This wedding was unique in many ways. Not only was it held in January, but it also took place on a Monday. Additionally, the couple, Mina and Sage, had already been married for a year and had a beautiful baby son. They recently moved from Baltimore, Maryland, and finally had the opportunity to celebrate their marriage with family and friends. Hands down, they chose the prettiest venue in our town - the Bristol Train Station.
I have lived in Bristol for long enough to remember the beautiful century-old brick building being abandoned. I am thrilled that it has been recently renovated to its full grandeur and turned into a one-of-a-kind wedding venue. You see, Bristol was built around this train station. The railway was the lifeblood of our Appalachian town, with the first train arriving in 1856 in what was then almost considered the frontier. Bristol quickly developed around the railway, transporting goods, cattle, and people.
Railroad travel was booming in the early 20th century. In 1902, the old depot was replaced with this two-story brick station, designed in the Romanesque style. The large waiting room (now the reception hall) had a cathedral-size ceiling. It was grand for such a small town located on the Virginia-Tennessee border!
The station served as a meeting point for the entire Bristol. There were long benches under the clock on the platform where people would sit and gossip, as well as shops and a restaurant. The older residents still remember taking trains to Knoxville and Chattanooga every other day for work. Or how groups of college girls would travel back to Redford college, enjoying themselves during the long rides. The trip was slow as the train would stop at every tiny station, but they fondly remember the black smoke from the locomotive :-)
I came across a story of a Bristolian lady. She remembers how the circus train came to Bristol in the 1940s, and her father took her to watch the unloading of elephants all night. There is a rumor that Elvis stepped out off the train on his way to Graceland in 1958, but I have found no evidence to support this :-)
The station thrived until the decline of railway travel in the 1970s. It's a sad story about why America doesn't have a reliable passenger train system. I may write a blog about it one day. It's a story of the automobile lobby and failed government regulation. You can still see a schedule on a platform wall dating back to 1951, showing that each day you could take a train as far as New York and New Orleans! Now, I would either have to drive or board a flight to travel that far.
Imagine the steamed locomotives and their sorrowful whistles at night, the hiss of steam and din of exhaust. The potent smells of heated grease and coal smoke. You can't feel any of it anymore, of course. And it's probably for the best...
Because Mina's Bristol Train Station wedding smelled of cinnamon cake and white Calla lilies from her bouquet! :-)
The wedding was a visual feast, with every detail carefully curated to create a stunning and memorable occasion. The smiling faces of the happy couple, their loving families, and the adorable little children all added to the joyful atmosphere. The blue color scheme was a perfect choice! Not only it complimented the dark mahogany Gothic-style setting, but it also photographs so beautifully! I can't say enough how much I love blue! :-)
The tableware, glasses, and cake from a local bakery were all exquisite, let alone a particularly striking cake topper. The bridesmaids' dresses and the groom's rich blue tuxedo were also noteworthy, adding a touch of elegance and sophistication to the event.
The most touching moment of the reception came when Mina's twin sister, Jessica, delivered a sweet toast, making their mother cry. I remember Jessica calling Mina "my oxygen." I almost stopped pressing the shutter button because something was in my eye, too.
I just wish we had more time for outdoor portraits! The light quickly faded after the 4 o'clock ceremony, and we had to rush to capture the last rays of the January sunlight. Despite the chilly 34F temperature and Mina's sleeveless dress, she bravely endured the cold. We took a few beautiful bride and groom portraits before heading inside to the warmth of the reception hall.
The celebration ended with a lively dance floor, and for a glimpse of the little ones joining in on the fun, be sure to scroll down to the end of the blog!
I am so grateful to Mina and Sage for entrusting me with capturing the memories of their special day. I would also like to extend a huge thank you to all the talented vendors who helped make their wedding a success!!!
Ceremony & Reception | Bristol Train Station
Dress Store | Bride and Grooms of Pikesville
Rentals and Tablescaping | Theresa Marcus
Catering | Stateline Barbecue Catering
Florist | Misty's Florist
Cake | Blackbird Bakery
DJ | Tony Rodefer