Chanteclaire Farm has certainly seen more than its fair share of beautiful brides in gorgeous gowns, but our grooms are equally as fashionable and cut quite a dashing figure. While you may think men's fashion doesn't provide the variety of options that wedding gowns afford, you would be surprised at how creative and sophisticated our grooms manage to be for their big day. It's true that when everyones heads turn to watch the bride glide down the aisle, the bride has eyes only for her man. Our grooms give their brides something great to see. We find ourselves drawn to the men that focus on the details to make sure they stand out. Here are a few of our favorite groom fashions over the past few seasons.
A Wedding Barn is Born
In 2000 Christiane and Fred Bergheim purchased the Elder Hill farm in order to transform it into the area's only professional farm wedding venue. The Bergheims had previously owned Cornish Manor restaurant in Oakland and a French bakery before that, so they brought decades of catering and wedding experience to the new business.
Before the barn was opened for events, a major renovation occurred. The flooring in the upper level where hay had been stored was almost completely deteriorated.
The Bergheims replaced it with hardwood Ash flooring reinforced with steel and concrete supports to create a safe and attractive dining and dancing area.
The basement where the cows were housed required repair to three walls. The floor was stained to mimic old European stone.
The barn was completely closed in and insulated to keep out unwanted critters. A commercial kitchen was added, and designed to be so warm and inviting that it looks like a dream from a magazine. Four bathrooms were built, along with decking and awnings.
Christiane added eclectic touches all over the barn, creating a highly decorated venue. This is where our "quirky European sensibilities" began. A French native with a heavy accent and dramatic flair, Christiane forged the original aesthetic of the barn from her intense and colorful creativity.
In 2001 Chanteclaire Farm opened its doors for weddings....
From 2001 through 2010 Christiane and Fred grew the Chanteclaire Farm wedding business. They laid the foundation for our process of controlling event timing and flow. Christiane developed some signature menu items like slow cooked braised beef and chicken stuffed with apples and brie. They formed a relationship with Jonny Rock, owner of Sounds Fun Entertainment, that resulted in a permanent installation of sound and light equipment. Twenty speakers were positioned throughout the facility, creating unrivaled sound quality. Christiane cooked, decorated the cakes, and managed the planning process, while Fred maintained the property and the administrative tasks.
In 2010 the Bergheims sold the business to Leigh Clarke and retired to Myrtle Beach. They follow the activities of Chanteclaire Farm actively and still keep in touch with Leigh. In Part 3, we explore the most recent updates and changes at Chanteclaire Farm.
Chanteclaire Farm is no stranger to animals- after all, we were a working farm until the 1970s. Many of our couples choose to include their pups in their big day. We understand the desire to have your fur babies be part of your festivities. Weddings are all about celebrating with your nearest and dearest, and pets are part of our families.
We welcome your four-legged best friends to take part in your Chanteclaire wedding. Here are some practical considerations to keep in mind when planning to include your furry friends.
While each of our pups is perfect in our own eyes, be honest with yourself about your dog's personality. Some dogs are fine with crowds and noise, while others may be intimidated by the hustle and bustle of a wedding day. Make sure that you've seen how your pup reacts in a crowded, loud environment to test their readiness. If Fido barks and jumps, you may want to consider pet training, or including them in a more quiet environment, such as pre-ceremony photography.
Practice Makes Perfect
No matter how well trained your dog is, this will probably be his first time making a trip down a wedding aisle. Be sure to start practicing with your pup well in advance of the big day to make sure he is comfortable with his duties. Make sure your pet is present at your wedding rehearsal, along with his day-of handler, so both can be confident in their tasks.
Inform Your Guests
Please check with guests about any potential dog allergies prior to the big day. Nothing can spoil the flow of a well-timed affair like a trip to the emergency room. Most guests are delighted to celebrate with your pet, but it's best to make sure no serious problems will arise.
Inform Your Photographer
Give your photographer a heads-up about your dog's involvement in your celebration, and make sure they are comfortable working with animals. Your photographer will want to discuss which aspects of the day your dog will be present: pre-ceremony, ceremony, formal shots, etc. You may want to give yourself extra time in your schedule to account for delays caused by Fido's unwillingness to pose for the camera...and for everyone to pet and cuddle.
Make Time to Play
Your wedding day is always jam packed with things to do, but make sure you take some time to play with your pet. This has the benefit of letting your dog use her pent-up energy prior to her appearance, and helping you relax.
Designate a Pet Sitter
If your dog is walking down the aisle, you will want to make sure a trusted friend is responsible for escorting them. You will also want to put someone in charge of making sure your dog is well taken care of throughout the day when you are preoccupied with wedding tasks.
You spend a lot of timing choosing what options of food and beverages you're providing your guests, but don't forget about your pet's needs. We recommend having bowls of food and water available. The summer days can be pretty toasty at the farm, so be sure your pet is well hydrated. It's also a good idea to have some bags handy in case Fido leaves you an unexpected wedding present.
If your dog just isn't ready for the ruckus that is a wedding day, you can still make his presence felt during your celebration. Consider having your pet take part in your engagement photos. A popular idea at the farm has been to give your dog a starring role on your wedding cake. Be creative, there are lots of ways to show guests that your dog is part of your family even if he can't attend.
When Leigh bought Chanteclaire Farm in 2011, she took on the task of decorating the wedding cakes herself. The project is always a labor of love, with hours spent bending over each tier to create the couple's perfect vision. Leigh has studied boxes full of magazines and combed the recesses of Pinterest to make sure that her creations are modern and gorgeous. The results speak for themselves.
Naked cakes are all the rage, and Chanteclaire creates some gorgeous examples. With cakes as moist and delicious as ours, your guests will never miss the extra icing. This design lets local produce take a staring role.
Photocredit: Row 1- Karlo Photography Row 2- Karlo Photography, Karlo Photography, Karlo Photography, Happy Couple Photography Row 3- Chrisman Studio, Karlo Photography, Chrisman Studio, Higher Focus Studios
Our couples are often drawn to Chanteclaire Farm for the natural beauty that surrounds us. What better way to honor that love of nature than with a tree inspired wedding cake?
Photocredit: Row 1- Leigh Hewitt Photography, Derek & Diane Photography, Karlo Photography, Grace Photography Row 2- Kirsten Smith Photography, Karlo Photography, Derek & Diane Photography, Derek & Diane Photography
Clean lines, unique shapes, and fun geometric patterns make for some stunning modern wedding cakes.
Photocredit: Row 1- Karlo Photography, Karlo Photography, Leigh Clarke, Rebecca Kiger Fotografia Row 2- Karlo Photography, Higher Focus Studios, Life on Location, Leigh Clarke Row 3- Leigh Clark, Leigh Clarke, Higher Focus Studios, Leigh Clarke
Glitz and glam
Who says a country wedding can't sparkle and shine?
Photocredits: Karlo Photography, Karlo Photography, Karlo Photography, Leigh Clarke
The More the merrier
From cupcakes, to pies, to a farm favorite- Swedish Princess Cakes, Chanteclaire has options for the couple who aren't interested in a traditional tiered wedding cake.
Photocredit: Row 1-Julia Rendleman, Leigh Clarke, Kaypea Photography, Karlo Photography Row 2- KayPea Photography, Karlo Photography, Sonlight Images, Higher Focus Studios Row 3- Karlo Photography, Karlo Photography, Karlo Photography, Leigh Clarke
Rustic cakes are some of our most popular. Burlap, twine, and delicate florals make a beautiful statement on your cake.
Photography: Row 1- Amanda Ivy Photography, Amberlee Christey Photography, Karlo Photography, Photography by Amanda Row 2-Karlo Photography, Higher Focus Studios, Derek & Diane Photography, Amberlee Christey Photography Row 3- Higher Focus Studios, Higher Focus Studios, Amberlee Christey Photography, Leigh Clarke
Dreamy and feminine, with hints of floral, ruffles, and scallops, romantic wedding cakes are a beautiful finishing touch for your wedding meal.
Photocredit: Row 1- Derek & Diane Photography, Kuirsta & Seth Photography, Kuirsta & Seth Photography, Karlo Photography Row 2- Karlo Photography, Kelsey Kradel Photography, With Love & Embers, Higher Focus Studios Row 3- Sonlight Imaging, Joyeuse Photography, Karlo Photography, Jamie Brashear Photography
A Farm is Born
Three miles southeast of Friendsville, MD lies a parcel of land known as Elder Hill. While those frequenting our blog have come to know this area as Chanteclaire Farm, a breathtaking haven for elegant country weddings, the history of the spot runs much deeper.
Friendsville was named for it’s first European settler, John Friend. If you spend any time in Garrett County, you are sure to run into several people with the surname Friend. John first entered the area known to the Shawnee as the Hunter’s Bowl in the mid-1700’s. By the 1820s lumber, coal, mining, and the railroad created a population big enough to sustain restaurants, saloons, three hotels, and an opera house.
John’s grandson, Jonathan, purchased what is now Chanteclaire Farm in 1835 and had built the log cabin for himself and his family by 1840.
Jon was known for building sides so straight you could immediately cover them with siding. This is why, from the outside, the cabin looks sided, but inside you see the original log and chinking. Our favorite part of the cabin, by far, is the attic. Take a peek up there and you’ll see tree trunks, still with their bark, holding up the roof.
By the late 1970s the cabin had fallen into disrepair. In 1981 a Garrett County native who spent his childhood at the farm began restoring the cabin. He dismantled the fascia of the cabin, rebuilt its supports, and then replaced every board and stone exactly as it had been. To maintain historical integrity, each board and stone was numbered as it was removed, and replaced in its exact original location.
In 1870 Jon’s son built the bank barn in which we dine and dance today. At this point the farm was fully productive, with cows in the lower level and hay upstairs.
By 1896 Jon’s grandson was now involved in the family farm, and they were prosperous enough to build the farmhouse where today’s brides love to ready themselves.
These buildings are surrounded by half a dozen outbuildings holding farm equipment and sundries. The old carriage house is a favorite for photos – you can still picture bringing horses to it and attaching them to the carriage for a ride into town. Below, a cooling room stored milk and other goods the family wanted to be able to dip into the passing stream to keep cold.
Our connection to the community through the Friend family homes is one we cherish. John Friend’s descendants founded the Friend Family Association 40 years ago, including the National Headquarters and Family History Museum, both located in Friendsville, MD. For more information, please visit their website at www.friendfamilyassociation.com.