By Natasha Anderson
Whether you’re planning a wedding with a guest list of two or 200, a secluded mountain top gathering or an urban affair, Western North Carolina has a location for you. Area venues offer spectacular scenery as well as an ever-expanding list of options for creating the event of your dreams.
The Cabin Ridge
The Cabin Ridge, an event venue on a mountaintop near Hendersonville, offers new elopement and micro wedding packages to accommodate those looking for a smaller, more affordable wedding. Options range from a brief ceremony with photos to a four-hour timeline that includes many elements of a full-day wedding and accommodates up to 50 guests.
The venue also offers maximum flexibility for larger weddings, with the ability to accommodate up to 130 guests and to choose one’s own vendors or go the do-it-yourself route.
A rustic arbor, a 2400-square-foot pavilion with a stone fireplace, and a rustic barn decorated with hundreds of lights are available for use, as is a wide selection of décor items. The Cabin Ridge is off the grid, operating solely on solar power and gravity rainwater, making it a great option for eco-conscious couples.
“We have really enjoyed the new wedding trends that evolved over the past couple of seasons,” says The Farm’s owner, Beverly Gottfried. “Some of our favorites include vintage and specialty furniture lounge areas, mocktails, personalized dining experiences and intimate destination weddings.”
Originally a family horse farm, The Farm is an award- winning gathering place ten miles from downtown Asheville. The property features a rustic yet elegant event center, wedding gazebo, scenic lawns and gardens, and comfortable, fully equipped cabins and cottages to accommodate up to 38 guests. In addition to an already extensive selection of service and decorative items, the venue now offers Boho Chic, Mid-century Modern and Vintage Glam furniture vignettes. Customized non-alcoholic options from the bar, personalized dining created by executive chef Mike Ferrari, a new small event space, and customizable midweek destination wedding packages are also available.
Christiana and Robert Molinski utilized one such package for their October nuptials. “We don’t get to spend as much time with our families as we’d like so keeping our wedding small and intimate was important to us,” says Christiana. “The Farm’s cabins allowed us to give our families separate spaces to retreat to, while remaining close enough to gather for spur-of-the-moment festivities.”
Maggie Valley Club and Resort
At Maggie Valley Club and Resort, a variety of both indoor and outdoor settings make it easy to plan nearly any size wedding. The Club’s Renaissance Room, which opens onto a covered veranda, can be set up for small or large events while a fireplace patio provides an ideal space for small gatherings. Chef-assisted menu planning, on-site accommodations, and amenities including a wellness spa, 18-hole scenic golf course and heated pool, make it easy to provide an entertaining multi-day event for wedding parties and guests.
Pebble Creek Village
At Pebble Creek Village, in Cashiers, wedding parties can book the entire property, which includes vacation homes, chalets and rooms in a private setting within walking distance of the town’s main shopping area. A conference and banquet center serves as a common meeting area, site for rehearsal dinner, welcome cocktail party or hospitality room. The facility is equipped with a full kitchen, dining tables and a sitting area with gas log fireplace. Grounds include creeks, waterfalls, a lake and walking trails for viewing rhododendron and other native wildflowers.
Elevated Mountain Distilling Company
At Elevated Mountain Distilling Company, in Maggie Valley, couples have a choice of unique options for pre-and post-wedding events and for the ceremony itself. Wedding parties can make their entrance through the barrel rack, pose for photos in front of the still or gather by the creek. Tasting and touring can be arranged for guests prior to the wedding, and bachelor and bachelorette parties can make their own moonshine.
“Most guests have never been to a distillery, so they enjoy the experience of visiting as well as attending the wedding,” says co-owner Dave Angel.
Brevard Music Center
Brevard Music Center (BMC), located on 180 wooded acres, offers on-site lodging and indoor and outdoor event spaces including the new Parker Concert Hall. The venue, which will be available for rentals in fall 2020, boasts a floor-to-ceiling glass-enclosed lobby with lakeside views, an exterior promenade, full audiovisual infrastructure, fully appointed finishing kitchen and the ability to seat up to 250 in a banquet-style setting. The concert hall’s retractable modular seating system allows for ultimate flexibility in floor plan design.
“The exquisite natural beauty surrounding Brevard Music Center’s new Parker Concert Hall is one of its most dramatic features,” says BMC senior director of marketing and communications Cally Jamis Vennare. “The promenade provides the perfect backdrop for guests to gather over cocktails and create memorable photo opportunities.”
Oak Hill on Love Lane
Options for a romantic elopement include Oak Hill on Love Lane, a historic bed and breakfast in Waynesville that offers all-inclusive packages with a one-hour ceremony and up to six guests in the inn’s private garden gazebo; an officiant; assistance with marriage license; a photographer; and a two-night stay. Add-ons include additional venue time, bouquet and boutonniere, and an artisan cake and champagne package, as well as the option of adding up to 20 guests.
“Since purchasing the property I have witnessed couple after couple book a stay with us celebrating their anniversary so why not offer weddings as well?” says Anna Kitzis, who became the inn’s keeper in March 2019. “I’m working with Katrina Evans at Destination Elopements to design more opportunities for couples looking to elope or host a small wedding.”
In addition to weddings, Kitzis can arrange activities including local craft beer and wine tours and massage treatments. On-property, guests can enjoy spa-quality amenities, fresh baked goods and views from the home’s wrap-around veranda. A three-course breakfast is served each morning and a romantic dinner for two can be arranged for newlyweds.
For a contemporary urban wedding, Ambrose West provides several options. The West Asheville event and music venue offers three indoor spaces, a courtyard and two fully stocked bars. Haywood Hall, located upstairs, boasts a wooden barrel ceiling with exposed beams, hardwood floors, ambient lighting and an attached outdoor deck. As the venue’s main concert hall, the space offers excellent acoustics and an energetic vibe. The Beacham Room provides a modern setting, with a checkerboard wooden ceiling, cement flooring, custom lighted bar and gas fireplace. The courtyard is a popular spot for either an outdoor reception or a cocktail hour.
“Custom cocktails are a big hit now and the bar staff really enjoys working with couples to offer a special drink to complement their big day,” says Ambrose West co-owner Donna Fox.
Other amenities and conveniences include space for food trucks, ample parking for guests and availability of staff and vendors to assist the bride, groom and families before, during and after the event, including attention to sustainability concerns and assistance with donating leftover food when possible.
Isis Music Hall
Another West Asheville option is Isis Music Hall, a unique space that can accommodate up to 500 guests. The venue boasts multiple private rooms, three bars, a stage equipped with state-of-the-art sound and lighting, an intimate piano lounge and an outdoor patio with garden space and and a new outdoor stage. Free private parking is available for up to 40 vehicles.
“We have many couples that share a special bond through music, so to be able to exchange their vows on a stage that has been shared by so many music legends is truly a rare experience,” says co-owner Lillianna Woody.
Events at Isis are catered by the venue’s adjoining restaurant, Kitchen 743. The kitchen provides a variety of creative, local and seasonal food with an Asian flair and a nod to Appalachian cuisine. Couples are assisted with ideas for menu choices as well as music and themes.
District Wine Bar
For wine connoisseurs or those simply looking for an intimate space with a bit of edge, District Wine Bar, in Asheville’s River Arts District, hosts nearly any wedding-related event including proposals, bachelor and bachelorette parties, group tastings, showers and receptions, post-reception bashes, rehearsal dinners and pre-and post-wedding brunches.
“We’ve seen a shift from the traditional bachelor and bachelorette parties to group tastings,” says District Wine Bar co-owner Lauri Nichols. “We guide our couples toward unique wines that will wow their guests and we have our knowledgeable staff on hand to host.”
Nichols and staff strive to provide personal attention and flexibility. Depending on the event, they can offer a turnkey experience or work with outside planners and caterers. They are also able to cater to the trend toward smaller, or micro weddings, providing a more luxurious experience for each guest. “Our goal,” says Nichols, “is to create a memorable, stress-free experience for our happy couples.”
To learn more, visit TheFarmEvents.com, MaggieValleyClub.com, BrevardMusic.org, Pebble-Creek.com, OakHillonLoveLane.com, TheCabinRidge.com, AmbroseWest.com, IsisAsheville.com, ElevatedMountain.com and DistrictWineBar.com.