Leap Year comes around only every four years. Two more days till we get to imagine how special of a day February 29th must be. That said – It is a day that we here at High Point Farms will celebrate and leap for joy.
We have been working towards our dream of a Wedding Barn Farm Venue now for almost 14 months. With more imagination than money, we set the project in motion on January 1, 2011. Our lists were long. First list was how to get the farm and barn at the same level (or better) than when my daughter Jill got married in 2005 at the farm. Granted – we have been going the extra mile more so this time around than we ever did we Jill. We added the bathrooms and took out some stalls which we didn’t before.
We were so appreciative of our early brides who came and toured early on and were very supportive as we would say…..”and we are going to build this….and we are going to add a that…” and so on. We were good salesman or maybe we were just good communicators. But each early bride seemed confident and tickled at our ideas and our plans. It certainly helped that we had done this before with Jill – and we had amazing pictures to tout in our defense. That said….we were aiming high and the game was on.
Our first bride was amazed at how we had transformed the farm from her first visit in January 2011 to her wedding on the first of May. You could see the pleasure and appreciation on her face when they came to set up for their wedding. Their pictures even today bring joy to our hearts as we saw once again how a good photographer and a creative bride can transform our farm into a magical dream come true before our very eyes.
With wedding number one under our belts, we feverishly continued more projects in preparation for wedding number two. Tours were becoming frequent as my website had begun to gather traction and more brides booking for the fall. As we saw that our suspicions had been confirmed – that we weren’t the only ones who thought it was a good idea to have a farm/barn wedding….we began to construct a master list of how we would like our barn and farm to evolve into.
We created this list to include tables and chairs which we added early on. With each new bride and each new deposit and payments – we returned the money back into the business and our wish list grew. More room – let’s take out a few more stalls. Extra electricity – call the electrician and run some additional lines in the barn as well as the Milk House. Lay some flagstone in the high traffic area. Replace toilets with efficient ones. Add a Buffet room. Along the way, we would re-write the contract a bit to reflect some of the changes. Various brides would suggest add-ons that they would relish and some of them we would add for them as well as include in our list of add-ons.
As fall 2011 came around – tours jumped into high gear and bookings began to spike. We saw our 2012 year beginning to fill up. As we began to explain to those brides…..”we are going to build an addition onto the front of the barn because……”….we found ourselves again painting a picture of an exciting feature “yet to come…” and hoped that we would meet their approval. With winter upon us finally – no more weddings till spring 2012….we jumped into serious project mode, drained our reserves once again, and hoped that our vision for the addition could be pulled off and that it would turn out as we had hoped. Of course during this time – we still had oodles of tours. I hate apologizing for construction mess but winter was the only time for us to even consider doing such a project – and from the brides standpoint – they were anxious to come and see and book for 2012.
So…back to February 29th…this was our target date to be completed with all of those promises and we have completed them! Yeah! The website will reflect new pictures and information and begin to show some of the additions. Of course we anxiously await our professional photographers’ angles as they include them in their photos for these upcoming brides. They will do a far better job at showing these new features at their best! But…as promised…..I am going to include a few here on the blog for those faithful readers who too are anxious to see them – FIRST.
First is the “foyer” as we refer to it. It really turned out as I had hoped. It “marries” itself to the original barn structure very well as we rescued old barn wood from some of the tornado damage on Sand Mountain plus some old vintage windows from a salvaged house in Flintstone. The construction crew of Woodward Enterprises did an amazing job along with Mike McMannis who built the basic structure.
The Foyer is a 24 ft. x 24 ft. fully open (no inner poles) area that adjoins with the rest of the open barn area. Each of the three outward sides have sliding trolley doors. The front has the largest doors which are a distressed weathered red/gray….that have the large curtains flowing from them. This makes for a great photo op. On each side – these doors too open up – again….a twelve foot opening so that when the weather is fine – it has a great in and out feel to things. If the weather were to be too windy or rainy – these doors can be closed to help protect the inside of the barn. Curtains will also hang from these side doors. Large flagstone areas have been created off of each of these doorways to transition the traffic flow from inside to out. Gutters placed on the addition to keep the rain from damaging our traffic flow areas. Concrete floor with a brush coat for dancing in the foyer. Lights draped in the addition as well with a funky old wheel chandelier hung in the center of the addition.. This would be a cool place to have the wedding ceremony even!
Next, we added a door onto an opening on the garden side of the barn. In fact, we added another opening further down on that same side and hung what we will refer to as our “Tucker Doors” on both of those doorways. These are big heavy hunkin’ doors from some old carriage house and they too are on a trolley roll system. These are going to be great for photographs too! Plus – it will again make it easier to flow in and out of the barn. You can close them if you want or open them. Let the breeze in or shut it out.
Another big change which I didn’t quite find a good way to photograph is that we have created a pea-gravel drive that loops from the parking lot up past the blackberry beds that allows you to drop off your guest then they circle back down through the “old” section of the garden and back to the parking area. Before – we did allow a few cars to drive up on our grass and drop off “granny” but then they had to circle back through our grassy lawns. We wanted to make sure that we could protect our grassy areas – protect our view shed – allow convenience for drop offs – allow vendors close enough access to drop of their supplies – prepare for high traffic or inclement weather – etc., etc….so….this was our solution. You will see a signage change that will lead your guests down Parrish Lane (not up Farmhouse Lane as you likely did for your tour)….then veers left onto the new driveway….crosses through the low end of the field and up to the parking area. Guests can either park or drop off then park. By using the pretty pea gravel – it keeps our country feel and avoids the gray color of concrete. This again – will help protect the farm and “you” on the perchance of any inclement weather….and help traffic flow.
There will surely be a few things that you will also notice once you come for your day. We will leave those treasures for you to discover later. I hope it all demonstrates efforts to please you and to create this wonderland for you. We have totally reinvested in this project from day one and we can now take a big sigh of relief and bit of pride in our work. For the brides who booked early and got their discounted venue price – consider yourself lucky and thank you for trusting us to complete our projects in a timely manner as well as in an artistic manner. For the brides who have booked recently and have the updated price list – know that we have thrown in all sorts of goodies into the basic package that will help you prepare for your special day – things that we did not offer the previous clients.
We do have additional projects – things we had not tell anybody about….but that too…will wait for another day. Hopefully – we will accomplish them even before our first wedding of the year – March 10th….But, count on me to blog about that too in time. We are grateful for the exceptionally warm weather which has allowed us to work more outside replanting grass around the foyer, transplanting raspberry bushes, create additional signage, plant some plants, and such.
Are you excited?….I hope so! We can’t wait for this year to begin. We just know that this will be a special year. So….on February 29th…..let’s all leap for joy!