The weather is perfect, the sun is shining and the vines are full. What’s not to love about October? Here at Sassafras Springs Vineyard & Winery, October is by far our most popular wedding month. That made it a little hard for me to nab Sarah Kilpatrick, our Director of Events, to tell us what’s going on with wedding celebrations. She kindly took some time out to respond.
Me: Why is October such a popular month for weddings?
Sarah: I believe because the weather is not too hot and not too cold. The leaves are changing, and the scenery is just to die for. We have 16 weddings this month!
Me: Has the coronavirus affected those events?
Sarah: The main thing we’re seeing is lower guest counts. Couples will be expecting 150 and end up with only about 100 guests. But we are enforcing the mask regulations, providing sanitation stations and doing all we can to ensure our couples have a fun and safe event.
Me: Anything else that makes our property an ideal place for weddings?
Sarah: I’m pretty sure that we have more space than anyone else in the area. Being on a 70-acre estate, we have the ability to really spread everyone out and still provide a unique experience. Most venues have only a couple of setup options due to the Covid restrictions. But because of all the space and locations we have, there are tons of options to make the ceremonies and receptions look unique even in this difficult time.
Me: Yes, we sure do have a lot of different options weddings, like the beautiful and ever-popular Chapel Ruins, the Stables, and even small, intimate weddings on some of our decks that are perfect for many couples. For brides and bridesmaids, the Peacock Room is a luxurious, private space above the winemaking building with a large one-way window that lets the bride watch her guests arriving without them seeing her! I guess the most spectacular place for wedding parties to prepare is the Lodge. What can you tell folks about that?
Sarah: Well, this is absolutely the best place for the bride and bridesmaids to get ready! Tons of space, with a great room, four fabulous bedrooms and more. All very comfortable. Huge windows and outdoor decks let people enjoy the vineyards and surrounding beauty. Lots of natural light, and you don’t have to get up early and pack a bag to head to the venue to get ready. You are already there!
Me: You’ve done a fantastic job as events director, and you’re also a super wife to our son Derek, the winemaker, and a super mom of three boys. Gene and I so appreciate all that you do! It takes a lot of work to plan and facilitate a successful wedding. Tell us about others here who contribute to those successes.
Sarah: I’ll start with you, Cheryl! You help with everything at the venue and the winery. My job is to oversee everything for events, and I also do most of the sales and staffing. Satori Hopper, our event manager, is our day-of-event person. She makes it happen. We have about 15 bartenders/event staff. Derek and Zack Taylor help with all kinds of different things that help make the events successful, and Drew Gorton is our general manager and IT guy. He helps with lots of details for the events as well. We have a great team!
Me: You and I both adore weddings and everything that goes with them, especially the beautiful couples who will say “I Do.”
Sarah: Yes, for me the greatest moment is sending the bride down the aisle. After I have worked countless hours getting all the details together and the reception is set.