Tie the Knot #TTKhaynow presents: Chestnut Ridge Event and Wedding Venue. In this series we feature local wedding venues, photographers and more using photos taken from real weddings.
This week Victoria McFall of Victoria Grace Photography guest blogs to tell us some of her favorite features of Chestnut Ridge and why it is an ideal place to host your special day.
All photos are © Victoria Grace Photography – do not use or print without permission.
A magnificent family owned wedding venue is nestled in the mountains of Canton, NC with amazing views all across the property. When Chestnut Ridge first opened I remember praying I would get to shoot a wedding there sooner rather than later. Jodi and Caleb were my first “CR Couple” and I was ecstatic when their wedding photos led Meg and Michael to me for their own CR Wedding.
Chestnut Ridge is one of the easiest venues as far as taking pretty wedding photos goes and I’ve had a blast at both of my weddings there, which is obvious if you follow them on Instagram. The staff makes sure the couple is happy and that the visiting vendors feel welcome and appreciated – so all of the smiles you see on my couples’ faces are genuine.
The best part about the mountain views? They don’t require a tediously long drive up a steep, gravel, probably-not-passable-if-there-is-a-flurry kind of mountain road I usually have to traverse to see mountains. The venue itself is a large white barn perfectly designed as an event space and stunning backdrop. While there are a multitude of gorgeous barn venues that have been restored to be wedding venues the thing that sets Chestnut Ridge apart is that the owners built it with the sole intent to be a venue and a 360 walk around the barn makes that obvious. The venue is photographable from every angle, and not every venue can boast that. For Meg and Michael’s wedding there was the possibility of snow because, well… March in the mountains. Knowing that no matter what the weather was attendees would be able to get there safely was comforting.
I was able to do portraits for Jodi and Caleb in completely different seasons, weather, amounts of lighting, and in some very different spots than Michael and Meg’s wedding – but both wedding galleries are very “Chestnut Ridge” and lovely. There’s a reason both couples chose this venue. While I try to give each couple an individual experience as their photographer, I keep in mind there’s a reason they picked this venue (like for those awesome doors).
So many venues have spots that aren’t photo friendly – and I’ve yet to spot one here. One of the least “photo friendly” places at many venues is the “getting ready area.” Chestnut Ridge’s owners planned two spaces that were designed with comfort, functionality, and aesthetics in mind no matter what the couple chooses to do or what time they choose to get married.
The bridal suite is full of comfortable seating areas, plenty of mirrors, lots of natural light and plenty of room for little flower girls to run around while an entire bridal party is having their hair and makeup done. The countertop allows the hair and makeup artists ample room for their tools without taking up space that the bridal party needs for brunch or lunch. Both Jodi and Meg spent their time laughing with friends, tearing up with family members, and playing with the kiddos who joined them for their day. Some of my favorite wedding moments at this venue happen in this room between the bride and her loved ones.
Don’t worry the groom and groomsmen aren’t left out – and their man cave is the classiest I’ve ever walked into. Complete with a shower, a pool table, and comfortable seating to watch whatever game is playing on the big day. It’s perfect for a groom who may have been running late getting ready *cough* Michael *cough* and for the groomsmen who didn’t want to miss their buddie’s big day but ALSO didn’t want to miss golf.
The ceremony building is remarkable, and while venues that have “Rainy Day Plans” are always at the top of my list, this isn’t “just” a “Plan B” location. Complete with ceiling fans to keep things cool when it’s hot outside and windows that open to views of the mountains, there are infinite ways to decorate this space and the altar. Should your wedding get a little bad weather the ceremony building won’t make you feel like you’re settling for a “back up plan” or having to cram your wedding into your reception space last minute.
I love that there’s enough room behind the couple for tables with loved ones’ photos or for unity candles/sand ceremonies. Plus, when the wedding party is more than just a few bridesmaids/groomsmen there’s plenty of room up there for everyone; especially flower girls who don’t want to stand still and want to spin around.
One of my personal favorite things (and most photographers’ and clients’ favorites as well) are the instantly-iconic CR doors. Even on the sunniest days the doors provide just enough even lighting and shade to allow beautiful family portraits without those uneven shadows or the squinty eyes of family members who don’t tolerate the sun well. With mountain views to the left and right of the venue there’s no shortage of places within a “quick walk” to take the bridal party for photographs allowing me to take photos quickly and return the couple to their reception easily. It also keeps grandparents from having to walk long distances or stand for longer than they may be able to and keeps the kids close enough to the cupcakes inside to bribe them for smiles.
The reception space. My goodness. Spacious, tall ceilings, a beautiful chandelier, lots of natural light, a fireplace… the list of pretty things goes on and on. One of my favorite things is how versatile the space is and how many options there are for table placement and dance floor areas. Intimate weddings and large weddings alike can utilize this place. Occasionally you’ll encounter a venue that serves either large weddings or intimate weddings well. A space with “too much” empty space is hard to make welcoming for an intimate wedding. This isn’t the case here and I think that’s largely in part to the many large doors leading to patios and an outside fireplace surrounded by rocking chairs that give it a “homey” feel even empty.
Jodi, Caleb, Meg, and Michael all had SUCH fun weddings with lots of dancing and both weddings were set up very differently. The dance floor for Jodi’s being in the front of the barn and the dance floor for Meg’s being in the middle. It was fun to see how both weddings came together and to watch the guests enjoy the fire pits and rocking chairs outside.
The bar space being on opposite sides of the venue from the kitchen allows an easy flow for guests and caterers alike and prevents congestion when people are lining up for food or drink refills. Truly, the venue owners thought of everything while designing their space. The giant chalkboard over the bar is perfect for personalizing to your wedding.
When I say they thought of everything – I mean it.
I know there are so many aspects to consider when choosing a venue – and while I’ve been chatting a bit about the parts of the venue (spoiler: all of it) that I love for photography purposes and why this venue is a dream as far as photos go I think it’s really important to note how much work the venue’s staff and their featured vendors put into caring for their couples. They work tirelessly to provide a stress-free environment and that means sometimes doing things outside the realms of their job description. For instance, at one of these weddings the florist was running very behind – so upon arrival the venue’s staff immediately offered assistance to get things back on track for the couple.
It’s beautiful, but it’s also designed to be an organized, professional location for a wedding and a fun place to get married. Just ask any of the couples who have been married there and they’ll tell you the same.
Victoria McFall is based out of Haywood County and has shot weddings, engagements, portraits, and more all over Western North Carolina’s mountains. Her bright and welcoming style help her tell your story in a stunning way. If you’d like to see more of Victoria’s work see below!
Get married with Smoky Mountain views.
There are plenty of great lodging options for your guests to enjoy while they celebrate with you. Don’t forget to check out our full list of wedding venues and our Weddings page to find everything you need for vendors, lodging, wedding blogs and more.
A big thanks to Meredith and Jeff for sharing their big day with us and allowing us the share the photos Sarah Whitmeyer Photography took. All photos courtesy of Sarah Whitmeyer Photography.
Questions about booking your wedding in Haywood County or looking for more info for your guests? Feel free to email Brindley Faile at [email protected].