Ask any photographer where they’d get married if they had a world of options and nine times out of ten they’re going to say somewhere with amazing light, high contrast and real good texture. And in the case of instagram darlings Corey and Lindsey Pruitt, they hit the venue jackpot. Luck must strike twice because they also hit the photo jackpot, with Finch and Farrow who perfectly captured the peeling paint of the pastel walls.
701 Whaley is a dreamy light-filled industrial space with white walls, giant 30’ ceilings, light concrete floors, perfectly distressed walls, a grand staircase, big old windows, wood floors too, and tons of wide-open space. Right in the center of a little historic district in Columbia, this venue is surrounded by great restaurants, hotels, and coffee shops.
And who would a photographer hire to shoot their wedding? Their talented friends of course! Corey and Lindsey asked Finch & Farrow Photography to document their big day and we recently caught up with the photog duo to get all the details.
A Storied Setting
As far as indoor venues go, this place is huge and has a rich history. It’s also part of the Center for Contemporary Art, so there’s an artistic and communal vibe about the space. The Grand Hall fits as many as 375 guests for a seated dinner or 940 standing, and the Olympia Room seats 80 guests or can fit about 240 standing.
There’s also a bridal suite on premises, and on the lower level of the building has another event space called the Granby Room that can easily be used for cocktail hour.
TVR: Can you tell us a little about each of the different spaces?
F&F: The Olympia Room upstairs is a large art gallery with wooden floors, lofted ceilings, and glass doors. It’s so beautiful, and great for more intimate ceremonies or cocktail hours. The Granby Room is downstairs connected to the Grand Hall, and is essentially a smaller version of it. It’s perfect for cocktail hours as well or smaller weddings.
TVR: Do you have any inside tips about 701?
F&F: The bridal suite is ideal for getting ready in. The Granby Room and the Olympia Room are fantastic for private formal photos just after the ceremony, or for cocktail hour, to separate guests from the main room while it’s being prepped for dinner. The Grand Hall looks incredible with Edison bulbs or chandeliers hung for an added decorative touch and to provide lighting in photos at night. Corey and Lindsey chose to hang a large white chandelier over their banquet table and it added a lot to the room.
TVR: What made the venue a great backdrop and setting for photos?
F&F: One entire wall of the Grand Hall is a beautiful light robins egg blue with tons of organic texture. It provides the best backdrop for ceremonies, portraits, etc. Aside from the textured wall, almost all of the rooms have gorgeous white wooden beams or columns and raw floors adding lots of beautiful details into the background settings. The white walls everywhere create tons of light for bright and naturally lit photographs.
TVR: How did they find you?
F&F: This wedding was very special for us to photograph! Renee met the bride, Lindsey, during Renee’s internship during photo school. Lindsey already worked as an image editor and photographer for that studio and the two quickly became great friends and then spent a year working as a team photographing weddings together. With Lindsey and Corey both being artists themselves, it meant a great deal to us to be chosen to photograph this special day.
Built in 1903, 701 Whaley was originally built as a community center, funded by Pacific Mills. Pacific Mills owned a lot of the small town and served as an economic cornerstone during the early part of the 20th century. As more textile milling jobs headed overseas, the building transferred ownership a few times and eventually became a blighted space.
In The News
In 1909 The State paper when referring to 701 Whaley stated: "Probably the most interesting place to visitors in Columbia is the Pacific Mills Community and the Community Building and when everything is considered, it is a small wonder that this community, especially the Olympia Village, is so close-knit and proud."
In 2006, on the verge of being torn down and destroyed by the City of Columbia, a few investors stepped in and saved the building by restoring it to its original façade.
TVR: What makes 701 Whaley a good destination for a group getaway or event?
F&F: Plenty of hotels to choose from, great nightlife with bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and shopping. The venue is located right in the heart of all of this so it’s fantastic for guests who plan on staying in town for the weekend.
TVR: Did you meet anyone at the venue that you connected with or made a lasting impression?
F&F: Yes! We LOVED working with Kelly Perry of Philosophy Flowers.
With lots of small businesses in the downtown area, Columbia has a decent number of restaurants to check out after a walking tour of the town’s historic architecture and the local indie arts scene. Finch and Farrow highly recommend checking out Cantina 76 on Main Street, known for their specialty tacos. And nearby Drip is a pour-over lover’s paradise.
Venue: 701 Whaley | Photo: Finch & Farrow | Bride, Graphic Designer & Flags :Linsay Pruitt | Floral Design: Philosophy Flowers | Cake:The Nosh Room | Dougnut Bar: Joes Doughs | Rentals: Party Reflections | Taco Bar: Cantina 76