Sometimes we see weddings that are so drop-dead gorgeous, we’re physically aching to share. And sometimes we read tales of love that simply captivate our hearts. And today’s love story, ladies and gents, does BOTH! Katie and Ben’s Carolina woods wedding is so much more than dreamy lakeside nuptials. It’s a celebration of gratitude, home and above all, meaningful moments. We’re enchanted by their overgrown ceremony arch + their jewel-toned, clear-tented reception captured by Angela Zion Photography. But most of all, we’re enchanted by their story and spirit.
From the photographer, Angela Zion Photography: Katie and Ben first met on a trip for young cancer survivors and the connection that sparked between the two was undeniable. The couple embarked on a long distance relationship between South Carolina (bride) & Colorado (groom) that would last for over a year. One of their favorite things to do together is explore the outdoors, and Ben’s proposal to Katie even took place during ice climbing in Colorado atop Mt. Sopris. So when it came time to begin planning the wedding, having an outdoor wedding was an absolute (obvious) must for the couple.
The couple chose to have the ceremony and reception on Katie’s family property, in memory of Katie’s father who passed away. Since he couldn’t be there in person, they wanted to honor him by having the celebration in the location that meant most to him and their family. What was once a remote, wooded property was completely transformed into the couple’s dream ceremony and reception!
For the ceremony, the couple was married at sunset along the edge of the private lakeside nestled in the midst of the forest. The floral and greenery arch for the ceremony was constructed to look as if it just grew from the ground; simplicity and understated style was key since the couple wanted the focus to be on their ceremony itself coupled with the beautiful setting. Katie’s wedding band was also lovingly passed down to her from Ben’s grandmother.
The Bride loves rich jewel tones, so a bright, cultivated palette was integral in all aspects of the day, from stationery, to florals, to tablescapes, to custom chandeliers and band backdrop. They also wanted an approachable, casual appeal to the entire event, which was achieved by using mismatched chairs for all guest seating, and curated pieces for the multiple lounges at the reception. The clear top tent with Edison bulb lighting also provided the perfect setting for them to dance the night away under the stars. The couple also chose to gift each guest their very own Colorado Blue Spruce sapling, as a nod to where the Groom proposed + the couples’ love of the outdoors.
According to Katie’s perspective about selecting her wedding dress she says, “I never pictured myself in a “princess gown” and I truly love the simple, classic look to wedding dresses. My style has always been sleek, but elegant and I think that Sara Seven, the designer, created just that in my dress. I think what I loved most about my dress was that it didn’t scream “wedding dress” and that it looked like you could also wear it to a black tie function. (Except if it wasn’t in the color white!) My other ultimate goal was to have a simple dress so that my bouquet could make a huge statement!”
The couple’s newest addition to their family, Gertie (German shorthaired pointer puppy), also made an appearance during pictures! Ben gifted Katie the adorable pup just a week before the celebration as an early wedding present.
One of the couple’s favorite traditions is sharing meals together with their friends & family—which is why they chose to have a family style meal service. All of the items on the menu were from Greenbrier Farms, who specialize in locally sourced farm to table cuisine. As self-proclaimed “foodies”, the couple specifically selected several of their favorite dishes that Greenbriar re-created with a southern twist, alongside signature items Greenbrier produces, such as their signature pork rillettes among their house farmed & cured charcuterie offerings. Late night, guests noshed on fried chicken biscuits with whipped maple butter that was baked fresh on site.
The couple selected Finesse band out of Columbia, SC and the band even specifically learned the couple’s favorite song, “Sunday Kind of Love” by Etta James for their first dance. At the end of the night, the horn musicians physically led all the guests down the wooded path to the exit. During the couple’s sendoff, a surprise professional fireworks show over the lake sent the couple off with a “bang!” It was the perfect ending to an amazing wedding celebrating Katie and Ben’s marriage.
Photography: Angela Zion Photography
Cinematography: Before Your Eyes
Event Planning and Design: I Do Event Wedding Planning & Coordination
Floral Design: Kate Asire Flowers, LLC
Invitations: Iris & Marie Press
Catering: Greenbrier Farms
Bar and Beverage: Liquid Catering
Cake: Tessa Pinner Cake
Bridal Boutique: J. Major’s Bridal Boutique
Hair: Cotton Rouge and Company
Makeup: Shantel The Makeup Artist LLC
Bridesmaid Skirts: Dahl NYC
Rings: Jewelry By Design
Event Rentals: Industry Event Rentals / Professional Party Rentals / A Darling Day / Tri-County Rentals
Linens: BBJ Linen
Band: The Finesse Band
Fireworks: ViViD Fireworks Show In A Box!