Days Gone By: Sumner’s Historic Sites as Wedding Venues

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Screen Shot 2017-01-26 at 4.22.32 PMBy Ryan Baker
Executive Director, Sumner County Museum

So, your significant other has popped the question and you are gearing up to start planning your ‘best day ever.’ One of the most important decisions you and your spouse-to-be will make, other than the dress of course, will be the venue. And yes, gentlemen, your bride-to-be wants, and will value, your input and opinion throughout the wedding planning process. Just remember that if you’re not sure, a safe response always is: “I like the one you like best, dear.”

One of the many wonderful aspects of living in Sumner County is its deep, rich history. In fact, Sumner County is home to many historic sites, with several of them also serving as wedding venues. Cragfont, Historic Rock Castle and Rose Mont are ready to meet all your wedding needs, along with Stonewall, property of the Sumner County Museum, coming soon!

Cragfont will always have a special place in my heart as it hosted the ‘BakerBash’ in May of 2016. That’s right! My wife, Kim Baker, and I chose a historic property to serve as our wedding site. Cragfont was built between 1798 and 1802 by General James Winchester, who was a Brigadier General in the War of 1812. The home was built overlooking Bledsoe Creek in Castalian Springs just off what is now Highway 25. Cragfont is known for its beautiful gardens and gazebo where many ceremonies have taken place. Brides have even been known to arrive to the ceremony on a horse-drawn carriage. There is a permanent concrete floor that was installed just for a tent and reception area, but if you ask grounds-keeper Lowell he will tell you, “It just doesn’t rain on a bride at Cragfont.”

Next stop is down Indian Lake Boulevard in Hendersonville. There you will find Historic Rock Castle, former home of Virginian surveyor, Daniel Smith. Construction began in 1784 and is one of the few waterfront venues in Middle Tennessee. The home and property is perfect for weddings as it sits on eighteen acres right by Old Hickory Lake. The sunsets are simply breathtaking. Rock Castle also has its own wedding coordinator, Lindsay McMillan, who has that magic touch when it comes to making your special day, well, perfect. The Visitors Center has a room for the groom and his men and one for the bride and her bridesmaids to get ready in. Once dressed, the home and entire grounds are available to you for photographs. The ceremony can take place at several beautiful locations on the property including the front steps, down by the lake, or even in the woods. In fact, Rock Castle hosted its first ‘Wedding in the Woods’ this past October. You can finish off your day with your reception on site at the Artisan Pavilion, complete with caterer’s kitchen, fireplace, ceiling fans and restrooms.

The next site is just a mile from downtown Gallatin’s historic square. Rose Mont was built in the 1830s by Josephus Conn Guild. The name Rose Mont stems from the once exquisite rose garden that was located on the north side of the home. The home is a blend of Greek Revival and Palladian design. The private bridal suite overlooks a smaller replication of the original rose garden and the judge’s office is available for the groom and his men. Rose Mont’s façade features majestic white columns that connect the two-story veranda. The reception hall and ballroom can accommodate up to 175 guests and includes a kitchen and covered porch. Historic Rose Mont is another perfect venue for your special day.

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The final historic wedding venue stop is also located in Gallatin, just a couple blocks from the downtown square on East Main Street. Stonewall is the former home of John B. Garrott and was built in 1831 by Dr. Levi D. Ring, the headmaster of Transmontania Academy. Ring also built the Carriage House, which stands next to Stonewall, in 1939. Garrott, known for his dedication to historic preservation, founded the Sumner County Museum in the early 1970s. More recently, in 2015, he raised the funds to purchase the Carriage House to serve as the future home of the museum, along with donating his home to the museum as well. Stonewall has the potential to host a variety of events including weddings. Its façade includes four gorgeous white pillars, a front porch, and a veranda whose look is perfect for a wedding ceremony. Behind the home, you will find a garden area fit for a reception. Stay tuned for more information on this future wedding venue!

These historic sites are all unique and each has something that distinguishes it from the others, but they all also have some things in common. These sites are very affordable, great for weddings, located near hotels for friends and family coming to town, and they are all in Sumner County. So, before you go out looking elsewhere, check out these great venues and plan your ‘best day ever,’ right here, in Sumner County.

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