How would Sarah and Thomas describe their Smoky Mountains wedding? “Appetizing.” The Asheville-based pair wanted food to take center stage for their celebration at The Ridge in Marshall, North Carolina, and for good reason: Both the bride’s Spanish heritage and the couple’s North Carolina roots mean good eats.
From welcome bites (like jamon Serrano-wrapped melon!) and paella cooked on an outdoor grill to a dessert bar including peach cobbler, Sarah and Thomas kept all their guests full. But that’s not all. They paired Spanish wines with each dish, offered a sangria station, and served local beers on tap. Beyond the cuisine, the couple also found sweet ways to personalize their day. Sarah wanted to honor her mother’s native Spain, so a flamenco guitarist provided beats during cocktail hour and her family’s pottery was placed throughout as decoration. They married the North Carolina mountains into the day by adding local blueberries to their floral arrangements and hosting the ceremony with expansive landscape views.
They didn’t do it alone, though. Becca Knuth of Asheville Event Co. and a team of talented vendors ensured that every detail came together. “I was really busy between when we got engaged and our wedding, and I knew I needed people who would understand what we were going for so that I could be hands-off,” Sarah says. "Becca was absolutely that person! I could completely rely on Becca to make fantastic decisions with us in mind.”
Venamour designed the couple’s invitations, which featured flowers and greenery reminiscent of North Carolina.
To welcome their 126 guests to Asheville, the couple threw a casual party at Highland Brewery.
The next day, Sarah slipped into Ellery gown, which she found online at Net-a-Porter. The silk slip dress featured a ruffled lace overlay.
“My goal was to find people whose work I loved and then let them create,” Sarah says of her hair and makeup for the wedding day. That included a braided low bun for her hair and a natural look for her makeup.
“These were the things that I left in the hands of unbelievably talented vendors,” Sarah says of her flowers, such as her bridal bouquet. It combined wildflowers with foraged botanicals from the mountains.
Sarah’s sister and Thomas’s sister served as bridesmaids, wearing ivory dresses by See by Chloe and Amanda Uprichard.
Thomas donned a suit from Chicago-based designer Tom James. Thomas proposed to Sarah with a family ring that the pair redesigned at Takohl in Chicago.
Thomas’s father and brother were his groomsmen along with Sarah’s brother. They all wore boutonnieres that included blueberries from their florist’s own garden.
The goal of the ceremony décor was to show off the mountain views. The altar included an asymmetrical floral arrangement while the aisle markers used natural greenery in Sarah’s family’s pottery.
Pottery from Sarah’s family served as aisle markers at the ceremony, while bowls filled with flower petals lined the aisle (to make for a grand exit, later!).
The couple said “I do” with an Episcopalian ceremony in the late afternoon.
Guests tossed flower petals as the newlyweds processed up the aisle.
Following the ceremony, the newlyweds took a few moments to pose for portraits—cocktails in hand, of course!
None of the guests went hungry at cocktail hour, which included paella, Spanish tortillas, gazpacho soup, shrimp and chorizo kabobs, and even edible flower petals. A sangria station allowed friends and family to pick their own fruits and herbs to add to the drinks.
One of Sarah’s favorite memories was the pillow fight that all the kids commenced during the reception. Older guests found their own form of entertainment—shotgunning beers!
“The main feel for the reception was Spanish- influenced with two hours of a variety of tapas,” Sarah says of the reception at The Ridge. “Kim from Celine and Co. was all about bringing the kitchen outside, having an open-air grill and doing something a little out of the ordinary.” Dishes included gambas, chicken pinchitos morunos, lamb meatballs, and Iberico ham, sliced tableside.
After cocktails, the couple led their gates inside for dinner in the main ballroom. Thanks to space's statement door and mountain views, the reception had a beautiful indoor-outdoor feel.
“We hoped to merge the simplicity of Spanish style with the rustic beauty of the North Carolina mountains,” Sarah says of the décor inspiration for the reception. She left the details to her planner, Becca Knuth of Asheville Event Co., who chose everything from the linens to the guest book—Sarah’s grandmother’s text on Spanish architecture. The family’s pottery also served as centerpieces for the reception tables filled with wildflowers and greenery.
The couple’s band, Irresistible Groove, played a cover of Al Green’s “Lovely Day” for Sarah and Thomas’s first dance.
The newlyweds cut into a two-tier buttercream cake topped with fresh apricots, figs, and olive branches.
While Sarah may have been unsure of her cake cutting skills at first attempt, she and Thomas made the most of it!
After a sparkly exit, Sarah, Thomas, and their guests headed to downtown Asheville for an afterparty at Hemingway’s Cuba Restaurant & Bar.
Wedding Venue The Ridge
Wedding Planner Becca Knuth of Asheville Event Co.
Officiant Brent Norris
Bridal Gown Ellery
Hair Dre Donohue
Makeup Samantha Kolk
Groom’s Attire Tom James
Engagement Ring Takohl
Floral Design Flora
Ceremony Music Ed Stephenson
Reception Music Irresistible Groove
Rentals Classic Event Rental
Favors French Broad Chocolate
Photography Natalie Watson Photography