We first met Laura & Rita at another mountain wedding, that of Laura’s brother Jon to his now wife Alicia. You might remember their night under the stars, or maybe you remember Laura & Rita’s Durham engagement session. The wedding at Gatlinburg Mansion was another epic success. The weather in the Tennessee mountains was perfect. The couple’s closest friends and family descended upon the venue and created a fun, intimate, love-filled weekend. Pure excellence.
Some key takeaways in no particular order:
– Gatlinburg, TN is not at all what I expected! It’s like if someone took a touristy boardwalk beach town (think Myrtle Beach, Old Orchard Beach, Atlantic City) and plopped it down in the mountains.
– Intimate weddings are AWESOME and all of your friends get to become friends <3
– More couples should incorporate multiple sets of coordinated outfits into their wedding plans.
– Ole Smoky makes some darn good moonshine and whiskey!
– If your caterer (Savory Solutions) is also your dj, you are in for a treat and some surprises 😀
– There is no one I would rather have drive me down narrow, curving mountain roads in the dark than John Kivus…
– … but since I’m pretty much a ball of anxiety the whole time, John would probably rather drive *anyone besides me* down narrow, curving mountain roads in the dark
– This was a FANTASTIC wedding and I’m so glad we got to be a part of it!
Rita & Laura asked us to come the night before to get some photos of the welcome evening as everyone arrived and saw what the mansion had to offer. That night included grilling and a bonfire, so yes, of course.
Here we see coordinated outfits #1 – the getting married sweatshirts and board shorts for hot-tubbing.
Here we have coordinated outfits #2, this time with Rita’s son London joining in the fun. Bacon themed pajamas!
After a family breakfast, everyone spent the morning their own way: some with the hot tub, some with games, some making the decor just perfect, etc. But our brides were getting coordinated outfits #3 together. The wedding ceremony outfits, the dapperest ones of all.
Suspenders, vests, pocket squares, funky ties, and Vans. PERFECTION.
Laura & Rita didn’t want to see one another’s final look until the ceremony moment, so we did a couple first touches…
… and I made this portrait, which is one of my new favorites, of them in their respective rooms.
And then it was time for the afternoon ceremony on the deck overlooking the Smoky Mountains. You couldn’t paint a more perfect setting.
The newlyweds ran off to City Hall to get the marriage recorded before the building closed for the rest of the weekend, and when they made their way back up the mountain, everyone surprised them with an impromptu entrance celebration.
You might think that face on the left there is just celebrating her friends, but it’s actually double celebration. Laura & Rita’s friends Wendy & Hailey had put an offer in for a house the day before and this is the exact moment they found out it got accepted. All the good vibes!
I love when there’s time for shenanigans during family portraits. And I’m so glad I’ve gotten the chance to get to know these families!
After a little bit of dancing, it was clearly time to break out coordinated outfits #4 – the relaxed, tropical honeymoon ready flamingo and pineapple printed shirts and shorts. The matched the strawberry margaritas perfectly.
After dinner from Chef Jeremy, everyone worked together to get all the rocking chairs up to the top level so the group could enjoy some toasts in the sunshine.
The final toast was also a song, and so the newlyweds had a lovely first dance.
And then DJ Skyy (Chef Jeremy’s alter ego) kicked off karaoke and the party kicked into high gear.
The last song was London performing Old Town Road and he killed it!
Before I leave you though, a couple more portraits of the newlyweds, plus a bonus. Often, when I’m setting up a night shot, I’ll have another couple come stand in so I can test my light. These ladies were happy to oblige, and they looked too good for me to not share their portrait as well.
That’s a wrap on this awesome weekend at the Gatlinburg Mansion. LOVED EVERY SECOND.