Wedding Venue: Blackberry Farm

Blackberry Farm

1471 West Millers Cove Road
Walland, Tennessee 37886
(865) 380-2260
View their website

Average Cost: $78,000

*Average cost for THIS venue is calculated by figuring a 78-person guest list for a Saturday night ceremony/reception in Mid-Season using the venue’s Main House wedding package and charging your guests $350/night for two nights in 39 rooms. Transportation to venue, entertainment, additional decorations, and flowers are not included. Average price includes gratuity and state sales tax on meals and guest rooms. Price is rounded up to the nearest thousand.

How it breaks down:

There are several packages you can choose from, listed below. They all include two-nights accommodations for you and your guests, as well as all their meals and non-alcoholic beverages for the entire stay (including the reception dinner and morning after brunch), and event coordination by Blackberry Farm. Since all package prices already include two-nights of accommodations for your guests, what you would do is have guests write you a check for their rooms (Guests cannot pay the hotel separately–packages must be paid by you to Blackberry Farm). The exact rate you choose to charge guests per night is up to you…the Farm suggest somewhere around $300 as an example, though typically rooms at the resort for hotel guests start at $395 – $445/night without the meal package, and $745/night for the traditional “full American plan,” which includes meals, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages for hotel guests. So, to figure out how much the package would end up costing you, deduct the price for the guest rooms. For example, the Farmstead wedding option, below, includes 20 guest rooms. If you charge $350/night per room for two nights, that would make the Mid Season package $56,000 instead of $70,000. With that said, it’s kind of a pain in the butt to have guests pay you, and be out of pocket all that money. Also keep in mind you’d be paying for guests’ arrival night dinner, next-day lunch, snacks, and morning-after brunch in addition to the wedding ceremony and reception. Sure, you love your guests, but that breaks down to a whopping $1,400/person!

 

NOTE: Low Season is January-March, Mid Season is April-September, and High Season is October-December. 

Wedding Packages at Blackberry Farm

A Farmstead Wedding:

  • Up to 40 guests
  • 20 guest rooms
  • Exclusive use of Heirloom Garden and The Barn for wedding ceremony and reception
  • $65,000/$70,000/$150,000 (low/mid/high seasons)

A Main House Wedding:

  • Up to 78 guests
  • 39 guest rooms
  • Exclusive use of Main House and Main House Lawn and Veranda for wedding ceremony and reception
  • $90,000/$105,000/$200,000 (low/mid/high seasons)

Full Property Wedding:

  • Up to 124 guests
  • 62 guest rooms
  • Choice of wedding ceremony and reception sites
  • $140,000/$163,000/$355,000 (low/mid/high seasons)

Food: Every meal for you and your guests staying at the hotel is included in the package price (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, morning after brunch). For the reception, a seated, pre-selected four course menu is included and can be customized with the culinary team, based on seasonal and available ingredients. Offsite guests not staying at Blackberry Farm are welcome to eat for the following additional price:

Meal
Price
Breakfast
$25
Lunch
$25
Dinner
$125
Brunch
$45

 

Important Note: Alcohol and additional wedding vendors (photography, floral, live entertainment, etc.) are not included in the package price. The package price DOES  include tax and service charge on the guestrooms and meals.

More Stats:

Space Type: Inside/Outside options. Location options (depending on package) include Main House, Main House Lawn, Veranda, Heirloom Garden, and Barn.

Size: Up to 124 guests. For parties over 124, they also offer a sister property, Dancing Bear Lodge.

Food Service Type: Buffet/seated options

How Will Grandma Get There? Ideally Grandma would get to stay in one of the guest rooms assigned to your package. For guests not able to stay on property, other cute inns are available nearby, such as the Butterfly Gap Retreat (hey, wasn’t that a bad movie with Ashton Kutcher?) and the Richmont Inn.

The Report:

Blackberry Farm is indeed a farm, with their own heirloom produce , honey, farm-fresh eggs, and artisan cheeses culled right from the property. But make no doubt about it, there’s nothing rustic about it. Located in Walland, TN, Blackberry Farm and it’s 4,200 acres in the Smoky Mountains was recently rated the Number 1 Resort in the Continental U.S. and Canada for 2011 by Travel + Leisure magazine. That’s quite a feat.

Woman Getting Married Says:

This place is gorgeous. I mean, look at it. It’s the perfect posh country retreat. And of course it’s going to be expensive, considering how pricey their regular hotel rates are. HOWEVER, I really think they are doing themselves an injustice by making you pay for not only the guest rooms, but also every guest meal. Unless you’re Kim Kardashian and you can afford to fly in your whole family AND pay for their rooms AND every meal, this is out of reach for most of us. Since they’ve recently introduced a ‘Build Your Own Experience’ pricing option for regular hotel guests, where you can just pay the room’s base price and add-on dining options, activities and events as you see fit, maybe they’ll eventually do the same for wedding guests as well. Otherwise, I don’t know any bride who wants to pay that much per person.

For more images of Blackberry Farm, click here.

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Bridesmaid (Un)Dress of the Week: Dahlia Peplum Top

best bridesmaid dresses

 

The “bridesmaid dress of the week” is, technically, not a dress at all but a chance to go a wee bit outside of the box and pick separates for your gal pals instead.

I recently stumbled upon my latest clothing obsession while looking for a dress to wear to a friend’s wedding. Lately I’ve found it harder and harder to find a dress to wear TO a wedding than to find a wedding dress, which is why I got super excited when I saw the Dahlia Peplum top hanging by it’s lonesome at Anthropologie a couple of weeks ago after a full weekend of unsuccessful dress hunting. As soon as I tried it on I was hooked, and ended up happily pairing it with a simple black pencil skirt and chunky gold earrings and shoes (much like the picture, below)  for the wedding this past weekend.

I think you could easily go the same route for your bridesmaids this spring/summer. Why not pair a dramatic top, like the Dahlia Peplum one, below, with a pink, beige, yellow or even a teal pencil skirt for a fun and different look? What’s great about having your bridesmaids buy separates is that they can easily wear it again (this top would look great with rolled up boyfriend jeans and heels). Trust me, they’ll thank you!

dahlia peplum top

Anthropologie’s Dahlia Peplum Top, $178

 

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 10.13.50 PM

 

TopShop Pink Tweed Pencil Skirt, $84

 

 

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Do You Have to Give a Wedding Shower Gift? And Other Gift-Giving Questions

wedding gifts what to give

While wedding gift questions might be more related to giving, knowing that some of your guests might not be 100% sure when it comes to gift-giving etiquette is enough reason for YOU to know how it’s all supposed to work as well.

I have to say that I, personally, am a stickler for not only GIVING wedding gifts, but for expecting a ‘Thank You’ note in return. There might be some people out there that don’t believe in giving wedding gifts (especially if they’re spending a bit of money getting to or being in one), but I fully believe that a “gift” does not have to be extravagant, and can be instead a small token of congratulations to the bride and groom. Even a simple card is better than no gift at all.

Given the general confusion around wedding gift-giving (and receiving), I thought I’d answer a few questions, below.

 

Do you have to give a gift if you’re invited to the wedding but are unable to attend? Yes! It’s customary to give a gift if you’re invited to the wedding ceremony and/or reception. However, if you’re only invited to a belated reception, you are off the hook when it comes to giving a gift.

If it’s a destination wedding, do you still have to give a gift? Yes! While etiquette says you should still give a gift despite having to spend money on transportation, lodging and the like, you can let your wedding costs play a factor in deciding HOW MUCH to spend on a gift. If you’re going to the wedding and spending a lot of money to get there, you can absolutely spend less on a gift…but you should still get one.

Do you have to give a wedding shower AND wedding gift? Yes! If you attend a shower you should give a gift, but if you are unable to attend you do not have to. If there are multiple showers, it’s customary to give a gift at the first shower and not the subsequent ones. Since not every guest might have been invited to each shower, if you’re a bride you might say something along the lines of “Lisa gave me a fabulous slow-cooker a couple weeks ago” while opening gifts so as not to leave the gift-giver out.

Are gifts expected at a second wedding? If you are a repeat guest at a wedding for the bride or groom, a gift is not expected. In fact, couples getting married for the second time often tell their guests not to bring gifts, in which case it’s totally up to the guest if they want to bring one.

What if the wedding never happens? Nobody wants to think about this one, but it sadly happens more than you think. While some etiquette experts recommend you wait until after the wedding happens to open any gifts, I don’t know how realistic that is. You should return any unused/unopened gifts if you can, however, and if you are unable because they are already used, you should write a note apologizing for being unable to send a gift back. Do not ask them how much it was or bring up reimbursing them for their trouble…you don’t want to bring money into it.

When should you send your gift? The sooner the better. While old-school etiquette says you have up to a year to send a wedding gift, you should ideally send one before the wedding. If not, send one no later than three months after.

Click here for tips on How to Write the Perfect Thank You Note.

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H&M’s $99 Wedding Dress is Here!

how much do wedding dresses cost

If you’re started your wedding dress search, you know just how expensive they can be. It’s not surprising to find dresses ranging from $2,000 all the way to $10,000 and above. While lines like J. Crew and David’s Bridal (with designers like Vera Wang and Zac Posen offering inexpensive versions of their designs), you’re still looking at $500 plus.

Leave it to fast fashion company H&M to offer up one of these least expensive wedding dresses yet. On Friday the Swedish retail chain unveiled a $99 wedding dress (pictured below). How’s that for a bargain?

H&M’s wedding dress,  featuring a gathered waist and embellished neckline, will be available online and in stores later this month. While it might not be the most beautiful dress you’ve ever seen, the price tag could be a promise of more to come.

h&m wedding dress

 

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