Photo courtesy of Ann Wade Parrish.
0612 Sonnet HouseThe Sonnet House in Leeds is a popular wedding venue.
Destination weddings don’t have to be in Hawaii or the Virgin Islands. The Sonnet House, located about 10 minutes from Highway 280 off Highway 119 in Leeds, gives couples the feeling of a “destination” close to home.
At the Sonnet House, you feel farther away than you are in a good way, Owner and Manager Jared Heaton said.
“It’s not as far away as it seems,” Heaton said. “When I heard about it being in Leeds, I was like, really? You never know what you’re going to fall in love with.”
Jordyn Culbreth Farris and her husband, David, recent Auburn University alumni as well as Oak Mountain High School graduates, held their reception there on March 11.
“We really loved the house,” Farris said. “We liked that it’s a really big space for people. And, it’s beautiful on its own, or you can add a twist to it.”
The couple took photos before the wedding at the house and had their reception mostly outdoors, where guests dined on Momma Goldberg’s fare.
“We had food in the chapel and in the main house, but we danced on the back porch,” she said. “The outside was perfect for our reception.”
Couples who get married or have receptions at the Sonnet House have used vendors in the 280 area like The Fish Market’s catering service, The Yellow Bicycle, as well as cakes from Pastry Art.
The Sonnet House was built in 1918 as the McLaughlin family’s farmhouse, and the surrounding 18 acres were used as the base for the McLaughlin Farm.
“It’s secluded,” Heaton said. “There’s nothing behind us except the Little Cahaba.”
When the home went to auction in 2003, Heaton’s family had been looking for a facility to purchase as a place to host weddings and events. They started renovating in August 2003 and hosted its first event in 2007.
“It was a huge investment,” Heaton said. “We bought it not knowing if we could do what we wanted to with the house.”
The project was exciting to tackle, Heaton said, and the design work was not too difficult.
“I saw the potential in it. We didn’t have to do anything aesthetically to the outside, just inside,” Heaton said. “There was some horrible, tacky linoleum on the first floor.”
Before purchasing the farmhouse, Heaton had been working in hospitality with catering and events. His dad is the co-owner and his brother works with marketing and web design to complete the family team along with Corey Hults and Candace Benson.
Some couples have their ceremony in a field next to an old rusty barn built in the 1920s, while others have theirs against an outdoor fireplace area built for weddings. There’s also a chapel onsite that doubles as a reception hall.
The majority of weddings held at the Sonnet House average between 150 and 200 guests, and the biggest weddings have hosted around 500. The chapel holds between 240 and 280 guests.
For the hotter months, Heaton said they have air conditioning units and misting fans that they will provide at no additional cost. Most people want their wedding outdoors, but ceremonies and receptions can be moved indoors if there is an issue with the weather.
Many couples have sent thank you notes to the Sonnet House to say that their weddings and receptions were above and beyond their expectations, professional and fun.
“We try to make it as easy as possible and take the stress out of everything,” Heaton said. “We try to understand our clients so we can do everything they need us to do and everything they don’t know they need us to do.”