Welcome to the Katherine Blair Journal! We're Katherine and Mark, husband and wife wedding photography team, and we strive to your story in an artful and evocative way. Our blog is here to help you find the perfect wedding venue, help with wedding planning, and get to know us better. Grab a glass of your favorite, sit down, and enjoy!


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Virginia Beach Wedding Venues, Wedding Venues

New Branch Farms | A New Smithfield Wedding Venue

New Branch Farms is one of Virginia’s newest venues. It is located in Smithfield, VA. The venue itself has a clean, modern, industrial farmhouse feel, and the owners are incredibly welcoming and kind. As a newer Smithfield wedding venue they have worked hard to make their property unique and inclusive. It stands out amongst the others because of the lovely touches they’ve added, my favorite being the mini dog park! If you want to include your four-legged family member in your wedding festivities, you would be able to because of that thoughtful addition.

I was able to interview Wendy Mills, one of the owners, and she was more than happy to provide a valuable look into what your wedding could look like at New Branch Farms. Without further ado, we will head into the Q&A below all about this newest Smithfield wedding venue!

If you could only tell couples ONE thing about your venue, what would it be?
We are hands-on owners so from the moment you walk in the door, you will be welcomed like old friends and leave feeling like you are part of the family! Providing a welcoming experience is very important to us.

Do couples using your venue have exclusive use? If not, how do you handle that?
Absolutely! Their day is all about them, their family and their guests! They get 100% of our attention!

Are couples able to host an entire weekend of festivities at your venue (ex. Welcome Party, Rehearsal, Wedding, Day-After Brunch…)
We absolutely love full weekend weddings for several reasons. First off, full weekend weddings take so much pressure off our couples and their families because they don’t feel rushed. Less rushing around means less stress and more opportunity for those coveted, priceless moments. Not to mention, two people committing to spend the rest of their lives walking side by side is an enormous life event. An event of that magnitude deserves 3 full days of celebration. We think having a “Wedding Weekend” is brilliant!

Is there a noise policy/reception cut off time?
Yes, there is a reception cut off time. The reception must be over by 11:00 and everyone must be off property by midnight. Because of that policy, we recommend a 10:30 last call and a 10:45-11:00 send-off. That gives an hour for break-down.

Do you have spaces for getting ready?
We do. We have an awesome, kick-back Groom Room and a beautiful Bridal Suite with all the amenities!

Can couples/guests stay overnight? Is that included in any of your wedding packages?
We have a 3 bedroom house on property that can be rented for the night by the couple or the bridal party.

Do couples have to use in-house catering, or can they bring their own? If they bring their own, is a kitchen available?
We do not have in-house catering but we can recommend some wonderful caterers. If you choose another caterer, the only stipulation is they must be licensed and insured. Our kitchen is a fully stocked caterer’s kitchen with a very large ice machine, prep table, 3 compartment sink, commercial refrigerator, 2 hot/warming boxes, and a microwave. Everything a caterer needs to serve a fabulous meal!

If the couple has an outdoor ceremony, do you have contingency plans for bad weather?
We always go over the “back-up plan” with couples during the initial tour. We want to be sure they would be happy with an outdoor ceremony or indoor ceremony if the weather doesn’t cooperate. The layout of the venue was actually designed to accommodate a beautiful indoor ceremony with gorgeous sliding doors for a grand entrance. Our plan B is beautiful!

What is the guest capacity and is there adequate parking?
Our comfortable indoor capacity is 150 seated guests. Even though we can accommodate more, we suggest keeping the guest count under 150 for a more intimate experience. As for parking, New Branch Farms is located on 23 acres of open farmland; parking is not a problem!

Do you have staff for set-up/breakdown and/or security staff included?
All of our packages include table/chair setup and breakdown. We design a layout with our couples or their coordinator/designer beforehand so we can have the tables/chairs all ready and in place when their decorator arrives.

Because we are in a rural area, an officer is required to be on property during the period alcohol is served. The officer does not come into the venue unless he/she is needed or to use the restroom. He/she is merely there for security.

Are there restrictions for outdoor decor/exit props?
We do have a few restrictions for outdoor decor. The biggest being no fake petals can be tossed.  We allowed fake petals at our second tent wedding on the property in October, 2020 and we are STILL finding them in the grass 2 years later! For exits, we allow sparklers but, event insurance does not cover sparkler exits (too many accidental burns) so a waiver has to be signed. We actually love sparkler exits and think they are beautiful but they can be dangerous in some circumstances: think drunk friend holding fire over a highly hairsprayed head – poof. There are some incredible alternatives if the thought of that makes you cringe!

Are pets allowed on the property?
We are very pet friendly and believe a pet is part of the family so we built a fun dog park for furry family members to hang out before and after the ceremony.

Do you have any elopement packages?
We do not have “elopement” packages but we do offer a substantial discount for weekday weddings!

How can couples find more information?
You can access our downloadable brochure on our website. It has tons of information, including our rates and what is included in our packages.

Well there you have it! If you are looking for a Smithfield wedding venue, a pet-friendly place to host your wedding, or even just a venue in between Richmond and Virginia Beach, look no further than New Branch Farms. Wendy was a joy to work with.

Lastly, if you are looking for a wedding photographer, Mark and I would love to work with you. Reach out! We would love to get to know you, help you find other vendors, and work with you to make your wedding dreams, reality.

couple kissing at wedding venue

Thank you for reading our blog! If you’re looking for more information on other wedding venues in Virginia Beach, check out this blog post!

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