An Elevated Mountain Wedding in Cashiers, North Carolina

Planned by Mariée Ami

bride and groom

Photo by Anna Shackleford

Jemison Matthews and Gordon Lutken have wedding season to thank for their rekindled romance. The now-couple first met as students at Ole Miss, but lost touch after graduation. That is, until July 2015, when they were both invited to a mutual friend's wedding in Boulder, and their longstanding friendship quickly became a flirtation. "Gordon came to visit me in Nashville a few months later, and we've been together ever since," Jemison recalls.

Fast forward two years and a move to Denver later, Gordon and Jemison met in another mountain location: Breckenridge for a weekend of snowshoeing. "Gordon's truck got stuck in the snow on the way to the trailhead, and we were stuck for hours," recalls Jemison with a laugh. When they finally made it out and Jemison suggested they head home, Gordon was insistent that they still take a hike. "He found another trail and had to nearly drag me up the mountain," she says. The hike was worth it, and Gordon proposed at the top of the mountain. "He had packed Ole Miss cups and my favorite champagne, so we had a drink and watched the sunset," she says. "It wasn't what he had planned, but it was perfect!"

The bride grew up spending time in Highlands, North Carolina, and her family decided to celebrate her mother's 60th birthday at Canyon Kitchen in nearby Cashiers. "The meal was so amazing and it was spectacular to watch the fog roll in to the canyon," she recalls. "We decided then and there that it would be the perfect place for a North Carolina wedding." She and Gordon set the date for September 29, 2018, and invited 200 guests to Lonesome Valley for a fall wedding dressed up in a romantic palette.

With help from Jemison's mother and the team at Mariée Ami, the couple tied the knot in an elevated mountain wedding. Take a peek at the photos by Anna Shackleford to see all of the beautiful details, below!

invitation suite
Photo by Anna Shackleford
wedding invitation
Photo by Anna Shackleford

Jemison knew she wanted an invitation suite that would stand out in a stack of mail. "So many of our friends have gotten married recently, so we wanted to put a unique spin on the invitations we chose," she says. The resulting design paired hand-torn paper with a watercolor wash, a gold wax seal, and gold foil letterpress on the invite itself. Each suite was then packaged with twine and elegant calligraphy by Julia Ha. "I knew it would be the first impression our guests would have of our big day, so we really wanted to set the tone through the art of the paper," she adds.

bride and sisters
Photo by Anna Shackleford

On the big day, the bride got ready with her sisters and her mother, who all wore matching floral pajamas for a morning of hair and makeup.

Antonio Gual wedding dress
Photo by Anna Shackleford
bridal bouquet locket
Photo by Anna Shackleford

Jemison donned a fit-and-flare silk shantung gown with an off-the-shoulder neckline by Antonio Gual. "I never had a 'this is it' moment, but this dress was always in the back of my mind," she says.

The bride paired her simple gown with meaningful accessories like the veil and garter that her sisters wore on their wedding days. "My mother had the garter made with our grandfather's blue pajama shirt, and had our initials embroidered on it next to his," she says. The center stone of her engagement ring also had family meaning as it had belonged to her grandmother, who wasn't able to attend the wedding. As a final touch, Jemison added a locket, which held a photo of a high school friend who had passed away in a car accident, to her bouquet. "Virginia's mother made the locket when our friends all started getting married," she explains. "We've each carried her picture with us, and her mother has engraved our initials and our wedding dates onto the locket to commemorate each day."

bride and bridesmaids
Photo by Anna Shackleford

Jemison's sisters served as bridesmaids, each wearing a white dress by Halston Heritage. The bride carried an all-white bouquet of ranunculus, garden roses, and spray roses, while her sisters' bouquets included a soft mauve color that coordinated with the reception decor.

house party
Photo by Anna Shackleford
flower girls
Photo by Anna Shackleford
flower girl dresses
Photo by Anna Shackleford

Though the couple kept the wedding party small by only asking their siblings to stand by their sides at the altar. That said, Jemison's best girlfriends still embraced the wedding's palette and donned shades of dusty rose and mauve.

Jemison's nieces acted as flower girls, wearing custom cotton and lace dresses and crowns of roses for their trip down the aisle.

wedding sign
Photo by Anna Shackleford
outdoor ceremony
Photo by Anna Shackleford
ceremony altar
Photo by Anna Shackleford
ceremony flowers pampas grass
Photo by Anna Shackleford

Wooden signage told guests where to go once they'd arrived at Lonesome Valley. One arrow pointed toward the ceremony site, which was set up in a field with the hills rising behind a floral-laden cross. Two mauve-toned arrangements of pampas grass, roses, and eucalyptus flanked the aisle.

tossing flower petals
Photo by Anna Shackleford
Photo by Anna Shackleford
first kiss
Photo by Anna Shackleford
Photo by Anna Shackleford

"We didn't write our own vows, but we did add in an unexpected bible verse to our ceremony," says the bride. She and Gordon added Ruth 1:16-17, as they loved the sentiment of overcoming distance during their relationship and taking the leap to build a new family together somewhere new. A bagpiper preceded the bride and her father to the altar, then led the way for the newlyweds as they and their guests headed to cocktail hour.

escort card display
Photo by Anna Shackleford
wedding escort cards
Photo by Anna Shackleford

Escort cards, finished with a wrap of twine and a gold wax seal, were displayed on a boxwood hedge surrounded by lanterns and arrangements of roses and dahlias.

reception tent
Photo by Anna Shackleford
floral tent entrance
Photo by Anna Shackleford

After a cocktail hour that featured "rabbit 'n dumpling fritters" and mini mushroom taquitos, guests headed through a lush floral entryway into the reception tent.

pink velvet tablecloth
Photo by Anna Shackleford
pink and gold tablescape
Photo by Anna Shackleford

"We created different looks to go on each style of table," says the bride. Long rectangular tables were draped in mauve velvet linens, then topped with gold chargers, gold flatware, and lush arrangements of pink and white garden roses, dahlias, koko loko roses, ranunculus, hydrangeas, and eucalyptus. Pheasant feathers added soft texture between Jemison's grandmother's brass candlesticks. "For the head table, my mother had napkins monogrammed with our new initials," adds the bride.

The venue's in-house restaurant, Canyon Kitchen, created the night's menu, which included ricotta gnocchi with roasted mushrooms, seared elk loin with wilted greens, and two flavors of wedding cake. "We actually cut our cake during cocktail hour so it could be plated and served right after dinner," Jemison says. "We put trays of both flavors on every table so guests could share and taste it all."

wedding cake swing
Photo by Anna Shackleford
white and gold wedding cake
Photo by Anna Shackleford
cake cutting
Photo by Anna Shackleford

The couple's four-tiered, hanging wedding cake was wrapped in white fondant and brushed with gold, then displayed on a wooden swing in the garden. Inside were two flavors: apple hummingbird cake with cream cheese icing and ginger cookie crumble, and almond cake with raspberry compote and buttercream.

wedding reception
Photo by Anna Shackleford

After dinner, two horn players came into the tent to lead everyone to the dance floor. "We used music to signal transitions throughout the evening, and this definitely let everyone know it was time to party," says the bride.

Looking back on their big day, Jemison counts the packed danced floor as a favorite memory but says the time she and Gordon spent together post-ceremony stands out most. "We headed out to the field as the fog was rolling in off of the mountains," she says. "Taking that private time just the two of us is something I'd recommend that all couples do!"

Wedding Team

Wedding Planner: Mariée Ami

Venue: Lonesome Valley

Bride's Dress: Tulle New York by Antonio Gual

Bride's Shoes: Steve Madden

Hair & Makeup: BOMA Beautiful

Bridesmaids' Dresses: Halston Heritage

Groom & Groomsmen's Attire: Indochino

Flower Girl Attire: Elizabeth Layne Heirloom

Ring Bearer Attire: J.Crew

Engagement Ring: Haberman Jewelers

Wedding Bands: Liz Legg, Williams Jewelers

Floral Design: Floressence Flowers

Calligraphy & Illustrations: Julie Ha Design

Catering: Canyon Kitchen

Cake: Sugar Cloud Baking Company

Ceremony Music: Charleston Virtuosi, Allegro Music Events

Reception Music: City Heat

Rentals: Professional Party Rentals, CRUSH Event Design, BBJ Linen

Transportation: Elite Limousine

Photography: Anna Shackleford

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