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Coley K Photography is an Asheville Family Photographer specializing in organic, simple, timeless family photographs and heirloom products for you to save and share for generations.
January 8, 2018
I had the honor of meeting with Andy and hearing the story of Cabin Ridge. The story is as enchanting as the view itself. Here is what she said…
“This land has been in my family for several generations. My grandfather built the original home over here, a cabin, back in the early 20s when he married my grandmother, and they just lived off the land up here. They had fruit trees and gardens and stuff in this area here.
So I’ve known for many years that I would have to get creative in order to keep the place because of taxes, etc, and upkeep on the land. So probably somewhere between 12 and 15 years ago I started a little bit working up here on days off to clear the land, and move some debris and get it back in order over time. My vision kept changing a bit based on necessity of what was here. So after going on that magic medicare age, I started this. I just started really small since I was a nurse for umpteen years. First year I just did 3 weddings from word of mouth, and since that time, I’ve grown steadily and learned a lot. I started with tents and then had this built. This will be the third season with this.
Theres never been any traditional power up here. Duke Energy said many many years ago I would never have enough money to put underground power up here. So I started off with the tents just using a generator. Now I have solar. I had the barn built up there because the bathrooms are run by the rainwater collected off the roof. The cabin didn’t used to have a bathroom, so I had that built on and then later had this little one built here.
Power serves everything: DJs, bands, all the lighting (I provide the lighting, everything is LED) so its just like a solar house. It does everything except theres no heating, no air conditioning, no cooking with electricity. So of course thats typically a given anyway… People don’t normally cook at outdoor weddings. and if they do, they bring a little grill top or something if the caterer is going to do something special. So thats usually not an issue. The solar does a fantastic job. I’ve had 3 DJs tell me its the purest power because it doesn’t use a transformer. So I’ve been very pleased with it. I was a little nervous to start out with it, but its been awesome.
I’m not open in the winter, just May through October. Even in October, there can be some chilly nights, evenings, or even days. And sometimes even in early may! So I do have side walls that I can let down. So if they need to, they can rent some propane heaters from Classic Events that blow in heat under the side walls. In fact, anyone who rents in the latter half of October I tell them thats not a bad idea to put that on a contingency basis. You just never know. And the side walls help to if there happens to be a storm blowing through or if theres blowing rain. At least let down the sides that are impacted. Like today the wind is coming from the West as it does 90 percent of the time. We may just have to put down a couple of the sides to make it comfortable. Most of the time, thankfully, we don’t have to bother with them.
The fireplace is not usually used for a fire except usually in the fall. Most of the time, the fireplace is a focal point used for flowers, photos, the fireplace is the most popular place for a sweetheart table. In the fall, we definitely can have a fire. In fact, sometimes having the fire and the sidewalls down is just what anyone needs. Especially if its just kind of chilly.
So all that being said it has a capacity of no more than 150. A lot of folks who come here have a DIY wedding. Most of the folks who come here have some sort of connection to the mountains, I think. They love mountain views and hiking. I see a lot of history in some of the couples that went hiking while they were dating and camping. That appeals to a lot of folks I think. The weddings here some are so very simple, which is one of the joys that I have being able to see what all different people do. Some people have the most minimal of decor and so forth because they just want a pretty place to have a wedding all the way up to strolling musicians in the yard and so forth. So from one extreme to the other. That part is nice for me.
Theres two ceremony sites.. This one here, which most people choose. If you’re familiar with Mt. Piscah. Thats Mt. Piscah in the very back row. That tall one there. So that orients folks sometimes when they’re accustomed to the area or have heard of Mt. Piscah or hiked the National Forest. And thats due west so the sunsets are pretty awesome.
This is the other ceremony site. Some couples like it better because theres flowers and stuff in there and greenery on the arbor and such. It feels a little warmer and more intimate.
The walk for the bride, or most popular walk, is to come out of the cabin, where they get ready, come through this arbor, go through that arbor and then walk down the isle.
This was my grandparents house. So this is obviously the oldest building on site. This is where the girls usually hang out. Depending on their choice, the girls can hang out here all day, have their hair done in here, have their makeup artist here. Some go to a salon or a hotel and then come here later. All the girls get dresses here. We have a place to hang the long dresses.
The parking lot is in the field here. Some people have their guests transported by school bus/ activity bus. We have a lot of out of town weddings. I think most people who come here have some kind of connection either having vacationed here or they have a contact, a family friend or family in the area.
This is the barn. The downstairs is used for a cocktail hour and the upstairs is where the guys get ready.
This is will be 7th year of doing weddings. I now do about 30 weddings a year. Never two in a row just to be conservative with the resources.
What I learned early on is there are usually some little things people have forgotten or might want to use. A lot of this stuff, especially the wooden stuff, I made because I had the resources around. Then I collected a few things that I’ve learned people need, and it saves them from having to buy things. Some people use a lot of it some people none of it. I tell them they can use anything and everything for $50 including shepherd’s hooks, log rounds, little jars to hang on the shepherd’s hooks and thats just to help me replenish things. Thats another thing I do in the winter. I’ve just been learning a little bit along. A lot of people use tubs. I have a lot of galvanized tubs people can use for drinks. I’ve also got the cornhole, which is rarely not used.
As far as decor, a “classy rustic” would fit more than anything. Theres the occasional “bohemian” or a themed wedding. But in general, people are looking for a place that they can see their own vision. I try to make things generic so it can go towards the lace and the sparkles or towards the wood and the burlap. I don’t want people feeling locked in to what I choose.
I think theres a focus on “natural.” I hear a lot of folks say we want to have a family/ friend reunion.”
I think that is beautiful that a cabin and some land that began as a first home for Andy’s grandparents, now gets to serve as a place where friends and family gather to witness and celebrate new families being made.
This is part of a blog series on Asheville Wedding Venues. Please check out the other venues I’ve featured: