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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Kiss the land with your feet, and it will kiss you back!
Feast on Locally Grown Food
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mandy also repurposed clothing sourced from local thrift stores to create the outfit this groom wore as well!
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.
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.
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.
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