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How Much is a Wedding Video Worth?

July 13th, 2015 by Whitestone

http://www.suzannemcneilphotography.com/

Strangely, this is a question that often doesn’t get asked by brides preparing for their wedding but it is nearly always thought of after the wedding. A recent nationwide survey revealed that ninety-eight percent of brides who neglected to have their wedding recorded on video regretted that decision. Ninety-eight percent!

Why is that? Simply because as the saying goes: “Hindsight is 20/20.” These brides failed to see the importance of video until it was too late. They didn’t realize that memories, especially memories of details, fade easier than we think.

Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life. You already have, or will, spend so much time and effort making sure that everything is perfect.

SB Photo y and Jordan wedding at Whitestone Inn in Kingston, TN. Pictures by Steven of Bridges Photography. http://www.sbphotos.com

Capturing the details and precious moments of such a memorable day is something special. While most people budget for photographs, they often don’t put much thought into a wedding video past the price tag. While good wedding photos are important, don’t miss the fact that photographs can only go so far to preserve your memories. A still photo can’t let you hear your vows again or the words “I do” during the ceremony. A photo can’t allow you to see again the steps of the first dance that you practiced for months (or even took lessons). It can’t let you hear the sound of the musicians or the DJ you hired. What about the toasts during the reception? What about hearing best wishes, advice, or a prayer from your grandparents or other cherished family members, in their own voice? And without a video to capture them, these precious moments are gone forever.

A competent videographer experienced with weddings will also be able to capture memories that you won’t even notice on your wedding day; things that happen while you are getting ready, or at the beginning of the ceremony while you are in the back waiting to walk down the aisle, details at the reception that you missed, etc… These are moments that without a video, you won’t get the opportunity to experience.

Prices today for a professional wedding video can climb up to $6000 for a video included in a Disney wedding package, or to $15000 or more for a cinematic masterpiece done by a high end production company. A survey done by online wedding resource theknot.com showed that the average amount spent nationwide on wedding videography in 2014 was $1794. But a basic professional video can be had for only a few hundred dollars. So really, there’s a wedding video for nearly any budget.

Couples often say “We can’t afford a wedding video.” This is almost always followed by “By the time we pay for the venue, a photographer, flowers, a cake, the food, and clothes, there just isn’t any money left in the budget…” Now I do understand that for most people, money is an object, but in reality, people choose how they spend their wedding budget based on what is important to them, what they consider to be priorities, rather than what they actually can or can’t afford. Make sure that what you are allocating funds for is really what you want. Is the extra cost for high-end floral arrangements, the eight course meal for your guests, or the limousine ride for your bridal party more valuable to you than being able to relive your wedding day for years to come?

So if you are on the fence about whether or not to have a professional wedding video, please give it some serious thought. Don’t make a decision that you will regret. Do you think you will regret having a video? I doubt it. How much is a wedding video worth? You decide, but prioritize wisely: ninety-eight percent of brides can’t be wrong.

Check out the Wedding Memory Video as part of our Tennessee wedding packages to capture the important moments of your special day at Whitestone.

Photos by Bridges Photography and Suzanne McNeil Photography.

A Tale of Two Weddings in East Tennessee

July 13th, 2015 by Whitestone

tennessee wedding chapel at whitestone inn

I arrived at Whitestone again today, and have been slowly soaking in the amazing transformation that the change of seasons has brought. The backdrop of hills and trees surrounding Watts Bar Lake, the pastures and even the sky, seem to have shifted suddenly from winter’s black-and-white silent movie to spring’s technicolor film, complete with the welcome sounds of chirping birds.

Spring here stirs a variety of especially warm memories for me, because I was privileged to be both the mother-of-the-bride and the bride in spring Whitestone weddings (though not at the same time, of course!). Both weddings were very different, and each took advantage of the amazing array of options available here in terms of wedding venues, reception types, and character.

tennessee wedding chapel at whitestone inn

My daughter had the wedding of her dreams. Married in the chapel with the full array of bridesmaids and groomsmen, she enjoyed the benefits of a large wedding, set in an atmosphere that was reverent, joyful, and beautiful. At the close of the ceremony, wedding guests entered the Lion and the Lamb, a stunning building adjacent to the Chapel, containing an elegant banquet hall overlooking the lake, with guest rooms located on the second floor above. The reception there included a full dinner for all wedding guests, and music and dancing provided by a band. The décor and colors were beautiful, and guests raved about the food. Deneise and the staff at Whitestone spared no detail in coordinating the arrangements, and keeping the mother-of-the-bride sane and more than pleased.

It was only natural that would I think of this Knoxville wedding venue again, when, after twenty years of being single, I was blessed to be married again. Our wedding took place mid-day in a lovely outdoor gazebo on the grounds of Whitestone. We wanted a more intimate setting, outside, where we could welcome a smaller group of family and friends. Again, Deneise saw to many details, friends filled the gazebo with flowers, and we experienced a simple and perfect ceremony. Afterwards, guests were treated to a an attractive and delicious luncheon on the glassed-in porch overlooking the lake and pastures.

gazebo - knoxville tennesseee wedding venue

After both weddings, we discovered that many of those attending began to frequently visit Whitestone on their own, which we felt was a tremendous endorsement of our choice in Knoxville wedding locations. So if you, or someone you know, may be contemplating the perfect place to say “I do”, drive out to romantic Whitestone, and look around. Take it from two happily married ladies, it just doesn’t get any better than this!

by: Valerie Bryant Bennett

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Learn more about Whitestone’s wedding packages, request a proposal, or call 865-376-0113 and ask for the Events office so that we can answer any questions.

Photos by Your Reflections, Knoxville wedding photographers.

Wedding Anniversary Stories

July 7th, 2015 by Whitestone

We had so many amazing entries for our June anniversary giveaway and wanted to share a selection of them with you below. They are touching and inspiring from couples at all stages of life. We hope you enjoy!

 

My wife is amazing!  She is not your normal 31 year old woman. We actually met each other in Russia; she was a missionary there and I was on a trip with my church.  Long story short, we ended up falling and love and getting married. Now I could write a book about our life story about how we came together, how the odds were against us, and so on, but that’s not what this is about.  My 31 year old wife had a heart attack on December 7, 2011.  She is a health, in shape woman, which you would never put her and heart attack together. It was a rainy snowy day.  We were going through the busyness of the Christmas season, parties, getting gifts, about to celebrate Christmas for the first time with our seven month old beautiful little girl.  It was such a wonderful time.  And then the unthinkable happened.  My wife was heading home from work after picking up our daughter at her sitters; it was cold and rainy, so she took the back way home, of the interstate, so it would not be so hectic. Then it hit here, she could not breath. Blood coughing started.  Thank God she was on the phone with one of her close friends who said to call 911. So she did. I’m walking out of work and I get a call from a unknown number, which I normally do not answer, and picked up. It was a three-way with the 911 operator and my half breathing wife. I heard her cries, gasps, vomits, and moans.  I was told that an ambulance was on their way to her.  Before it got to bad she pulled over in a subdivision and got out and just laid behind the car so someone would see her to wait, Motionless on the ground waiting for the ambulance while our daughter was in the vehicle.  The ambulance got to her in 3 minutes, which is crazy for the time of day, everyone getting off work and all.  At this point no one knows what is going on.  I tell her I love her and I’m coming with her in the ambulance. I go to move my car out of the middle of the road and when I’m running back I see the ambulance leave. The firefighter says to me “she has to go, she is deteriorating.”   I’m stunned.  On the way to the hospital she flat lines 5 times and is shocked back to life.  Thank God I did not see that!   She gets to the hospital, they try to stabilize her. No one knows what is going on with a 28 year old’s heart.  Long story shorter, they finally decide to do a heart cath on her. They see a very rare, hardly ever diagnosed condition. SCAD – Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection.  The doctor is searching online and using other sources to figure out what to do.  Pretty much a vein in her heart split and caused a clot of blood. They tell me at first she will be incubated for a while and in hospital for 3-4 weeks; this will be a long process.  But, she recovers miraculously. We walk out hand in hand less than a week later.  The doctors say its due to her age and the great shape she is in, but I give it to God’s age and the shape He is in.  And that is how my wife puts it every day.  So to get onto the anniversary. On December 28th, 2011, I was so blessed to just have my wife at my side. When all odds were against her, God had a plan through this. We had a wonderful evening together; eating dinner at home, relaxing with our daughter!  It may not seem like grand plans, but we had each other that Anniversary.

 

Our best celebration, was probably our last anniversary. We had moved to a very small house with three kids, and my husband found places for them to stay the night and he made us a wonderful steak dinner, it showed me how much he loved and cared for me, even though we couldn’t afford to take a trip. God has truly blessed me:)

Looking back as we are getting ready to celebrate 15 years in August ….there have never been any big celebrations but we have always taken time to make it meaningful with some type of acknowledgement to recognize God’s continued faithfulness in our lives. I think the anniversary after we had our first child -our 6th-was very memorable. We went to a resort close by for 2 days and enjoyed a time of rest, relaxation after surviving a very joyful yet life changing 9 months!

We have a large blended family with multiple children. Our celebrations have always doubled as family vacations. As much fun as we’ve had. This year will be our best celebration ever! Just the two of us, a nice room away from home and a little peace and quiet. Looking forward to our romantic B&B get away!

Our first anniversary we had dinner at home just the two of us it was a candlelight dinner may not have been extravagant but it was my favorite one we had and I have loved all our anniversaries.

In 1996 received mail for one year telling me about a “Precious Moments” conference in NYCity and my husband signed us up to attend.  For one year my husband planned every detail of this to make me “think” I was going to NY for a conference.  The time came for our 10 year anniversary so we rented a car and headed toward NYCity only to make a small “detour” at the Pocons Resorts!!!  We stayed 4 nights and during that time he had me 10 gifts (one for each year we were married).  The most memorable gift was a quilt that my mother embroidered with the past 10 years of our life.  (our children s hands/feet, our first home, the place we were married, etc.)  to end this very nice surprise my hubby had our pastor tape a renewal of vows video so we renewed our vows right there in our room and of course he topped that off with an anniversary ring with 10 perfect diamonds that I still to this day wear to remember that very, very special time.

Our 8th was very special…not that the things we did ,or were we were, was anything extra ordinarily, I believe it was our heart to heart talks,and things we had faced together that year that brought out the gaiety and fun!it was a bed and breakfast in Smithville with a water wheel and we went on a hike and they had a huge waterfall and we both went underneath the falls and just laughed and laughed and had a wonderful time like two kids instead of grown ups! I lost my first husband when I was only married 3 years with two little ones so   Married life to me is a gift every day and I am so blessed and grateful to our God and Heavenly Father for my husband Pete and the new life that God has given us ,we have two more small children now together and just celebrated our 11th anniversary at Whitestone our first time end of May…. JUST LOVED IT!

My husband and I have only been married 4 years. We got married at Whitestone and on our 3rd anniversary, we came back and stayed at Whitestone. We have traveled for each of our other anniversaries, but it was particularly special bc about three years into marriage you get really relaxed and comfortable and sometimes the spark dwindles but being back where we said our vows was so special and having dinner with couples of all ages and anniversary ranges was amazing. It wasn’t our most extravagant anniversary celebration, but definitely most special and memorable.

Our 50th wedding anniversary was here in Dayton, TN. It was a large gathering from people all over the country. At the end our children gave us a present for a trip to Europe. That was exciting becaue we saw the houses where our ancestry came from.

We will be celebrating our first anniversary this year!
This year will be our first anniversary! We got married 4 years to the day he first told me he loved me!
“Our best anniversary celebration happened almost 7 years ago on our 7th anniversary. I was 39 weeks pregnant with our 2nd child, a daughter. Our plans were to go to the next town to go out to eat following my weekly prenatal check-up. Since I was almost two weeks overdue with our first child when I had to be induced, I was totally not expecting to be sent to the hospital for delivery at 39 weeks!  But, due to some complications, that is what happened. (We did grab a bite to eat first, since it was not an emergency.).We were half expecting her to be born on our anniversary, but she made her entrance an hour and 4o minutes too late.  Most people would not think this sounds like a good anniversary, but after having multiple miscarriages, we were so thankful to the Lord that our beautiful miracle, Lydia Grace, was born healthy, that it made our celebration even more special-and she should never forget her parents’ anniversary! :-)
P.S. We’re excited to be spending our anniversary there next month!”

My husband and I will be married for eight years on November 24 and we have never been on a trip for our anniversary. We are expecting our first child after five years of trying and we would love to have a little baby moon before our baby arrives in September. I found out about y’all in an article from Southern Living magazine several years ago and we have both wanted to come visit ever since.
“every year is the same flowers and dinner!

Spending 5 days in the Great Smokey Mountains just the 2 of us for our 25 year anniversary.  Wonderful time relaxing – hiking – checking out the wildlife at Cade’s Cove – just being together outside of our normal routine.

Our 25th!! Given to us by our children and it was a surprise! It was over the top..cake, music, food galore and an amazing memory we will never forget!
Would love to have a aniversary that we can say was great.I believe here we can find that special day.
It would probably be our first anniversary because we were able to spend it at Whitestone.  When we first came to Whitestone on our honeymoon, I had a broken foot and did not get to explore very much. When we returned for our first anniversary, we were able to enjoy more of our favorite place to getaway.

My husband surprised me once and took me to a cabin at a ranch. Before we went though he made a special trip and took roses and had them everywhere on bed and in room. It was just beautiful. We stayed overnight ate dinner and breakfast. Walked miles went swimming, watched the horses, he pushed me on a huge tree swing. It was something I’ll never forget.

“My wife and I have been married now for 5.5 years. It is sometimes difficult for us to celebrate our anniversary near actual anniversary because it is so close to Christmas and Holiday get togethers. Well, my favorite anniversary so far is our 2nd Anniversary. You may think wow, 2 years, but it is more than just that.

My wife, Allison, and I just celebrated our first anniversary this past Saturday.  Since I have a 7 year-old son from a prior marriage, I felt that it was important for Allison and I to have a “date night” dinner with just “us,” so I checked around for babysitter’s and thankfully, my in-laws were gracious enough to watch him and allow him to spend the night.  So we went out to their house and B got to play in the lake and then Allison and I went to eat a nice, quiet, romantic dinner in Knoxville. Then we were able to go home and share our top layer of wedding cake that we had frozen and it was just as delicious as we had remembered!  All in all, it was a wonderful anniversary and she and I are grateful to share this life together!

So I haven’t been married long enough to have anniversaries as July 4th this year will make 1 year of marriage.  Despite that I’d like to share our story. I had my first date with my hubby on Feb 23 2013.  A month later on March 23rd he took me out on a defining date for us to the Melting Pot.  I’d never been the mushy type to celebrate “monthaversaries” or anything of the sort and as a woman in her 30s I thought maybe I was being a little juvenile to be so thrilled with the gesture.  But still, I was blown over that he was making a point to remember.  As the months followed he’d often do little gestures on the 23rd, small flower bouquets at my desk that he’d drive to my office early and leave before I got in, a special dinner, etc. The 23rd of every month became a day to remember that we were still together after that first date.  On Feb 23 2014 at a birthday dinner for my grandfather with all of our family around (including my two children he’d come to love) he asked me to be his wife.  We were married a few months later on July 4th but our 23rds still felt special.  On Oct 23 2014 I was able to make his night one to remember and share with him and all our family that we were expecting a baby that is due on all days but June 23rd.  It is silly but when I found out from the doctor that we were due on a 23rd I was just tickled pink.  People might think we are silly but now just 2 weeks away from that day I hope the baby does come on a day that is a reminder that something so wonderful started on the 23rd day of the month.

I would have to say that 2yrs ago we came to Whitestone and stayed 2nights for our anniversary. Being parents of 2 children, who are now teenagers, we do not get the chance to celebrate our anniversary with an overnight stay very often. We took advantage of your 50% off discount for school system employees and was the best decision we have made!! Steve works out of town through the week, so spending time together relaxing, walking the grounds or laying in the hammock is the perfect way to recharge and reconnect! I love to sunbathe and relax and had told Steve….”Man, this place would be perfect if it had a pool!”. So we are super excited for the pool to be a new addition!!!! We have stayed 2 other times since then and it is always our first choice when we have a little extra money and time to get away!!

On our 50th celebration our son Kevin, gave us two nights in a cabin in the mountains.  Our other son, ken gave us gifts cards so we could go out to eat. They spent time with us & this is a blessing for our Children to spend time with us. Brenda gave us many gifts, a picture frame that had the date of 50th celebration!

“On our 25th I planned a surprise cruise. What made it really fun was all the people who helped. She is a nurse and their schedule is up on the wall – her boss made it look like she was on for the week. We woke up and I told her to pack up for tropical weather and gave her the tickets. It was a great celebration even when they lost our luggage. The cruise line put me in a tux and her in a formal for the Captains dinner as well as some money to spend in the gift shop.

It was in Peru when we were living there serving the Lord as full time missionaries.  We went to dinner in Lima, and my sweet husband hailed a horse and driver for us to have a carriage ride through the streets in the evening.  Since it was in December, and it was warm in Lima, we fully enjoyed the evening, Christmas lights, and quiet time together.  It was our 34th anniversary and one I will never forget because we don’t do things for ourselves, we seem to put others first!

We honeymooned in New Hampshire which is absolutely beautiful. We were fortunate enough to go back there for our Anniversary a few years ago which was splendid. We were able to trace some of our steps from our Honeymoon which was a lot of fun and brought back great memories. I have always referred to New Hampshire as heaven on earth and when we came to Whitestone  last year I said the same thing about your beautiful Inn.  Winning this contest would be a blessing and would be the next best thing as returning to New Hampshire again!”

The best anniversary celebration we have had was actually last year on our visit to Whitestone.  We stayed at the Lion and Lamb in the beautiful room and enjoyed sitting on the little deck and gazing at the water, watching the horses and birds, and just enjoying the peacefulness.  It was so relaxing and we were so rejuvenated.  The meals were absolutely scrumptious! We enjoyed walking around the grounds and swinging on the swings on the patio at the farmhouse.  We cannot wait to go back!

In 2006 we celebrated our 50th anniversary in Ireland, a delightful experience!  We were able to visit sites where our ancestors lived and the beautiful and historic countryside.  And the people were wonderful.

My wife and I celebrated our 7th anniversary at the same place where we got married, the Whitestone Inn.  She was pregnant with our first child, and we just enjoyed relaxing and being together.  We also enjoyed a wonderful dinner.

I JUST had it last night, so this was such a fun email to see today.  My husband and I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary last night by camping at the Elkmont Campground in the Smokies, where we saw the synchronized fireflies.  Just gorgeous!  What a magical experience.

My husband and I traveled to Europe before starting a family and ate dinner in the Eiffel Tower. It was a trip of a life time and worth saving our pennies for 5 years!

The best is yet to come! We are looking forward to celebrating out 50th wedding anniversary with you at The Whitestone Inn in three weeks! We’ve really never done anything much special to celebrate after the first anniversary, but this year we are going to CELEBRATE!  God has blessed us with 50 years that encompassed the totality of our vows, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. Not too sure I’ve always followed the vow of obedience. We are soooo looking forward to making our days with you THE BEST anniversary ever!

Our best anniversary celebration was actually a quiet dinner just shy of our son’s 2 month birthdate. The first two months of his life were honestly a nightmare. Lots of tests and sleepless days and nights. Finally, the Lord answered our prayers and our son had surgery on his stomach. That year our anniversary was just a quiet dinner alone but it meant so much more. Our son is now 2 years old and perfectly fine. Such a huge blessing.
For our 10 year anniversary, I started 10 weeks prior to our anniversary, with a clue/reminder from each year of our anniversary, with a small associated gift that ultimately led to giving my wife a new iPad loaded with an itinerary for our surprise trip the Northeast for a week!
On our 4th anniversary, we celebrated for a week on the west coast of Jamaica. We stayed at The Hidden Paradise Resort in Negril. The environment was so relaxing; our evening meals were at the restaurant on the beach where we were able to watch the beautiful sunsets.

5 years ago our four children, family, and friends gave us a most memorable and generous gift. It was a dream come true trip to Hawaii and a cruise around the islands with The Gaither Homecoming singing groups. We celebrated our 39th anniversary there and renewed our wedding vows on a beach in Honolulu. It is a precious memory but we know that the special people who made this trip possible are the real gift in our lives. We are so blessed and so thankful!

Our 20th anniversary approached in a long, dry season of unemployment and stress. Wanting to make it special, I saved up to buy a couple of steaks and made arrangements for the kids to be elsewhere.  :-)  However, the kids were very involved in the preparation of the table and were my videographer/photographer for the special moment when their Dad came home…led into our living room with eyes closed.  They captured the moment when he opened his eyes to see me in my wedding gown (not worn since our wedding). Our kids were witness to a very special moment in our lives…one we all will never forget.  Our daughter (then 15) surprised us leaving an amazing letter of tribute for us to read over our candlelight dinner.

Can’t believe another year has passed and until I began to fill out this form, I did not realize that today is our 48th wedding anniversary!  My husband, Marshall, and I have no outstanding memorable anniversary years except that usually it’s teasing each other about who recalls it first.  This time I am ahead of him!!  For many years, we never forgot because our small rural church always printed special occasions in the church bulletin, and that served as a reminder. We are both just grateful to be healthy, active senior adults and to have had 48 wonderful years as a couple.  Thanks

“My husband and I will be married for one year this coming Sunday on June 7th. With this being our first anniversary, I have to think that this one will be one of the most memorable no matter how we celebrate it. I’m entering this contest because we were lucky enough to spend our honeymoon at Whitestone Inn last June. My husband surprised me with where we were going, and Whitestone was the perfect place to relax after a very busy couple of weeks leading up to the wedding. Not only did we love the beauty and solitude of the grounds, the food was amazing! The perfect way to celebrate our anniversary would include relaxing on the grounds, and eating the BEST CHOCOLATE CAKE we have ever had in our lives. No chocolate cake we’ve had since Whitestone holds a candle to what we had there. The chocolate cake from Whitestone is a source of conversation for my husband and I. We tell each other that one day we will make it back to enjoy it… it just hasn’t happened yet! Until we can taste that chocolate cake again, our taste buds will not be satisfied. Whitestone Inn+Chocolate Cake= The most memorable 1st anniversary :)”

When I was younger, I came to Whitestone a number of times because my mother played violin for many weddings there. I always loved it and when it came time for me to get married, Whitestone was my only choice. My best anniversary celebration ever was our first anniversary a few years ago when my wife and I came back to Whitestone to spend a few days together. It was such a special time because we got to reminisce about our wedding day as we walked the grounds and all the sweet memories from that day. Whitestone will always have a special place in our hearts!

My best anniversary would be are first. It’s not necessarily because of what we did on that day but because we did not know if we would get too see are first anniversary. A month and half after we were married I was diagnosed with cancer. So when we got to are first anniversary it was amazing day. We went back to the spot we got married had a picnic. Remembered the wedding day and everything we have been through that year. The day was great! This year it will be 6 years to some people that might not seem like a long time. But my husband and I have been threw more in these short years than some have been threw in 20. So blessed to have my husband. He is truly a gift from God.

Last year we were given a night at Whitestone for our anniversary and it was also our first night away from our daughter who was 5 months old at the time. It was so relaxing! I got an amazing massage, we did a carriage ride, and just enjoyed the peaceful scenery and each other.

We married in 1967. In 1987 for our 20th when my husband was pastor in Tempe AZ, we took our two teen daughters up the west coast, into Canada, and back through Yellowstone. We drove an old VW Vanagon he bought as salvage and worked for months making it useable for the trip. It broke down on the Golden Gate bridge but Mr. fix It was able to get the part and repair it in the motel parking lot. We made sure our trip to Yellowstone was on our actual anniversary, 8/11, as we stood there and viewed “Old Faithful!” That’s what we still are now nearly 48 years later, retired and blessed.

After perhaps the most difficult year of our marriage, we celebrated our 14th anniversary at Whitestone.  I surprised my wife with the trip and we had the carriage ride, a picnic, flowers in the room, and chocolates.  We also had one of the best meals of our lives – I had the sea bass.  By the time we left, we were MUCH closer than when we came.  Just spending quiet time together made all the difference in the world.

In 33 years we have had some great anniversary celebrations….a few even at Whitestone Inn! My favorite anniversary gift from my husband came from the Dollar Store! It was during a time of unemployment and he bought a bag of Candles, knowing that I was holding off on buying new candles ! A simple, but special, surprise!

We were blessed to enjoy our 10 year anniversary at Whitestone. We enjoyed the scenery and the quiet times we were able to enjoy all of the beautiful things that was offered at Whitestone. We were able to enjoy a massage, a carriage ride, time on the lake, and time fishing. It was very relaxing and is a great place for couples to spend together. We are so thankful for a place like Whitestone.

Our twentieth anniversary I surprised my husband and he did not know we were going there till we got to the barn entrance. I told him we were going out to dinner. We pulled up and he said this is Whitestone and not the place we were going to eat at . I said well let’s just stay the night here . We have reservations . He said what about clothes ? I told him I packed them while he was in the shower . He said what about the kids ? He said I guess you took care of that too !!!! I said yes I did . He was totally surprised and our stay was beyond wonderful !  We have benn there several times since .
Festivities w/ friends ‘n family and all the various animal members of loved ones families.  TOPS for fun!!
Our 15th Anniversary, we decided to renew our wedding vows at Whitestone! It was a simple service in the gazebo outside of the chapel with Paul officiating. We had our immediate family, including our kids, out with us to celebrate with dinner afterward. When you get married there is so much you don’t know, but after 15 years when you willingly renew those vows before God with the person you know better than anyone, and who knows you, it is a beautiful feeling. I will always remember that anniversary as my favorite!
5 years ago our four children, family, and friends gave us a most memorable and generous gift. It was a dream come true trip to Hawaii and a cruise around the islands with The Gaither Homecoming singing groups. We celebrated our 39th anniversary there and renewed our wedding vows on a beach in Honolulu. It is a precious memory but we know that the special people who made this trip possible are the real gift in our lives. We are so blessed and so thankful!

On our 15th anniversary, Paul renewed the vows of David and I.  This was very important to us because of the church and Pastor that originally married us, and how David and I have grown as a couple and in our faith.

A 10 day trip to Colorado for our 25th beautiful countryside- quality time spent together  viewing God’s beauty !

“I think it was about our 5th wedding anniversary, my husband’s parents took us out for a nice dinner at the Whitestone resort. Before dinner we took a nice and relaxed walk and when we walked into the chapel, my mother in law gave us a hand made family recipe book with lots of family pictures and recipes from each female member of our family. Then we had a nice dinner at the dining room. That was the most memorable and special
anniversary.”

Stayed at Das Essenhaus in Middlebury, Indiana, for many anniversaries and they were all our favorite. :-) Drove the country roads in Amish country, bird watched, admired the horses, and visited the Amish-run cheese factory. Returned to Das Essenhaus for Amish-cooked roast beef (beef Manhattan) sandwiches and fabulous desserts. The best? Red raspberry cream pie.

It’s hard to believe it was 15 years ago, but we had a mini-family reunion as we celebrated my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary at Whitestone. We had a large buffet dinner in the Lion & Lamb, which was wonderful, and full of fun and stories. Then the local guests went home and all the out-of-towners adjourned to the Farmhouse (I think we booked all but one of the rooms there). It was like a giant slumber party. I can’t thank you enough for those precious memories. We lost my Dad last year, just a few months after their 64th anniversary. But all of us in the family still remember the great times we’ve enjoyed at Whitestone Country Inn. Thanks for all you do!

Who Are You Taking For Granted?

June 26th, 2015 by Whitestone

 

Ecclesiastes 7:14 “God arranges both good days and bad days so we won’t take anything for granted.”

But we do take things and people for granted! Especially dependable people who have been around for a long time can almost go unnoticed and under appreciated. We become so accustomed to their love and support that we only focus on how much they contribute to our lives when they are no longer there.

hugsIf you are like me, you have some wonderful low-maintenance folks who are always there that you can easily “take for granted”. It’s tragic that we wait until someone you love doesn’t know how much you value their relationship until they are gone. The epiphany of how important they are to you comes when it’s too late to tell them.

Look around as you move through your day, Is there someone who quietly benefits your life that you have become so used to their presence that you’ve neglected to tell them how valuable they are to you? Can you tell them today how much you are blessed because they are connected to you? Without being morbid, express some of what you would say at their funeral.

Someone who is always there for you needs to hear you tell them how much their relationship means to you. Friends and family who are always there will be blessed if you don’t take them “for granted” today. You will be blessed as well. Love is not love if it’s not expressed.

“If the stars only came out once a year, we would stay up all night to behold them.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

A Story of Loss | Grief Recovery Retreat for Pastors

June 13th, 2015 by Whitestone

 

 

Whitestone will host a 4 day / 3 nights workshop and retreat for Pastor/Spouses who have lost a child, grandchild, or spouse on Sept. 21-24, 2015. Grief is an individual process but Spark of Life, a national grief recovery ministry has been helping folks find strength and comfort after the loss of a close loved one. This will be the first workshop we have hosted at Whitestone specifically for Pastors and their spouses. There are some scholarship funds available. Call Paul for specific information on the workshop 865.389.7182.  – Paul

Below is a story from David Matthews, Founder of Spark of Life on personal loss and the need for grief recovery.

***

As many of you know, our partners in Spark of Life, Rusty and Nancy Meadows, lost their 34 year-old son, Justin, on January 17, 2015. They were told the news of Justin’s death a few minutes before we were to begin our last day of Spark of Life Retreat # 43 on Sunday morning, January 18. Rusty and Nancy were leading the retreat with Debbie and me.

The following is what I read at the conclusion of Justin’s Celebration of Life service on Saturday. It obviously reflects our personal beliefs

We were excited about our first Spark of Life Grief Retreat of 2015. Rusty and Nancy Meadows and Dennis and Terri Rine and Debbie and I absolutely love what we do, though of course we hate the circumstances surrounding the people who come.

People ask us often, “How do you do what you do, dealing with death all the time?” I usually answer that question with another question – “How could we not do what we do? We actually deal with Life all the time. You see, in every retreat we lead, we see much more Life than we do death.”

So last Wednesday, January 14, the four of us gathered in Texas to prepare for 17 grievers whom we would meet the next night. This would be our 43rd retreat since we began in 2009. We approach each one as if it is the most important one, for it is the one that occupies the present.

We knew that on Thursday, when we meet everyone, we would hear sad stories of loss. We would see despair and hopelessness on many faces. But we also knew that we would grow to love 17 people, and experience a spark of life with each one. And despair would turn to hope – hope that though life would never be the same again after such losses, hope that each one could live forward, having a rich and fulfilling life once again.

Little did we realize what was to come.

As Thursday turned into Friday and then to Saturday, we experienced too many tears to count. But we also saw smiles, and laughter, and joy – right there in the midst of death. We saw those who had experienced unthinkable loss reach out to others, encouraging, listening, hugging, loving. We saw ‘hope’ begin to take its rightful place.

And then Sunday came.

Sundays, to me, have a multitude of connotations. But each one centers on victory, and hope, and life. And each one goes back to a Sunday a long time ago. The Sunday of January 18, 2015 would certainly need a Sunday 2,000 years ago. About 10 minutes before we were to begin the last day of the retreat, Rusty and Nancy received the phone call all parents hope they never get. Their 34 year-old son Justin had died earlier that morning – totally unexpectedly.

The expected shock and tears and wailing began. Confusion and numbness engulfed them, and us as well. Death was smothering life out of the room.

And then Life showed up.

I will never forget Rusty and Nancy’s words to us. Mere minutes after this horrible, horrific news, through such deep tears and anguish, Rusty turns to me and takes my hand and says, “David, you and Debbie must finish the retreat. You must take care of these 17 precious people. Finish the retreat!” And Nancy affirms this to us – “Finish the retreat!”

And there, in the midst of death, Life reigned.

You see, and many of you know this, death cannot defeat true Life. I hate death. It pains me to see those I love, and even those I don’t know, experience deep grief and hurt and pain. I know you don’t like it either. But this I know – Life triumphs. The grave is empty. And therein lies hope; therein is the Spark of Life.

——
David Mathews
Co-Founder and Executive Director
Spark of Life Grief Recovery Retreats

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