Love & What Follows
The second to last time I fell in love, I was in a town I’d never heard of, three hours from where I lived. I was walking through a charming, but crumbling antique estate, my fingers frozen numb inside the gloves inside the pockets of my warmest coat. I didn’t fall in love with a life partner, nor a dog, but an old house that was falling apart.
I fell for the 40 ft tall maple trees, tapped for syrup, faucets of amber. The blueberry patches that bears snuck up to eat come summer. The two-hundred-year-old books and the bone handle brushes; the enameled boxes and the tarnished tennis trophies.
I fell for the honeymoon receipts more than a half century old that catalogued hotel stays, kitschy souvenir purchases, breakfasts with champagne. A baby book from 1890, written in the most exquisite longhand imaginable, full of poems for every ounce and inch, every wriggle, every squeal. A tear-stained condolence letter from the 1920s penned with irreplicable, dactylic tenderness. I fell for the magic yet to be discovered - mementos hidden in closets, under beds, and in steamer trunks with their latches clasped tight from decades of neglect.
And though being in love is reason enough for most things, I needed rational justification to dedicate the (staggering amount of) money and resources it would require to salvage this estate and its cherished objects. That’s where the idea for my wedding venue business - Hayfield - was born.
The last time I fell in love, it was for the barns that would become Hayfied. Ruined, but gorgeous antique structures at the edge of the most stunning mountain valley hay field. A love for what they could become was enough to rationalize the unequivocally complex, remarkably massive, and unusually nuanced renovation of these historic architectural anomalies. So we breathed new life into them.
Now at Hayfield we get the chance to celebrate love all season long. We take a moment at every wedding to sit amongst the fireflies, giddy with delight, as we admire the revelry from afar. The dulcet purr of conversation, the distant buzz of dancing, glassware tinkling, the laughter trickling and bouncing through the air.
I think of the honeymoon receipts that will be saved, baby books that will be filled because such joy begs to be recorded, condolence letters that will be tucked inside enameled boxes because discarding them would be too painful. At Hayfield, we can be the catalysts for creating memories and mementos of the kind I had discovered in our once crumbling estate. Someone will find these things in a hundred years and fall in love with them just as I did. I think of love and what follows, and how very grateful I am to witness it all unfold.
By Christiana Mavromatis | Photography by Read McKendree