Julia Saley and Trenton Saunders, both realtors, met in the sixth grade. Although there was always love between them, they went their separate ways after graduation. She moved out of the area, they live in Florida, and he met and married someone else. Years later, they reconnected and discovered all the feelings were still there. They April 1, 2017 wedding at the Biltmore was beautiful, intimate and fun.
“Trent and I have known each other since we were kids and have loved each other for most of that time,” Julia says. “We went our separate ways post-grad (I moved away, he married someone else), but somehow we found our way back to each other. I don’t think there was a dry eye at the altar or in the audience when we said our vows, because everyone there knew how long we had waited for this day to happen. It was definitely a day of long-lost hopes finally being realized.” They were engaged on a hot air balloon ride over a ranch in Myakka City, Florida.
The air up there
“Trent surprised me one morning by picking me up early (I thought we were going to a work event). We drove out to an orange grove in the middle of nowhere. He blindfolded me when we pulled up and walked me through a field. He lifted me up and placed me in what I would soon discover was a hot air balloon. He took my blindfold off when we were in the air, and we watched the sun rise over thousands of acres from a beautiful ranch. At one point, he asked me to look down. On the ground beneath us was our families holding a huge banner that said “Will you marry me?” He quickly got down on one knee in the balloon and I nearly knocked him over. I cried and said “yes” repeatedly. When we landed, our families had breakfast ready at the ranch house and we all celebrated together. It was perfect.”
Color palette Wood, amber, and white.
First dance song “Look After You” by The Fray.
Food for thought “Breakfast is Trent and I’s favorite meal, so we did a southern brunch style menu (think shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles).”Setting the Scene Julia and Trent wanted their wedding to be timeless. They are not very traditional and they both love natural beauty, so they knew they wanted to get married somewhere with great outdoor views. The couple toured venues near Charleston before a friend recommended the Biltmore Estate. They instantly fell in love with the history and natural beauty of the Asheville venue. Additionally, Julia had picked a long-sleeved dress which she knew would only work somewhere north of Florida. Trent also has a son who was two at the time and loves dinosaurs, so they decided to incorporate his favorite things as well. With the help of their event planner, Emily Waters, the décor felt whimsical rather than childish.
On Top of the World For Julia, the best part of her day was the first look she did with Trent on top of a hill outside of the Inn on Biltmore Estate. “Our photographers convinced us to do one, even though we were both hesitant, but I’m so glad we did. It was a beautiful, intimate moment that I’ll always cherish,” she says.
Advice from Julia: “Do a first look, and make sure you eat your wedding food!”
Advice from Trenton: “Make sure she’s the right one (said only semi-jokingly).”
Photography: The Stewarts Roam Photography / Wedding planner: Emily Waters, Emily Grace Design / Wedding venue: The Biltmore (Diana venue) Reception venue: Deerpark at the Biltmore Wedding coordinator: Ashley Gardner, The Biltmore Caterer, cake, rental providers and transportation: The Biltmore / Flowers: Alex Johnson, Hassell Florist / Hairstylist and makeup artist: Katelyn Brooke, Sparrow Salon / Gown: CC’s Bridal Tampa / Gown designer: Pronovias / Veil designer: BridalsByTeri / Bride’s shoes: 6pm / Shoe designer: Menbur / Bridesmaid dresses: Lulu’s / Tuxedos: Nathan’s Men’s store in Lakeland, FL / Tuxedo designer: Stephen Geoffrey / Invitations, stationery: Stationary Loft / Cinematography: Kirsti Mutz, KDM Productions / Engagement and wedding rings: Wilson Diamond Brokers / Clergy: Richard Marks / Rehearsal dinner: The Antler Barn at the Biltmore / Wedding night hotel: The Grand Bohemian Asheville / Bridal registry: Zola / Travel agent: Maria Thomas, Dreamward Travel