Crafting a marriage below the Mason-Dixon line this designer couple, captured by Matthew Moore Photography, ensured every element of ephemera was their own. From tea towels, to pillows, every detail differs from tradition in the chicest way. Kiersa Holy planned a night in the mountains filled with cocktails and local boogie-jazz. More right here!.
From The Bride..Our wedding was a curated contemporary affair with every detail designed by my husband and myself. Blending an outdoor ceremony with an indoor reception truly captured the artistic and eclectic vibe of our personalities and our host city.
Sassy Southern Soirée is the most fitting description of our September 28, 2013 wedding, deep in the throws of Autumn in Asheville, North Carolina. Instead of identifying a theme or color scheme, we purposefully chose every detail with the emotion that it would invoke. How will it make our guests feel, what will they remember, and what will they reflect on—long after the event is over. With that in mind, we thoughtfully crafted each and every element of ephemera ourselves, From the custom screen-printed save the date tea towels, to the bespoke throw pillows displaying our Southern and Swedish heritage and even a hand-painted watercolor cake topper depicting the bride and groom.
I met Joel on his first day of Grad School at Savannah College of Art and Design and we started dating about 6 months later. Over the course of our 8 years of dating (yeah – 8 years!) we got more than our fair share of questions about if we were ever going to “make it official.” I always told Joel that I didn’t need a ring on my finger to show the world that I was in love with him. But I have to admit, when he slipped a platinum set, cushion cut diamond on my finger (which he designed himself) atop a black sand beach in Hawaii, I couldn’t have been more surprised or excited to “wife up.”
Needless to say, we took a very casual approach to our wedding and with that in mind opted to do our “first look” photos at the Asheville City Hall. We had originally wanted to have the ceremony there as it is one of the foremost iconic art-deco buildings in the South. We also thought it would be a fun take on the tradition of getting married at city hall. While that didn’t work out with the city’s restrictions, it was the perfect backdrop for our most intimate photos of the day. As a municipal building, it was completely empty and quiet on a Saturday afternoon so we had total intimacy as we saw each other for the first time. Katie and Matt did an exceptional job capturing the entire day, but I was especially taken aback by how beautiful and emotional these photos are.
Next, we made our way to our modern house in the mountains for a couple of individual shots against the contemporary backdrop and clean architectural lines of the interior. These images provided a great juxtaposition to the bridal party photos we shot later at Hickory Nut Gap Farm. Throughout the day, we tried to find those beautiful dichotomies whether it was the elegant beaded bridesmaid dresses against the rugged mountain backdrop or the structured outdoor ceremony paired with a casual gallery reception, we looked for opportunities to deviate from the expected wedding traditions.
The soiree started with a sentimental and symbolic ceremony around the Johnston Pool of the North Carolina Arboretum. We chose that venue as it was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the same landscape designer made famous for creating Central Park, and we felt it was a great way to pay homage to our home city of New York. One of my favorite details of the ceremony was the screen-printed handkerchief programs I designed for our guests to keep as a reminder of the momentous occasion we all shared together. The ceremony was full of love and lots of laughs as Joel and I wrote most of it ourselves with the help of our amazing officiant, Darr Conradson. The ceremony was modern and fresh as we walked down the aisle to the Coldplay song “Us Against the World” and just as Darr uttered the words, you may kiss the bride, the guests burst in to applause to the tune of “You’re My Best Friend” by Queen in the background.
The words “Mimia & Joel” spelled out in white neon greeted guests as they entered the reception at the Lift Studios, a refurbished Nabisco factory turned contemporary art gallery. We chose this venue as we are both designers (myself an art director and Joel a furniture designer) so we wanted a space that reflected our personalities and eclectic artistic styles. Another great upside to using a gallery space is that we got to support local artists with our wedding budget and not just traditional vendors.
Revelers relished in southern-fried delicacies from local food truck The Lowdown, along with artisanal cocktails, and dancing courtesy of local boogie-jazz band The Roaring Lions. We planned every detail down to the hand-stamped bamboo silverware showcasing phrases like “it’s about forking time” and “for the rest of our knives.” One thing to keep in mind when choosing a non-traditional venue such as an art gallery, there is no kitchen or even a place to wash dishes so we had to find alternatives for plates. We found these fun food boats at a restaurant supply company and I stamped them with a food safe ink stamp I had made that read “eat your heart out.” After over eight years of dating, I think our guests appreciated our tongue-and-cheek approach to our nuptials. We even had our favorite southern snack, Krispy Kreme donuts served on napkins, of course stamped as well, with the line “do-nut you know we love you.”
Our soirée came to a close with guests ripping open hand stitched confetti packets that my mom and I made together, wrapped in the words “Finally” and “Woo-Hoo” as we ran for a 1968 Cadillac convertible. One of our fondest memories of the day is riding through the star-lit streets of Asheville with strangers shouting their congratulations as we rolled through town in the vintage car. It was a magical night in the mountains celebrating a marriage made below the Mason-Dixon.
Photography: Matthew And Katie Moore Of Matthew Moore Photography | Event Planning: Kiersa Holy | Flowers: Urban Farm Girl | Wedding Gown: Vera Wang | Cake: Short Street Cakes | Ceremony Venue: North Carolina Arboretum | Reception Venue: The Lift Studios | Bridesmaids Dresses: Aidan Mattox | Hair And Makeup: Katie Moore | Groom's Suit: Reiss | Officiant: Darr Conradson | Food Truck: The Lowdown | Graphic Design/Art Direction: Mimia Johnson | Groomsmen Attire: Asos | Letterpress Printing: Hand Deliver Press - Samantha Urbanick | Music: The Roaring Lions | Rentals: Professional Party Rentals | Screen Printing: Raygun Printing | Vintage Car Rental: Elite Limousine