I am definitely a bona-fide ‘city gal’, but after reading about this wedding in North Carolina I might just have to convert. Classic and southern yet simple and laid back, Patty and Shaler went for a rustic chic theme for their destination wedding at the Inn at Half-Mile Farm in Highlands, NC which served as the couple’s ‘favorite escape’ from Atlanta over the years. On May 21, 2011, surrounded by 250 of their closest family and friends, they exchanged vows with a gorgeous natural landscape as their backdrop. Even though it was a large turnout for a destination wedding, the bride enjoyed having the wedding party and family on the grounds to create an intimate feel to the affair. Her grandparents even collected antique bottles which were used as table settings (how adorable!). Take a look at these photos by Pink Shoe Photography and I guarantee you’ll be converted into a country gal as well.
Can you give us an overview of the event?
After hiring Epting Events, Wendy Allen and Lee Epting were able to translate my vague ideas into an elegant, yet laid-back outdoor affair. Epting Events is a fabulous one-stop shop that supplied everything from the flowers to the catering to the lighting design. The wedding ceremony was held in front of the pond and a century-old farmhouse on the lawn of the Inn at Half Mile Farm. The natural beauty of Highlands created such a beautiful backdrop that we decided to keep the decorations simple. The ceremony “altar” featured stanchions with flowers as well as an antique iron gate which held a moss-covered cross. The seating included various willow furniture pieces dispersed amongst the natural wood chairs. Guests then made their way up the lawn towards the Inn where the reception was held under a large, clear tent. White, blue and green flower arrangements donned the tables which were covered with natural burlap and light blue linens. There were also natural heart pine wood tables, topped with vintage lanterns, antique bottles filled with stem flowers and rusty iron candleabras. Guests danced in the tent courtyard well into the night where our band, Full Tilt, entertained the crowd with a wide range of songs and even a few Michael Jackson impersonations!
What were your playful twists that made the event unique?
There really is nothing serious about Shaler and me as a couple, so we tried to keep the whole weekend very personal and light-hearted. A few things that come to mind: Lee Epting loves to throw in a surprise element to each wedding, so as wedding party started down the aisle, they snuck me off in a golf cart and I was whisked down to a cabin by the pond where my dad was waiting for me. Instead of walking down the aisle, my dad and I made our way to the altar from the side, walking along the edge of the pond. It was a neat surprise for Shaler and the guests, not to mention a beautiful backdrop for my entrance. We had one traditional ceremony reading and one non-traditional which was Dr. Suess’ “Oh the Places You’ll Go.” There were bride and groom Pez dispensers on top of the cake as a nod to when I collected Pez dispensers as a child (my aunt still sends me a Pez dispenser for every Halloween). We served gourmet popsicles from King of Pops rather than a traditional grooms cake. I am sort of known for my Michael Jackson impersonation/dancing, so our band did a whole Michael Jackson medley, dressed as MJ (the King of Pop), and I got to dance on stage with the band. My mother gently reminded me that crotch grab are not very bridal.
Did you DIY any of the details?
I made the Save the Dates, the wedding ceremony programs and the welcome booklet. I also made the stickers with our “logo” which went on the bags of pralines that guests took as favors.
What was the most memorable moment?
It is so cliché, but really it was walking towards Shaler at the altar. I had sort of a long walk along the edge of the pond and I was nervous that I may trip, but I locked eyes on Shaler and it felt like I was there in no time.
Tell us about the food and desserts. There was a Martha Stewart serving table with lemonade and iced tea where guests could get a drink for the ceremony. At the reception, guests dined on “short plates,” a series of “mini-meals” that each consisted of a delectable Southern classic such as shrimp and grits with coleslaw and biscuits and short ribs with mashed potatoes and carmelized carrots. It was a neat way to give guests a wide variety of options and allow them to mingle and float to their next dish of choice. We served gourmet pulled-pork tacos as a late night snack on the dance floor. The wedding cake was a four-tier Spanish Lemon cake with buttercream icing. The cake was topped with green and blue hydrangeas as well as bride and groom Pez dispensers, an ode to the Pez dispensers that I collected as a child. Instead of a groom’s cake, we served gourmet popsicles from the King of Pops in various flavors such as Arnold Palmer, Chocolate Sea Salt and Blood Orange. There was also a praline station where an attendant made pralines fresh on-site and guests could take home bags of fresh pralines.
Tell us about your wedding gown and what your bridal party wore.
My dress was the Modern Trousseau “Riley” dress – a strapless gown of tiered French Alencon lace over silk Duchess in a classic modified a-line
The bridesmaids wore Jenny Yoo dresses in the same light blue color, though in five different styles.
What kind of energy did your entertainment give the guests?
Our band was amazing. We asked them not to play too many “wedding-bandy” songs, so they played a huge variety of songs from Otis Redding to Vanilla Ice. The singers were in the crowd dancing and singing with everyone which got everyone really amped up. By the end of the night, everyone was on the dance floor if not on someone’s shoulders! They brought the house down with a Michael Jackson medley complete with MJ outfits.
If there was one thing you could change, what would it be?
I would have worn comfortable shoes. I don’t know if my poor feet will ever be the same.
What was the best wedding advice you received?
To take a moment to savor our wedding and to look around and take in all the wonderful people that came to celebrate with us.
Planner, Designer, Florist, Cake, Caterer, Rentals, Linens, Lighting: Epting Events | Ceremony & Reception Venue: Inn at Half-Mile Farm | Photographer: Pink Shoe Photography | Bride’s Dress: Modern Trousseau, Kelly’s Closet | Bridesmaid Dresses: Jenny Yoo, Bella Bridesmaid| Hair Stylist & Makeup Artist: Brittany Abbott | Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade New York | Bride’s Jewelry: Vintage family jewelry | Groom’s Fashion: Custom Suit made by Miller Brothers Ltd. | Groom & Groomsmen Ties: Collared Greens | Paper Goods (invitations, programs, welcome booklet, etc): Save the Dates, programs and welcome booklet by the bride. | Wedding invitations by Crane | Band: Full Tilt | Ceremony Musicians: Mary Daniels Music | Reception Snack: King of Pops