Where Happily Ever After Begins | Rasberry Greene
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Where Happily Ever After Begins… | Rasberry Greene

Imagine the first time you found yourself completely wrapped up in the magic of nature. Now picture your wedding day. The leaves of trees rustle overhead as you make your way down a dirt road. You crest a hill and there sits a sleepy little cotton gin with all the comforts of home. Sounds like a fairy tale right? Well, this is what the folks at Rasberry Greene get to experience daily.

Donnie and Lauren Zumwalt made their dream a reality by opening Rasberry Greene in 2015. Nestled in peaceful Soso, MS, Rasberry Greene consists of a sprawling 80-acre tract of land. The crown jewel of the property, a replica cotton gin, sits amongst the beautiful Loblolly pines that the area is so famous for. The venue is steeped in tradition as it was a family getaway for generations and their ties to Soso’s cotton industry provided a source of inspiration. With a nostalgic sense of home and family, we dive deeper into “Where Happily Ever After Begins.”

 

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Where did the concept for Rasberry Greene and The Gin come from?

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My parents, Joe and Betty Nester, built a lake and a little lakehouse in the mid-1990s on some land west of Soso that had originally belonged to my grandfather and to Mr. Hayes and Mrs. Cornelia Paige.  This little spot in the woods has been our second home for the last several years.  Donnie and I spent every Saturday morning in our favorite place, the front porch, listening to the woods wake up and enjoying the peaceful setting.  About two years ago, we started talking about ways that we could share this place with others.  Our younger son, Casey, and his wife Laura, have a wedding photography business and they encouraged us to pursue building a wedding venue.  One thing led to another and The Gin at Rasberry Greene was born!  Our name comes from my maternal grandfather, William Greene Rasberry, who owned a cotton gin and general mercantile store in downtown Soso during the 1920s through 1950s.  We love the little town of Soso and our Bernis Hill Road friends and neighbors, and we hope the folks who visit Rasberry Greene will love it, too!

What is unique about your venue that couples will love?

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Donnie drew our plans to be reminiscent of an old cotton gin, complete with an authentic loading dock, and we incorporated the little lakehouse that meant so much to my dad into the design. We had such a good time looking for the perfect building materials, lighting and finishes! The building is constructed of beautiful, native cypress with polished natural concrete floors and galvanized ceiling. Our construction was done by Orville Van Fossen and his fabulous crew. They had such great ideas, from our big sliding barn doors to the liftgate on the loading dock to the neat high-ceiling building that houses our office and the guest restrooms. Some of our lighting was designed by Barnlight Electric, with galvanized exterior fixtures and oil-rubbed bronze interior lights, but our favorite and most unique fixtures were designed & crafted by our electrical contractor, Hendry Services – Blake Hendry & Chad Nunnery. Joel Hill designed and installed our sound system, finished our concrete floors, and created an etched concrete monogram in our office floor. Rickey and Traice Hill worked late into the night finishing the floors in the dressing suites. All of the craftsmen who participated in our project were a joy to work with and such an integral part of the design features. Every area of the design revolves around the best use of natural light for stunning photos, including the dressing suites for both wedding parties.

When building The Gin, did you have a certain kind of bride in mind?

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Rasberry Greene is built on many stories — stories about the history of Soso, about the people who are our friends and neighbors, about the land and the woods and the water, about our families and our love for each other. We are all about the brides who have loved stories since they were little girls, who have dreamed about their wedding day and pictured how perfect that day would be. Whether a bride has her heart set on a rustic, industrial or romantically elegant setting, The Gin can provide the perfect backdrop to see her dream come to life.


From a bride’s point of view, paint us a picture of your perfect wedding at Rasberry Greene.

We are excited to experience each season as we go through this first year. We can just imagine a crisp, Fall evening, the big porch decked out with pumpkins and harvest decor, all of the doors open and warm light spilling out onto the lawn! The ceremony overlooks the lake, with our antique pews all lined up and ready to seat the guests. Music fills the air, maybe even our favorite string quartet, with the natural sounds of the woods joining in. The Gin is all set to host the reception, with lots of vintage decor, incredible lighting, gorgeous food and cakes (or our favorite, a pie bar!) served from antique farm tables, warm cider and gourmet coffees at the coffee bar, and all of the things that have special meaning to our couple included in the presentation. The perfect wedding, of course, caps the night with faith, family, food, and fun, and lots of smiles from all who gather to help the newlyweds begin their journey.

How have vendors brought out the venue’s character?

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We love our vendors at Rasberry Greene! We have met so many amazing people who make it their business to create the perfect wedding experience for our couples. The natural beauty of The Gin and the grounds are greatly enhanced by everyone involved in the wedding partnership and we learn something new from everyone who walks through our door.

What is the one thing you hope your couples take away from their experience at The Gin?

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Donnie and I want our couples to feel like they have been loved on and taken care of to the very best of our ability. After the wedding weekend is done, we want them to have fond memories of our little spot in the woods and to know they are always welcome to come home to Rasberry Greene.

Rasberry Greene is located at 179 Bernis Hill Rd. Soso, MS 39480

Take a moment to check out Rasberry Greene here:

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1Comment
  • Bethany Byrd
    Posted at 20:36h, 24 June

    Squeal!! Rasberry Greene is one of my favorite places on earth. I wouldn’t trade my wedding in those beautiful woods for anything. Lauren tells the story so well but you really do have to experience it for yourself! Loving this series guys!