If rain on your wedding day is lucky, then the Deans are the luckiest of all. The rain from Hurricane Joaquin was not enough to keep Alex and Zac Dean from exchanging personal vows in front of 85 of their closest (and most travel-determined) loved ones on October 2, 2015, at Hidden River in Asheville, North Carolina.
Alex and Zac met at a mutual friend’s going-away party and, after knowing each other for five years, they got engaged on May 7, 2015. Zac put together a scavenger hunt involving family and friends that led Alex through the Queen City to all of their favorite places — and ended with Alex finding him standing at the front of First Methodist Church in Uptown Charlotte. Zac lined the aisles with rose petals and candles, playing “You’re Beautiful” by Sarah Reeves (which was also their processional song) and, as Alex approached him, he listed the many things he loves about her and then asked her to be his wife. If you think that sounds romantic, just wait until you hear about their wedding day!
With their engagement in May and their wedding set for October, Alex and Zac were quick in planning their dream wedding. As avid lovers of both the mountains and the outdoors, Asheville was the perfect destination for their big day. Located just two hours away from Charlotte, they planned their picture-perfect outdoor wedding complete with mountains, a river, gardens, a red barn and horses! Alex even came into the ceremony on a horse-drawn carriage. Hidden River provided a package that included the flowers, caterer, décor, alcohol, DJ and day-of coordinator. Apart from that, Alex did all the planning herself, from the hand-held gold streamers that she made for their getaway, to the wedding dress she designed herself.
Alex’s favorite part of wedding planning was that of her wedding dress. She originally planned to wear her mother’s wedding gown, as it fit her almost perfectly. As Alex puts it, she was “obsessed with it.” Sadly, there was a big stain on the chest that would not come out and, after trying multiple places to get it removed to no avail, she was referred to Erin Bohanon of RCB Fashion in Charlotte. Erin, like many before her, told Alex that she was unable to remove the stain; however she came up with the perfect solution, “Let’s make your dream dress using parts of your mom’s dress.” Being able to wear a dress that was created from parts of her mother’s dress and designed by Alex made her dress all the more special to her. Not to mention, even though it was custom made, it was actually more cost effective to design it than to buy it from a boutique!
One of Alex and Zac’s favorite memories from the wedding weekend was their rehearsal dinner the night before the big day. Alex’s family rented a huge mountain lodge for them to stay in, and Zac’s mom decorated the lodge’s porch with beautiful lights and flowers. Their guests were able to share their words of wisdom with the couple and Zac’s cousin, who is a DJ, got the festivities going playing music and making it a dance party that would set the tone for a fun and memorable weekend for their family.
Sadly, the day of the wedding coincided with the arrival of Joaquin, a Category 4 hurricane that hit the East Coast. Their original wedding plans included an outdoor ceremony next to a rushing river, an outdoor cocktail hour next to a flower garden and pond, and there also were to be outdoor games and a fire pit. Due to the bad weather, the couple instead was married under their reception tent on the dance floor and, although it wasn’t what they planned, it was beautiful — and Alex and Zac were so grateful to celebrate their love with those they love most. They danced their first dance to “Better Together” by Jack Johnson and shared a joint parent dance to “Shower The People” by James Taylor, which was appropriate for the day’s weather.
When asked about how they felt on their wedding day leading up to the ceremony, Alex replies that she “felt at peace” knowing she was surrounded by the people who were most important in her life and that she was covered in prayers because she was exactly where God wanted her to be. Zac’s response was that “God’s timing is always perfect” and that he was excited and so glad that the day they had been waiting for so long was finally there.
Luckily the rain had no effect on the delicious food and beverages. For cocktail hour, guests enjoyed local beer and wine, cheese and veggie platters, and an amazing fondue dip that was inside of a pumpkin. For their reception, Alex and Zac decided to not assign seats, as they wanted to create a laid back and comfortable atmosphere for their guests. For dinner, they decided on a shrimp and grits station (similar to a mashed potato bar), chicken skewers, brisket sliders, roasted vegetables, mashed sweet potatoes and a seasonal salad. For dessert, they had a small pound cake for their cake cutting, and they also served cupcakes, cheesecake and Tollhouse cookie pie!
After a night of dinner and dancing, Alex and Zac made their getaway through gold streamers held by their loved ones before driving away in a Mercedes-Benz driven by one of Zac’s best friends. Their honeymoon destination? A European extravaganza! They went to Europe for 14 days — starting in Italy and taking a Mediterranean cruise to Croatia, Turkey and Greece, then venturing to Switzerland. Their advice to couples currently planning their wedding? “Accept that not everything is going to go as planned, take some time to step back away from the party and take it all in — and enjoy the fact that every single person is there for you because they love you.”
Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Dean! May your love be stronger than any hurricane.
Venue: Hidden River, Asheville, North Carolina
Photographer: Alyson Willis Photography
Videographer: Isaac Aaron Media
Bride’s gown: Designed and Restored by RCB Fashion
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Ralph Lauren Nordstrom
Groom’s & groomsmen’s formalwear: Macy’s
Invitations: Becky Kobsik rkDesigns
Flowers: Hidden River
Catering: Anne’s Custom Catering
Music: Hidden River
Cake: Anne’s Custom Catering
Church of engagement: First United Methodist Church
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