*Regular readers here may know about our 48 Fields adventure! This post is part of a monthly series about our vision there to life.*
It’s hard to say what the first conversation was that Steve and I had about buying the farm. I mean, we’ve have SO many about it. I can tell you when it was though. I know exactly. It was back in 2004 when we were planning our own wedding.
We were so excited to be getting married in the DC area that we – quite literally – circled the beltway looking for the perfect wedding venue. Country clubs, wineries, parks, old mansion estates. We soon settled on wanting an estate wedding, and one of the places were visited was out in Warrenton. We didn’t end up getting married there, but I was taken by the idea that the owners were a couple who lived in this fantastically gorgeous historic mansion. They lived on the top two floors and then rented out the lower level and the grounds for weddings. I mean, how awesome is that? An amazing home and the ability to share in people’s most wonderful celebrations with a house full of happy people? It seemed like a dream and I said something to Steve about how nice it must be to do that. And, probably more joking than anything else, that we should file that away for our “one day” list.
Fast forward to the last few years where I’ve spent many a weekend photographing weddings at some pretty spectacular locations. As my work began to focus more and more in Loudoun County, I was able to see the variety in the types of places that host weddings. What they offer, how they work, how the property is used. Honestly, I was a little jealous of the owners and that conversation about the Warrenton mansion kept popping up in the back of my mind.
Secretly, I started looking online at real estate listings. (My husband and realtor – Hi Marcy! – can attest that I’m a real estate ninja when it comes to finding good opportunities!) This is probably Fall 2012, and I looked just to see what was out there. Could we really do this on our own if we wanted to or was I being completely delusional? It really could have gone either way, but I had go after the “what ifs”. Well I quickly learned that there was no way we would be buying a grand mansion or estate since I was unaware of any bank account with my name on it that had a balance of $10,000,000 or more!
As I looked around though, there was property. Affordable open land that was ready for anything to be imagined there. Oh, the possibilities! My mind went to all the wineries and horse farms around us. Building a barn would be much easier than buying a mansion, so the first idea was to build our dream barn. Again, after a few calls and meetings and realizing that my “dream barn” had a price tag north of $1 million just to build, well I was knocked down to reality again.
It eventually dawned on me that we didn’t have to build something new when we lived with so many farms around us. Ones that probably had more character anyway! That realization shifted my focus to start looking at farm properties and that made things a little easier. A little.
At some point Steve was brought into all of this because I’m just bad at keeping things on the down low when I’m feeling really excited or passionate about something. I really don’t remember how I got him on board now that I think about it. (He may have his own version of this. I should ask him what he remembers!) By then though he was used to hearing all about my wedding photography adventures and about weddings in general, so I probably eased him in pretty innocuously with casual comments like “look at what so and so is doing. We could totally do that.” Or “you’ll never believe the place I heard about today. We could totally do that.”
Then I started asking around and gathering information from venue owners. Because I’m nothing if not practical. And Steve would still need to be swayed that really going for this was actually a good idea. With information in hand though, we were in. We wanted it.
Believe me when I say that was the easy part. Actually finding a good place and getting said place, well that’s a whole other story for another post another day!
Meet the Photographer: Hey there! I’m Kelly Ewell, a Northern Virginia wedding photographer who specializes in engagement, wedding, and anniversary photography. I live in Leesburg, VA with my husband and rescue pup, Piper. When I’m not at weddings, you can find me at the local wineries or renovating our farm, 48 Fields! I’d love for you to connect with me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.