With This Ring: Gardner – Holbrook



While living in Denver, Cheney Behrens Gardner drove to Boulder, Colorado, to meet a friend who was there for a wedding. As luck would have it, Henry Peter Holbrook was also attending the wedding. Cheney and Henry were part of a large group that had breakfast and went on a hike, and the two hit it off. Henry’s flight after the wedding was leaving from Denver, so they planned to meet for Indian food. Over dinner, he changed his flight and stayed a few extra days.

The next week Cheney moved from Denver to Bozeman, Montana. Henry drove all night to meet her for a three-day backpacking trip in Yellowstone. By the end of that trip, they were a couple. They knew they would be a long-distance couple, as Henry had already made plans to travel the world for a year. Cheney joined him for part of his adventure, and together they explored Uruguay, Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar. 

After returning to the United States, Henry decided to propose the same way they met – on a hike – this time in Cashiers, North Carolina, accompanied by Cheney’s parents. However, Cheney, who was back in graduate school, had an exam and didn’t want to go! Fortunately, the Gardners were in on the secret and helped Henry convince her. Henry proposed with a ring made with diamonds from his grandmother, and Cheney happily said yes!

Because their families were such an important part of their engagement, it seemed natural that family would be at the center of their wedding celebrations. The rehearsal dinner took place on Henry’s 30th birthday, and his mom found a baker to recreate his favorite childhood cake. The next day, April 17, 2021, the couple was married in the Gardners’ backyard in Cashiers. Cheney wore a family dress dating back to the 1880s, as well as her grandmother’s jewelry.

During the reception, the newlyweds toasted using silver goblets from Cheney’s grandparents’ 1949 wedding. As they raised their glasses, guests enjoyed the views from the Gardners’ floor-to-ceiling windows; the light coming through them accented the soft pink and peach hues of the décor. While the Indian meal created by Chai Pani – a nod to their first date – was spectacular, the highlight was the groom’s cake, topped with a fondant sculpture of the couple’s dog, Mavis.

A local bluegrass added to the ambiance, and Henry and Cheney chose “Love Like Me” by Billy Strings for their first dance. Its lyrics about traveling seemed like the perfect fit for a couple that has seen the world together. They are looking forward to the next adventure, a honeymoon in Sri Lanka this spring! 

In the meantime, they’re enjoying married life in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where Cheney is a dual MBA and Master of Environmental Management candidate at Duke/UNC and Henry is a senior product manager of semi-autonomous solutions at Recursion Pharmaceuticals.

Rehearsal Dinner Location: Lonesome Valley, Cashiers, NC

Celebrant: Reverend Toby Summerour

Ceremony & Reception Music: Nitrograss

Wedding Gown: Handmade family dress from 1880s, altered by Sophie Tran of Sophie Sewing, New Orleans; custom slip dress by Sophie Tran for dancing

Groom’s Attire: Custom three-piece suit, Julian’s of Chapel Hill

Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: custom ring, Nicole Hendry

Florist: Meghan Lock Florals, Cashiers, NC

Invitation: Write On, New Orleans

Wedding Cake: Canyon Kitchen, Cashiers, NC

Groom’s Cake: Sugarcloud Bakery, Cashiers, NC

Photographer: Mary Gillan, Cashiers, NC

Videographer: Max Renfro, Cashiers, NC

Hair: Atlas Beauty, Brevard, NC

Makeup: Kristen Calloway/Doll Box Productions, Brevard, NC

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