My favorite response to our save the dates seems like a good lead in to today’s post, so here it is in all its slightly profane glory from one of Mr. Orchard’s friends Chuie:
“That is a sweet ass save the date. Am I supposed to tell you that I’m saving the date? Cause I fucking am. I don’t even know who Jackson is or where he lives, but we’ll be there for certain.” A-MAZ-ING.
After reading that I realized that while I have been writing for the hive since July, I haven’t yet talked about my venue, which is ridiculous because in a lot of ways our venue shaped our wedding in the best of ways! So today I’m taking a moment to share the place where Mr. O and I will say “I do!”
When Mr. Orchard and I first started planning we considered getting married at some of the local and amazing wineries near us, but after calling around I found out that fall weddings and wineries just don’t really work out since most of the venues we were considering only offered outdoor options. The weather in West Virginia is quite possibly the most unpredictable weather anywhere I have ever seen, been, or heard of. There was no way that we could plan an outdoor ceremony in October. After setting that idea aside, I was hellbent on finding a barn to get married in—who doesn’t sigh happily at the sight of softly lit barns like Mrs. Otter’s venue? But I had ZERO luck…then Mr. Orchard suggested Jackson’s Mill. I’d been there only once while chaperoning the annual student council state convention for my high school, but I remember being struck at how vast, open, and beautiful the landscape was. Mr. O has spent lots of time at the Mill because it is a University Extension property so they hold annual meetings there as well as various other work functions. The idea stuck, and when I called to ask for a list of available dates in October I was given this response: “We have one date open but it is in November. Do you want it?” Even though it meant giving up the October wedding I’d always dreamed of (haunted house bachelorette parties, anyone?!) I jumped at the chance to have our wedding there.
So I won’t give you all the history behind the building and the property, but one of the coolest parts of the property is the West Virginia Building, where Mr. Orchard and I will hold our ceremony.
This building was built for the Chicago World Fair in 1893 (every state had an exhibit of some kind) and was so impressive that, instead of tearing it down forever, they decided to number each piece and rebuild it on the sight of Stonewall Jackson’s original homestead. This is what it looks like today:
The West Virginia Building, recently repainted! This photo was taken on the exact date of our wedding last year, so hopefully we get similar weather this year for the real thing!!! / Personal photo
Jackson’s Mill is now primarily used as a 4-H camp with dorms and cabins for many of the counties in West Virginia. / Personal photo
There’s actually a real chapel on the property that is beautiful, but it only allows for about 50 guests, which is about 100 less than we are planning for! Still, we’re hoping we can take some photos in there!
And in case you were wondering, the inside is amazing, and while the murals at the top might be a little too much for some, I really like them and I think that our guests will enjoy looking at them while waiting for the ceremony to start—a lot of our guests are traveling from Washington state and Missouri, so if nothing else, it’ll be different!
A few of the murals that line the upper walls—the nice thing is these can easily be cropped out of ceremony photos if we don’t want them there. / Personal photo
I love all the wood! And since we’re not allowed to take it down, that slightly creepy painting of Stonewall Jackson will be covered up by a quilt of my grandmother’s in our wedding colors. / Personal photo
BM K and I visited the Mill last November, and we were SO excited with the weather and the way that the landscape looked that day that I just knew, in that moment, that that was where Mr. O and I had to be for our wedding. K was also very excited about some of Jackson’s Mill famous and unique menu options, but I’m saving that for discussion after our invitation reveal.
Our reception will be a short walk from the WV Building in the main hall:
This was taken at 3:30 so that I could note how much light we’d have left for photos after the ceremony ends—I am THAT type-A. Fortunately, the light is so beautiful! / Personal photo
What our guests will see when they walk up and the doors we will enter through! / Personal photo
And the inside…
I couldn’t be more excited about our venue, and I truly believe our guests will love it too. Lodging is also right on the property (Jackson’s Lodge has 22 hotel-style rooms in it, there are three suites above the main hall, and the dorms can also be used for additional guest needs) if our guests would like to stay, so there’s no concern about people drinking too much and then trying to drive home, which makes me feel a lot better.
Was your venue an unconventional choice? Does it have a unique history? Should I get white uplighting for those beautiful wood columns?