The Carolinas Magazine Feature: Summer High Hampton Inn Wedding
From the Bride: When Chris and I began planning our wedding, we knew we wanted the weekend to be exciting, filled with moments of discovery, connection, care, and celebration. With those goals in mind, it became clear that High Hampton Inn & Country Club in Cashiers, North Carolina would provide the perfect venue and setting.
High Hampton’s historic lodge is nestled in a verdant, mountainous haven– essentially, a gorgeous, laid-back summer camp where we hoped our our friends and family could really relax. It is also a place of great personal significance- I have been going to the Inn with my own family since I was four years old, hiking through forests of rhododendron and ferns, swimming in the breathtakingly cold lake water, picking dahlias, playing kickball on the lawn, going for golf cart rides, and even working as a counselor for the children’s day camp.
New and stunning vistas await around every corner, and we made full use of the property’s seemingly endless beauty throughout the weekend, with a Friday luncheon in the century-old dahlia garden and the wedding ceremony on a lawn beneath the craggy, towering face of Rock Mountain. High Hampton also boasts an heirloom tree garden; one of my favorite, most cherished memories involved walking through a weeping beech’s trailing, leafy branches to see Chris for our first look. It was magical to share a few quiet moments together in the tree’s light-dappled embrace before everything began.
During the planning process, we also resolved to inflect each detail with as much love and joy as we could muster. A dynamic team of talented vendors, friends, and family helped us achieve that goal, including Kelly Lenárd of Intertwine, Elizabeth and David of Almond Leaf Studios, Cortney Jackson of Asheville Event Co. and Chelsea Powell of High Hampton, and Liz Scott. For example, Kelly took our request to reflect the splendor of North Carolinian flora and absolutely ran with it– her breathtaking bouquets, arrangements, and arbor featured an ebullient variety of local blooms, such as café au lait dahlias, chocolate Queen Anne’s lace, strawflowers, jam tart garden roses, smokebush, ferns, and other leaves all foraged from the surrounding area. Liz lent her incredible design skills to our invitations, signage, and programs, all of which featured gorgeous illustrations of ferns, symbols of shelter and reverie– a fitting motif for this special moment. Elizabeth and David kept us laughing and relaxed for photographs, and Cortney and Chelsea were our rocks throughout the day. We’re still pinching ourselves, amazed at how lucky we were to have such a fabulous group of people supporting our vision.
And the list doesn’t end there! For the bridal procession, Rob Dwyer, a spectacular musician and one of Chris’s best friends and groomsmen, played a lilting seventeenth-century Gaelic tune, “Tabhair dom do Lámh (Give me your hand),” on the mandolin. My grandfather, the Reverend Dr. Robert H. Ramey, Jr., collaborated with our dear family friend, the Reverend Dr. Joel G. Hafer, to officiate the ceremony and vows- it was a profound experience to be married by people of such importance in our own lives, both spiritually and personally. We felt the love of family members no longer with us as well; my veil had been worn by my late grandmother, and the pearl brooch on the ribbon of my bouquet was from Chris’s late grandmother.
Another particularly memorable moment was, simply put, the llamas. Since we wanted to emphasize High Hampton’s own quirks and charm, we couldn’t resist incorporating these furry friends who have roamed the grounds for many years, entertaining adults and children alike. Bedecked in floral wreaths, a host of llamas greeted our guests during the ceremony’s recess, and then led the procession to the reception pavilion, bells tinkling as they went. If you don’t believe me, we have ample photographic evidence, thanks to Elizabeth and David! One thing I didn’t expect was for the llamas to linger with us during the cocktail hour- they just tucked their legs underneath them and laid down in the shade of our tent, transforming the scene into a kind of whimsical menagerie. My ultimate advice from this experience– skip the photo booth, and just hire llamas instead! The results on instagram were priceless (see for yourself: #youmaynowchristhemize).
All in all, our wedding exceeded every expectation and delivered more happiness and love than we ever thought possible. There were many clever eclipse-themed toasts (the 2017 solar eclipse was set to reach totality in Cashiers the following Monday), a delicious dinner replete with High Hampton’s legendary fried chicken and grilled mountain trout, party poppers filled with colorful crowns and fake mustaches, and a spirited mother-son dance to “Tequila Song” by the Champs- which really got the dance party started. And better yet, the masterful DJ Groove kept the dance floor absolutely wild throughout the night. I have to confess to have even done the worm… in my wedding dress. When I think about these moments, I wish I could live inside them- we wanted the celebration to never end. But end it did, as all things do. With stars shining and sparklers gleaming, we hopped aboard our get-away golf cart and drove into the night, hearts full to bursting.
Congratulations & Best wishes, Ramey & Chris! xo Cortney Jackson