Fourth of July will always be a favorite holiday for Ansley Brown and Jeff Bowman. The day has always been surrounded with festivities and loved ones, with everyone typically gathering at Ansley’s parents’ lake house in Cashiers, North Carolina, for the annual tradition. On July 3rd, Ansley’s father always hosts a fun get together at a nearby golf course, and she was bummed that her boyfriend Jeff couldn’t make the trip until the following day. 

“As we pulled into the golf course, my dad stopped in front of the 8th green,” Ansley illustrates. “I got out of the car and walked down the cart path. I saw a bottle of Champagne on ice and Jeff walking onto the green. I was completely in shock as he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.” The newly betrothed then made their way to the clubhouse where friends and family awaited their celebratory arrival. 

Like many couples who had planned to wed in 2020, Ansley and Jeff’s original plans were halted. The couple opted to wed in a micro-wedding ceremony at the beloved lake house and a year later, host a lavish celebration with 200 guests in an area nearby. Though Covid was an unexpected surprise, it allowed the couple to focus on what really mattered: becoming husband and wife. “We never imagined having such an intimate ceremony, but it was the happiest and most special day of my entire life,” Ansley affirms. 

The bride says she had always envisioned getting married in a setting with large moss trees. A renowned luxury hotel provided not only a lush environment filled with grand moss trees and manicured greenery, it provided the perfect location for all attendees to be together on one property all weekend long. They settled on a neutral color scheme, beginning with a gorgeous invitation suite in white, grey, and taupe hues. “My mom helped me every step of the way and was involved in pretty much every decision. I could not have done it without her!” expresses Ansley. 

The weather cooperated beautifully, so the ceremony was able to take place outside in front of the darling chapel. The aisle was decorated with arrangements of white florals and verdure, as well as the arbor where the couple exchanged vows. Guests took their seats at wooden X-back chairs until the bride appeared wearing a chic off-the-shoulder ball gown. “Being able to have my dad walk me down the aisle in my wedding dress towards Jeff was a moment I had always wanted,” remembers Ansley. “Even though we were already technically married, when it finally happened, it did not all take away how special that moment felt. I’ll never forget that.” 

The reverend led an incredible and heartfelt service. “He is someone my family has had a close relationship with for a long time, and he performed our first backyard ceremony as well as our ‘re-do,’” explains the bride. “He had Jeff and me write private letters to him about what our life was like before we met, what it is was like meeting and falling in love, and our hopes for the future. For our second ceremony, we wrote a new letter about our first year of marriage.” 

“I really wanted to bring the outside beauty of Palmetto Bluff inside the ballroom.”

The muted color scheme continued throughout the reception and showcased abundant florals and ambient candlelight beautifully. “I really wanted to bring the outside beauty of Palmetto Bluff inside the ballroom,” illustrates the bride of the décor concept that incorporated large trees “growing” out of the center of banquettes, a canopy of greenery suspended over the dance floor, and Spanish moss adorned over lantern light fixtures. “The entire room had an amazing warm ambience.” 

“We had a band called ‘I Love This Band’ [from EastCoast Entertainment] for most of the evening, and then switched to a DJ late at night,” describes Jeff of the evening revelry. “The band was incredible and got everyone up and dancing from the get-go.” The couple describes the wonderful feeling of finally being able to celebrate with all of their loved ones. “Since we were technically already married, we were able to enjoy and be extremely present with each other and everyone around us,” Ansley adds. “There is truly nothing better because it flies by.” 

The big day was perfect and Ansley and Jeff can’t think of a single thing they would do differently. “I knew the wedding day would be fun, but I did not expect it to be the most fun day I’ve ever had!” reminisces the groom. “It was so stress free, and I think that shows how supported we felt by all our family and friends who were there.”

This real wedding was originally published in the Summer 2022 issue of Inside Weddings magazine. 

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