MOUNDRIDGE — Surrounded completely by nature and tucked in on a 15-acre farm, The Wilderness at Turkey Creek wedding venue was created by love and a wish for a happy bride.
Proud parents Scott and Sandy Harders wanted to give their daughter her dream wedding when she became engaged this past year.
"My daughter had a dream when she was younger, she would always play in the tree clearings that we have out here and said, 'If I ever get married, I'm going to get married in that clearing.' Sixteen years later she got engaged and asked her fiancé to make her dream come true. Between his family and ours, we put it all together for them to get married out here. It all came about by accident," Scott Harders said.
The Harders and their now son-in-law's family, had three months to complete the wedding venue.
"We cleared a path out and built a bridge over Turkey Creek back on the way to the clearing and we had to clear out ... what used to be my turkey barn and hauled out about three tanks of stuff that was in their," Scott Harder said.
Turkey Creek now lends its unique and beautiful setting to provide a place for other couples to take their vows.
"We have about an 1/8 mile path that takes you through a wooded area, and then over the creek on the bridge. You come out to a clearing that has white chairs set up and a wedding arbor with a chandelier. I can't describe it out here, only God can make nature and beauty that way," Harders said. "... You're at the mercy of the elements, but the elements are beautiful and you cannot beat mother nature for decorating your wedding."
After the ceremony in the clearing, guests can come back through the path to the barn and enjoy a beverage from the grain-bin built-in bar with a lighted bar sign and wooden spools to stand around.
"They can then come into the reception site, visit, drink together. It's a real relaxed atmosphere. It's fun not only for the wedding party, but their guests too," Harders said.
The Harders describe their venue as a rustic but elegant atmosphere.
"With all the lights in the barn — it's gorgeous — it really makes a statement," Harders said.
As wedding season is in full swing, the Harders said they have about 10 weddings lined up.
"We're booked up until the end of August through September and October. We have a couple in June and July. We start opening it up April through October," he said.
The Harders said the wedding venue is still a work in progress. The couple is currently working on adding bathrooms and recently added two dressing rooms for the bride and groom's party to their barn.
"The barn is 60-years-old and we have a little bit of tweaking here and there. It's one thing to have a wedding for your daughter; but when you're planning a wedding for everyone else, you have to make sure everything is ready to roll," Harders said.
The Harders said Wilderness at Turkey Creek is available for other occasions, not just weddings.
"We're open to family gatherings, graduations, those sort of get-togethers. We're not strictly just weddings. We're testing the waters right now and getting our name out there and looking forward to having a lot of fun," he said.
Now that the venue is ready to roll, the Harders say they are looking forward to providing the perfect rustic all-in-nature wedding venue for those looking to start their lives together.
"I'm not looking to have huge, booming business — I'm looking to be relaxed and to provide a relaxed atmosphere and work with couples to where they could experience what my daughter got to experience. I'm looking forward to the smiles on their faces and to being a part of a memory for the start of a wonderful life for two people," Harders said.
For more information, contact The Wilderness at Turkey Creek wedding venue at 620-386-4313 or visit their Facebook page.