If this couple seems really familiar, you wouldn't be wrong! We photographed Kelsey and William's engagement session just a month before their wedding- and as a result, their faces have been all over our social media for a solid two months now. We can’t complain, though - both their engagement session and wedding day at Lake Eden Events was so rad, they are definitely worth the attention!
But today, we're focused entirely on their wedding, and all of the beautiful and memorable things that happened during it. And goodness, what a wonderful wedding it was! Kelsey and William choose to get married at Lake Eden Events in Black Mountain, North Carolina - just east of Asheville. "We visited a million, A MILLION, venues but since 98% of our guest list was out of town we wanted to give them the mountain views they deserved," Kelsey shared with me. Visiting Lake Eden was love at first sight for the couple. As soon as they stepped out onto the property, their decision was made - "It was absolutely the most perfect place."
The getting ready moments from their wedding were full of energy. Everyone was buzzing between the bride and groom, making sure glasses were filled with champagne and that every task was done to completion. We watched bridesmaid's steam dresses and juggle flower crowns and a team of girls buttoned Kelsey's dress! Their day really was so successful because of the incredible team of people Kelsey and William had behind them, supporting them and cheering them on every step of the way.
'First Moments' are always oh so special. Here's the thing- First Looks carve out just a little bit more time to celebrate. I mean, that's what a wedding day is, right? A day to completely and wholly celebrate a couple and their personal commitment. Sometimes, these days fly by FAST, so every moment a couple gets to spend loving on each other is extra important. With this structured, intimate time, it gives margin to just be together on a day that's so public and room to simply be yourselves no matter who's surrounding.
Celebrate the little things, y'all - even if it's just about the dress. ;)
I mean how cute!?
There are two specific, extra special friends that Kelsey and William choose to share their day with, and these guys were on the verge of stealing the show. Dakota and Chuck, their faithful companions, their family. For just a couple of minutes after their first look, we got some 'getting ready' photos of the dogs themselves with their people.
I can't articulate enough how rock-solid Kelsey and William's wedding party was. This group knew how to laugh loudly, hustle hard, and be supportive during their fast-paced day. It's common knowledge that weddings don't always go as planned, and in some aspects the same was true for William and Kelsey's day. Her friends, though, pulled through. Before they arrived at Lake Eden, things started to get a little crazy (including losing contact with her brother who had Kelsey's wedding gown in his car!), and Kelsey remembers how her "...forever girlfriends dropped everything they were doing to jump on the bus and get ready with us at the venue for emotional support." Friends like these are hard to find, and to watch them band together around the couple was one of the most beautiful experiences from their day.
Speaking of friends, what can be more solid than a sister-in-law who crafts your wedding day bouquet? This sweet collection makes me smile. United by nothing except the men they chose to marry, Michelle and Kelsey share that special bond as sister-in-loves, a new relationship with the best of potential.
Before we dive into the ceremony, though, I want to dig into the story behind these gorgeous rings. William had hers custom-made, specifically carrying the unique gems from generations of family that had married before they would. He held onto them as a surprise, knowing this would be one way to surprise his bride-to-be. Sure enough, Kelsey remembers this surprise as one of her favorite moments from their day.
Alright, onto the ceremony! After the first look and formal photos were all completed, we got to gather with Kelsey and William's family and friends at the beautiful Lake Eden Events and Lodging to watch their promises unfold. Officiated by William's father, Brad, and attended by those so dear to the couple, this ceremony was oh so special.
Kelsey had her own surprise up her sleeve. Throughout their relationship, there's been one song that's been the anthem of their days and the heartbeat of their story; This Must Be the Place by the Talking Heads. "I asked the DJ to surprise William (he said he was not surprised and wouldn't expect anything else) to This Must Be the Place when the whole wedding party walked down the aisle." More on this song and the meaning behind it below!
Being surrounded by their family and friends meant so much to Kelsey. She shared with me that having all of their loved ones travel so far to celebrate with them in the beautiful city they loved was one of her very favorite parts of her wedding day. And indeed, the atmosphere was magical. From their friends who helped shape and create the day to the ones in the seats cheering them on, there was no doubt in our minds that Kelsey and William were very, very loved.
Now, how gorgeous is this reception decor, designed by Christine McFarlane Events?!
Once again, during speeches, their friends showed up. The Maid of Honor, Maddie, and Best Man, Shaun, filled the beginning reception moments with the best of stories, reminiscing about the first time they met Kelsey or William and knew from the start how they would always be the perfect pair. We heard stories from their first days as a couple, the behind the scenes of their relationship and how it came together. As long-time friend of the bride and brother of the groom, Maddie and Shaun described these days as only close friends could.
In the dusk of golden hour, we snuck these two away for a few minutes to reminisce about their wedding day and have some relaxed, joyful time together. Full of quirk and an undeniable charm, their sweet love story fits Kelsey and William perfectly, every piece confirming in my soul that they were truly meant to be.
Kelsey remembers their first days of dating very well. "I started working part time as a hostess at Pure Wine, a restaurant in Maryland, where William was the executive chef. He was super hard working, dedicated, loyal, hilarious, handsome, and somehow so chill all the time. What's not to love? After only a few months of dating I remember telling my best friend that I was going to marry this guy. Which, if you knew me before William, would have been a total shock."
It was no accident how they ended up in Asheville. "A year into our relationship we somehow found a three day weekend to take a mini vacation, we picked Asheville since we both never been and heard so many great things. So little back story, when we first started dating William always told me that This Must Be the Place by The Talking Heads reminded him of me. I thought he was a crazy hippie. So as we are driving into the Asheville mountains after our 8 hour road trip, This Must Be the Place starts playing on the radio. William said it was a sign....crazy hippie. Day two in Asheville we are sitting outside at Posana, where he actually works now, and a street band started playing This Must Be the Place. My crazy hippie was right about his signs. Day three in Asheville we started looking at rental houses. We officially moved to Asheville three weeks later."
She remembers the day he proposed like it was yesterday. Actually, it was a pretty inconvenient time if we're being completely honest, as Kelsey had a project to finish with her work and was taking time to research apartments. "He kept asking me, 'Are you sure you want to do that today are you sure you can't take the whole day off and we can just hangout?'" Although Kelsey got her way and they did end up going to look at apartments, William finally got his chance to propose.
As soon as they got home from apartment hunting, Kelsey quickly got back to work. William, however, had a different plan. He made her a BLT sandwich (her favorite!) and poured her a glass of champagne (another favorite!). After ten minutes of popping in and out and reminding her she had bacon and champagne waiting for her, he finally threatened to eat all of the bacon- prompting her to rush to the kitchen right away! "I legit sprinted into the kitchen so that I could eat the rest of the bacon before it was gone. Instead I found flowers, my favorite chocolates, two full champagne glasses, and TWO PLATES OF BACON. My hero, I turn around to thank him for having all of my favorite things in one place after such a stressful week andddddddddd he is down on one knee!" Turns out, the engagement ring was ready that morning and he was just too dang excited to wait!
Just like bacon and champagne, this couple is the perfect, unexpected pair. With adventurous hearts and souls full of kindness, photographing them felt like being with long-time friends. I can safely say from the bottom of my heart that being a part of their day was truly a joy.
Let's take a moment to admire Kelsey's gorgeous gown though, right?! How pretty is this bridal look?
In true Kelsey and William style, their reception party was lively and full of dancing and champagne! Not ones to follow tradition, Kelsey and William kept their 'first dances' incredibly informal. Kelsey and her father took a few moments together on the dance floor while others danced alongside them, and Kelsey and her brother Matt rocked out on their own special dance to Nicki Minaj's 'Starships'.
But my favorite moment of all from their reception was their own unplanned, informal first dance. Remember 'This Must Be The Place', the song that marked their early days as a couple and in Asheville? "William surprised me later that night by also requesting the song play as our super informal first dance. Seriously this song will probably be playing in the delivery room whenever we decide to start our little hippie family."
In fitting fashion, I'll leave you with my favorite verse from Kelsey and William's favorite song-
I can't tell one from another
Did I find you or you find me?
There was a time before we were born
If someone asks, this is where I'll be
Where I'll be
A very special thanks from the bride to Christine, it meant the world that you could be a part of Kelsey and William's day!