Rustic Romance and a Boutonniere Eating Goat

Mandy + Will |

It was New Year’s Eve 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina and Will and Mandy were both at the same party. They briefly spoke but it wasn’t until May that they finally met up for their first date. Talk about a lasting first impression! Mandy was living in Charlotte and Will was living in Raleigh so they decided to meet in neutral territory in Durham. It was one of those perfect first dates where you don’t even realize how much time you spent talking, until the restaurant tells you they are closing!


A year and a half later, the couple had a weekend trip planned to Asheville. Mandy had no idea that she was in for the surprise of her life! Will had always loved surprising her, whether it be with flowers or a bottle of wine, but this time it was a little more elaborate. The first of many surprises began when they arrived at the Inn at Biltmore as their hotel for the weekend, followed by the Christmas candlelight tour. The real surprise began the next day when the couple was walking the grounds and Will got down on one knee. Will then introduced Mandy to the hidden photographer and they continued with pictures. The rest of the day was full of celebration with champagne waiting in their room and Mandy even wore (coincidentally!) the same cocktail dress she wore on that fateful New Year’s Eve night nearly two years ago!

Will and Mandy were married at the Chapel Hill Carriage House on a perfect September evening. They knew they wanted to get married outdoors so the venue was a big decision for them and even though the Carriage House's open air church was still being built, they knew it would be just right.

“We wanted to get married outdoors so selecting a place where the venue and its natural beauty shined was really important to us. Chapel Hill Carriage House was the perfect place,” said Mandy. “The landscaping is breathtaking and we loved all of the rustic charm. The new open air church where we had the ceremony was perfect.”

They opted to keep décor simple with all the right touches. The neutral palette of light pink and gray was spiced up with the pops of rose gold and green. It was a classic, whimsical look perfect for a September wedding.

The couple’s ceremony was a carefully thought out piece of the wedding day. First and foremost, they knew they wanted a string trio for the ceremony. As Mandy walked around the pond on her dad’s arm to the trio’s classical music selection, and through the beautiful wooden doorway, she felt so lucky to be marrying her best friend and love of her life.

“Walking around the pond with my Dad and seeing everyone come out to support us on our special day was another moment I won't forget,” Mandy recalled. “We had almost 200 guests so it meant the world to us that everyone was there to celebrate with us! Will and I wrote our own promises to each other and planned every detail of our ceremony (or tried to)! My uncle is a pastor so having him officiate the ceremony added more of a personal touch for us.”

The arch the couple exchanged their personal vows under was covered in eucalyptus leaves with a side scape of lush white and blush hydrangeas and roses. The bride’s bouquet was a perfect complement to the arch; it was full of white and blush hydrangeas, garden roses, ranunculus, freesias, eucalyptus leaves, greenery and the perfect accent of dusty miller. The bridesmaids carried smaller versions for a cohesive look. The pale pink bridesmaid’s dresses from Kennedy Blue tied the look together perfectly.

Also perfect? Mandy’s dress! The lace detail, low back and jeweled straps of the Pronovias dress are to die for. While Mandy may not have thought so right away, in the end she fell in love.

“I thought I would choose one style and I ended up going with something completely different,” explained the bride. “I actually wasn't 100 percent sold on the dress I picked at first and ended up switching colors after I left the store but I guess my mom really does know best because it turned out to be the best choice for me. I felt so beautiful and it fit me like a glove!”

The groom and groomsmen all matched in a classic medium gray suit from The Groomsman Suit. They pulled the look together with a blush striped tie and gray socks with pink flamingos from the Tie Bar.

After the ceremony, while the couple took pictures, the guests flowed into cocktail hour where they were greeted by the couple’s signature drinks. The “Will” was a lime twisted gin and tonic and the “Mandy” was a Deep Eddy’s Grapefruit vodka and club soda with a lime.

The couple’s newlywed photoshoot ended up being one of the most memorable moments of the whole day. When they invited the venue’s goat and alpaca into the shot, they got more than they bargained for.

“I picked up Rosie [the goat] to take a picture,” said the bride. “Will and I leaned in for a kiss and we heard this loud chomping sound. Lo and behold, Rosie had eaten Will's boutonnière!! It was hilarious and caught on picture and video so it's great we can relive that moment! We crack up laughing every time we see those pictures/video.”

The reception space was magical. The outdoor space boasted the most gorgeous wooden beams. The couple knew what they were doing when they opted to keep centerpieces simple to highlight the space. The mix of white lanterns and small white and blush arrangements on top of gray linens with blush napkins was a special kind of beautiful. Of course there were more hydrangeas, roses and eucalyptus to keep with that same romantic feel.

And where the couple sat to enjoy their first meal as husband and wife? A sweetheart table with a textured overlay tablecloth set in front of two wine barrels in between sheer draping and underneath a chandelier laced with greenery. Can we eat dinner here every night please (especially if it's made by Beau Catering)?!

Once guests made their way into the open air reception, they were greeted by all sorts of personal touches. Moss letters made by the bride and groom that hung on the balcony when you walked in, several signs (like the welcome and signature drinks) hand lettered by the bride’s sister-in-law’s sister and a thumb print designed guest book by the groom’s cousin.

“We also had a spot set up where guests could leave us marriage advice,” said Mandy. “It's really important to us to get guidance from our friends and family as we start this new journey. Having personal touches throughout our space made the day really special!”

The couple even had an ode to their alma mater, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with Carolina blue koozies and napkins.

The night continued with first dances, speeches and of course, cake! The three-tier white frosted cake was tastefully decorated with clusters of roses on each tier, topped with one large cluster all in different shades of pink and ivory.

Mandy and Will enjoyed their evening with family and friends dancing on the dance floor and visiting the ZimZoom Photobooth. As the sun set on that surprisingly cool September evening, the room was lit up with market light for the dreamiest look of rustic romance.

“Surprisingly, it was a little chilly that night so Brenda put on a fire in the outdoor fireplace which was really nice,” said Mandy. It added to our relaxed vibe. If you didn't feel like dancing you could cozy up by the fire. Will and I are both big dancers so most of our guests stayed on the dance floor with us until the very end!”

Once they shut the dance floor down, Will and Mandy headed outside for the final send off. Their guests lined the exit with sparklers in hand to send the newlyweds off in style. 

Looking to add more excitement to your wedding day? Visit ZimZoom Photoboothto add some fun guest entertainment!

Creative Team

Once in a Blue Moon Bakery

Rentals & Decor
CE Rentals (Charlotte)

Wedding Enhancements
ZimZoom Photobooth

The Flower Patch

Chapel Hill Carriage House

Kast Events & Company

Krystal Kast Photography

Raleigh Event DJ

Beau Catering

Sugar Shack Films

Makeup by Ashley Mooney

Wentworth & Sloan Jeweler

The Groomsman Suite

Paper Goods + Calligraphy
Reaves Engraving

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