Agape Ranch offers unique venue for weddings and events

Agape Ranch in Livingston Parish has acres of woodlands, fishing ponds, native wildlife, horses, barn, pastures, and an 18-stable barn – and the McGrew home. It is a peaceful place where, over the years, children have grown up and people have boarded horses and taken riding lessons and field trips. There’s also a softball field and a covered pavilion.

The entrance to the Agape Ranch near Denham Springs reveals the tranquil acres of the working ranch that is now a venue for special occasions.

The entrance to the Agape Ranch near Denham Springs reveals the tranquil acres of the working ranch that is now a venue for special occasions.

“I raised my kids here, but they’re grown now, and, last year, I had been giving some thought to adding a venue, but had not yet taken the steps to do it,” Sandi McGrew confided.
Then came the flood came last summer that raged across the property. From the second story of her home, Sandi watched the water encroaching and turn the pastures into lakes, and the barn and her house were inundated with more than five feet of murky brown water, and she and her horses had to be rescued.
After the water receded and the house gutted and she was able to get over the shock, she knew she would rebuild.
“What seems to destroy us, can also give us a new vision,” said Sandi. “I had to rebuild from scratch, so I figured, if I’m going to add a venue for weddings and other events, this is the time to do it, and I started planning how I could remodel to make it happen. I knew I wanted to do a venue that would be a little different.”
What’s different about this venue is that she makes the entire working ranch available for almost any occasion.
Sandi said, “We have almost 20 acres, and there a lot of things we can do.”

Bride Kristine Fricke on paint horse, Toy. - Photography by Harley

Bride Kristine Fricke on paint horse, Toy. – Photography by Harley

The serene, picturesque setting is an ideal location for an intimate barn wedding and is also available to rent by the hour. In addition to weddings, hosted events include bridal and baby showers, birthday and anniversary parties, reunions, dance parties, day camps, and various meetings. She plans to add paint parties in the future.
Sandi hosted the first Agape Ranch wedding in July and started scheduling more. It is an unique facility with room for 150 guests. She offers various options: 1/2 day rental, noon to midnight; one day rental on Saturdays, 6am – midnight; and a three-day rental Fridays from 2 pm through Sunday at 2 pm, which allows the couple ample time to decorate, have the wedding rehearsal and dinner, ceremony and reception without being rushed.
The venue is a rustic setting, one that Sandi believes is the only authentic horse ranch venue in the area. It’s great for couples who enjoy the outdoors, with the ceremony held outside by the ponds, in one of the pastures, in the barn, or under the all-weather 2,000–square-foot covered pavilion which has a stage. Receptions are held in the main house.

I had to rebuild from scratch, so I figured, if I’m going to add a venue for weddings and other events, this is the time to do it, and I started planning how I could remodel to make it happen. I knew I wanted to do a venue that would be a little different. Sandi McGrew
One feature that is particularly unique and appreciated is her attention to the comfort of the bride and groom and their attendants in the hours before the wedding.
The bride’s suite is spacious with plenty of room for the bride and bridesmaids to dress, with a large dress rack for keeping their dresses in perfect shape, a makeup counter, comfortable seating, a restroom and other amenities. This suite has is also popular with high school girls for pre-prom preparations and dressing.
Sandi was determined that the groom and groomsmen’s accommodations would be more than an afterthought. With three grown sons who have been in numerous weddings, she knew the men would like something more than a few chairs and a TV while waiting for the ceremony. She built what she calls the groom’s cantina, complete with a pool table, big screen television with video games, bar and a restroom.
Two attendants are available to serve the bride and groom as needed.

Weddings and other events at Agape Ranch can be held in the pavilion (above), the barn, or in a pasture near a pond.

Weddings and other events at Agape Ranch can be held in the pavilion (above), the barn, or in a pasture near a pond.

The cantina has also become a popular meeting room for book clubs and other groups to gather, and is used by a line-dancing group on Wednesday nights; they dance in the pavilion, take breaks in the cantina, and then dance some more.
Sandi teaches line dancing at PARDS to the YaYa group which performs at local nursing homes, and she is considering adding dance lessons at the ranch.

Details:

Details: Agape Ranch, 24915 Juban Rd, Denham Springs, LA 70726,225-588-1382. Website: agaperanch.com; Facebook: Agape Ranch, LLC

Sandi says her prices are competitive, and she is happy to talk with anyone about the various accommodations and options Agape Ranch offers for all sorts of occasions. She makes referrals to her preferred vendors, including wedding planning servic Karing Occasions, and Photography by Harley for her guests’ consideration.
Sandi McGrew is happy sharing the beauty of the property with other people and providing opportunities for wedding parties, families, church groups and schools to enjoy events at the ranch.

 

By Helen Turner