When, like so many of their engaged cohorts in 2020, Tara and Antoine were forced to change and adapt their wedding plans, they used it as an opportunity to laser in on what they cared about the most. It turns out that the stuff they care about the most is really, really beautiful. When their Boulder, Colorado wedding became a Great Smoky Mountains National Park elopement and they invited me along I decided I couldn’t walk away without trying to capture it ALL. I didn’t have the other half of the Folly photo/video team along or any of our fancy gear. So I made due with what I had with me to put together a simple video story of their vows. (Which were, frankly, incredible.)
Let me start off by introducing Tara and Antoine the way that I got to know them.
I had talked to them both on the phone a few times and already knew I liked them quite a bit. I knew they were warm, funny, and kind as well as very much in love. But, in planning a destination wedding first in Colorado then in North Carolina, they were one of those rare couples that I don’t get to meet in person until their wedding day. So when I first walked into their Asheville home on the morning of their elopement I was so excited to put faces to names! And let me just tell you, Tara exceeded my wildest expectations. Charming, gracious, and ab. so .lute. ly stunning, she welcomed me into her home and I never wanted to leave.
After spending a little time with Tara in Asheville I packed up and headed to Great Smoky Mountains National Park to meet Antoine.
And as soon as he greeted me and welcomed me to the park it was clear that he was the matching bookend to his fiancé. Just as charming and warm as Tara, equally quick to smile and laugh, and just as easy on the eyes. Antoine is a park ranger at Great Smoky Mountain NP and when I asked him to tell me about the park as we walked the nearby trail, he spoke about it with such excitement and passion! (A private ranger talk while photographing a wedding in a national park?! I’m just living’ my best life y’all.)
A short time later Tara and the rest of the crew arrived to complete their finishing touches before the ceremony. Their son was just as excited about the wedding and his role in it as his parents. He had no trouble giving me his “best side” whenever he was in front of the camera.
Finally it was time for the first look.
I had met Tara.
I had met Antoine.
But I had yet to see them together.
And let me tell you, that is a whole new thing. These two absolutely COME ALIVE when they are together. Tara said in her vows that she didn’t ever expect to find her soulmate, that she thought it was “a thing of fairytales and big screen” until she met Antoine. But if there were ever two people more meant for each other I don’t know who it would be.
Next up the Big Moment itself. And as we all turned to watch Tara make her big entrance, it was really her escort that stole the show. Did you ever see so much joy?! It was a magical moment for this family and I know I, for one, will never forget it.
After their moving ceremony it was champagne for all (well NEARLY all). This look! This, “We did it! It’s real!” pure joy look! Freaking magic.
When you marry a park ranger you get all the best views. And a Great Smoky Mountains National Park elopement is GUARANTEED to provide an epic view.
Finally it was time for Tara and Antoine to join their guests back at their home, which had been transformed by East West Vintage Rentals, Flora Asheville, and Braised and Confit into the most beautiful, intimate Sunday dinner setting.
Chef Christian Albrecht of Braised on Confit and his team delivered an incredible dining experience right in the comfort of Tara and Antoine’s home. “Raw, honest, and intentional” food is their speciality and the atmosphere they try to cultivate for their diners. It was the perfect fit for Tara and Antione’s wedding day.
Congratulations Tara and Antoine, and thank you so much for taking me on your elopement adventure. It was truly a privilege and a pleasure. I know this is only the beginning of a new chapter in your beautiful story!
Photography: Folly Photography
Hair and makeup: Asheville Airbrush Makeup + Hair
Florals: Flora Asheville
Rentals: East West Vintage Rentals
Food: Braised and Confit
Dress Designer: Martina Liana bridal
Dress Shop: Blush Bridal Lounge