The Minks Find a Venue

Bear with me. Our decision on this needs a little background…

Back when I was in grad school in Boston, I had a fairly elaborate plan for my career. I had a list of places I decided (at 22 years old) I was going to work. During my first step in that plan, someone I admired started working for a start-up. Start-ups don’t really happen in my field these days. He encouraged me to interview for a position reporting to him. It was risky. It was a total deviation from my plan. I took the leap and joined a team of people who worked at a place that didn’t exist.

My years at that start-up were amazing, stressful, enlightening, challenging, and so much more. The experience made me very comfortable with throwing away “the plan.” That philosophy is what led me to Charlottesville (not part of the original plan). It made me willing to experiment and allowed me to be comfortable with things that lack a track record but have great potential.

That experience is why I was comfortable signing on with a venue that looked like this when we visited:

Photo by Miss Mink

It wasn’t all dirt. There was a structure on the land…

Photo by Miss Mink

Some people might have run in the other direction upon seeing wood framing without a roof or a floor, but I laughed when I saw this place for the first time. It reminded me of those early years at that start-up. Our venue is called Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards.

The team behind Pippin Hill is fantastic. As I mentioned in my last post, Mr. Mink worked with Executive Chef Craig Hartman, and the rest of the team is comprised of people with experience in hospitality, event planning, and wine making. A friend of Mr. Mink’s told us that the Chef de Cuisine at one of the top restaurants in the area was joining the Pippin Hill team once they started having events. As people who love great local food, this was exciting news for us!

Image via Pippin Hill’s Facebook page

We continued to visit venues and I began following Pippin Hill’s progress via their Facebook page, where they posted construction photos almost daily.

Image via Pippin Hill’s Facebook page

We joined the very small group of Pippin Hill couples. I have a feeling the number of Pippin Hill brides will grow quickly now that they are open.  I’ll share pictures of our first visit after construction was completed in a future post.

From Pippin Hill’s Facebook page / Photo by Jack Looney Photography

By the way, I alluded to encountering some surprise fees as we spoke with other venues in my last post. At the end of the day, the newcomers were the most up front about costs. The more established venues quickly fell off our list because the costs that weren’t completely apparent up front often doubled the cost of using them. While we still visit those venues for tastings and special dinners, we weren’t comfortable having our wedding at them.

We can’t be the only ones who are comfortable with a little risk. Would you consider booking a vendor that was just starting up? If you did book such a vendor, what did they do that made you comfortable with them?


Mrs. Mink

Charlottesville, Virginia
Wedding Date:
June 2012
Tasting: Take Two
Back to My Roots
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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    miss sailboat, Guest @ 9:45 am

    we took a risk, our venue had been refinished, but the plan was to tear up the grounds and put in an outdoor ceremony area and plant beds, the gazebo was falling down, and they hadnt hosted any weddings there yet. we booked it and a once construction was finished renting the venue jumped 2,000 dollars. our photographer hadn’t heard of the venue before us and now he has 5 couples to shoot there next year!

  2. msfox Member
    msfox 1635 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:17 am

    Good for you guys! I’m not sure if I’d be comfortable booking with a brand spanking new venue, but I have to say that the farm looks like it will gorgeous for you guys. Way to be gutsy!

  3. mink Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 10:25 am

    @miss sailboat: That’s an awesome savings! Wow!

  4. mink Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 10:27 am

    @Miss Fox: Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to do it myself! The reputations of the people behind the project convinced us it would all work out. :)

  5. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 2:29 pm

    I love your ability to take this risk, it looks like it will pay off beautifully!

  6. jaguar Member
    jaguar 6504 posts, Bee Keeper @ 3:05 pm

    Wow, you guys are really brave – I couldn’t have booked a venue that I’d not seen the finished product for. It’s going to be great when done, I’m sure!

  7. mink Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 3:22 pm

    @Mrs. Pony: Wait until you see the pictures!!! I seriously felt dizzy the first time I saw it completed. I think those pictures are coming up tomorrow!

    @Mrs. Jaguar: You should have heard what my mother said! 😉

  8. sunhat Member
    sunhat 1453 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:28 pm

    I agree with Pony and think it is great you are comfortable taking this risk. It looks like such an amazing and beautiful place.

  9. Member
    TinyTina 3312 posts, Sugar bee @ 7:54 am

    You are brave, but I have a feeling it’s going to pay off!!

  10. mink Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 8:09 am

    @TinyTina: See my more recent posts! It does!

  11. Member
    ebmarshall 112 posts, Blushing bee @ 4:32 pm

    I often get back to Charlottesville with my husband and am always looking for new restaurants. Could you suggest any as you said that you guys like local food?

  12. mink Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 6:05 pm

    @ebmarshall: Our new favorite is Brookville! The chef is Harrison Keevil and he is amazing! Everything is locally sourced. He has a love affair with bacon, but I’m not a big meat eater and I’m still happy there. It’s on the downtown mall, over Escafe.

    We also love Tempo, a new French fusion place. It’s owned by Stuart Cunningham, who used to be partner at Fleurie.

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