Happily Ever After: Post Frame Makes Wedding Venue Dream Come True
Blue Mountain Vineyards and Events
We at NFBA know that contractors are doing great work in engineered wood-frame construction. To promote their efforts, our Project of the Month series recognizes a builder who has recently completed an exceptional project.
This month, we’re featuring Theodore (Teddy) Tardonia, co-owner with his wife Jessica of Blue Mountain Vineyards and Events, a wedding and event venue in the scenic heart of North Georgia wine country.
With These Hands
Growing up on a farm, Teddy Tardonia learned how to do a lot of different tasks.
“We just naturally did everything ourselves,” he said.
So when it came time to build their dream of a wedding and event venue, he knew it would be a DIY project – with a little help from his dad, Ted Tardonia, and a couple of guys from a friend’s construction company, Custom Log Homes by Robert Crawford in Jasper, GA.
They weren’t entirely alone. Though Teddy Tardonia sketched out the original idea, the team hired an architect to do the official plans for the permits, plus a company to do site grading and, later, a crane to lift in the ridge beam and the top rafters.
Otherwise, the project came down to four guys working together, putting in every post, every beam, every wall, every piece of flooring, every nail and every lag bolt. The elder Tardonia even designed the brackets that hold the beams together.
They were efficient – the job took about seven months, “from dirt to the doors opening,” as Tardonia put it – and they also won praise for their handiwork. “The inspector said it was the tightest building he had ever seen in Lumpkin County,” Tardonia said.
Blue Mountain Event Center ended up consisting of 5,200 square feet on the main floor with a 300-square-foot bridal alcove upstairs. It accommodates 250 people under its 30-foot ceilings and also features a stacked-stone fireplace wall, solid wood beams that were milled on-site and a live-edge black walnut bar. Ten farmhouse-style tables were designed and built on-site as well.
I Do! I Do!
Even before they broke ground on the building, Jessica and Teddy Tardonia were the first to say their vows at Blue Mountain. On their special day in October 2013, they walked down a stone path to a scenic overlook for their outdoor ceremony. Brides and grooms can still take the same “aisle” to their own happily-ever-after.
Blue Mountain hosted 30 events, including weddings, corporate events, church events and family gatherings in the first 13 months it was open, Tardonia said, and 2017 is already booked.
And what’s a wedding without a toast to the bride and groom?
Three acres of vineyard surrounding the event center are planted in two types of grapes, Tardonia said, Noiret, which produces a richly colored red wine, and Traminette, a white hybrid grape similar to Gewurztraminer. He expects his first harvest this year and probably will have just enough to share with friends and family. By 2018, the Tardonias hope to be able to make wine available to their wedding parties.
Tardonia knew he wanted a post-frame structure because his dad’s house is built in a similar style. He also was determined to have a building that was high-quality, cost-effective, big enough for a crowd and pretty enough for the most special of celebrations.
“We wanted it to be big but comfortable at the same time,” Tardonia said, and the post-frame design delivered.
He considered using metal, but it just felt cold and hollow. The open-plan wood-frame structure is just right.
The Tardonias and their wedding clients couldn’t be happier – or feel more welcome – in what Teddy and Jessica call their “wedding barn.”
“It’s a giant space, but it feels warmer because of the wood,” he said. “There’s nothing better than a heavy timber.”