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Spotlight on Cynthiana: Wedding venue credits community, creativity for surviving pandemic

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Posted at 9:39 AM, Nov 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-20 22:30:35-05

CYNTHIANA, Ky. (LEX 18) — From the five bespoke bed and breakfast rooms to the original floors and the beautiful views, Ashford Acres has just about everything a southern bride is looking for in a venue. Owned and operated by Cynthiana natives Annastasia Hicks and her sister who lives in Los Angeles, they opened their doors in December 2016.

"After our first tour, we were like... sold, " Hicks said of the property.

The 6,000 square foot home and barn sit on 64 acres. The house pre-dates the Civil War, served as both a Union soldier hospital and headquarters, and is now a bed and breakfast and event space. Hicks said their goal is for guests to feel love when they walk through the door, and she said they work hard 365 days a year to do it.

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"Anyone is welcome here, and that's what we teach to our employees. It's all about their experience regardless of what they look like, what they dress like, how they believe, how they feel, " Hicks explained.

Hicks said 2020 was gearing up to be their busiest year yet with 42 weddings on the books, but of course, COVID-19 came crashing down.

"It certainly still came with lessons and wonderful things for our business and wonderful people, but..." Hicks chuckled.

While they did have to close up shop for a short time, Hicks was not about to throw in the towel. They pivoted, changing protocols, re-booking brides for 2021, and creating micro-weddings. Micro-weddings are small packages that can range from just the bride and groom to parties of up to ten people. They have been so successful Hicks said they are looking to continue them even once COVID is a thing of the past.

Hicks explained, "You could have it simple, just ten guests and a ceremony all the way to ten guests and making it really, really nice like a dream wedding."

Hicks said in those early days of the pandemic, though, it was the community that pulled them through. With the bed and breakfast and dining rooms closed, they offered curbside and delivery services, and she said Cynthiana showed up.

"It certainly is the residents' support of some of our businesses that actually has allowed some of them to do better than in previous years, and certainly from an Ashford Acres perspective, it is the reason we survived those months, and I don't know that they realize that," said Hicks.

Now, thanks to that support, Ashford Acres can look ahead to 2021 and give the love that has been shown to them right back.