A bride and groom happily embrace married life at a lush country wedding

Joy Duong and Charles Cox could have easily met in college. They attended Vanderbilt University at the same time and even knew the same people, but it wasn’t until years after graduating—when they lived hundreds of miles apart—that the pair finally crossed paths. Charlie was doing his residency in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit and sent him north to Nashville, where Joy was living and the couple currently reside. “Because we have so many friends in common, he came to my birthday party, and that’s how we met,” says Joy. In May 2008, the couple wed at the Farm at Old Edwards Inn and Spa in Highlands, NC, a picturesque property in the mountains with a rustic barn, charming cottage and flowering gardens.

Local floral designer Stephanie Nieuwendijk, of Dutchmans Designs, infused the idyllic venue with shades of yellow, Joy’s favorite color, and Asian-inspired details, to tie in the bride’s Vietnamese heritage. Nieuwendijk lined the ceremony aisle with rose petals and smilax-vine wreaths, which hung from the chairs. Nashville-based wedding coordinator Angela Proffitt helped organize the details of Joy and Charlie’s day, beginning with their garden ceremony. As the bridal party (including two very cute ring bearers, Charlie’s nephew Will and the couple’s dog, Pablo) processed in, a trio played “Carolina On My Mind” and “Crazy Love.” Later on, the bride’s brother performed a violin solo of “Edelweiss.” “All You Need Is Love,” an upbeat tune with an apropos message, ended the service and signaled it was time to party.

After finding their calligraphed escort cards, which dangled by ribbons from another iron tree, guests moved outdoors to the light and airy reception tent. The Old Edwards Inn and Spa catered a gourmet meal of filet mignon with wild mushroom confit and grilled vegetable risotto, and Atlanta-based band Rhythm Nation played everything from Motown to disco. For Joy—and her guests—the couple’s choreographed first dance to “ABC” was an especially memorable moment. “This was the first time most people had ever seen Charlie dance,” she says. “It was a lot of fun.” At the end of the evening, no one left empty-handed: Joy and Charlie took home an album their guests had created with pictures taken in a photo booth throughout the night, and guests received mini chocolate wedding cake–shaped truffles from Godiva.

The couple’s late-night gathering at Rib Shack, a barbecue joint in town, had its own distinct vibe. Joy and Charlie served Southern finger foods, and a DJ provided music. Like all great college parties, this celebration still has revelers talking.

Joy and Charlie’s programs, by Nashville-based Buchanan Ink, feature the Betel leaf, a Vietnamese symbol of sincere love and the unbreakable bond of marriage. The couple filled the Episcopal service with personal touches by inviting close friends to greet and seat their 135 guests and share the readings. “Since we love music, we also picked songs that mean a lot to us,” says Joy.

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