My Sister’s Gluten Free Wedding
From GFG: My sister met a great guy who shared similar values as her about food and health. They hit it off really quickly and before you know it they were planning eco, gluten-free dream wedding in the Asheville, NC mountains. Here is the full story:
My Sister’s Gluten Free Wedding
From Ellen: One year ago, I married my husband in June 2013. We first met on a hike with an outdoors club and instantly clicked after Micah asked me, “Have you heard of Weston A. Price?” I nonchalantly replied yes because who hasn’t? Well, lots of people, and I just live in an imaginary reality where everyone ferments their cabbage, takes nightly gulps fermented cod liver oil gel, and buys grass fed meat from a man in a parking lot on Thursdays. Needless to say, we fell in love and he proposed to me by a calm river while backpacking in Tennessee in October 2012.
I knew that I wanted an intimate, fun wedding that everyone would enjoy and would be very inclusive- meaning MAYBE no one would have to be drinking in the corner because they don’t like [insert social anxiety causing activity]. We also knew we wanted gluten-free cake made with butter, and we wanted to make our food and location as natural and true to who we are as possible. After realizing that my Family Camp Wedding (think The Parent Trap or Salute Your Shorts wedding style) was not possible due to not feeling totally comfortable having our 90 year old Grandparents sleeping on bunk beds , we decided to have our wedding in my favorite place in the whole world – Bat Cave, North Carolina.
Bat Cave is a tiny town kind lost between Chimney Rock and Asheville, NC. I am very attached to this area, I grew up coming here picking apples in the fall, doing Easter Egg hunts with my cousins around the yard of my grandparents nearby cabin, and hopping from boulder to boulder in the French Broad River. Also, my Dad and I love Dirty Dancing (my father is in love with him “movie girlfriend” Jennifer Grey), and it was filmed in this area. How can you not love everything that is associated with Dirty Dancing? Since we knew we wanted the mountains, we went about planning our gluten-free, natural, primal wedding.
Our Wedding in the Mountains
We decided to have our wedding at Laughing Waters Retreat Center in Gerton, NC. Laughing Waters at Hickory Nut Forest is a retreat site and community center tucked into the woods along highway 74A. When I took Micah to look at it, he immediately loved the whole package. They had everything we wanted: a place in the middle of the mountains, a boulder filled stream flowing along the property, lots of outdoor spaces for the ceremony and reception, and….a CAMPFIRE pit. Plus, Micah and I always dream about living in their nearby eco-community Hickory Nut Forest. Jane at Laughing Waters was super helpful throughout the process, especially planning so much from far away.
Rehearsal Dinner at the Esmeralda Inn
For our wedding rehearsal dinner, we wanted to have an intimate meal with our family. We chose the Esmeralda Inn. It’s a beautiful old inn in Chimney Rock, NC. We were able to cater the menu to our dietary needs (no gluten, and no grains). We were served a fresh green salad for a starter, for the main course we had local pecan crusted trout, local rib eye, pureed garlic butter potatoes, a local veggie, and flourless chocolate cake for dessert. It was so good, steak and trout were cooked PERFECTLY, and the flour less chocolate cake made me smile, as always.
Our Ceremony at Laughing Waters We had our family and friend gather in a circle around the remnants of an old cabin on the property. My father officiated the ceremony, we wrote our own vows (mine were hidden in the pocket of my dress), and we bound our hands at the end with blessings from our family.
I love eating in the Asheville area. It is by far my favorite place to eat. I love all of the farmers markets, pick your own blueberry farms, local cafes, Curate the best Tapas restaurant outside of Spain, and the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. I always find a new place to try, and the restaurants are usually very allergy-friendly, local, and delicious. The local, sustainable, and gmo-free movement is going strong in this area, and eaters get the benefit of quality food just about anywhere you choose to go. We chose to use a lot of great local food and vendors for our wedding. Below are some examples of the great food we shared.
Dinner + Drink at the Wedding
We wanted to have a fun, natural, laid-back wedding. We chose to have barbecue at our wedding because it’s my favorite, it’s very gluten-free friendly, and we wanted to share some country delights with the out of towners from the north on Micah’s side of the family. We got our barbecue catered from a local restaurant called Luella’s BBQ in Asheville. Another favorite of ours when we pass through Asheville. The barbecue, sauces, and most of their sides are gluten free. We had pulled pork, sliced smoked brisket, collards, green chile cheese grits, and potato salad. When we went to try all the foods beforehand my husband said the potato salad tasted just like his grandma’s, it was tangy and mustardy, so he approved! It was all so delicious, and we REALLY enjoyed eating the leftovers again and again.
For our drink, other than spring water with lemon we had a small selection red and white wine that was chosen by my in-laws and we picked a cider to have on tap. The cider was Original Sin Cider and I had tasted it at Farm Burger in Asheville. It is one of the best, crisp, dry ciders I have every tasted. It is not local as the Asheville Cider Boom had not hit yet, but a local store did sell it in kegs that we were able to purchase. Many of my family and friends had never had cider, and they LOVED it. It is crisp and dry enough for beer drinkers, and light and fruity enough for sweeter drink aficionados. It ended up being a perfect balance, and it was great to be able to share something we love with our guests.
Music + Dancing
I wanted to have the closest thing to a hootenanny as I could, and I wanted to do something where most people would be new to the activity so that they would maybe have a new experience. So we had square dancing with a caller and a small band. The best part about it was that almost NO ONE, including Micah and I, had really ever done any square dancing. We chose to hire a a local group of musicians who were well versed in helping beginners. My favorite part of it all was that when I looked around the room at people and dancing, everyone was smiling. Micah and I also were able to dance with multiple people and really get to see and be with our guests having fun. Dancing can be uncomfortable and awkward at times (“All the single ladies to the dance floor…” – AHHH!!), but when you are holding everyone’s hand and moving in a circle or down the line, it makes it much communal and celebratory.
Gluten Free Cakes
Our cakes were from a local natural baker called Short Street Cakes. They use BUTTER, no artificial dyes, and all real food ingredients . I can’t say enough amazing things about the cakes. We decided to get multiple cakes instead of one wedding cake because I LOVE cake, and anything that would get me closer to having a Pollyanna moment with gluten free cake would make my day complete. And believe me I did, I ate cake for a week after the wedding, I don’t even care that it was bad for me because I had been on a cake sabbatical for 3 years.
We used mostly the surroundings to decorate our wedding because we were in the middle of the woods and it was perfect weather and foilage, it was gorgeous. For our flowers, we purchased bulk buckets of wildflowers from a local farm in Fairview, NC called Flying Cloud Farm. It was very affordable at $30 per very full bucket and then I also asked them to make my bouquet and a boutaineer which was $70 for both. The day before the wedding, all of the women from both sides of my family and my two best friends gathered around two tables and arranged flowers in mason jars. It was exactly what I wanted, something wild and beautiful to add to the beauty around us.
Micah and I just had our one year wedding anniversary, and writing this post has made me remember what fun and romantic day we shared with all our loved ones one year ago. I loved everything about my wedding, and I don’t regret one decision I made. I wanted to have a wedding that would be fun for everyone, and that I would be able to share some of my favorite places and tastes with all those that I love.
I wanted simplicity and contentment to abound, and I hope that everyone that attended was able to feel some of that while they were celebrating with us. I would not have been able to do any of it without the support of my entire family and friends. It was truly a group effort from helping us display food, officiate the wedding, pour the champagne, arrange flowers, cut the cakes, and all the many things that everyone did to help us make the day absolutely perfect.
I also could not have the amazing photographs that I am able to share if it were not for Bri McDaniel Photography. She is so wonderful, warm, and professional – she is based in Atlanta but she loves to travel! Our wedding was even featured on Rustic Wedding Chic due to her incredible photos. Weddings should be a very happy, celebratory day for all that are involved, and for me, we nailed it.
I was so glad that I was able to stick to my value of having nutritious, local and gluten free food while enjoying the special day with friends and family. If you follow a Paleo, gluten free or real food lifestyle I urge you to stay on track during holidays and special occasions which will make you feel better for the long term.
Read several other posts that my sister has been featured in:
My Sisters Paleo Bridal Shower
Follow her blog at Me Gusta Mantequilla
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