'Barn' offers modern environment
With a passion for real estate and a love of the Hill Country, Danielle Saunders and her husband, Ashton, fell in love with the European feel offered by Fredericksburg.
The couple started small, owning several bed and breakfasts but wanted to be a part of the community in a bigger way. In April 2018, the couple opened what may be one of the town’s largest event venues, The Barn at Swallows Eve.
“We started noticing that our bed and breakfasts were being used for girls’ weekends and bachelorette parties, but I wanted to do something other than B&B’s to be a part of this community,” Danielle said.
The Saunders found that while Fredericksburg has multiple event venues, few allowed for more than 150 guests.
With a background in medicine and commodity trading, the couple never expected to own an event center.
“I never expected to enjoy this but I have learned so much about the wedding planning process and it has been very fulfilling,” Danielle said.
Not just a wedding venue
From the beginning, the idea of The Barn at Swallows Eve was to be more than just a wedding venue.
“We want this space to be used for all kinds of events, so we built it so bands could play music, and we have a space of parties and a space for weddings,” Danielle said.
While Fredericksburg has spaces and places with a rustic feel, the Saunders’ wanted to reflect a more industrial and modern vibe.
The venue features concrete floors, custom made chandeliers, farm house-style tables, and poplar wood sided walls.
The space also features a bar with open cabinets and a television that has sliding doors so it can be separated from the main open space.
A bridal suite contains full-walled vanity mirrors and a full-sized bathroom with a large shower. The groom’s loft is similar but has its own bar fitted with leather couches and a full bath with shower.
Outside the barn is a dance floor and a fire pit for guests to enjoy the Hill Country nature and animals like a barn owl and deer.
“We wanted to create this flow for guests like what is found in many European weddings, so guests can relax and enjoy the day,” she said. “We have this courtyard space that can be used before or after the ceremony for a cocktail hour as well as a dance floor for those that want to celebrate outside.”
‘Nickeled and dimed’
Unlike other venues, the couple didn’t want guests to feel like they were being nickeled and dimed, paying $10 for each chair, for example.
In addition to the cost of full use of the barn on the event day, they also offer optional table and chair and glassware packages.
There is no in-house caterer, so guests can choose to bring in a caterer or bring in their own food.
They are offering reduced rates for 2018 and some 2019 events.
Swallows Eve name
Finding the perfect name can be hard but the name The Barn at Swallows Eve has plenty of references.
The barn being the space and a swallow being the bird that resides in it and comes out at night. Eve references the eve before a wedding, or a new venture.
“We are really excited to see where this venture goes,” Danielle said. “I think the weddings will come on their own but I want the community to use this space for parties like the one we have booked on Fourth of July or even possibly hosting prom.”