Tuesday, December 11, 2018
I’ve noticed a strong trend of gift-giving at weddings. I’ve also noticed that the wedding favors are becoming things that people will actually use, and not lose or throw away later. Mollie chose chapstick with custom labels for her early fall wedding. I don’t know about you… but I am forever moisturizing my lips in the winter, so I practically screamed out “Yes!” when I was offered one of these favors. There weren’t many favors left at the end of the night, either.
Wedding day is a good time to show gratitude to those you love. It leaves a more lasting imprint in the memory, too, which I think comes in handy during hard times. (And you know there will be the challenging days along with the falling rose petal days!)
Mollie chose a bracelet for her mother, knowing she enjoys beautiful things. She chose a custom inscribed hammer for her husband which read, “As We Build Our Lives Together.” She added his favorite candy to the gift which further said to him, “I thought about you as a person.” “I thought about what you mean to me, how hard you work for our family, and added a sweet way to make the tough times bearable.”
As head of the household, Logan chose the absolute perfect gift for Mollie… a Bible with her name inscribed on the front, and their wedding date written inside the cover. Placing God first in the marriage is the best way to ensure its success!
These days, the internet gives a myriad of opportunities for creative gifts. I’d be willing to bet that someone out there can make whatever you’re thinking about with a quick Google search. Start brainstorming and simply writing down little key words that describe your partner, and then narrow a few words down to a search like “gifts for….” In addition to a broad Google search, one of the best go-to sites for custom gift ideas is still Etsy.
Pinterest has a lot of great ideas, too, but it’s more for the quick choices and less for the creative thought process, in my opinion. But then again, you know someone who had an original thought put it out there to get it started… and if it’s a good one, well why not go with it? If the shoe fits, wear it. LOL
The most important thing is that you take the time to consider the one you love in a way they will appreciate and cherish. Ask yourself, “will they put this in a drawer and forget about it, or will they find some use and enjoyment from it?” If it will build on the relationship, that’s even better! So… here’s to wedding day gift-giving!
Thursday, December 06, 2018
Zach and Ayla’s names are forever written in the cover of their family Bible. This long-standing tradition was practiced by my own family, and I still cherish my great-grandmother’s written words in a book that barely stays together now. (It wasn’t a Bible that sat on a shelf… it was regularly read from.)
This wedding pulled on our heart strings because Ayla’s parents passed some years ago. She had developed an even stronger family since then, but a girl never forgets her mother and father. I’m sure that’s why she set up a candle and pictures in memory of them and tied their wedding rings to her bouquet.
Ayla’s son was honored more than once during the wedding. He was the designated ring bearer, and he was included in the blending of the sands in a unique hour glass vase. We’ve seen a lot of unity sand vases over the years, and this particular version is my favorite!
Ayla’s love for horses drew her to our farm, and Sugar bonded with her immediately. We managed to walk into the horse field during the sweetest light of the day, too! The sun caressed everything it touched, making every scene we photographed worthy of a book cover. Sugar stood as close to Ayla as she could get, as if to hug her, and my heart felt this interaction. This is why I enjoy being a wedding photographer so much! These are the moments that drive me.
Everything just seemed to fall into place on their wedding day, October 6th, 2018. Early fall is the best time to get married in the Smoky Mountains!
Ayla chose our “Country Charm” wedding package, with five hours of activity time for their ceremony, photography, and reception. Chef Tony brought another of his mouth-watering meals and artistic cakes, From the Heart Florist wowed with a fall themed bouquet, and Jack Russell of KnoxVegas DJ’s entertained.
Ayla, you are a true beauty! Our prayers and love will be with you and Zach during your marriage journey. What God has joined together, let no man put asunder!
Friday, November 16, 2018
Early fall around here means the weather is just right for a family gathering in the Smoky Mountains. The leaves may not have changed yet, but our flowers are still blooming and you’ll even catch a few butterflies sipping end of season nectar. Our horses are at their happiest, too, with daily events taking place bringing them company to impress.
Shane’s love for Natasha meant booking a wedding venue that coincided with her love for horses. A man in love will do whatever it takes to make his bride smile! So, on September 29th they loaded up with their family to our quaint little red barn for some barbecue, socializing, dancing & “horsing around.”
Speaking of family, we’re talking about those with a history of marital longevity, one in which has been married for 55 years and still going strong! I watched these older couples and noticed that they still hold hands, pray together, dance together… heck they just plain did everything TOGETHER.
I also watched Natasha and Shane as they danced their first dance to “Tangled up in You” by Staind. Shane sang the entire song to her, looking deeply into her eyes and caressing her softly as they swayed to the music. Viewing a site like this evokes powerful emotions in me… it gives meaning to my life.
If you’re wondering about their choice of wedding package, it was our “Country Style” with mouth-watering barbecue by the local Corky’s restaurant in Pigeon Forge. Flowers were provided by From the Heart Florist, the cake by Smoky Mountain Cakes, and their first dance song (among many, many other dance songs) was played by DJ “Jack Russell” of KnoxVegas DJ’s. Chocolate brown table cloths, burlap table runners, and fall décor were provided by our very own Honeysuckle Hills wedding venue.
And what about the horses, you ask? Well, of course Natasha got to spend a long time in our horse field with Sugar and Ben! Her gentle, animal-loving soul was felt by our white horse, Sugar, and many beautiful wedding images were captured. Many times Sugar seemed to bow to pour out her love, and she even gave Natasha a sweet kiss!
My favorite photograph, however, was taken at the end of the evening. I took a lower camera angle and asked my assistant to use the off-camera lighting behind them. It made me think of those old western movies where the cowboy and cowgirl ride off into the sunset together…
So, Natasha and Shane… here’s to your happily ever after and the enjoyment of 100 years of sunsets, dances, and staying “tangled up” together!
Saturday, August 25, 2018
Need some decorating ideas for your wedding?
Want to know how to have a stress-free, FUN wedding in the Smoky Mountains?
Welcome to Honeysuckle Hills, where our family loves putting together all-inclusive weddings for couples from all over the world.
|Yep... there's a live beta fish in that bowl for Mr. and Mrs. Fish|
Kara married a man named Joe Fish. She covered a fishing theme better than any we've seen yet!
While you don't have to bring a single thing to your wedding at Honeysuckle Hills (we are always set up and fully decorated,) we love it when couples bring their own things to make it more personal.
Plus, all you have to do is back up the truck to our doors, unload, and let Tashia and Aunt Sharon put it all out for you.
|Wedding favor gummy worms, complete with fishing pails and fishing rods!|
If you don't have the know-how or gifted friends to gather themed decorations for you, simply hire Tashia and Aunt Sharon to do it. They'll bust the doors of Hobby Lobby wide open when you assign your theme and budget.
This wedding is still worth a look for ideas even if you aren't marrying a guy with the last name fish. We've seen similar decor for couples who love fishing together on the lake or river.
This is a great example of our "Country Charm" wedding package. With amazing all-inclusive vendors like From the Heart Florist, the famous Chef Tony Catering, and KnoxVegas DJ's, it doesn't get any better!
|Keep your guests laughing non-stop with this fun guessing game by KnoxVegas DJ's!|
Jack Russell with KnoxVegas DJ's knocked it out of the park with a little game they play with the wedding party. Watch Kara's wedding video to hear the funny question, answer, and hilarious commentary! You might want to add this to your own wedding here if you have a larger guest count with plenty of activity time.
AND... also listen to Kara's story about how Joe designed their wedding ring. It will touch your heart and you wont' be able to stop talking about it for days.
Our very own Regina (aka "The Squirrel Girl,) provided the wedding photography.
|The creek runs through the entire property at Honeysuckle Hills|
|Our horses, Sugar and Ben, are always happy to pose for the camera!|
|A prayer and hand-holding just before the ceremony is a touching way to start the wedding|
Let the family at Honeysuckle Hills start planning your wedding today!
They only accept one wedding each day, so don't put it off one second longer...
Monday, May 21, 2018
It’s no secret by now… I love elopements more than any other kind of wedding we host at Honeysuckle Hills. We have a great time and give 110% to all our weddings, but I can say without hesitation that any wedding with under 50 guests is a wedding more enjoyed by the bride and groom.
|Our covered pavilion is one of many ceremony options at Honeysuckle Hills. Usually chosen as a back-up plan for rain, some of our couples like its cool shade in the warmer months.|
Eloping doesn’t always mean just the two of you. Sometimes it means bringing along a few of your closest family members. It’s difficult to exclude parents, especially, or sisters and best friends.
One rule of thumb I tell my brides when deciding who to invite is to answer this question… Have you spoken to this person in the past 48 hours? Further, have you seen them in person in the past seven days? If so, invite them to your elopement. If not, it may end up causing stress and unnecessary expense.
The Honeysuckle Hills “Family Elopement” is a two hour wedding reservation that allows plenty of time for photographs of the two of you, as well as family portraits.
Some of our best bridal portraits of Tiffany were taken in the dressing room just before the ceremony. My assistant, Emily, provided a soft light source in the form of a video light for me, since dressing areas don’t always have the best light.
For Tiffany’s family images, we did a combination of traditional portraits along with a few lifestyle, or more emotional images.
Tiffany chose to have photographs made in areas with the most green at our venue, so the images would match her home décor best. Our enchanted forest and horse field fit this description for her perfectly.
|One of two bridges across the water at our wedding venue, the arched bridge is more formal.|
The family chose Mama’s Farmhouse as their meeting place for an after wedding restaurant reception. Mmmm… delicious! Good, southern comfort food delivered in an unending fashion!
Information about this wedding package
A Family Elopement
$2100 Wed through Fri $2600 Saturdays
· Two hours of ceremony and photography time
· Recommended for couples, their children, and up to 30 wedding guests
· Officiant to perform the ceremony and file the license
· Ceremony and up to four locations on property for the photographs of the couple
· Family and wedding party photographs after your ceremony
· $175 Credit at From the Heart Florist for bouquets and boutonnieres
· Flash drive of all wedding images with release to print on your own
· $200 credit toward prints, canvases or wedding albums (can also be used as a discount on the wedding package)
Have questions? Email Regina
Friday, April 27, 2018
Occasionally we still get the question, “will you marry an interracial couple?” The love story of Mandy and Steven will hopefully answer with a resounding, “YES.”
You know how some people give you that high energy, happy feeling just being around them? That’s Mandy and Steven all the way! They are a couple who undoubtedly will be on their honeymoon for decades.
The middle of April is one of the best times of year to get married in the Smoky Mountains. Mandy and Steven did our “Just About Us” wedding elopement package on a weekday just before the antique car show arrived in town. There were just enough early arriving old cars and trucks for Steven to enjoy, but not the insane traffic a Pigeon Forge Rod Run usually causes by the weekend.
The pink azaleas in the woods were in full bloom, along with dogwoods, Granny’s yellow roses, and the yellow wildflowers in the horse field.
To give a little “emotional atmosphere,” we popped out a can of “atmosphere in a can” for the waterfall photographs. It did the trick, showing up as delightful romance with the back-light of the sun. It makes it look like early morning fog. Speaking of fog, the Smoky Mountains gets its name from the haze that the leaves "breathe" into the air during the summer.
Our little waterfall is man-made, but looks just like one you'd find on a hike in the Smoky Mountains. Many people want to get married at a real waterfall, but when they are faced with the fact it requires at least a one mile hike, sometimes much longer, they opt for one like ours. Honeysuckle Hills is not open to the public, so another plus is that your wedding won't be crashed by tourists.
Honeysuckle Hills in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee just might be the right place for you to get married, too!
Thursday, April 12, 2018
I’m absolutely loving our decision to dedicate ourselves to only one wedding each day now. Kimberly had enough time to relax in the dressing room and do her own hair and make-up. Sometimes this is the better alternative to hiring a stylist to come to the venue, or going to a salon.
There’s definitely something to be said about getting all “dolled up” for your wedding. However, elopements are more low-key, and grooms often tell me they want their bride to look more like themselves. They want the woman they fell in love with.
They say rain is good luck on your wedding day. I know it sometimes feels like people are just trying to make you feel better by saying this, but truthfully life wouldn’t exist without water. Therefore, love wouldn’t exist, right?
Kimberly and Jeff got their share of good luck rain on their April 7th, so they decided to get married beneath the chandelier. They were the first to stand on our new stamped stone walkways. The view outside the barn doors is different, too, with our brand-new six foot water wheel. It’s just like the one at the Old Mill in Pigeon Forge, only smaller…
Kimberly and Jeff met in church, and they’ve actually known each other for 22 years. I can imagine how difficult it must have been for Kimberly to keep her attraction for Jeff at bay when it wasn’t appropriate. But life happened, and they are now free to love each other for the rest of their lives!
I always ask our brides what they love about each other the most. Kimberly said Jeff loves like Jesus does. Jeff said Kimberly loves unconditionally… is “tenacious,” and finds something beautiful even in ugly things.
Their wedding day theme was “A cord of three strands is not easily broken.” They are another couple with strong faith in God, and believe that a marriage has the best chance with God as its center.
Kimberly’s advice to other Honeysuckle Hills brides would be to bring a pair of warmer shoes if you’re getting married in early spring. Her little toes were quite cold during her outdoor wedding photographs!
Because of the rain we did use mostly covered areas for photographs like our new balcony, walls and windows inside the barn, and the use of umbrellas.
Brother Phil King officiated their wedding.
From the Heart Florist provided the lovely bridal bouquet.
My photography assistant was Gracie, my fiery red-haired neighbor who has interned with me for over two years now. (Sweet Emily was given the weekend off for a trip to Florida, where she was much warmer than we were!)
Kimberly and Jeff chose our “Just About Us” wedding package. It’s a simple, sweet, one hour wedding reservation for their ceremony and photography.