When a fashion blogger and a southern gentleman get hitched, there's a lot of ground to cover. The wedding day should be rustic, yet stylish; gorgeous, yet not overdone. Luckily, and unsurprisingly, Jess and Dustin nailed it. The best example of the lovebirds keenly strutting such a balancing act had to be the bride rocking a Jenny Packham gown with converse high-tops.
What made the special day so memorable, however, aside from the couple's favorite human beings in the world being there to cheer and congratulate, was the venue itself. A sweetly southern farm that covers 160 acres of Georgia woodland, sprinkled with meadows and ponds, Sweet Meadow Farms stirred up the impression that Jess and Dustin were tying the knot at a beloved relative’s country home.
In a field by the water and surrounded by trees, atop a small colorful rug, the dynamic duo said, "I do." The reception that followed burned bright in the beautifully decorated barn, with dinner enjoyed beneath bistro lights and a starry night in the seemingly endless backyard. It was perfect; such an Americana love affair, as grand as it was simple. To find out how such a lovely wedding came to be, we chatted up Melanie Hobert, dearest owner of Sweet Meadow Farms.
What is the concept behind Sweet Meadow Farms?
I like to think I pioneered the "slow wedding movement" and this phrase more than anything defines our philosophy and approach to weddings, the bride and groom and their families. After years of coordinating and designing weddings off-site- I watched venues run their business like a factory-pushing as many brides through the mill as possible. I thought it sucked the joy and creativity out of the experience. so when I decided to transform our family farm into a venue I knew I wanted to slow the day down. Everyone take a deep breath, experience the natural beauty and have the time to commune with the special people in their lives.
How did you find the property or location?
32 years ago I traveled to this farm to buy a horse. A year later my husband and I bought the farm! We raised boys and animals and vegetables and flowers. We did not buy the farm to get into the wedding business. We got into the wedding business to hold on to our farm.
Please tell us a bit about the story and how it was started (the backstory/history)?
Nature is my jam, but I didn't want to simply present another pretty place-I wanted to create an experience from the beginning to end.
Choosing a place to have a ceremony-one that is both intimate and public is such an intuitive decision. Sweet Meadow has a sense about it that strong marriages do: the hills span time. The trees have deep roots. The flowers and plants are connected. That sounds squishy-poetic-symbolic but so do other rituals used during a wedding ceremony. When couples marry under the Large old oak tree or lakeside, or in the perrenial or shade gardens with a centuries old mountain in the background, the promises they make to one another have gravitas. All nature is watching.
Tell us a little bit about the design.
Many places are manufactured to feel real or authentic-that is not the case at Sweet Meadow. Our barn was not built from "reclaimed wood" to be a venue but rather is born of 100 year old solid oak and pine rich in history and unique character.
What do you think makes Sweet Meadow Farm ideal for gatherings, reunions, weddings, retreats, etc?
We've created intimate settings with a beautiful balance of classic, vintage, and even contemporary approaches to design. There is a rugged style to the weathered finishes but make no mistake this century old barn can look absolutely stunning and even luxurious bathed in a beautiful sunset or in candle light.
Never underestimate nature as a wedding venue, especially when it has someone like Melanie Hobert to help plan the most spectacular, and not at all stressful, day of your life.
Photography: Ben And Colleen | Floral Design: Thicket Floral Design | Wedding Dress: Jenny Packham | Catering: Sun In My Belly | Hair + Makeup: A Glamour Affair | Venue: Sweet Meadow Farms at Beech Creek | Hair Accessories: Anna Marguerite | Tie: The Tie Bar