Traveling north on Pyramid Highway beyond Spanish Springs you quickly leave suburbia behind as the horizon opens up before you, and the possibility of seeing a wild horse, burro or even an antelope grows exponentially (especially passing the BLM Wild Horse Facility lol). Taking a narrow county road turnoff through alfalfa fields and grazing cattle you drive through a browning landscape for four or five miles until an oasis of greenery appears off to your right and as you approach you see a mixture of barns, outbuildings and gardens that lets you know you have arrived at the ceremony and reception spot, the Model Farm Event Center.
Rebecca and Jeff knew the place through a loved one who lives nearby, and decided that it would be the perfect spot to tie the knot and to celebrate their love with their friends and family... and they were absolutely right. I've been to many venues that share certain aspects of the Model Farm Event Center, but none of them are as consistently charming or as filled with wildlife as Model Farm. A farmhouse converted from a barn centers the property. Decks and patios spill into gardens and pathways where flowers bloom and fountains bubble. Arches and trellises point you in different directions to explore. Century-old cottonwoods encircle a large pond/small lake that boasts a bridge, row and pedal boats. Fish and frogs entrance the little guests, while ducks, mergansers, and geese glide on top. Bird feeders attract song and blackbirds while swallows nest and dart under the bridge. The ceremony site overlooks the water, and across the way there is a large nest featuring some owlets just about ready to fly. Add in a steady supply of puppies (several litters worth) that the kids and bridesmaids seemed to be all holding, and you have an animal refuge inside a garden inside a magnificent valley. What a unique place for a celebration!
The weather cooperated nicely- distant thundershowers could be seen to the south- but they never intruded on Jeff and Rebecca's big day. Fabulous welcoming cocktails and Fat Tire on tap kept the arriving guests hydrated and happy as they found their seats. The bridal party walked down to Jurassic Five's Canon in D, followed by Rebecca and her dad Roger accompanied by John Legend's "All of Me". Ricki, Rebecca's sister-in-law then presided over the ceremony with panache was well as heart. My favorite part was her describing the art of compromise through a fantastic Monty Python analogy ("and the counting shall be three"). Brilliant! Soon the newly married couple was exiting to the Ghostbusters theme and cocktail hour commenced.
The guests loved exploring the grounds of the Model Farm. Some went to look for the owlets. Others found secret spots or pedaled on the pond. There are quaint, homey details everywhere, and lots of spots to lounge or gather or explore together. The care of the owner Julie and her staff is apparent everywhere you look, and they are in the background making sure everything goes smoothly.
Picture-wise, this place must be a photographer's dream. The gardens and pond are one thing, but there are farm implements, colorful outbuildings, an old work truck, and even an Airstream that can be used as a dressing area or lodging. My favorite spot that I saw used for photos was the bridge that spans the narrow side of the pond. Not only the wedding party, but many guests had their picture taken there. When the pictures were all taken, appetizers eaten and cocktails imbibed, we moved the whole shindig across the property to the barn, which had been decked out fantastically and after a Grand Entrance featuring "Space Jam" (that's just how Jeff & Becca roll!) a delicious Famous Dave's buffet dinner was enjoyed by all.
Very heartfelt and well-thought out toasts followed and then a fabulous cake was cut and cake, cupcakes, and a very well-stocked candy bar was enjoyed by all. We all sang to two guests who were celebrating their birthdays at Becca & Jeff's wedding, and then the newlyweds had their first dance, "Die a Happy Man" by Thomas Rhett. Roger then danced with his daughter to "Return to Pooh Corner" by Kenny Loggins and Margie danced with her son Jeff to "My Wish" by Rascal Flatts.
Dancing ensued and did not stop except for a pause during a couple of tosses (bouquet & garter). What a freaking fun crowd! Eighties and Nineties music was huge... some newer stuff and Motown also kept the dance floor hopping. I even got on the floor for a couple of my favorite songs which were requested by this super-fun crowd. A group like this is what a DJ lives for :)
Thanks to Julie and her fantastic Farm! What a great new venue! Thanks to Ricki for her fine work and friendly words during the ceremony and afterwards. Thanks to Roger and all the family and friends who worked so hard getting the all the decorations and details so perfect. Thanks to Famous Dave's for not only great food but great service. And finally, thanks to Jeff and Rebecca for entrusting the music and emceeing to me for their Big Day. You two are the best! Congrats!