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.
We are going to begin some pinterest inspired renovations and plan to offer, beginning August 1, 2015, the use of her home - a.k.a. Mimi's Guest House - for either Day-Of-Usage and/or for On-Site Lodging. One of my infamous cliche sayings is "kill two birds with one stone" and this two-option approach should provide several trouble-shooting options worth considering.
First, let me paint a picture of what is to come. Currently the top floor houses a kitchen, den, dining room, parlor, half-bath, master suite and master bath. We are opening up the floor plan and taking out walls to create a large great room with various seating areas, eating areas, and lounge areas. I want to create a cozy lounging space for your family and wedding party. I plan on photo journaling the metamorphosis of these renovations. I tend to think outside the box and I am anxious to put a new twist on the traditional home. Pinterest here I come.
Day-Of-Usage: Noon to 11:30 PM
1. The Groom's do indeed have the Groom's Room which we have nicknamed "The Man Cave." We call it that because it fits the image a bit. But - again, sometimes the room is popping at the seams with groomsmen, fathers of the bride and groom, officiant, ringbearer and more. By having the option to Add-On the Mimi Guest House just for Day-Of-Usage means a much larger and more comfortable hang out area for them. Wide-screen TV, Wi-Fi, lounging area, sectional sofa, eating areas, and fridge - you get the picture.
2. Now think of parents and grandparents. Inevitably, they come early in the day whether out of curiosity, or because of a convenient ride, or the need for early photos. To have access to a climate-controlled house to let them retreat to so they are both comfortable and not under-foot, well....you get the picture.
3. Often there are bridesmaids or family members who have infants. When they come early, for the reasons stated above, there is no good way for them to fit in the hubbub and chaos of the farmhouse. Breast-feeding or laying them down for a nap in a pack-n-play can make the remainder of the day become feasible.
4. Pizza anyone? With so many of your crew or helpers coming at noon, the likelihood of them wanting a snack or to order pizza becomes increasingly possible. Having this wide open area with a variety of comfortable seating options gives a great place to chow down some lunch without creating a mess in the barn as its being prepped for the Main Event.
5. The Farmhouse is meant for Bridal preparation area only. The guidelines for its usage is to fully vacate by 8 p.m. and leave it as you found it . Most of our brides (and their maids) have their bags packed up and moved out just prior to leaving the farmhouse for the ceremony knowing that time will be limited to come back after the ceremony with the timeline busy with other activities. With opting for Day-Of-Usage on Mimi"s Guest House, any and all bags, purses, etc. can be moved into that house. This also helps if there is any need for changing clothes after the ceremony - either for your girls or for the bride.
On-Site Lodging Too:
1. Option two is adding the On-Site Lodging along with the Day-Of-Usage. Having an on-site sleeping quarters for your parents, grandparents, and others - up to 8 where you can easily crash at the night's end....steps away....surely will be convenient. Grandparents often cannot easily drive after dark so it makes it much easier for them to have this as an option.
2. Maybe your Matron of Honor or sister has an infant. Having a bedroom downstairs with a Pack-N-Play to put the child down to sleep earlier in the evening will open up options to stay longer.
3. With bedding for 8, it becomes convenient and even economical to add this lodging aspect.
Mimi's Guest House is not meant to become an "after-party" location. After 11:30 p.m., all guests who are not considered an occupant should vacate the farm. It is not to become a work-station for your caterer. It is not meant for unattended guests nor for unsupervised children.
So - let the renovations begin. I will update when there are pictures to share. ~ Margie
Fourteen months ago, I posted the following tribute to my mother on this blog. I felt it fitting to repost it again. My mother died a week before Thanksgiving (2 weeks ago) so her memory, her funeral, and her special attributes are all so fresh in my mind. Let me share again with you the post:
The matron of the farm is my mother - kindly referred to as Mimi - by her grandchildren and now almost everybody. It was my mother (and father) who purchased the farm many years ago. Her love of the farm is renowned by any of those who know her. Her bedroom faces High Point on the mountain and she draws such peace and comfort from this view. She has the beauty of the clouds rolling in from the southwest and the awesome foliage of the ridges to the east. She is the mother hen who watches over the comings and goings of the barn activities. She has also lead by her example with opening up the farm over her many years to friends and family and to her church. She is quick to share a meal at her table with others or to share a pack of seeds from her flower garden to any new acquaintance.
My mother has been very supportive of our wedding business. We feel as though it has in some ways been an extension of the pattern set before us all these years as we have opened up our homes and the farm to many different groups over the years. We have had family reunions, class reunions, Easter Sun Rise Services, Annual Prairie Day outings for the whole fourth grade class, local widows come to harvest turnip greens, Annual Down on the Farm for a local church, Fall Hoe-Down, Homecoming Week Preparations, Annual Rowing Club End of the Season Barn parties, Halloween Parties, Movie Night in the Barn, 4-H Horse Club Meetings, and the list goes on. My mother rarely meets a stranger and if she does - she doesn't allow them to be a stranger for long. Her hospitality is legendary and I aim to continue her legacy.
My mother has always had a green thumb - she came by it naturally as her mother was a gardener 24-7. It is a passion that has been passed down both to me and to Jill as well but my mother, still today, works her garden daily. I joke to others that my mother will be on her death-bed asking somebody to weed her flower bed until she returns. It is her joy and her creative passion that takes her back to her flower garden every day. There are stories to be told of half of the flowers and bushes growing around her yard. Most of the flowers at the venue and at Jill's farmhouse came from seeds, cuttings, or transplants from "Mimi's" yard. She has helped to beautify the farm with year-around color from her Beauty-Berry bush, her rare spring Poppy flowers, an array of dazzling lilies, a row of knock-Out roses, and a list that would be a hundred long if I could remember them all.
Even now - I find it amazing how well she handles the realities of our farm weddings. The flood of people that come each weekend, the late night beat of Gangnam Style echoing through the farm, brides posing for the camera in her front yard, touring brides coming by at inconvenient times, driveways being clogged with vehicles, and weekends that run till midnight. Yet, she takes it all in strides and enjoys watching from her window. She asks about each wedding and each bride. She watches the cars pull in. She waits for the bride to head towards the barn to get a glimpse of her in her wedding dress. Even when I make a mad dash to her house in search of some odd necessity that is needed at the barn; a coffee filter, a punch bowl, some plastic forks, a cutting knife, etc...she graciously rummages through her cabinets to help find it so I can dash out to the barn to rescue the day. I have so often pilfered her china plates, her vintage napkins stash, and her bread baskets to fulfill my decorating duties...and she does so with pride knowing that she has contributing someway - somehow to the cause. She follows my blog, shares any new wedding FB photos with her friends, and looks forward to the next wedding. I am blessed and fortunate to have her here on the farm and for her to be a part of this wild and crazy journey of the Barn at High Point Farms. I offer this blog as a tribute to her - my mom.
(This was an early picture taken right after my parents bought the farm. They staged this American Gothic style photo - it is one of my favorites.)
I share this sadness with you because so many of you - past brides and their families and guests and so many of our vendors have become sort of an extended family. I knew that many of you would want to know.
Moma has left me a tremendous legacy as she demonstrated in so many ways how to love and care for people. She was always sending somebody off with a bag of turnip greens or poppy seeds. She welcomed any and all visitors to the farm. Any visitor, any occasion was the time to cook a home-cooked meal. There was never too few minutes that wouldn't work to see grandchildren or weed a garden.
Her health had waned for years and with our business here at the farm, it helped to facilitate her staying here in her own house and here at the farm she so loved. It was only weeks ago that she watched one of the weddings out in the front hayfield and it brought her such joy to watch. The awesome thing was - this bride's family had made her a large wooden cross as a backdrop for her wedding ceremony. It indeed made a beautiful picture with the mountain in the backdrop and the cross before her. After the wedding - the family didn't have a need for the cross so they volunteered to leave it. Moma so loved having the cross out in the field so she could see it....as she looked towards the mountain - as she looked towards High Point. It became her "old rugged cross" as she referred to it.
So don't cry tears for me - well....just not too many of them. I am blessed (something that Moma would always say - and I am now learning to say a bit more often.....) for I am one of the lucky ones.....to have had a wonderful loving mother who not only cared and loved me but I have her memory in so many things - little and big - everywhere I look here on the farm. Her house will become a guest house - her poppies will be blooming in a few months - there are propagated muscadine vines and trees potted in the garage awaiting spring - the turnips are still green in the garden to share - there are watercolor paintings of hers to hang - and her china painted plates will be set around the family table for all on Christmas morning to enjoy. She was ready to see her Jesus and her pain is no more. What more could I want for her? It is for me I weep and not for her. The sting will lessen and instead of tears each time I see these "remembrances of Moma" ....they will soon be replaced with smiles. ~ Margie
We are a family farm wedding venue - we are. When we began this adventure four years ago, there were no pretenses. Our barn didn't have the sleek look of those yankee barns...there were no white fence lined driveways....no horse carriages parked in the barn.
We took the approach to embrace what we were which was a family farm....run by our family to yours....with a simple barn that we knew we could dress up. It has been interesting - maybe a bit daunting - and often amusing to see so many wedding barns pop up since we began...places that struggle to find their identity partly because they are copying an idea instead of doing what they know.
We have tried to approach each aspect of our venue as an asset - - to restore what is worthy of keeping - to repurpose all that we can - and to keep those features that separate us from the pack - and to embrace the flaws as character.
So we kept the old Milkhouse turned tool shed - painted it deep gray with some red doors - adding some Virginia Creeper vine on one side and an white blooming vine on the other side...and turned this eye sore into a quaint Groom's Room but it also became a photographic opportunity that has complimented our grounds.
Most contractors doing a renovation of an old farmhouse might take down the old discolored boards from the porch roof but we love the unique hues and distressed look that it brings to the porch. Suddenly what was considered discolored now becomes an accent to some amazing photos.
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So we left some of the stalls as "stalls" in the barn and decided just to convert them - to something useful but to leave the general look of the barn just to remain a barn. Somehow - someway - we converted two stalls into our Buffet Room....and with some funky repurposing of two chicken feeder turned pendant lights - another stall became a bar.
We just carry on the farm theme everywhere we can. My husband has always always maintained a garden so instead of just removing it and replacing it with a row of easy-care Crepe Myrtles was never an option. Our garden feeds three households here at the farm and we usually have plenty to share to visiting friends. Our garden, with its challenges, again seems to become an asset to the photographers.
We do love our animals....I have always been an animal nut - cats, dogs, horses, goats, rabbits, pigs, cows, sheep, even an emu. I think it is something in my blood. We did decide that pigs and weddings didn't go together....so no pigs here except a metal pig in the garden. But we do have other animals here and there.
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Strangely - other venues have begun to add goats to their property...but little do they know that we have special goats here at our farm....handled from day one - loved and carried around special goats - generation after generation - named and they come a-running when called.....no plain jane goat will do what our goats will do.
Even our horses are special....occasionally and when the atmosphere is just right - our horses morph into unicorns. I suspect that our competitors will try to incorporate unicorns in their venues too.
Everywhere you turn - there is a farm theme. Our old tractor still sits by the garden. Horse troughs turned into flowering troughs of sorts. Old haywagon turned into a sign in table. Wheelbarrow full of flowers. Wash tins as gift tubs. Our horse ring remains but turned into our cornhole and horse shoe game area.
It appears to be a happy marriage metaphorically speaking - mixing the visuals of farm life with the elegance of a wedding. Moreover, our guests seem to have a good time. We are who we are and we feel very blessed that each year a whole new batch of brides are choosing to share their day with us. We will continue our farm approach - it is who we are...and we happy to have people come and enjoy it with us.
Kimberly had a very clear vision of what her wedding day would be like. She had her collection of pinterest pictures to help convey this very garden theme influence. It was so much fun building on her wishes to create this backdrop for her.
Trevor, the groom, is military (obviously) and it was important for this to play an important role too. He in his uniform, Kimberly's maid in blue striped dresses, and a special American flag hung on the barn celebrated and honored his service.
The gown Kimberly chose was stunning - very classy, lacey, and fit her to a tee.
I never tire of seeing these young lovebirds swoon over each other. The way they gaze at each other and sparkle as they approach the others. The love Kimberly and Trevor have for each other is obvious and you can even see it in these pictures.
Mixing in very earthy elements plus pots of herbs were essential. Kimberly brought a variety of herbs to be gathered into paper cones by her guests so that they could be tossed towards the "just married" couple after the initial ceremony. This herb and garden theme was easily woven onto sign in, cake table, table decor, and gift tables too.
I admit it was deliciously fun to dig through all of my treasures and scavenger hunt through my favorite antique stores to find these various accessories. Old metal frogs became herb seed holders for the tables, moss added natural greenery, tins of live basil and rosemary, garden boxes, dried lavender, and more. Kimberly brought the above blue vintage-looking metal tins that we filled with fresh kale, Queen Anne's Lace, and purple thistle. The compliment came when Kimberly and her girlfriends arrived to see the venue decked out and tears came to Kimberly's eyes as her friends declared, "wow - this is exactly what she has always talked about wanting for this day!" Does it get better that this? It is like being commissioned to paint a picture for somebody and waiting with baited breath to hear that it has pleased the customer.
The ceremony was set for within the grove. Chairs were arranged in a horseshoe pattern which created a much more cozy effect to the onlookers.
Don't they look so happy? Such an honor to be a witness to this.
Their family and friends had a beautiful day and a delightful time on the farm. They enjoyed cornhole and a bonfire with smores to be enjoyed. The dance hall was active till late.
We were honored to be a part of this brides special day - to meet their wonderful and supportive family and friends - to paint the farm with a look that was "so very Kimberly" - and to know that we helped in some way make this day as special as she had dreamed it to be.
A huge thanks to Viktoriya Evich Krudu Photography for again doing an amazing job on the photography and for your generosity in sharing these photos with us at the farm.
Have a blessed day - Margie
What a what wedding this was and such a wonderful couple to get to know. You can tell by this photo that this couple just has sass....attitude......and here to have a great time making memories.
They came early in the fall last year to take some engagement photos and you can tell by their faces that they had a blast meandering through the farm. Of course, Katie found a baby goat to hold....
The ceremony in the grove always makes for an ideal summer wedding s pot. The trees canopy your guests and it just feels more intimate here under the foliage.
Bouquets by Making Arrangements in St. Elmo (Chattanooga) and flowers and decorating by HP Farms - Katie wanted a clean and elegant look with a vintage flair. With haybale sofas with quilts - old windows hanging - a double washtin standing with ice water for the guests - it did make for some cute photos and dressed up the barn a bit.
With their obvious passion for each other and a wealth of family and friends that love and support them - the Gestosani's have a bright future and are forever friends of the farm. A huge credit to Soli Photography for the amazing photos that she creates for this couples (and many of our other brides)....she never ceases to awe us with her work. Thanks Katie for sharing your day with us and your photos. ~ Margie/HP Farms
We are excited about all of our brides and try to treat them special. That said - some of our brides and their weddings just stand out. For the brides who share their wedding photos - I create a folder and pick a slew of my favorites to share here and on facebook. This helps me to remember each bride and to relish their weddings. A picture does paint a thousand words. Some of our weddings just stand out amongst the pack of others....and there are many different reasons for these that shine extra bright. Sometimes it is the story behind the scenes....sometimes it is the unusual circumstances of the wedding...sometimes it is just a friendship that develops between us and our brides...again....many different reasons. Kate and Will's wedding is one of those stand outs.
Kate had a thousand ideas and details that she had planned...all thought out and on paper. She saw in her mind how things would look - how the tables would be set - the flowers - the day - no detail too small. Yet with all of our back and forth about implementing those plans - she was always cheery and pleasant and never over-bearing. She embraced the day when it arrived and had fun just being here....enjoying each and every moment.
Photographer Jimmy Phillips with Perfect Capture Photography is a repeat vendor. He has an eye for staging which produces some unique angles and views. We are always tickled pink to see his galleries and never surprised if they are picked up on wedding blogs for display. We are appreciative of his generosity.....as well as making our venue looks so good.
There were so many fun moments at this wedding, i.e. Hilarious shenanigans from their singing groomsmen, dancing bridesmaids, and the singing bride......rip roaring dancing on the dance floor....and the newlyweds sitting by the bonfire with friends at the nights end.
Ultimately - this is a wedding...and it is the love and passion and dedication of the bride and groom for each other....that if we are fortunate - that it spills out with abundance for all of us to see and to be a witness to.
I am not sure where to begin with this wedding gallery. Sarah, the bride, as you can plainly see is a naturally beautiful bride. Her style - her gown - her jewelry choice - and her bouquet paint a very elegant flair. Add to this, the backdrop of the farmhouse porch with coral honeysuckle blossoms climbing up the ancient brick column - a turquoise porch swing waiting behind her - and the amazing blue hues of the porch ceiling crowning the photo with color. The deep green foliage just makes her white flowing gown just pop off the page. Photos like this is nothing short of art. Photographer Charlie Gann of Blue Vinyl Creative has this knack of stepping back in time with a vintage flair about his photos.
Sarah and Spencer look like they could have stepped out of a fashion magazine but beyond their looks - this couple was as nice as could be. The day was beautiful - the grass green - a gentle breeze here and there - as they stood beneath the old pecan tree to promise forever to love and to cherish. It doesn't get much better than this.
I am always excited - virtually giddy - when the gallery of photos from our weddings are shared with us by brides or photographers. We are honored to see them and grateful that we can share them with you and often use them on our website.
We are affirmed by our brides that they appreciate how we, as part of our approach and philosophy, allow our brides to make this venue their own by using their own vendors, by being able to script their day as they see it, and create a look that is their vision.
Let me share photos from Maggie K.'s wedding earlier this year. Maggie's wedding was a destination event as she lived in Florida. What made it more complicated was she is a career woman with lots on her plate and after the wedding, the newlyweds were moving to the northeast. Honeymoon plans would have to wait. Decorating emails were passed back and forth so we could create the look that was "just so Maggie." She was an easy going bride to deal with and the day turned out beautiful from every angle - as these photos will show.
Maybe there was some camera magic going on here but wow....what a sky! And....look at this happy couple. Maggie was stunning in her dress and the groom looks relaxed and delighted! Photos by R&K Photography.
The goats are always a hit especially when their is a baby kid to hold. I am always amazed at the circle of guests that will surround me as they patiently (and sometimes impatiently) await their turn to hold the goat and snap a few instagram photos of them with the "kid." Goat kisses....these two (below) seem to have been attracted to each other.
This old tractor has seen many-a-fields in her time. If she wasn't such a loyal hardworking companion to the farm - we would've traded her off by now...but she plugs along and can maneuver into places that our larger John Deere wouldn't even try. Somehow though...she does make for an interesting photo op...as this one demonstrates.
It is amazing to see the many options that a bride of today has versus the bride of thirty years ago. Options in all areas such as what sort of facility (yes - like a barn!) to what sort of food to provide to what her bridal party wears to whether she even has a wedding cake or not. This same flexibility goes also to her Sign-In options. We love seeing the different ideas that are brought here to the farm plus there are many ideas on pinterest too. The Barn at High Point Farms has a pinterest page
where many of these have been pinned for your convenience. With our unique selection of various vintage or barnwood tables - your cute presentation of whatever you decide can be carried off in country farm style. Usually our haywagon is selected as an All-In-One Sign In/Gift Table display but again - your choices here are almost endless. Let me run through a few of my favorites here....and as always.....let this day reflect YOU, the bride - and of course your groom.
First up is one that we saw recently where they used Jinga game block pieces and permanent markers as sign in. What a cute idea! Personalized messages on a game that you will have and enjoy for years to come.
Next is a slight take off to this idea. Instead of the Jinga pieces - this bride has ordered wooden jigsaw puzzle pieces for sign in. A color or a picture could easily be on one side with the signatures and messages on the non-painted side.
Photo Books are still very popular and makes for a great keep-sake....allowing people to write on all/any of the pages so it feels like a Year Book sign in.
As shown here to the right, a photo canvas is an idea too. This photo canvas was very artfully done (from Etsy) but you could see how this would be awesome hung up in their first home for years to come.
Wooden letters are easy to obtain now from Hobby Lobby and Etsy - so a sign in like the one here (left) becomes a great wall hanging later.
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This tree sign-in looks awesome. Likely something that could be located on Etsy - as all things grand can be found. This appears to be small individual wood pieces that are either in place and signed - or set to the side to be individually signed and then glued in later. Again - great presentation and would be a great keepsake for years to come. Anything rather than a straight sign in book like what used to be traditional....to sit in a box stashed away and only occasionally looked at. This becomes priceless and art - all in one.
I slight take off to the above idea, is the finger imprint idea - either on a canvas or as shown here - on a large wooden slab. This seems to be a fun process for most guests - it does take a bit more time for your guests to work through the line with this sort of option (i.e. reading the instructions, picking a color, stamping, and clean up)....but still a great idea.
As with most decisions, it is a good idea to figure out if any one of these fits you - your interest - your personality - your hobbies. We have seen fabric squares set out with various colors of permanent markers for a message/sign in so that a quilt can be made later for the couple. If you have somebody in your close network who sews - this again would be a great keepsake. One of our brides was an art hobbyist of sorts. Everyone who knew her was familiar with her decorating talents and overall artistic abilities so when she brought this one of a kind painted canvas for her guests to sign in with - it was so fitting and unique.
Still interested in more ideas? Let me keep going. These next few ideas follow the same theme. These are "well-wishes" that will double dose as both a sweet gesture as well as a sign in.
"A message in a bottle" let's your guests write down a sweet note or even some advice, roll it up, and drop it in a jar or in a "well-wishes bucket."
With more and more brides opting for just money either due to their guests coming from far and wide and the logistics of bringing packages not being feasible....or whether they are more interested in collecting money for a "honeymoon fund"...we see where you can set a cute jug to collect the money....or the vintage luggage ideas to collect the cards/checks. When this is done - a cute sign in to go along with that theme is to find a vintage globe and have your guests sign in on the globe...maybe even suggesting places around the globe that you should select for your honeymoon. We had one wedding where many of the guests had come from far and wide to attend the wedding - so they were instructed to sign in "where they were from" so the globe was dotted all over with signature and arrows.
And if you can actually locate a typewriter (and tape) that works, leaving a message or a "Great Headliner" is a fun activity.
I really love this idea (below) where you would actually combine a photo shot of your guests as they hold up a chalkboard sign with a personalized message. I can see this stretching the bounds of humor but it would make for a hilarious photo journal to view later.
One of the best ideas which would mean a fair amount of planning ahead of time is the table sign in below. When I say "table", I mean just that....signing-in "onto" the table. In the picture below - it has already been painted a bit with a heart and names of the bride/groom and maybe the date....and then signatures and well-wishes are marked all over the top of the table.....later to be covered with a bit of shellack to protect it.
Finally - there is always - always - the option of no sign-in at all.....but - oh so sad to miss a wonderful opportunity to record those family and friends who took out from their time to come to the farm and celebrate with you this most special of all days.
I hope this inspires some ideas and if you have any more of them - please include them below as a "comment".....I know you all are reading my blogs but to comment is sweet music to my ears....and sharing these with our brides is so very helpful for them.
With sweet goat kisses from the farm to you..........Margie
The old vintage farmhouse has always been an integral part of our farm venue. It sets the stage for being a farm where people live and a way of life began. The farmhouse which was built before the Civil War not only shows off an era that we now refer to as "vintage" but it demonstrates that "there are good things that do endure the test of time." It helps bring together the feelings of timeless beauty and adds the ambiance of a family homestead.
Giving the front room to our brides was an early decision that we made knowing how important it was that a bride could have a nice place to prepare. We often state that "brides love to get married in a barn but that don't want to get dressed in a barn." My daughter, Jill, and her family made the sacrifice to give up some of their privacy and allowed our brides to take over the front room of the farmhouse. This not only gave our brides a place to dress but a way to stay separated from the groom that day if they wished. Little did we know that our wonderful photographers would capture the most amazing photos in and around the farmhouse. We have enjoyed seeing the different ways that the farmhouse has added to the galleries.
Most of the farmhouse is original. During our gentle and prolonged restoration process, we tried to save every viable board and feature whenever possible. If you look on the underside of the porch ceiling, you will see a very distressed but exotic shade of turquoise that is common to see in very old farmhouses. They say that shade of blue helps to deter bugs. Who knew?....we kept it because we loved the unusual coloring. We have added decor here and there and much of it has more meaning than you would imagine. There is an old barber's chair that sits on the porch. This belonged to my grandfather when he was a barber in the James Building in downtown Chattanooga oodles of years ago. When he closed up shop, they kept several items and we think of "Papa" whenever we see it. Jill refurbished the seat on it and it too makes for some grand photos. Even the white picnic table that sets on the sidelines is a picnic table that my parents purchased when they first got married (early 50's).
Last year, we added a restroom so that our brides could have their own (and Jill's family could actually retain their bathroom without interruption). This made more convenience for everybody. We added it on but kept the style in theme so that most people have no clue that it isn't part of the original house. Tongue and groove boards painted in a distressed turquoise matched up with an old dresser turned sink and some vintage hand towels - well, it made for a nice addition. Who knew that it too would be used in photographs.
The Bridal Prep room is more than a room. We have it also decorated in theme to give a very classy but vintage flair to things. It is, admittedly, an interesting mix. Their are splashes of intense colors everywhere - to make a vivid backdrop to photographic wedding dresses. We have some old vintage chairs which came again from my grandparents (pre-Depression era) where they set up house and obtained a couch and a "his and hers" chair. These have been in my mother's home until we confiscated them for our bride room. We took a third chair and had it reupholstered into mis-match of fabrics and I love it. Anyway...the room is so inviting and makes getting dressed in such a place even more exciting - if possible.
New changes are now coming to the farm and this will open up some new options for our brides. Jill and her family will be moving out of the farmhouse in early fall and will be living up on the knoll above the farm in a cabin built by my brother. This will now provide an Add-On option for our brides to rent the rest of the main floor of the farmhouse for a more convenient upgrade. The additional rooms include a large great-room living/kitchen area and a full bathroom. This great room has updated kitchen appliances set in a vintage era cabinetry. In-between the rooms is a large brick fireplace that is a focal point of the room. The bathroom has an old cast iron tub (with shower capabilities) along with a cute dresser-vanity.
This Add On may be considered for the bride who has a large wedding party and needs more room for her girls to prepare in. It also allows a nice comfortable place for the parents and grandparents to lounge in prior to the ceremony. It is also an option for the do-it-yourself family who wants to come early to decorate then will find it convenient to take a shower prior to re-dressing. Some brides have shown interest in having an early bridal luncheon of sorts utilizing the kitchen. The farmhouse will not be used currently for lodging (overnight) but with the other added benefits - it will again give some desirable features worth considering.
If you are interested in this option - it will likely be available sometime this fall for any of those current 2014 brides who may want to inquire about it. We are currently in the process of creating some guidelines for its usage, but feel free to check in with Jill if you are interested in it.
This also would be a good time to mention another change. Many of you had followed our purchase and renovation of the Bluebird Cottage which we were intending to use as a guest lodging option. We did have a crazy but fun time restoring the home and prepping for a pinterest-inspired guest lodging for our brides. We soon realized that the Bluebird Project fell into the category of "A Great Idea but Bad Timing." Basically, having a guest lodging facility is a great idea and the Bluebird exceeded our expectations but the timing just wasn't what it needed to be. With Jill and her family moving and my elderly mother needing more attention - we felt a bit stretched at the newly acquired upkeep and maintenance that would be required for such a venture. Our weddings and our brides are our first priority and until we get to the point of hiring on extra staff - we felt like we would be over-extending ourselves to keep up the cottage while also preparing for our weddings here at the farm. So we are in the process of selling our cottage and we will revisit this idea hopefully sometime down the pike when different circumstances play out.
Back to the Farmhouse Rental Add-On....the two choices that we will provide are: 1. Add the "rest of the day" time option which allows you access to the venue from 8 a.m. thru 11:30 p.m. and this will also include the use of the farmhouse (both the Bridal Prep Room as well as the full downstairs of the rest of the farmhouse) - limiting the use of the farmhouse until 8 p.m. ($800) or 2. If you do not need the extra time but still would like the expanded facility use of the farmhouse, then you may add the use of the farmhouse from your original start time through 8 p.m. ($300).
We will add some pictures at some point but for now - it is something for you to ponder. I hope our faithful fans enjoy the evolving changes that come to the farm and our venue. We started with such a humble barn and have continued to reinvest and improve our facilities t0 provide more and more options for our wonderful brides. Life is a crazy ride sometimes with twists and turns but we try to learn to enjoy the journey. Margie