Peachtree House is my home

I didn’t name my home Peachtree House to create a brand, we started calling it this when we first moved in 18 years ago. My children have grown up here. My youngest daughter celebrated her first birthday a week after moving in and now she’ll be entering college this summer. Hugh and I have repaired plaster, refinished floors, laid brick paths, planted dozens of trees and a sea of ferns, roses, and shrubbery. We share our home with others because we love the house and love hospitality.

I have loved each of our brides and their grooms, and their families. It has been our honor and great joy to get to know each of them and host the first day of their marriage. Each couple has been very special to me, and I have seen each wedding day filled with happy blessings at Peachtree House for the family and friends gathered.

Over the years, I have met some of the most admirable men and women in the wedding industry. We have worked with talented planners, professional DJs, floral designers that create gorgeous arrangements and deliver with kindness and respect, photographers who sincerely care for their clients and love capturing images of Peachtree House as a backdrop.

These are my favorite people to work with and I am thankful for their kindness and, most importantly, how they have honored Peachtree House as my home and respected it’s architectural value.

Not only do I love working with Lora Ritzie Wardman, I have loved becoming her friend. Lora amazes me at her stamina. I really don’t think she sleeps at night; she works. I also love her ability to create a fabulous design from a moderate budget, and I will never forget the wedding with 120 pumpkins painted gold and silver and carved for table numbers! She is the only person I know that can make succulents look good.

Terry Smedley’s creations from Two Sweets Bake Shop are absolutely magical. It has been a sincere pleasure working with her, and her friendship is indeed, sweet! The only thing that outdoes her gorgeous display of desserts, is the taste of these incredible sweets. Watch closely as Terry’s business plans unfold. She is talent personified.

Molly and Barbie at Velvet & Twine are truly remarkable at creating floral design. Never predictable, this group of artists always show up to impress. And, their kindness and sweet demeanor make them a stellar choice for design. 

About 25 years ago, I hired Mark’s new catering company, Arthur’s, when I was the new marketing coordinator for the Florida Symphony Orchestra. This company has grown into Orlando’s finest catering company. A catering company cannot survive for this long by accident. With an endless supply of energy, the staff at Arthur’s is creative, professional, and oh so respectful of my historic home. 

I am always relieved when Get Lit Productions arrives at PH to install lighting for a wedding. I have restored historic houses for 30 years, and electrical (and plumbing) issues can produce the most frightening and expensive damage than any other issue. Byron has a true understanding of lighting design and great respect for providing safe, reliable installation. 

Orlando is blessed to have Orlando Wedding and Party Rental installed as an anchor for the special events industry. The Upper West Side would even covet the service provided by Darren and his staff. This company is always reliable and their staff is always pleasant. I’ve planned many events in my career and I know the best way to see the character of a company is to watch them handle a mistake. OWPR rarely makes mistakes, but when they did, they managed it quickly with professionalism, but most importantly with kindness. I never undervalue kindness. I also know that Darren and his wife spend time and energy mentoring to their staff, so in addition to running their own company, they are building future leaders for our city. Also, they own the most gorgeous sail cloth tent in Orlando.

One of the first friends I made in the wedding industry was Sharon at A Chair Affair. She and owner Anne, are so stylish and beautiful, you can’t help but want to hire them. I am so impressed with Anne’s ability to expand her company, offering unique product and exceptional customer service. 

Yellow Dog Eats! Yes, I love when Yellow Dog Eats caters at PH. They are so easy to work with. It’s unusual for a restaurant to do a good job catering. It may be food service, but catering is just too different than the restaurant business. Chefs like their own kitchen. Caterers can work anywhere. The staff at YDE is pleasant, efficient and always bring extra food to feed the PH staff.

I sincerely thank you. I appreciate each of you and your staff.

My ferns and caladiums this past summer before the delivery van

My ferns and caladiums this past summer before the delivery van

Unfortunately and unexpectedly, I have also endured other vendors. As the fall season ended this year, it was apparent to me that it is now time to close Peachtree House to weddings. 

The latest and final incident was with a floral designer who backed his van into a sea of ferns and caladiums that I planted myself 10 years ago, crushing and destroying 14 feet of my garden. I understand that there will always be the over-emotional tyrants in an industry who believe their creative talent justifies their tantrum behavior, but my patience with them has come to an end. The stress on the house and the landscape created by these few vendors has now reached a point that is unacceptable. I cannot allow my home to be subjected to the damage and my family subjected to their insulting, derogatory, and careless behavior.

I will continue to expand my own company under the brand name of Peachtree House as an honor to the time and expense that Hugh and I have devoted to our beloved home. I look forward to creating beautiful graphic design, luxe monogramming, and lovely textiles for my clients’ homes. My home will always be available to our preferred photographers for engagement sessions or family photography. We’re also looking toward to our next venture in historic restoration, hopefully, in historic Savannah.

Warm regards, AD

Posted on January 10, 2017 .

Appreciation

Kim, Ashlie, Terry, and Bumby

Kim, Ashlie, Terry, and Bumby

From the very month we moved in to our home 15 years ago, we have had requests to use the estate. Peachtree House has an intrinsic value that cannot be duplicated. Throughout the years Hugh and I have devoted endless hours, energy and MONEY to restoring the estate. Most people do not understand the time and dedication necessary to restore and maintain a historic property. A neighbor of mine proclaimed that her home was of historic value simply because it was built near the same year as ours. Peachtree Road has already lost one Gamble Rogers estate. Several years ago, the owner paid to have the estate taken off of the National Historic Register and he tore it down that night. He explained that it was simply too cost prohibitive to maintain the house.  

“ My foremost obligation is to protect the historic integrity of my estate. However, it is our great joy to share the estate with people who love and admire it's architectural worth. “

Because Peachtree House will only host a few events each year, I am beyond careful about who we allow to care for our guests. Because of this outlook, I have the privilege of working with some of the best vendors in this industry. They are not only good at what they do, they love what they do. I have spent many hours of due diligence searching and interviewing vendors that are the best fit for Peachtree House. The vendors we use not only understand the challenges of hosting at a historic estate, they consider it an honor. I know when a vendor is just showing up and when they have fallen in love with Peachtree House.

Early last week, Terry, from Two Sweets Bake Shop, and I hosted our first  Thank You Luncheon. It was an opportunity and privilege to show our appreciation to the people that care for our guests. It was truly a lovely day.

Rudy from Marta + Rudy Photography wrote in his blog about the luncheon and titled it, “Companions, Not Competitors.” It is so very true. The photographers are second shooters for each other, the caterers commend each other’s work, all the planners support and praise each other. These people are both professional and truly gracious. Our group at lunch sincerely enjoyed being together. Kim, from The Chalk Shop, and I chatted about her "cookie" board for our next wedding. Bumby shared her excitment about expecting her next baby. And, Terry and I were able to extend hospitality to those who would normally be hard at work to please a guest. It was their time to relax and enjoy being the guest.  

“ I am honored to work among you, and Terry and I are thankful for each one of you.”

- Ashlie

A special thank you to our sponsors: Wish Vintage Rental, Blue Ribbon Wedding Design, and A Chair Affair.

A special thank you to our sponsors: Wish Vintage Rental, Blue Ribbon Wedding Design, and A Chair Affair.

Posted on May 1, 2015 .

Jazz Fest 2014

The Brian Sutherland Trio

The Brian Sutherland Trio

It’s Sunday afternoon and I am sitting in the back garden enjoying the perfect weather. The skies are absolutely clear and the temp is somewhere around 80 degrees. This is the weather that I prayed for . . . for yesterday! The day before was our third annual Jazz Fest, an outdoor concert and barbecue to raise funds for Our Little Roses, a girl’s orphanage in Honduras. Halfway through Jazz Fest, rain began to drizzle and then continued through the night. I lament over the date that I chose for the event and ruminate over all the opportunities that fair weather would have brought. If the weather had been nice, we would have had more guests. We would have made so much more money. The labor of set up and break down would have been so much easier. It was hard not to slip into disappointment. 

As I contemplated the low ticket sales, I wondered if anyone in the history of Christian event planning could ever have been discouraged by a rainy event. Billy Graham was actually asked this question during his last Crusade in Kansas City in 2004, that was plagued by rain. The stadium in Kansas City holds 78,000 and only 7,780 attended. In an interview that night, Graham recalled a Crusade that was held in the rain in London’s Wembly Stadium that attracted 60,000 people a night and 100,000 for the last meeting. I can hear Mr. Graham saying, “It’s not about the rain.”

On Saturday night, I asked myself, “Why would anyone leave their warm, dry home to come to rainy, cold Jazz Fest?” Yet, people came! And, they came happily. The excitement surrounding the Silent Auction was contagious and people held umbrellas over the bid sheets as they protectively watched their high bid. The crowd outside enjoyed the fantastic band, The Brian Sutherland Trio, through the last set and cheered for more. This crowd was beyond generous. The bidding war over two bottles of Scotch and a box of cigars was spectacular, and might have run a close race for spectator thrill with the Kentucky Derby. With energy and smiles, the staff worked heroically from 3 p.m. until midnight, ending the night by loading the truck with chairs and tables in the pouring rain.

Our first year of Jazz Fest was an impressive success, and I accounted it to the flawless weather. WRONG! People come to the Jazz Fest because they care about Our Little Roses and are faithful to supporting the Mission Team that travels to Honduras every year. The food, the fun, the music, is all a bonus. I know the people that come to Jazz Fest. They have fun, whatever, wherever. I love that about this group. And, they have taught me a lot about faith: faith in a God that always provides, always protects, and always reveals joy. There is no Fail or Succeed in event planning based on the weather. It’s about finding God’s blessing in what we do, how we do it, and appreciating the people that He sends to us.

At the end of Saturday evening I finally had a chance to speak with Brian Sutherland and thank him for the fabulous music. His band played for free at the Jazz Fest, however, our happy guests paid them with praise and thanks (and a few bills in their tip jar). I am overwhelmed that we could have such a great band for the event, and that our guests were not only generous to Our Little Roses, but also had plenty to spare to thank the band. Brian approached me with a request to host a house party next fall to announce their new CD. So, get ready for another great party at Peachtree House, rain or shine!

Jazz Fest Staff and Mission Team

Jazz Fest Staff and Mission Team

Hello, World!

Posted on May 6, 2014 .