Roan Mountain, TN: Rachel + Brett's Appalachian Trail Summer Mountain Wedding


36° 6' 25“ N 82° 6' 13'' W

Rachel and Brett’s summer wedding on Roan Mountain was incredibly special in so many ways. Not only do they share a love for hiking, the outdoors, and the Appalachian mountains, but it’s also what brought them together.

Rachel, “Dairy Queen,” and Brett, “Cruise,” are thru hikers and actually met on the Appalachian Trail! Their paths crossed in Virginia as they both pursued (and conquered) hiking the entirety of the 2,190 mile trail, stretching from Georgia to Maine. When they first met, they hiked off and on together along with a group of friends and felt the chemistry. I really love what Rachel wrote in a questionnaire, “We started hiking together exclusively (aka trail dating) in Pennsylvania and hiked 1,000 miles together. On the trail you really develop a relationship in a different way - we saw each other at our lowest, smelliest, and mentally/physically exhausted points and yet also saw each other in our truest, most raw and real versions of who we really are- and that's how you fall in love.” After finishing the trail and becoming “2,000 milers,” Brett proposed to Rachel at Amicalola Falls, where the trail starts at the southern terminus. It was only fitting that they become husband and wife on the trail on Roan!

As with every wedding this year, rain was of course in the forecast and threatened the chances of Rachel and Brett saying their vows on top of the balds. When my second shooter, Jeremy, and I arrived at the cabins in Roan Mountain State Park, it was gray and rainy. We were almost certain that they would have to go with Plan B and get married inside the conference center at the state park. As Rachel and her bridesmaids got ready, the rain moved out of the area and brought dry skies and a bit of sunshine! Rachel and Brett exchanged gifts while getting ready and it was honestly tough to keep a dry eye. After hair and makeup, Rachel’s mom and sister helped her into her stunning dress and her wedding shoes- her purple Chacos (bestill my heart). Rachel then headed outside to meet her father for a super sweet, “father first look,” before she left for the mountain to meet her husband-to-be.

Brett, his groomsmen, the officiant, and all of their guests, arrived at Carver’s Gap ahead of Rachel and hiked up to the ceremony spot. When I arrived at the top, Brett was waiting patiently for his bride as a banjo and mandolin player played some soft tunes on the balds and the clouds lifted from the mountaintops. When Rachel and her father appeared on the trail, there wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd (including my own). The way these two looked at each other during the ceremony was just amazing- you can clearly see the love and admiration they have for one another. After vows, the exchanging of rings, and the first kiss, Rachel and Brett became husband and wife on the same trail that brought them together! As we took portraits on the balds, rain moved in just as we were hiking down and the fog rolled in! We then drove down the mountain to the conference center for dinner, drinks, cake, and dancing with their friends, family, and trail family.


Rachel and Brett - - thank you for inviting us to be a part of such a special day! Your love for each other is one-of-a-kind and shines so brightly. I can’t wait to see where your next adventure takes you!

Big thanks to Jeremy, of Jeremy Gouge Photography, for assisting and second shooting with me on their day (and for taking our photo)!

Big thanks to Jeremy, of Jeremy Gouge Photography, for assisting and second shooting with me on their day (and for taking our photo)!

Huge thanks to all of Rachel and Brett’s vendors who made their day amazing!