Blog for Pamela’s Event Design

Posts tagged ‘TN Wedding Venues’

Peacock’s Rule the Roost at Chateau Selah Wedding

Chateau Selah is located in Blountville, Tennessee.  You may not be able to touch the clouds from there, but you certainly are a lot closer to them.  The views are spectacular!  This is what makes it a popular choice for weddings.   The green, purple, and blue color palette of nature was the perfect companion to James and Metha’s peacock wedding theme.  I posted a teaser a while back, but here are more photos by Life Winds Photography

Inside the four-story French Chateau, is a quaint, stone, spiral staircase.  Isn’t Metha’s dress amazing?  There is a wine cellar beneath the staircase.

I totally loved working on this wedding.  Green Cymbidium Orchids, Blue Bombay Dendrobium Orchids, Fiddlehead Fern Curls, and Peacock feathers made vibrant display in the bouquets.

Isn’t this flower girl’s dress adorable?  It’s all just a little bit exotic, don’t you think?


Check out this spectacular view of the mountains.  There are several fire pits on the property.  You can see one in the picture below, in the right hand corner.


How about this special guest?  He looks like he belongs there.  It looks real, but it is metal.


The fascinators from the  Royal Wedding inspired these one-of-a-kind aisle markers.


The bridesmaids wore different colors.  The groomsmen’s ties matched their dresses.

How about these shoes!  Can you pick a favorite?

The theme was carried forward to the reception.  These shimmer linens complimented the centerpieces.  Isn’t that Fiddlehead Fern Curl fun?

Pier 1 had all the decorative accessories we needed to complete the look.  I couldn’t pass up the large vases.

I found these little mirrors there, too.  We used these on the cocktail tables.

I found the placemats, napkin rings, and votive holders for the bride and groom’s sweetheart table at Pier 1 also.

I might have gone a little crazy at Pier 1.  I went there to purchase this peacock feather wreath that Metha wanted.  I came out with a whole lot more than that!

Chateau Selah is as breathtaking inside as it is outside.  It boasts a catering kitchen, complete with a dumb-waiter.  There are two bedrooms on the second floor for the attendants and bride to get dressed, and a media room for the groom and groomsmen.  The outdoor kitchen and fireplace are a bonus, and are fabulous for a rehearsal dinner cookout.  The biggest surprise is the honeymoon suite on the fourth floor.  If it were rated, I would give it ten stars!  The walk-in shower could fit the entire bridal party…not that you would want to do that! HA!  Seriously, it is absolutely beyond your wildest imagination.  There are balconies, a soaking tub, a huge bed with a ruffled comforter, and a flat screen TV.  It has all the amenities you could ask for.  If you are looking for that extraordinary venue, this place has it all.  Contact them at 423.323.3157, or

To see more pictures from this and other of our weddings, visit our website at Pamela’s Event Design.

Thanks for stopping by.  Please take time to leave a comment.  I read all of them, and I would like to get to know you.

Pam Archer, President

Pamela’s Event Design



New Canton Plantation

Lana Kiser Photography

New Canton Plantation found its beginnings before the Declaration of Independence was a twinkle in Jefferson’s eye.  In the mid 1700’s, His Majesty King George II deeded the original tract of 3,000 acres to British loyal subjects Eldridge and Hannibal Hord.  At that time, Tennessee was the western frontier, English settlers were surging westward into the new world, warring Indians were poised to the west.  Historical accounts do not offer, but one must wonder how The Hord family  must have felt as they were  just entrusted  with a large land grant  from King George, and then  suddenly finding themselves with George Washington at the helm,  neck-deep in  the revolutionary conflict  against that same king.  Apparently the Hord family chose the right side and lived to produce another generation.

Little is known in this relatively quiet period but,  a half a century later in 1840, Eldridge and Hannibal utilized  twenty-seven slaves to build a pair of 4,500 sq. ft. brick homes, a 7500 sq.ft. Grist mill, a general hardware store, and numerous barns and out buildings.  At that time slave holding was not only legal, but was a worldwide commodity.  Black and mulatto slaves tended the fields raising corn, tobacco, cutting timber, and running livestock.   Water was hand pumped from Hord creek up to a large cistern above the house which provided a crude form of cool running water to those inside the mansion.  Interestingly, this cool water supply was used primarily for cooling instead of drinking.

Those servants  favored by Mr. Hord held quarters in the basement of the house.  Others who tended to the fields or were involved in milling operations, lived in small cabins near the mill.

Back at the mansion, a bedroom above the kitchen with only an outside door is thought to be the house servant’s quarters.  Those holding these quarters did the cooking, cleaning and day-to-day tasks associated with the mansion.  Immediately below them, the kitchen was the center of constant activity.  Cooking, hospitality, butler’s duties, and any duties associated with the mansion itself were executed around the clock.  Until 1990 the kitchen was actually bricked off from the living quarters of the mansion because of the enormous heat generated there.  Down below at Hord Creek, the mill bustled with trade, milling, locals visiting the local post office and a general store kept patrons supplied with hard to get items such as tools and gunpowder.  People traveled from miles around to trade, barter, catch up on happenings, and grind meal; activity was everywhere.

Slave quarters in the basement

Slave quarters are now groom's dressing room.

The old dinner bell rang at 12 noon for over 100 years.

The home’s architecture would be a twinkle in Jefferson’s eye. The style is Federal, whose specific style arrived from across the pond along with our beloved founders. It is of deep European roots and Jefferson’s own Monticello was fashioned in it. The Palladian style is very strict in its use of space and balance, (some suggest even over use and practicality).  Jefferson’s extensive travels to France and Italy apparently gave him a deep appreciation for this stately form he found across the Atlantic. Now, back in his beloved America, he loved, built, drew, and promoted this style of architecture. Many examples can still be found from northern Tennessee to Virginia to the many white marble state buildings erected in the capital before the War Between the States.


It is often asked, how did the house survive the war of northern aggression? Union troops did indeed occupy the plantation for an extended time.  As Union troops descended on the Kingsport area The Hord family hurriedly hid their valuables in nearby caves and sink holes.  Union commanders  allowed the family to remain in their home while the troops utilized the plantations many facilities.  The story is told of a union corporal who demanded the plantation blacksmith re-shoe his horse.  Apparently the blacksmith was just as sarcastic as the corporal was arrogant.  The blacksmith’s unwelcome comment resulted in him being bayoneted by the angry corporal.  The soldier’s commander upon hearing of the wounded blacksmith, assigned his personal doctor to oversee the man’s recovery.  It is told that the corporal’s treatment was not so kind.  Apparently Mr. Hord’s cooperation with union commanders in offering the plantations facilities to the battle weary troops helped to save the plantation and its assets for future generations.  After the union troops continued their march south to Atlanta, valuables were removed from their hiding places and returned to the home.  Plantation life would carry on much as it had before.

The plantation home is estimated to have more than a million bricks, each handmade and kiln fired. Even the interior walls are a full 18 inches thick.  In response to a challenge from Mr. Hord, the head slave, thought to be Abraham D,  oversaw completion of the house in just over a year.  His reward was a gold coin and first dance at the annual Christmas party. Interestingly, stories suggest that Abraham chose Mrs. Hord as his dancing partner.  Abrahams signature still remains today, carved into the old brick wall near the entrance to his quarters. Abraham’s legend lives long after his passing and he was apparently a wise and faithful servant.

Mr. Hord according to all accounts was a benevolent and decent man. This observation in galvanized into history  by the fact that not only did the Hord family agree to the decree of emancipation but land plots  were provided for those families  whose fates he governed  in that bloodiest of civil  battles. It should not go unmentioned that the American founders were those who first put a stop to this form of human trafficking.  It could not be counted the number of times those close to the history of The Plantation have remarked, “if only walls could talk… what they would say”.   Then, in 1864 after two years of grim war, and almost two million casualties General Lee and Grant agreed to articles of surrender ending the America’s bloodiest chapter. At the proffer of President Lincoln, those indentured servants caught in the middle of this bloody conflict were granted freedom. Some moved to New Canton where Mr. Hord provided property. Some of these newest American citizens took the Hord name and many of their descendants still live in New Canton today.  It is with the upmost respect and honor for all those, indentured or free, remembered and forgotten, those who prospered and those who lay slain in obscurity, that New Canton Plantation still stands to exist as it does today.

For close to two hundred years, the 9 fireplaces churned out heat for those inside, but the dilapidated outbuildings and ruins surrounding the stately old mansion allude to times long since passed. As one walks the property, its trees appear monstrous, their clinging vines, Jurassic. Abandoned roadbeds plead to a curiosity of travels they must have seen, questions left unanswered.  New Canton Plantation is not only a home, but a mysterious time all but gone now, just a haunting curiosity, but such is the mystery of history.

The picture of all the old buildings shows the Plantation in full operation around 1900.  Interestingly,  the difference between a plantation and a farm is that a plantation is 100% self-sufficient, a farm is not. This picture shows the mill, blacksmith’s shop, tannery, and numerous other unidentified buildings.  New Canton Plantation was indeed a center of commerce.

Old Mill, Blacksmith Shop, and Tannery

As far as ghosts, we had heard stories from the previous owners about a soldier in the parlor that had badly frightened the house painter.  He would not come back.  While visiting, a friend of ours, (and we had told him nothing), saw a soldier pacing between the windows in the parlor.  He was wearing an officer’s jacket with buttons, a hat, and a beard.  One night at a wedding, a woman from Kingsport  approached me quite upset and asked if there was anything peculiar about the parlor.  I inquired as to the specifics of her comment and she replied that there was a man in there.  I asked her what he was wearing and she said a long dark jacket with buttons up the front,  a beard and some kind of hat, like the kind a civil war soldier would wear.   She said he was pacing back and forth and was extremely anxious about something.  As we stood there, I asked “Where is he now?”  She said “Right behind you!

The Library where the soldier has been seen pacing.

We also heard stories of a woman in a white dress. Never thought too much about it until I took the  picture attached here. I took 3 or 4 pictures and this is the only one with this girl in the window.  I have walked into that house at 2 am and never think twice about it. I think if you want to see a ghost, you’ll see a ghost, if you don’t, you won’t. The only thing I find odd is why do people see the same man in the same room doing the same thing. O well,  I’m too busy to worry about it.”  – Bill Birdsong, Owner

Picture of a girl seen through a window show up in a photo

New Canton Plantation

826 WEst Main Blvd.

Church Hill, TN 37642


Wasn’t that fascinating?  What do you think of the girl in the window?

Thanks for stopping by!  Tomorrow, come back to read about the historic Martha Washington Inn in Abingdon, Virginia.

Pam Archer

The Charles

The Old Charles

This post is the first in a series that features some of our area’s best wedding venues.  My initial intention was to find out a little bit of history about each venue.  Did I ever get history!  The stories that you will read over the next few days are filled with intrigue, suspense, shock, American History, and ghosts!  You will be spellbound by these accounts.  I certainly was.  The old saying,  “If walls could talk.”, was never more true than in this captivating story you are about to read.

The Charles    Located in downtown Johnson City, Tennessee, it is a popular venue for lots of different events, including wedding receptions.  It’s spacious and beautiful, from it’s first floor banquet hall to the renovated speakeasy floor, to the  roof garden.   I’ve worked with William Bailey and his staff on numerous occasions.  You would be hard-pressed to find a more accommodating group of people.  I admire them and highly recommend The Charles for your wedding reception, rehearsal dinner, bridal shower, or any other event you are planning.

William Bailey tells a little bit of the history of this building.

The Charles  was a red brick Victorian style store built in the 1890s. In 1936,  following a fire in the King’s Department Store building next door, the building
was weakened.   Buttresses were added inside The Charles to reinforce the King building. During that renovation the Victorian facade was removed and the current one attached.

The Charles is haunted!   We know the names of only three – Helen, Arthur, and Alice.   Helen worked at The Charles, and she is sometimes heard going up and down the back stairs complaining about having to move the furniture. Arthur came in with one of the paintings “The Pathway Home,” and now thinks of himself as a member of the staff.

Arthur has been both seen and heard.  A ghost doesn’t know they are dead.  They are attached to a place or thing.  Arthur is attached to the painting and came to The Charles with the painting.   Unlike Helen and Alice, who are attached to The Charles as it was in the past, he knows The Charles as it is now.  He thinks he works there and tries to help the staff.  If we have left a window or door open the night before, when I unlock the next morning the hair on my arm will stand on end.  The energy in the building will change.  We know something is wrong.

Did I tell you the story about Arthur appearing to a guest in the restroom?  He was trying to be helpful to me.  One time he shoved staff aside to get upstairs to me to warn me a staff member was on the ground floor causing problems.

The Pathway Home

The Pathway Home

Alice has been heard and has spoken in the gallery. Helen has been heard on the back stairs, but it was Arthur who told Helen’s name. The ghosts have told guests their names. We only believe after a name is given to separate guests.  We have several others whom we have not yet identified. Among these are two small girls who have been heard several times laughing from the top floor.

The Charles is the site of Johnson City’s only mass murder.  Johnson City was a railroad town. It grew up at the intersection of three rail lines. This is why Johnson City has its Al Capone history. It was located one week by train from Chicago and one week to Miami; his two cities.  He would stop in Johnson City for weeks at a time. During that era the top floor of  The Charles was a speakeasy.  Back then, the African-Americans in town were the service industry. They were the bellhops at the hotels, the porters at the railroad stations, truck drivers and maids. They opened the doors for every white person in town. They knew the comings and goings of everyone. So, they became informants for the police and FBI.

In 1923, 16 blacks were lined up against a mezzanine wall and shot down because they were informants against Capone and his operation.  Incidentally, this is not unknown.   Johnson City was so corrupt that between 1920 and 1923 it had 17 Chiefs of Police!

During the renovation of the building we found bullets in a wall.   We knew the store sold ammunition, so thought little of it. One of our first events was a luncheon for the NAACP.   During the luncheon a lady at a table near the street started crying.   I asked what was wrong.   She told me she was flooded by memories.   She was looking across the street at the old Woolworth building, (now Hands on Museum),  and remembered being turned away from its lunch counter.   Her uncle was one of those killed in the building.  She was the first to tell me the story.   I had never heard it before.   She explained that African-Americans all know it.   It’s part of their history.   The whites don’t know it,  because those killed “where just blacks.”

I marched down to City Hall.   In going back through the records,  sure enough there was an incident report.   It listed the names of all 16 victims, with one sentence written across the bottom.  “No investigation done”.

Alice was one of the sixteen killed at The Charles.  She steals the spoons! Spoons had the most silver and were the most valuable.   If spoons are left in the gallery overnight, she steals them all.

The Charles is now Johnson City’s premier banquet hall,  seating up to 300 guests.   Events include wedding receptions, trade shows, and workshops.  The uses are limited only to a person’s imagination.   Amenities include a thirty-two color, in-house linen collection, place settings for 800 guests, and a twenty-eight foot stretch Lincoln Town Car limousine that is the bride’s to use on her wedding day.”

Upstairs room where the speak easy used to be

The Charles Wedding Venue

First Floor

The Charles Limo

The Limo

Call William today to schedule an appointment to see this historic venue and book your wedding reception or event.

The Charles

308 East Main Street

Johnson City, TN


Tomorrow, come back and read about an historic mansion,  New Canton Plantation.

Thanks for stopping by!

Pam Archer

Peacock Wedding Theme

Sometimes, I can’t wait on professional photography shots.  I get too excited!  This past weekend, we had two weddings, both with different themes and at some pretty amazing venues.  There will be lots more details to share when the photos come back, but here is a sneak peek of our peacock themed wedding at a brand new, Tennessee venue, Chateau Selah:


Since the royal wedding, we have been fascinated with fascinators.  I decided to make some to use as aisle markers.  They caught the light, and I thought they turned out so pretty.  What do you think?


I used green Dendrobium orchids, Cymbidium Orchids, Mini-Cymbidium  orchids, and peacock feathers to decorate the wedding arch.  I loved the colors!

The view at this venue is spectacular!

Looking back at the Chateau. It’s incredibly beautiful and well-appointed inside.  I will be featuring it in an upcoming series next week on interesting stories and history on wedding venues.

One last peek, and it is of the bride’s shoes:

Here’s a laugh for you.   I tend to get a little “wrapped up” in my work.  While wrapping a bouquet with ribbon this weekend, I taped my glove into the bouquet and couldn’t get it lose.  MORON!!

Are you planning a theme wedding, or did you have one?  Tell me about it.

Happy Planning!

Pam Archer

Vintage Wedding at The Banq