By Ashley Claire Simpson
When long-time Northern Virginia resident Bethann Beeman and husband, Randy, bought Salem Oaks Farm in Marshall, Virginia, five years ago, she said it was a dream come true.
Salem Oaks Farm, practically a stone’s throw from lovely Middleburg, Virginia, is a working horse farm with approximately 20 horses. Beeman has loved horses for her entire life, and, now that she’s living her dream, she’s using her beloved Salem Oaks Farm to help couples’ wedding dreams come true.
The Fauquier County farm sits on 104 acres of land, and its 1800s-era stone and wood bank barn makes for a unique wedding venue, with the ability to seat more than 100 guests. Another element of Salem Oaks Farm that makes it such a special place for a wedding is the attention that every couple gets from Beeman and her staff.
“We only do one wedding per month from April to October,” Beeman said. “My focus will always be the horses. Then, in the winter, the equipment and the horses need to be in the barn where the weddings are held. So, in a nutshell, we’re never pushing a couple out to get the next wedding started. It’s kind of like you’re renting the entire farm for one wedding.”
Salem Oaks Farm has long been known for its equestrian events and horseback riding lessons, with the focus on riding western. It wasn’t until last year that Beeman realized the farm’s potential for wedding ceremonies and receptions.
One of her trainers on staff was interested in getting married on the property, and, Beeman enthusiastically agreed. From there, she said she saw just how magical Salem Oaks weddings could be – with scenic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the gorgeous horses running freely in the distance as the perfect backdrop.
“On a wedding day, in the morning, we have the horses out in the field so we can clean the barn,” she explained. “They stay out there through the day, but they are never on the property where the couple gets married. Still, there is the option of having them in the background of any photos you have taken on the property. Really, all the views are amazing. You’re always looking at the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are so pretty to have as part of the ceremony’s setting.”
Salem Oaks Farm is already booked through 2017, with the first wedding of the season on May 6th. Beeman, however, is taking reservations for bookings in 2018.
Both horse lovers and couples who know nothing about horses seek out the property for their magical days.
“The couples who have booked so far aren’t necessarily huge horse people,” she said. “They like the views, the barn itself, and the rustic feel of it all. They like that I’m never rushing them through the planning or on the day itself. They get to enjoy their day and be like family to us. It makes it special.”
Ashley Claire Simpson, practically a native of Northern Virginia, is a marketing communications professional "by day," and a freelance writer for a number of great local publications the rest of the time. She's been writing articles since her college newspaper days at the University of Virginia.