Today we’d like to introduce you to Vickie Brown.
Vickie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Like many young southern girls, I dreamed of living in my very own big white southern mansion on a hill. This southern gal’s dream came true when riding through Hogansville, Georgia one summer afternoon with my husband, Roger. We were in the area looking for land to build a home and spotted this beautiful late Victorian gem. After combing the state for a venue that met my standards, it was love at first site! I finally found everything I envisioned on this 3-acre estate.
History and old homes were one of my favorite things growing up. I think, for me, this began when my 3rd grade teacher took me to the Fox Theater to see “Gone With the Wind”. From that moment, the fiery passion of Scarlett and the grandeur and beauty of Tara would become a road map of what was to come in my life. Being a hair designer for 29 years and operating my first salon at the age 18, the path I was on was about to make a turn and change my life forever. My early success is a tribute to my late father-in-law, He was a car dealer and loved dabbling in real estate. There was this one piece of commercial property he presented to me with a plan on how I could set up a hair salon. The plan was all in my favor to say the least. He asked , “how much do you think you could pay me in rent, if I let you open a hair salon?” Well, my first thought was, has this man lost it! I’m 18 years old, no money, fresh graduate from cosmetology school and no experience in running a business.
This man was the key factor and played an intricate role in shaping my future as an entrepreneur. I am forever grateful that I had this great experience at such a very young age.
I purchased the estate in 1999 and it became operational in 2001. The circa 1897 mansion’s history of renovation was extensive. At the turn of the century, when the home was constructed, Hogansville was a mecca for Troup County and the surrounding areas due to the railroad. The façade of Victoria Belle, then adorned with cornices and late Victorian architectural elements, was quite different from the Greek revival appearance that is present today.(For more history about the estate you can go to http://www.victoriabelleweddings.com/vbelle-history/)
In 2001, I opened my life’s aspiration – a wedding venue – and Victoria Belle Mansion and Vintage White Barn was born.
The creativity and ability to relate to my Brides and navigate them through the various stages of planning, the understanding of their vision along with their goals were honed by the years I spent as a hair designer. My passion for detail, design, management and coordination have translated into extraordinary weddings for extraordinary Brides. My greatest pleasure is the facilitation of every aspect of the wedding experience from initial contact, personal customized design and planning, vendor coordination, rehearsal dinner, ceremony, reception, photography and the departing gift of Victoria Belle wine. Sometimes I even do the hair and makeup for the bride and her attendants.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Sometimes, I’m not sure what I was thinking. To start a new career in a totally opposite direction from hair & home design was a little challenging. Besides designing every inch of the renovations for Victoria Belle, that included landscape, barn design and educating myself in the event business, I was still working and operating my salon, 70 miles away. Endless hours were required and were getting harder everyday, but I could see my dream unfolding. Having a strong will, larger than life mindset, and witnessing Scarlett’s passion for what she believed in, my survival mode kicked in.
After getting all the plans arranged in my head, for what I wanted to be the best event venue in the state of Georgia, I began to implement my plan into a reality. This was a challenge too. Not being an architect, I had to rely solely on someone who could understand my vision and turn my dream into a physical reality. So, I presented, all I had envisioned to my favorite home renovator, which just happen to be my husband, Roger Brown. Even though he was very reluctant at getting started with what was a 2 year project, he exceeded my expectations. His knowledge, expertise and master of old mansion restoration in and around the heart of Buckhead for 40 years proved to be priceless in creating my dream, Victoria Belle Mansion & Vintage White Barn. I managed to keep my sanity, get my certification in event and wedding planning, and “Stay married to the one I love” after all that!
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Victoria Belle is a boutique wedding venue capturing the essence of timeless elegance with a soft touch of rustic grace. The lush 3 acre estate’s hallmark is a circa 1897 Mansion and Vintage White Barn. Both the Mansion and Barn are in complete harmony with the picturesque grounds detailed by a waterfall, fountains, vineyard, gardens, and gazebo. Victoria Belle creates a choice of numerous unique indoor & outdoor niches for a ceremony and reception comfortable for 50 to 300 guests. Victoria Belle weddings not only create lasting memories for our Couples but for their family and friends, too.
Throughout your wedding planning process, our Certified Wedding Consultant and Staff respond quickly and thoughtfully so you can avoid stressful circumstances. We want VBelle couples’ planning experiences to be utterly delightful – our goal is happy, happy couples.
At Victoria Belle only one wedding and reception is booked on any given day. Your wedding is a private experience for you and your guests. We devote our time and energy to your wedding day with no distractions – we are focused on taking care of you and your wedding day adventure
What were you like growing up?
I was born and raised in the south and have had a life long love affair with all things southern. Sweet Tea, grits, and good old peanut butter sandwiches, are still some of my favorite delights.
My parents didn’t have much room for disrespect. Yes Ma’am, and Yes Sir was the only answer you gave when spoken to, saying the blessing at the dinner table was a requirement which taught me awareness of who’s really in control. I am very proud of my Southern Heritage, it clearly molded me into the person I am today.
I was blessed with abundant, vibrant energy. My family says I came out of the womb pumping my legs and waiving my arms and just kept on moving. I quickly learned, this was indeed, one of my best attributes. I began finding activities young in life to chanel this genetic gift.
My three great passions were my pets, horses and sports. The interactions with these three things kept me motivated and filled the frequency of which I vibrate. My desire to achieve in competitive sports was a rewarding experience for me that culminated in recognition and a supreme sense of accomplishment. Early in childhood, I realized the true spirit of the person I was becoming was defined through the very passions I lived for.
I am grateful for my southern upbringing. Living in the south created the background and context for my entire life. I conclude, Victoria Belle is my Tara, I am, my Scarlett, this is a physical manifestation created from a vision in my head of genteel, graceful southern living. I step into this fantasy as the lady of the manor most of my waking hours. To my surprise, I fulfilled my dreams by my creative thoughts, the willingness to take action with every opportunity I was given and good old fashioned hard work.
- Address: 602 East Main Street
Hogansville, GA 30230
- Website: http://www.victoriabelleweddings.com/
- Phone: 706-637-4933
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Andre Miclea, Heirloom Foto, Megan Hobbs