bubbles and giggle over how ugly most dresses are. Your happiest moments will be the first time you held your brand new niece in your arms, when you hiked up that mountain in Alaska, when you stood up for yourself at work and it made a difference, when you snuggle your pet on the couch, sharing beers with your spouse because your other plans were rained out.
The little joys of life rally together and represent your happy times. Your wedding will be one of them but don't put so much pressure on your poor wedding to solve the everyman quest for "happiness". If you're on board with me so far then we're on the right track.
Next thought: how do you want your wedding to look and WHY? Write out key elements you want then follow up with why.
Reread your list. Time for cuts and compromises.
Example list of wedding details you're planning and WHY they're a part of the big day:
Signature cocktail - represents our first date
Outdoor venue - can't imagine it indoors
Big wedding party - my mom insists I have a flower girl
Dance party - my fiancee wants to partay
Pink and gold colors - I don't really care but my sister said this is trendy and cute
Cute umbrellas - it could rain, duh
Cute boots for under dress in case it does rain - I really don't want to move it indoors
You can already see there is room for cuts and compromises. I think it's healthy to consider both. No one wants to make mom mad but you can't let her plan the whole thing either. Cuts and compromises, think wholeheartedly about yours and make the call.
Next thought: money. Woooweee weddings are pricey. Even the little ones, even the DIY ones. Spend your money where you won't regret it. Do you care if every person leaves with a favor? Will you remember that years from now? Will they? We all have to make calls based on finances and one great way is to revisit why you're spending money on that particular thing/service/vendor.
To Do: Find a wedding photographer to take photos of your special day with a style that you admire... check!
Mmmmkk what else do we do? Let's look behind the scenes.
It's all about preparation. The photographer is preparing all the usual checklist needs for your wedding day, yes, but we're also preparing for you specifically! Based on your wedding location, how many guests you have, your formal photo list, we are preparing gear, ideas and posing just for you! All weddings and couples are not the same so I don't treat them that way, I tailor it your needs and vision.
No wedding day coordinator? It's likely your photographer will help guide the day in their absence. Not as a service that we provide but because the wedding group will be asking us when is the best time for this and that in order to produce the best photos. Many of my couples don't have a wedding coordinator so I casually advise based on lighting and my wedding experience (it doesn't hurt that I was a coordinator for 4 years).
Any detail that you told us via email, phone or in-person will be noted for the actual day. So you don't need to remember that you told us "...your Grandma is sick and needs to speed through her part of family photos..." 6 months ago, I've got it noted and will handle it so you don't have to!
You don't need to think about when sunset is for your best couples photos, it will be on our radar and we'll come get you. You won't need to come find us for cake cutting, we will remember and be waiting for it! Just enjoy your family & friends, breathe in the day!
When emotions are flying high, we are a calming factor. The photographer will be at your side most of the day: while you're putting your dress or suit on, while you're waiting to walk down the aisle, while you're walking out of the ceremony with your new spouse. We'll be there during these exciting and emotional moments and we'll be calm, relaxed and there for you. A good photographer will never add to the stress of a wedding day, we'll only help dissolve it.
We are catching moments that you may miss because you're busy! You're getting ready, you're hiding before the ceremony, you're talking to this group of friends (and not that other group of friends). So we roam around to catch the sweet moments your guests are experiencing so you can look back on them later.
We look forward to sharing the day with you and contributing to the success of a stress-free wedding. Cheers!
Max Patch is easily a favorite hike of mine in WNC. Every time I visit I have a new experience, new view and different weather. There's been fog so thick that you can't see any view and then clear skies like this evening with endless mountain vistas.
Kate and Brandon are from Ohio and ventured down to Asheville for a weekend getaway + their engagement photos. I was thrilled to meet up with them in this killer location as the sun set.
We slowly climbed up the (short yet steep) hike and took photo stops along the way. This is important if you're dressing up for your photos!
At the top, we carefully avoided the campers and other hikers for clean shots with just these two being happy as can be. The golden tones really set the mood of these photos and made up for lack of greenery this time of year.
With such a clean slate for a location, it's important to have poses prepared and to be able to direct your couple into comfortable positions.
Purple is one of my favorite colors found in natural food. So many vegetables rock this vibrant hue to catch our eye. The purple in this cabbage became more and more intense as I peeled away layers; what started as a dusty purple-grey, ended in a deep eggplant tone.
Blueberries and blackberries have purple hues hidden within them and are not simply blue or black. The stalk of beets are a deep fuchsia that contrasts the greens perfectly.
The shades of purple in some of our favorite fruits and vegetables run vivid and appetizing.
With such a strong color, it's only fitting I chose a dark neutral for pairing. A mottled slate complements the vibrant purple tones instead of competing with it.
If you're interested in more purple and slate, give these IG feeds a try:
Similar color combinations if this one isn't doing it for you!
Navy & slate
Royal blue & slate
Purple & pale grey
© Chelsea Lane Photography 2013-2017
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