I just love the sunrise. I'm a morning person who rarely gets to do my main work in the morning! I'm often chasing sunsets with couples or models. Sunsets are golden and wonderful but the sunrise is an unsung hero ;)
I drove out to Lenoir, NC to meet Jennifer and Hans for their private elopement. It was just the officiant, myself and my husband, who took the drive with me and was their 2nd witness.
Hans setup the fire before the sun was out as it's an important part of the ceremony. He and Jennifer would be circling that fire as a beautiful ritual. After exchanging vows, they shared cake and champagne, it's never too early for those things! We roamed around the rental home property for couple portraits then I left by 9am to drive home while they enjoyed the rest of their day.
There was so much joy in this small ceremony by the lake!
Rebecca and Max's family got together this summer to celebrate with a smaller wedding before their larger wedding next year. There's been a tradition in the family where all of Rebecca's sisters married on labor day weekend and they wanted to keep that tradition! I love that sentiment and I love LOVE a lakeside wedding. The colors are so gorgeous and a lake represents summertime fun and a serene calmness.
Sweet words from the couple:
"Chelsea could not have been more wonderful as our wedding photographer!! When our original plans were scrapped, we reached out to her 6 weeks out, and she was responsive, helpful, and kind throughout the planning process. We really appreciated working with someone who respected and advocated for a safe environment for everyone involved. Then, the photos... they are truly stunning!! We got a sneak peek two days after the wedding and our collection two weeks after our date. Beyond all of the big moments captured so beautifully, there are so many wonderful candid photos that display the pure joy and real happiness of the day. The little details she shared with us just put such smiles on our faces. We couldn't be happier with our experience and couldn't recommend Chelsea enough!"
Eloping has always been special to me but it's extra special in the times of COVID!
We're all adjusting our old goals and dreams to fit into our new reality, at least for now. Eloping to the mountains is the picture-perfect way to still get married and keep it safe.
We covered what to pack for your outdoor elopement, now what about if you're planning a picnic for two, too?
What to Pack for your Elopement Picnic:
-Food, choose your favorites and remember some food are messier than others
-Drinks, especially water
-Blanket, bring 2 if one side isn't water resistant in case there's mud or buy a cheap drop cloth
-Cooler with ice packs, even if that's just for the car because you have a cute basket for photos!
-Plates, cups, cutlery, napkins, serverware
-Corkscrew/bottle opener + cork for unfinished bottles
-Wet wipes for sticky things
-Trash bag, always leave no trace
-Pre-slice items like the fruit, baguette, cheeses or focus on finger foods.
-Be sure to use the restroom before your picnic, only some trails offer facilities.
-Alcohol isn't allowed in most popular park spots, check for permitting before you pack your basket.
-Rain is always a risk. Do you have a back-up location like your front porch? Could you open up the back of an SUV in a pinch for your picnic?
Most of these set-ups are quite elaborate but there's no harm in some inspiration! Check out these gorgeous settings!
Prefer someone else create the picnic of your dreams so you don't have to worry about it? I hear ya!
I love a great reason to outsource and I can't imagine a better day to outsource than your wedding. These companies can handle the details and get you setup for a simple pick-up.
I highly recommend:
The Rhu - some of my favorite pastries and salads in town!
Asheville Picnic Company - locally sourced goodies from everyone's favorite Asheville makers!
Tick Tock Concierge - Asheville's top concierge service who can manage any request you have!
A sweet note from the happy couple:
"I'm sorry this reply is so late, but all of your pictures were/are AMAZING!! I can't stop staring at them, thank you so much. Everyone I show them to are instantly blown away. The USB and Asheville print made it here safe and sound, and the thought you put into the package was so sweet...
Thank you so much for capturing all of the little moments on our big day!"
Natasha and Jake had a big wedding planned for 2020 but, like many engaged couples, COVID derailed 2020 wedding plans. So they accommodated for the new norm and rescheduled for 2021. In the meantime, they wanted to be married!
Honoring their original wedding date, they brought 13 of their closest loved ones to the mountains for a small wedding in June of 2020. I kept my mask on and plenty of space between myself and the guests while capturing this sweet wedding at the Indigo Retreat in Old Fort, NC.
I asked Natasha to turn away from the camera for a moment to capture her veil and hair details. In looking toward the hydrangeas with a calm posture, she looks like a piece of artwork and created one of my favorite images!
The creek by Indigo Retreat is so beautiful and the perfect spot for couple photos in the woods. We had just enough morning light streaming through the trees to highlight Natasha and Jake on the bridge.
The morning event ended with a family brunch on the porch. The sun was shining and everyone chatted about hiking, napping or both that afternoon. The perfect family getaway to Western North Carolina for a very special reason.
I have openings this fall for small weddings (micro weddings?) and elopements that allow for social distancing. Stay safe out there!
The blog post was originally published on 11/6/2018 and updated on 5/20/2020.
You’re in the gown or suit that took weeks (months?) of research and shopping to find. Your hair is the most on point it has ever been. The venue you’ve selected with your life partner is perfectly curated with floral arrangements and personal accents. Everyone you love has gathered to celebrate your milestone. This moment is joyful, warm and intentional.
...and unfortunately, the professional photographer you’ve hired to artfully capture this moment is dodging Aunt Marla’s camera flash that keeps going off and side stepping your roomie from college who’s half way in the aisle with his iPhone.
It’s literally impossible to capture the important moments because your guests are hovering in the aisle and snapping photos of you with their iPhones as you head to the altar.
It goes without saying that your photos will be of much higher quality if your designated photographer isn’t dodging friends and family to do her job. The less obvious but super powerful benefit of going the unplugged route is that everyone attending is fully present. They're there to witness and engage with their eyes and hearts, rather than with their technology. Eye contact will replace staring into screens if you’ve asked for full participation, rather than documentation.
Another bonus: you will be in charge of telling your wedding’s story on social media. Instead of finding yourself bombarded with 1,000 photo tags as your wedding happens in real-time, you’ll be the master unveiler of your beautiful day!
Making Your Unplugged Wedding a Reality!
So, now that we’ve unpacked the logic of asking your guests to power down their devices, let’s talk about how you prepare your guests for your policy.
Most people understand that the photographer was hired to complete a job, and it’s never anyone’s intention to hinder that. It’s always best to make special arrangements like this before the wedding ceremony begins, never during! With a little advanced prep, everyone wins.
This post was originally published on 8/22/2018 and updated on 5/15/2020.
Weddings. Sigh. They’re magical.
Unfortunately, I’ve seen quite a few couples turn into stressed out project managers during their wedding days, instead of fully enjoying the special kind of wonderment they’ve worked so hard to create and share with their loved ones. Even the small, intimate weddings I love to photograph can sometimes challenge my clients to soak up the love and really live in the moment.
If you are already anticipating that you’re going to need a plan for controlling stress levels or anxiety during your wedding day, let me offer a few thoughts for truly enjoying this time, and ...avoiding potential freakouts!
Before Your Wedding
-Checklists FTW! Stay ahead of the game by giving yourself ample time to think about and plan each of the major components of your wedding day, and then break each of those components down with details. If you aren’t hiring a wedding planner, start a document that holds critical information such as the the vendors, materials, budget, and extra support people required for your ceremony, music, transportation, catering, flowers, makeup, hair, and photography. Having a central document will ease the burden of trying to recall mental notes and will help you think through the logistics of the day. You can even share it with your vendors and support people prior to the event.
-Know yourself! If you're an introvert like me, being the center of attention and chatting with 70+ people in 1 day can be exhausting. Think through what works for your personalities and keep that in mind when making decisions. You want the day to feel fun, not obligatory.
-Communicate! You're hiring professionals to create your wedding day and they're there to help. When you have a concern that falls under catering, chat with your caterer asap to ease your worry.
-Have a backup plan. If you're holding any part of the wedding outdoors, always always have a backup plan in case it rains.
-Plan your heart out, pin pin pin then let it all go on the wedding day so you can enjoy!
On the Day
-Assign roles to family members or your best friends to oversee each of the major components of your wedding. Aunt Jean can welcome the catering crew and Grandpa Joe will love making sure the band is set up on time - this is especially great for those family members who arrive early. Remember, you’re supposed to enjoy this milestone and you can’t be in 5 places at once, so make this a real community event and enlist your nearest and dearest to help get it all done.
-Have a loved one or professional give you a little massage. Even 5 minutes of gentle touch can significantly calm nerves and shift your perspective.
-Don't get wrapped up in pre-planned moments. Maybe you want a specific photo of you and your partner kissing at the end of the aisle but you forgot to do it. Don't worry about it! Isn't it better to live in the moment and just enjoy?
-Leave snacks, supplements, essential oils, headache meds and water in your getting ready room so that you have the space and provisions to restore your blood sugar and take a breather, as needed. You could even have your maid of honor, BFF, sister, or mom (or all of them?) hold a little bag for you to sneak away with for some alone time to recharge for a few minutes.
In Front of the Camera
Some of us are squeamish in front of the camera in the best of times. I have total compassion for my clients who deal with the compounded stress of making sure their wedding runs smoothly in addition to being the subject of a photoshoot. I love being a support for my clients in these highly emotional moments.
Here are some tips for keeping the vibes calm and cool as I capture the day:
-Stay hydrated. You’ll look and feel better. Trust me.
-Loosen up! Wiggle, dance, laugh, get silly. Take deep breaths, relax your shoulders, release the tension in your mouth.
-Limit distractions. I know, easier said than done! It’s OK to say no to an audience, and to delegate tasks while you focus on your partner and how amazing your love is.
Check out this post for more tips!
Choosing to Bask in the Glow (my fave tip!)
Yes, things can (and usually to a small extent, do) go wrong. But still..this is your wedding day. There is a special kind of wonderment intrinsic to weddings. The glow of the community surrounding you and your beloved. The creation of memories. Experiencing a milestone. Celebrating love in all of its forms! Don’t forget to take care of yourself so that you can bask in that magic you’ve created.
The post was originally published on 6/1/2018 and updated on 5/10/2020.
Many engaged couples choose their wedding package based on pricing + their day-of timeline. Hopefully both, not one or the other!
I've got another reason to consider, what moments do you need your photographer to NOT miss?
Is Grandpa secretly a cryer? Do you have a group ready to dance their asses off at the reception? Or maybe it's definitely NOT a dancing group so you know late night won't be necessary. Envision the day and how you see it unfolding to really know what you want photographed!
Let's start with the most common wedding day photo ops:
Getting ready photos
The dress/suit before it's put on
Hanging out with friends + family during the day (I hear mimosa glasses clinking in anticipation)
Details of invitation suite, rings, shoes, florals, etc.
Photos of the venue decor + setting before guests arrive (ceremony + reception)
Wedding party portraits
First dance / Father & daughter / Mother & son / Any version of these
Candid moments of guests enjoying themselves
Let's look at how they each play out based on my experience with small weddings + elopements (for which I offer an hourly rate).
Covers the basics. For my 2 hour couples, we generally fit in a few getting ready or scenic photos + the ceremony + family photos + couples portraits. Boom. Done. If you only need the basics and have a small group in attendance, this may cover your needs. Or maybe it feels too limited...
Covers the basics plus you get time for candids. For my 4 hour couples, we fit in a few getting ready + scenic/venue photos + the ceremony + family photos + couples portraits + candid moments.
Honestly, I'm trying to capture candid moments even if we're together for a 1 hour session. But during a wedding day, things can get hectic. If we're trying to make it all flow smoothly, find the best lighting and are slightly rushed then I won't have the freedom for candids. Candids require some breathing room for the photographer to walk around and find unexpected moments.
For my 6 hour couples, we fit in getting ready + scenic/venue photos + the ceremony + family photos + couples portraits + a touch of reception fun + plenty of candid moments.
This is a great option for a multiple location wedding too! If we're having a ceremony on a mountain top and a reception downtown, it's likely you'll need to add in driving time to the timeline. I consider the 4 and 6 hour options my most popular packages for small weddings.
For my 8 hour couples, we fit in getting ready pics of both partners + scenic/venue photos + the ceremony + family photos + couples portraits + ROARIN' reception fun + plenty of candid moments.
If you're booking me for 8 hours, you likely have a larger wedding and/or you have a full timeline with multiple locations and activities that can't be missed!
I offer packages from 4 hour to 10 hours of photo coverage but I'm happy to customize. I'll always ask for the most important-can't-miss-photos you are dying for + I ask for enough time to get couples portraits + I photograph the sweet details of the day. Those are non negotiable ;)
I'm always available to take a look at your timeline too, happy to throw in my 2 cents.
The post was originally published 11/15/2017 and updated on 5/5/2020.
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! Or maybe you need a spot for you family dinner the night before the wedding, these are all great options!
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 comfort food 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 or special event.
Cucina 24 private event space
Although I've never photographed an event in this space, we often go to Cucina 24 for our 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 in the heart of downtown Avl. The 2 private dining spaces are 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, Katie Button, 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.
Although this list doesn't cover everywhere available to you in Asheville, it certainly covers my favorites, cheers!
The beauty of a winter elopement in Asheville is that there's few people around. We began at The Foundry hotel with getting ready + anticipation photos. Then the bride and I met her groom at Antidote bar for the ceremony followed by beers at Burial brewery, a local favorite.
One of my favorite bouquets by local florists The Freckled Petal, hair + makeup by Anarie Brides and dress from Wildflower Bridal.
Kind words from the bride:
"Chelsea is a true gem that helped our wedding be the amazing day it was. Our pictures are absolutely incredible. Everyone that has seen them has been in awe at how beautiful she made every moment look. They are timeless and captured every detail and emotion from our day. Chelsea went above and beyond in not only her talents as a photographer, but she was willing to help me out as a mini wedding planner when asked for her suggestions. Our elopement would not have been the same if Chelsea wasn’t there and our day was perfect. I would hire her again and again. Thank you Chelsea for everything you did! These pictures will help us remember our wedding day forever." - Sam
Air B&B weddings are popping up all over in Asheville and since I've photographed quite a few, I'm familiar with some great spots!
Below I list + link wedding-worthy homes for you to browse but, first, let's talk about what you should look for when choosing a rental home for your Asheville wedding!
Part 1 - Is a rental home right for my wedding?
Now's the time to look for things that a traditional event venue may offer and decide if those are necessary for you. These decisions may be based on your guest list - is it just you 2 eloping to the mountains? Just immediate families with no special needs? Grab your guest list to reference then go through the list below.
A traditional wedding/event venue will offer these things and a rental home likely won't:
Still loving the rental home option?! Now that you're ready to nail down a sweet lil rental for your big day, what should you be looking for?
What to look for in the rental home to ensure a smooth wedding:
If you have to move this party indoors... It's likely you're planning part of the event to be outside but what if you need to move the whole event indoors? Every rental home is different but 2 things the can make a world of difference to capturing beautiful images indoors: window light and a nice style.
Part 2 - Where are the best rental houses in the Asheville area?
On to the good stuff! Below are a few of my favorite Asheville area rental proprieties for your wedding or elopement!
ModCabins - A set of 3 stylish and modern cabins in the woods. They even have beautiful covered porches for a rainy day back-up!
Hart House - Beautiful side yard for a private wedding ceremony + sweet little covered porch for cocktail hour. Southern manor feel on the outside. The photos on this blog post are from Hart House!
Pine Hollow - Multiple outdoor location options for a ceremony and reception! There's gorgeous trees, a lush yard and even little pond.
Cabin Heaven - Cute cabin and some of the best mountain views I've seen from the sprawling lawn!
River's Ridge Lodge - Spacious yet cozy cabin creekside with a killer deck and gazebo. And wedding-hosting experience too!
Stecoah House - An incredible modern rental home for a stylish couple wanting the cabin vibes.
Laughing Waters - Plenty of mountain views in WNC but we have a few spots for the water lovers too, like this one!
Laurel Falls - Multiple cabins, rustic yet modern. Mountain views and plenty of photo spots!
SKI Quaint Farm Barn Loft - This is such a cute option for an elopement for 2 - a modern charmer!
Big Butte Retreat - Multiple cabins, very rustic, perfect for a giant sleepover with your closest family and friends in the mountains. Mountain views, a small pond and plenty of photo op spots!
Weaver House - More of an event venue than an Air B&B but it is a house-like setting and since it's new - a hidden gem in WNC!
Continue your search on VRBO, Air B&B or HomeAway - these have been helpful for my past clients.
Don't forget to check out local Inns and Bed & Breakfasts in the area too. The owners are often excited to help coordinate the event with you and they provide great insight. And some have stunning settings, check out the gorgeous tree at Mountain Magnolia Inn for your ceremony backdrop or the mountain views at Wildberry Lodge!
Part 3 - Found the place! Now what?
You've chosen your rental home and you're ready to plan this party!
Can you do a walk-through? Ask your vendors if you need to scout anything for them - such as...
More planning tips:
I've shot many Air B&B weddings and they always turn out wonderful. I've never been to the same rental house twice for a wedding and I've experienced rained out weddings and all kinds of hiccups - it always turns out awesome. You've got this, happy planning!
Letting Loose After Your Wedding in Asheville
A rain plan for small weddings
Which Wedding Package to Choose
This quick list will help you find someone with professional experience who is ready to give you the best images no matter the circumstances - my personal definition of a killer wedding photographer.
That being said, just because a photographer can't check off everything on your list doesn't mean they're a bad match. You likely have a gut feeling, go with it! A checklist is guidance, you still know the big picture and can make the best decision for you and your sweetie.
1. Look for people on their website who look like you!
Some photographers work a lot with models for campaigns and commercial work so they may not have experience working with people who aren't as comfortable in front of the camera. It's literally a model's job to pose well for the camera, their job! Non-models can't compete with that unless you happen to be effortlessly confident ;) Find examples you can identify with so you know you're in good hands.
2. Look for photos of venues similar to yours!
If they only have photos of mountain top elopements at golden hour and you're getting married inside a cabin at night, wouldn't you want to see how that setting would be photographed?
Photographers are masters of lighting. Foggy morning light, bright midday sunlight, warm golden hour, cool-toned dusk, flash lighting, lamp lighting, kitchen lighting... I won't go on but I think you can already understand how different every single lighting situation is! Seeing something similar to your setup is a great way to get a glimpse of what your day could look like in images.
3. Not seeing what you want to see on their website or Instagram? Want to see a full wedding gallery? Ask!
Couples have asked for full galleries and I'm happy to send examples to show what I can offer. The more info from the couple the better too, do you want to see family photos? An elopement? Something in a cabin? Something at Craggy? This will help me select a gallery to share!
4. Think about how you want the wedding day to feel when you're in the middle of all the fun.
The best way to get this conversation started is to simply ask "what's your approach and why?". Your photographer will be excited to share this with you!
Weddings often involve some compromise because it's not a day setup just for photography (like a commercial shoot would be). Weddings are setup based on emotion + location + weather + budget + style + family requests and much more. Do you value your experience in the moment or the photos later? Do you prioritize photography and are willing to go off the timeline to get *the shot* of you and your partner? Or do you prefer your photographer let you enjoy time with your family and friends and they can get candids instead?
One more consideration:
As photographers are getting started, they may not have experience in the exact same scenario you're planning and that doesn't mean they can't rock out your wedding! The opportunity to photograph an elopement at a local brewery on a Sunday morning maybe hasn't crossed their path yet! I've had my business open for 5 years and I just photographed my first maternity shoot - it went beautifully and I'm thrilled they trusted me to capture those memories for them!
Happy photog-finding! Wishing you all the best with your wedding day, I hope you enjoy every moment and look back on your photos often.
Rome is a city full of personality.
You should only order espresso in the AM hours, religious notes are mixed in with sex while the graffiti tangles with creeping vines in the most charming corners. Personality.
It's loud except in the early morning where you don't even notice commuters. Is there a rush hour here? There are people everywhere as the afternoon rolls around and the city is everyone's backyard for gatherings, dog walks and cocktail hour.
I'm visiting with my husband, my bff Alicia and her fiancé Ryan. Rome is Alicia and Ryan's favorite city and they're here to get married!
I've known Alicia for many many years. We became close in college then life + jobs took us in different directions (geographically speaking). We haven't lived near each other in almost 10 years but we remain close friends and it was a joy to watch her marry Ryan in a private ceremony created just for them.
As soon as she told me her plans, I invited myself along because duh.
Alicia picked out flowers at the daily market below our Air B&B. The lady running the shop was kind enough to arrange and bundle them beautifully for her.
The windows are open as Alicia gets her hair and makeup done and Ryan irons his shirt. We can hear everyone below buying fruits, vegetables and juices.
We head to a beautiful park where the officiant awaits. The park is pretty empty and I'm relieved to avoid onlookers.
Did you know Americans can legally get married in Italy? It's not just symbolic unless you want it to be!
We walk the park then into a favorite neighborhood for a mix of settings. There's no bad place to take a photo, my mind is on overdrive narrowing down options for lighting, posing and setting. I offer light direction then let them be as they are, doing what they want. Documentary is my favorite approach.
Watching Ryan guide Alicia, it looks like a movie still. The black and white images from this wedding top my list of favorites.
Are you even a wedding photographer if you don't make your couple get into a flower bush?
When planning your wedding timeline and noting your favorite photo ops, make sure there’s enough time for your photographer to get candids of your guest enjoying themselves!
All these folks dressed up, bought gifts, possibly travelled and are excited to support you, you'll want to look back and remember how much fun they had!
If you have 1 photographer and they’re taking couple portraits with you during cocktail hour, there won't be anyone to snap pics of your guests enjoying themselves after the ceremony. That may or may not be a big deal to you but it’s something to consider as you’re planning out the day!
You have the option to tailor your timeline to your preferences (such as the candids during cocktail hour) or discuss second shooter options with your photographer. Most of us are comfortable covering the day on our own as long as we can find time to bounce around throughout the day to capture everything. If we feel we need to be in 2 places at once, a second shooter could be awesome!
Second shooters shoot with the main photographer on the wedding day. The main photographer (who you hired) will edit all the images together so the collection is still cohesive.
Are candids of your guests important to you? It's one of my most requested type of images for my couples! And it takes the right kind of photographer to capture those fleeting moments before they're gone. It requires patience, discretion and speed!
Your guests are pretty cute, let's include them in the story of your wedding.
You are lucky!
If you're eloping with a simple ceremony, you have a LOT less to think about than the couple planning + packing for a traditional wedding.
But, there is still some thought to be put into this. After all, you want to create special memories just as the same, right? Right!
This is unlikely your first hike so any other items you deem important to take on your other adventures, bring these along for your elopement too, at least in the car! “Follow your heart but bring your brain with you.”
Is your pup joining? Check out this list to prepare for them too!
Pre-wedding + pre-hike thoughts: sunscreen and bug spray aren't your usual wedding day accessories but they're important, consider adding them into your getting ready plans.
Here’s what I’ll bring:
Hiking on the wedding day is nothing to fear or get nervous about, it adds to the fun and romance of your day! Throw everything you need in the car or in a backpack (depends on how long the hike is) and let's go!
Your wedding suite is the first impression of your wedding day that you're sending to your guests, let's give them an idea of what to expect!
Will the ceremony be short and sweet? A full day party with all the wedding traditions? A quiet elopement with only family? A backyard gathering on a Sunday morning? Outdoors in nature highlighting your favorite season? No matter the vision, there's an invitation to match that vibe. I've stumbled upon the prettiest wedding stationery online and rounded up my favorites, I hope you can find a suite that represents you 2 as a couple below!
First up we have the Venamour and Paperless Post collaboration. These are so sweet, simple and modern. I love the color combos and know anyone who received one of these via email would be impressed! Can you believe how cool digital options have become?! Email invites are modern, very 'green', easy for RSVPs and also easy to sync to a busy guest's calendar!
Bonus: Venamour also has the best e-flyers that are perfect e-vites for a save the date, rehearsal dinner or after-wedding brunch! They're festive and full of personality (AKA add in your fave GIF).
Next up we have Artifact Uprising!
Given Artifact Uprising is a well-known and well-loved online print shop for your photo memories, these invitations are photo-centric. These are perfect for the couples who want to show off their engagement pics or those cute family photos from when you 2 were kiddos! The style is chic and clean, the focus is on the feeling. I'm loving the fonts on these too. If you like the style but don't want images on your invites, still check out their options because a few are photo-free!
Bonus: Venamour also did a collaboration with Artifact Uprising and they created the sweetest floral invitation suite - perfect for a spring or summer ceremony!
If you're looking for something more exclusive, head to Ephermora for their limited edition invitations. These invites offer up charm and a certification by the Rainforest Alliance.
I love how unique these wedding invitation suites are (below are only 2 examples!). Ephermora makes the process clear and easy - order a bundle that represents your personalities! Their blog is also handy to walk you through the how-to's.
And I especially love spending my money with a responsible company who gives back.
And here we have Bojack Studios. They offer customizable wedding invite suites! You can pick your favorite collection (floral, graphic, monogram, abstract) then customize the rest. Mix and match your way to save-the-dates and RSVP cards that feel just like you want the wedding to feel.
Honestly, it'd be hard to narrow down your decision, everything is beautiful. Take your time and play around with combos until you've got the best fit.
These invitation makers are also friendly to all couples, an important aspect of any vendor I would recommend to you. Remember, your wedding save the date or invite is the first impression your guests have of your wedding day, make it a good one!
“I want to look good in my wedding/engagement/professional pics but I’m so awkward!!”
"We’ve never had our photos professionally taken."
"We don't like having our photos taken but we want to make the most of the experience."
This is what I hear before almost every single shoot. You're in good company!
1. Take comfort in the fact that I swiftly delete any photos where I think either of you don’t look great. I don't require you to look like a supermodel but I also never want you to cringe looking at an image of yourself! My goal is to shoot and edit in a flattering manner, always.
That being said, how I see you will be different than how you see you, how your mom sees you or how your new spouse sees you. We all have different points of view and I think that’s such a gift.
If I see a profesh image of myself (I walk you through my actual reactions to my anniversary pics here) and I’m not thrilled with it but I know my photog would never have sent me an image where he or she thinks I look bad, it means that they see something positive where I see something negative. It means that there is beauty in flaws. It means that if I walk out of my house with a bad hair day, I’m likely the only one to notice. It means that when I feel a lil frumpy, others don’t care. We are our own worst critics, wouldn’t it be nice if we gave ourselves more grace and ignored the flyaway or the extra 5lbs of Thanksgiving weight? Wouldn’t it be nice if we looked at a photo of ourselves and saw the joy our the smile instead of the size of our arm?
2. Part of my job is to guide you as needed (when the light is bad, we switch angles / when my angle is unflattering, I adjust my viewpoint). I will guide you! Listen to the guidance because there are likely at least 3-5 reasons the photographer is giving that instruction.
3. What about when guidance isn’t an option? I'll also capture candid moments and special details where guidance would ruin the magic. So I still shoot shoot shoot and if I find later the shot isn’t salvageable, I’ll delete it. If the photo needs tweaking then I manage that in my editing process. I cannot treat a wedding day like a photo shoot, it just doesn't work that way! And that's why we get so many beautiful candid images. So guidance is great but realness is too - I'll adjust accordingly!
4. I have yet to meet a couple who hasn’t claimed to be awkward, uncomfortable, nervous or downright unexcited about getting their pics taken. Seriously, none! So if you like the images you see that I share on my website, please know that they all felt the same way you do. You’re in good company because I’ve worked with some really fun, sweet and often introverted couples who feel nervous and we always make it work.
5. I’m shooting for you! I'm not taking photos to fill a quota, to improve my Instagram or to practice my skills. I'm taking photos to fulfill your photo needs and I’m thinking of you the entire time. So share how you’re feeling, tell me what could help and let me know if you only want photos of your left side 😉
We got this, don't stress.
Thinking of including your dog in your wedding?
Full disclosure: dogs are my fave. I love 'em all. Troublemakers, seniors, small, huge, furry, cuddly, mutts, pure-breds, you name it. So, I'm all for it! A little prep work and consideration is required but you can handle it.
Here are my tips!
Best part of bringing your dog along for the day? They'll be so sleepy by the time it's over!
Fall is Asheville’s quintessential season, and there’s nothing quite as romantic as a wedding in the autumn air right here in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The leaves are vibrant, the air is chilly, and there’s a palpable energy.
Are you dreaming of an intimate fall wedding? I’ve had the pleasure of capturing gorgeous nuptials in this season, and would like to offer some of the area’s most enchanting local spots to tie the knot…
1. An Air BnB of your choosing / that allows small gatherings. Look for a rental with an attractive interior in case of rain and everything needs to be shifted inside. You’ll also want to find a spot with ample parking... or consider a shuttle option! Think through the timeline and make sure you'll have what you need on-site, as most rental homes aren't event-ready as-is and will require some planning. Check out this post for planning your celebration at an Air BnB!
2. The Swag is perfect for very small gatherings. They're new to hosting weddings and have limited availability. The striking mountain views make for an exceptional outdoor venue, and they offer a great dining experience for small groups. If you’re looking for high-end mountain getaway and traditional cabin vibes, look no further!
3. Highland Brewery offers an industrial chic feeling and rooftop views- perfect for peeping the treetops during peak leaf season! Things are likely to run very smooth at Highland. The staff here are absolute pros at setup and provide seamless event management.
4. Vineyard at Betty's Creek in Sylva is a luxurious venue on stunning grounds with impressive views, vineyards and wildlife. This spot might just be my personal fave, because it features several unique elements: a gorgeously designed open-air reception space, and the outdoor chimney near one of the ceremony spots. It’s one of the more exceptional fall venues in the WNC mountains.
5. A mountain top elopement! I highly suggest picking your favorite hiking destination or mountain vista, such as Max Patch or Black Balsam, for an elopement. Be sure to check the Blue Ridge Parkway website for rules. Also consider if your guests can easily hike to location. You’ll want to have Plan B ready in the event of rainy fall weather, and you’ll also want to scheme up a fun dinner party location to celebrate after your dreamy mountain top ceremony.
Asheville and the surrounding towns of Western North Carolina are unquestionably the perfect destination for intimate fall weddings. You’re likely to score dramatic views-- the perfect backdrop for photos-- and really enjoy yourself in this beautiful, fleeting season. If you have any questions about designing your perfect autumn wedding, please be in touch- let’s plan something magical!
We love wedding day hair and makeup. It's that simple.
Choosing a wedding day beauty look can be overwhelming, we understand! We love helping navigate by incorporating the overall vibe and theme of the day! We keep choosing your wedding day beauty looks personal and individual.
We understand how important it is to look in a mirror and see yourself. To love how you look and feel!
We customize each experience and truly get to know our brides and clients. We tote our beauty thrones with our fully professional hair and makeup kits, and when you're in the chairs, your vision matters to us. We listen so we can enhance your natural beauty, your way. We love to be the calming force in the room. Each team member always goes above and beyond with providing service and care when it can feel chaotic before leaving for the big event.
Let's talk about getting wedding day ready.
Get ready for the big day:
1. Drink lots of water! We always recommend upping hydration intake around any special day. It does wonders for your skin, hair, and overall health!
2. Start a gentle cleansing skincare routine and be very consistent with it two times a day! Once in the morning and once at night. It will help keep your skin balanced and prevent stress breakouts around the big day. Please feel free to always reach out if you have a concern before the wedding day. We are here to help!
3. Ask questions! Are you thinking about extensions? Please ask us for recommendations! Are you thinking about buying a specific lip color to keep in your clutch? Let us know. We love beauty products and we love helping our brides find what will work best for them! We love to answer questions and offer a peace of mind.
4. If you see a dreaded break-out, do not pop it! We can help with some gentle skincare advice or make sure any nerves are calmed by letting you know it can be covered easily. We recommend staying away from facials or waxing for at least a week before the wedding, we don't want any skin reactions. However, we have definitely covered up some breakouts for brides and their bridal parties!
5. Book trial runs with us! We love getting to know our brides and their love stories! Trial run appointments are a great way for us to meet and perfect your wedding day hair and makeup. Our hairstylists and makeup artists work together on a regular basis and it's great to be styled before the big day to see the whole look!
We love weddings! We so enjoy walking into a room and helping the bride feel her absolute best before walking down the aisle.
Whether she's surrounded by family and a bridal party, or there by herself for quiet moments before her elopement, AnaRie is committed to providing an excellent experience to help keep the day calm and magical, even before that first glance to her future partner in life. Check out more of our work via links below!
-Ali, Andrea, Erika + the entire AnaRie team
The Knot: www.theknot.com/marketplace/anarie-brevard-nc-1087349
After the party, it’s the after party… and when you’re celebrating a love like yours with an intimate wedding here in Asheville or the surrounding mountains, there are plenty of interesting spots to turn up in the wee hours. After a vibrant and exhilarating nuptials, it’s time to let your hair down and keep the good vibes flowing. Is your crew looking for some late night fun?
Check out this list of my favorite after hours spots:
Ben’s Tune-Up - Open until 2AM, this craft sake brewery embodies South Slope grit and Asheville foodie culture. Enjoy the menu of delicious snacks made with locally-sourced ingredients, and a creative, intentionally curated cocktail, wine, and beer bar. Cozy up in the meandering courtyard or one of the many nooks throughout this venue. The pineapple jalapeno sake comes highly recommended.
Sovereign Remedies - For the dreamiest farm to table late night menu, with perhaps the most ambitious and hyped up craft cocktails in town, make your way to Sovereign Remedies! It’s in the middle of downtown, on a quaint cobblestone road, and offers perhaps the most authentic gourmet Asheville experience!
The Walk - For those looking to get a little wild in West Asheville, there are several places that come to mind, but in order to satisfy hunger pangs AND enjoy some festive dranks, your first late night WAVL joint should probably be The Walk! With a pool table, room to dance, and array of eats, you will definitely keep the party goin’ with a visit to The Walk.
Storm Rhum Bar & Bistro - Another downtown bar and restaurant open until 2AM, Storm is classy, so if you’re after slightly fancy party vibes, Storm is a great fit for you! You could also book Storm for an event, if you’d like your after party to be a private, planned affair!
MG Road Bar & Lounge - Cocktails and Indian food on Wall Street, in the heart of downtown? Need I say more? This may be one of the most festive joints in Asheville, with a year-round glittering display of Christmas lights on the ceiling. The drinks are as delicious as the aesthetic and atmosphere is cozy. This is another rentable establishment, if you’re pre-planning after party shenanigans!
The Double Crown - If you are looking for a funky bar with live music, you must put the Double Crown on your post-wedding reception list. This spot is graffiti-ed up, full of characters, and certainly emits that I don’t give an F, “are we in Brooklyn?” anything goes type feeling. Don’t expect craft cocktails with locally sourced ingredients; this is an unapologetic dive! Come to this spot for an adventurous post-wedding experience!
The Getaway Bar - Sometimes, you just wanna party in an uber-local, kinda secret, been-here-forever kinda spot. Well, this is it. With a rare French Broad River location, Ole Shakey's is a THE place to get a little crazy. With pool, darts, live entertainment, an open mic, live bands, and karaoke, you’ll be entertained and inspired to keep the energy high and the good times rolling...
With small + intimate weddings, it is often the case that the ceremony and reception venues are not booked out for an entire weekend block. Because this type of nuptials in Asheville is my speciality, I know that couples and their besties are often looking for a place to keep making memories, long after the reception venue closes. I hope you’ll be inspired to make your way downtown and enjoy a spontaneous night on the town-- the perfect ending one of the best days of your life!
Don't forget to Uber or Lyft your way home!