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A Bear Lake Storybook Wedding. By : Laina Hamilton. Once upon a time…. … There was a Girl named Emma and a Boy named Abe Who met and fell in love. Their families had met years earlier and vacationed together every summer at Bear Lake Reserve.

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once upon a time
Once upon a time…

… There was a Girl named Emma and a Boy named AbeWho met and fell in love.Their families had met years earlier and vacationed together every summer atBear Lake Reserve.


Emma an elementary school teacher and Abe a Park Ranger in the Smokey Mountains National Park,Were engaged while on a canoe trip to the waterfalls at Bear Lake Reserve North Carolina.

emma and abe set a date for september 20 th 2014 and then visited three venues
Emma and Abe set a date for September 20th, 2014 and then visited three venues.

Sawyer Family Farmstead

The Farmstead Pavilion is a covered 2,500 sq.ft. purpose-built barn with a wall of French doors opening to an 1,200 sq.ft. wrap-around deck which overlooks the fire pit and waterfall. Surrounded by mountain laurel and rhododendron, the Pavilion also features a bar area and band area for your special event.

Venue fee $4500.00to $10,000 for up to 100 guests.

Castle Ladyhawke

Offering medieval ambiance partnered with today\'s elegance and luxury, this authentically recreated Scottish border castle has been chosen by The Knot magazine as one of their "10 historic venues we love". Once a private estate, Castle Ladyhawke is now offered for weddings, special events, and private or corporate retreats. Available for one day events for up to 200 guests, the castle sits high on a mountain ridge.

Venue Fee $8500.00-$23,000 for up to 100 guests


Bear Lake Reserve

Nestled within the heart of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, Bear Lake Reserve, is the ideal location for your destination wedding. From beachside ceremonies in the heart of summer to celebrations set upon a Mountain Top. Bear Lake Reserve has many venues to choose from. The 2100 acre private resort community includes a 14,000 square foot Lake Club with 2 outdoor heated pools, a spa, fitness center, kids area, media room, and more. There is also a nine hole Nicklaus designed golf course, 2 stocked private trout ponds, over 15 miles of hiking trails a marina with water craft rentals.

Venue Fee $2500.00 to $10.000 for up to 100 guests

Our sweetheart couple met and fell in love at Bear Lake Reserve so it was only natural that they chose Bear Lake Reserve

for their wedding and reception.

With a $30,000.00 budget Emma and Abe enlist the help of Laina Hamilton, the Bear Lake Reserve Event Specialist to help create their Perfect Destination Wedding.


One of the Oaths of a Park Ranger is to Preserve and Protect so it is important to Abe and Emma to respect the foot print we make upon the earth

Emma and Abe chose their save the date announcements and invitations as well as their paper products from a Paper Company named “Love Grows”. This company respects the earth and uses only recycled paper with seeds infused into the paper for their products.


Emma and Abe wish to have a Rustic Mountain Get-a-way wedding theme with touches of vintage elegance and nature inspired whimsy.

They also plan to incorporate Abe’s Cherokee Heritage and Emma’s Mother’s Japanese Heritage into their pre-wedding celebrations, ceremony and reception.


To help make Abe feel special Emma has asked the Best Man to help surprise Abe with a bachelor

Mountain Man Weekend Get-A-Way

filled with white water rafting, trout fishing and zip-lining.

“The Mountains are calling I must go”John Muir


Upon arrival at Bear Lake Reserve Emma and Abe’s wedding guests will be welcomed at the Greeters Cottage and given a gift bag filled with treats, a destination map and a weekend wedding timeline.

Bear Lake Reserve Destination Wedding Weekend

A leaf print [finger print/signature] photo will be

the couples

“Green” Guestbook

Emma and Abe have planned a Wedding Rehearsal Family Picnic the afternoon before the wedding at Bear Creek Park
wedding day happily ever after begins now
Wedding Day “Happily ever after begins now...”

A “Green Print” Wedding to respect the earth is very important to our couple.

Abe and Emma plan to enlist family and friends to help with decorations, music and special touches from the heart.

Emma’s wedding dress has been in the family for generations and was worn by her Mother and her Grandmother.

The bridesmaid’s dresses and the flower girl’s dresses are being made by Emma’s Aunt. Emma’s favorite colors , shades of purple and green infused with white, will be used throughout the décor, attire and flowers.

The Groomsmen will be attired in Dove Grey pants and vests with the Groom in a Grey suit from the Men’s Warehouse.

In Honor of Abe’s Cherokee Heritage the couple has included a Cherokee Wedding Prayer and a Cherokee Wedding Blessing. The couple will also use a Cherokee Wedding vase.

The Cherokee wedding vase was used in the early wedding ceremonies of the Cherokee.  The wedding vase is placed before the couple holding the nourishment of life prepared (ah-me-ge-i).  

The wedding vase is used as a reminder of the essence of living.  To embrace life, never veering from it.


Music for the wedding ceremony, cocktails, dinner hour and after dinner entertainment will be provided by a local Bluegrass Band “Mountain Faith”

Following the Wedding ceremony guests will enjoy a Wine and Cheese cocktail hour Lakeside with music provided by “Mountain Faith”
Following cocktail hour and photos the Bride and Groom will be announced followed by their first dance

To honor Emma’s Mother’s Japanese Heritage the couple has chosen a nature inspired cherry blossom wedding cake topped with live cherry blossoms.

The significance of the cherry blossom tree in Japanese culture goes back hundreds of years. In

Japan the cherry blossom represents the fragility and the beauty of life.


A Children’s activity table, outdoor games and croquet, a whimsical photo booth and a popcorn bar all add fun to the dancing and after dinner celebration


Emma and Abe are giving their guests each a live baby tree sapling so the guests may plant their gift and “Watch our love grow”.[Even the thank you tags are biodegradable with wild flower seeds infused inside the paper]

After a sparkler send-off Abe and Emma will paddle to their honeymoon Mountain Cottage…Happily ever afterBegins now.
Wedding RegistryEmma and Abe have registered at Macys, Target, Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, REI, and Lowes Home and Garden
emma and abe s pre ceremony wedding day timeline
Emma and Abe’s Pre-Ceremony Wedding Day Timeline
  • 10 am for the Guys Mountain Top Golf
  • 10 am for the Girls Spa massages/pedicures/manicures

Noon hair and makeup lite lunch for the girls

1pm guys sandwich lunch at the golf club

1pm venue is set for decorations (tables and chairs are set and ready for flowers etc.)

1pm cake arrives at Lake Club

1pm Florist arrives to decorate venue

1pm videographer sets up at wedding lawn

2pm guys shower and dress at Grooms Cottage

2pm girls dress in Bride cottage

2:30pm photographer

3:00 pm officiate arrives and has wedding license

3:00 pm musicians arrive and set-up

3:15pm Groom and Groomsmen arrive Lake Club Lounge

3:30pm Bridesmaids arrive Lake Club Library along with Brides Mother and flower girls

3:50pm Groom and Groomsmen arrive at wedding lawn Reverend

4:00pm Bride and Father of the Bride arrive at the Lake Club

emma and abe s wedding ceremony timeline with musical score
Emma and Abe’sWedding Ceremony Timeline with Musical Score

[All ceremony music with no vocals] Played by The Mountain Faith Band

4:00pm Music begin guests find their seats Marry Me by Train

4:15pm processional begins with Grooms Mother Imagine by The Beetles

4:20pm Brides Mother seated Looking through the eyes of Love

4:25 pm Brides maids Feather theme song Forest Gump

4:30 pm flower girl and ring boy You Make Me Smile

4:35pm Bride is escorted by Father A thousand Years

4:40pm Blessings and ceremony You are the Sunshine of My Life

5pm Processional Somewhere over the rainbow (Hawaiian)

5-6pm cocktail hour wedding party photos Bluegrass/country mix

6pm announcing the wedding party Celebrate

Bride and Groom first dance At Last By Etta James

Bride and Father dance Brown eyed girl By Van Morrison

Groom and Mother Dance My Wish for you By Rascal Flats

7pm Dinner announced

8pm Wedding cake cut

8:15 Champagne toasts

8:30pm dancing Live Music by Mountain Faith Band

9:30pm sparkler send off

10pm guests shuttle arrives

emma and abe s wedding reception buffet dinner menu
Emma and Abe’s Wedding ReceptionBuffet Dinner Menu
  • Cocktail Hour
  • Asian inspired Duck Confit mini Tacos
  • A selection of cheese and fruits
  • Pork tenderloin skewers
  • Shrimp sushi wraps
  • Stuffed mushroom caps
  • Buffet Dinner
  • Fresh broccoli and baby bella mushrooms infused with scallions and sweet & sour dressing
  • Grilled chicken with lemon infused fresh blackberry glaze
  • Teriyaki steak kabobs with fresh mozzarella and garden fresh tomatoes
  • An authentic Sushi bar
  • Roasted root vegetables
  • Mashed new red potatoes with fresh garlic and Gouda cheese
  • Homemade sour dough bread and freshly creamed butter
  • Fresh fruit salad melody
emma and abe s beverage menu
Emma and Abe’s Beverage Menu

Emma and Abe chose refreshing signature cocktails and a selection of local and imported craft beer and their favorite white and red wine for their guests enjoyment.

Bottled soft drinks

Sweet Tea



Champagne for toasting

The Mountain Man Cocktail (In honor of Abe)

Teacher’s Pet (In honor of Emma)