Carla & Matt's intimate mountain cabin wedding

May 11 |
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Photos by Rachel Babb

The offbeat bride: Carla, Custom Cabinetry Designer and All-Around Design Maven

Her offbeat partner: Matt, South Carolina National Guard Adjunct General Executive Assistant

Date and location of wedding: Bryson City, NC — October 29, 2011

Our offbeat wedding at a glance: Matt and I decided to elope sometime in the fall of 2011. But after a few weeks of consideration, we realized that having an actual wedding with our closest friends and family was pretty important to us. However, the idea of having a big, traditional wedding in some pre-conceived venue just felt completely wrong. We wanted to have an event that felt unique to us and celebrated what we loved most: each other, fall, our close family members and friends, our pets, and a strong visual aesthetic (not necessarily in that order).

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We decided to have our wedding on the deck of a mountain cabin with a great view, which was also where we stayed for our honeymoon. This was one of my favorite aspects of the wedding. We had the wedding at the perfect time, at the height of fall leaf color, right before the sun set.

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We decided against having a wedding party, as we both didn't know how to play favorites with our friends and family. Our wedding was casual, laid-back, and we were lucky enough to have our friends and family be very involved with helping to pull it all off.

We limited our guest list to immediate family and grandparents, and close friends only. This way we only had the people who cared about us the most there.

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Tell us about the ceremony: We are not very traditional, and we didn't want to have any meaningless traditions in our ceremony. So we kept it short and sweet, read a meaningful poem by e.e. cummings, "I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)," wrote our own vows, and made references to the mountains we were overlooking. We also had a fire pit to keep everyone warm during the ceremony. It nearly caught my dress on fire, but we loved it anyway. And later, we were able to use the fire pit to make s'mores!

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Our biggest challenge: Our biggest challenge was that we decided to do all of the food and decorations ourselves. This was almost a bust, as one hour before the wedding the only people at the cabin were my husband, my cousin, and myself, and no food had been made or decorations set. However, after everyone arrived we were able to have everything set up and kick off the wedding (albeit 45 minutes late).

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My favorite moment: The ceremony was my favorite part. We wanted to make it as personalized as possible, and left out all the traditional parts that weren't necessary or required by law. We wrote our own vows, and of course had Matt's beloved family dog, Manfred, be our ring bearer. We also requested that the officiant take a moment to consider those who could not be with us on our wedding day, specifically my Aunt Jan who died a few months before and was like a mother to me.

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My funniest moment: The funniest moment was trying to get Manfred, Matt's miniature sheltie and our ring bearer, to actual bring the rings to us. My mom made a a beautiful pillow for him out of a larger vintage lace pillow, and it looked adorable on him. However, we had a fire pit that we stood a few feet away from to help keep me warm during the ceremony, and the fire scared him a lot. At the moment when we needed the rings, Matt called Manfred who came initially, but then he ran away with the rings, came back, and ran away again. Eventually Matt was able to get the rings off, but nearly dropped them in the slats between the wood of the deck!

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My advice for Offbeat Brides: Don't try to take on too much yourself. Too much doing-it-yourself is just too much work for your wedding day, which always whizzes by like a blur. Personalize it as much as you can without overwhelming yourself.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. Holy balls the location for this wedding is so gorgeous!!!! It looks like the perfect celebration of marriage and they both look so happy :) Congrats!

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  2. Carla,

    You look absolutely gorgeous! It's great to see how it all came together. Best wishes to you both! xoxo – Monique

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  3. Wow! Thank you so much for sharing your wedding, it's beautiful!! I too want a small and sweet wedding but everywhere I've looked for a venue feels too…wedding-y and just not me. I ADORE the intimate cabin surrounded by nature and will now be looking for one for my wedding. THANK YOU for the inspiration Carla and Matt! Oh, and the dress by Ouma-stunning!!

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    • Thank you! I highly recommend mountain cabins– very beautiful and intimate!

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      • First off, let me say your photos kick-ass =D your wedding looked great! I'm trying to plan an out-of-town cabin wedding myself in the Smoky Mountains – can you suggest some sites you looked at? Or were of any help? When contacting the cabins did you inform them that you were looking to have a wedding there?

        Thanks for your help! Or anyone's for that matter ;)

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  4. What a gorgeous wedding! I am lovin the last picture too- LOL! The dress by Ouma is stunning- I have pinned a few of her dresses to my inspiration board but wasn't sure about the quality of construction & fabric… It looks simply gorgeous!

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    • Thank you! My dress from Ouma was everything I hoped it would be. Excellent quality and she worked with my on creating a lot of support in the bodice like I asked. I want to order another dress from her at some point!

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  5. OH BOY OH BOY OH BOY now I wanna have my wedding JUST LIKE THAT ONE it is SO SO SO PRETTY. And my Gentleman's family has a bunch of cottages in the woods! So it will totally definitely work! YAYYY!!

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  6. Gorgeous location – and the bride has such an awesome smile in every shot!

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  7. Ahh this is so gorgeous!! I love the barefoot photo.

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    • He got them from H&M, but had to look really hard for them!

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  8. Absolutely love your wedding! My wedding is set in Tennessee for June and I can whole heatedly relate to having a very intimate wedding. I loved reading about your biggest challenge because its the same thing I"m facing by having a small wedding in a cabin. You've given me a renewed sense of hope after seeing your beautiful wedding!

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    • Aww, I love this! Thank you! I'm sure your wedding will be beautiful as well!

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  9. I would love to know where the bride got her gorgeous cover-up? I love it!

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    • Thanks! I got it from bhldn.com. They have gorgeous stuff!

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  10. I thought I was the only woman who wanted a stunning white dress and to be barefoot! Congratulations – I wish the best for you both!

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  11. This wedding is really beautiful. Everything about it including the location make this wedding absolutely great

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  12. This wedding is gorgeous! I plan on getting married in the Smokies in TN, and this is the perfect bit of inspiration. Thank you for sharing–this seemed like it was a beautiful celebration!

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  13. I'm planning a pretty similar wedding to this and on a tight budget. Do you have an estimate of around how much the whole thing cost?

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  14. Wow! Gorgeous location! I'm diggin your dress and the grooms shoes. Such a cute couple!

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