kingston downs, weddings, wedding venue, north georgia, georgia, rome, cartersville

Photos Andy Calvert and Eve Yarbourgh

At first mention of Kingston Downs, images of wide-brimmed hats, bowties, and mint juleps might come to mind with Steeplechase, the famous annual equestrian event. But there’s more to this beautiful 5,000-acre piece of Northwest Georgia countryside than that. Much more. This is a place to unplug, relax and unwind, alone or with family and friends. To walk in the forest. Photograph wildlife or read a book in the shade by the river.  

And, a place to hold unforgettable wedding celebrations.  

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INSPIRED BY A ROMANTIC ADVENTURE 

When the property’s owners, Stan and Marie Bouckaert, got married, they decided to take a hiatus from the demands and stresses of corporate life and spend their time getting to know each other while exploring other cultures. So, they put on their hiking boots, strapped on backpacks, and struck out to see the world for an entire year. In that time, they saw 44 countries, walking and hiking every day, staying in hostels, sleeping in tents or in sleeping bags under the stars.

It was a honeymoon for the record books. They indulged in all manner of international cuisine (including lots of street food) and absorbed as many colorful cultural experiences as possible. By the end of their travels, the only two countries left on their list were Japan and Canada, but Marie was ready to go home. Those last two countries would have to wait for another time.  

That was four years ago. Now, two small children later, Stan and Marie find themselves the proud owners of Kingston Downs. They have leveraged the things they learned on their whirlwind adventure into creating a place where people can come and be close to nature and the people they care about. On their website, the Bouckaerts say, “We wanted to create a place for others to get away from their everyday life…to go off the grid, to relax, reflect, gather and play.”  

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A PLACE FOR CELEBRATION 

The gleaming white pavilion is the ideal place for a lovely wedding ceremony. This newly renovated open-air space encompasses 2,500 square feet and can host upwards of 270 guests for ceremonies and receptions. The pavilion is positioned for expansive views of rolling fields and the Etowah River. Charming cottages are available for guests who want overnight accommodation.  

As alternative sites for wedding ceremonies, the couple can take their vows beneath an old oak tree, under a handcrafted arbor, before a grand stone fireplace, or on the more intimate river lawn site.  

Kingston Downs partners with first-rate caterers and event planners to make any wedding celebration run smoothly; they work hard to provide a unique and memorable experience that is tailor-made for each couple.  

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SECLUDED YET ACCESSIBLE   

A tour of Kingston Downs gives the visitor the distinct impression of having escaped the harassing perplexities of life. It feels somewhat like abandoning civilization (or at least the negative aspects of it) and stepping back to a simpler time. To a quieter place, one that moves at a slower pace.

It evokes those sensations that only the remoteness of country living can provide. Despite this welcome feeling of seclusion, Kingston Downs’ location is wonderfully convenient for travelers. It is a mere 45-minute drive from either metro Atlanta or Chattanooga, and for those who live beyond driving distance, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is only 70 miles away.  

MORE THAN A VENUE  

The Bouckaerts have a custodial philosophy about Kingston Downs. The way they see it, they hold the property in trust. They have a strong sense of duty regarding this bucolic place, as something to be preserved, kept safe for future generations to enjoy. They take that responsibility seriously. Stan says. “We want this place to be something meaningful.” It’s their wish that this sense of meaning will outlive them. That way, this landscape with its thriving ecosystem of fields, forests, and river, will be as stunning many years from now as it is today.

Marie says, “Kingston Downs is more than a horse venue. Think of it as a getaway, a place for people to escape their everyday lives and relax.” This is a place where people can hike 15+ miles of trails, fly fish, mountain bike, float down the Etowah River, or stroll through the 29 acres of wildflowers. There are even several cozy cottages for quiet getaways.  

All these things taken together make the rolling hills of Kingston Downs a fantastic place to make any couple’s wedding day dreams come true. 

If you are interested in booking Kingston Downs for your wedding or upcoming event, visit their website at www.kingstondowns.com 

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