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The Retreat of Southern Bridle Farms Raises the Ante among Wedding Venues

By Marina I. Jokic

Owner of the Retreat of Southern Bridle Farms Jim Marshall and David Whidden acquired the property in 2014, transforming it into a majestic antebellum, plantation-style resort and event venue. Before embarking on their second renovation project, Marshall and his business partner David Whiddon were busy running their first business, an event rental space called Southern Bridle Farms.

"We saw a need for a southern elegant venue in middle Georgia," he said. "To recreate the stately antebellum homes, century-old oak trees, the massive gardens and fountains at the Retreat would be impossible."

To Marshall, the Retreat was the only option for his future venue. Coming into the new project with years of experience in event management, Marshall was well equipped to restore this prominent property to its former glory. The previous owner Bernard Schneider purchased the property in 1979. His original vision was to create a quaint resort harkening back to a bygone era. Marshall preserved the old world charm with which Schneider imbued the plantation.

"While on the grounds of the Retreat, you feel as though you have stepped back in time," Marshall said. The accommodations and premises are unspoiled while still providing all the contemporary comforts and amenities a guest could desire. The rooms are donned with immaculate antique furnishings, claw-footed tubs, and cloud-soft feather beds.

There are four separate houses at the Retreat with a total of 26 onsite overnight rooms. The Wynne, Hodge, Holland, and Newberry houses provide all the comforts you will need away from home. The more rustic Tenant Cottages, built circa 1880s, offer six dwellings wrapped with porches, two large suites with private baths, and 10 rooms in total. The Hodge House has four guest rooms with private baths, a parlor, veranda, and even a bridal suite. The Newberry House is equally spacious and has a full kitchen and dining room.

The actual event venue amenities are ample including a 4400-square-foot Grand Pavilion with stage, four different types of tables, mahogany Chiavari chairs, copper top gazebo, English gardens, and an expansive bridal suite. The expert services of the wedding coordinator will ensure smooth sailing on your special day.

"At the Retreat, we take care of all the details for you; we are an all-inclusive venue, we handle the catering, floral design, and décor," Marshall said.

The event coordinator on staff Mike Whiddon has over 26 years of experience in the industry, and will take all the worries out of the process of planning your wedding.

The Carriage House is the Retreat's restaurant, where guests come to experience a long-gone era of elegance and charm while enjoying a freshly cut Black Angus aged steak. The restaurant exudes casual sophistication at its finest with linen tablecloths and napkins, a farm house from 1838 overlooking lush gardens. The Carriage House is a popular venue for holding corporate meetings, bridal events, and family gatherings.

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About The Author

Marina Jokic holds a bachelor's degree from Connecticut College in Russian and East...

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