"I just had my wedding there last Saturday. I can honestly say it was absolutely amazing. Carole was a tremendous help. Her and her family were the most kind hearted and sweetest people ever. Everything I asked for, I got it and more. She was super prepared for anything. I'm still stunned about the whole experience. It was so much more than what I expected. Again, I wouldn't have done it without Carole and her family. I love you guys truly for helping us make this feel like a fairy tale!!!"
- Julie (Ana) Wences (August 2018)
We won the lottery with Julie & Jose as our first real wedding! What a beautiful couple and family. I'm not even sure how to condense all that I want to say into a reasonably short blog post...so I'm just going to hit the post button. <3
I knew it had been a while since my last blog post, but I have to admit that I questioned my own math when I calculated that it has been almost SIX MONTHS since my last update (that's HALF OF A YEAR). I was intentional about creating this blog to share our story...as it unfolds. Clearly I have a lot of catching up to do. :) I considered skipping to the catching up part, but acknowledging the time warp felt appropriate. Stay tuned - the last half of a year has been nothing short of amazing. I can't wait to share!
I've tried to write this post a million times. It's strange to me that I find it so difficult to type the words, but when asked in person my mouth just opens and my heart pours out. Tonight I'm committed to sitting still long enough to find the right words to share our backstory.
I spent the best part of my day sitting on the back porch of the farmhouse getting to know another sweet couple. It's all about human connection and it's become one of my favorite parts of being a "venue". For me it brings meaning to the hashtag #allthefeels. Goosebumps...while freakishly unattractive as a photo...they are a clear indicator of #allthefeels. <3 :) I can't explain why I felt compelled to take a picture of my goosebumps today...I've always been mesmerized that a story or thought can invoke such a reaction.
Breathing life back into the farm
So here's the backstory, told from the perspective of a Granddaughter who adored her Grandmother. To our family and friends the Roger Strickland Farm has always been "Grandmother's House" and the childhood home of my Dad and his siblings. In 2009 our sweet Grandmother passed at the age of 93. With her last several years spent in a nursing home following a stroke, visits to the farm became few and far between. Our time spent with Grandmother was obviously at the nursing home and while her family had cared for her home during the years she was in the nursing home, her absence had taken it's toll. As our family and friends gathered at Grandmother's house following her funeral I remember an overwhelming feeling of sadness that her home and the farm felt lifeless and lonely. I wanted my children and their cousins to grow up making memories at the farm like I did and I wanted the family gatherings to continue. So we began what has been an almost decade long project to breathe life back into a place that we love....
So how did we become a wedding venue?
To be completely honest, a friend of ours suggested the idea and we loved it! Our intention from the beginning was to breathe life back into a place that has meant so much to our family & friends for generations. My late Grandparent's farm has been the core of so many of our best family memories and having the opportunity to share their farm and create new memories means the world to us! It gives us a huge sense of purpose and we think it's a beautiful way to honor their legacy.
Wow! I can't believe I finally finished this post...goosebumps.
I have been impatiently awaiting spring since we opened our family farm as a wedding & event venue this past November. I appreciate the beauty in every season at the farm, but the vibrant colors of spring with the beautiful water views of the pond have always been my favorite. With the completion of our “church pews by the pond” project and in honor of my favorite season we thought it would be fun to design and stage a spring wedding at the farm. This weekend turned out to be so much more than just a staged wedding. Thanks to Christopher Nieto, owner of Nieto Photography, for capturing the weekend.
Ohhhhh the church pew project lol. This project started one day last summer when I was cutting grass at the farm. I was imagining how beautiful it would be to see a bride walking down from the big magnolia tree, through the grapevines. As I continued to daydream, the idea of church pews by the pond began. In December I received a text from one of our vendors asking if I would be interested in church pews and so #thechurchpewprojectbegan.
This has not been a small project and I have so much gratitude for all of my friends, family and neighbors who have helped with the heavy lifting. A special and REALLY BIG thank you to my sweet parents who have both worked so hard to help with this project and to Juan & Ana, the parents of my August bride, for all that you have done! <3
Whipping up a wedding...
When I initially planned this event my intention was to keep it simple with a 40' x 60' tent from Chair & Equipment Rental of Rocky Mount, one table dressed with place settings and a centerpiece from Southern Petals. I jam packed the entire weekend with private tours, an open house and a styled shoot with Nieto Photography.
Thursday evening after 7 hours of cutting grass and edging the pond my 6:00 tour arrived. I was sunburned, covered in dirt and generally looking like a hot mess so I was pleasantly surprised when they not only stayed for the tour, but decided to book the farm for their September wedding. As we were chatting on the back porch they asked if I would be willing to help design their wedding and this is where the weekend became so much more than just a staged wedding...
Plot twist! At 9:00 Thursday night I decided that since we were going to stage a wedding anyways it would be REALLY COOL if I could come up with a design concept for her wedding and stage that. So we did! She added me to her Pinterest board at 10PM Thursday night, I whipped up a design plan and sent the rental list off to Brian at Chair & Equipment Rental of Rocky Mount at 2:30am on Friday morning. The title of the email was "Don't Kill Me" ha! My vendors ROCK, like SERIOUSLY ROCK! Chair & Equipment Rental delivered everything on my list Friday afternoon. LoAnn from Southern Petals rocked the floral and Theresa Jatko Designs made and delivered the custom stationary. That was SO MUCH FUN!
One last highlight from the weekend before I share the rest of the pictures. Brewmasters Mobile. How freaking adorable is this little horse trailer converted to a bar?!? I was so excited to have them out for our open house this weekend. Molly & Marko are just the sweetest and their bar was a total hit!
Let's get on with the pictures!
I've been holding up the show on sharing these pictures for the last two days. SO here we go! Thank you to all of the vendors who participated in this "staged wedding" and the styled shoot!
Chair & Equipment Rentals: Tent and all rentals
Theresa Jatko Designs: Custom Stationary
Southern Petals: Floral
Amy Ingling Garrity: Makeup
Emily Lindner: Hair
Taylor Braswell our sweet neighbor and friend. Thank you for being our model!
Summer at RSF
Fall at RSF
Winter at RSF
Spring at RSF
Spring photos coming soon!
We were so thankful to have Christopher Nieto, owner of Nieto Photography, out for another shoot at The Roger Strickland Farm last week. As usual, he had these amazing shots to me the night of the shoot (I'm a little delayed in sharing!).
The Roger Strickland Farm was established in 1938 as the homestead of the late Mr. Roger & Mrs. Doris Strickland. What started as a simple American farmhouse in 1910 later became the home where Mr. & Mrs. Strickland would raise their three children and the gathering place of the Strickland family and their friends for many generations to come.
It's a bit surreal to see this vision of turning our family farm into a wedding and event venue come to fruition. We can't thank this incredibly talented group of industry professionals enough for making our opening event a success! A special thank you to Christopher Nieto, owner of Nieto Photography, for the amazing styled shoot and brilliantly capturing the moments of our big day. You are so incredibly talented!
Chair & Equipment Rentals (Tent, generator, lighting, restrooms, tables, chairs, place settings, flatware, linens)
Southern Petals (All floral: Centerpieces & ceremony, bouquet & boutonniere - styled shoot, )
Homemade Bride Rental Decor (Rentals: Benjamin Bar, Ceremony Cross, Clara Chair, Mr. & Mrs. Signs, Gold Lace Table Runners)
Confectionate Cakes (Wedding Cake & Cupcakes)
Theresa Jatko Designs (handcrafted stationary)
POUR Bar Services
Simply Grand Catering & Events (Catered opening event)
Island Sound & Video (Deejay)
Frankie Hagan: Deejay & EmCee
Matthew Kanon Classical Guitarist
Sweet Carolina Photo Bus (Adorable photo booth)
Nieto Photography (Insanely amazing photographer)
Dean Garris Films (Videography)
Hair By Elizabeth Anne (Hair for styled shoot)
Gilded Bridal (Wedding dress for styled shoot)
bernard's formalwear (Tux for styled shoot)
Webb Golf Carts Sales (Golf Cart Rental)
Slow Weddings Network
Bailey Chamber of Commerce (Ribbon Cutting)
Nash County Sheriff's Office (Security)
Christy Errico (Logo)