Frequently asked questions
Corporate Mission Statement
Sampson’s Hollow is faith-based enterprise owned by William and Janice Livingston and their family. We believe, by faith, we have been entrusted as stewards of this property by our Heavenly Father. We believe it is by God’s grace and provision that Sampson’s Hollow has endured. God has been faithful in the past, and we trust Him for our future. We are committed to honoring the Lord in all we do by operating this faith-based enterprise in a manner consistent with Biblical principles. As a testimony to our stewardship, and as a reflection of our commitment to honor God in all that we do, we are dedicated to providing the highest quality of service to our guests. In keeping with our commitment to honor God in all aspects of our operation, we adhere strictly to a Biblical tradition and view of the sanctity of marriage as a holy estate consecrated by God and defined as the union of a man and a woman in holy matrimony. We hold this immutable truth of scripture to be central to our tenets and religious beliefs. For us to offer our property or services in a manner inconsistent with this core value would unquestionably violate our sincerely held religious beliefs.
This corporate mission is protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. 42 U.S.C.A. § 2000bb. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 2751, 2767, 189 L. Ed. 2d 675 (2014).
What if I have to cancel my date? Will I get my money back?
While no one wants that to happen, unfortunately, it does. When you book your date, we block it from the calendar and it has been reserved for your event. No one else can have it. When asked if that date is available, we say no, and we only do one wedding a day. Once you have booked your date and make the deposit, that payment is non-refundable. You have the option of rescheduling within a calendar year, with absolutely no penalty, based on availability and season or date. If there is a difference in price because of package increase, that amount would be added. We realize that the unthinkable may happen; serious illness, death in the family, changes in military status, or cancelling the engagement. We suggest that you consider Wedding Insurance if you want to protect against all possibilities. Much like travel insurance, a wedding insurance policy provides reimbursement when life throws the unimaginable at you and you have to cancel. For more information, refer to www.markeleventinsurance.com.
What happens if it rains?
Sampson’s Hollow has a lovely covered front porch which will seat up to 175 in a traditional chapel format. It will be a tight fit, but no one will get wet and you don’t have to worry about renting a tent.
Following the ceremony, the space can be converted (by your helpers or our staff—depending on the package you choose) for a reception area, with tables and chairs to seat up to 120, depending on how much of the space is used for seating and how much will be used for dancing. Many brides prefer to keep the center open, beneath the vaulted ceiling and chandelier, for dancing. If so, some of your guests can be seated within the interior of our fully air-conditioned barn. And if your photographer is available and agreeable, the bride and groom can come back on a prettier day for their own personal photo shoot at no additional charge.
Am I allowed time for a rehearsal?
Almost every package includes one hour for a rehearsal, based on availability. The time for this rehearsal cannot be scheduled until six weeks out. The Once Upon a Time package includes three hours, guaranteed on the day before. Our elopement packages, including the smaller Dreams of Romance or Sweet Dreams packages, do not include a rehearsal. Rehearsal time not used cannot be added to your time on the day of your wedding without an upcharge.
May I use my own minister?
Each and every one of our packages includes a licensed and ordained minister who will perform a traditional Christian ceremony, including prayer. Should you prefer to use your own minister, or choose to use a non-denominational or non-religious option, you may certainly provide your own and pay for that choice. It is required that our minister be present to witness and sign the marriage license as a witness. And if used in this capacity, he would not be a part of the actual ceremony. It does not change the price of your package.
Who is responsible for submitting marriage license to the state for filing purposes?
The responsibility of submitting the marriage license following the ceremony falls upon the minister or official who conducts the actual ceremony. If a bride or groom chooses to submit that document themselves, then it becomes their responsibility to make sure it is done within the allotted amount of time as directed by the state, to avoid penalty. If our minster is serving only as the witness and not involved in the legal part of the vow exchange, then he is NOT responsible for submitting the paperwork to the appropriate state office. The coordinator is NEVER responsible for submitting the documents.
Are pets allowed on the property?
Pets are allowed on our property, but not within the buildings, including the cabin. If you choose to bring your fur baby to be a part of your ceremony, he/she must be on a leash and under the supervision of someone you trust. We are not responsible for your pet if it chooses to chase a scent or critter in the woods and gets lost. This has happened to our own animals that are already familiar with our land. The woods holds lots of adventure, especially for certain breeds of dogs, so while we welcome them, we don’t want them to get lost. If you plan on having your pets attend, please make us aware of that prior to the event. And, as with any public place, please “pick up” after your pet.
Are we required to use Sampson’s Hollow for catering?
Unlike many venues, you are welcome to use any type of food service that you want, whether it is a licensed caterer or your family/friends are bringing in food, as long as we have prior knowledge. We do have a policy for outside food service which is detailed in the contract. Please refer to that document for detailed information.
If we use SH in-house catering services, how long will food and beverages be served?
In order to maintain the quality and freshness of our food and to adhere to food safety with regard to food temperatures, there is a limit of time for our food to be left out for your guests to enjoy. Once guests have begun to serve themselves, at the designated meal time, and all guests have been served, the food will be left out for no more than 90 minutes, after which time, the food stations will be pulled and the buffet area will be cleared of any remaining items.
Will beverages be served after the meal is completed?
The beverages that are included with your catering option will be left out until the wedding cake (or whatever is being used) has been cut and served. After the cake has been enjoyed by your guests, whatever remaining beverages, if any, will be left out, but not replenished. Beverages are NOT provided as part of the catering package for the entire time of the package, but can be added, if needed, for your guests to enjoy while they are dancing and enjoying the remainder of their time on the property. As a courtesy, we will provide water in a pretty self-serve dispenser with small, disposable cups.
Who is responsible for garbage removal?
We do not have an on-site garbage service/dumpster. If Sampson’s Hollow is providing in-house catering, we will be responsible for disposing of the garbage related to food service. If you have hired a bartender, part of the alcohol policy/contract fee will cover the cost of removing the bottles and disposing of them. If you have someone else providing the food, you or that caterer is responsible for removing the garbage. We have a $35.00 fee to do this if the garbage is not taken away and this charge will be applied to your credit card on file.
Can we bring in our own soft drinks and bottled water?
Of course you can. You will need to bring disposable cups and ice as well unless you choose to bring a large cooler of ice and keep the products chilled for consumption. You may also want to bring bottled water for the rehearsal, especially in warm weather as we won’t have bottled water as part of your package for rehearsal time.
Can we arrive earlier then our contracted arrival time to decorate (also known as “if my property time starts at 2:00, what time can I get here to decorate)?
The time that you have paid for, whether it’s six, eight, or ten hours, includes all tasks that need to be completed, from decorating to saying goodbye and cleaning up your personal stuff. If you are having someone else do your food, their clean-up must also be done within the time frame you have selected and paid for. When a bride has one of our property coordinators as part of her package, this coordinator usually gives extra time to helping get things done ahead of time, which saves you from paying for additional hours on the property at a much higher, per hour rate. While they don’t do decorating unless you add that service with them, they can make sure that linens are placed on tables, centerpieces have been put out, favors have been arranged, and other tasks that take time to do.
What happens if we have to delay the ceremony time? Does this affect how long we have the property?
Yes, it does. We attempt to be as flexible and accommodating as we can be with the time you have purchased. However, if we are paying staff by the hour, the minister is waiting and has to be somewhere else, the caterer is delaying the food service and has staff to pay, and you have booked our DJ, then they will expect to be compensated for the extra time just as you would if asked to work overtime. While we, as the property, can offer a short grace period to allow for delays, we can’t provide additional time on behalf of other paid vendors and our staff. As of late, it seems that several of our brides have been delayed, for one reason or another. Whether it’s because she didn’t anticipate how long it would take to have hair and make-up done, to waiting on bridesmaids or groomsmen to show up, to having a plane delayed and grandparents haven’t landed, these actions affect the time frame and the schedule has to be adjusted. Unfortunately, this usually results in a shorter time for the reception, unless property time is added and vendors will be paid for their additional time. It is a tremendous benefit to have one of our property coordinator’s to assist in sticking to your scheduled time line.
Where will my guests park their vehicles?
We will have staff in our lower parking area to direct your guests as to where to park. In order to reserve this more convenient parking for your guests, we ask that your bridal party and immediate family park in the upper section designated for overflow. We can park approximately 55-60 vehicles in the lower area, depending on the size of the vehicle.
We have lined spaces for parking. For your guests who need special assistance, we reserve two to three spaces closest to the handicapped ramp for easier access.
I have decided to serve the permitted alcoholic beverages, as per the alcohol policy and contract. What must I provide for the bartender, or have the bartender provide?
We will provide one six-foot rectangle table for this service. The bartending group (or you, as the client) is responsible for providing a linen, ice, and glassware for the beverages that they are serving. We do not have an ice machine and do not have an extra supply of cups or glassware for them to use. In addition, please confirm with your bartender who will be bringing the wine or champagne. Most of the time, the bartenders that we use ask that you bring the brands that you want served but you need to confirm these details.
Can we leave our “stuff” on property on the day/night of wedding and come back to pick up the next day?
No, unfortunately, this isn’t possible. Chances are that we have another event scheduled for the next day, especially if it is a weekend. After your event has been completed, our staff begins to immediately do a more thorough clean-up and resetting for our next client. If you have provided your own catering, or an outside caterer has been used, we have to go through the cleaning and sanitation process within the kitchen and all that that includes. Oftentimes, if you designate your bridal party and/or family members to assist with gathering all of your personal property to save time, instead of trying to do it all yourself when you are supposed to be leaving for your honeymoon.
I don’t think we need a coordinator; my mom or her sister said they could do it and we won’t have that expense.
Someone has to direct the ceremony. Someone needs to keep track of time and when to do what and if the DJ has the music cued up for all those special moments. Someone needs to manage all of the details of the day. Sure, mom can do it, but how much of the wedding is she going to miss while trying to make sure everything is set up as it is supposed to be. Your aunt may have been to plenty of weddings, but does she know what to do in case it starts raining and the ceremony location has to be moved. It’s okay if you don’t have a professional coordinator, but please make sure someone is able to supervise all of the activities of your special day. If we aren’t providing a coordinator as part of your package, then we won’t be assisting with directing the ceremony.
It’s a real challenge for a bride to do all that an experienced coordinator does and to be able to enjoy her once in a lifetime day. If you are working within a budget, then cut back on favors, or expensive flowers, or even wine and champagne—but don’t compromise on enjoying a well-planned wedding celebration assisted by an experienced coordinator.
Who should I tip? Should I tip my wedding coordinator?
As with most any service-based businesses, this is completely up to you. Some people believe in tipping, others do not. There will be several staff people on property to do all they can to make your day go as smoothly and as stress-free for you, as possible, including parkers, runners and others, such as the DJ, caterer and servers—depending on your package. Much like a restaurant, cruise, or resort, service people are there to take care of you. It is not required that you tip (unlike a cruise), but it is a token which shows our staff that they, in your opinion (and that is the most important), have done a good job. If your package includes catering, the administrative fee that is included covers the cost of linens, garbage removal, clean-up and rentals. It is not a gratuity for the staff.
If your wedding coordinator did the amazing job she always does and saves you added anxiety, lightens your work load, goes beyond the call of duty, then it would be a much appreciated gesture if you did give her a tip. As part of your package, they are paid for meeting with you for consulting, being at the rehearsal and all day long and beyond on the day of your wedding. Many times, our coordinators are taking care of setting-up for you days or hours before your official property time begins. They answer emails, calls and texts at all hours of the day and night. Sometimes they handle situations you may never know about to avoid causing you more anxiety. A tip and especially, a “thank you” from the bride and groom, as well as parents, means a great deal to an exhausted wedding coordinator.
For questions and answers not listed, please email