LOGANVILLE -- This past August, a couple was married under the white gazebo centered on the waters of Swan Lake.
Their guests lined the bridges on both sides as well as the lakes' shore.
The picturesque site is one of several outdoor settings for ceremonies at Vines Mansion, what General Manager David Isenbarger calls one of Gwinnett's secret treasures.
"We have people in the Loganville-Grayson area that don't even know we're here," Isenbarger said.
The secret is getting out.
Owned by Georgia Fine Restaurant Inc., which is based in Lawrenceville, the 18,000-square-foot manor house had served as a restaurant for the past decade or so, as well as a special events facility before closing for extensive renovations. After six months, during which time the manor house was repainted inside and out, all lighting was updated, repairs were made to the exterior and a new roof was installed, Vines Mansion reopened as a full-time wedding and corporate events facility.
Event Planner Barbara Olar said one of the most significant additions to the facility during the six-month renovation period was that of three heating and air conditioning units, which help cool the front portion of the house. A full cement sidewalk was also installed to allow guests to safely walk from the parking area to the main outdoor ceremony site, the Arbor Patio.
Since reopening as a full-time events facility in April, Vines Mansion has hosted about 25 weddings.
One couple was married under an arch beside the mansion's koi pond in September.
Some of their guests were seated to the right and left of the arch, while others stood on the balcony overlooking the pond and arch to observe the ceremony.
"People are finding that we're open again and we're getting the word out," Isenbarger said. "It's real exciting, real exciting."
Vines Mansion is situated on three acres along Oak Grove Road in Loganville. The rear of the manor house overlooks white, wooden decks that wind through the backyard, which slopes down into Swan Lake. The lake separates the Vines Mansion site from Vines Botanical Gardens, a 25-acre county park.
Just outside the renovated pool house, which now serves as a chapel, a white, wooden tower topped with a bell has become a tradition for couples starting their married lived at Vines Mansion.
"The first thing the bride and groom do after they get married is go over and ring the bell together," Isenbarger said.
The area surrounding the bell tower is another outdoor ceremony site, which overlooks the lake and gazebo and, farther out, the botanical gardens.
While the outdoor settings surrounding Vines Mansion are idyllic locations for ceremonies, the manor house itself offers a range of settings for receptions.
"This gives you a lot of room and the ambiance just has that feel of an older house," Isenbarger said. "It's not your typical wedding venue, we don't have one grand hall, we're literally a house that can be divided or used partly or wholly. We offer a lot of different options to our bride and groom."
Event packages are customized depending on the rooms and outdoor areas used.
"We have a lot of different outdoor areas that can be enjoyed, as well as the whole inside of the house," Olar said.
Vines Mansion staff also assist couples with selecting wedding vendors, including caterers, florists and more.
"We can offer them a beautiful place to get married and they don't have to go into debt to have that," Olar said. "We will work to fit within their budget."
Vines Mansion is already booking weddings for 2011 and Olar said 2010 is looking to be a busy year.
"I think one of the most important highlights about this facility is that we are so flexible as far as reconfiguring the rooms to suit what you like," Olar said. "I tell my brides that I'm showing around here is what we try to do here is make your vision of what we can do with this property come to fruition if we can."
For more information on the events facility, visit www.vinesmansion.com.