Options abound in the region for great locations for special events.
Would you like to get married in the English countryside or on a farm in Tennessee?
Thanks to an ever-growing variety of event venues in the region, it’s possible to host your nuptial – or any other large event – at such a location without leaving the Tri-State. Within a 30- mile radius of Ashland, there are at least a dozen event venues from which to choose. For a set fee (under $1,000 for a few hours, up to $10,000+ for an entire weekend), you and your guests get full use of the site and its many amenities, including helpful staff who do all the set up and cleaning.
The timing for all of these venue openings really couldn’t be better, as the percentage of traditional church weddings has decreased from more than 50 percent in 1990 to around 20 percent today.
We’ve selected a random group of venues to highlight for you here, but a quick Google search will show you many more.
The Union on Carter
The area’s newest event venue, The Union on Carter opened in March in Ashland. In the months since, the place has been rented regularly for weddings, graduation and birthday parties, baby showers, and political events. “An oasis where everything comes together” is how it’s described online.
The Union is the latest in a string of local businesses for Christy and Bill Bare. When they purchased the former chuch building on Carter Avenue in October 2021, they knew it would be a perfect event spot and, “We just exploded on that idea,” Christy said.
A great construction team got the building ready for its first guests in just four months. “We went for a boho theme with lots of barnwood, greenery and black accents,” said Christy, who also gave a shout out to event manager Kelly Paholsky and general manager David Willey.
The large event room upstairs can accommodate 150 people; there’s also a cocktail room and a kitchen. The wedding amenities are downstairs where the décor is geared toward the comfort of the bridal party – and, of course, some great photo opps. There is a curved pink couch in the bridal suite, a (very) large mirror and a dedicated wall for the bridesmaids to hang their dresses. The adjacent vanity area has several pink swivel chairs and plenty of counterspace and electrical outlets. For the guys, there are sleek, blue couches, a large cowhide on the wall and a space to hang their suits/tuxedos. The ”man cave” contains a pool table, video games, a juke box and dart board – a great hangout room before the main event. “We really tried to think of everything because we had plenty of room to be creative,” Christy said.
For more information, visit theuniononcarter.com or its Facebook page.
Eastern Grace Event Venue
Here, the bride and her entourage get a blank slate – a beautiful venue in its natural state that can easily be transformed into any desired look. “I wanted it to be pretty in its natural state and also be able to fit each bride’s particular style,” said Terran Evans who owns the Argillite, Kentucky, business with her husband Dwaine.
“Since our first wedding here in August 2020, we’ve seen a variety of trends, including rustic, glamour, boho and winter themes; and they’ve all been stunning,” Terran said.
Eastern Grace is located just off the Industrial Parkway. It has a 4,200 square foot main structure, which includes a kitchen, DJ booth and bar – complete with a sound and light system. For the after-party, there is an almost-as-large patio with a fire pit and, of course, bridal and groom suites to prepare for the main event.
Terran said there have been more than 80 weddings at Eastern Grace in the past two years as well as an outdoor concert and community events. “Our marketing is targeted to the brides, so we frequently hear that people didn’t know we existed until they get invited to a wedding here.”
The events have been a mix of local and out-of-town wedding parties. “We love our local brides, but we also love sharing our community,” Terran said. “Many of our brides come from over an hour away. We love hearing about their guests exploring local shops, restaurants and parks, and brides using local businesses for their wedding needs.”
For more information, visit easterngraceevents.com or its Facebook page.
Five years ago, Elizabeth and Robert Slagel bought a 2.5 acre property on Ohio 141 north of Ironton, not really sure of their plans for it. When they looked more closely at the nearly 100-year-old cabin on the site, they discovered original beams and woodwork in nearly perfect condition. So, they decided to gut the cabin and “That’s when we lost our minds,” Elizabeth said jokingly.
Three years later, working with teams of architects and landscapers, the Slagels opened Weymouth Hill, a gathering place inspired by their travels and named after Robert’s late mother. In addition to the remodeled original cabin, there are two other buildings – a cabana and an English cottage which houses the bridal suite. Elizabeth decorated it all with antiques, custom fabrics and vintage hardware; there is nothing sterile or commercial about Weymouth Hill. “A complex that takes you from the hominess of your grandparents’ front porch to a European country home,” is how the owners describe their labor of love.
“The community response has been heart-warming,” Elizabeth said. This is evidenced by its support of a recent ballot measure to allow Weymouth Hill to obtain a liquor license (in the works). “We truly want to give back to the community by improving the property and allowing folks to make memories here,” she said. “The domino effect on local hotels, restaurants and vendors is also wonderful,” Elizabeth said.
Weymouth Hill can accommodate up to 150 guests. It can be rented for a day or an entire weekend. In addition to full use of the space, Weymouth Hill provides parking attendants, two golf carts, a van and driver, a venue coordinator, and more.
For more information, visit weymouthhill.com or visit its Facebook page.
Little Tennessee Event Farm
“Turnkey and stress-free” is how this all-inclusive, indoor/outdoor wedding venue is described online.
“Our venue is quite unique because we include everything from the venue (two outdoor and two indoor spaces) with all the décor, wedding planning, overnight accommodations with suites for bridal parties, rehearsal dinner, breakfast the morning of the wedding, wedding day photography, catering, cake and DJ,” explained Nikki Stark, owner of the Chesapeake, Ohio, business with her husband, Andrew. “We have an amazing ‘dream team’ of nine and we strive hard to make every wedding as stress-free as possible for our couples.”
The Starks’ own wedding in 2014 was the first event at Little Tennessee. “Both of us being entrepreneurs, it was an easy choice for us. We knew at the time that this area needed other wedding venue alternatives,” Nikki said.
Initially, Little Tennessee only offered rental space. But the Starks quickly learned that the Tri-State needed a place where wedding industry professionals could work as a team to create amazing weddings for people who don’t have the time or don’t want to plan every detail. So, since 2017, it’s been an all-inclusive venue.
Having one contact person for all the details makes the planning part a breeze, Nikki said. “All of our weddings are unique and tailored to each couple’s vision. We adore all our couples – the 250 we’ve helped so far and all the ones coming up.”
For more information, visit littletennesseeeventfarm.com or its Facebook page.