We are so excited about our impending wedding season we have decided kick it off with our Venue Showcase series, where we will periodically showcase exceptional venues on our blog! We know that there are so many fantastic venues for you to choose from. We want to help you by highlighting the best wedding venues of the Gulf Coast!

LIVE OAK PLANTATION

-Donna Meeks | Owner

What makes Live Oak Plantation unique or special?

“Live Oak Plantation is a stunning and romantic setting for memorable weddings, from grand ceremonies and receptions to the most intimate elopements. We have professional event coordinators to ensure that every single element is thought of and fully executed. We pay special attention to all details, both large and small, to ensure that each couple’s special day is absolutely perfect in every single way. With beautiful indoor and outdoor options, both small and large weddings can be beautifully accommodated with the picturesque grounds providing a gorgeous backdrop for any ceremony.”

 What is the history of the Live Oak Plantation?

"While the history of the property is still being researched, the land of current-day Live Oak Plantation was once part of a tract of a thousand acres of virgin woodlands owned in the 1800’s, by lumber baron, Mr. Lee. Lee harvested the abundant timber found on the sprawling property located in the idyllic community of Beulah, including Live Oaks and huge virgin yellow pines. Like many in the region, they were felled then milled into lumber and sent down the Perdido River to distant ports.”

“By 1815, as Florida was becoming a U.S. territory, today’s 185-340 year-old Live Oaks were emerging. By their maturity, most logging had ceased, and for over two centuries hidden in the dense forests, these namesakes of Live Oak Plantation silently grew into the giants they are today.

By the early 20th century, the original property had been repeatedly sub-divided, and the current property was the size it is today. In 1930, then owner, Payne Bryant, planted a large pecan orchard in the front field. Between 2003-2009, a succession of relentless hurricanes wreaked havoc across Florida, and over 200 of the original pecan trees were lost. Today, a graceful stand of 50 trees remain with new saplings being planted annually.”

“Over time, previous early homes on the property filled with long-since forgotten memories have been reclaimed by the forces of nature. What is now Live Oak Plantation sits on the last remaining 22-acres that were finally re-purchased in 1990 by Joe David Meeks, current owner. Joe and Donna Meeks consider themselves caretakers of this beautiful land that nature has so generously blessed with timeless beauty and natural resource. In 2015, the Meeks transformed Live Oak Plantation into a venue so that others may celebrate what nature and the labor of those who came before have created.

With farms quickly disappearing, Live Oak Plantation began operating in the State of Florida as a model for the Florida Agritourism Program to help keep farms and farm history alive. The property is a working pecan farm, preserving the pecan harvesting legacy at Live Oak Plantation, and it is the private home to the Meeks family. As such, the property is open by pre-scheduled appointment only."

Do you have venue tips for future brides?

“My advice for brides looking for a venue is to seek out those that fit the aesthetic you have in mind. If you’re planning a modern wedding, look at art galleries, well-designed restaurant spaces, or warehouses. On the flip side, a wedding incorporating more natural elements works well with outdoor venues such as parks, farms, plantations and the beach. Choosing a venue that enhances your theme will enable your wedding to feel more connected to the space.”

“When comparing venues, remember that some are full-service, while others allow brides to bring in their own vendors, alcohol, and décor. Be sure to price everything out. Another thing to consider is what is, and what is not included. A venue that includes tables, chairs, antique furniture, special lighting and a dedicated professional staff for your wedding day might cost more upfront than a lesser expensive venue where you need to rent your own furniture and other items. You could end up paying more for a cheaper venue, so you should get an estimate from a rental company to see how they compare."

What is your favorite wedding memory at the Live Oak Plantation?

“It occurs to me that perhaps the best wedding day memories have nothing to do with the gown or the flowers or the salmon dinner. Yet, amidst them are those special memories that emerge on a wedding day that weave themselves into the unique tapestry of each family’s lives from the wedding day forward. And in the end, they are the ones that matter the most.”

PHOTOGRAPHY:  AISLINN KATE PHOTOGRAPHY // VENUE SPOTLIGHT: LIVE OAK PLANTATION // VENUE OWNER: DONNA MEEKS | JOE MEEKS // VENUE COORDINATOR: LAURA AT LIVE OAK RENTAL AND FLORAL DECOR

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