STORY BY JOYANNA LOVE
PHOTOS BY EVOKE MEDIA
For the majority of couples, finding the right venue for their wedding means looking for something that has the right feel and fits their budget.
Recently married couple Anna and Jordan Lambert took a different approach — building the venue that they wanted for their special day.
Anna and Jordan Lambert got married on Sept. 3, 2022 as the inaugural wedding of their new venue Dixie Hideaway.
The couple had met while coworkers at Hatley Health Care. Several people in the community knew about Anna from her two seasons as Lil’ Bit on “Mud Lovin’ Rednecks,” but Jordan was not one of them.
“I had no idea,” Jordan said, commenting that he asked her about the show after hearing people talking about it.
Jordan started spending time with Anna’s step-father, and then decided that he wanted to ask Anna out on a date.
When asking if she would go out with him, he had “rose petals and candles” at the pier at Blue Creek Marina.
“I thought he was going to propose at that time to be honest,” Anna said, which was not what she was ready for.
“I was just being sweet,” Jordan said.
Anna now works for Alabama Power, and Jordan is an apprentice lineman with Sumter Utilities.
The couple dated for eight years before Jordan popped the marriage question.
He asked Anna to marry him on Dec. 3, 2020 in Helen, Georgia. Jordan proposed in a gazebo lit by Christmas lights.
“I got down on one knee, and I asked her, and I cried like a little baby,” Jordan said.
After confirming he was absolutely serious, Anna said yes.
“We started planning our wedding in February of this year,” Anna said. “I was like, ‘I don’t want to rent a spot. I don’t want to spend all this money on renting another spot. I want to build our wedding (venue).”
Initially, Jordan thought the idea was “crazy.”
Anna said getting everything ready was chaotic.
The idea took five months to get it to the point that a ceremony could be held. However, Jordan said, “there is still plenty to be built.”
The venue property is a former mud bog, which was purchased about four years ago.
“We realized really quick there was a lot of other mud bog events, trails and stuff that was a whole lot bigger than 30 acres, so then we started doing the trade days,” Anna said.
At one point, the couple considered selling the property. However, as they sat on it and watched the sun go down, they decided to keep it.
“We had a lot of help from family and friends,” Anna said. “It wouldn’t be like it is today if it wasn’t for all the help we had.”
Many of the items used to create the wedding venue are repurposed.
The poles to build the pole barn are from Jordan’s lineman training.
“These are the first poles that I ever climbed in my life,” Jordan said. “She had the big, bright idea to build this place, and I said, ‘well I am really going to cherish that so take a little piece of me to build it.’”
The bar is made from a horse trailer.
The main structure is open air with a cement tile floor and wooden roof. There is also a bridal house for the bride and bridesmaids, groomsmen cabin, a kitchen area, deck, bar and scenic views.
Jordan said the bridal house was one of the most difficult projects.
“All of the different things that you’ll see in there, most of its handmade,” Jordan said. “I would tinker with stuff. For instance, these chandeliers, she had the bright idea, and I said, ‘well I think I can do that.’”
The light fixture combines a wagon wheel, rope and vintage-style light bulbs to create a chandelier.
“He made all my dreams come true,” Anna said.
Laying the cement pavers for the main floor was also a time-consuming project that required bringing several friends to help accomplish.
“We had a get together one night we called it the paver party,” Anna said. “It was just laying these down and music.”
That night the group was able to complete the majority of the project.
Jordan recommends couples considering creating their own venue for their wedding “try to avoid it as much as possible” because of the stress level.
“We were working on this venue on the day of our wedding … family and friends stepped in and did an amazing job,” Jordan said.
However, all the effort paid off as the couple had a beautiful wedding.
An extra special touch was having an artist on-site to paint a picture of a portion of the ceremony.
When they looked at their wedding photos, it was a special moment for Anna looking at the venue.
“I was like, ‘Woah, that’s our place; we own that,’” Anna said.
Projects for the future include completing the kitchen, enclosing the pole barn and adding side rooms to it. Anna said she wanted to be able to provide local brides with an affordable venue option.
Even with the venue, the Lamberts still have unused land at the site and are considering building a house on it in the more distant future.