Lindsay and Corey: Andrews, North Carolina

Real Weddings

As a new instructor at an Outer Banks field site in North Carolina, Lindsay was lost. She couldn't access the correct equipment. She didn't know the best place to grab a bite to eat. And finding an affordable apartment on the coast proved difficult. But Corey—a research specialist at the University of North Carolina—came to the rescue again and again, lugging equipment to Lindsay early in the morning, eating extra lunches just to take her out, and finding her an apartment in the perfect neighborhood. "I was smitten," Lindsay recalls, "drawn to Corey's friendly demeanor, humble knowledge and kind eyes. He endeared himself more at each encounter."

Corey proposed three years later during a mountaintop picnic lunch. "He suggested that we 'do this for the rest of our lives,'" Lindsay says. "Before I knew it, Corey was on one knee asking me to marry him!"

With a guest list that topped out at 45, Lindsay and Corey hosted a small September affair at the Hawkesdene House in Andrews, North Carolina. The house—a mountain estate complete with guest cottages, hiking trails and a bonfire pit—gave the couple the "intimate setting surrounded by natural beauty" they craved, Lindsay says. "Guests never have to leave the property, and ours didn't."

Because Hawkesdene House offered so many outdoor activities and overnight accommodations, the couple opted for more than a wedding—they hosted a wedding weekend. "Our vision was that we get our closest friends and family together to take part in our commitment to one another and to have fun and get to know each other during a relaxed weekend," Lindsay says. "We could say our vows to each other in a beautiful place in the mountains, hold bonfires in the evening, and hike and hang out with our family and friends during the day."

Purple invitations decorated with string lights and cheery orange script gave guests the wedding details.

The mother-of-the-bride made welcome bags for each guest, embellishing the Kraft paper bags with stamps of llamas—furry creatures who live on the Hawkesdene House grounds—and stuffing them with organic tea, flashlights, vitamins, apples and other locally-sourced snacks.

Saja Wedding offered "so many beautiful, simple, comfortable gowns to choose from that it was a difficult choice," the bride says of her wedding-dress shopping experience. "But I chose the gown I did because it was the perfect balance of sheer and naked to opaque and covered, to make me feel sexy but demure."

The gown's slim straps dipped into a deep V-neck, and was cinched at the waist with a cream-colored sash. "I felt beautiful and comfortable, both of which were equally essential," Lindsay says.

Lindsay wore an ivory and gold floral hair comb from BHLDN in her short, wavy bob.

For her shoes, she chose cream-colored platform TOMS. Together with the hair comb, "they were my 'somethings new,'" says the bride.

"I loved the variety of colors and textures and the elegantly wild look," Lindsay says of her vibrant red and green bouquet, a mix of dahlias, sunflowers, celosia, millet and more.

The groom's boutonniere included a few flowers cut from the Hawkesdene House grounds, Lindsay says.

As the couple waited to wed, rain began to fall. "We all broke out our umbrellas and headed for shelter," Lindsay recalls. "We ended up breaking out the appetizers, drinks, and music prior to the ceremony, still waiting for the rain to pass. It was nerve-wracking towards the end, but it was otherwise wonderful to spend time together and peek through the window to see all of our guests having a blast."

A mishmash of several nondenominational services, Lindsay and Corey's wedding ceremony was unique. The outdoor service included a hand fasting, in which the couple's hands were bound together throughout the ceremony. The gesture "seemed like a perfect historical wedding tradition to incorporate into our ceremony," Lindsay says, "because it outwardly illustrates our commitment to one another."

Lindsay and Corey wrote their own vows—a to-do they found challenging. "How do you fit how you feel into a few sentences?" Lindsay explains. "But we are grateful to have started out our marriage by taking on the challenge of communicating in our own words, clearly and lovingly."

The reception was held beneath Hawkesdene House's open-air pavilion.

To "minimize waste from the wedding," Lindsay says, the couple used items from home in their reception decor. Pre-owned vintage bottles, antique lace and one-of-a-kind textiles were paired with new candles, rolls of burlap and fresh fruit on the long tabletops.

Using flowers picked from a local, organic flower farm, Lindsay's godmother designed the reception centerpieces, held in antique bottles from the bride's private collection.

By incorporating her parents' heart-shaped artwork into the reception decor, "hearts inadvertently also became a theme" of the couple's wedding, Lindsay says.

Guests nibbled on cucumber salad, roasted chicken, smashed potatoes, truffle macaroni and cheese and cupcakes, then washed the feast down with fresh-squeezed lemonade and hand-picked beers from local microbreweries.

Cupcake flavors ran the gamut from chocolate stout to honey-lavender and carrot-zucchini ginger. "We got double the amount of cupcakes as people attending to ensure that everyone could sample a couple of flavors," Lindsay says.

The bride's father and brother whittled a cake stand from wood and slate salvaged from the family's backyard forest. "My dad is really handy and quite artistic, and my brother is a professional artist, so the end product is beautiful and sturdy," Lindsay says. The couple carved their initials into the wood—a tradition they hoped to share with other family members when they wed.

Lindsay and Corey found their wedding band through YouTube, falling for its ability to play everything from soulful jazz to bluegrass tunes. "They were entertaining and a perfect fit for the laid-back vibe," Lindsay says.

The couple's dog, Fozzy, joined guests on the dance floor. He even "tried to cut in on the father-daughter dance," Lindsay says.

—Jillian Kramer

Wedding Planner: Hawkesdene House || Ceremony Venue: Hawkesdene House || Reception Venue: Hawkesdene House || Bride's Wedding Dress: Saja Wedding || Bride's Shoes: TOMS || Bride's Accessories: BHLDN || Bride's Ring: Marlene True || Groom's Tux: Michael Kors || Groom's Wedding Ring: Marlene True || Florist: Lady Luck || Caterer: Hawkesdene House || Stationery: Drippy Ink Letterpress Studio || Cake Baker: Take The Cake || Favors: Leccare Lollipops || Entertainment: Jody Hughes Band || Photography: Jen Yuson Photography

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