The Hunter Barn is a Wedding & Events Venue in Waynesville, GA, owned and operated by Ernest and Brooklyn Hunter. The large post and beam barn has been handmade specially by Ernest. He has cut up every bit of the wood himself (and sometimes his hands!) on the HM126 he got specifically for the building of the barn. We have 4 beautiful children between us: Kaylie, Abbie, Ernie, and Ben.
The idea for a wedding barn came about after we got married ourselves. Everywhere we called to have a reception at was booked for at least a year and we were planning to get married within like 2 weeks (yes, TWO). Somehow we pulled it off!
After much discussion, a barn plan was picked out. Ernest is very much the DIYer and knew he wanted to do the building himself. After getting an estimate for the cut list from a local sawmill, he decided to buy his own sawmill and cut up the lumber himself ($$$$$). He researched and read and watched videos of several different sawmills and finally decided on the HM126 from Woodland Mills. (If you ever decide you want one yourself, tell them we sent you!) The price was right and the quality was top-notch, definitely the best decision he ever made.
However, if Ernest had known in the beginning what a challenge it was going to be to cut up that much lumber himself we probably wouldn't have a barn today! The amount of trees it has taken is unbelievable! If you dare to ask him, he can probably tell you exactly where each piece of wood came from down to the tree and where that tree was located. He was able to cut down a good bit of pine off of his father's land around us and the remaining pine came after a couple of hurricanes wreaked havoc in our area. He was hired by Sea Island's Retreat Golf Course to bring his tractor over and assist with the cleanup of the hurricanes. As devastating as the hurricanes were for our community and all who have been affected, we were blessed to have a job that also helped finish our project. Ernest was able to bring trees back from the island during the cleanup to make more boards for the barn.
During the building phase, Ernest started posting pictures on Instagram of the progress he was making. I'll be honest, I was skeptical lol. I thought it was too big of a project for us and no possible way we could afford to make it what we wanted it to be. I didn't tell anyone for a while until I saw how invested he really was. Our first bride and groom saw what we were doing and wanted to come check it out. We honestly didn't want anyone coming to a construction zone until we were further along but they persisted! They were with us through the whole building process and would come out occasionally to see how we were doing. They picked a date we thought we could work with and then upped it a couple of times and made us more nervous each time. But Ernest kept saying, "Yeah! I can do that!" Then as soon as they'd leave he'd say, "I dont know how I'm going to do that." When I tell y'all the ANXOUISNESS I experienced EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. from that...I still don't know if I have recovered! The last time they came out before their wedding day (SIX WEEKS AWAY)...we still didn't have toilets, sinks, tables built, kitchen, benches for the ceremony, grass on the ceremony area...I thought for sure they were going to change their mind about us. But we were all in too deep by then it had to be done!
Somehow we pulled it off. And it rained at that first wedding. I like to say now that maybe that was good luck for us like it's supposed to be for the couples. And when I tell y'all I cried having to stand there with the bride looking at the weather map making the decision on what to do...We both did. I will never forget that day and all of the amazing people that came together to make it happen! I had permanent goosebumps the whole day in awe at what we had done. I don't even think we had time to get Ernest (or myself) a haircut before that special day (LOL). A lot of sacrifices have been made but it has been worth every single one.
Blood, sweat, and tears!! Literally. Now, every time it rains on wedding days I have to remind myself that God is in control and He knows what's best. But at least we are prepared with a backup plan. ;)
Ernest's back still hasn't recovered, and I still get anxiety over every wedding because I want it to be perfect. But we love it. We feel like we know these people by the time they leave us. They're family forever!
We have seriously been blessed throughout this whole process. Every time we have been unsure of how the next step was going to get done, God has always provided. We have learned to just keep on keeping on and the "how" will eventually find its way to us!
Don't worry about how to do something. Commit and the how will be revealed!
Please take a look around our website. Please click here to see how you can contact us for more information or to reserve your date!
Photos from our first wedding by Brauda Studios, decor by Middwell Weddings & Events and Savvy Design.