Blog for Pamela’s Event Design

Archive for the ‘VA Wedding Venues’ Category

Through a Photographer’s Eyes

Stan Crabtree is an artist who found his true passion the first time he picked up a camera.  Since he started Crabtree Photography he has photographed more than 300 weddings.  Ever improving his craft and staying current with the trends, he uses some of the best equipment available.  He said that when he first started, he made a portfolio of all of his pictures.  He took this to all the women he knew and asked for their honest feedback.  He received all positive reviews.  Of this experience he says, “Just because your friends say they love your work and that you are a good photographer only means that you have good friends.”  He is way too modest!  I have known Stan for several years.  He is a very kind, honest, and caring man, devoted husband and father, and a wedding vendor that I am completely comfortable referring a bride to.  He loves what he does, and he is good at it!

Stan’s photography is good, no matter what the occasion, but I am particularly impressed with his rural style.  He has been generous enough to allow me to share a few of my favorite images on this blog.

I’m a pushover for any photo of children, so I chose these two precious pictures:

What country wedding would be complete without boots?  I love this shot of the boots, bouquet, and veil.  I am going to pin this on Pinterest…another obsession of mine!

Candid shots are my favorite!  I wonder what’s going through their heads as they sit and enjoy each others company and the scenery?

I think this photo is stunning!  Can you see the reflection of the bride and her bouquet in the mirror across from her?

Brides, don’t walk to the phone to call Stan…RUN!!!  You can trust him with your wedding day and any other special event in your life.  Check out his website, too at Crabtree Photography.  Stan primarily serves the Southwest Virginia and Eastern Tennessee area, but will travel upon request.

Thanks for stopping by.  I read and appreciate all of your comments, so please post one.  Tell all your friends about this blog and encourage them to visit, too.
Have a blessed day!
Pam Archer

Once Married-Twice Wed

Isaac and Lindsey didn’t want to wait to be married, but their dreams of a wedding had to be put on hold.  They married a little more than a year ago, and their long awaited wedding became reality in September of this year.  This wedding color palette was one of our very favorite, and perfectly suited to the late-summer/early fall wedding.  Cymbidium orchids, roses, garden roses, and hydrangea were stunning on the gazebo.

The wrought iron garden gates, and the urns of hydrangea and roses,  added old world charm to the setting.

The eggplant bridesmaids dresses and the flower colors were stunning!

The colors and style were carried forward in the reception decor.

For more pictures from this picture-perfect wedding, go to Pamela’s Event Design

Up next, see what we did with a peacock themed wedding.

Thanks for stopping by!

Pam Archer


Bristol Train Station

Bristol, TN is the birthplace of country music.  Bristol, VA is the home of the Bristol Train Station.  The current structure was erected in 1902 and is it’s fourth depot.  The first was built in 1856 and burned during Stoneman’s raid in 1864.  After the Civil War a new one was built and opened in early 1866.  Bristol soon outgrew this structure and one was completed in 1882.

Located on the Bristol Virginia/Tennessee line, this depot received goods, news, mail, and new residents via train.  College students came and went by rail.  At one time, more than 72 brothels were located close to the depot.  With it’s illustrious past, it’s no wonder that the train station  has so many permanent residents.  Paranormal readings have identified at least 68 spirits in the building!

Last summer, I was attending a wedding professionals meeting at the depot.  We were asked to go downstairs to the cellar to record some video footage for our businesses.   While waiting my turn, I was talking to a couple of the photographers.  They began to tell stories of photographing engagement sessions and wedding there, and specifically where we were standing.  When they would bring the images up on their computers, there were many orbs in the photos.  After spending hours editing the images out of the pictures, their efforts were futile.  When the pictures printed, the orbs were still there!  I spoke with the current marketing manager who said she knew that was true, because she has had the same thing happen to her with her snapshots.

One of the previous marketing managers told the story of hearing someone walking on the main floor while he was in his office upstairs.  When he went to see who it was, he could still hear the footsteps, but did not see anyone.  The spirit coughed before exiting the building.  It seems the elevator has a mind of it’s own!  It runs up and down the elevator shaft at random times throughout the day and night, transporting invisible passengers.  Others have heard the scream of a lady at 1:00 am on the railraod tracks outside.    There are numerous reports of sightings and sounds coming from various areas of the train station.  Clocks stop at the same time every night, 8:50.  Former manager says that he can’t explain some of the things he has seen and heard there; like laughing and coughing from disembodied spirits.

The building has been restored to it’s 1930’s state.  It is a very nice location with lots of history.  To read more about it and see pictures, click HERE.

To book a wedding or event:

Train Station

101 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.

Bristol, VA 24201


Come back tomorrow and read the story of Banq-The Gathering Place.  Though teams have come to measure paranormal activity, the current owners do not have the reports, however I uncovered some interesting history.

Thanks for stopping by!

Pam Archer

Pamela’s Event Design

The Martha Washington Inn

The Martha

The Martha Washington Inn was built in 1832 as a private residence for General Francis Preston and Sarah Buchanan Preston and their nine children.

179  years ago the residence was built for just under $15,000 dollars.  In 1858 the Preston family home was sold $21,000 dollars .  It became an upscale college for women.   The school was named Martha Washington College.  Locals call it “The Martha”.  The college operated for over 70 years through the years of the Civil War and the Great Depression.

“The “War Between the States” was soon to have a dramatic effect on the college. Schoolgirls became nurses and the beautiful grounds became training barracks for the Washington Mounted Rifles. Union and Confederate troops were involved in frequent skirmishes in and around the town with the college serving as a makeshift hospital for the wounded, both Confederate and Yankee.  Despite the devastating effects of the Civil War, the Martha Washington College survived. However, the Great Depression, typhoid fever and a declining enrollment eventually took its toll. The Martha was closed in 1932, standing idle for several years.”  – This was to sent to me by a staff person and borrowed from The Martha’s website, with permission.

For the next 50 years The Martha was to experience a number of changes in ownership. For a period of time the facility was used to house actors and actresses appearing at the Barter Theatre across the street. Patricia Neal, Ernest Borgnine, and Ned Beatty are but a few of the prominent actors who began their career here… all of whom have later returned to visit The Martha.  The Barter Theatre is today known as the longest-running professional resident theatre in America.

In 1935, The Martha Washington Inn opened as a hotel and throughout the years has hosted many illustrious guests. Eleanor Roosevelt, President Harry Truman, Lady Bird Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and Elizabeth Taylor are counted among the many famous guests who have frequented the hotel.

In 1984, The United Company, representing a group of dedicated businessmen, purchased The Martha Washington Inn and began an eight million dollar renovation.  Aware of this historic landmark’s importance to the town of Abingdon, the restoration was carefully designed to preserve and enhance much of its original splendor and architectural detail.

In 1995, The Martha Washington Inn joined The Camberley Collection of fine historic properties.

It was from the Civil War era that many of the ghosts came to exist.  Sightings of ghosts and other eery encounters have been experienced by guests and staff, including myself.  Violin music can still be heard coming from room 403.  The ghost, named Beth, soothed a dying confederate solider by playing the violin.  Guests in room 210 have actually been touched by ghosts!  If you stay in room 302, you might witness an entire silent party!  Images appear on the mirrors in the salon.
In 2010 I was at The Martha, tending to some last minute details for an upcoming wedding.  I had my folder in my arms with a fabric swatch securely fastened to it.  I had just left the gift shop where the clerk had told me about often seeing a figure looking at her through the display window.  I laughed it off and made my way down the hall, through the front doors of the mansion, and to my car.  It was pouring rain.  When I got in my car I noticed that the fabric swatch was gone.  I opened the door to look to see if I had dropped it on the ground, then proceeded to look under and around my vehicle.  I traced my steps back to the shop.  Nothing!  I knew I had it in the shop and there was only a hallway and porch between the shop and my car.  Both the swatch and the paper clip had vanished.  The clerk remarked that the ghost was probably playing a trick on me, that it happens all the time.  I don’t know if there is any merit to this, I only know my swatch and paper clip disappeared and were never found.
The gazebo is a beautiful place for an outdoor wedding.  This is the wedding I was referring to:
The ballroom is gorgeous!  It can accommodate approximately 200 guests.
The Ballroom at The Martha Washington Inn

If you are ever in the Abingdon/Bristol, Virginia area, make it a point to visit The Martha.   You can take a seat on the front veranda and enjoy a glass of southern iced tea.

The Martha

150 West Main Street

Abingdon, VA 24210


Tomorrow we will explore one of the most ghostly populated buildings in Bristol, VA,  The Bristol Train Station.  Be sure to come back and tell all your friends, too!

Pam Archer

Wedding Day – Flower Explosion

WHEW! We made it!  Jerrica and Anthony are married and on their honeymoon.

We started unloading the truck at 8:00 am at The Martha Washington Inn.

Seventeen of us worked as fast and meticulously as we could, taking only a thirty minute lunch break.

The wedding gazebo was laden with Dendrobium orchids from Thailand, peonies from Israel, garden roses, hybrid tea roses, and spray roses from Ecuador.  All of these flowers were accustomed to the heat, so the 94 degree temperature wasn’t too much for them to remain beautiful. 6,000 fragrant rose petals covered the aisle!

After the ceremony, guests were directed through the courtyard pathway into the hotel. We set up a separate ballroom for the children, with decor that would be fun for them.

The ballroom was breathtaking! The champagne, ivory, and taupe color scheme was exceptional against the classic decor of the room. Ken Sharples, from Cover the Top Party Rentals, provided the linens for the tables. Antique crystal chandeliers held the diamond crystal draping over the dance floors. The windows were also draped with the crystals. Uplites accented Dendrobium orchids in vases, topped with balls of roses. Each of these centerpieces had 150-180 roses in the balls.

Susie Johnson, from Susie’s Wedding Cakes, made the magnificent wedding cake. She also designed and made the adorable groom’s cake. The cake was patterned after their dog, Carmen.

All of the long hours and hard work were worth it when Jerrica entered the ballroom before the wedding, to see what we had done. She looked at me and started to cry. She was ecstatic with the beauty of it, and said it was better than she had imagined. We love it when the bride is overwhelmed. We feel that we have done our job when she gasps and cries!

It was a pleasure to work with Jerrica. She has exquisite taste and style.
Several hundred man hours later, the dream was reality. Hear are some summary comments from three of our amazing staff members, including Maria LaBarbera, my beautiful daughter, and business partner.  Joe, my son-in-law, is invaluable to our business, as is my husband, Chuck.

A special word of thanks for all of my staff, Maria and Joe LaBarbera, Chuck Archer, Abby Simmons, Adrianne Cowan, Phyllis Neurdenberg, Sara Watson, Loriann Calcott, Ann Collins, Alison Russell, Mary Cargle, Tony and Jamie Williams, Lea Williams, Tim Smith. and John and Sherree Williams.

Congratulations to Jerrica and Anthony!  We wish you many years of health and happiness together.

Day Three-Wedding Flower Explosion

I’m so late getting finished with the work on the wedding today that it is already tomorrow!

I forgot to take my flip camera to the venue this afternoon, and this morning was so nuts, that there was no time to use it in the workshop, however I did take a couple of snap shots of the ballroom as we started set-up tonight.

It is going to far exceed any of our visions, I do believe. The room is looking outrageous and it doesn’t even have a single bloom placed yet!
The only downside to any of it is the oppressive heat. It is supposed to be 94 degrees tomorrow and very high humidity. The ceremony will be outdoors, so we will be working hard to keep the flowers misted and shaded.

Their will be a beverage table, with water, lemonade, and punch to help to keep people hydrated and cooled.

It will be Sunday before I will be back on here to give you the whole story and video.

The day starts early tomorrow (today) and will be Sunday before it’s over. I’m soooo excited…that I just can’t hide it!!!

Day Two-Wedding Flower Explosion

It’s been a very long day today. We starting working at 8:00 am and called it a night at 10:30 pm.

I was assured that flowers would be at the workshop by NOON today. They didn’t arrive. We kept wondering when they were coming. At 4:40, I received a call from my husband that when he came home from work there were six boxes of flowers baking in the hot sun at our front door since 10:30 this morning, at 92 degrees! These flower brokers had our work address!

So it was On the phone again for me today to the first wholesaler. They re-shipped, for the third time, to cover their replacements for the wrong flowers that they sent. Those are due in tomorrow, priority.

The second flowers shipper got it wrong, too. They had to re-ship and that shipment didn’t arrive at all.

My husband brought the shipment from home, and we opened the boxes. The wedding’s color scheme is white, champagne, creamy blush, and pale sandy peach. Most of what was in the box were orange and orange, yellows. Not able to use!@

Finally, after all the phone calls to get things corrected, we prayerfully are expecting all of the right ones to come in tomorrow.

Other than a few burnt fingers from hot glue, and having to call a repairman for the breakdown of the lift on the refrigerator truck, we are doing fairly well.

Tomorrow is a super long day. We will work
in the workshop all morning and afternoon, then go after that to The Martha Washington Inn to begin hauling supplies.

Here is a short video clip of the day shift at work.