Christen and Michael – by Simmons Pictures

I don’t know why I am partial to military weddings.  I guess it is because I have such respect for our military and the sacrifice that they give us plus I know that there has been a lot of “distance” typically for a military couple.  Anyway – Christen and Michael’s wedding was so beautiful.  The day loomed gray at first with hints of rain but it was a gorgeous day with lots of cloud action which photographed well.

bride and horse   bride swing

Dianah and Ryan Photos – by Perfect Capture Photography

I love love love when new bride photos come in and finally…..the time has arrived.  First up for the year is Dianah and Ryan.  March makes some of the most unique photographs because the grass is pure neon green.  Dianah smiled the whole time – no nerves visible that I saw.  Sweet sweet couple.

Two Birds One Stone

This cliche’ is one of my favorites.  Ask anyone in my family and they will tell you so.  It is actually “kill two birds with one stone” to which my son will tell you – “My mom loves to kill those birds….” but before I linger any longer – understand, I am not killing any literal birds only figurative ones.  What is a figurative bird, you say?  To rephrase with another cliche, “get more bang for your buck”……so in essence it is getting more solutions –  more desirables with less input – or at least the same input as with one.

The desirables in this circumstance are “trendy look” and the other is “helping with the budget.”  We have noticed for a while now that many of our brides are opting for table decor that doesn’t look alike.  Keep the theme going – yes, but each table looks a bit different from  the next.  This usually goes beyond, for example, having different lanterns on each table instead of all the same color and kind….but it may be having log rounds on some…..and then mini logs on others – while keeping the vintage bottles and votives the same.

 

 

rustic wedding decor

 rustic table decor silver tea pot

Now – some brides will just go vintage on the tables and usually when this happens – each table inevitably needs to look different.  No one has 12 birdcages.  By going vintage theme….you can incorporate all sorts of items; books, old silverware, old clocks, heirlooms, etc.  With the interest in Bohemian weddings – this style embraces mismatch.  What this alone can do is to spread your options so you aren’t hunting for 20 of one things.  Also – it stretches your flower budget since most of what you need are buds here and there….and they too can be mismatched and not all the same kind…keep your color pallet tight but they can indeed be different.

 bohemian table decor

 vintage table decor

 vintage centerpieces

 vintage centerpieces

Now…take it one step further…killing my two birds with one stone.  A bride this weekend purchased florist created centerpieces which were stunning – works of art, in fact (by Mayflowers)….but she did not place these on all tables but only on some.  On the other tables – she had a vintage theme (much like above) so she was still able to display stunning flower arrangements but not overdo her budget by having them times 20…..plus it allow her to really incorporate this vintage flair which was this bride’s forte’.

 

 vintage table decor

 mayflowers

You can see where this bride (Kate) not only had flower arrangements on some tables and not all….but from the pics above – she incorporated her mother’s vintage tablecloth collection on the tables as well….some with the colorful vintage cotton square overlays and some with lace toppers or squares.  Now I will state that maybe Kate did not choose these options because of budget concerns but likely because she liked the way it looked – having the mismatch….and the bits of flowers without it being overwhelming everywhere.  Maybe she did do it from a budget stand point.  My point is….it would stretch your dollars either way…whether you were wanting just buds or full florist designed arrangements…..to have some on certain tables and something  else on the others.  I love it too from both standpoints.  I love it when the guests walk around and want to see all of the tables like a tour…..because there is something “to see uniquely” on each table.

Anyway….just a great idea to ponder!

 

~That’s all for now, Margie

 

Coming Home

I pondered whether this blog was meant for the business “Farm Blog” or for a storyline post on my personal Facebook page.  I am fairly confident that we – our farm wedding business – blurs the lines of personal and business.  We conduct much of the activities as a business but we are not only family owned but family property and this is indeed our family land and we have three generations living on the farm today.

In the current issue of Southern Living Magazine (a magazine that is a must for every southern home) is a story worth sharing to my audience here because it is so near and dear to my heart and to my current situation.  I was thumbing through the magazine one day with my 20 month old grand-daughter – just hoping to keep her entertained with some of the farm or animal pictures that I might come across.  As I turned the page, I saw a photo that looked way too familiar.

view of Lookout Mountain Not only did I recognize the cliffs of this mountain range as our own Lookout Mountain, but it looked like the exact same view from my daughter’s (Heather Gardner Powell) newly purchased home.  Had I not recognized the view – I likely would’ve set the magazine in the rack and resumed my hectic schedule without reading the article.  But, as I maintained an attentive eye to my granddaughters activities – I began to read the article titled “Coming Home To Roost” by Steven Bender.

The old Smart Home   The story begins with this paragraph, ” “You can’t go back home to your family,” wrote acclaimed novelist Thomas Wolfe. “back home to your childhood…back home to places in the country….back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.’  Plucking an egg from beneath one of her chickens, Amy Arrowsmith begs to differ. ”   I will assume that novelist Wolfe is implying that things change; the land gets developed, towns grow and alter, people grow up and move off, the mood and the life changes and once you depart from those “times and places”, there is no reliving them.  And as it also eludes – Amy Arrowsmith questions the validity of the assumption as well.

I do not know Amy, though she lives only a few miles up the road.  My daughter Jill knows her and Amy did buy one of our baby goats one time to be a playmate to their young boys.  But the story certainly hit a chord with me as I too live on family property and try to find a way to blend the past and the present together.

picket fence garden

The article is the story of Amy who chose to come back to her grandparents farm in Chattanooga Valley and restore/renovate her grandparents old farmhouse.  Amy has created a bit of heaven on earth with her natural gardens, her white picket fence, and her eye-appealing chicken house.

farmhouse with picket fence   The article is well written and the photos display the homey setting.  It is indeed a story about a gentle restoration of an older home and keeping the ambiance of the past but recognizing that connecting to the future for her children (and husband) and their needs is also important.  It is a beautiful piece of property located at the foothills of Lookout Mountain and on family property to boot.  Her design choices and blending of play areas and natural areas is delicately done.  I began reading aloud to my husband the final page of the article.  As I approached the last couple of paragraphs, my voice began to quiver and tears swelled in my eyes.  My words came out low and slow as I pursued finishing the article.  It read, “Though the cows are gone, Isabel Temple Smartt would very much recognize the special place where she and Amy walked hand in hand across the lawn more than 40 years ago. ‘She’d be very happy about how we’ve taken care of it…how much our children love living here, and that it’s still where family and friends get together,’ Amy says.  As Wolfe observed in  You Can’t Go Home Again, ‘Somethings will never change. Some things will always be the same. Lean down your ear upon the earth and listen.’  Amy Arrowsmith did.’ ”

I felt such a kinship to these words – this article. As my mother died last fall, I have taken over as the Matriarch of the farm, of sorts. I have been renovating her brick home into Guest Lodging.  My heart has been heavy as I have tried to not only show respect and honor to my mother’s home but to put my own twist to it as well.  As I have painted each piece of furniture, rearranged each wall, repurposed a slew of architectural pieces – I have been mindful to balance the past and the future.  My mother was such an artist – not only in watercolors and oils but with her china painting.  I always felt like I had the art gene but never found my medium niche.  So as I have journeyed through the transformation of this home, it is in some ways that I feel I have presented my mother a large water color painting that she is awed to view and even overwhelmed to receive.  I was fortunate to have my mother here during our first four years of the wedding business and to not only have her blessing in it but to share in her delight in it (which are two totally different things).  I know my mother was proud of our wedding business as she watched with anticipation as each bride would waltz into “her hayfield” to take photos and then she would also anxiously “SHARE” my facebook page when the bride photo gallery would be posted.  I do not have to second-guess her feelings about the wedding side of things.  But reading the article in Southern Living helped me to put into words much of what I feel.  My mother, Margie Willene Reynolds, would very much recognize her home – this special place where she and family laughed – loved – worked – and shared with others….for almost 40 years. She would be very happy about how we’ve taken care of it….how much me and my family love living here, and that it’s still where family and friends (and many many more) get together.

So isn’t it neat how that you guys – our brides, their family and their guests, from down the street or the other side of town, or those of you who have traveled as far away as Hawaii, Washington state, Australia, and Italy – all of you not only get to enjoy the farm but you become a part of its history.  You honor my mother by coming and celebrating marriage and enjoying the day.  You respect her by appreciating the property.  You allow us to continue her legacy by our hospitality that we share with you.  We do not need to lean down our ears upon the earth to listen….we can see it all around this property.  We see it and continue to live it.

~ Margie

 

Riddle-Ma Riddle-Ma Ree, I See Something You Don’t See

farm kitchen expanded kitchen

I have been busy in project mode since late January turning the brick house on the farm into On-Site Lodging plus “Day of Usage”.  The home was my late mother’s house so this process has been a very emotional yet therapeutic process.  I am on the home-stretch with a finish target date of Memorial Day – May 25, 2015.  There are many of you who have been anxious to see the progress and I am now ready to begin showing some teaser photos and revealing some of my results.

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The Knot Posts One of Our Weddings – “A Casual Vintage Wedding”

vintage wedding

We are always tickled when one of the internet wedding sites pick up one of our brides photos.  We are especially thrilled when it is one as prestigious as “The Knot.”  We will hope in anticipation when the day comes that they cover us in their wedding magazine – glory be what a day that will be!  Yes, it is great to get the publicity as we get the opportunity to showcase our farm.  But it is icing on the cake to demonstrate how each of our brides – each of our weddings take on a unique flair all special to them – as it should be!  Each of our brides are attracted to the features of our farm and barn….and that part of it is the common thread but each bride visions it in different ways….whether in style (vintage, rustic, elegant), or in color scheme, or in vendors, or in location of the ceremony, and much more.  We love seeing the variety and for sure it is one of our “foundational pillars” to give our brides as much flexibility as possible so that she can indeed “make this wedding her own.”

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New Rustic Arbor

 

We have a new arbor on the property that will give our brides another option for their ceremony site.  We pondered….we imagined…..we considered our options and our locations…..we debated over our materials and our vegetation choices…..and we now have built this very beautiful and rustic arbor situated on the northeast side of the lawn.  Cedar logs were our “post of choice” since we wanted a real natural look for it – no railroad ties or 6×6 chunks of lumber would do. For the top, we even found some moss covered log limbs.   Dimension wise –  The posts are about 11 feet apart in the front and it is almost 5 feet deep from front post to back posts.  We have Confederate Jasmine vine planted on the posts which produces beautiful white blossoms later on.  Being a southern girl, I just love to say “Confederate Jasmine” – love the way it rolls off of my tongue as I stretch out each syllable.  The vine has been tickled to have all of this rain – so surely it will begin creeping up the arbor before long.  We also planted groupings of river birch trees on either side – ya’ know the kind that have the chippy bark?  We still have a few grasses to plant but that will be done this week.

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Bohemian Trend

Bohemian Trend Weddings

Each year I see new wedding trends that begin to take hold.  I see these on the major internet wedding sites, on the pinterest boards, and even here at the farm as brides talk to us about their decorating wishes.  It is always interesting to see these new ideas and how they are implemented from bride to bride.  What I have noticed this winter is more of an interest in the Bohemian trend weddings.  Don’t be surprised if you find some of these ideas appealing and you decide to weave in a couple of them here and there.

bohemian tent

From Pinterest

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Recognition on “The Knot.Com”

We are always excited to see when one of our weddings get picked up by one of the major wedding sites.  Today we got notified that TheKnot.com has included one of our 2014 weddings –  of Jennifer and Bryan (by Katey Penton Photography).

bride and groom in garden 

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On-Site Lodging

life comes in phases and so do projects. As one door has closed, another door opens. 2015 sees changes that will provide more options for our brides and their day.
With my mother’s passing in fall 2014, it has presented a decision over what purpose I had for her home.  We have reviewed our various needs and have come up with a solution and a game plan.
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