2016 Was A Banner Year

As we near the end of 2016 we reflect on what a great year it has been at The Mill at Plein Air.  Clearly the highlight was the opening of The Chapel.  We explored the idea of building a chapel on-site for over a year.  Once we made the decision to build --  it was a sprint to the finish.  Believe it or not the size of the chapel was determined once we found the 32 maple pews in a Baptist Church in Virginia.  (We needed to make sure they would fit.)  After the size was determined we set about to find authentic, salvaged church materials and artifacts.  We scored when we found 8 huge stained glass windows from a Lutheran Church in Pennsylvania.  Then we picked up a dozen classical hanging church pendants from that once lived in a east Tennessee church.  The floors came from a warehouse in Charleston, SC.  Local artisan Obie Clark built the alter.  We held our first wedding in the chapel in early April and have been blessed to host two dozen more since.  

Families of wedding parties have found the ease of getting married in the chapel, then walking directly across the street to The Mill for the reception to be a very attractive option.  Further, the ability for the wedding party and families to stay at Plein Air, (we've got almost 20 bedrooms for rent), adds to the elegant weekend.  

A new restaurant, (named Grit), opened in the Plein Air neighborhood in June.  A number of families have chosen to hold their rehearsal dinner in the hip, new 80-person restaurant.  Larger groups have moved into the dining room in The Mill.  

This is the first year our vision for a turnkey experience has really started to take shape.  We intend to add to the offering and deliver an even more seamless experience.  We thank those of you that have entrusted us to host your most special day.  We never take it for granted and our goal is to exceed our guest's expectations one wedding at a time.  Happy Holidays!

The Getaway

Since we host dozens of weddings a year we get the privilege of witnessing LOTS of interesting occurrences. Personally, I'm fascinated with the getaway. The getaway offers photographers the "money shot." The one you always see with bride and groom holding hands, rice cascading down on their heads, sprinklers lining both sides, maybe confetti in the air.

The most famous wedding shot in history is JFK, Jr and his new bride leaving the tiny chapel on Cumberland Island hand in hand. The getaway shot is the most romanticized and remembered moment of the evening. This shot and cutting the cake are the two traditional shots everyone remembers from the wedding album.

The car is critical. We've had Rolls Royce Limos, vintage Mercedes coupes, several Mustang convertibles, a horse-drawn carriage, a cop car with siren blaring, (groom was a cop), traditional limos, a motorcycle, and just about everything in between. We have not had a tractor. I want a tractor.  

Frequently the car doesn't run very well and the newlyweds do a victory lap around Plein Air only to jump into a brand new Lexus around the corner. Again -- it's about the photo, not the ride to the Memphis airport.  

One new phenomenon is the "fake leave."  You want a big crowd there for the getaway. So, to ensure a crowd, the bride and groom will sometimes stage the leave early in the evening for the photo op.  Remember - it's the photo that matters. After pulling rice or confetti from their hair they may reappear and dance the night away film safely tucked away.

There is no right or wrong way to do it. The getaway is as personal as the wedding dress. To each their own. As long as they are having fun!

The Chapel - Six Months In

It has been six months since The Chapel at Plein Air debuted and by all measures it has been a big success. What started as an idea to move weddings indoors to battle inclement weather has turned into an attraction all its own.  Repeatedly, brides and mothers alike, breath a collective "oh my" when the doors open for the first time.  The chapel is simple.  It is beautiful.  And it reeks of a by-gone era before internet, social media, and the Kardashians.

Since early April we've hosted about fifteen weddings in the chapel. We've found that it can comfortably seat around 250. Uncomfortably around 280.  The acoustics are wonderful; this happened naturally as we didn't do a thing to plan it or create a sound friendly environment. The first minister announced, "there is no need for amplification. The sound in here is perfect."  

All of the materials used had a prior life in another church or building. The one exception is the air conditioning. Vintage 2016 model. 10 tons of it. Pack 260 people in there on an August afternoon in Mississippi and we need all we can get. We're happy to report it works and works well.  

Photographers love the chapel for the setting it creates. The sun streaks through the west windows at a 45 degree angle at sunset creating long, yellow pools of light throughout the sanctuary. Depending on time of year the angles vary and sharpness fades, but there is no bad light. Outside the chapel is a 40 acre field of tall grass for the perfect backdrop.   

We call it our "new old chapel." So far brides, wedding planners, photographers, and mothers are loving it. Will it stand the test of time?  We think so.  And we invite you to come along for the ride.