Michelle and Chris Elope to the Smoky Mountains

I was recently lucky enough to participate in a very unique wedding ceremony, and it was beautiful! I had such a wonderful time getting to know Michelle and Chris, and I am so very happy that they were lucky enough to find each other. WARNING: There are some boudoir images at the end of the post. If this is something you prefer not to see, stop when I give the list of vendors.

And now, on to the story of their wedding…

Michelle and Chris decided to elope to the Smoky Mountains for their wedding in a beautiful lodge with an amazing view. When I arrived, they were so warm and welcoming–it was almost like meeting old friends. I set to capturing some of the details while they finished preparing, and I fell in love with Michelle’s shoes. I love sparkly!!

Did you have any DIY projects for your wedding?
“As we had little time to shop (or, to my dismay, use Etsy!), we had to do a few things on our own… As I wanted to be able to take pictures with my bouquet if we do a future (summertime) photo session, I decided to go with silk flowers. I used some peonies, daisies (for my mom), and magnolias (for Chris’ mom) and added a few feathers, as well as a butterfly (for my dad). On the handle, which I wrapped in twine, I added a “Sugar” charm (for Chris, who charmed this Yankee from the start with his “gimme some sugar” Southern ways), and, on the other side, I added a flower-shaped pin that my grandmother had given me. In the end, I knew it wasn’t perfect, but I still look at it everyday with such love, as it represents so many people who mean so much to me.

I also made Chris’ boutonniere – with a feather, small flowers, and a branch of pussy willow (again, special meaning here).
When I was in grade school, I was always that kid that would have done so good in arts class, had it not been for the dozens of glue fingerprints all over my collage… so you can imagine how so very out of my element I was in doing this (especially the teensy-tiny boutonniere pieces!)… but we were both so happy with the way it turned out!

Finally, we had brought tons of candles & holders to put around the fireplace for our ceremony, including 2 luminaries given to us by my best friend (who was on her way to Paris with her husband, for her lifelong dream trip  – so lighting them up made me feel like she was there with us).

We were also very lucky, as the lodge had such beautiful decor- so it was easy to ‘scavenge’ from a few rooms and put something nice together. :)” — Michelle

Celeste, the officiant, prepared the space by smudging with sage to rid the area of negative energies for the Reiki part of their ceremony.

When did you first realize you were meant to be together?
“We can’t really pinpoint it… there was never that “angels singing” moment like in the movies, nor can our story be found in any fairy tale books. But it does involve a wonderful, sexy Southern gentleman and me, the one he calls (and treats like a) “Princess”, building our life together for the last 2+ years and a love that has grown to one that doesn’t pretend to always be perfect, but that is consistent in its mutual respect, commitment, desire, and safety.
And with each day that goes by, we are better as individuals *because* we are together.”–Michelle

Celeste used some of her tools to help balance their chakras before getting into the main part of the ceremony.

Then, Michelle and Chris sat down and wrote out all of the things from their separate lives that they did not want to bring forward into their life together. They symbolically burned the papers to rid themselves of the negative associations.

Does your wedding date have any special meaning?
“Not in the traditional sense. And, while it’s given us quite a few laughs, we didn’t realize that 02/02 was Groundhog day! But it is quite special, as you could say that the day *chose us*…
In January, we discussed getting married in the mountains. From that very moment, things fell into place… I was looking at places around the NC mountains, as Chris’ family is from the Blue Ridge foothills. But when the owner of his company heard about this, he gave us a wonderful wedding gift: his beautiful (and huge!) lodge in the Smoky Mountains, overlooking Mount Leconte. The only catch was that we had less than 2 weeks to plan it! The timeline was worthy of panic but instead, we were amazed at how things happened:
I found the ideal wedding dress right off the rack – as if it had been designed and fitted/altered just for me – in the very first bridal shop I walked into.
We found the perfect Officiant for the unique ceremony we had in mind, and she was available.
We booked our cake & my wedding day hair/makeup with the most highly recommended vendors in town (with less than 48 hours’ notice!).
While all of the above was important – we both felt strongly about the importance of having an excellent photographer to capture our day, along with our unique twist on it. We both loved the work we saw on Chastidyi/Star Noir’s studio site and were so thrilled to find out that she’d want to work with our ideas and that she was available!
So again – there was no special reason for us choosing that day, but as everything came together in such a positive way, one after the other, it certainly seems as though that day was meant for us – and what a special thing that is. :)”–Michelle

Celeste then pulled out some angel oracle cards and had them choose a couple that represented their path together.

What three adjectives would you choose to describe your wedding day?
“Magical: For the way our special day all came together – if we desired it, it was ours (and just about all of it in less than a week!).

Enchanting: For the snow… we both wanted that so much, but all of the weather stations said that it was supposed to start snowing only during the night (after our wedding). But as I was sitting at the hair salon around 1pm, I looked out the window and saw huge, puffy snowflakes coming down. It stopped for a little bit and then started right back up again, just in time for our pictures.

Unique: Our ceremony was definitely different – we were thrilled to find Celeste, a Reiki Master-Teacher, who worked so very hard in putting together a touching & personal ceremony for us.
And of course, there were our pictures… I am confident that our wedding day coverage was not typical at all… ;-)” — Michelle

After the ceremony, we went outside to play in the snow for a little while.

What was your favorite thing about your wedding day?
“Again, the way it all came together. But more than what I described above – our Officiant & Photographer made us feel so very special and like family/good friends. We didn’t realize it until later, but they had re-arranged so many things – decor, furniture – even heavy deck chairs – so that we would have a beautiful look for our wedding (and good pictures). We were so very touched by their sweet, unselfish, and caring actions.”–Michelle

Venue: Cabin in the Smokies

Cake: Cakes by Bakin’ Bishop

Photography: Knoxville Wedding Photographer — Star Noir Studio

WARNING!! Boudoir images below…

Something else that Michelle and Chris wanted for their wedding day was a set of more sensual images showing how much in love they are on a day that is so very special. They were so sweet together!

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