Co-owner Peggy McClaren describes The Terrace at Salado as warm and welcoming.

Many wedding ceremonies are held in the well-manicured outdoor area, with the bride and groom standing on a wooden deck beneath a large oak tree, the focal point of the grassy space. Receptions follow in the 7,400-square-foot indoor hall on the property. It can seat up to 300 guests, contains permanent tables and chairs and has a large dance floor.

“I recently had a bride exclaim, ‘It’s a real dance floor, not a landing strip,’” McClaren said with a laugh. There is a stage that can be used for bands, a DJ or the wedding party if the ceremony takes place indoors. “For outdoor ceremonies, this is the plan B site in case of bad weather,” McClaren said. “We have needed to use it several times. Typically we move the tables apart, set chairs up on the dance floor and it becomes an aisle.”

There is an arbor available for rent that can be used for outdoor or indoor ceremonies.

McClaren said some brides fill the stage with pipe and drape to shorten it.

The facility also has LED lights that can change color depending on the desired ambiance of the room.

“When a bride comes in to look at the venue, we sit down and talk after the tour,” McClaren said. “I always ask about the colors, we can come up with lighting colors that will accent your scheme.”

The Terrace has a caterer’s kitchen, which means food is not meant to be cooked from start to finish on site; rather it is to be brought in already prepared and served from the kitchen.

“If you want a plated dinner where food is taken out and served to the guests, this is where that would be staged,” McClaren said. “If you want a buffet, we have two six-foot rectangular tables that can be set up.”

“We have a full service bar minus the alcohol,” McClaren said in regards to patrons who do want to serve beer, wine or cocktails at their wedding. “You provide the alcohol if you want it. You can bring it in that morning or the night before depending on the day of the week. Use of the fridge, wine chiller, pour spouts for mixed drinks, glasses and even bartenders are part of what comes in the venue package if you want alcohol.”

For brides who do not want to serve alcohol at their wedding, the bar area can be curtained off with dark drapes, leaving only the countertops for use. They also have icemakers on site.

McClaren said pricing varies because the packages are customizable and certain additions, such as a large drop-down projector for slideshows, cost extra. All packages include security, bartenders, cleaning and a facilities person on-site the entire day.

“If the fans or air conditioning needs to be adjusted, somebody is here,” McClaren said.

She said brides usually arrive first thing in the morning of their wedding day, and the bridal room is set up as a pleasant place to spend much of the day getting ready. It includes an antique salon chair and a long mirrored and lighted vanity stretching along one wall. There are also sofas, chairs and a private bathroom. The overall atmosphere is peaceful and elegant.

The door to the groom’s room can be locked from the bride’s side to ensure no luck goes bad. The groom’s room has a pool table and neon wall décor to give it the feel of a classy and masculine, yet relaxing, lounge.

McClaren and her husband, Larry, originally built The Terrace to be a smoke free, country dance hall.

“We opened the doors in fall of 2012,” McClaren said. “We love to dance, but owning the club was not what we expected.”

The couple decided running a dance hall was not for them, and wondered what else they could do. After deciding on an event venue, they added chandeliers and other feminine touches to bring balance to the interior and repurposed a few other components.

They developed the outdoor area, completely surrounding a grassy portion with an elegant stone wall so that Interstate 35 could not be seen; only the country fields on the opposite end remain visible.

“It was the best decision,” McClaren said of switching to event hosting.

Managing The Terrace is the McClarens’ full-time job. They’ve booked between 75 and 100 weddings in the venue to date. She said getting that first 100 started slow, but the momentum picked up as word of their venue got out, and it continues to build. She is already booking some weekends in 2018.

Another bonus is that McClaren recently received her credentials to perform wedding ceremonies.

“I just got that at the end of last year,” she said. “I have a couple weddings coming up that I’m going to officiate and I’m really excited about that. I love meeting the couples and finding out what is important to them as far as the vows go. Do they want to write their own, do they want religious or nonreligious? It’s really a fun part.”

McClaren said she also loves seeing the different ways the venue can be decorated.

“A lot of my brides like to do their own decorating,” she said. “With Pinterest and Etsy and all the wonderful sites, they can do their own decorations. Some will just do a centerpiece straight on the tables and some will do a tablecloth, table runner, linens and a centerpiece.” The Terrace does not require linens, but brides can bring them if they wish.

“The beauty of this venue is it can be decorated in a very classy, elegant way,” McClaren said. “For example, Confetti Rentals has come in and draped sheer fabric from vent to vent, all across the room. With linens, draping, the chandeliers, and pipe and drape with sheer white lights behind it, it can all become very elegant.”

She said sometimes brides will put the sweetheart table in the center of the dance floor — the versatility is endless.

“You can hire decorators and it’s beautiful,” she said. “You can minimally decorate, and it’s still beautiful.”

SALLY GRACE HOLTGRIEVE is a full-time freelance writer in Central Texas. A few of her favorite things include traveling, hiking, camping, reading, cats, classic rock music and cheese. As a kid, Sally Grace could never figure out what she wanted to be when she grew up — astronaut, Celtic dancer, entomologist, Egyptologist — everything was interesting and she couldn’t decide on just one world to immerse herself in and study, so she became a journalist. She learns new things every day.

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