A little pocket of yesteryear

Halfway between Dallas and San Antonio and within 60 minutes from most points in Bell County, is Salado, a storybook village with a feeling of Brigadoon, the fictional Scottish town that comes to life for one day every 100 years. Except this Scots-settled village is a daily source of life, art, music and community.

Tucked away amid the ancient oak trees that line the creeks and green acreage of this hamlet is a selection of bed and breakfasts, chapels and venues. Nestled among this natural flora is The Venue at The Inn on the Creek, one of Salado’s premier wedding destinations for brides and grooms who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city without going too far from home.

The Venue at The Inn on the Creek offers couples, their families and friends a place to celebrate the entire wedding from rehearsal dinner to the newlyweds slipping away after the reception to a private suite that awaits them. The Venue is an indoor event center that can seat 250 guests comfortably. There is also room for seating on The Venue’s wrap-around porch that increases guest capacity. The Inn on the Creek is a collection of six unique and spacious guest accommodations from cottages to complete homes where wedding guests can stay in vintage-inspired suites or rooms, each with its own bath.

“We are a bed and breakfast with 23 guest rooms and can sleep up to 46 guests. Some rooms sleep three or four people, perfect for a family,” said Shannon Ashe, wedding coordinator for The Venue.

Each cottage, home or bungalow is spaced far enough away from the others to allow for privacy, yet they are all within walking distance to the complex.

The Bungalow, once a private home is now three separate suites. The two lower-level suites each have a living area and bathroom. There is a refrigerator and microwave for your convenience. The upstairs suite has its own bathroom, living room, full kitchen and an enclosed porch.

“From the bungalows, if you are having a wedding ceremony on the grounds, you would walk through the clearing at the bamboo jungle that separates the homes from your guests,” Ashe said.

The Manor, a historical home that was moved to the property in sections has seven guest rooms.

Alexander’s Distillery and Restaurant is adjoined to The Manor by a covered walkway. It serves breakfast to the guests, offers a Sunday brunch by reservation and is open for dinner to the public.

The Shed, a casual sports bar is near the event center and is available for rehearsal dinners.

The Holland House has five rooms, and The Horton House, an individual cottage, is adjacent to The Venue. It is one of The Inn’s most intimate accommodations and the one most recommended to bridal couples.

The Giles-Kindred House is a two-bedroom/two-bath cottage; and The Salado College Quarters has four rooms, each with a private bath.

Ashe said The Venue hosts 24 weddings a year, ranging in size from 30 to 50 and from 250 to 300. The Venue itself seats 225 people, but that can be expanded with outdoor seating.

If you are looking for a close-to-home destination wedding, Ashe said it’s best to book The Venue six months in advance.

“We are already booking for June, July and August of next year,” she said. If you are planning a wedding in the rainy month of May, Ashe recommends a rain plan.

She said October is the No. 1 wedding month; Texas begins to cool off around that time, and April is becoming popular. Weddings of all sizes are welcome and Ashe said she would consider any short turnaround, based on availability.

“Shannon has so much experience. Having her here as the wedding coordinator has made booking those events so much easier,” said Manager and Innkeeper Tony Blackman. “She makes sure those events are going smoothly on any given day.”

The two restaurants on site offer guests additional options for catering.

“You don’t have to use our restaurants,” Ashe said. But if you want a turnkey wedding, she said they can provide that service (catering) for you.

“What’s wonderful about being here is those who spend the nights can come into Alexander’s together in the morning, have breakfast together, then return to their suite to get ready for the wedding,” Ashe said. “It’s a great way for family and friends to get together, not just for the wedding itself, but as a venue.”

I’m getting married at The Venue

“It’s a myth to say there is such a thing as a stress-free wedding, but escaping the hustle and bustle of the real world, and coming to our village, it’s a place where you can relax and unwind,” Ashe said. “Something special happens when you come to our village. You can breathe, relax, unwind and know it’s going to be OK.”

When a couple calls Ashe inquiring about The Venue, she invites them to come and see the property. The first thing she does is assess their needs. “I identify that each bride is different and individual and it’s not going to be a cookie cutter wedding,” she said. “I create a plan based on their needs, budget and style. I listen to the bride, her desires and wants, and bring in the right price so her vision becomes a reality. I’m the logistics girl; I’m the gal who pulls it all together.”

“Because of her background in event planning, Shannon knows the questions to ask,” Blackman said. “She is able to give the brides suggestions to create the perfect mood.”

Ashe creates a timeline for the wedding, from rehearsal dinner to end of reception, and an itinerary. She will work with the DJ, photographer and other vendors for brides who don’t want to do anything; who just want to show up. Some brides, however, still like to keep a finger on the pulse of their wedding and may choose to hire their own vendors.

The Venue event center has a three-day rental requirement and cost is separate from the guest accommodations. There is a required deposit to hold the date for The Venue. Brides may also hold a guest room block for family, friends and out-of-town guests, but any guest rooms not reserved 30 days before the wedding will be dropped.

Ashe said she keeps her brides calm “by communicating with them on a regular basis.”

“I want brides to feel as if they are coming to another place, even though it’s just right down the road,” Ashe said. “There is something special when you come into our village — you can breathe, relax and know it’s going to be OK. Salado is such a magical place. It’s a beautiful little pocket of yesteryear.”

Shannon Ashe, wedding coordinator

Tony Blackman, innkeeper & manager

254-947-5554 | www.Inncreek.com

Catherine Hosman is editor of Tex Appeal Magazine. Contact her at editor@texappealmag.com or 254-774-5234.