One holiday season past brought more than just gifts for Victoria and Matt. She’d always wanted to visit the Biltmore during Christmas. Matt made that dream of hers a reality, while also creating a very special, once-in-a-lifetime memory for them both.

They visited Asheville with perfect timing; as soon as they arrived, a snow storm hit.

“The snow transformed the Biltmore into a picture perfect wonderland,” says Victoria. “To my surprise, Matt got down on one knee in front of the Biltmore and asked me to spend the rest of his with me. Of course I said ‘yes!’ As if the proposal wasn’t a surprise enough, our parents and my sister were there to celebrate. It was the perfect weekend.”

Many years led up to that special moment. The couple has actually known each other since they were very young. They attended the same schools since elementary and even lived only a mile apart growing up. It wasn’t until high school that they really crossed paths and connected. Matt was very persistent in texting and talking with Victoria, and at the time she wasn’t sure she wanted a boyfriend. But, after he asked her out on a date and her friends encouraged her to go, she accepted.

Little did they know then that first date in high school would lead to their happily ever after.

“A lot has happened between our first date and our happily ever after … high school dances, Friday night lights, proms, college, vacations, birthdays, long distance relationships, different states and cities, and so much more. Never in a million years did I imagine I would be married to the 16-year-old boy that asked me on a date over a decade ago,” Victoria says.

Their wedding day took place at the Millennium Center where they were surrounded by 190 guests as they committed their lives to each other. One very special piece of the big day was their Pittsburgh cookie table. The long-standing tradition displays a variety of homemade cookies, and Victoria and Matt ended up with at least 60 dozen. A cookie table was one of many special components that made the day memorable for the couple.

Looking back on the day the couple shares what they remember most.

“I remember a perfect day spent with the love of my life, my family, and all my best friends — what could be better?” Matt asks.

“I remember looking around the room, surrounded by all the people we love most in life, and thinking to myself just how blessed we are,” Victoria says.

After having her own perfect day, the newlywed wanted to share some lessons with future brides.

“Don’t let the stress of planning a ‘perfect’ day distract you from living in the moment. Your day will be perfect regardless of any mishaps along the way because it will be a day spent with all the people you love most in life — and that is what truly matters,” she says.

THE COUPLE: Victoria Kearns, speech-language pathologist, and Matthew Shull, landscape architect.

NUMBER OF GUESTS: 190

VENUE: Millennium Center

COLORS: Neutrals/blush

THEME: “Vintage elegance”

FAVORS: Pittsburgh Cookie Table

FIRST DANCE SONG: “The Rest of Our Life” by Faith Hill & Tim McGraw

SPECIAL TOUCHES: A Pittsburgh cookie table filled with cookies made by family and friends.

ADVICE FOR BRIDES: “Your wedding day will be an absolute whirlwind of emotions. Try your best to really live in the moment. Amidst the celebration, be present and cherish absolutely every moment throughout the day. At the end of the day, the most important part of a wedding is celebrating the love between you and your spouse.”

VENDORS

FLORIST: Green Bee Floral Designs

CATERER: Millennium Center

HAIR & MAKEUP: Claire Basescu (Makeup and Hair by Claire), Alexis Riggar (Hair and Makeup by Alexis Riggar), and Rachel Newsome (Rachel Newsome Hair)

WEDDING DRESS BOUTIQUE: J. Major’s

Bridal Boutique

BRIDESMAIDS’ DRESSES: The Dessy Group (Brideside Charlotte)

GROOM & GROOMSMEN SUITS/TUXES:

Men’s Warehouse

PHOTOGRAPHER: Megan Travis Photography

VIDEOGRAPHER: Paint & Paper Films

PLANNER: Charming Carolina Events & Weddings

CUPCAKES/CAKE: Tart Sweets

INVITATIONS: Anna Howe Design

OFFICIANT: Father Brian J. Cook of St. Leo the Great Catholic Church

RINGS: Joyce’s Fine Jewelry (Uniontown, Pennsylvania)

BARTENDERS: Millennium Center

MUSIC: 815 Events (reception) and Michael Martinez, cantor; Anita Cirba, trumpet;

Cathy Dudley, violin; Andrew O’Connor,

organ (ceremony)

EVENT RENTALS: The Prettiest Pieces Vintage Rentals

TRANSPORTATION: A Formal Affair Limo Service

CALLIGRAPHY: Calligraphy by Carole

GOWN PRESERVATION: Shores Fine Dry Cleaning

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