"Appalachia is our homeland. It’s where we first met, it’s where I began my transgender journey, it’s where we found a queer community that taught us how to radically love and be loved, it’s the smell of the mountain air, the clean crystal creeks, and the raw beauty of the fall foliage, so it was very easy for us to choose that location for our wedding. Asheville, being a world renowned wedding destination, was a little outside of our budget, but after a lot of internet sleuthing we came across a perfect venue just a hop over the border in Trade, Tennessee. White Fence Farm was the whole package: beautiful outdoor space for the ceremony, covered barn and kitchen for catering and reception, covered stage for DJ and dancing, a large fire pit, and even a farmhouse and a couple airstreams on the property that slept nearly all of our wedding party, and the price was unbeatable. But the real showstopper was the view. Located in a small valley right in the middle of the Appalachian mountains, the rolling hills loomed on all sides, and we planned it just right so that our wedding weekend coincided with peak leaf colors throughout the region. We were planning a Tennessee wedding from our couch in Austin, Texas, so putting the deposit down on the farm without having seen it was a huge risk. Turns out, we couldn’t have dreamed a more perfect setting.
Our queer/trans identities are a significant part of who we are as individuals and as a couple, so we knew we wanted our wedding to reflect that as much as possible. Throughout our whole wedding process we tried to be as thoughtful and intentional about every decision, no matter how small, so that everyone involved could be as authentic as possible. We took the time to write our ceremony with original content from procession to recession and cut out a lot of the traditional 'who gives this bride away' and 'to love, cherish, and obey' weirdness that dates back to wives being gifts and possessions to be owned. We opted for a ceremony that highlighted equality starting with having my parents walk me down the aisle before Hannah. My father spent most of my life hoping to walk his daughter down the aisle, and as a family we didn’t see why my transition into his son should have to rob either of us from that experience. Our niece donned a dapper little suit as our ring bearer, and our family friends were our leaf boys throwing fallen leaves collected around the farm instead of flowers. Even our boutonnieres and bouquets were sourced from the property and put together the morning of the wedding! In the interest of preventing any self-image discomfort, we talked individually to each of our brides and groomspeople and our officiant about what clothing they would be most comfortable in, and they all looked spectacular! We chose Alex Bee as our photographer because of her undeniable talent, of course, but also because she is openly supportive of LGBTQ relationships/weddings, and we are big believers of putting our money into people and businesses that share those ideals. Hannah and I were both very impressed to see a preferred pronouns section on her opening questionnaire, and it allowed us both to breathe easier knowing that the person taking pictures of us, especially while getting dressed and ready, was somebody we could feel safe around. We hired a friend from Durham, DJ PlayPlay, to handle the tunes, and I gotta tell ya, once the dancing started it went all night long!
For being a couple of kids from the country, we sure do know how to have a queer ol’ time! The night ended with some fireworks, sparklers, and s’mores, all under the light of the supermoon surrounded by all the colors, smells, and sounds of an Appalachian autumn. If we could plan it again, I don’t think we’d change a thing.”
Photos by Alex Bee Photo
I believe wedding photography is a people watcher's dream job. I'm in love with a career that allows me to photograph genuine moments. From wedding party attendees to parents to coworkers, each wedding comes with a rush of excitement to document each relationship. Beyond wedding photography, I enjoy my two cats, eating Thai food with my high school sweetheart, Jeff, and exploring my Appalachian roots in East Tennessee.