Do we really mean “All” when we say we are “All-inclusive”

Do we really mean “All” when we say we are “All-inclusive”

If you have spent any time searching for wedding venues, you are likely to have encountered the term “all-inclusive.”  The typical use of this term is in regard to destination weddings at world class resorts, such as you might find in St. Lucia, Jamaica, etc.  Typically, these resorts provide one stop shopping for you, providing a base package—often including a honeymoon—and with choices that you can build into a truly complete package in collaboration with the resort’s wedding planner, choices largely limited to the people who work for the resort and with less economic benefit to the local community, overall.  You will also see “all inclusive” language in relationship to stateside, regional wedding venues. In almost all of these regional instances, the term refers to some degree of a base package ranging from:

  • The site rental with chairs and tables, a prep space for one or both of the partners, and a venue contact person who is present the day of
  • The site rental with the above, plus set up and take down
  • The above, plus table linens and food

Occasionally, you will find photography and flowers included, to some degree, or you will find a menu driven option wherein you can create your own package from scratch.  In the case of the latter, depending upon what you input into the menu, you can end up at any number of places, with regard to both price and content.  

At Hidden River, we have taken the best of what can be found at an offshore resort, but with significant added value.  We have the beauty of the western north carolina mountains, the utilization of top quality local vendors instead of “house” vendors, and a completely stress free planning process utilizing a main contact person plus a comprehensive planning website designed only for our couples, making planning from near or far as breezy as this valley air.  Add to this that your guests do not have to travel out of the states to join you with the fact that your costs are lower overall.  In comparison to regional venues, we have taken what they typically mean by “all-inclusive” with their more limited options, i.e. the ability to customize and the occasional menu-driven approach, and we have given it ALL to you, up front: content and cost, while still allowing for customization. 

You can be assured, with our all-inclusive packages, that you will have a lovely event—based on our research of current trends, etc.—without having to make an overwhelming number of decisions and with knowing, right off the bat, what the final price tag will be.  You can still customize and bring in your own vendors in the important areas of food, dessert, photography/videography, and floral, but if you prefer not to do so, you will be very satisfied with what we offer and how we work with you along the way. ALL means “everything” you need for a lovely event, not just the bare bones skeleton of site rental, chairs, and perhaps a couple of main vendors.  And, to make it easier, we offer you the complete pricing up front, instead of your having to play around with a menu driven system that eventually lands you on a price without knowing for certain if you have forgotten anything. We have taken the best of what we have found with other venues with regard to all-inclusivity, and we have combined it into what we believe are the best practices to date so a couple can have a stress free, simply beautiful event.

In short, you can find many venues that will say they are all inclusive, but few, shy of going to an offshore resort, truly are; and you will find none, other than us at Hidden River, who publish the cost of an entire event on their website.

At Hidden River, we truly are all inclusive.  We take the bold step of publishing on our website the pricing for a truly complete wedding, with the exception of alcohol—which you can purchase and provide yourselves, with zero markups—knowing full well that we run the risk of giving you “sticker shock” before you even get started.  What we have found, however, is that couples who have done some searching already can see that we are A. truly all-inclusive and B. that, relatively speaking, what we offer is a significant cost savings compared to other venues. The base price may appear to be less than ours at many other venues, but the inclusions we offer are truly significant and different from what most venues mean by “all inclusive.”  Weddings are big business and unfortunately, many services can come along with hidden costs that are buried in the fine print, such as service fees and undisclosed upgrades. At Hidden River, everything is discussed up front and we are able to tell you the complete cost of your entire event before signing a contract. Your price is guaranteed with no surprises, regardless of how far in advance you book your wedding

This is not, by any means, to say that we are the only good choice of an Asheville wedding venue for you to consider.  We respect the fact that there are a large number of incredibly lovely venues in our region and beyond who will provide lovely choices for you.  You have the “curse of possibilities,” as many of our grandmothers used to say, when it comes to having too many good choices to consider in our region.  We cannot say enough good things about the beauty and expertise of other Asheville wedding venues. If Hidden River is not the right fit for you, we will do whatever we can to help you find that best fit here in our region.  We have been known even to drive a couple over to another venue and introduce them to the owners because we think that the beauty and inclusions of that particular venue may be more in line with what a particular couple seeks! Or, we just don’t have your date available.  We are confident in what we offer and Asheville is replete with amazing options for you. What we can say about what we offer and our uniqueness is four-fold:

  • With us you will find a comprehensive, truly exhaustive, list of everything you need for a lovely wedding
  • You will know what the complete cost of a truly all inclusive package will be, even before you book with us (we advertise our pricing on our website) 
  • You will have a venue that has been doing business this way for over a decade, with an extensive list of satisfied couples who can testify as to how much they enjoyed their engagement period and how stress free they were on the actual day or weekend of their weddings
  • Our all-inclusive weddings are rooted in a well-articulated and heart felt philosophy of what it means to be an inclusive person and to have an inclusive relationship with one’s partner that is healthy and long lasting.

Our weddings are built to last! 

Here is a basic list of what constitutes the Hidden River version of “all inclusive,” followed by lists—with some photos—of our ceremony sites, housing, and reception venue, and some examples of the benefits of choosing an all-inclusive package with us.


  • Catering of dinner and dessert (both with numerous options), non-alcoholic beverages; all tableware and food related labor
  • Flowers (personals and centerpieces)
  • Photography 
  • Ceremony arbor, chairs and set up
  • Reception tent with a permanent foundation and full infrastructure (Fully open with mountain breezes for most months, Fully enclosed with heaters in colder months, Includes lighting, tables & linens, chairs, and dance floor.)
  • Bar (including bartender, ice, and infrastructure)
  • Access to decor (chalkboards, signs, lanterns, centerpieces, etc.)
  • Event manager (primary venue contact during engagement)
  • Access to a planning website, built exclusively for Hidden River couples 
  • Officiant and caring ceremony planning (as needed and available)
  • Horse and carriage
  • High quality, convenient, permanent restrooms
  • Spacious bridal changing suite
  • DJ and sound systems, for the ceremony and reception
  • Event staffing (set up, service, and clean up) and day-of-coordinator
  • 20 acres of beautiful photo ops, including mountain views, ponds, a river, and flower gardens 
  • Ample parking 
  • Golf cart and driver 
  • Total of 7 houses on-site, sleeping up to 80 guests
  • Saturday weddings: 4 or 5 on-site rental houses included for 3 nights (Thurs, Fri, Sat)
  • Sunday to Friday weddings: ability to add housing, as available 


Add to this our proximity to Asheville, NC (just 15 minutes from the heart of downtown) and the ability to purchase and provide your own alcohol with no hidden costs or markups, and you have the makings of the most real day of your lives to date which you will be tempted to think, later on, was actually dream because it was so beautiful. So…


Imagine yourself:


  • Planning a wedding in collaboration with your partner, while having one contact to keep track of all of your decisions, plans, and finances and who takes care of communicating with everyone else.   Our Event Manager is your advocate in creating a stress free and financially responsible wedding;
  • Spending time with your fiancé in the months prior to your wedding, getting to know each other better, doing the important work in your lives instead of turning your engagement into an endless list of decisions about miniscule matters that will do little to nothing to keep you married for the long haul;
  • Showing up to the venue rested and joyful without having to stress or worry if the basic details and important flourishes you desire have been remembered; 
  • Spending the day of your wedding getting ready with your wedding party and family without having even to check on whether or not things at the venue are as you have hoped
  • Leaving the event with these words on your lips:  “We don’t want it to end!” and having your friends tell you, even a decade later, that yours was “the best wedding they have ever attended.”
  • Staying within your budget and saving money overall
  • Getting married in a place with multiple options for you with regard to planning details, ceremony sites, etc. but without overwhelming you.
  • Looking back at your photos and videos and re-living these beautiful moments, but also coming back to visit–at various points in your life—to remember where it all started


Imagine yourself at one of our ceremony sites:

The Swannanoa River: The sweet sound of the river is the background music while you and your guests are shaded beneath a canopy of trees. Capable of accommodating from 2 up to 400 people. 

The Island at The Pond: This site is a romantic, picturesque location along peaceful waters with a background of sprawling horse pastures. The Island, a more intimate setting, allows for you and your beloved, along with the officiant and/or wedding party to tie the knot while your guests (up to 150) look on from beyond the reflective pond. 

The Perennial Garden: Perfect for May, June, July and August and into the fall, this setting provides a backdrop with an array of stunning blooms and is capable of hosting upwards of 400 people (all of whom are kept cool under canopies when necessary). 

The Flower Garden: Picture being wed among a myriad of shoulder high flowers enveloping you and your love. Our whimsical flower garden during the blooming season offers spectacular surroundings for your ceremony that can comfortably seat up to 150 guests in the center of the garden. This space can also accommodate larger weddings (up to 400) on the perimeter, still allowing for an extraordinarily beautiful ceremony with engulfing floral scents caught in the southern winds. 

The Marrying Field: Beneath an expansive, blue sky with a remarkable mountain-lined backdrop, you will be reminded of the endless potential that your loving adventure has yet to bring. The Craggy range of the Blue Ridge mountains will frame your ceremony perfectly with breathtaking 360 degrees views, while up to 400 guests revel in your heartwarming vows. 

The Old Sycamore Tree: It has been said that storms make trees take deeper roots. Then what better place to begin your lifelong journey together, then at the base of a strong, majestic tree. Our Old Sycamore Tree is a perfect locale, surrounded by a reclaimed and renovated bell tower, the perennial garden, two ponds, as well as a rambling green field that boasts gorgeous sunsets. Up to 125 guests can be shaded by the mighty Sycamore alone and 100 more can relax under lawn canopies if needed. 

With all of our breathtaking sites to choose from, Hidden River Events offers the perfect setting to begin your journey deeper into love and commitment. 

Imagine yourself:

Saving money:  According to The  2018, “Real Weddings” study, the average size of a wedding is 136 people and the average cost per person is $256. Couples that choose Hidden River lower this cost by up to 15-20% compared to what they would likely pay at other venues in the area and beyond. 

Imagine yourself:

  • Inviting 40-80 of your closest family and friends to stay with you on a 20 acre farm in one of the most idyllic valleys in Western North Carolina.  Stay for three days and make of your wedding a true experience: the experience of two families coming together, rather than 4 to 5 hours of one day when you barely have time to breathe, let alone actually to sit and talk to people you have not seen for years or who have travelled so far to share in your joy. 
  • Having an affordable rehearsal dinner on the deck of one of the vacation rental homes or having a larger event for all of your out of town guests under a star laden sky, sitting around a fire, making new friends
  • Doing yoga on a deck at one of our seven, fully equipped vacation rental homes. Our accommodations include place settings, plates, bowls, drinking glasses, silverware and coffee mugs, iron, bath towels and bedding. All include a full kitchen with coffee maker, microwave, toaster (except for the Tiny Cottage which has a partial kitchen.) 


    • The White House: With 360 mountain views of the property, 2 expansive decks to enjoy sunrises and sunsets, large living areas, a formal dining room and wet bar with a dart board. All designed to gather together and engage. This house has plenty of room for up to 15+ people to enjoy their stay. 


    • Craggie View: Full of enriched modern mid-century charm, this home can host up to 20 people providing spacious living areas for relaxing and gathering. The wonderful deck can even host your rehearsal dinner with gorgeous valley views and sunsets. 


    • The Overlook Apartment: This cozy apartment offers all the amenities of home with tons of shabby chic charm, while accommodating up to 9 people. Overlook is located directly above one of our bridal suites with expansive views of the valley and Blue Ridge mountains. 


    • The Field House: With a slightly more modern, comfortable decor, it boasts a billiard table, games and can sleep up to 15 people. We like to lovingly refer to it as the “Party House.” The field house also doubles as our groomsman suite. 


    • Windsong: Offering a quaint 50’s style kitchen and 2 bedrooms this house can accommodate up to 8 people with the use of a comfortable sleeper sofa in the living room. 


    • The Tiny Cottage: The Tiny Cottage offers one private bedroom with vaulted ceilings, one loft bedroom and one bathroom with a toilet and shower. The kitchen is stocked with hot plates, a full-size refrigerator, microwave, and a convection oven. This space is not recommended for children. Guests utilizing the loft bedroom must be able to climb a ladder and the space is complete with deck entrance, charcoal grill in the backyard and fire bowl in the front.


    • Quartz Mountain: Housing up to 10 people, our newest addition boasts 3 bedrooms, 2 full baths an expansive deck that has a gas grill and outdoor furniture. There is also a fire pit, small treehouse and a tranquil meditation garden. The Quartz house will also include a new bridal suite updated for beautiful getting-ready photographs and perfect for all brides wanting simple elegance. 

Imagine yourself working with our staff to make either a destination wedding or a truly local affair a reality:

This may not seem possible, but an all-inclusive wedding at Hidden River Events can make that dream a definite and viable option. Voted 2019 “Best of Venues” from The Knot and 2019 “Couple’s Choice” from WeddingWire, we have a team of seasoned people who work with you to turn your vision into a reality.


  • Jeanne Sommer, the owner of Hidden River.: With a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Religion, Jeanne created Hidden River’s business model based on her experience of working with young people as their teacher, friend, and officiant/minister for many of their weddings.  From these experiences over a 31 year period, she has been able to visit venues around the country, noting things to emulate and avoid. Her caring and calm demeanor and firm commitment to creating a space that is more than just a business but is rather a true touchstone in peoples’ lives where they can return again and again to renew their love, infuses the structure and offerings of Hidden River and inspires all employees to carry this same deep care for the couples and their marriage into every encounter they have with you.
  • Grace Gilles, the Event Manager:  The first wedding Grace ever attended was her own and it was an intimate affair on top of Mt Hood where she and her partner committed to a love that will continue to stand the test of time.  With little to none of the trappings of a traditional wedding, finding Hidden River was sort of a shock to Grace. She had been one of Jeanne’s students and, upon returning to Asheville to visit Jeanne, she discovered that Hidden River was about helping couples to create an event that will nurture the kind of loving she continues to feel with her partner and the family they have created.  She was all in for that. Grace is an attentive listener, a calm soul, and a spreadsheet aficionado who keeps everything organized for our couples.
  • Sarah Zielke, aka “All Purpose Sarah”:  Sarah has worked in just about every aspect of Hidden River over the last three years.  She’s designed and maintained gardens, assisted Grace with planning, worked with Jeanne to articulate the heart of the vision of Hidden River, and managed and hired all the staff who work our events, training them to bring the same tender care to an event, regardless of what work they are doing.
  • Jenny, Luna, and Jazz:  The Hidden River dogs. We are truly dog friendly.  We have even had a pot belly pig in a wedding not long ago.  We know that our pets are our children and that many couples wish somehow to include them.   We help to make this happen. Jenny, Luna and Jazz are sources of entertainment for those couples who love dogs but don’t have them yet or whose city dogs need a tutorial on how to live on a farm.  
  • Dr. Love, Tequila, and Louie:  The horses of Hidden River. We are particularly thankful for Dr. Love who pulls the carriage and for Tequila, the black and white paint, who reminds us of the power of tequila.  She’s a sassy girl. Louie is a character. He’ll greet you and show you his teeth in a proud smile.  
  • A bevy of other employees, all of whom share our commitment to creating a wedding event that nurtures good and lasting loving within our couples.  These include your carriage and golf cart drivers; your bussers and servers; the crew who maintains the grounds; summer college interns; DJ’s, floral techs, the house keeping staff, and our team of Day of Coordinators who are hands on with our events.  Everyone who works with Hidden River is paid a just and sustainable wage and cares about our vision and your happiness.
  • Our Vendors: Third party, high quality, local caterers, bakers, and photographers who share in our commitment to reasonable, clear, and reliable pricing with no last minute surprises.

Imagine yourself not wanting the party to end:

It happens at many weddings. Everyone is having an amazing time and the party is in full swing… but then the venue says your time is up and it all has to end. This does not have to be the case when you book your wedding with Hidden River if you have The  Field House as an included vacation rental. 

It is not uncommon for couples to have anywhere from 10 – 25 guests who want to keep the party going. If this happens, we load up your remaining alcohol and take it to the Field House/After Party House to continue the celebration. 

Also, because of downtown Asheville’s vibrant music scene, we have had couples rent a party shuttle to check out the local nightlife. Typically leaving the property around 9:30 or 10, they head downtown to enjoy dancing, drinks and live music performances. Popular music venues include: The Asheville Music Hall (Popular watering hole with a lively dance floor & featuring an eclectic line-up of local & touring acts), The Orange Peel (hosting many well-known acts), Isis Music Hall (A concert venue & New American eatery with multiple dining areas, bars & stages in a 1937 theater), Scandals (A gay friendly mainstay of the Asheville scene, featuring regular drag shows), just to name a few of the many downtown destinations. 

Some guests often do not return until 4 a.m.—which is absolutely fine with us. (Not that we are waiting up for you but we enjoy hearing about all the fun you’ve had!). 


Imagine yourself:

Adding highly reduced cost honeymoon accommodations at our partners in the states and around the world:  Mexico, Maui, Italy, Jamaica and more. Inquire about how we can add honeymoons at a fraction of the cost of what you would typically spend.  We are sending, for instance, couples to Maui this year who would have had to pay $600/night for their accommodations and we can send them for $2000 due to our partnerships.  This is an added bonus with too much to explain here! Ask us!


Imagine yourself:

In love and staying that way! Bring your children back for picnics; renew your vows on your anniversaries and know that, in a changing world, there is a place of love and security here for you at Hidden River Events.  We—like your loving—are built to last.


Tours are offered 7 days a week. When booking with Hidden River Events, our guests enjoy access to our 20+ acre farm as well as the multiple onsite accommodations. 


Just like any wonderful farm, we are beautifully rugged on the edges and sweet in the center. We grow food. We grow flowers. We grow love. 

Contact us through our website or email us at 

+ 1-828-333-3401 30 Hidden River Drive Swannanoa, NC 28778