Monica and Jim April 2011
When Monica and I set out to find the “perfect” wedding destination, we considered all of the things most important to us: a place we could bring our families and friends together for an entire weekend, relaxed yet classic, opening and warm, and deeply connected to the outdoors. In Hidden River we found all of these things and more. The site became the heart of our entire wedding weekend experience, a place where our families grew closer and new and old friends connected. Jeannie, Kelly, Michael, and all of the staff were so welcoming, accommodating, and downright awesome that they truly made our experience unforgettable. On our way out on Sunday, Jeannie mentioned that we should come back anytime when we are in Asheville next (we came all the way from California to get married at Hidden River!)…little does she know that we are already talking about renewing our vows there! And our friends are pushing for that to happen sooner rather than later. Thank you all so much for creating such a beautiful and unique destination for our wedding – we simply could not have asked for anything more.
Jim and Monica
Sarah and Nick-April 2011
Thank you so much for making our wedding so incredibly special. From the amazingly talented local vendors, to Jeanne’s personalized ceremony and sweet message on learning to love, Nick and I couldn’t have been happier. It brought tears to both of our eyes to hear your words of inspiration and encouragement for our journey ahead as a married couple. It surprised and delighted us both to hear all that you had to say, and that you included our guests so much in the process. It spoke to both of our hearts, and will be something that we always cherish.
It was a challenge beginning to plan our wedding from out of town but you two made it so EASY and FUN! As the date approached I grew more and more excited to see it all come together. To see old friends and family, to taste the food, the wine, the cake, to see the beautiful one-of-a-kind flower arrangements, the horses, and to hear the great music — but most of all to see Nick at the altar. I can tell you now that I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the planning process, and am so thrilled that we were so lucky to have found such a perfect venue for the two of us. We love Hidden River and the NC mountains and really felt that everything about our wedding reflected who we are as individuals, and now as a married couple! What a spectacular event. We love Hidden River and the NC mountains and really felt that everything about our wedding reflected who we are as individuals, and now as a married couple! What a spectacular event. We can only hope that other engaged couples have the luck that we had in finding the perfect venue and passionate and kind people to work with for their wedding.
We only hope that other engaged couples have the luck that we had in finding the perfect venue and passionate and kind people to work with for their wedding.
Thank you for sharing in our joy, you are the best!
Sarah & Nick Wagner
Laura and Weogo
Thank you, thank you for the most perfect, most beautiful wedding ever! I really mean it! Our friends and family are still talking about how wonderful it was. The most common descriptors people are using to describe it: ‘so sweet and so much of you two in the ceremony” and “it was magic” and “I have never been so moved by the preacher’s words.” Really, Jeanne, it was just wonderful. “Thank you” just doesn’t begin to express how Weogo and I feel about the work that you did putting it all together. Wow!
Dale and Ivanne
We want to thank you for the wonderful job you did with all the event preparations for our family’s wedding. Love that carriage ride! Your family has a wonderful idea for the weddings and it absolutely leaves a delightful cache of memories for years to come. The two gentlemen who helped with the logistics were the most gentlemanly guys I have met in a long time. God bless you for years to come.
Matthew and Elizabeth
I just wanted to take a moment to let you know how grateful we both are. Last night was the wedding the both of us dreamed of. Not only the location, but the ceremony itself was amazing. We especially appreciate the way you included our son. We will be sure to spread the word about you and your fabulous service and amazing location.
Carolyn — Mother of Christina
Thanks again for all the hard work you and your staff did to make the weddings so wonderful. Thanks for following your dreams in Hidden River and making the place available for us to enjoy during a special time in our family’s life. You really have something special in that piece of property. God Bless.
Amanda — May 2008
Jeanne, thank you so much for the wonderful ceremony at our wedding. You made our day so much more special than even we could have imagined. Nat and I both felt like you spoke every word from your heart, and it made a difference not only to us, but to every guest as well. So many people have commented on different things that you talked about. Several people, my parents included, mentioned the part about looking back at your past with your partner to remember why you fell in love and chose to spend your lives together. My most vivid emotion and memory from my wedding day was experiencing a “perfect” moment with Nat, Ellery, my family and friends. The peacefulness and completeness of the moment was amazing. I hope I never forget that feeling as long as I live. I even had an uncle come to Nat to tell him thank you for making him cry; he didn’t remember what it was like to cry, especially out of joy.
Tamara and Gareth — June 2008
Shanon and Mike’s storybook wedding would never have been possible without your amazing ceremony. No one could have captured the essence of their spirits the way you did. The facility was perfect in every way right down to those classy restrooms! Your hard-working staff is amazing. I realize I set the bar extremely high in my expectations. Hidden River, you, and your kids surpassed them all. Our family will forever be grateful to you all. (Sharon, Mother-of-the-Bride)
Everything was gorgeous, and I can’t stop looking through all of Bill’s pictures! Everything was perfect, and I’m so glad we got to work with you and your staff over the past few months. You’ve been a pleasure to work with, and I’m so glad you were able to bring my uncle’s words to life again. I know he would have been thrilled and humbled. We really appreciate everything you did to make our wedding perfect.
Nikki & Dan
I’m writing to tell you about what we’ve been thinking about during our engagement and why we selected Hidden River for our wedding.
Before we became engaged, Dan and I thought about what having a ceremony would (or would not) mean to us. On the one hand, if we just lived with each other for 3 more years, we would be “married” under common law. So, why have a ceremony at all, we wondered? But something didn’t feel right to us about that. Then, we considered the idea of a legal marriage without the ceremony, but that again felt inconsequential. We agreed that even if we were legally married, we wouldn’t feel married unless we had a full-out ceremony and reception. What then did having a ceremony and reception really mean to us that we weren’t willing to forego? We decided that, in part, we needed the people in our lives to witness it and classify it as a “marriage.” We also decided a ceremony has value because it’s probably easier to say “I do” in the heat of the moment in front of one witness than it is in front of a hundred people who have planned to be there for a year.
We then considered why most marriages fail. We live in the unfortunate day and age where more than half of marriages end in divorce. Dan and I believe that part of the reason for this is the hype that a wedding has, which causes people to make a quick decision about a huge commitment. Why wouldn’t you want to host a big party with all the people you love coming across the nation just for you? Brides especially, when planning for weddings, are constantly told “It’s *your* day. Do what *you* want.” The intention, we’ve deduced, is to make us think that spending a fortune on our wedding is justified. Sure, this is “our” day and it is definitely a momentous milestone, but in the end it is just one day that marks the beginning of many future years of our *marriage.* This doesn’t mean we’re not spending a decent amount on our wedding; we figure this is the one and only day we plan on getting married. But we’ve been trying to keep things in perspective. What matters in the end is not the flower choice, cake flavors, or even the pictures. What matters is that after all the cake is eaten, the flowers wilted, the guests gone home—we have each other.
When we considered what kind of place we would like to get married, we agreed that whatever location we selected had to reflect who we are…and we have always been in love with the mountains. Among all the bustle of work and school, we will often take a weekend hiking trip to remember who we are together without all the “noise.” It is in the mountains and outside hiking that we find ourselves to be the most “us,” so to speak, and where we remember how to listen to each other most fully. What we discovered, however, is that when you go to a beautiful place for a wedding it can begin to feel more like a tourist attraction, and it can get very expensive. From a packaged estate wedding that costs a fortune to an inexpensive chapel wedding, money inevitably plays a role.
Knowing that we’d likely put both a good deal of time and money (but not an exorbitant amount) into our wedding, we began looking for a location with the hope of finding people who share our values about love and marriage for a lifetime, not just about the wedding day. When we found your site at Hidden River and read your philosophy of marriage and commitment, we knew we’d found “the place.” Not only is the location beautiful with a view of the mountains and horses in the pasture. Not only is Hidden River far away from civilization (because I didn’t want to be the bride running across a busy street in her wedding dress). Not only is your farm peaceful. But there is something more: you and Katie and your family are there to run the farm and the business with gentle and understanding hearts, focusing on simplicity and “subtle grandeur” as I call it.
Jeanne, you aren’t a wedding vendor with a desire to push wedding jargon on eager couples at exorbitant wedding prices; you are an officiant and a teacher who spends a lot of her life marrying people and who just happens to own a beautiful piece of property near Asheville. I remember speaking with Katie the first time we visited. She told us that your favorite part of the job is speaking with brides and grooms about what they love about each other. I have to admit, I didn’t believe her until we met with you about our ceremony. Now I understand. And guess what: there are others out there like you!
As we’ve gone along collecting vendors for the wedding, we’ve actually joked many times that almost every person we’ve met in Asheville has more integrity than we’re used to finding in people. We’ve met a florist who loves flowers so much that she warned us she would not offer her services to us if she were forced, for instance, to spray paint flowers (not that we wanted her to). We’ve met a photographer who took us out to lunch on his own dime even after we’d put money down on a contract. We met a cake baker who was more than willing to brainstorm with us for two and a half hours, scrapping several ideas along the way and agreeing to try something no one’s ever asked her to do, just so we would be happy (and at no extra cost to us). We’re starting to think we’re moving to the wrong location (in Cary).
When it comes to our wedding day, we decided that our wedding should not only reflect us but also what comes after it: marriage. We’ve thought of some things to do to make our day special and to move us toward our goal of growing old together. On our RSVP’s, we’ll be asking people to write down their wedding song and we’ll use these songs in our reception for dancing. Each song we use will be introduced by our DJ, who is also our friend. As a way of emphasizing the importance of long term commitment, we will also be including a ritual involving all the married couples. They’ll be asked to get out on the dance floor and keep dancing until the number of years they’ve been married is called aloud by the DJ. The last couple on the dance floor is the one to gets the bouquet or, as an alternative, receives the honor of throwing the bouquet.
We know *our* day won’t be perfect. It could rain (which we hear is good luck). We are not expecting perfection. In fact, we always like hearing those wacky stories about wedding mistakes and we wouldn’t mind having some amusing ones to tell of our own. As long as the wedding represents us, as long as our guests have fun, and as long as Dan and I have each other, we will be content. Because when all is said and done, a wedding lasts a few hours…but a marriage is until death do us part.
Thanks for sharing our ideas with others. I hope others find our contemplations helpful.
Nikki & Dan