Newell Lodge

The bride had a special request. Would I leave our horses out during the ceremony? You’ll never guess what happened next!

One brisk February day in 2015, the phone rang. And, as so often occurs, on the other end of the line was a bride who would like to get married at Newell Lodge.

But this lovely bride was in her mid-70s, and the groom, in his early 80s. She had been widowed for many years, and likewise, the groom was a widower. Living together without being married was out of the question.

“I need your help,” she said. “I’m quite sure things have changed in the last 50 years since my first marriage.” She and her first husband had been married in Kingsland on a spring day half a century ago.

“Yes, ma’am,” I said. “Things have changed somewhat.”

Together, we covered the important issues: the marriage license, the minister, the guest list, the lunch menu, wedding décor, and reception – a nice meal, with wedding cake for dessert. The two would wear their Sunday best.

The live oak trees with swaying Spanish moss provided the simple outdoor setting for their wedding day.

A few minutes prior to the ceremony, the bride had a special request. Would I leave our horses out during the ceremony?

“My siblings and I grew up on a farm, and I would love to have the horses in the background,” she said.

“Sure,” I said. “No problem.”

Soon, it was time for the ceremony to begin, smiles and laughter all around.

Sometimes, my husband, Harvin, cannot leave well enough alone, bless his heart. He decides that he will “drive” the horses a little closer to the ceremony site, so guests will have a better view.

So thoughtful of him, don’t you agree? With this end in mind, he approaches the horses on the golf cart.

Understandably, the mares were startled and took off toward the ceremony, galloping right up to the minister!

The guests jumped up, moving as quickly as older folks can and managed to clear the way for the horses. Thankfully, the whole thing was much ado about nothing. A few chairs were overturned by guests, and a couple of horses stopped to graze nonchalantly nearby.

Much to my relief, the wedding party loved the adventure. Family and friends were laughing, taking pictures, and thought it was grand. Eventually, everyone settled down, and the ceremony took place. The lovely lady and her gallant groom were married.

Their “Simply Beautiful” wedding ceremony proceeded, a heartfelt expression of who they were as a couple: simplicity, nature, family, friends, and their love for each other.

The sweetness of it all brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. In one moment, Nature’s beauty and their Love was combined to create a magical atmosphere, horses and all. Thus, began their love story as man and wife.

Of course, I have been fortunate to witness many lovely and beautiful weddings at Newell Lodge.  Families and friends come together to celebrate this special day with their loved ones. But among these, this sweet love story remains one of the most special of all.

I hope it touches you, too.

Celebration and Festival of Lights

Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017

Ever wish Christmas still held that sense of wonder and awe? We hope you’ll recapture those memories and make some new ones with the Carter family this year at Newell Lodge.

This year, we’re hosting “A Country Christmas” Celebration and Festival of Lights on Saturday, Dec. 16, from 6-11 p.m. We’re getting ready for sleigh bells and fun!

This family style event is suitable for all ages who are ready to ring in the Christmas season. You’ll enjoy:

  • Thousands of twinkling lights outline the landscape, a beautiful live oak grove setting
  • disc jockey Brian Rauls of Under Pressure Sound & Productions will provide festive soundtracks for hoe-down style country dancing
  • marshmallow roasting and hot chocolate by the fire for children aged 12 and under
  • complimentary family photos taken on guests’ devices in front of the Lodge Christmas tree
  • festival style foods and hot beverages will be available from the concession stand
  • and more! Expect a few surprises!

Of course, the guest of honor is Santa Claus. He will be available for children to have their photo taken with him on the exact wagon the reindeer have pulled through the Swamp for generations!

We’ll also have a warm, kid-friendly activities space just in case it’s too nippy for the wee ones.

“A Country Christmas” Celebration and Festival of Lights will be Saturday, Dec. 16, from 6-11 p.m. at Newell Lodge, 661 Ozzie Rowell Road (try ‘Firehouse Road’ on GPS). Admission is $5 per person at the gate; children 12 and under receive complimentary marshmallows for roasting and their choice of hot chocolate or hot cider. Email for more information, or call Newell Lodge at (912) 496-2838.