Kathy and Tom's Beautiful DIY Wedding in Black Mountain, NC / by Michael Oppenheim

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What happens when you join together a professional dancer harboring a penchant for collecting fine china and a love of gardening with a professional musician who also happens to be a wine rep with a passion for wine and bubbly?  You essentially have the foundation of a dream-team when it comes to orchestrating and coordinating your very own wedding!    Kathy Meyers and Tom Leiner poured their hearts, souls, and talents into creating a very unique wedding that reflected their personalities and interests; and because they are immersed in very collaborative professional fields they were also able to rely on the creative contributions of many of their friends and family. Tom plays guitar in The Business, an Asheville band that plays everything from jazz standards to Motown and funk at weddings locally, regionally, and nationally.  And, yes, Tom played at his own wedding!  Kathy  has turned her passion for china and silver into a new business venture, UpStyled Placesettings.  Wedding couples and event planners can rent from Kathy an interesting collection of fine china and silverware for events large and small. Her friends Kelly Duncan (UpStyled Placesettings)  and Tom Howard of Claude's Antiques also helped with the reception decorations and props.    This is what Kathy had to say about the design aesthetic they were shooting for at their wedding:

"We wanted everything in the space to be set with intention and for it to reflect what we love:  music, dance, good food and wine, the mountains where we live, and most of all have it be a great space for family and friends to celebrate with us. We brought in the elements of Tom's love of wine and music with the wine bottles wrapped in sheet music with different love songs. And we filled those bottles and a great deal of the space with plants and flowers from our yard, since i love gardening. We also brought in my love of dance by having dancers as part of the ceremony. We served our delicious food on vintage china place setting like my mother would have done, and also honored family passed by creating an altar of family photos. We kept the decor reflective of our preference of simple line and beauty with Asian Antiques and a cohesive color palette creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere much like our home. All the details including the cranes folded with messages of love filled our day with reminders of what is important in our lives."

Kathy wore a Ship to Shore wedding dress designed by R. Brooke Priddy and you can see images from the portrait session we did a few weeks before the wedding at Lake Eden in Black Mountain here.  Kathy had this to say about her experience with working with Brooke in the design process, wearing the dress, and working with me during our shoot:

"Working with Brooke to create my dress and then having the photo shoot with Michael before the wedding was a transformative experience. I started off thinking my dress would be black and white, and during the process found the joy of shedding the black to reveal chartreuse and eggplant gracing my garment. This was more symbolic and transformative than i could have imagined, it really helped me prepare emotionally for a new life. Brooke is supportive, collaborative and all about the process of creating a personal experience that is as unique as the dress. To top this all off, being able to move and dance in my dress during a photo shoot with Michael prior to the wedding day was perfect.  I felt as if I was able to become more comfortable and confident with Michael's encouragement, he captured the joy and beauty of the dress. It may sound odd to some people, but the dress and photo shoot have become the metaphor of my transformation to a new and loving life.  It isn't just the finished products I have now, it was the process."

I hope the images that follow truly reflect Kathy and Tom's beautiful personalities and the collaboration with so many of their talented friends and family.  Enjoy!

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