When I was a kid, I spent all kinds of time on farms; my dad was in the farming biz at various points, as was my grandfather. When I went to college, I spent a summer sustainable development internship living on a farm. I milked goats at sunrise, tended to sheep and chickens, managed a productive organic garden, made cheese, slept on a cot in a barn with spiders for roommates–it was all very quaint—take my word for it. Suffice it to say, I adore farms. The fields, the animals, the smells and sounds, and even the slower and more deliberate pace of life.
So when Alicia Wagner, once an event coordinator for Charlotte Country Club before leaving for North Corner Haven, got in touch about this opportunity, I jumped at the chance. Partly I was so excited because I’d had so many fantastic experiences with weddings coordinated by Alicia at CCC, but I also just wanted to get back on a farm. The whole deal went to an even sweeter level when Alicia told me what I’d be shooting. It would be a party with the vibe of an “adult hippy day camp.” The guests would be shooting clay pigeons, fishing, taking farm tours, playing with goats, wearing flower crowns, and the like, all while donning some pretty spectacular apparel from Capitol, the luxury clothing boutique in Charlotte. Capitol, owned by Laura Vinroot Poole, was throwing the party to commemorate 20 years of business—the invitees were her loyal clientele, Capitol employees, and more than a few members of Charlotte’s elite. So, a gorgeous natural setting, beautiful clothes, incredible flowers and food, and happy people. I was sold, and so curious to see how it would all come together.
The answer: ridiculously, absurdly pretty. For one, the farm itself, which is located just outside of Charlotte in Lancaster, SC, is beautifully appointed. The mix of gorgeous vistas and rustic structures offered about the most amazing photographic palette I could have asked for. During the party, workers from the farm made rounds with a baby goat and a baby cow for guests to interact with (pretty stinkin’ cute), or guests could visit with Beekeeper Bill as he worked with his colony. The flowers, provided by John Lupton, set the perfect bohemian vibe–you’ll notice many of the guests even wearing flower crowns in their hair, which made everything look even more magical–especially when they hopped in the baby blue, ’74 VW bus which doubled as a photo booth. There was a tree swing adorned with flowers for guests to enjoy, baskets of Kantha quilts to snuggle under once the sun went down, bonfires for added light and warmth, and candles and twinkly lights everywhere you looked.
And then there was the food. The party was catered by Jim Noble, the owner of Roosters and King’s Kitchen. If you have ever eaten at one of his other establishments then you know–the food was incredible. His new venture, Noble Smoke, will be arriving soon in South End. Anything he didn’t provide was sourced from North Corner Haven itself; their contributions to the menu included the pork butt, the spare ribs, and the greens and veggies for the salad. From what I could glean, this is the basic philosophy of North Corner Haven, to provide for the events that take place there as much as they can from their own stock.
The soundtrack for the night was provided by Lee Fields and The Expressions. They rocked, and it shouldn’t go unsaid that Lee Fields has been throwing down his soulful sound since just about the dawn of time; his first release came in 1969, right when the R&B sound was born. He and his band provided the perfect compliment for the party. That man was pretty awe inspiring.
I had such a fantastic time capturing this party. Congratulations to Capitol for 20 years of success, and to North Corner Haven for the unveiling of such a lovely and truly unique venue. I hope to return many times, shooting weddings or parties, or really just to walk around and love on some animals. I could listen to Bill talk about bees for hours. Next time I won’t wear black though. Bill advised me to keep a little distance from the colony as we chatted so they don’t accidentally confuse me for a bear.
Venue: North Corner Haven
Event Coordinator: Alicia Wagner of NCH
Host: Laura Vinroot Poole of Capitol
Floral and Event Design: John Lupton
Catering: Noble Smoke
Photo Booth: The Little Blue Photo Bus
Rentals: Old South Vintage Rentals
Stage and Rentals: CE Rental
Lighting and Audio Visual: Eye Dialogue
Thank you to my second photographer, Emily, who helped to create this beautiful collection of images.