By Danielle French

A Place for a Wedding Ceremony

A Place for a Wedding Ceremony

When I first started offering weddings at the farm, I needed a place to hold a ceremony.  We “bush-hogged” an area out in the field in the shape of a large oval. It was a perfect spot that overlooked the pond and also offered a nice view of the back of the barn. It was a space in keeping with the feel of the farm. I didn’t want the space to look out of place or unnatural so I bought logs and long sturdy boards to make benches. I planted some flowers and over the years, always spent a lot of time watering the flowers in this area. I also put a small arch but it never seemed to look just right. I fought with this arch as it was small and not in proportion to the area, the soil was harsh and I could never get any vines to grow up over it and couples always wanted to decorate the arch for their ceremony.

I understood this but also felt it was a waste of resources as it required a lot of material to make it look right and even still it never really seemed to fit in and belong. The things I had planted – including the arch – looked out of place and were not really native to the area. My daughter, Carlyle suggested that I plant native species which would stand up to the wind and scorching sun. I did, and we took everything out and started again. It’s our third year with the “Carlyle Garden” first a large planting to form an aisle and then last year a larger planting under the new arch.

Grounds for a Wedding CeremonyLast year I asked Shawn to build some sort of archway that would be more in keeping with space, something unobtrusive that would frame the land but not distract from the view. I decided to remove the old arch – under protest from some!

Several weeks passed by and our first wedding was fast approaching, yet there was still nothing from Shawn. Then one day I returned home from a trip to the city and noticed his excavator out in the field placing a true-to-Shawn-style, go-big-or-go-home arch. It was over 40 feet long and 20 feet high. I called it the “Gateway to St. Louis” here at South Pond. Joking aside, I always trust Shawn and his instincts about what looks right, and after a few days, I saw what he saw. The archway is a beautiful structure and perfectly frames the pond.

The first weddings were perfectI’ve planted more native species around it, and I know this year they will be full and beautiful.


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Danielle French - Ash Naylor Photography

About Danielle

Looking for a simpler way of life for her four daughters and herself, Danielle moved from Toronto to this farm in the Bethany Hills of Southern Ontario, and over time together with her family and her partner Shawn, restored the barn, the iconic heritage silo and the land.

Danielle loves to create unique settings and menus for the many events she offers at South Pond Farms, such as authentic farm-to-table gatherings, bread-making workshops, culinary classes, and weddings. Danielle’s vision is to inspire others to share her vision of a traditional life and way of cooking and to feel the sense of history on this beautiful land.  

Danielle was also the host of a television series called Taste of the Country

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