In the age of apps and online dating, a true blind date is pretty uncommon. Lucky for Alexandra Holdbrooks and Robert Blackburn, the friend who set them up in August of 2015 was right on the money—so much so, in fact, that the pair dated for just five months before Bob got down on one knee. And since they wasted no time getting engaged, waiting for a wedding just wouldn’t do either. On September 10, 2016 (just eight months after Bob popped the question!), 275 guests traveled to Cashiers, North Carolina to watch Bob and Alexandra tie the knot. “I have been going to Cashiers with my family since I was a little girl, and my parents have a home in the mountains there,” says the bride. “I’ve always known I would get married in the canyon in Lonesome Valley, and when Bob first saw it, he knew, too.”
They spent the months visiting their favorite destination— seriously, could wedding planning get any easier?—and tapped Invision Events to create a relaxed and natural evening that made the most of the location. “I wanted every single moment to be fun for our guests, all while celebrating the beautiful area,” Alexandra says. And that’s exactly what they did! You don’t want to miss this Southern mountain wedding, photographed by Waldorf Photographic Art.
With a backyard backdrop like this one, Alexandra and Bob had an easy choice selecting their venue. So much that they used the Blue Ridge Mountains as main inspiration for their big day!
Bob and Alexandra had their first look on the lake's edge. “I felt like I had to walk miles in the pea gravel to get to him," she remembers. "Bob could hear me stumbling the whole way, it was hilarious!”
The bride wore a trumpet-shaped lace gown from Legends Romona Keveza. “I immediately fell in love with the simplicity of the design and the feminine touches,” she says. She paired her gown with Badgley Mischka wedges, her mother’s drop earrings, and a veil that had been worn by three of her friends. “We call it the traveling veil,” she says, laughing.
Alexandra’s oversized bouquet was a dramatic mix of lilies, orchids, tulips, dahlias, calla lilies in shades of white and cream.
The ceremony took place in a field, beneath a wooden arbor decorated with white hydrangeas, roses, lilies, ivy, and ferns. The aisle was lined with matching potted blooms, and a live painter was on-hand to capture the flower-filled scene and stunning canyon backdrop.
The Episcopalian ceremony was officiated by a reverend from St. John’s Cathedral in Knoxville, where Alexandra’s parents live. “Before I walked down the aisle, I was full of nervous excitement," she remembers. "My dad kept me laughing the whole time, and was my rock as we walked toward the altar.” Once at the altar, Alexandra and Bob exchanged traditional vows under the picture-perfect altar, before exiting down an equally as gorgeous aisle.
Cocktail hour took place on the valley’s open lawn, while an open-sided sailcloth tent was set up nearby for dinner. This tent choice was strategic as it let in the warm fall breeze—and gave guests a view of Lonesome Valley while they dined. “We wanted the reception to have a dressed-up feel—it was a wedding, after all—but also complement the natural surroundings,” says the bride.
Tables were dressed in white linens and low centerpieces that combined roses, hydrangeas, dahlias, and lilies. But the main focal point of the tent came in the form of two statement pieces of greenery above the head table.
For dessert, Alexandra and Bob served a four-tiered cake covered in textured buttercream and fresh dahlias. The cake was vanilla, but they added flavored fillings like whipped fudge and a hazelnut ganache. After dinner, guests headed indoors for dancing, where the Downtown Band played “Stand by Me” by Otis Redding for the first dance.
After dancing on stage all night with the band, Bob and Alexandra exited (for their honeymoon to Italy!) surrounded by sparklers.
Wedding Planner: Julie Bunkley at Invision Events
Ceremony Venue: Lonesome Valley
Reception Venue: Canyon Kitchen at Lonesome Valley
Bride's Dress: Legends Romona Keveza
Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mischka
Makeup: Claire Balest
Groom's Attire: Mr. Burch Formal Wear
Wedding Bands: Avani Rupa
Invitations: Linen & Leaf
Catering: Canyon Kitchen at Lonesome Valley
Cake: Cream & Flutter
Florals: Fiddlehead Designs
Videographer: The Film Poets
Photography: Waldorf Photographic Art