Blog for Pamela’s Event Design

Posts tagged ‘wedding reception ideas’

Vintage Barn Wedding

Click on image to enlarge

Photography by Cable Photography

Banq-The Gathering Place

First National Bank-1927

John and Angela Vachon are passionate about the revitalization of downtown Kingsport, Tennessee.   They have purchased several of the buildings in downtown  for the purpose of restoring them to their former glory days.  They have done a fantastic job of doing so.   Banq is the result of one of their endeavors.

Banq is located on the second floor of the three-story structure.  The building was originally the  First National Bank.   The bank opened in 1927, and was considered to be one of East Tennessee’s finest buildings.  It boasts white marble walls and windows that spanned two stories; something of a novelty back in the day.

First National Bank

John was unaware of any ghosts in the building, but said that it has been investigated for paranormal activity.  I did a little digging of my own to research this building.  While I didn’t uncover any stories of ghosts, I did discover another interesting fact.  First National Bank was the site of Kingsport’s first bank robbery!  The year the bank opened, a 22 year old Paul Jones entered a rear door in the building and demanded that a cashier put all the silver and currency in a bag.  It amounted to $1,000.00.  He attempted to hotwire a car outside the building, but when that failed he took off on foot.  He was forced into submission by police officers in front of Kingsport Feed and Produce Company.  After a mere 33 minutes of deliberation, the jury found him guilty.  He was sentenced to 20 years and one day in the penitentiary.

Today, Banq is host to many wedding receptions, parties, corporate dinners, and other events.  It can accommodate up to 300 guests.  It has a rooftop area that is a gorgeous place for an event.  I love how it lights up and one can see from the street outside many of it’s features.

After the Renovations

If you would like to see a video tour of the space, you can click HERE.

I would wager a guess that since this building remained empty for a number of years, that it does indeed house it’s own creatures of the night, but I’m not volunteering to validate the claim.  Regardless, it is a lovely venue for your wedding ceremony and/or reception.  Here is a yummy desert display for an event there.

Call Banq today for your personal tour.


Thanks for stopping by.  Be sure to spread the word about the series and the blog. 

Pam Archer

Pamela’s Event Design

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 Linens

Whew!  I apologize for the lengthy absence.  It is wedding season, so we have been busyyyyyyyyyy!.  We are finding that more brides these days have short engagements.  We thought we had our year all scheduled out, but have had some short notice weddings.  Wedding design requires many hours of planning, calculating, and shopping.  That’s what I have been doing.

One of the aspects of wedding design that I really enjoy is helping the bride select the linens for the reception guest tables.  As much as I love flowers, and think that every bride should have plenty of them, when I consult with clients, I advise them that what will bring them the most value for their dollar are beautiful linens.  The linens bring life to the table and add color where it is most needed.  Centerpieces and tablescapes are enhanced with the right tabletopper .  I do know that expensive linens aren’t in every budget, but even the basic colored linens can create a put-together look for your wedding.  If you can’t do them on all the tables, do the head table or cake table in a spectacular linen.

Take a look at some of my favorites:

The soft lavender color of these linens from Wildflower Linens compliment the bold reds and deep purples of the flowers.

Lavender tablecloth

Don’t you just love the ruffles on this organza and satin ensemble?  It’s so lush, another beauty from Wildflower Linens:

The muted colors in these linens make the vibrant fall colors of the blooms pop:

Purple and white are hot colors for 2011 and 2012:

Here is another option for a purple and green color scheme:

I think I have an orange crush:

I can’t imagine using a boring white, 3/4 length linen under these pretty centerpieces:

Here are some other great resources for linens for your wedding or special event:

BBJ Linen

Cloth Connection


Wildflower Linens

Which one of the linens above is your favorite?  What colors are you using for your wedding?  Write to me and I will give you ideas for your wedding!

Happy planning,

Pam Archer, President

Pamela’s Exclusive Floral & Event Design

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!!!

Outdoor Wedding Goes Green

The majority of our weddings this season are outdoors.  The focus is on natural settings, and natural decor.  More and more brides and grooms are becoming more environmentaly aware.  They inquire as to ways they can go “green.”  One of our brides wants a very casual look, using any natural materials.  Moss, river rocks, water, branches, and wood will all be part of her unique wedding.   Below are some of the containers we have found that will be part of her wedding decor.  Be sure to check back in the fall for what we did with them for her September 25, 2010 wedding. 

Burton and Burton

I can’t wait to design with these birch folders!

Accent Decor Birch Folder Flower Container

 We will probably be using branches in the Twiggy Pots.  What would you put in them?

Twiggy Pots from Accent Decor

 The re-claimed stumps are our bride’s favorite.  I’m  excited about some of our ideas.  We will have to settle on one soon.  What would you do with these for a centerpiece?

Re-Claimed Stump from Accent Decor

Which ones do you like best?  Are you doing a themed wedding?  If so, what is it?  Please share your thoughts, suggestions, and ideas in our comments secton.