Forrest Hills Weddings are a Family Affair

Recent newlyweds share their wedding planning experiences at the North Georgia resort.

By Brittaney Carter

Combine 140 acres of lush green land, picturesque mountain accommodations and affordable prices, and the result is the perfect wedding location at Forrest Hills Resort in Dahlonega, Ga. Providing the best of both worlds, Forrest Hills features three ceremony and reception packages that can accommodate the most intimate settings, for just a few family members and friends, or larger scale events for up to 200 guests. Forrest Hills Resort Wedding Coordinator Kathy Major helps each couple realize their vision for the wedding of their dreams by customizing these packages to fit each bride and groom.

The Fairleys’ 4th of July Nuptials

Victoria and David Fairley were married on July 4th, 2008 at the resort, and the bride says that having Kathy as a liaison between her family and the resort staff made wedding planning a lot less stressful.
The planning was a whirlwind experience, with David proposing on Thanksgiving last year and the wedding planning finished several months later. Victoria explains that the most of the plans were set after they chose which arrangements she and David wanted. “There weren’t a whole lot of decisions to be made. I just had to pick the package and tell them which colors,” she says. “Because they tended to all the logistics details for me, I was able to focus on other things.”
In an age of countless reality television shows that depict wedding planning as a stressful experience, Victoria attests to the fact that Forrest Hills Resort delivers elegant ceremonies without the dramatics. She laughs as she remembers one of her favorite planning sessions with Kathy Majors as the wedding day approached.
“We were sitting in Kathy’s office and mom had a list. She asked, ‘What do we need to put on our list?’” After Kathy explained that all of the preparation was taken care of, Victoria says her mother persisted with a wedding day to-do list. “My mom says, ‘But what do we need to put on the list?’ At that point Kathy says, ‘Well, you need to eat a good breakfast, fix your hair…” Victoria laughs.
Victoria says that the Fairleys’ decision to use Forrest Hills Resort was largely due to the amount of service that they got for such an affordable price. “It was mostly what they had to offer. I looked in the metro-Atlanta area and the packages are unbelievably expensive for almost nothing,” she says.
Most importantly, she and David were looking for a place that could accommodate their wedding guests and that offered entertainment options and activities close by. Forrest Hills, which includes 32 cabins, four group lodges and 12 bi-level luxury suites, was a perfect fit. “It was a place where we could go and be,” she explains.

Victoria arrives at the cermony in a horse-drawn carriage.

The Fairleys chose to have their wedding on a Friday evening so that they could spend the rest of the weekend with family and friends. The newlyweds were able to enjoy the reception and anticipate the fun-filled weekend ahead. “I danced all night long and didn’t have to worry about trying to go from table to table to talk to guests,” Victoria says.
In fact, Victoria and David were able to arrange several post-wedding activities for their families, such as a skeet-shooting outing for the men and a luncheon for the ladies. The family also participated in a wine tour through North Georgia’s many wineries and an 1800s-era covered dinner wagon ride and cookout through Gold City Corral located next to Forrest Hills Resort. Victoria even had time to make gift baskets for all the guests.

David and Victoria in the Forrest Hills garden.

The Murrays’ Elegant Spring Ceremony

Kristin and Jason Murray, who had a similar experience, were married at the resort on May 24, 2008. Even though this couple was planning from out of state, Kristin says that there was nothing chaotic about the wedding preparations.
“Everybody was planning everything long distance except for my mother, but it worked out really well. There were no issues,” she says.
The Murrays say that their decision to get married at Forrest Hills, like the Fairleys, was influenced by the guest accommodations and the resort’s perfect combination of nature and elegance.
“From the moment we walked in, we had pretty much decided that we wanted to hold our wedding at Forrest Hills. It was so beautiful and had an elegant feel to it,” Kristin says. “We’re outdoorsy people, but we didn’t want people to feel like they would have to use latrines or anything like that.”
In addition to an elegant feel, Forrest Hills also offered a setting that was comfortable for the whole family. The Murrays traded hotel lobbies and having to commute to and from certain attractions for the comfort of Forrest Hills because of its special touches—like porches facing the mountainside where they could sit in rocking chairs and chat with their family and friends.
“It’s a destination place where everybody could just hang out. It was almost like a family reunion,” Jason says. “A ton of my family members were saying just how awesome it was to sit around and talk.”
Even though they chose a pre-planned wedding package, Kristin says that she and her husband never felt like their wedding day was anything less than special.
“Forrest Hills is so flexible,” she says about her planning experience. “If you just go in there and talk about your vision, they’re going to work with you to make it happen. I didn’t feel like ours was ‘just another wedding.’”
And when it came to the actual wedding day, it was Mother Nature who took care of the embellishments. Their ceremony took place in the outdoor gazebo and garden. Kristin says, “Everything was so beautiful that it didn’t take a lot of decorations to make it pop.” Jason adds, “The comments that we got from everybody were like it was a storybook wedding. Trees were coming into bloom and everything was so green. It just really all came together.”
The Murrays found Forrest Hills Mountain Resort by chance—they literally came across it while driving around the area. The Fairleys found it by accident as well, while searching for wedding destinations online. Even though the resort has a 30-year history, many guests and clients are still stumbling across this North Georgia gem just like these couples. One could call the resort the Atlanta area’s best-kept secret, but with experiences like theirs, it won’t be for long.

For more information on weddings at Forrest Hills Mountain Resort, please visit, or call (800) 654-6313.
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