Photographed by Blackbird Studios
One couple’s fall festivities showcase their love for West Virginia and local living.
Written by Danielle Conaway[line]
Their romance began on the Pocahontas County High School basketball court. Shooting hoops together, Erin Coleman and Chad Baldwin connected over their passion for sports and the outdoors. They dated for a short period, but soon went in separate directions to pursue careers-Chad traveled the country teaching golf as a PGA professional and Erin attended college at James Madison University in Virginia. But their love for West Virginia eventually brought them home to Pocahontas County and their paths crossed once again. With a low-key wedding in mind, they chose to solidify their love without an elaborate proposal and picked out wedding rings at a local Kay’s Jewelers. Six months later, they would become husband and wife.
Chad and Erin’s passion for Pocahontas County and living a self-sufficient lifestyle led the couple to the Inn at Mountain Quest in Frost for their wedding. “Mountain Quest respects the beautiful land that they reside on and have wonderful food-most of which is sourced locally,” Erin says. Tucked in the valley of the Allegheny Mountains, the couple adored the country retreat’s lush acres and working farm complete with horses, llama, and Longhorn cattle. Family and friends enjoyed meeting the animals and lounging in rocking chairs on the porch while taking in the gorgeous view. Guestrooms called “Questrooms” are inspired by elements of travel with Mediterranean, African, and other global decor.
Erin had always dreamed of an outdoor fall wedding in Pocahontas County, so the couple chose September 12 for their momentous day. White candles flickered inside of old-fashioned lanterns and white impatiens nurtured by Erin’s mother decorated the front entrance at Mountain Quest. Framed by the building’s white-oak pillars and brick walkway, Erin and Chad exchanged vows of union and friendship in a ceremony performed by their friend Leslie McCarty.
Erin and Chad are beekeepers but they had never harvested honey from their beehives until their wedding. “I wanted to harvest our own honey from the time we started planning the wedding,” Erin says. “It was a very time-consuming process, but it was a blast. I think everything we owned was covered in sticky honey by the time we were done.” Erin’s mom, dad, and sister helped bottle the honey. “It was a long process-these favors were almost a year in the making-but it was definitely a family bonding opportunity,” Erin explains.
After trying on several dresses at David’s Bridal, Erin spotted a mannequin wearing a satin ivory Oleg Cassini gown with a deep V-neck line and a long bow flowing from the back. “I didn’t have that ‘a-ha’ moment with the other dresses,” Erin says. “But this one fit so well with only a few alterations, and the ivory tone matched the earthy theme of the wedding.” Erin also wore a simple silver necklace with a pearl pendant created by Anja, a local artist from the Artisan Co-op in Pocahontas County. Each bridesmaid wore a Bill Levkoff chocolate strapless satin dress with a wide sash at the waist that matched Erin’s wedding gown. To give her dress a second life, Erin donated it to the non-profit organization Brides Against Breast Cancer (www.bridesagainstbreastcancer.org). It will be sold at a discounted price and proceeds will go to benefit women suffering from advanced breast cancer.
West Virginia vendors provided many delicious treats for the locally-inspired wedding and reception. Mountain Quest Chef Andrew Dean prepared locally-raised trout seasoned with roasted garlic, barley-marinated pork tenderloin, and chicken breast with tarragon sauce. Lambert’s Winery in Weston supplied various wines to complement the menu including Erin’s favorites, Blueberry Thrill and Blackberry Merlot. The Bakery in Lewisburg created a beehive-inspired wedding cake-a four-tier spice cake with yellow fondant imprinted to look like honeycomb. Erin also selected a handmade-cake topper from wrenhandmade.com. In addition to wedding cake, Chef Andrew made classic apple pies and Amish inspired shoo-fly pies from molasses and brown sugar.
To keep the celebration relaxed, friends and family simply traveled to the back lawn of Mountain Quest for the reception. Under a white tent, dinner tables were decorated with bouquets of elegant white Gerber daises in bubble vases prepared by The Flower Garden in Marlinton. Jars of pure honey harvested by the couple served as wedding favors. Each guest’s name was handwritten on a small tag and tied to the honey jars with raffia. Guests danced beside the light of a bonfire to love songs the couple selected.
BRIDE’S GOWN: David’s Bridal
FLOWERS: The Flower Garden, Marlinton
JEWELRY: Anja, from the Artisan Co-op, Pocahontas County
PLANNER: The bride
CATERER: West Virginia vendors and Mountain Quest Chef Andrew Dean
CAKE: The Bakery, Lewisburg
CAKE TOPPER: WREN Handmade
WINE: Lambert’s Vintage Wines, Weston
FAVORS: Honey harvested by the couple
LOCATION: Inn at Mountain Quest, Frost