Mr. C and I are getting married at Cloverleaf Farm a relatively new venue that has only hosted a few weddings thus far. Actually, their very first wedding was just in November, but we booked them in August before they had even finished renovating the property. There was a lot of work to be done—a barn to clean up and repair, painting in the house, a bar to be built. We booked them on good faith that by May most of the major projects would be completed.
Well, our good faith and patience paid off! We visited the property just last week and I was blown away the beauty of the property. We arrived at 6:00 pm, around the time we will be getting married in a few weeks, and the light was absolutely gorgeous. All the rustic, rolling fields and pecan trees behind the property were aglow with the golden hues of the setting sun. I’m not usually a very weepy person, but I actually started to tear up looking out over the field where we are getting married in a few short weeks. The barn has been renovated with cafe lights and rustic chandeliers strung from the ceiling. The coordinator directed me towards their blog with even more gorgeous photos from their recent April weddings. You can see them on the property website under their photos section, if you are interested. I am just so excited to be getting married at this venue!
I took a few photos with my phone that I wanted to share, since I really didn’t have many photos of the venue to share when I first posted about it last fall. You can read about how we chose Cloverleaf in the venue entry. I was trying to capture that lovely golden hour just as the sun is setting.
When we left off, we had found three venues that we loved, but none of them worked out. So, we started over and narrowed it down to two potential venues—not our first choices, but maybe better. (That happens sometimes!)
I’m going to spoil this post and just let you know that this story has a happy ending!
We toured the lodge and I took pictures—unfortunately, the quality is so, so awful that I won’t post them and ruin your impression of our venue, since it’s really very nice. Instead, here’s a few more pictures from the website. Trust me, it’s better this way.
The logical way to start would be simply picking a date and place, but when you begin planning your wedding less than seven months (yes, we have a short engagement!) before you get married, you unfortunately have to tentatively decide on a date—and then try to find a venue that works.
For example, the venue I truly thought would be ours:
It’s beautiful, yes, but it’s also in a park with a ton of meaning to Mr. Lemur and I. We first stumbled across this park while geocaching after a Christmas shopping trip. We returned less than three months later for our one-year “dating anniversary.” We came back again several times before ending up here the day we got engaged—proposal story spoiler alert!
After we’d fully ruled out White Chapel for our ceremony, I was given the go-ahead to contact the wedding coordinator at a church just down the road from our venue, First United Methodist Church of Arlington (what a mouthful!). The first woman we dealt with was unreasonably stingy with information. Because of our long engagement, we told her we wanted to become involved in the church we chose to be married in and become members. She was a little older and very suspicious of our motives for membership. It was true that we had heard members paid a lower fee, but we also were earnest in our desire to join the church!
Regardless. This church could not be more perfect in my eyes. It is literally two blocks away from our reception venue, historic, and Methodist, like us! This church was the perfect size, and gorgeous.
One thing we both thought fascinating about this church was that it was built in 1907, and it has tragically burned down since then not once, but twice! The church never gave up hope, and was always rebuilt on the same foundation. I thought this was an amazing metaphor for marriage!
Do you guys remember when I shared that we had finally found our dream venue? Well, since my photos weren’t of top notch quality (since iPhone plus rain does not equal pretty pictures), I decided that before I can move forward with more of our planning details, I had to share photos that would do our venue some justice.
This is the ceremony space, and depending upon the number of guests we have, we may choose to use a similar seating arrangement! It may be a tad difficult considering the way the gazebo is set up, however I’m confident that we’ll figure out something great.
If you’ve been thinking that it seems like I was doing most of the venue research, well”¦ you’d be right! Which is why it’s so funny that in the end, Mr. Whale found the perfect venue! As is often the case with many things in life, I went from thinking, “We’ll never find a venue!” to “Yay! I love this venue!” in an instant.
During his first attempt at venue research, my usually-reluctant-to-contact-people fiance found a venue, e-mailed them (without even mentioning it to me), heard back from them, and forwarded me the information. The first thing that had me was the line, “Our catering starts at $15 per person.” (!!!!!!!! What?!?!?! That’s awesome.) And then of course I had to see some pictures.
We both loved the mountains in the background. And the reception area is in a renovated barn on the same property. It’s kind of rustic and decorated with Christmas lights. You can see all of it in this video.
Once we decided that we wanted to get married in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I put my supreme Googling skills to work. We knew that we wouldn’t be able to visit any venues for several months, but I wanted to have a good idea of what was available. Plus, we knew that when we visited, we would only have a day or two at the most to visit places. So we wanted to have it narrowed down to our favorites.
As I mentioned before, our first priority was having a ceremony with a beautiful view, like this:
We kind of figured that if we’re going to have a destination wedding, it needs to have something that neither of our home towns could offer. I started doing Google image searches on “Blue Ridge Mountain Weddings.” And wow, there are so many jaw-droppingly gorgeous venues in the mountains.
Even though we’ve already booked most of our “big” stuff, I think it’s helpful to reflect on how we actually came to our decisions. So, our first BIG decision was the venue. Because, obviously we couldn’t have a date without the venue.
Before we started looking, we talked about what was most important to us. We decided that our absolute number one priority was having a beautiful ceremony location.
Can I brag about my guy just a little bit here? I love him so much. When I asked him what was more important to him about our wedding, he said (without any prompting) he wanted to ceremony to be amazing. He said he doesn’t care if the reception is in a run down community center, but he wants the ceremony to be incredible. (Isn’t that sweet? He’s more romantic than me. It’s awesome.)
Clearly, I wasn’t opposed to having a spectacular ceremony, so the ceremony site became the focus of our search. Luckily for us, we had very similar visions of where we would like to get married. Neither of us wanted a church wedding (I have always sworn that I will not have green church carpet in my wedding photos!). And we love the idea of an outdoor wedding with a spectacular view. We both started dreaming about a fantastic wedding on a cliff overlooking the mountains or the ocean.
Despite the fact that Mr. Manatee had very clear intentions of being married in a church, he didn’t really have any specifications of which church. Spoiler alert: This was the first time his mother and I had ever actually butt heads over anything. She wanted us to get hitched in a gorgeous church in his hometown (Southlake) that they attended on occasion, and I had my eye on a church about two blocks down from our reception location. Both of these churches were Methodist, but that’s pretty much where the comparison stops. Always eager to keep the peace between Manatee-In-Law and I, I usually would have just agreed to use White Chapel. However.