Marielle DeJong and Cabell Brand grew up in Western North Carolina, and met in Asheville through mutual friends. They connected over many things, but especially their love for the Great Smoky Mountains. Marielle has hiked all 900 miles of trails in the national park, and Cabell is a dedicated fly fisherman. With their love of the great outdoors, it was only natural that Cabell would propose at Shining Rock Mountain off the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Feelings of love and nostalgia led the outdoorsy couple to Cataloochee Ranch, as their first hike together was to the summit of Hemphill Bald, which overlooks the venue. Marielle’s dress was made by her mother and grandmother, and she wore gardenias in her hair as a nod to the gardenias both women carried at their own weddings. The rainbow arbor was built by her father, which both Marielle and her sister stood under to speak their vows on their wedding days.
Many words and prayers throughout the ceremony were from the wedding services that Marielle’s late granddad performed throughout his lifetime as an ordained minister. During the ceremony, which was officiated by Cabell’s brother, both Marielle and Cabell’s mothers read poems special to the couple. Cabell sang and played a bluegrass gospel song, and the couple recited their own vows. Instead of a guest book, guests signed paddles that were then used for the newlywed’s “first canoe ride” on the Cataloochee Ranch pond in lieu of a first dance. The special canoe first belonged to Marielle’s grandparents, and has since been used for many of the couple’s adventures. The night ended with a bonfire at the pond, surrounded by family and friends and the natural beauty of Maggie Valley that the pair loves to explore.
Venue: Cataloochee Ranch
Photography: Taylor Willoughby Photography
Florals: Blue Ridge Blooms
Food: Cataloochee Ranch
Cake: Blue Ridge Bakery, with wooden painted flower additions from Marielle’s three-year-old niece
Hair and makeup: Kalla at Asheville Beauty Bar