Tell Us Why Sampson’s Hollow?

Tell Us Why Sampson’s Hollow?

Posted in Life and Love from the Hollow

I asked our bride, Hannah Brockma Hastings to share her journey to finding Sampson’s Hollow: “I started coming to The Powell Farm when I was 4 years old back in 1999. It quickly became my home away from home. While most kids dreamed of going to Disney world or to the beach on vacation, I was always so excited to stay at what I called “the mountain house”. My family and I would stay there every single summer. I remember the summer of 2005 when we went and learned there had been a new venue built on the property. One afternoon, Janice showed us around Sampson’s Hollow. I remember back then thinking how pretty it was and I said then that I was going to get married there one day. Throughout the following years, my family continued to stay at the Powell farm and the thought of getting married at Sampson’s Hollow never left me. When my now husband proposed to me back in 2015, there was no doubt in my mind where we would wed at. It was my dream come true to get married at a place that was so special to me that held so many precious memories.” Janice Livingston Sampson’s...

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Confessions of a Wedding Venue Owner or Show Me the Pie!

Confessions of a Wedding Venue Owner or Show Me the Pie!

Posted in Life and Love from the Hollow

That’s me. I am the owner of a venue. I have to admit there have been times I have wondered to myself, “What was I thinking?” My family and I started our business in 2005 in a fairly strong economy with market potential in our defined market having a strong forecast for continued growth. I did my research. I knew that, at the time, Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains were second only to Las Vegas in number of weddings per capita in the United States. There were probably less than 20 venues in our primary market and many of them were very strong competitors with impressive resumes and reputations. I studied the demographics and buying behavior of potential clients (most notably, brides and grooms) in the previous three years and in five years to come. I analyzed the features and benefits by which I thought that our venue could focus on to stand out among the competition. I was full of piss and vinegar and thought with my education, experience and tenacity that we would carve out a piece of the market share very quickly. Wow. What a learning curve that turned out to be. It is one thing to have the head knowledge to start a business, and that definitely is a plus. However, it’s a completely different reality when you are pedaling as fast as you can to keep your head above water, and working day and night to try to keep up and learn by doing. Just to give you some background, I am a graduate of the University of Tennessee with a Bachelors and Master’s Degree. My undergraduate degree is in Business Administration with a major in marketing. I worked in retailing in various capacities, including a buyer for a notable department store, responsible for advertising and communications for that same store, and a merchandiser for two major brands. I went back to school to get my license to be a marketing teacher. So the rest of my soapbox is going to be while wearing my teacher’s cap. As a marketing educator, for 30 plus years, I spoke passionately about entrepreneurship and the ability for anyone, including my students, to own a business in our American Free Enterprise system. I love the opportunities that individuals have to dream and to pursue those dreams in America. I firmly believe in the hospitality aspect of business. After all, it is Biblical (1 Peter 4:9)! And as an old relic and a boomer, I continued to believe that the customer is always right, even when they aren’t. Anyway, I digress. I continually advocated that competition is a good thing for consumers and businesses. And then, the fabric of the local market shifted. At first it was gradual—then the landslide hit! It was as if one-hundred plus venues opened their doors as competitors over the course of 5...

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Sarah’s Glen Woodland Wedding Setting

Sarah’s Glen Woodland Wedding Setting

Posted in Farm Weddings, Life and Love from the Hollow

This is one of my favorite photos of Sarah’s Glen, taken by Isbill Photography. I love the unique vision of the view from behind the arbor/altar looking toward the wooded ceremony site. This is my favourite location on the property. There’s a magical and enchanted quality about being surrounded by tall evergreen trees. Embraced by nature. Janice Livingston, 2018 Woodland Wedding Setting, Sampson’s Hollow, Smoky Mountain Wedding...

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The Willow Tree

The Willow Tree

Posted in Blog, Christian Ceremony Ideas, Life and Love from the Hollow

The Willow Tree……. There is such a gracefulness about a willow tree. It’s long, loping branches of greenery dance to the gentle breeze of the wind. We planted willow trees when we first started Sampson’s Hollow in 2005. One of our particular favorite weeping willows grows well as it was planted at the head of the wet weather spring, the same one that has been used to provide water in the pastures for over one hundred years. The roots of the willow have soaked up the life-given moisture of the earth. Even when the sun bears down on it and the ground seems dry on the surface–it continues to grow taller and healthier. A willow doesn’t need a great deal of pampering or attention. In fact, it can be easily propagated and new growth can be started just by sticking a stem in water and waiting for it to start sprouting roots. The branches can be used to mold and to make works of art and are flexible and giving. Isn’t that kind of symbolic of what a successful marriage needs to strive to be? A happy parallel I like to think.           Janice Livingston...

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