I haven’t told you the story of how I came to be involved in this incredible event. I’ve been fortunate to have this incredible family as interior design clients since 1999 when the mother of the bride saw a fun bedroom I did in a Tupelo Symphony League Designer Showcase Home. I had known of the family all my life as my favorite cousin worked with them in their family business. Over the past 15 years our relationship has grown to be much more like chosen family. Thus, in August, when Victor drove to Tupelo, unbeknownst to Stewart, asked her parents and paternal grandfather for her hand in marriage AND told them they had to keep it quiet until Lizzie came home in October because Stewart wanted all her family nearby when they got engaged…the mother of the bride only broke her promise once…to call me. (Yes, I know that’s a horribly constructed sentence but now you have all the dish).
The following week the MoB happened to be in Memphis and called to asked if we could get together. I was at our “country home” in Byhalia, MS and told her she could stop off in Byhalia on her way back to Tupelo. Then, for her convenience I told her we could visit at the cafe inside Exxon at the Byhalia exit.
Believe it or not…all the “Tim Magic” you’ve seen and are going to see began in what turned into a three hour meeting in this convenience store in between the soda fountain and the hot dog stand…and the MoB has not let me forget it. I think of it as the Jewish deli or Greek Diner that NYC designers would meet their clients in.
That covert meeting is when we talked about date, time and venues which brings us to the reception. We needed a facility that would accommodate our numbers and allow us to use our designers. That significantly limited our venues to like…zero. We made lots of notes and talked numerous times but were still on a covert operation until October 12…the day we met the newly engaged couple in The Grove at Ole Miss to celebrate the exciting news.
Early on October 14 I made a call to Rosemary at Jody’s. First, to lock in all possible dates and second to ask her suggestions on reception venues. She told me of a new venue that was soon to be under construction. We called and made an appointment knowing construction had not started. My goal was to have a three-tiered reception…Cocktail Hour, Dinner and a Late Night Party. Thus, the venue needed to allow for this as well as parking for several hundred cars. We met with Jennifer Shelton who had the vision for a venue she was calling The Antler.
This is the architects rendering of building we’ll henceforth refer to as Grey Manor.
This is how we found it the first week of November.
This is how it looked on June 25th when I arrived for rental move-ins.
And, here is Grey Manor as it welcomed guests for cocktail hour on June 28…eight months after our first visit.
The out-of-town guests were shuttled to the venue and locals were greeted by valets that allowed them to immediately join the celebration.
They were greeted in the Grey Manor foyer with a Signature Cocktail we called BLISS…Cava with Chartreuse, Sweet Vermouth and an Orange Twist. We also offered Mini Crabcakes with Comeback Sauce and Fried Artichokes with Lemon Aioli.
The center focus of the main room was a presentation of delicacies created by Angele and the staff at Tallahatchie Gourmet.
Greek Flatbread-Hummus, Kalamata Olives, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Red Onions and Feta
Fig and Prosciutto Flatbread- Blue cheese, Fig Jam, Prosciutto and Arugula
Smoked Salmon Flatbread- Dilled Cream Cheese, Smoked Salmon, Capers
And, Baby Heirloom Tomato Salad
These were presented on a stunning collection of vintage silver trays on loan from Bucky Farnor and florally enhanced by Rosemary and the staff at Jody’s.
The balmy evening allowed the guests to spill out to the deck of Grey Manor where they were offered an Old Fashioned Wedding…the second Signature Cocktail…Bulleit Bourbon, Vanilla infused Simple Syrup, Orange Bitters and an Orange Twist.
Jennifer and Mark Shelton are incredibly gracious hosts. Their vision for this property seemed monumental and when you see the my next post you’ll be even more impressed with their high standards of function and design. There’s proof in the movie quote, “if you build it, they will come”. The guests put on their tuxedos and evening wear and joyfully came to this enchanting retreat.
And I must say…
The house was lovely and a good time was had by all!!!
Photos courtesy of Danny K Photography
Rentals by Busylad
Outdoor Lounge Seating by Classic Party Rentals