Reminiscent of a European Chateau with gardens like Monet’s in Giverny, the Lairmont Manor is a little slice of European beauty right here in Bellingham.
The Lairmont Manor is the setting of one of my top 5 favorite memories; the evening of my rehearsal dinner. The rehearsal dinner just so happens to be one of my favorite wedding traditions. For me, it together everyone that I love most in the world, uniting us with my husband’s loved ones. And this is where my brother gave me an amazing gift.
To set the stage, it’s important to share a little bit about myself with you. You see, my father died on Friday, September the 13th, when I was just over a year old. My mother married again, producing a baby brother for me, whom I love dearly. However, from the time I was six, it was basically the three of us; my mom, my brother (Chris), and me.
From the time I was little, I dreamed of a big, traditional wedding. My mother has two brothers, and we’ve always been very close to her side of the family. And here in lies my dilemma. Out of my two uncles, which one would I choose to walk me down the aisle? They’ve always been there for me and there was no way that I could chose between them. This was the topic of many conversations between my mom and a young me.The problem seemed to solve itself the summer I returned home from my first year in college. My little brother had grown into a young man (read: he was finally taller than me). Thus, deeming him worthy of walking me down the aisle. Phew!
During the two weeks prior to the ceremony, my friends and family started to congregate in Bellingham. It was during this time that my mom mentioned to Chris that he might want to think of giving a speech at the rehearsal dinner. His initial thoughts were, “what am I going to say?” And when the evening came around, he started his speech with those exact words.
He then began telling us that he really had no idea what he was going to say, and it had been weighing heavily on his mind. Let’s face it, he was a twenty-something guy, who liked to date and have fun, not a middle-aged father, who’s daughter was getting married. Chris went on to say, that it was while he was helping paint the inside of our house, that it happened….
According to Chris, my dad’s voice came to him. In his message, my dad told him how proud he was of the woman that I’ve become and of the choices that I’ve made. The story Chris shared was simply profound and touched a place so very deep inside of me. I wish I could remember everything he said, but I remember enough and I remember truly feeling my dad’s presence with us there that night. As they were the words of a father, not of a little brother.
Needless to say, this was truly a special moment and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. And this is why the Lairmont Manor will always hold a special place in my heart.
Ironically, we were married on September 13th, bringing the events of my life full circle.
Architecture in the PNW, by comparison to the rest of the world, is still in its infancy. Having traveled Europe and visited underground wine cellars that date back to 500 BC and seen artifacts that are over 4,000 years old, I can personally attest to that. So while the Lairmont Manor is relatively young, on a global level, it is a beloved historical establishment, nestled in our little corner of the world.
It may surprise people to know that Lairmont Manor is used for more than just amazing weddings. While they do focus on all celebrations of LOVE 🙂 , they also strive to open the doors to music and musical education of all kinds. This is in part to honor the great Francis Larrabee, a formidable musician and champion of musical education, who designed The Larrabee Home, in 1914, to be a house of music and community gatherings. https://www.historylink.org/File/8603
The ultimate goal is to have the house and estate filled with neighbors, community, arts, productivity, business, charity, music, and celebration each and every day of the year. The Lairmont team wants the Manor to be open and cherished and used as a resource to all. They feel that something so beautiful should be shared, something so rare and historic should be treasured, protected and cherished. Besides the beautiful and historic surroundings, Lairmont also offers the perfect amount of privacy and versatility and a freedom for planners and guests of each event.
The Mansion and estate has been restored and owned by the same family now for over 50 years, with a passion to uphold the beauty of its original architecture for years to come and hold open for all to enjoy. Revenue from the venues events goes directly to the maintenance, annual restoration, to the growth of the landscape and gardens and to pay their beloved event staff, master gardener and maintenance team.
A Little 411 on the Space, aka Features and Benefits!
So, you’re thinking about hosting an event at a local venue. Here is a list of features and benefits that the Lairmont Manor has to offer you:
- The estate is an exclusive use/private event venue (meaning no one else will be wandering through during your event). Only your quests on sight. So you control the mood and the vibe. Now that’s what I’m talking about!
- The space is large, airy and clean. Francis designed the house to be perfect for a society organizer and musician, with perfect FLOW and perfect acoustics. Yes, a hostess’ dream come true!
- They offer full use of manor and estate during your event. Your creativity is your guide, and you may use any professional event vendors you choose. See below for some fun ideas how to make it your own.
- You will work with their experienced Venue Coordinator and friendly set up staff from your first interaction through to the end of your event to ensure that everything is as you expect and the venue is ready for your event. Phew! One less thing to worry about!
- Their goal is to help you have an easy and memorable event. They understand events and know that flexibility is important. Many of their team have hosted their own events at Lairmont (from weddings to game nights to book clubs to yoga clinics). They are oh so familiar with the ins and outs of the estate and what it is really like to entertain there.
- When the day of the event arrives, the staff will be there from set up to break down. They are available to assist and answer questions, all while staying out of your way, so that you can enjoy your event. Let Siri and Google take the night off, the Lairmont staff has you covered. And when the party ends, you don’t have to worry about cleaning the space!
- They offer a beautiful, spacious indoor/outdoor space, which is ideal for both small and larger groups. It truly is adaptable to your needs.
- The estate is beautiful all year round: Spring is fragrant, fresh and rejuvenating and the estate comes alive with excitement for the season. Summer is grand and lush and warm and full of joy and happiness. Fall is surprisingly warm with fall color and a relaxing mellow mood. While Winter is crisp, hearty and bright, with rich holiday decorations decking the halls throughout the season. Rates are a bit less in the non-summer seasons. So there really is no wrong time to host an amazing event!
- Use of the estate includes any and all of the rooms you may need: The Ballroom for large dinner parties or concerts (also there is viewing balcony looking over the room and stage), Billiards room for break out meetings or classes, Catering Kitchen for preparations, Outdoor Cooking Area for BBQ. The Dining Room Table is perfect for an intimate dinner of 12 or clinics or board meetings. The Garden spaces include the fountain courtyard, the pavilion, and the tent on the grand lawn.
- Oh, and they have a beautiful Steinway Grand piano on the stage, a rare find in Whatcom County area. That is music to my ears!
- With the venue rental fee, you are able to use their tables, chairs, AV equipment, dishes, silverware and glassware. Literally everything you need….you simply supply the guests and the fun!
- Plenty of parking available and the parking staff is available upon request. Need I say more?
- Cost comparisons: Rates vary. Summer is a bit more, but some might be surprised how reasonable a weekday event or wedding venue rental is. The cost to host a 2-3 hr weekday/weekend event at Lairmont is comparable to the cost of cleaning a large home, renting out a conference room, or renting a restaurant’s private room. Now that’s what I’m talking about!
I don’t know about you, but to have a beautiful venue, where I don’t have to clean before or after the party, is incentive enough for me. Plus, I don’t have to pester my husband about my current ‘honey-do’ list that needs to be complete before we host an event.
All you have to do is show up ready and relaxed, dedicating your time to visiting with friends and family, all while enjoying your time and having fun!!
Visit www.lairmont.com, for a photos of the venue, contact information, as well as additional information on the venue.
A Gardener’s Dream
Can you say, “award winning garden?” That’s right! Reminiscent of an English garden, the outdoor space is both intimate and grand with its overflowing nature. The flora placement is designed to perfection, with pockets of blooms nestling around the courtyard. The beauty is in the effortless looking nature of the gardens. When in actuality, it takes a lot of work and planning to invoke this seemingly unstudied artistic abundance.
There are details that are woven through trellises via vining or sprawling plants, that will lead your eye through the flowers, where you will find a perfectly patina-ed statue or urn.
Creating natural beauty, for the entire growing season, including winter, is no small accomplishment. The Master Gardener and maintenance team have incorporated all sorts of plantings, including small trees, shrubs, vines, and annuals, along with select perennial plant choices. This results in year long beauty and life in the beloved gardens.
Make the Space Your Own
I definitely want to emphasize that the space, with its meticulously planned and maintained design, needs no additional adornment. That being said, sometimes a certain event theme calls for some added embellishment. For our photo shoot, the jewelry designer, Rachel Jackson of Jaxstone Company, was going for a bit of a boho theme (the next blog post will showcase Rachel’s beautiful jewelry, so stay tuned!)
Bar Cart Stylin’
The Lairmont Manor has a great selection of tables that you can use as little ‘self service’ areas for soft drinks, nuts, candy, etc. You are also free to bring your own tables, etc. I have a new bar cart that I’ve been dying to style, and our photo shoot was the perfect opportunity to break it in.
Note: while I have wine shown in my setup, alcohol may only be served by a licensed bartender. The Lairmont Manor has permit restrictions that require this.
Since we knew that we wanted to add the bar cart to the setting, we wanted to find a spot that had some conversational seating, space to mingle and was a good spot for photo ops! We chose a corner of the courtyard, behind the beautiful fountain. Once the bar cart was set up, all it needed was to be stocked!
Whether you are using a fancy bar cart or accent table provided by the Lairmont Manor, here’s a suggested inventory list for stocking it up:
- Self serve beverages,
- Bar ware and respective utensils,
- Color coordinated straws,
- Bowls of candy and nuts, or other finger foods,
- Fresh flowers or succulents,
- Cocktail napkins,
- Plus anything else that adds some whimsy and character!
When I initially toured the site to scout out places for our set up, I saw the perfect place for the dessert table. The Lairmont Manor has a beautiful rolling bar that was already set up under a retractable awning, as shown above. The awning was perfect for our purposes, as it provided shade for our desserts. This spot is also ideal as a bar, for the awning works for both shade and rain cover!
To enhance dessert table with a touch of bohemian flare, I picked up a few pieces at our local Pier 1 and then supplemented it with some pieces from my own collections, including the colorful and translucent glassybabies, some dried flowers from my garden and fresh blooms from Pozie by Natalie.
The ivory mosaic vase and whitewashed platter, both from Pier 1, provide some height for the desert table. I also included several lanterns from Pier 1, which are great investment pieces for home and garden. You can find all sort of creative uses for them. In addition to LED candles, the lanterns are festive containers for both dried rose petals and natural flowers.
Don’t forget the Cake!
As most of you know, I love to combine my blog/baking/photo shoot time with my daughter, Chloe. For this photo shoot, we stretched our boundaries and tried some new things!
Chloe wanted to try her hands at baking a tiered, red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting….all from scratch! This was definitely ambitious, as she has never made a cake from scratch, let alone red velvet or tiered. We decided that since the cake itself was a major task in and of itself, we kept the decorations simple. We did a naked style frosting and added some lovely dahlia’s, courtesy of Pozie by Natalie. I am so proud of how hard she worked and it turned out beautiful and was definitely delicious!
To accompany the beautifully adorned cake, we also baked some triple chocolate cupcakes (regular and mini) along with some rose and cardamon shortbread cookies (also a new recipe) that were topped with dried rose petals and edible gold leaf. All becoming a part of the decor themselves!
Lairmont Manor = Picture Perfect
Oh, and your event photos will be amazing. There is a photo opportunity around every corner and the light is amazing!
Over 104 Uses in Honor of 104 Years!
It says a lot about the creativity, of an organization, when they take the time to brainstorm all the different and unique ideas for uses of their facility. Here is said list, enjoy!
- BLOCK PARTY
- FILM SCREENING
- TAI CHI CLASS
- SWING DANCE CLUB
- DANCE LESSONS
- TRIVIA NIGHT
- CARD CLUB
- ACTING GROUP
- BAR/BAT MITZVAH
- WINE TASTING/EDUCATION/SALES
- CHEF DINNER SERIES
- CORPORATE RETREAT
- GARDEN PARTY
- PRAYER VIGIL
- MAY DAY SPRING CELEBRATION
- VALENTINE’S DAY PARTY
- OPERA NIGHT
- GARDEN CLUB
- POP UP SHOP
- CRAFT FAIR
- COOKING SCHOOL
- VETERANS EVENTS
- DOLLY PARTON FAN CLUB
- THEME DAY PARTIES
- HOGWARTS CLASS REUNION
- HOLIDAY BAZAAR
- BIRTHDAY PARTY
- ART SHOW
- MEGA ONE YEAR OLD BIRTHDAY EXTRAVAGANZA
- MUSICAL PERFORMANCE AND PRACTICE SPACE
- TRAINING SESSIONS
- EN PLEIN AIR PAINTING SESSIONS
- MAGIC THE GATHERING DRAFT PLACE
- DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS CAMPAIGN LOCALE
- ART CLASSES
- YOGA SPACE
- BOOK CLUBS
- BABY SHOWER
- BRIDAL SHOWER
- BOARD MEETINGS
- DANCE PARTIES
- KARAOKE NIGHTS
- SINGLES MIXERS
- PHOTO/VIDEO SHOOTS
- THEATER EVENTS
- PIANO RECITALS
- AWARDS CEREMONIES
- FASHION SHOWS
- TRUNK SHOWS
- FAMILY REUNIONS
- CLASS REUNIONS
- TOP CHEF FAMILY COMPETITION
- MEMORIAL SERVICES
- TUTU SCHOOL (BABY BALLERINAS)
- ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS
- HISTORY TOURS AND TALKS
- COMMUNITY MEETINGS
- GRADUATION PARTIES
- FINE ART SHOW
- SANTA HOLIDAY PHOTOS
- HARVEST PARTY
- TEACHER APPRECIATION PARTY
- EDUCATION OFF SITE WORKSHOP DAY
- SWEET 16
- TEA PARTIES
- OKTOBERFEST PARTY
- DOWNTON ABBEY PARTY
- EASTER EGG HUNT
- SCHOOL FIELD TRIP DESTINATION
- CHRISTMAS PARTY
- ROSH HASHANAH
- CAROLING PARTY
- KENTUCKY DERBY WATCHING/MINT JULEP PARTY
- PHOTOGRAPHY CLINIC
- TRAVEL CLUB SERIES
- CULTURAL GROUP MEETING SPACE
- FINANCIAL GROUP OFF SITE EVENTS
- NEW YEARS EVE GALA
- THANKSGIVING DINNER
- COCKTAIL PARTIES
- CHAMPAGNE BRUNCH
- THE GREAT “BELLINGHAM” BAKING SHOW (CAKE BAKING CONTEST)
- HALLOWEEN PARTIES
- BLACK TIE DINNERS
- SUMMER SOIREE
- SWAP MEET
- FLEA MARKET
- ANTIQUE SALE
- FLOWER/PLANT SALE
- TRADE SHOW
- BRIDAL/WEDDING VENDOR SHOW
- 4-H / FFA / SCOUT MEET UP SPOT
- RELIGIOUS STUDY GROUPS
- TEST PREP COURSE SITE
- CHOIR PRACTICE SPACE
- SING ALONG PARTY
- FARM TO TABLE DINNER
- HERITAGE GATHERINGS
- MYSTERY DINNERS
- JAZZ HAPPY HOUR
- MAGIC SHOWS
- TALENT SHOWS
- MAKEUP/HAIR DEMOS
- POETRY SLAMS
- BOOK READINGS/AUTHOR EVENTS/TOURS
- OPEN MIC NIGHTS
- COMEDY SHOWS
- MARKETING AND SALES TRAINING SEMINARS
- IMPROV NIGHTS
- NETWORKING EVENTS
- SPEED DATING
- SCAVENGER HUNT
- DOG SHOWS
- TEAM EVENTS/SCIENCE FAIRS
- DANCE COMPETITION
- SPORTS DRAFT PARTIES
- ENGAGEMENT PARTIES
- WEDDINGS/VOW RENEWALS
- ANNIVERSARY PARTIES
- HOLIDAY WREATH MAKING CLASS
- REHEARSAL DINNERS
- SPELLING BEE
- CAMPAIGN EVENTS
- CHARITY FUNDRAISERS
- SILENT & LIVE AUCTIONS
- VINTAGE/CLASSIC CAR SHOW
- FOREIGN LANGUAGE CLASSES AND MEET UPS
- RAP BATTLES
- FITNESS/FIGURE COMPETITION
- GOAT YOGA (BYOG)
- SHAKESPEARE NIGHT
- I’M SINGLE AND NOT GETTING MARRIED PARTY
- NAT KING COLE APPRECIATION NIGHT
- “BIG NIGHT” DINNER PARTY (MOVIE)
- SINATRA + SPAGHETTINI NIGHT
- FLORAL ARRANGING CLASS/CLINIC
Special Thanks to:
Pozie by Natalie (hair piece and fresh cut flowers)
Posh Upscale Resale (floral dress)