Wedding Wednesday Reprise: We have a venue!

Bear with me. Our decision on this needs a little background...

Back when I was in grad school in Boston, I had a big plan for my career. I'm in academia and I had a list of schools at which I decided (at 22 years old) I was going to work. It would all lead to a long tenure at a specific liberal arts college in New England. During my first step in that plan, a big name in my field recruited me to work with him at a start up called Olin College of Engineering. Start ups don't really happen in higher education these days. It was risky. It was a total deviation from my plan. I took the leap and worked at the college that didn't exist.

We used to watch this video at events and cheer at the end. We knew what we were doing was totally a really great way.

My years at that school were amazing, stressful, enlightening, challenging, and so much more. The experience made me very comfortable with throwing away "the plan." That philosophy is what led me to Charlottesville to work at Jefferson's university (there wasn't a single public school on that list I made in grad school). It made me willing to experiment and allowed me to be comfortable with things that lack a track record, but have great potential.

During the early years at that college, our office was in a little house. From the backyard, we could look up to the land where the campus was being constructed. We used to point at some steel beams and envision the student center, the residence halls, and the lab building. We'd take tours of the construction site every now and then and pretend we were in offices while standing in dirt with framing around us. It was a lot of fun.

That experience is why I am so comfortable having our wedding here:

It's not all dirt. There is a structure on the land...

Some people might have run in the other direction upon seeing wood framing without a roof or a floor, but I laughed when I saw this place for the first time. It reminded me of those early years at Olin. It's called Pippin Hill.

Now, Olin taught me to take educated risks, not just risks. The team behind Pippin Hill is fantastic. Marc worked with Executive Chef Craig Hartman a couple years ago at Keswick Hall and the rest of the team is comprised of people with experience in hospitality, event planning, and wine making. A friend of Marc's who is still at Keswick said the current Chef de Cuisine is joining the Pippin Hill team when they start having events. As people who love great, local food, this was exciting news for us!

From Pippin Hill's Facebook page

We continued to visit venues and I began following Pippin Hill's progress via their Facebook page, where they post construction photos almost daily.

From Pippin Hill's Facebook page

The roof is now on the main part of the building and the sub-floor has been poured. The other side of the building is in progress, too. Go check out the photos on the Facebook page...there are plenty!

Here's what the final site will look like:

From Pippin Hill's website

After much discussion, we decided to go with Pippin Hill. We got our final contract yesterday and I just dropped off our deposit at lunch time.

So, that's a big, major item on the "to do" list checked off! We're joining the very small group of Pippin Hill couples. I have a feeling the number of Pippin Hill brides will grow quickly now that the roof is on the building and the floor is more than dirt.

I alluded to encountering some surprise fees as we spoke with other venues in last week's Wedding Wednesday post. At the end of the day, the newcomers were the most up front about costs. The more established venues quickly fell off our list because the costs that weren't disclosed up front often doubled the cost of using them. While we'll still visit those venues, we weren't comfortable having our wedding at them. In the end, we were deciding between Keswick Vineyard and Pippin Hill.

I feel that I must say something about Keswick Vineyard here for the local readers. I adore the people at Keswick Vineyard. Their site is beautiful (I had pictures, but they are missing from my memory stick!) and they have gone out of their way to provide extra items for anyone who have an event there. They're very active in social media, which I appreciate. The Keswick Vineyard and the people behind it are charming. It was a very hard decision. We hope some of our friends get married there so we can see it all again!


  1. Wow, you are brave to sign up before the place is completed! When is your date, anyway? It's going to be great.

  2. I cannot WAIT to see the venue in finished state!! You know I'll check it out as soon as it's complete (and I'm in VA, of course). It looks perfect!!!!! Congrats on picking such a beautiful venue!

  3. Wow, love it and love that you did not run away. It is going to be so amazing!!

  4. Awesome! Can't wait to see pictures when it's all finished. I'm sure it's going to be beautiful!

  5. Anita @ a dreamer's denAugust 5, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    It looks fantastic! I can't wait to see it all come to fruition. (I hope you'll bring us along for the whole wedding ride!)

  6. Hi - I have been reading your blog forever but have never commented before - I lived in Charlottesville from 2001 - 2008 and worked at Keswick for a while. You are in great hands with Dean and Lynn (she is great) and while I didn't work with Chef Hartman (he came after I left) I have only heard great things about him. I totally think you made the right decision and the farm looks beautiful. Good luck with your wedding planning...can't wait to see who you use for flowers, etc.

  7. its going to be AMAZING! I cant WAIT to hear all about your fun planning over the next few months! Now I just wish I was getting married later so I could "borrow" some of your ideas :)

  8. Congratulations on making your decision! I am sure it is a load off your mind. It looks as if it will be gorgeous. I am looking forward seeing you get ready for the big day.


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