Good beer, a shared love of travel and an online connection brought Holly Franklin and Matthew Fields together in the fall of 2013. The chemistry between energetic Matt and down-to-earth Holly was instant and, seven months later, the pair found themselves falling in love and traveling throughout Italy together.
“When we were in Rome, we went to the Ponte Milvio and did the love lock thing there. After only a few months of dating, I think we both knew,” Holly remembers. Matt ultimately proposed in the Bahamas and the couple relocated from Tallahassee, FL, to Asheville, NC, where Matt works as a sensory analyst for Wicked Weed Brewing and Holly is an interior designer. It was here, in the stunning Appalachian Mountains, that Holly and Matt planned their nuptials for Sunday, September 13, 2015.
The ceremony’s venue was atop wildly beautiful Big Bald Mountain, a favorite hiking spot for the couple. It was an unexpectedly chilly 40 degrees the day of the wedding, but that didn’t stop guests from enjoying a mountaintop picnic and marveling over the breathtaking views.
To reach the ceremony, Holly fearlessly took the mountain trail in her romantic Penelope gown by Love Marley. The wind lifted and played in the dress’ delicate fabric, making for extra-romantic photographs by Amelia Fletcher. Holly didn’t bind herself to the “something new, something borrowed and something blue” tradition, but she did tuck a symbolic penny in her shoe. Her mother, Penny, passed away in 2013 — the penny Holly carried was in her honor and from 1964, her mother’s birth year.
More personal touches were woven throughout the wedding’s decor and format. The overarching theme of the day was beer, a personal ode to the couple, so Holly’s bouquet incorporated bright green hops among muted pink garden roses. To complement the wedding’s laid-back style, bridesmaids selected their own dresses, groomsmen their own formal wear and guests were casually outfitted.
Matt’s stepmother, a Reiki Master and spiritual healer, officiated the ceremony which included a Native American prayer to the four directions, a fitting love lock display by the couple and a beer ceremony. This was Holly’s favorite touch — Matthew wrote about the beer chosen, a Gueuze Kriek, and how it represents marriage.
“Though a gueuze is a very tart, sour beer, especially when it is young, its funky flavor is oddly addictive. And, as time passes, like a good marriage, it will get better and better, becoming smooth and complex at the same time, and satisfying no matter what comes,” Matthew recited.
The newlyweds then invited their 50 guests to join them at Asheville’s Wicked Weed Brewing’s Funkatorium for a celebratory reception. The Funkatorium catered a buffet starring charcuterie, cheese boards and pasta salad, among other hors d’oeuvres, while a bluegrass cover band, Aereo Plaine, set the lively mood. Guests mingled, made toasts, played corn hole and singles tried their luck on the love locks.
A trio of cakes, red velvet with cream cheese, gluten-free lemon with lemon buttercream and carrot with cream cheese, was provided for the guests. The newlyweds themselves aren’t cake fans, so as an added bonus they had Vortex Donuts bring in a medley of salted caramel, blueberry lemon zest and maple bacon mini-donuts.
Guests didn’t leave empty-handed. They were treated to bottles of Holly and Matt’s homemade beer or, for underage and gluten-free guests, peach juice. “We had a porter called ‘For Richer or Porter.’ It was a traditional porter done with light-roasted malts and aged cacao nibs to gave it a well-rounded body and slightly sweet character. The second beer we brewed was a wheat beer called ‘Wedding Bliss Weiss’ … A light and dry American wheat, with hints of citrus and coriander,” Holly explains.
We were stunned to learn how affordable the Fields’ special day was. Their entire wedding rang up to just $6,000. How did they manage such a personal, stylish wedding at an attractive price tag? Holly took on the role of wedding planner and leaned on friends, family and a day-of coordinator to manage reception setup. The ceremony venue was free, wedding favors homemade and the couple hired a professional wedding photographer to capture only the ceremony.
When asked if anything unexpected happened on their wedding day, Holly told us a story that was too good not to share. While exiting the ceremony and waving to guests, Holly’s engagement ring slipped from her finger and flew into the mountain brush. Their day-of search was hopeless, so the Fields returned on Monday armed with a metal detector. The ring was thankfully recovered and the tale is sure to live on at future parties and gatherings. Though with a day as uniquely personal as this couple’s, we predict they’ll have plenty of memorable moments to share over a few craft beers.
We wish Holly and Matt a lifetime of happiness and love!
Event planning: Eleanor Campbell at Events for You
Ceremony Photography: Amelia Fletcher
Reception Photography: Katie Kelleher
Videography: Lucid Image Productions
Ceremony Venue: Big Bald Mountain
Reception Venue and Catering: Wicked Weed Brewing’s Funkatorium
Floral design: Merrimon Florist
Wedding dress: Penelope gown by Love Marley purchased from Vocelles Bridal
Hair: Juliet Fowler from Moxie Salon
Cake: West End Bakery
Donuts: Vortex Donuts
Music: Aereo Plaine
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