How Can I Make My Wedding Eco-Friendly? Experiencing the Appalachians

Western North Carolina and the greater Asheville area have become a destination hot spot for weddings and elopements over the years. Why? People both far and wide love the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains. The Appalachian mountains are one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world and have a rich natural history. The views are amazing, and having your ceremony in nature adds an ethereal element to your vows. If you are having your wedding here in the mountains, why not incorporate it into your ceremony? Below are some of my suggestions for how you can make your wedding eco-friendly.

Rustic Log Cabin Wedding
Hidden Valley Farm Mill

Stay in a Rustic Log Cabin in Nature

If you are traveling here for a destination wedding, rent an older log cabin to stay in. When searching for a vacation rental, you will find a plethora of cabins, but keep in mind that many will have been constructed recently.

Bridal Suite Hidden Valley Farm
Bridal Suite Hidden Valley Farm

However, there is one I adore at Hidden Valley Farm in Haywood County. They have a cabin whose logs date back to the 1700s, and the farm is located back in the country with views of rolling farmland in the community of Crabtree and the blue hills on the horizon. If I had a choice, this is where I would live!

Hidden Valley Farm-Crabtree North Carolina
Hidden Valley Farm-Crabtree North Carolina

Staying in an authentic cabin will help you reconnect with the roots of the pioneer days. Sleeping among locally sourced timber and surrounded by the tranquility of nature will recharge your soul and help keep your stress levels down before your ceremony.

Hidden Valley Farm NC-Sabrina Greene Photography-5
Hidden Valley Farm Crabtree, NC

Wear Organic Flowers as Jewelry and Accessories

One way to connect with the earth and also be ecofriendly is to have someone design your jewelry and accessories with real plants. Local florist Tina of  McKenzie Botanicals hand-designed cuffs, a necklace, hairpiece, anklets, and accented a leather pouch for this wedding at Hidden Valley Farm.

North Carolina Bridal
Neck Jewelry Design-McKenzie Botanicals
McKenzie Botanical's Flower Cuff
Floral Cuff Design McKenzie Botanicals-Maggie Valley

Hair and Makeup artist Sheri Gaffney of Fab Flawless Makeup Artistry took the approach even farther by adding elements of pampas grass to the bride’s hair along with the hairpiece Tina created to complete the environmental-friendly look.

McKenzie Botanicals Design
Leather Pouch Accented by Florals-McKenzie Botanicals

Imagine walking down the aisle to your beloved, inhaling the scent of organic florals around your neckline. It will add a sensory memory of the earth to your mind for a lifetime of the special moment when you say I Do!

Kiss the Earth with Your Bare Feet

Appalachian Mountain Wedding
Barefoot Wedding at Hidden Valley Farm NC

Ground yourself with the old mountains of the Appalachians by getting married barefooted. Is there any better way to connect to the earth than by touching it?!

Having grown up among these hills, I still walk outside barefoot often just to feel the grass tickle my toes.

Ankle Jewelry McKenzie Botancial's
Ankle Jewelry Design by McKenzie Botanicals

Kiss the land with your feet, and it will kiss you back!

Feast on Locally Grown Food

Southern Appalachian Blackberries
Summer Blackberries from Western North Carolina

One of the tenderest moments during this wedding was when the groom picked ripe summer blackberries to share with his bride. These berries were growing on the farm, and he fed them to his bride, and she likewise returned the sentiment.

It made me tear up a little, but that is because it made other happy memories surface of gathering blackberries as a child for my Grandmother to make jelly.

Bride and Groom Asheville
Groom Sharing Blackberries with his Bride

By sharing genuinely sourced food, it adds to the experience that we do live off the land and boosts the local economy. And once again, it ties another sense, one of taste, to your memories of your wedding day. Perhaps in the future, you could be like this bride, and every time she sees or tastes a blackberry, she will be reminded of this delicate moment.

Bride & Groom at Hidden Valley Farm-Sabrina L Greene Photography
Bride & Groom at Hidden Valley Farm-Sabrina L Greene Photography

Purchase or Create an Eco-Friendly Gown

Within the wedding industry, you can find any type of wedding gown your heart desires. However, instead of running to your local big-box wedding shop, why not consider repurposing a family gown or refashioning one you find.

Uplove Bridal & More Wedding Gown Design
Wedding Gown Design by Uplove Bridal & More-Mandy Wildman

For example, Mandy Wildman of Uplove Bridal & More took a gown that was initially made in the 1960s and refashioned with vintage floral appliques and tulle to make it unique. No new materials were used except thread, and this bride was able to say I Do with a gown that no one else on the planet will ever have while also being economically sustainable! Her choice honored not only her particular style but also respected the environment.

Nature-Inspired Wedding Portrait Sabrina L. Greene Art & Photography
Nature-Inspired Wedding Portrait Sabrina L. Greene Art & Photography
Bride and Groom Uplove Bridal & More Designs
Bride and Groom Uplove Bridal & More Designs

Mandy also repurposed clothing sourced from local thrift stores to create the outfit this groom wore as well!

Uplove Bridal & More Men's Clothing
Uplove Bridal & More Men’s Clothing

Decorate with and Eco-friendly Mindset

Finally, when you are planning for your wedding day, think of décor in an eco-friendly mindset.

My dear friend and colleague, Tina from McKenzie Botanicals, once explained to me that many couples spend too much money on weddings by not considering earth-friendly products. 

Locally Sourced Plants
Locally Sourced Plants

Just as in these arrangements below, she suggests foraging for some of the florals. This is easy to do, especially during the spring and summer months in the Southern Appalachians. Her designs always have elements of wildflowers and greenery to add texture and authenticity to what she creates. Furthermore, she will forage for wild lichen and moss to add to table arrangements.

Wedding Floral Design McKenzie Botanicals
Wedding Floral Design McKenzie Botanicals

When your wedding is over, you can then return these elements to the environment where they will be biodegradable and benefit the ecosystem.

You can also rent your containers from your florist instead of buying new ones that you will have to figure out what to do with afterward. Many local wedding planners can assist you in other rentals as well, such as dinnerware, tables, etc.

Rentals by McKenzie Botanicals
Rentals by McKenzie Botanicals

Overall, connecting to the earth and honoring it on your wedding day is up to you. These are just a few suggestions I have to help you with your choices. In fact, I intend to continue to share my ideas with how you can connect to the land in future blog posts. However, I hope these proposals will get the wheels turning in your mind. Getting married in the mountains of Western North Carolina is an unforgettable experience by itself, but you can connect with it even more profoundly if you choose too!

Hidden Valley Farm Complete Gallery

Bride & Groom: Sarah & Brad

Vendors Listed:

Hidden Valley Farm-Crabtree, NC

McKenzie Botanicals-Maggie Valley, NC

Fab Flawless Makeup Artistry-Asheville, NC

Uplove Bridal & More

Sabrina L. Greene Art & Photography

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About Sabrina

Sabrina is a photographer located near Asheville, NC who loves to create stories through her lens. She is known for her conceptual photography inspired by literature and her love of books.

Sabrina is also a portrait, wedding, and small business photographer. Her artistic style bridges the line of cinema and paintings.

And when she’s not photographing people, you can find her indulging in journaling, reading traditional fairy and folktales, daydreaming, or spending time with her family and her pampered dog, Pixel.

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