Photographed by Christina Etters Photography

A beloved Tug Valley structure became the meeting place, engagement site, and wedding venue for this special West Virginia couple.

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he romance between Natalie and Thomas revolves around The Coal House in Natalie’s native Williamson. Thomas is from nearby Matewan. The two were introduced by a mutual friend in August 2010 at The Coal House, where Natalie works, and soon took the occasion of Thomas’s birthday for their first date.

Four years later, on a Saturday in February 2014, Natalie was working at The Coal House when Thomas surprised her with a dozen of her favorite cupcakes, dropped to one knee, and presented her with the prettiest canary diamond she had ever seen. As the event approached, Natalie’s mom gave her a special pair of shoes and a Cinderella card.

It rained all day until the time of the ceremony—at The Coal House, of course. “The fact that we met at The Coal House, as well as got engaged there, made the ceremony very special,” Natalie says.


The bride wore a gown with a lace top and organza ruffles, a lace-trimmed veil, sequin peep toe pumps, and the pearls her grandmother was married in. Her uncle played the trumpet with a string quartet to Trumpet Voluntary as she walked down the aisle, and her groom met her in a classic tuxedo and bow tie. The bride’s two best friends walked up the aisle with their daughters, all in mix-and-match dresses.

The affair moved to the Mountaineer Hotel for a dinner party-style reception, where the bride wore a blush and ivory one-shoulder lace top dress with a flowing chiffon skirt and pink and pearl chandelier earrings. The space glowed in rose gold and blush pinks. The wedding cake was an Italian cream naked cake decorated with fresh flowers to match the venue’s eucalyptus, hydrangeas, and soft pink roses. “I wanted a very Southern feel with the flowers,” Natalie says.

In place of a traditional groom’s cake, the couple opted for pecan and coconut pies. The couple’s special memories include seeing the arch of The Coal House dripping with Spanish moss and hanging amaranthus and their dog Maggie’s presence through the day. Natalie and Thomas honeymooned in Charleston, South Carolina, their favorite place. They live in Williamson, where Natalie is executive director of the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce and Thomas owns and manages Mountain State Tire Processing in Matewan.