On a weekend getaway to her parents’ cabin in Cashiers, North Carolina, Marie Elise Williams wondered if this would be the time her boyfriend David Griffin would propose. That Saturday morning, they enjoyed a delicious breakfast and set off for a hike around Fairfield Lake. However, first they had to go into town for a quick shopping trip because David had forgotten his tennis shoes.

While in the moment, David may have been disappointed at his error, but it allowed him to truly surprise his sweetheart, as she no longer thought he was about to propose. “In my preparation-oriented mind, I presumed if David had decided to do it up there, it certainly would not be on the hike where he had forgotten his shoes,” she explains.

After reminiscing about the first time they took the hike together, they stopped to take in the view. David embraced Marie Elise, and as he got down on one knee she realized she should have trusted her original instincts. “My heart was so full,” she muses. “I said yes, and almost a year to the day later, we said ‘I do.’”

Labor Day Weekend was the perfect time to host their wedding, allowing friends and family time to travel and enjoy the beautiful mountain town of Highlands, North Carolina. Guests were invited by way of watercolor invitations featuring a custom family crest made for the couple to showcase many of their favorite things – including Brussels sprouts!

Many aspects of Marie Elise and David’s courtship and wedding were traditional. As a true Southern gentleman, the groom was sure to obtain the approval of his beloved’s parents before popping the question. He also embraced classical music for the ceremony, using one of his few opinions on the big day to request Vivaldi for the processional.

However, modern elements were also present. The lovebirds had a “first look” before the vow exchange and both cite it as one of their most memorable moments. “It was incredibly special,” Marie Elise confirms. David adds that he’ll always remember “turning around to see the most beautiful bride in the world.”

Marie Elise wore a layered A-line gown with a unique pattern on the skirt and an illusion back embellished with beading. The groom and his groomsmen wore azure suits while bridesmaids donned dresses in a baby blue hue. These contemporary ensembles were complemented by the vibrant décor of the ceremony in shades of peach, pink, coral, yellow, poppy red, and raspberry. The hues created a lovely juxtaposition of the natural beauty of the outdoor ceremony space.

Following the vow exchange, attendees recessed to an alfresco cocktail hour where bright multi-colored linens stood out against the verdant backdrop of the venue grounds.

“[Everything was perfect] – the flowers, food, cake, dancing, and, most importantly, love flowing freely!”

When it was time to enter the reception space, guests found their seating assignments on place cards attached to fresh peaches. While the abundance of windows reminded everyone of the lovely foliage outdoors, inside was perhaps even more captivating.

The high beams of the room were adorned with bistro lights, as well as strands of twinkle lights. As if it was in an overgrown garden, the stone fireplace was covered with greenery and colorful roses. An industrial chandelier was similarly embellished with florals and verdure. The wedding cake was lightly frosted and accented with only a few fresh blooms since decoration was unnecessary considering the wow factor of its display.

A swing installation with an abundance of greenery and amaranth in addition to roses and dahlias in saturated hues of pink, peach and coral showcased the confection several feet off the ground. ‘[Our planner] hit a home run with the idea of suspending it in air, [it was] the most memorable object of the reception,” gushes David.

Following dinner, revelers hit the dance floor – customized with the couple’s new family crest – where they enjoyed an energetic performance by the live band. The bride and groom both said they would not change a thing about the day. Everything was perfect, confirms the bride, “The flowers, food, cake, dancing, and, most importantly, love flowing freely!”