Briana + Jeffrey’s Hawkesdene Winter Destination Wedding
For the second to last wedding of the year, I had the great honor to capture Briana and Jeffrey’s celebrations. Their festivities took place at the Hawkesdene House in Andrews, North Carolina. This hidden gem nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. They have amazing views, incredible food, and top notch service. It doesn’t hurt that they have the most adorable flock of Alpaca ready to eat out of the palm of your hand.
Even though it was a touch chilly, Briana and Jeffrey were so gracious in giving me lots of time to photograph the pair around the Hawkesdene grounds. They also had such a loving group of friends and family surrounding them for the weekend. That is one huge reason why I love destination weddings as you get to spend more time with your loved ones. Thank you Briana + Jeffrey again for having Walter and I capture your heart felt celebrations.
From the Bride + Groom
Overview of the day? We originally chose Hawkesdene when we thought that Jeff and I would be stationed apart. Hawkesdene serendipitously ended up being about halfway between our two anticipated duty stations and when we went to visit, we fell in love with the venue. Even after we found out we would be stationed together, we couldn’t imagine our day at any other place. That proved true on our wedding day. Jami took some creative liberties with decor and it made the night feel as intimate and beautiful as we’d imagined. The most amazing part of the whole experience was spending time with our family and friends leading up to the big night and giving them an opportunity to get to know each other over excellent food, cozy fires, and beautiful scenery. We already consider everyone we invited to be part of our ever-growing family, but it was really amazing seeing our guests feel similarly connected after only a few days and it made our wedding night all the more special.
What inspired your wedding style? Can I say Jami? Joking aside, our overall “must haves” of the weekend were great food, excellent company, and wanting our guests to feel warm and welcome and wanting for nothing. Those things were easily achieved just in picking Hawkesdene. We wanted to be intentional about sharing our love with our friends and family, and honestly, over the several months of phone calls and emails, Jami seemed to get that and she brought an outward expression of our thoughts and feelings. We chose our “party animal” favors because they were small and easy for transport (have to consider that when most of our friends and family flew or drove several hours to be with us) and they serve a dual purpose of being able to hold pictures – if so desired – and any of my friends who have received random cards with printed photos can attest to how much I enjoy sharing captured moments. Our place cards were individual notes Jeff and I wrote to tell each and every person how glad we were that they could be with us and to let them know how much they mean to us – again, emphasizing intentional love. And every other piece – from flowers to our guest book to our #guinnit2winit sign were ideas from our friends/family wanting to share in creating our special day.
Anecdotes about your gown? So, I never realized how much experience women get with navigating the world of big pouffy gowns until we were outside trying to get on the Gator to drive up the and the only people around to help with my dress were Jeff’s groomsmen. If you were ever wondering how many groomsmen it takes to do what one or two bridesmaids can do to manage a wedding gown, the answer is at least six. They each took one small section of my dress and shuffled their way to the Gator while making sure every piece of my dress was protected and kept clean. It was probably the most adorable and hilarious moment.
Favorite moment(s)? Also, at the end of the night, after we danced our last song, Jeff threw me over his shoulder and carried me out and up to our cottage. Mind you, the bottom of my dress was a little torn and tattered from dancing feet and halfway up the walk, we had to stop because I was weirdly being pulled in the opposite direction. Apparently, one part of my dress caught on a rock, then a light, then a bush, then another rock, and so on and so forth until it was pulled apart over several feet. Jeff had to put me down and untangle me from all these inanimate captors. He gathered up the ragged pieces, picked me up again, and carried me the rest of the way. My dress just didn’t want the night to end, it seems.
Funniest moment(s)? The night before the wedding, one of our friends – Louis – gave us the best advice. He told us that the day was going to zoom by and we were going to feel rushed from place to place and time to time, but he told us to pause whenever we thought it to take time to savor our moments together. Those moments are my favorite…when we took time to experience a moment rather than anticipate the next.
First Dance Songs? One of Jeff’s favorite moments was the first look – I had no idea, cause he’s so stoic – but he said the only word he could think was “wow” and he was shocked speechless. He said he had no words and he spent the steps walking up to me trying to figure out how to tell me how beautiful I was. He said he felt similarly when I walked down the isle. I think he used the words “it was the happiest I’ve ever been in my entire life”. I share that sentiment as well. I thought since we did the first look that the walking down the isle part wouldn’t feel as intense, but seeing all our loved ones and seeing him waiting for me was the most incredible feeling of pure joy I’ve ever felt.
*see dress ripping above.
Hands down, funniest/best moment of the night was after Jeff and I had our entrance, then Steve stopped the music and noted that someone was missing. Jeff said, “Drop the beat” and then Darby ran out to “Who let the Dogs Out?” and then she actually ran out and to us, which was pretty amazing.
Our first dance was Your Smiling Face by James Taylor, Jeff’s dance with his mom was What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong, Our last song started as the Jimi Hendrix rendition of the Star Spangled Banner (I told you Jeff really loves America) that then transitioned into Faithfully by Journey