agirlandherpen: Where did you end up booking in the end? I’m just now getting the whole process started, and would LOVE to hear more from experienced brides on good vendors, etc.!
I’m about two years too late for your wedding (my FI and I were probably still barely courting when you tied theknot!), but have spent so much time researching venues in Western NC that I want to share the fruits of my research with any future brides who stumble upon this thread! Note that these prices are current as of Summer 2015, and are obviously subject to change…
My FI and I were looking for a place near Boone/West Jefferson that (a) had a barn, (b) would comfortably fit 100 people, (c) would let us bring our own booze (that’s where they getcha!), and (d) cost less than $3k, catering excluded. Here are the places that made our top 7:
1.) We ended up booking with Sugar Hollow Retreat in Butler, TN (just outside of Boone and on the other side of the TN/NC border). This is seriously the High Country’s best-kept secret: it took me MONTHS of research to find this place, and as soon as I saw it, knew it was the one! It costs $4800 for the weekend, but includes cabins and a lodge with 60 beds. This means that by asking guests for $75/bedroom per night (about half the price of most hotels), the place actually pays for itself. Plus, it’s gorgeous, and Marty is the loveliest woman. I’m obviously biased, but this place topped my list and then some!
2.) The Apple Barn in Valle Crucis. It currently costs $1,000, and even includes tables and chairs! I have many happy memories contra dancing in the Apple Barn, but it’s not the most scenic (right next to a highway!).
3.) Camp Sky Ranch. $2000 facility fee (some furniture included!), but you’re “strongly encouraged” to do catering and alcohol through their catererer/restaurant. A quick Google search will reveal that they have some really, REALLY beautiful weddings there.
4.) River House Inn in West Jefferson, NC. The site is gorgeous (right on the New River), and the prices are fairly reasonable. $5/person as a “site fee,” and lunch/dinner for $25-65/person (plus a non-negotiable $10/person for bride’s cake and groom’s cake). We didn’t love that we had to get our alcohol through them, and that we’d have to haul in port-a-potties to use their lovely tobacco barn.
5.) Owl’s Nest Cabin, a vacation rental on VRBO. You can rent out this lovely cabin and the cabin next to it for less than $300/night total. It’s advertised for family reunions, but it seems like the perfect place for a smaller wedding. Giant yard the could hold a tent, right on the river… And it’s just plain lovely. We decided to go with an intentional wedding venue, because it can get expensive once you start hauling in tents, lights, toilets, etc., but someone, someday should get married here.
6.) White Fence Farm looked lovely and affordable, but didn’t offer much by way of a rain plan.
7.) Valle Crucis Farms is a tucked-away secret, and a steal of a deal for $1500 tops (cheaper for a shorter wedding), but felt a little too much like being in someone’s backyard. We’re also more into the fruits-and-veggie side of farming than a horse farm could offer, but this seems like an ideal budget venue for a horse-loving bride or groom.
We also LOVED Mast Farm Inn, but boy do they cost a pretty penny. Even their cheapest options were leagues out of our budget. Western NC brides, where did you book? Even though we’ve already sent in our deposit, I still love to live vicariously! There are so many awesome, affordable options in this neck of the woods!