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Sarah and David
When the bagpiper began filling the air with a song called “Highland Cathedral,” it was a fitting soundtrack for bride Sarah Hess to make her entrance for two reasons. First, she was crossing the lawn of the Old Edwards Inn and Spa, which is located in Highlands, North Carolina. Second, she was walking toward David Mackenzie, whose ancestors, the clan Mackenzie, have lived in the Scottish Highlands since the Middle Ages. “A bagpiper is always an important part of our family’s special events,” says the groom, and what could be more special than marrying Sarah in front of 184 guests? Although she’s not Scottish, Sarah was thrilled to have the bagpipes, describing the music as “hauntingly beautiful.”
David felt the same way about her when they met as law students. “The first time I saw Sarah, I thought, ‘I want to learn more about her,’” he remembers. Fate gave him a chance when he was assigned a study carrel back-to-back with hers. “We got to know each other at those desks,” says David. “That established a friendship before it became a romance.”
The relationship was long-distance for two years while Sarah worked at a law firm in Atlanta and David finished school in Virginia. It became an engagement on a vacation in England during the 2012 Summer Olympics. The pair were biking through the countryside when, Sarah recalls, “at a little stream overlooking a meadow, Dave got down on one knee and proposed,” giving her a ring set with his beloved late grandmother’s diamond.
Now both lawyers living in Atlanta, the couple chose their wedding location because of what Sarah describes as its “rustic lodge feeling” and majestic scenery. On October 5, 2013, a Presbyterian ceremony was held outside, in what the officiant, Reverend Hunter Coleman, called “God’s church.” After the vows, everyone moved into a barn, where the head table was decorated with ribbons inspired by the family’s tartan, for a dinner of roast lamb crusted with herbs grown on-site. Amid the dancing, the newlyweds paused to take in the room. David then shared with Sarah what he couldn’t bring himself to say in front of everybody during his toast: “We’re looking at our friends and family having the most amazing time,” recalls Sarah, “and he’s telling me all the things he loves about me.”
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Fall, in Love
The letterpressed invitation suite, by Cheree Berry Paper, featured acorns and pine cones and previewed the event’s neutrals-and-green palette. Apple postage stamps kept up the autumnal theme.
“I love fall,” says Sarah, a self- proclaimed “cold-weather person.” And her October 5th wedding set out to celebrate autumn—subtly. “This wasn’t going to be, ‘It’s Fall, Y’all!,” says planner and designer Calder Clark, “with orange and brown and gourds.” Instead, they worked within a range of greens, taupes, and tans, reflecting the lodge and mountains around them.
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A Wee One
A friend’s son acted as ring bearer.
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The newlyweds recessed from the ceremony, which took place in front of a farm table decorated with leafy, green smilax garlands and topped with planters of hydrangeas, Queen anne’s lace, snowberries, and viburnum.
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A Familiar Tune
Bagpiper Dave Landis played “Scotland the Brave” as the newlyweds walked back up the aisle.
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A Bountiful Bouquet
The bride’s green-and-white bouquet included lisianthus, eucalyptus, and garden roses wrapped in beige silk and finished with a plaid ribbon.
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Pretty in Plum
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A Symbolic Detail
He didn’t end up sporting a kilt, but david did wear a boutonniere made of thistle, the Scottish national symbol.
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Paper antlers rose from the top of sage-green escort cards in a witty nod to the bucolic location.
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A Refined and Rustic Reception
The décor of the reception, which was held in the barn and pavilion of the Old Edwards Inn, played up the venue’s mountaintop setting. The wooden tables went uncovered except for the head table’s plaid runners; ribbons in the same pattern gussied up the bride and groom’s chairs, which were also hung with smilax. Tables held arrangements of roses, viburnum, snowberries, Queen anne’s lace, and hydrangeas. during the reception, the Infinity Show band played dance music, including Motown’s greatest hits, on a white stage against a backdrop of greenery twined with twinkle lights.
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Tartan Table Touches
Antlers made an appearance on the head table, too—only this time they were real and accompanied by beeswax candles, glass votives, and a runner in a neutral-colored take on the Mackenzie plaid.
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Two lounge areas, overhung with smilax vines, were set apart in the reception space for guests to relax.
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Notes for the Newlyweds
Instead of autographing a guest book, attendees wrote notes to the couple that they tied to this topiary. At the end of the evening, they were collected and slipped into a keepsake book.
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A framed chalkboard was calligraphed with the reception menu, spelling out all of the courses but keeping the confections on the dessert buffet a surprise.
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The menu for the fall fête featured cream of pumpkin-and-butternut-squash soup with crispy Jerusalem artichokes.
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Location and Catering: Old Edwards Inn Resort and Spa
Event Planning and Design: Calder Clark
Flowers and Fabric: Blossoms Events
Photography: Tec Petaja
Stationery: Cheree Berry Paper
Music: Dave Landis (828-482-2129); Mary Daniels and Friends; Infinity Show Band
Rentals: DC Rental; La Tavola Fine Linen
Hair: Sevin Vee (404-502-2663)
Makeup: Kelly Martuscello
Bride’s Gown and Shoes: Monique Lhuillier
Accessories: [veil] Tia Mazza Bridal; [earrings] Kenneth Jay Lane
Groom’s Shirt: Calvin Klein
Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse
Transportation: Elite Limousine
Lighting: Matt Clouser with Active Productions
Tent: Skyline Tent Company