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An Outdoor Wedding Ceremony—and Kitchen!—in Tennessee

By Alexandra Macon | Photography by 

Tec Petaja

Handbag designer Amy Zurek first met Noah Davis, a postwar and contemporary art specialist at Christie’s, in high school, but things didn’t turn romantic until many years later, when the two reconnected in New York after graduating from college. After five years of dating, the two were having dinner at Amy’s favorite restaurant in New York, Tartine, for Valentine’s Day when Noah started acting strangely. “I knew something was up because Noah didn’t finish his food, which has literally never happened before,” she explains. “Sure enough, once we stepped outside onto the street corner, he bent down on one knee. It was freezing, there was snow on the ground,  and I was anxious to get home so I was very confused. But then I realized what was happening and we both burst into joyful laughter.”

Even though Amy and Noah both grew up in Los Angeles, they agreed that they wanted to tie the knot somewhere meaningful and personal; a place their children could someday visit. “Noah’s parents have a beautiful home in Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee, which has grown dear to us and where we have made many great memories,” she says. “The house is in a hollow surrounded by the most magical woods and we knew this would make the perfect setting. There are two twin birch trees that have grown next to each other at the edge of a clearing, and we knew that was the exact spot where we wanted to be married.” They set the wedding date for the spring and hired Jaclyn Journey as their wedding planner.

When she first started looking for a dress, Amy felt a bit lost. “My personal style is very minimal, but I wanted something romantic and soft that would reflect the natural setting,” she says. With the help of wedding stylist Cynthia Cook Smith, she found a Reem Acra gown for her wedding day and a Martha Medieros couture dress for the rehearsal dinner. She finished off her look with something borrowed and something new: diamond and pearl earrings from her mother, and a platinum bracelet gifted by her new mother-in-law. As for Noah, he went with a navy blue Cesare Attolini suit, while bridesmaids each chose their own dresses in shades of ivory and cream. “Three of my bridesmaids were men, and they wore light khaki suits,” Amy adds.

On a May afternoon, guests walked along a winding path and small bridge to reach the ceremony site of Amy and Noah’s wedding. “We wanted them to feel like they’d stumbled upon a special and magical place, because that’s what it was to us,” she says. The couple was married in front of two twin birch trees by the groom’s father, Mac Davis. “Mac is both the funniest and wisest person we know, so it felt right to have him officiate the ceremony,” she says. “He made us feel right at home.”

Once they were declared husband and wife, the newlyweds and their guests headed towards the reception area, where Heirloom Fire caterers had set up an outdoor kitchen where everyone could watch the meal as it was being cooked. Wood roasted salmon and whole roasted leg of beef was served, along with seasonal vegetables and a risotto made from ingredients foraged near the Davis’s Tennessee home. When it was time to cut the cake, Noah accidentally got some frosting on his new wife’s arm. “In his characteristically goofy way, he decided to lick it off with everyone watching,” she says.

For their first dance, the couple chose Etta James’s classic, “At Last,” but they weren’t alone on the dance floor for long. “After dinner, my dad made a heartfelt toast and everyone danced to our incredible band until the end of the night,” Amy remembers. “Everyone, even our older guests, was on their feet!” Once the party wrapped up, the newlyweds retreated off to a romantic cottage in the town of Leiper’s Fork; a lovely way to start their marriage before heading off to an even lovelier honeymoon in Greece.