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  • Writer's pictureElena Gera

Fairy-Tale Smithmore Castle Hotel Wedding | Pearlie+David

Updated: Feb 19

This couple holds a special place in my heart - and not just because they hired me as their wedding photographer at the eleventh hour after their original photographer bailed. Pearlie and David's wedding was a true fairy tale - the kind that begins with "Once Upon a Time." The bride looked like a princess in her crown and lacy dress, and the ceremony took place at Smithmore Castle. There wasn't a white horse for the prince, but David still looked handsome in his ivory tuxedo. He was just as vital, humorous, and romantic as any Prince Charming should be. Plus, I'm pretty sure he could have found a white horse if he really wanted one.

Smithmore Castle Wedding, Asheville, NC

Pearlie and David met thirty years ago and were immediately drawn to each other. However, their circumstances at the time did not allow them to pursue a relationship. Fast forward to 2019, and they reconnected on social media. They discovered that the initial spark of attraction was still there and realized it could be fanned into flames. And, lo and behold, it did! Three years later, they tied the knot and have been living happily ever after (or at least until the next time they check Facebook :-)).

The couple chose the ultimate fantasy setting for their BIG DAY! Smithmore Castle in Spruce Pines, North Carolina, is a luxury boutique hotel rented exclusively for their event. It is dubbed "Castle in the Sky," and for a good reason! The venue sits atop a green mountain in the Blue Ridge Mountains, just a short distance from the legendary town of Asheville. It's hard to find a more secluded place for a romantic wedding - there is nothing around except for mountains and forests!

The inside of the castle is just as captivating as the outside (which is saying a lot considering how impressive the exterior is!). It would be a perfect location to film a Game of Thrones scene. The mahogany furniture, antique sculptures, and classic paintings all contribute to the European atmosphere of the castle. However, there is a touch of humor, such as a portrait of a noble gentleman wearing a curled wig and camisole with a big pink gummy bubble out of his mouth! (At first, I couldn't believe my eyes. But apparently, they were functioning just fine!)

The wedding ceremony took place on the castle's balcony, with the stunning misty mountains in the background. Pearlie's grandson Braxton escorted her down the aisle to where David was waiting with a huge smile. The light blue dresses of the bridesmaids - three of Pearlie's daughters - complemented the clear blue sky. The abundance of fresh flowers added to the summery atmosphere of the wedding.

Both the bride and groom were visibly emotional as they exchanged vows on the castle's balcony. Their kiss seemed to last forever as they sealed their love in front of all their happy guests. The guests themselves were overjoyed, with broad smiles on their lips.

The day's magic extended to the cake, a true work of art, complete with a crown on top and smoke billowing out of it. I have no idea how they managed to pull that off, but it was a sight to behold. Don't even ask me how it tasted - all I know is that it was pure magic :-)

I feel so happy and grateful to have been a part of such a special day. To this day, I still consider this wedding to be one of the most magical ones I've ever attended. Don't get me wrong, every wedding I photograph is magical in its own way, and each couple touches me deeply. This one was just the kind of fairy-tale magic that little girls dream of. I can almost swear I saw a unicorn prancing through the forest! (Well, I actually didn't; I never drink while working :-) but it should have been somewhere around!

I am so thankful to Pearlie and David for making their dreams come true and for allowing me to be a part of it! This day was filled with so much beauty. It was an honor to capture it all!!! Enjoy!

Ceremony & Reception | Smithmore Castle

Dress Store | David's Bridal

Videographer | Sean Statzer

Catering | Smithmore Castle

Florist | Flowers by Lewis

Groom’s Attire | Washington Menswear

Groomsmen’s Attire | Ernie Sullins


“Where to even start…you book your wedding photographers hoping for beautiful snaps of the day, and you get that & so much more from Elena! Her work speaks for itself, but I still have to add that our wedding photographs are better than we could have ever expected or dreamed of (direct quote from one of our guests – “They are the best wedding photos I’ve ever seen!!”). The style of her photography is simply stunning, and she manages to snap every tiny detail of the day – she did not miss a moment, and the end result is truly amazing photography that captures every emotion of the day beautifully. From Elena, we also got so much support, both logically & emotionally, around our planning and on the day itself. Not only her incredible talents but truly an awesome person who helped us with so many aspects – we considered her to be a guest on the day! She really has given us the best memories, and we are so grateful to her. I can’t recommend her enough and will finish by saying just book her! It’ll be the best decision you make!”






I am Elena, a documentary-style wedding, engagement, and surprise proposal photographer in East Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina!

My style is relaxed, playful, and evocative. I value connection, joy, authenticity, and true colors.


I help couples who want candid shots and cherish raw emotions!

Please get in touch with me if you have any questions or to check availability. 

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