Beth and Jonathan | Deerfields Retreat | Horseshoe, NC

Meeting your future bride at a steampunk wedding gives you pretty good insight into the level of awesomeness to expect.  I was thrilled when Beth and Jonathan got engaged and they called me to photograph their campground wedding just outside of Asheville, NC.

Beth and Jonathan met in July 2011 at Transformus, an annual outdoor festival at Deerfields, Beth was relaxing at her camp, sipping on a margarita, when she noticed the camper next to her struggling to put up his tent canopy.  After he entertained her for a while with his tent pitching efforts, she decided to lend him a hand and they were inseparable for the rest of the weekend.  The only snafu in their budding relationship?  He lived in DC and she lived in Greensboro, NC.  But that didn’t stop Beth and Jonathan.  They had so much fun together that they spent the next two and a half years in a commuter relationship.

TA: When did you know she was the one?  
Jonathan: I pretty much figured that if we were going to see each other every weekend and it always involved crossing state lines, we were going to end up married. Obviously, there is choice in the matter, but our choice was reinforced every time we made the journey without reservation.

In December 2013, Jonathan decided to do something about this sentiment and proposed to her on a beach in Florida.  The obvious choice was to hold their chic wedding at the very place they met – Deerfields.  It would create a few logistical challenges…minimal cell service, limited electricity, no hotels and unpredictable weather… but I loved how these challenges actually stripped the event down to basics, providing a beautiful venue to focus on two lovely people, madly in love with one another.  And I always have fun working with couples who fearlessly embrace challenges, rather than steer away from them.  It sets the entire tone for the wedding and their photographs.

TA: What is the coolest thing about your wedding?
Beth: It is technically in a temperate rain forest based on yearly rainfall totals, so anything can happen!  I have been ankle deep in mud there before and while I don’t care a bit, I worry that everyone else will be freaking out of there is rain.

The grounds of Deerfield provided infinitely gorgeous locations to take pictures. One of my favorite images happened when Beth was getting ready for the wedding. She planned to get ready in the “lady cabin” but when I noticed a little glen outside, I asked her if she would be willing to get ready there instead. With zero hesitation, we move her and an old mirror and we got an amazing getting ready shot that felt very true to who Beth is.

What I also loved about this wedding is how Beth and Jonathan’s friends and family camped out for the weekend and really helped pull the wedding together. The images from the reception reflect the joyous and restless energy that made this eclectic event cool and fun.

TA: What is unique about you as a couple?
Jonathan: We met at a festival that incorporates certain principles, such as inclusiveness and kindness, which in part, enables us to see those qualities in each other.

My absolute favorite part about this wedding and the photographs were Beth and Jonathan themselves… they are both fun, confident and cool people and their mutual adoration for each other is completely genuine and obvious.


Traci Arney

I am an overly passionate, slightly obsessive fine art photographer who just happened to fall in love with photographing weddings. Recently I was named one of the top 50 wedding photographers in the United States. I love telling stories so I dig pretty deep into your personal story. We have a blast together and you will be blown away by my images, your prints, and your album!

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