"We wanted the wedding to welcoming and relaxed for everyone."
The Adventure of a Lifetime
Meagan & William Polan
Westglow Resort & Spa July 25, 2015
What happens when two world travelers fall head over heels and decide to get married in the High South? An epic love story, of course, and a jaw-dropping wedding to match.
Meagan Gunning and William Polan each left the comforts of home — Pennsylvania for her and Texas for him — to pursue careers in service with the Peace Corps. They crossed paths while serving overseas and quickly realized they were meant to journey through life together.
“We met in Azerbaijan while serving in the United States Peace Corps. We fell for each other immediately,” Meagan said. “We both loved the work we were doing and being able to share that kind of experience and challenge with your partner is rare and wonderful. He is my best friend.”
These two jet-setting Good Samaritans knew their big day would double as a reunion for their loved ones and friends. So, when it came time to tie the knot, they chose the southern hospitality and the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where they’ve been spending holidays with family for several years.
“We live abroad, but we wanted the wedding to be welcoming and relaxed for everyone, so we chose an outdoor venue. Since we love traveling and have spent our entire relationship doing so, we decided to have a travel-themed wedding,” Meagan said. “It was easy to fall in love with the area, so it was a swift decision when it came time for picking a venue.”
Meagan already had a dress on hold when she found her perfect gown in New York, and she made a last minute switch when she knew the second one was made for her.
“I already had a dress in Brooklyn that I thought was the one, but the minute I tried mine on I never wanted to take it off. It has capped sleeves and an open back,” she said. “It is a sheath style with really light, flowing fabric. It is very romantic and timeless.”
The Polans’ day featured unique and creative elements that reflected their personalities, their experiences, and their world travels. The details included a variety of maps and globes on display, tables named after cities they’ve visited together, and a tapas and sangria cocktail hour in honor of their engagement in Spain.
“The whole day was colorful and full of love. We don’t live a very traditional lifestyle, and I think our wedding reflected that,” Meagan said. “We rocked out at our ceremony to Florence + The Machine and Borns instead of using a string quartet. Our decorations were homemade and our families joined together to make all of our family recipes for the dessert table.”
Hands down, Meagan said opting to hire local vendors and the team at The Whole Shebang was the best decision she made in the process of pulling her wedding together.
“I was planning a wedding from abroad on a tight budget and it was such a relief to have someone I trusted helping me find local venues and take care of the ground work that I couldn’t do via Skype,” Meagan said. “Meris understood exactly what I wanted and helped me create a perfect day. If anything went wrong the day of, I wasn’t aware because Meris and her team were such rock stars.
“The local vendors and wedding planners are fun and down to earth, know the area so well, and are all one big wedding planning family. They love to work with each other, and that makes things so much better.”
After they exchanged vows, the new Mr. and Mrs. Polan turned to head toward their reception festivities when their friends and family surprised them by releasing butterflies into the air.
“The butterflies were an amazing surprise from my mom. You can see my look of shock and joy in the pictures, and it’s pretty hilarious,” Meagan said. “Our favorite song, ‘Electric Love’ by Borns, was blasting, butterflies were everywhere, our friends and family were cheering, and I had just married my best friend. It was the happiest moment of my life.”