Wedding photographer takes plunge with new event venue for nuptials in Whitestown

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An old farmhouse, a garage workshop and a custom-built barn are slated to soon become a wedding and event complex in Whitestown.

The Sixpence, co-founded and co-owned by the daughter-father team of Shelby and Chris Henry, is planned on 17 acres at 4400 N. 1000 E. The $2.2 million project will include The Homestead, an 1851 saltbox farmhouse that’s been renovated as a bridal suite; The Workshop, a converted garage for staging the groom’s party; and The Barn, an 8,000-square-foot venue built to host 300 wedding and reception attendees.

Shelby, 24, said The Sixpence also will feature as many as four outdoor altars for a scenic and safer backdrop amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Barn is under construction, and the facility’s first ceremonies are booked for next year’s wedding season.

Shelby, a native of Zionsville, started her own luxury wedding photography and videography business in 2016 while attending Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida. After shooting hundreds of weddings, she noticed many of the venues that had been renovated from a previous use were actually detrimental to the ceremony because they weren’t purpose-built.

“I spent the better part of my college years working, and by the time I graduated I was already launched into the luxury wedding industry,” Shelby said. “I came back to Indiana for many weddings here, and I just felt there was something missing from the greater Indianapolis area.”

“I was really committed to the concept of building our own venue so we could build it with light and space and flow in mind,” Shelby said. “A couple should not have to sacrifice aesthetics for functionality, or vice versa. You shouldn’t have to pick.”

Additionally, Shelby heard many brides bemoan ceremonies staged at country clubs, golf courses or hotels as a “wedding machine.”

“We are trying to create something at The Sixpence that is uniquely yours. You and your best friend could get married at The Sixpence and it would look completely different,” she said.

After two years of searching, Shelby found the 17-acre former farm property in Whitestown and chose it for its rolling hills in an otherwise flat part of the country.

“It’s pretty expansive, and it feels that way when you’re on it,” she said.

Once the complex is open, bridal parties will be able to choose between a bridal suite in the main venue or The Homestead. The pre-Civil War, two-story farmhouse has a stocked kitchen, room for up to 10 people, two bathrooms, a deck with a hot tub and outdoor seating.

Next to the farmhouse is The Workshop, a converted garage Henry called “the man cave of your dreams.” She said it offers guests a bar, pool table, darts, a fire pit in the base of an old grain silo, a bathroom and an antique car on a lift that’s perfect for photos.

The main venue, The Barn, will be a roughly 8,000-square-foot facility that’s fully heated, insulated and adorned with chandeliers. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has derailed weddings across the globe, Henry said she’s not worried about the novel coronavirus’ impact on her new business.

“While it is scary and a little intimidating, it might work out for us and people looking for a wedding venue,” Henry said. “Some people have gone for extremely socially distanced ceremonies and receptions. A lot of other people are just choosing to go for it.”

Henry said she already has several weddings booked for the summer and fall of next year, and she’s theorizing that there will be an abundance of couples who need a place to host their weddings after postponing them in 2020.

“We’re excited about what we can offer, and we’ll be ready to cross those bridges when they come,” Henry said.

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