I am the opposite of a planner. I like to fly by the seat of my pants. So this whole wedding-planning thing will be interesting.
First task: Location: Back where I come from…
Here’s the thing: I’m a big city girl. I LOVE living in our nation’s capital. But I’m not from here, I’m from God’s country, aka – Tennessee. So that’s where we’ll start. I am from Kingsport, TN, but being the small town it is, there just wasn’t the location available I was going for…a rustic, chic, southern, barn wedding. So, a little bit further west we went… to Knoxville. Ah, big orange country! Justin and I both met in Knoxville at UT, although we really didn’t become friends until living in DC. There are so many options of places to get married that fit my ‘vision.’ A quick trip home to Tennessee for the weekend to venue scout turned up these options:
1. Up first, Blackberry Farms. You’ve probably heard of Blackberry Farms after Kelly Clarkson got married there. But let me tell you, us Tennesseans are well-versed in the luxury and gorgeousness of Blackberry Farms. The picture I have in my head for my wedding – is Blackberry Farms. Sitting on more than 4,000 acres, BBF features a luxury hotel and cottages throughout, an actual working farm complete with livestock and even truffle farm, ponds with row boats, you name it. The restaurant and food is all made fresh on the property, the accommodations are to-die-for, this property is just gorgeous. Words don’t do it justice, and neither do pictures (especially since I took them with my iphone…) Nonetheless, check it out…
2. Castleton Farms. Woah. This place is insane. Everything I vision when I get married — I see in this place. The old-south style white mansion on a hill, the rolling green hills that back up to the beautiful Smoky Mountains. On the property, they feature roughly 4 sections as options for nuptials, all centered around the mansion:
To the right: The Southern Gardens. This option features tented pavilion, the bridal pavilion and the vineyards. To the left, to the left… A beautiful little pond with a gazebo…circle back around to the lower left hand side, you’ll find the Carriage House Gardens.
This includes a beautiful, rustic barn (inside, hard-wood floors, vaulted ceilings and lights galore), the side of the barn has a half-wrap-around deck perfect for dancing the night away. Walk down from the deck and you’ll see Pergola, which can also be turned into an outdoor cathedral. It.is.stunning. There’s a big open lawn with fire pits and the Smoky Mountains as a backdrop. Walk back towards the mansion and you’ll run into the Croquet Farm! A super-cute croquet farm, perfect for quirky pictures and games. OK now back towards the mansion we go… you run into the vineyard on your right, and another little pond (complete with row boat!). I haven’t even mentioned the mansion yet, y’all…
Inside this monster of a house, is an elaborately-decorated southern home. A half-spiral staircase with all wooden floors, hand painted murals, you get the idea… Upstairs, the bridal suite and several rooms for guests or bridesmaids. In the basement – the groom’s headquarters! This was something I was specifically looking for – I wanted a place for my fiance and his groomsmen and my dad to hang out before the ceremony and relax. I always told myself I would never get married on a Tennessee football game, but alas it has happened. At least we are just playing Arkansas State…right? Anyway, the groom’s headquarters has big screen TVs so the boys can watch football all day. (And yes, bridal suite has big screens, too. You KNOW I have to cheer on my Vols, wedding or not!).
Perhaps the best selling point, even better than the aforementioned venue, is a woman named Darla. She’s pretty much a wedding-ninja. Darla is the wedding planner that comes with Castleton Farms. She.is.amazing.
#3…Butterfly Gap Retreat: This quirky but gorgeous little spot is tucked away outside of Knoxville. A family runs this property (and lives there, t00). It’s a unique mixture of the southern-rustic feel I was going for, combined with a modern look I love. (Enter DC girl feel). The center of the property is a beautiful mini-lake, with a long, green aisle running up the middle for ceremonies. Surrounding the water, are super-unique houses for guests to stay in. I can’t really describe them except to say they are abstract, and really, really cool. In the back of the pond is another spot for ceremonies and/or receptions…this venue has a huge window overlooking the property, it’s stunning.
So, those are our options. We have a tough decision to make, amiright?