As a North Carolina native of the High Country, Elizabeth Hempfling has gained extensive knowledge of the area and all it has to offer for those seeking to plan an upcoming event. Elizabeth’s passion for weddings started while working with brides and their families at South’s Specialty Clothiers. Even in her youth Elizabeth was very self-motivated and dreamed of becoming an entrepreneur. That passion has evolved over the years into a successful business focusing on weddings and special event planning. The talents she offers have grown to include specialized decor consultations and floral design by the company’s lead expert, Kristi Turbyfill. With over 9 years experience in the event industry, Elizabeth strives to ensure every event is flawlessly executed and that every client is completely satisfied before, during and after their big day. Elizabeth’s experience and hard work has allowed her to gain considerable access to the areas most professional and experienced vendors.
Elizabeth HempflingPresident HSEP, Owner Events by Elizabeth Ashley
Meris GanttHSEP Vice President, Owner The Whole Shebang
Meris is a Southport, NC native turned mountain enthusiast. Shortly after graduating from Elon University with a BFA in Music Theatre, she moved to the High Country where she met her husband and made Blowing Rock her new home. Meris set out to build a career that would combine her expertise in theatre with her 16+ years of experience in the service industry. Wedding planning turned out to be an amazing fit. She went on to train as a wedding planner with The Whole Shebang and then took over when the previous owner relocated in 2009. Today the company is focused on planning and coordinating creative, one of a kind weddings in the North Carolina Mountains. Meris understands the importance of listening and building a relaxed, fun environment that allows the bride to discover her own unique vision of her perfect wedding day.
Jo Ann HallmarkHSEP Secretary, Owner Hallmark Cakes
Jo Ann grew up in eastern North Carolina but came to the mountains as soon as she could get here after graduating from Wake Forest University and has made Blowing Rock her home for 35 years. She is married to local sculptor Alex Hallmark. After spending several years in real estate and several more owning a trendy retail shop, she took a break to raise three sons. When a good friend who owns a local B & B called and said she needed a wedding cake for a ceremony at the inn, a new career was born. At the time there weren’t many options in the high country for a wedding cake, and once the word got out, the business took off and Hallmark Cakes was born. A one woman enterprise, Jo Ann bakes every cake, creates every sauce, puree, buttercream, filling … that makes them delicious. She assembles every gumpaste flower, builds and decorates every cake. Her goal is to make the process of planning your wedding cake effortless, delicious and fun!
Denise LovinHSEP Site Chair, Owner White Fence Farm
Denise Lovin lives in Boone with her husband, Fulton and 15 year old daughter. Denise also works as a full time psychologist and Fulton is a property owner in Boone. Neither of them dreamed of being in the wedding business, but a few years ago, they bought a farm as an investment and quickly realized it would make a beautiful vacation rental and wedding venue. Having lived in the NC mountains for over 20 years, Denise adores the rustic charm and natural beauty of the area and White Fence Farm embodies just that. Together, Denise and Fulton have learned about the wedding business and have met wonderful people through HSEP and have loved being part of the industry.
Abbie HancheyHSEP Expo Chair, Leatherwood Mountains
Family ties and a true love for the mountains have kept Abbie Hanchey involved with Leatherwood Mountains Resort and the surrounding area for over 22 years. She has built her life around the Equestrian Resort located in Ferguson, right outside of Boone , NC. Abbie heads up the Marketing, Events and Wedding Programs for Leatherwood Mountains Resort. For over 10 years Leatherwood’s wedding business has grown significantly. Abbie is blessed to have the great opportunity of working with the amazing couples that gravitate to the area to exchange their vows. Being surrounded by a host of amazing vendors in the High Country makes life as a Wedding Professional a pleasure. It is an honor for Abbie to serve on the HSEP board with such fine Wedding Professionals.