Wedding Day Hearth & Home ~ The Gardens Natural Stone Fireplace
Embrace tradition and symbolism on your wedding day by the fireplace hearth.
Wedding days are full of traditions and symbols of deep meaning. The hearth can represent love, fertility, and life. In addition, it can symbolize home. So when it comes to a wedding day, nothing is better than gathering with family and friends at the fireplace hearth.
One of the signature elements at The Gardens of Castle Rock is the hand-crafted natural stone fireplace situated on the reception patio. Designed by venue owner Glenn Switzer and constructed through a collective effort of friends, the fireplace is a significant statement piece.
As a previous nursery & landscape design business, The Gardens’ space had plenty of natural beauty, but as it evolved into a wedding venue, the space needed a centering focus.
As a landscape designer, Glenn creates spaces that focus on the four elements: earth, air, water, and fire. When considering what the first big addition to The Gardens should be, Glenn decided on a fireplace or more specifically a hearth stone. The hearth is the symbol of a home and when you think about it, marriage is the creation of a home. Two people coming together to create a new family, a new home. That is why the fireplace became the perfect statement piece of The Gardens. It’s amazing how many family photos are taken in front of the fireplace. If you ever second guess the importance of a fireplace and draw of a hearth. Think of the number of photos you and your family have taken in front of a fireplace.
With all the fuzzy design stuff being said, let’s get down to the real-world installation mechanics of the fireplace.
First, it’s called the natural stone fireplace because it is. No faux stone or thin veneers here. With over 30 tons of stones used in building the fireplace, it’s the real deal. With that much weight, you can bet full footings were required at four feet deep and over eighteen feet wide. Making it wider than the fireplace itself!
There were at least five different types of stone used on the fireplace – Chilton limestone, Fond du Lac, Lannon, Blue stone, and one of Glenn’s favorite’s Aqua Grantique. With its white quartz and green veining amongst the dark charcoal slate blue, the Aqua Grantique forms both the base of the fireplace and the feature band above the mantel. Many of these stones were left over from previous stone projects. In fact, if you’ve ever taken a trip behind the Workshop, you know there are piles of stone regiments. Let’s just say Glenn is a keeper and has a hard time discarding items. It can drive some people crazy, including his wife!
Walk around the back of the fireplace and you’ll see the sun ray design constructed out of a granite stone that was harvested at The Gardens and hand split by Glenn.
There are also several special stones tucked into the stonework of the fireplace and other Gardens’ stone structures from Glenn’s travels throughout the country, as well as his dad’s stone collection.
Spend some time studying the fireplace and you will pick up on some of the formal classic lines of the fireplace design. What really sets off the design are the two arches incorporated in the fireplace. The first being a light eyebrow shape on the chimney structure and the second is a gorgeous arch formed by voussoir stones that outline the firebox. Look above that arch and you’ll discover a horseshoe that was found while excavating for the fireplace. We like to think it brings good luck to all who visit The Gardens.
In true fashion, Glenn’s formal designs always have a piece of spontaneity. On the fireplace, the large stone that marks the spark arrestor is a widely irregular slab of Chilton limestone weighing over 200 pounds. Let’s just say it was a process getting it set so high.
While all that information is wonderful, how does it translate to a wedding reception? As a centering focus, the fireplace is an instant magnet for gathering. That’s why throughout the day, you will find guests gathering around and near the fireplace. The sturdy six-foot mantel welcomes and encourages couples to make it their own with décor items. We absolutely love it when a couple creates a décor piece for their wedding day that then becomes part of their everyday. Whether it’s a decorative plaque, carved letters, or a photograph. The mantel and the fireplace itself, allows for each couple to make it their hearth, our should we say home for the day.
Let’s not overlook the practical purpose of the fireplace too. Warmth on a cool fall evening or the perfect spot to roast marshmallows to S’mores perfection.
For more information on how The Gardens came to be, check out The Gardens’ Story…..What Makes It So Special.