Every wedding begins with a journey and a unique story of the engaged couple.
Chasity Griffin and Chris Cooley visited Sampson’s Hollow in late summer, 2021, looking for a potential wedding venue for their October wedding. I was honored to be the person to take them on a tour of the property. It may sound cliche, but we are always honored when engaged couples want to come and see our family farm. There are so many beautiful venues in East Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains. Deciding on their wedding venue is probably the most important decision that a couple will make. Most likely, this decision will guide other choices that will need to be made. Where are we going to get married and have our reception?
As soon as I met Chris and Chasity, we seemed to have a connection. I learned that they were both Respiratory Therapists at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. My son had recently been diagnosed with CoVid and they were willing to answer my concerns about his treatments. It didn’t seem to frustrate them at all that I was asking questions that had nothing at all to do with their visit. Their concern and empathy struck a chord and I wanted very badly to be their venue of choice.
After their wedding, which was perfect, by the way, I wanted to know more about their journey and asked Chasity if she wouldn’t mind answering questions for me. She shared their journey to Sampson’s Hollow as follows:
Chris and I met at UT Medical Center. We are both Registered Respiratory Therapists there. We first met when Chris was a student and was at UT for his clinical rotation. I never imagined I was his type because I’m 5 years older than him. But luckily he likes older women. Lol. We’ve known each other for 6 years and had been together for almost 3 years when we got married.
I knew Chris was the one after we’d been dating around 18 months. We were on our second beach trip together with our kiddos. I just remember thinking to myself that there wasn’t anyone else I could ever imagine myself taking vacations or doing life with and that I just loved him so much. Chris knew I was the one after he saw I “wasn’t crazy.” Also, he said I brought joy and laughter to his life. Such a man’s response. Lol.
Chris said I love you first. We’d actually only been officially dating maybe a month. He started out by asking me how do I know if I love someone. After my explanation, he told me he loved me. I thought he was crazy…well, because how can you know that quickly?! But he obviously was telling the truth because we’re now officially Mr. and Mrs.
. Chris proposed at Mingo Falls in Cherokee, NC. That waterfall holds a very special meaning to me for numerous reasons. That is where my family vacationed for many summers in my childhood. It is also where my LOVE of waterfalls began. We planned a family trip for Father’s Day-including our kiddos, my parents, his parents, my brother, and sister and their families. Little did I know, it was also going to be our engagement trip. It meant so much to me that he included those nearest and dearest to me in our special moment.
I asked Chasity how she came to visit and decide on Sampson’s Hollow?
Honestly, meeting Janice the day we toured Sampson’s Hollow is a special memory for us both. She is truly the most genuine and caring person. We knew within moments of meeting her that she’d always hold a place close to our hearts. The love and passion she has for helping others have their “happily ever after,” shines through. We knew we weren’t a number to her, but instead actual people.
We started seriously shopping for a venue in August. We were engaged in June and were originally planning for a spring wedding. But due to this crazy thing called life, we decided to go ahead with a fall wedding. So the pressure to find a venue was there. But we wanted it to be the perfect place, even in a time crunch.
We visited 4 venues in total. Sampson’s Hollow was the last and our final choice.
I found Sampson’s Hollow online while searching for All-inclusive wedding packages in East TN. My plan was to elope. I didn’t want the hassle or stress of searching for, organizing, and securing all of the different vendors and things that go along with planning a wedding. But Chris and our families wanted those closest to us to be included.
Everything about this place screamed PICK ME!! I can’t say enough amazing things about Sampson’s Hollow. The beauty, the atmosphere, the one-of-a-kind HUGE outdoor covered porch with a gorgeous chandelier, multiple ceremony locations to chose from, with just as many places to take stunning photographs and I can’t forget to mention how helpful and amazing the people who work there are.
The planning process for our all-inclusive package was everything I’d hoped for. Most importantly it was STRESS-FREE!! It was amazing having the catering, cake, flowers, DJ, and decor all taken care of. I must also mention how amazing it was to have the overnight stay in the adorable cottage that’s on-site. We needed some adjustments to our package. We asked if we could have more than 40 guests and they made that happen. We also needed some menu adjustments due to special diets and allergies-MIL allergic to pork and BIL is vegan-and we were accommodated there as well. I wanted extra flowers also. Lucky for me, Krista, our coordinator, also owns a flower business. She and I discussed my vision and she made it happen.
What would you say to other brides who are trying to decide if they need to have a coordinator?
Krista was our coordinator. And all I can say is that LADY is amazing and deserves a gold medal for all the work she puts in. My main focus as the bride was that I wanted as LITTLE stress as possible. Having Krista as a coordinator took such a weight off of my shoulders. All I had to do was ask and she took care of things. She made our special day run smoothly and effortlessly. I’d like to add that we didn’t have time in our busy schedule for a rehearsal day—which most would absolutely freak out. Myself included. Krista promised me things would go amazing and that she’d be there to tell people where to be and what to do. She sure was. Our day was perfect. I 100% say to future brides—GET the coordinator. You won’t regret it.
Chasity, how would you rate the services provided to you by Sampson’s Hollow (please be completely honest). We would like to know how we can improve?
Honestly, I’d have to say above 10. I don’t have enough words to express my gratitude towards Janice, Krista, and Leslie. This sweet family suffered an unimaginable loss during our wedding planning process. Janice lost her son and Leslie lost her husband and father to their children. The venue also lost a special person that helped with the daily business agenda as well as being one of the DJs.
I share that to say that even during their loss, they still reached out to me to make sure I didn’t need anything. Asking how they can help me and if there was anything else they could do to make sure my special day was perfect. Their hearts were breaking but through all of that their hearts to serve still persevered. They love their God fiercely and aren’t afraid to show it or talk about it. I’ll forever consider these special ladies among my friends. They aren’t just someone we paid to help have a beautiful wedding day. They are special souls that will leave a mark in your life. Sampson’s Hollow and all of its beauty will leave that same impression.