In 2006, Jim Vance was competing in a Monte Carlo triathlon when he became smitten with the idea of owning a vineyard like the glorious fields he discovered in the Italian and French countryside. “The area was so moving that before I left, I said to my wife, Deedee, ‘I would like to buy a vineyard.” Two or three months later, the couple bought an apple orchard closer to home near Highlands, North Carolina. In 2007, they began the planting process. Things moved along, and they now own 20 acres in the Highland Plateau, with 10 acres under vine.
When their daughter, Maddie got engaged to her fiancé, Pete Bartlett she knew that she wanted to get married at the family vineyard. The couple was living in Savannah and her family was in Palm Beach, Pete’s family was in Atlanta. Vance said, “The Vineyard was only 2.5 hours from Atlanta which was great for Pete’s family and my family comes to the mountains every summer, so they were excited that we had decided to have the wedding at the Vineyard. We also love the property and we had spent many weekends there and it seemed like the perfect spot.”
Maddie and Pete wanted a wedding that fit their personalities. Their wedding style was rustic chic and wanted their wedding to have a very natural design element. Attire for the bridal party set the tone with cowboy boots and cocktail length lace dresses for the bridesmaids and blue and white checkered shirts for the groomsmen. An unexpected problem arose when their Palm Beach florist was hospitalized a week before the wedding and had to cancel. I Do Events stepped in quickly and found Jodie Zoelher of The Barefoot Flower Girl who came to the rescue. An added bonus was that she is an artist who had just finished an exhibition at the Bascom. She loaned us one of her pieces, a very large bird’s nest which happened to be Maddie and Pete’s logo for their paper suite. I Do Events cleverly added pumpkins to the nest, which also lined the long driveway to the property, perfect for fall. The logo was also used for invitations, programs, menu’s, napkins and wine labels.
Trendy southern comfort food was what the couple had in mind to serve at their reception. I Do Events felt that Max and Alison, Sun In My Belly would be the perfect match for their wedding. After one visit Maddie and Pete knew that they had found their caterer. Max and Alison, co-owners of Sun In My Belly are accustomed to working where there is no kitchen and partnered with Professional Party Rentals of Cashiers to create a workspace and the results were rave reviews.
The bride and her Mother were hands on with creating many of the décor items and had quite a few DIY projects. They collected vintage silver trays, and painted them with chalk board paint to create signs like, “Maddie and Pete’s Wedding”, “Valet Parking”, etc. They made floral containers from tall twigs and branches which were attached to wine bottles with twine. The bottles were then filled with hydrangeas and lined the stone steps leading to the ceremony. Personalized pillows were placed on the pews which the family purchased and refinished. Handkerchiefs were collected from vintage shops and were given out to the female guests as they arrived for the ceremony. Bottles of wine from the vineyard with Maddie and Pet’s customized wine label were given as favors.
When I ask Maddie her most memorable moment, she said, “Walking into the tent with my husband, and we were introduced as Mr. and Mrs. Bartlett. It was the first time I had seen the tent all finished and I really was blown away. I loved just watching all of our guests have fun. My friends and aunts had a surprise dance they choreographed that they surprised me with! It was so cute!” Maddie’s best advice to brides, “Hire a wedding planner and embrace the planning time. It is such a happy moment in your life and it goes by so fast.”