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A Traditional Yet Modern Wedding at Old Edwards Inn in North Carolina

By Cathleen Freedman | Photography by 

Maggie Braucher

|Planning by 

Lexis Hay of the Aisle

Katherine Matthews and Joshua Stutler were both students at the University of Georgia when Josh joined his friends for a party at her lake house over Memorial Day Weekend in 2019. One of the first things he noticed about her was her enduring empathy and love for others. “And so,” Josh recalls, “the crush began.”

They began dating long-distance, driving between Greenville and Charleston. After six months, Katherine moved to the much more manageable and closer location of Kennesaw, which made date nights easier and more frequent!

One year and two months into their relationship, Josh took Katherine on a trip to Lake Burton, the site of where they first met. Josh recruited Katherine’s best friend from high school, who also happens to be married to Josh’s former roommate, to set up the dock with candles and sunflowers and snap pictures of his proposal. “Josh prepared an entire speech but could only mutter a couple sentences and ‘Will you marry me?’ through the tears,” Katherine remembers. “We made our way to Lake Burton dating and made our way home engaged, and as all married and engaged couples know, the wedding planning began on the car ride home.”

Their first priority was securing the European-inspired Old Edwards Inn in Highlands, North Carolina. Katherine and Josh had been to several weddings there and were charmed by the elegant venue. They toured the space and immediately booked it for the only available remaining day of August 7th, 2021. Katherine notes that “the rest of the South is brutally hot in late summer, but this area of North Carolina feels like an oasis nestled a mere two hours away from Atlanta, where we live.”

The bride wore a form-fitting Anais Anette gown. She, her mother, and soon-to-be mother-in-law picked out the dress together during an outing to the Sentimentalist in Atlanta. Katherine selected each accompanying accessory with the most special people in her life in mind. Her necklace was a gift from her groom who had the foresight to pick a piece that could serve as her “something blue.” Her earrings were graduation gifts from her father, and her shoes were her “something borrowed,” compliments of her mother. Katherine’s finishing final touch was her bracelet, a Christmas gift from her grandmother who could not be at the wedding in person.

For the wedding day, Josh chose a tailored tuxedo from Marietta Square Threads, which is also where his groomsmen’s suits were from. Meanwhile, Katherine’s wedding party was styled in luminous champagne dresses from Show Me Your Mumu.

The Old Edwards Inn’s beautiful orchard was in full bloom on the day of the ceremony. Katherine describes the vista in vivid detail, “It was perfectly drizzly all day, as it often is on summer days in the mountains, but by the time the ceremony was over and the outdoor cocktail hour began, the sun made its appearance…You can imagine the fresh raindrops on the petals throughout the garden, and it felt like it was teeming with life after the rain.”

Modern yet traditional, the ceremony was everything Katherine and Josh had envisioned—thanks to the floral flair of Allie Bowman’s arrangements and Katherine’s sister-in-law’s father who was the officiant. Katherine was so gleeful and thrilled to be married that she had trouble slipping the wedding band over Josh’s finger. Josh, meanwhile, was so ready to skip to the best part of the service that he began leaning in for the kiss while their officiant was still offering a speech of encouragement.

Despite the 95 percent chance of rainstorms, the wedding continued late into the evening with near perfect weather. Guests dined on seafood like crab cakes, oysters, sautĂ©ed scallops, lobster macaroni and cheese, beef tenderloin, springer mountain chicken breast, and cake from Lush Cakery. But the highlight of the evening had to be all of the dancing that followed. Big Night Dynamite played the popular musical canon, ranging from Earth, Wind & Fire to Nelly. The newlyweds swayed to “Wildflowers & Wine” by Marcus King Band for their first dance.

The reception ended with a private last dance to “Me on Whiskey” by Morgan Wallen in the reception hall while guests stood outside with sparkles. During their glittering departure, the couple descended in a Model T to go straight to their honeymoon suite at the Old Edwards Inn.