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The Wilsons at Belle Meadows Farm

Story by Sadie Fowler 
Photos by Erin Koskos

As the holiday season came to an end in 2018, Susan Wilson reflected on how different their Christmas was last year — different in a very good and special way. The family had the joy of celebrating the season with the addition of a new grandbaby.

“Seeing the joy and excitement in her eyes brings us so much joy,” said Susan, looking back on the family’s amazing year. New traditions continue as Susan prepares to make their family home perfectly inclusive to Ada Leigh. Just before Christmas, Susan had finished her latest renovation in the Wilson home — a bedroom for Ada Leigh, complete with twin beds, a dressing table, and a dollhouse.

“It’s my favorite room in the entire house,” laughed Susan. Susan and Howard Wilson are the owners of the gorgeous Belle Meadows Farm, located in the outskirts of Rutherford County in Lascassas, Tennessee. In addition to serving as the family’s haven, Belle Meadows Farm is also a highly sought after wedding venue.

Built in 2010, Belle Meadows Farm is a Tennessee plantation style home; it’s a modified version of William Poole’s Southern Living Pillow House. The family has lived there nine years now and absolutely loves both the home and the community by which they are surrounded.

“We chose Lascassas because of the beautiful rolling hills,” she said. “We love the sense of community here with our little town that has a general store and post office. Our neighbors are the best. A few times our horses have escaped … our neighbors actually stopped and put them back inside the fence. Also, you can’t beat a Lascassas sunset.”

In addition to Susan and Howard, the Wilson family is comprised of their two adult children, Claire Oliver and Matt Wilson. Claire is married to Kris Oliver and of course there is also little Ada Leigh, who arrived as a huge blessing last May. The family wouldn’t be complete without their Boston Terrier, Gus; their cat, Mama Kitty; their two horses; and three miniature donkeys.

Upon driving up the long driveway toward the Wilson home it definitely feels like one is going back in time as the exterior of the home truly reflects a setting from a 200-year-old plantation.

Once inside, guests will see a comfortable and warm home that is as updated as it is stylish, with no detail gone unattended.

“The hub of our home is of course the kitchen, den and back porch,” Susan said. “We always gather in the kitchen, like most families. We also love spending time on the back porch. It’s peaceful on this little farm. We have lots of deer, turkey and in the summer months, at night, the fireflies really put on a magical show because it’s so dark out here in the country. There’s no doubt we love being outside on the farm.”

Belle Meadows Farm is a working farm.

“The barn was built to be a working horse barn,” Susan explained. “It had three horse stalls, a wash bay, kitchen and tack room before it was converted into a venue. We also have an equipment shed to house tractors and other farm tools.”

In 2012, the barn was converted into a wedding venue. The downstairs is 1700 square feet complete with a bar, food prep room, market lights, with the upstairs featuring a beautifully designed bridal suite. Susan says the wedding ceremonies often take place outside, under an elm tree that’s 100 years old.

Susan shows the venue by appointment to prospective brides and grooms and she enjoys getting to know the couples and their families. She says it’s the most rewarding part of her job.

“Communication is key to having a great relationship with my couples, and to make their special day go as perfectly as possible,” she said. “I do all the marketing for Belle Meadows Farm. I honestly do everything except clean the barn, and I have done that on occasion.”

Although the venue is not an all-inclusive venue that provides rentals, linens, and other accessories for the day, Susan does have a list of preferred vendors to provide her clients should they need suggestions. She also offers up her own advice to couples throughout the planning process, even though she is not officially a wedding planning.

“Many people assume I am but I’m not,” she said. “I do have several amazing planners on my vendor list that I highly recommend. I always tell my couples that if it is in the budget, I recommend using a planner.”

Susan has seen a lot of weddings come to fruition over the years and her advice to couples looking for a wedding venue is simple: Make sure the venue fits the budget. Location is another important factor.

“At Belle Meadows Farm, we have had more destination weddings than local,” she said. “Location is key to families traveling from various places. Usually, couples that book with me know from the moment they walk into the venue that this is where they’d like to have their special day.”

Another piece of advice Susan offers about choosing a venue is for couples to make sure they have a good relationship with the owner of the venue.

“I really try to be as flexible with my couples as I can be, whether it’s them coming out for photo shoots or just coming out for site visits for planning,” she said.

At one time, the Wilsons considered enlarging the space of the barn, however, Susan said she didn’t like the idea of taking away the look of the barn as it is currently stands. Looking ahead, Susan is excited about the possibility of starting a monthly event on the farm during summer months called “Evening on the Farm.” If they go through with the idea, they would open the venue once a month to the public.

“My idea is folks could bring a picnic basket, sit out on a blanket, watch the beautiful Lascassas sunset and listen to a local band,” she said. “We would provide a cash barn. It’s only in the beginning stages, but I think it would be really fun.”

Belle Meadows Farm is located at 6241 Browns Mill Rd. For more information on the venue, call 615-969-8362.

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