Callie and Charlie’s love story begins in a barn. Callie Bowlin grew up in the one-light town of Livingston, Louisiana, riding four wheelers, swimming in ponds and cheering on a competitive squad. “My mom always told me I was a weird mixture of a tomboy and a girly girl,” Callie explains.
Charlie Richardson was born in New Orleans and then moved to a farm in Folsom on the Northshore. Charlie competes in horse shows and has five world championships in reining cow horse, ranch sorting and team penning. He says he owes all of his horsemanship skills to his step-dad, Mr. Bill Mayfield, who put him on the best of the best horses and sent him to the best trainers for mentoring.
Callie and Charlie both graduated from Southeastern Louisiana University with bachelor’s degrees set to pursue careers in education and business. However, life had other plans for their career paths and lead them straight back to the farm with their wedding event venue, The White Magnolia.
THEY MET IN A BARN
Callie’s parents were out of town at a horse show when she realized that Freckles, one
of her sister’s retired horses, was lame (very sore and limping). Her parents recommendeda “horse guy” to come check Freckles’ legs. Charlie showed up to look at the horse and met with Callie to show her what she needed to do for Freckles. At this point, Charlie already realized that Freckles simply had a bad case of arthritis. However, after meeting Callie, he decided to tell her that they needed to meet every day, twice a day, to wrap Freckles’ legs. After about two weeks of the daily meetings, Charlie finally confessed that the horse simply had arthritis and asked Callie out to dinner.
THEY WERE ENGAGED IN A BARN
It was the weekend after Callie’s birthday and she thought she was going to her family barn for a birthday dinner. When they arrived, Charlie asked her to sit on the swing at the end of the barn and she saw her entire family peeking around the side. Then she noticed the song Look at You Girl was playing over the speakers. Callie’s little sister walked out with a sign that said “Today is Your Day” and Charlie started walking towards her with a palomino horse he had given her a few weeks before. “I was still really confused at this point,” she says, “I remember thinking, today is not my birthday. As he got closer, he grabbed my hands and started telling me all of these super sweet things and I noticed the horse’s halter said ‘Will You Marry Me?’ on it. Then he got down on one knee and popped the question. And of course I said yes!”
THEY BUILT A BARN
When the couple began looking for wedding venues, they were stuck. “I knew I wanted
a vintage, elegant, southern wedding, but I couldn’t find anything that fit the look we were going for,” Callie explained. Eventually, they had the crazy idea to build their own venue on a piece of Callie’s family’s well-manicured 110- acre quarter horse and cattle farm in Kentwood. Charlie is a jack-of-all-trades and was able to do most of the construction himself and Callie had a steadfast vision and an eye for design.
They agreed to move forward with the idea and got to work! They put their blood, sweat and tears into the venue, working 18-hour days to build the space from the ground up in only seven months.
Every detail of The White Magnolia was designed thoughtfully. The barn sits atop a hill which provides views of magnolia trees, open pasture, rolling hills, grazing cattle, oak trees and beautiful ponds. The ground they usedto build the foundation became the pond that serves as the backdrop to the ceremony location and the pine beams that support the barn were cut from the family’s sawmill. To contribute to the venue’s vintage vibe, Callie discovered manyof the windows, doors and light fixtures from an antique and salvage store in Texas, including the pièce de résistance of 10-foot antique wrought iron doors and cathedral style windows.
She creatively sourced their remaining décor needs from a variety of do-it-yourself projects and thrifty finds, tailoring each piece for a picture-perfect space. “I think because I was preparing for my own wedding, I was extra conscious of the small details. I wanted every area to be unique and beautiful.” These details include beautifully furnished bride and groom’s suites for day-of lounging and preparations. The bride’s suite is complete with multiple vanities, full length mirrors, a bathroom, kitchenette and even finishing touches like vintage hangers for bridesmaid dresses. The groom’s suite takes on a more masculine vibe with leather sofas and a cow hide rug where the groomsmen can lounge or venture outdoors and fish in the three-acre stocked pond.
The large interior of the venue reflects the elegant vintage ambiance Callie and Charlie intended. White washed walls and soaring vaulted ceilings are complemented by rustic pine beams and shabby-chic chandeliers. Brides can even use the impeccable round tables and wooden crossback chairs and vintage china curated by Callie for their wedding.
French doors from the 7,000-square-foot venue opens out on both sides onto side porches. To the west, the manmade pond serves as a quaint backdrop for an outdoor ceremony with a brick path meandering directly to a picturesque pavilion and ancient archway flanked by draped linens.
THEY MARRIED IN A BARN
While Callie was busily building their dream wedding venue, there was also a wedding to plan! Despite her flawless taste and ability to create something out of nothing, Callie knew she couldn’t do it all on her own. “We were actually still finishing details like painting floor boards and laying sod on the morning of our wedding!” Callie and Charlie hired an event planner and a team of talented vendors for a wedding day that went off without a hitch. Read all about the Bowlin-Richardson wedding!