Southern Charm is Here To Stay: The Rise in Rustic Barn Weddings

It’s no secret that planning a rustic chic wedding is a trending topic among brides lately, and we hope that trend is here to stay! Couples aren’t having to travel to the South to find the perfect barn venue anymore. They are popping up all over the country – and for good reason!

Compared to a traditional wedding venue, such as a church or a reception hall, barns provide a much more relaxed environment for couples and their guests, so you could argue that people who have barn weddings have the most fun!

Picture of a rustic barn and fall wedding ceremony setting


Adding a little southern charm to your wedding is easy in our Carriage House garden. Whether you choose to have an enchanting outdoor ceremony in the pergola or take the party indoors during a hot summer evening, we can do it all! Our space is a blank canvas, so dress it up with sparkles and bling or keep it naturally rustic. Either way, we can guarantee you’re going to have an unforgettable experience!


Rustic barn wedding venue



There’s something simple, yet so elegant about a barn wedding. The wood provides natural beauty, so tons of dollars aren’t being spilled into the decor budget. All you really need are lace + burlap table runners, a few lanterns, and chalkboards displaying your catchy hashtag. Add in some string lights, and you’ll create a venue so cozy, guests won’t want to leave!





767 Days Later

These two waited 767 days to say ‘I do,’ so to say this day was highly anticipated is an understatement. Milestone Pictures perfectly captured every moment and feeling in this wedding video. An adorable (and creative!) first look, Jennifer’s classic look and cathedral veil, and a dance floor that wasn’t empty the entire night – it was a truly unforgettable event!

Choosing Castleton Farms: The Southern Gardens

If your wedding style is defined by elegance and luxury, dream no more! The Southern Gardens at Castleton Farms is the ideal venue for you. Surrounded by the mountains of East Tennessee, the backdrop for any Castleton wedding is merely breathtaking! Add a bit of draping to our elegant bridal pavilion, and the most sophisticated of brides will be perfectly pleased. Keep it simple with a crystal chandelier and lush florals, and you will leave guests ooh’ing and ahh’ing. Not to mention, with the ability to seat 500+ guests, you won’t have to narrow down that guest list too much! The bridal pavilion is perfect for spring, summer, and autumn outdoor weddings since it is completely surrounded by natural beauty and immaculate landscaping.

Our southern pavilion, located just a few short steps from the bridal pavilion, beckons for gathering and dancing after the “I do’s.” This covered structure is great for cocktail hour and receptions. Think of it as a blank canvas! Because of it’s natural color palette and versatility, your wedding color scheme and style are guaranteed to complement, never clash. Dress it up with draping from All Occasions Party Rentals and tall, extravagant floral arrangements from the talented Samuel Franklin to leave your guests absolutely stunned. Can we say ‘Wedding of the Year!?

Our mezzanine patio sits right beside the pavilion and can be home to the dance floor, one of our specialty bars (a late night Moonshine Bar or Bourbon & Cigar Bar), or a fire pit for guests to congregate in the chillier months. The options are endless!

Last, but certainly not least, the Southern Gardens accommodate a small lake, covered by a grassy bridge that leads to a Grecian-inspired gazebo (one of our photographers’ favorite locations) that serves as a breathtaking backdrop for your bridal portraits or wedding day pictures.

The Southern Gardens are perfect for the bride who desires luxurious glamour, romance, elegance, and southern charm. It’s the venue that fulfills every wedding dream.

Choosing Castleton Farms: The Rustic Carriage House

Rustic barn wedding venue

Looking for a barn wedding venue? We are thrilled to introduce you to the Carriage House Gardens, which are absolutely stunning, but are also, perhaps, the most versatile of all of our gardens. This rustic (and recently renovated) barn can take on many different looks to suit our brides’ inspiration. The Carriage House Gardens consist of 3 different venues, each totally customizable: the Carriage House itself, the Croquet Lawn, and the Pergola. Each of these locations would be perfect for hosting a ceremony, cocktail hour, or reception.

If you dream of a wedding filled with rustic elegance, southern charm, or vintage glamour, this is the place for you. Some of our Castleton Brides have chosen to glamorize the barn with metallic accents, chandeliers, and fabulous draping by our favorite, Gina at All Occasions Party Rentals. The Pergola behind the barn is, without a doubt, exquisite. Dress it up with draping and floral arrangements, or keep it simple and let its natural beauty shine. The Pergola is surrounded by a woodland forest, which creates a perfect landscape for a chic, vintage wedding. Receptions and after-parties are also a favorite on these grounds! The Carriage House contains ample decking that can host beverage bars, buffet lines, photo booths, DJ’s, bands and more. From the knotty pine walls to the exposed wooden rafters inside, this barn is anything but dull.

Barn weddings have become a hot trend in the South, and we don’t plan on them going out of style anytime soon. However, barn weddings don’t always mean country, homegrown weddings. We’ve seen it all – from a carnival-themed wedding to an elegant, high-end wedding and everything in between. The Carriage House Gardens allow our brides to create a fun atmosphere while using their own imaginative ideas–and kudos to our Castleton Brides with immense creativity! The possibilities are infinite at The Carriage House Gardens. Find your inspiration, create a vision and go with it! We can help you create a unique celebration that you will cherish forever.

Add in your personal touches and charming décor, and you will surely find this spectacular barn to be the answer to your dreams.

Outdoor wedding venue

Rustic barn wedding venue

Rustic barn wedding venue

Castleton’s Next Couple: Meredith and Spence

Castleton’s next wedding has been a long time (and a lot of long distance phone calls) in the making! What began six and a half years ago as a dinner date would turn into a love that would span the country and eventually the globe. During the course of their relationship Meredith and Spence would spend less than half of it living in the same city. A few years into their relationship Spence made the admirable decision to serve his country in the U.S. Army. After being relocated a couple times state side, he was deployed to the unstable country of Afghanistan. Meredith would have to give the love of her life a kiss and send her soldier off to war, not knowing when he would return to her. She realized quickly that the support of her family and friends would be indispensible while coping with the deployment Spence. After 8 long months in Afghanistan Spence safely returned home to Meredith! In only 25 days she will say, “I do” to her military hero and love of her life and celebrate with those same family and friends that we such a source of support! We are so excited to be apart of this celebration! Congratulations!

photography by:  akvogel

Vintage Vineyard Wedding

Longing for a romantic wedding in wine country? A vineyard wedding is the ultimate in sophisticated rustic elegance. But there is no need to travel to France and leave all of your loved ones behind. You can get that same experience state side if you know where to look. The Vineyard at Castleton Farms coupled with one of our skilled wedding planners is the perfect combination to achieve your dream vineyard wedding. Memorable wedding designs come down to the details and there are plenty of creative details to include in this elegant wedding, but in this case the venue is more important than ever.  A vineyard wedding must simply stated, be held in a vineyard. Whether it is the ceremony, cocktail hour or the reception, some portion of the event must allow your guests to wander between the rows  of live growing grapes and taste the fruit straight from the vine. I love that Castleton’s vineyard is planted with the muscadine grape; a grape native to Tennessee and a taste that brings back my childhood with one bite!

Now that you have an amazing venue, let’s talk about the details. Your colors can range from deep wine reds and purples to light fresh champagne peaches and whites. If you go for the lighter colors, tan or grey suits on your groomsmen are a great choice to keep your bridal party balanced. Vineyard weddings will often see the bride in a slimmer silhouette, but bolder brides may opt for a fuller gown in deep rich colors, especially for a dramatic evening ceremony with candles.

We love the idea of sending a bottle of wine as the invitation with all of the wedding information printed on the custom label.

These eco friendly cork invitations available on etsy are also a great first glance of what lies ahead for your guests.

Of course grapes of many varieties and should find their way into your décor and centerpieces, although your bouquets and boutonnieres should be void of this staining fruit.

The cocktail hour and reception for this type of wedding can be super elegant and refined.

The perfect accompaniment to wine is cheese! So a cheese sampling is a must, but also consider dishes made with a variety of different or unique cheese. For the cocktail hour consider Goat Cheese with Pancetta, a Cornmeal Soufflé with Blue Cheese or Smoked Salmon with Mascarpone. Grilled vegetables also pair well with cheeses especially when finished with an aged balsamic vinegar or rich olive oil. Fruit jams with cheese and crackers can be simple, but delicious.

A Caramelized Onion Tart with brie followed by a Grilled Corn Soup are sure to have your guests on the edge of their seats in anticipation of the main course. A grilled beef tenderloin or roasted duck or lamb are all wonderful options for the main course.

Now that your mind (and taste buds) are busy with the menu let’s talk about before and after the ceremony. Consider hiring a sommelier for a wine tasting as your rehearsal dinner. This is a great opportunity to taste and understand new wines with your bridal party. Speaking of bridal party, what gifts do you give these people that are so dear to you? How about a picnic basket filled with everything necessary for a romantic evening of their own; wine, preserves, local honey, crackers, marinated olives, roasted peppers and smoked meats. (there go my taste buds again).   

When you plan a wedding around wine, amazing food is sure play a big part. Congratulations, you now have a wedding your guests can’t wait to attend!


Featured Bride: Kayla Hyder











Of all the wonderful things we get to be a part of at Castleton Farms; from helping a bride plan her special day to standing by her side before she walks down the aisle, the absolute best is when I get to see into the special, intimate, personal moments that she will treasure for the rest of her marriage. Recently a bride as been sweet enough to share some of those moments with me and my eyes have been filled with tears more than once over the past week.

I want to introduce you to a very special Castleton Bride; Kayla. Kayla and her fiancé, Michael will be committing their lives to each other this Fall in a Vintage Carnival Themed wedding (and I for one can’t wait to see it come together)!

After Kayla’s recent wedding shower, she was sharing with the staff at Castleton Farms how totally perfect it was. So I asked her if I could share it on our blog and she said, “Absolutely!”

Of all the details that go into making an event prefect, some of the most important are that it is personal, heartfelt and sincere. Kayla’s shower had all of this and more. Held in the church she grew up in, she was surrounded by memories and a church family that has loved her for many years. More than just a venue, it is a place that holds a piece of her heart. Planning any event can add stress to your life, but Kayla chose to enjoy the time she and her mom spent preparing and made memories during the process she will treasure forever. (A great lesson from Kayla for all brides; the journey can be just as special as the destination!) Magazine worthy décor makes any event feel glamorous and great food is the icing on the cake (wink, wink), but Kayla added a very intimate item to her agenda that touched my heart. In light of her love for Hot Air Balloons she had a very unique balloon release! All of her guests wrote a wish for her and her future husband on a wishtag. They then read their wish for her and Michael out loud and tied it to their balloon. At the conclusion of the shower they released their wishes into the Heavens! How sweet is that! To have the people you love most in the world sharing their wishes for you and offering them up as prayers. Love! To top it off she received a special Bible from her cousin’s family and a custom handmade sign from a precious friend that read “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine.”  What a beautiful image what marriage is really all about.

We all love beautiful things. And we at Castleton love to create beautiful weddings. But the most beautiful of all is the intimacy found in the true surrender of one person to another, trusting another person with everything we have that is private and precious and knowing it is as sacred to them as it is to us. Kayla, thank you for sharing with us that which is precious to you!






Hand Painted Wedding Cake

Hand Painted Wedding Cakes

Hand Painted Wedding Cakes

Every now and then I come across a new trend in weddings that absolutely blows me away. I have been lucky enough to stumble across such a trend. Nothing will personalize and glamorize your wedding like one of the most amazing trends in weddings; Hand Painted Cakes.  A hand painted cake is an edible work of art. Like a traditional cake decorated with butter cream or fondant, a hand painted cake can be either elegantly simple or ornately complex. Either way they are absolutely stunning to behold. The designs and possibililties for this type of cake are limited only by imagination. So this is one aspect of your wedding where you can jump in with both feet and let your imagination run. Most good designers love it when you come to them with unique ideas and new challenges. And keep in mind a great designer will be able to help guide you toward your dream cake even if you are not sure what exactly that is. So make sure when choosing your pastry chef you not only taste her work but also peruse her portfolio.

Having spent countless hours coloring, molding, rolling and cutting fondant I can appreciate the heightened artistry and skill that goes into the completion of one of these designs. Although I am sure it takes a great length of time to master this art, I can’t wait to attempt a simple one for myself. I have already ordered the special brushes and watched hours of tutorials with talented pastry chefs creating these stunning sugar spectaculars. I have volunteered to make a baby shower cake for a friend and plan to incorporate some of these techniques. Of course I will keep you posted on my attempt!

Love this Hand Painted Cake from Three Little Black Birds Cakes  in Colorado!










Downton Abbey English Garden Wedding

With the amazing Downton Abbey wedding still fresh in our minds, it is finally getting warm enough here in East Tennessee to experience the regal elegance of proper England in the maternal mountains of East Tennessee! If you, like the rest of America, have gotten swept up in the vintage glamour that is Downton Abbey, you have found the inspiration that can take your wedding from run of the mill to Edwardian Elegance.

Luck for you vintage; specifically 1920’s vintage, is hugely popular right now. Antique stores and upscale boutiques as well as thrift stores are a treasure trove waiting to assist you in the details.

When choosing jewelry look for pearls, cameos and enameled jewelry, all hugely popular in the early 1900’s. To capture the look and feel of the period as you walk down the aisle your dress should be highwaisted and lace. A floor length veil accompanied by an intricate rhinestone head piece will complete your bridal look. Soft grays, blues, champagnes and peaches create a soft romantic ambiance.

While your wedding decorations me be not be difficult to locate, your venue on the other hand must be on par with the aristocratic air of the day. A sprawling English estate may not be at your ready, but the Gardens at Castleton Farms are. Gardens that would awe even majestic Lady Mary!

If you are fortunate enough to book a venue as regal as the Gardens at Castleton Farms, a Garden Party would be a PERFECT cocktail hour, cucumber sandwiches, scones with lemon curd, lemon cookies or English trifle are all sure please the distinguished palates of your guests. To really evoke the richness of the period take a cue from Downton Abbey and model your dinner menu from courses served on the Titanic. Courses to consider are Oysters a la Russe, Glazed Duck and Asparagus salad. You might even consider serving your elegant dinner on the English Croquet lawn at Castleton!

If you choose a Downton Abbey English Garden Wedding you are not looking for simple, you are looking for lush, elaborate and over the top! So let your vintage diva shine!


Pamper Your Princess

Bridal PartyGirlfriends are the best and bridesmaids are the best of the best! So why not give your royal subjects the royal treatment, Your Majesty! After all it’s your day to be Queen, so why not issue a royal decree. May I suggest a Spa Day?

Spa treatments also make great gifts for your bridal party. You can either present your lucky ladies with a gift certificate or you can schedule a day before or after the ceremony to go together to the spa. Going together before the ceremony allows you to all unwind together and look your best for the big day. But if you organize a day to go after the ceremony you can share all of those great pics and stories from your honeymoon!

Spa treatments are a huge trend with bachelorette parties, too.  When it comes to bachelorette parties, Spas are the new Vegas. Whether you go away for the weekend to a remote resort or spend an afternoon getting pre-ceremony facials, massages or mani-pedis at a local spa, maids of honor everywhere are making reservations to celebrate this special event.

Tomorrow I am going on a spa day with some girlfriends to get our tootsies ready for the Spring weather…if it ever shows up, but that is a different blog. In addition to a mani-pedi my dull Winter face will be scrubbed away to be replaced by a new Spring face! I have been looking forward to this “Girls Day Out” all week; time with good friends and a day at the spa equals great memories and much needed relaxation.  I cannot stress enough how much I love this new trend. Here is to creating new traditions and memories!