The Biltmore Estate Asheville, North Carolina

the biltmore estate

I recently had the opportunity to speak at THE wedding industry summit – Engage!13: Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.  Among a myrad of things I love about this event, getting to experience a new luxury property is near the top of that list.  This trip was certainly no exception, did not disappoint, and in fact, exceeded by expectations by miles!  Held at the historic Biltmore Estate (still owned by the Vanderbuilt family today), we had the chance to explore 8,000 acres of unparelled beauty in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  To say this spot is serene is an understatement.  To say it’s glamorous, regal and magical is also an understatement.  The Biltmore is the perfect blend of fantasy meets fauna with beautiful grounds, mountains, trails, and water at every turn.

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A perfect place for a domestic destination wedding, one friend of mine described it as going to Europe without ever having to leave the states (great for your wedding guests!).  The home can be the backdrop to your tented reception, your wedding lawn and ceremony, and of course, tours for your friends and family. The Inn is where you and your loved ones will stay, just a short hike away from the original property.

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When you wake up in the morning, this is what you will look out to.  Yes, it’s true!  Nothing but nature (and surburb service) surrounding you.

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Ideal for a destination wedding, they offer an array of activities to bring your two families together – horseback riding, barns and animals for the kids, rafting down the river, archery, segway tours of the land, wine tasting at their vineyard on property, even beer tasting too for the guys!  Your group will not know what to do first!  (I highly recommend a private walk along one of their many hiking trials too…)

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The Biltmore Estate is such a unique place, it’s one that the web just can’t do justice.  Having worked on weddings here before, I had no idea how truly special it was until I arrived.  Maura and her team welcomed us with open arms and showed us the best that North Carolina has to offer!  I will be back!

All Photos By: Allan Zepeda, Carla Ten Eyck, Jeremie Barlow 


Destination Wedding in Wilmington, NC

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Erin and Nevil said “I do” in the quaint town of Wilmington, North Carolina.  We asked the bride how they selected Wilmington as their destination.  “The location was selected my mom and dad live in Ocean Isle beach just about 30 min south of Wilmington so we frequented there often and fell in love with the small city charm, the local people, and the history of the city. The water helped too!”

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The bright bold colors of blues and oranges popped perfectly against her white gown and the exposed brick reception venue.  This palette certainly told friends and family that a fun party was ahead!  The bouquets even had kumquats in them!

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This vibrant colors were actually picked because of the bridesmaid dresses (though the gentleman in her bridal party certainly wasn’t left out).  “The color inspiration came from the bridesmaid dress at J. Crew. I found a deep aqua blue I loved and then I knew I didn’t want pink or white with flowers…something different. I was always thinking an orange. Love deep orange flowers. Jen Rose-Sandy from Salt Harbor then showed me amazing flowers in the color I loved and the color scheme was set. We then started looking into orange and blue for all the paper goods too which Salt Harbor designed and they turned out unbelievable.”

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The intimate ceremony took place at The Atrium, a beautiful outdoor space in the historic downtown district of Wilmington.

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After the “I do,” the bride and groom enjoyed a few minutes out and about in town before making their way to 128 South, their swanky reception spot.

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Their escort card display was certainly one-of-a-kind and perfectly planned for their travel theme.

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“The map was a showing of all of our friends and family from all over the country and how far they traveled. The theme of the wedding was places we have lived and traveled and having all of our loved ones in one place. The map was put together with flags and a string marking each guests name to the place they traveled from and linking them to Wilmington. Salt Harbor Designs created this. Love it.”

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The guest book gave friends and family a fun activity to partake in.  Each card asked questions like how did they rate the reception, which side of the family they fall on, how far they traveled to be there and words of wisdom for the newlyweds.  Great idea – so fun!

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For dinner, the couple decided on a more alternative style of service.  Astrid Woltering of {a}strid photography gave us an insight into this creative menu.  “Erin and Nevin LOVE food! Because of this, instead of a sit down dinner they wanted things much less formal, but with great food. Fish tacos, southern mac n cheese, and a full dessert buffet were just some of many delicious eats.”

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Lovely lounge areas – both indoor and out, encouraged guests to mingle and move about instead of staying seated for a formal dinner service.

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And then it came time for dessert.  Oh the desserts!  A perfectly themed blue and orange array of treats enticed guests to snack on personalized sweets.

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 As we often do, we asked the bride about her most memorable moment from the day.  “My most memorable moment was our first dance out on the deck of 128 South. It was the first dance with my husband and the first time we got to see all of our loved ones in one place and to see the venue in full force and how beautiful the vision came together. Groove Town the band helped out with the moment playing Al Greens Let’s Stay Together. Best. song. Ever.”

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The couple then had a grand send off with sparklers and a sweet ride through town.

When all the festivities were said and done, they weren’t quite ready for another trip…“We did not take a honeymoon right away – we stayed in Wilmington and enjoyed the beach for a few days. We are taking our honeymoon in November and everything is all set to spend a week in the Cayman Islands.”

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Congratulations to the newlyweds!

Destination Wedding Photographer: {a}strid photography

Wedding Vendors: Wedding Ceremony Location: The Atrium, Wedding Reception Location & Catering: 128 South, Wedding Planner + Designer, Florist, Lighting and Paper Details (Programs, Menus, Invitations): Salt Harbor, Hair: Salon Fringe, Band: Groovetown, Wedding Dress: Lea Ann Belter, Shoes: Nine West, Cake: Flower and Flour


Destination Wedding at the Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC

biltmore estate wedding ashevilleNorth Carolina may not be a typical location you think of when you think of destination weddings, but today’s wedding proves that it should be! Erin and JP reside in Pittsburgh and wanted a not-so-far-away destination to say “I do.” Asheville, North Carolina was the winner, and what a winner it was! Erin gave us a peek into their planing.  “When my in laws decided to build a house in the south we were excited. They broke ground in Asheville, NC almost 10 years ago and since then, JP and I have fallen in love with the town. Asheville has become one of our favorite cities and we are lucky to have found out about the beautiful mountains!”

The venue? The famed Biltmore Estate. It’s the former vacation home of George Vanderbilt, turned hotel,  and if that doesn’t say enough about this 8,000 acre oasis in the mountains, I don’t know what does! It’s grand presence and spectacular views were exactly what Erin and JP were looking for, and the photos of their wedding from Two Ring Studios are equally as stunning!

two ring studios photographyorchid bridal bouquetWe love a couple that isn’t afraid of color! Erin and JP’s eye popping purple and green palette is fantastic for a mid-summer wedding!  “We chose purple and chartreuse since it was a nice offset I hadn’t seen a lot, and the purple lighting in the grotto area was perfect for a summer night. No particular theme, just lots of flowers and lighting. I wanted it to feel like an elegant wedding, but at night turn into a dance club.”

purple bridesmaid dressesbiltmore estate weddingsorchid boutonnieresAt the estate, the couple opted for a slightly less known part of the property.  “We chose Deerpark so we had two options, to be inside and outside. The setting is truly romantic and rustic. I liked the ambiance the most at Deerpark because they have hanging plants and lots of green along with pretty twinkle lights.” 

purple ceremony ideaspurple orchid weddingpurple and green weddingswedding ceremony candlespurple themed weddingchandelier programsThe most memorable moment for the couple?  Saying “I do” of course!

biltmore estate weddings, ashvilleashville biltmore estate weddingnorth carolina wedding estateNot only does the Biltmore’s grandeur make you feel as if you are at a French estate, it has winery too! A few details gave a nod to the venue’s added bonus, while the rest of the reception remained simple and modern.  We liked that the corks had “Biltmore Estate” on them, and we both are a huge fan of wine. Those who know us best would not disagree.”  The only way to go at a destination wedding when your location, and your love for each other, says it all!

wine cork place cardswine themed place cards_lodge wedding receptions, north carolinapurple glitter wedding detailsbright purple and green weddingwedding first dancesDuring the dance party the couple hosted a photo booth to double as wedding favors.  “We also had a smoochbooth (photobooth) which kept the party flowing nicely, and the guests seemed to love it as a favor.”  So guests left with a personal memento before waving sparklers good bye to the happy couple!

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Congratulations Erin and JP!

Destination Wedding Photographer: Two Ring Studios

Wedding Vendors: Venue: The Biltmore Estate, Event Planner: Asheville Event Co., Floral Designer: Studio Flora Diva, Inc., Musicians: Allegro Music, Makeup: E. Scott Thompson, Transportation: Blue Ridge Limo, Officiant: Blue Mountain Weddings, Wedding Dress: Casablanca Couture, Bridesmaid Dresses: Victoria’s Secret

Submitted via Two Bright Lights


North Carolina Destination Wedding

north carolina destination weddingToday’s feature covers the sweet, sentimental, and family-oriented destination wedding of Emily and Alex.  The duo wed on Sept. 3rd this year (the ever popular Labor Day Weekend, a perfect time for a destination wedding).  The darling Boston-based couple said “I do” on a farm (Hodgin Valley Farm) in Pleasant Garden, North Carolina, the bride’s home state. wedding details pinkWith only five months to plan the festivities, the couple leaned on family and friends for a little (well, a lot) of help.  Emily explains, “As we were looking for locations to get married a close friend and an integral part of the wedding planning process, remembered Hodgin Valley Farm and found out that it was available around the time we were planning to get married!  We saw pictures and fell in love with the location.  My parents made a quick visit to the farm before we settled once and for all.  It was gorgeous, accommodating for both the bride and groom’s family to stay for the wedding weekend, and right in the heart of North Carolina.”gray weddingThe beautiful garden ceremony incorporated the natural palette around them – whites, greens, and lavender.  And what ceremony is complete without a horse-drawn carriage, right?!?!backyard weddingsI love this photo, it’s as if they are the only two people in the world…meanwhile many loved ones await their reception arrival wedding photoFor the reception, the couple wanted to keep with the theme of the venue and they enlisted more help from friends and family to make it so.  “We loved all the personal touches that went into our wedding day.  With a lot of help from a close friend of mine we came up with the concept of a rustic chic, romantic/nostalgic wedding on the farm.  A lot of hard work went into all the details.”north carolina wedding photographerBut the wedding concept and venue wasn’t the only detail loved ones got involved in.  The wedding itself was filled with personal details made by friends and family! 

The invitations, wedding programs and all the signage around the reception were made by a friend of the bride who has her own business designing and creating prints. guest book idea“My mother made the flower girl and junior bridesmaid dresses (the same fabric used for the sashes on the flower girl dresses were used in the actual wedding invitations).  And she made the lavender and queen ann’s lace floral decorations for the reception!”barn weddingsOn the menu was an array of southern food to represent the bride’s heritage while the groom’s mother and family made Brazilian appetizers and desserts to represent their culture.  wedding cake topper“The quilt toppers used on the cake table were made by hand by my great-great grandmother and the cake toppers were made by Alex!” We love that the groom got involved in the DIY of their big day too!multiple wedding cakesWith the help of Etsy artists, family, good friends, and even the groom, this personal wedding had lots of details made with even more of love!toms shoes for weddings

Congratulations Emily and Alex!

Destination Wedding Photographer: Alexa’s Photography

Wedding Vendors: Wedding Dress: Casablanca Bridal, Wedding Venue: Hodgin Valley Farm, Florist: Plants and Answers, Catering & Cake: Iron Hen, Hair & Makeup: Carla White, Bridesmaid Dresses: Ann Taylor Loft, Banana Republic, Mod Cloth, Officiant: Felipe Assis, Bridesmaid Jewelry: Etsy artist Anthology, Shoes: TOMS, Bride’s Facinator: Misunbridal on Etsy, Cake Toppers: Made by the Groom


Charlotte, North Carolina

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Photo by Robert Evans Studios