Holiday Party Ideas

I absolutely love everything about the holiday season! Between work and church events, friend’s parties, and family gatherings I’m always needing ideas on snacks and drinks to take. Thanks to Pinterest, again, I’ve come up with several fun ideas. If you aren’t quite in the Christmas spirit yet, just  search Christmas on Pinterest. Its pretty magical! 😉

Hot Coco Bar

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Nothing says winter like hot coco. The rustic theme mixed with the copper mugs and red buffalo plaid is the perfect holiday mix!


Christmas Sangria

Photo Credit: Pinterest

The colors in this mix are captivating and the recipe is delightful! Pinot Grigio, sparkling apple cider, cranberries, and apples… Yum!


Chocolate dipped Christmas wreath

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Chocolate covered pretzels… Mmmm! Love this festive display.


Christmas Chex Mix (Reindeer Chow)

Photo Credit: Pinterest

This is the perfect snack to munch on at any gathering. We like to call it “Reindeer Chow”. My Mother in Law makes the best Reindeer Chow! This is such a simple way to add some holiday fun. Who doesn’t love red and green m&ms anyways!

Christmas Tree Cheese Board Appetizer

Photo Credit: Pinterest

You can never have too many sweets in my opinion, but it’s a good idea to have something to snack on that isn’t so sweet also. A mixture of cheeses and grapes is a great idea! A spread shaped like a Christmas Tree is even better!

Grinch Grapes

Photo Credit: Pinterest

How simple and fun is this?! Fruit is a great addition to any party.

Candy Cane Place Settings

Photo Credit: Pinterest

This is a great idea for place settings or a way to display the different food and drink choices.

Cranberry Centerpieces

Photo Credit: Pinterest

If you are adding place settings to your holiday party you need centerpieces too! This is a simple, elegant look. This would look great with the Christmas Sangria too!

Grinch Punch

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Champagne, sparkling soda, lime, and lime sherbet…. Need I say more?

Photo Backdrop

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Last but not least, every great party needs a little mistletoe!


Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!






Morgan + Shawn


Meet Morgan and Shawn.



Morgan and Shawn tied the knot at Autumn Oaks Event Center in October 2017. Fall wedding season is my favorite time and theirs was absolutely perfect! It was a beautiful Autumn day for an outdoor wedding. They had an intimate outdoor ceremony followed by a gorgeous indoor reception with their loved ones.

How did the Bride and Groom meet?

Morgan is from Midland, Tx and Shawn is from Weatherford, Tx. Morgan attended Texas Tech University and graduated in 2011. Shawn is a Lieutenant Firefighter in Big Spring. The couple met through mutual friends. Morgan worked with the wife and Shawn worked with the husband. Their coworkers thought the two had similar personalities and introduced them. In Morgan’s words- “boy were they right!”

The Proposal

A year and a half later, Shawn popped the question! He had big plans for an engagement in Durango, Colorado while on a ski trip until plans fell through and the couple wasn’t able to go . That didn’t stop Shawn though! He planned to take Morgan out to dinner. When he arrived at there house, he rang the door bell and quickly got down on one knee and asked her to marry him. She excitedly said yes!

Favorite Wedding Memories

Morgan says their favorite memories are “all the friends and family coming! It was so great seeing them. The venue was absolutely gorgeous and I loved finally seeing all of our planning come together and turn out so well!” Her favorite moment is “during the ceremony the Preacher asked for the rings… Well I forgot Shawn’s in the Bridal Suite and I was still wearing mine so we had to pretend when exchanging them. It was funny and kind of showed how nervous we both were!”

The Honeymoon

The couple started their new life together with a honeymoon in Jamaica relaxing by the pool and beach, spending time with each other.



Autumn Oaks Event Center was honored to host Morgan and Shawn’s wedding and enjoyed working with this sweet couple. It was a wonderful day. We wish them a lifetime of love and happiness!








An Update on the Family Behind the Oaks

We started this little adventure just 3 short years ago, and in that time, our family has changed
quite a bit! We began looking for land to build our wedding venue on in 2014. At that time, Lance
and Judy had only one grandbaby on the way.

That grandbaby, Charlee, was born to Chase and Caitlan, in July of 2014 and shortly after, we
finally stumbled upon our 10 acres! Construction started a few months later, and in July of 2015,
Chase and Caitlan announced that baby #2 was on the way! At this time, Chase and Caitlan
were living in Maryland. Caitlan was doing all of our social media work and she answers most of
your email inquiries.

At Christmas of that same year, Matt and Cortnee announced that they, too, were expecting. In
January of 2016, we had our first event and, after a few final touches, we had our official grand
opening at the end of March, right after Luke (grandbaby #2) was born. That first summer was
busier than we could have expected, and we were certainly grateful for it! Right in the middle of
the madness, Brant (grandbaby #3) was born in August.

On Thanksgiving of 2016, Chase and Caitlan moved back to Texas – woohoo! They are now able
to help with weekend events as well. Chase and Caitlan soon found out they were expecting
their third and they moved to Amarillo.

Just in time for the 2017 busy season, Lance and Judy moved from Clarendon to Lubbock to be
closer to the venue and be able to help out more. Now we are able to rotate weekends! So, if
you are a current bride with us, now you will know a little bit more about who is helping you on
your big day!

Now, Matt and Cortnee are expecting again. Are you guys as overwhelmed as we all are???
We’ve gone from a family of zero little ones, to a family of (almost) 5 little ones in just a little over 3
years. It’s been a whirlwind, especially along with getting this wedding venue up and running,
but it has also been such a blast. We wouldn’t want it any other way!

Now, Charlee is 3, Luke is 19 months, Brant is 14 months, Hattie is 3 months, and the next little
Baby Smith is due in May! These kiddos think the wedding venue is their own personal
playground. They watch cartoons in the grooms room, while tours are being done. They think
our huge reception hall filled with tables and chairs makes the perfect jungle gym. The outdoor
ceremony space is also plenty of room for chasing each other endlessly. Charlee is also big
enough now that she really enjoys “working” the events. She loves seeing the bride and
watching the flower girls do their thing, but her very favorite part is getting to eat wedding cake!

Fun times ahead for this family!




Frequently Asked Questions


  A list of frequently asked questions at Autumn Oaks Event Center:


What is the rental fee and what does it include?


Friday       $3500 for 12 hours or $300/hr for minimum of 6 hours

Saturday  $4400 for 14 hours  or $350/hr for minimum of 10 hours

Sunday     $3000 for 10 hours  or $300/hr for minimum of 6 hours


The rental fee also includes our features and amenities:

Facility access

Facility manager available day of event

Ample parking

Prep kitchen for catering

Large reception hall

Portable Bar

2400 sq ft wrap around porch

Landscaped courtyard

Drive through, covered Porte Cochere

Indoor/Outdoor white chairs (300)

(38)  5ft round reception tables

Setup and Cleanup

Quality sound system


 We offer a few extra amenities for weddings at no additional charge:

 Bridal suite including full size bathroom and 6 luxury vanity stations

Groom’s room with flat screen TV

Access to venue for engagement / Bridal portraits

Easel for Bridal portrait

Ceremony table

Cake table

Registry and gift tables


What is  the maximum number of guests the facility can handle? Our occupancy load is around 300.

Are there any charges for overtime?  Yes. Additional time is billed at the rate of $300 per hour and will be prorated in fifteen minute blocks of time.

Can I choose my own caterer?  Yes. Autumn Oaks has  an open vendor policy which allows you the freedom to choose your own vendors.

Are there adequate kitchen facilities?  Yes. We have a large prep kitchen equipped with a commercial refrigerator, warming o, freezer, microwave and spacious countertops.

Can I bring in my own alcohol? Yes, you can provide alcohol for your guests but all alcohol must be served by a TABC certified bartender. The only alcoholic beverages allowed to be served at Autumn Oaks Event Center are beer, wine, and champagne. No liquor is allowed. Security is required at all events serving alcohol.

How do I reserve Autumn Oaks for my event?  To secure your date, a deposit, along with a signed contract is required.

Do you have a backup plan for rain or inclement weather?  Yes, if your wedding cannot be held outside as planned, it can be moved into our spacious reception hall. Keep in mind that we also  have a 2400 square foot wrap around porch under roof that can be utilized as you see fit.

Are candles or other open flames allowed?  Candles are welcome at Autumn Oaks but they must be in a protective glass, such as a votive. Open flames are prohibited.

Do you have overnight accommodations?  We do not have overnight accommodations on the property, but would be happy to provide you with a list of local businesses that do offer accommodations.

Are there limitations on decorations?  Just one, nothing permanent.  You are welcome to decorate the reception hall to fit your needs with any decorations that can be removed, without any harm to the venue.  No nails, staples, tacks, glue or tapes that leave a sticky residue.

Is the venue wheelchair accessible?  Yes our venue is wheelchair accessible and  we also have designated handicap parking. Our restrooms are also handicap accessible.

Am I responsible for any of the cleaning?   All items brought in by you, your vendors, or your guests will need to be removed.  All of the tables should be cleared and the kitchen and bar should be free of food and beverages and wiped down.  After all the trash is gathered, the trash bags should be placed in the dumpsters provided outside the kitchen door.

Can we cook on site?  We do allow cooking to be done outside with outdoor cookers only.

Is there parking?  Valet or self-parking?   We have a large parking area and our facility is self-parking.

Do you have in-house vendors or a list of preferred vendors?  We have an open vendor policy so the choice is yours, but we do have a few names of vendors that we feel would do a great job!

Can we have the ceremony and reception in the same location?  Yes. You have the freedom to use our beautiful indoor reception hall, our  large wrap around covered  porch and the spacious landscaped courtyard, as you see fit. If you choose Autumn Oaks for your special occasion, the facility is yours to plan and decorate to fit your own personal style.

Are there any restrictions on setup time?  Once you have rented the venue, the  consecutive hours is yours to manage as you please.

Is outside music allowed at the venue?   Yes. But all music must  end 30 minutes prior to the end of the event time. Amplified  music must be kept at a reasonable level. Volume control will be at the discretion of the on-site manager for Autumn Oaks Event Center during the event.

Do you provide microphones for the ceremony?  Yes. We have a cordless mic with our outdoor sound system as well as a cordless mic for the indoor sound system.

Is there a changing area for the bride and groom?  Yes.Our beautiful bridal suite has  a cozy environment with plenty of space for the bride and her bridal party to relax and prepare before the wedding. It offers a six-seat vanity for makeup and hair, an elegant lounging area, a beautiful 6 ft. framed mirror, small refrigerator and bar for drinks and snacks and french doors that open onto the covered porch.  Best of all, the bride  has her own private restroom.

The Groom’s room is a great room for the guys to relax before the ceremony. Everyone will feel right at home sitting in the lounge area just  hanging out or watching the flat screen tv.  This room also offers an open locker area for the guys to hang  their suits and dress comfortably. A small refrigerator and bar are provided for snacks and drinks.

How do I schedule my rehearsal?  If you plan on doing your rehearsal the day of your event, that time is yours to use as you see fit. If you want to schedule your rehearsal prior to your wedding day, the date and time of your rehearsal will be determined based on facility availability.

Will someone who works at the venue be present during the event?  Autumn Oaks will have a facility manager available day of the event to assist and answer any questions you may have, but once you have rented the facility, it is yours for the day to do as you please.

What is the cancellation policy?  Should you cancel your  event at any time after the execution of the contract, the rental fee payments will be refunded in accordance with the following:

a).  If you cancel 120 days (4 months)  or more prior to your original reserved date, your

deposit will be returned minus a cancellation fee.

 b).  If you cancel your event after 120 days (4 months), unfortunately, none  of your

payment will be refunded.

 c).  On all cancellations, regardless of the reason, there is a cancellation fee.

Do you have a sound system for the DJ or band?  Yes, but most  bands and DJs have their own equipment..

What time can we access the site for setup?  Access to the venue will be stated on the contract.  We just require your time to be consecutive hours and that set up and clean up falls within that time frame.

Are tables and chairs provided?  Yes. There will be enough chairs and tables to seat 300 guests.

Do we have to leave everything as-is or can we move things around?  You are welcome to move things around with a manager’s approval.

Is there a bar?  Yes. We are happy for you to use our portable bar. It can be used in our reception hall or outside in our courtyard.

Are there any restrictions on when music has to end?  The live band/or DJ must be finished 30 minutes  prior to the end of the rental period.

Will there be security guards on-site?  If alcohol is to be served at the event, we require off duty police officers/security personnel to be present from the time the service of alcohol begins until the premises is vacated by all guests.

 How do I schedule a site visit?   We would love to give you a tour of our venue. Please give us a call a 806-553-0532 or email us at: to schedule a date and time.



Makayla + Morgan

I haven’t had the privilege of meeting this Bride in person but after discussing this blog with her, I can tell she is the sweetest! I asked her a few questions about her and Morgan and I am in love with their story.

How did Makayla and Morgan meet?

This love story began on Facebook. Morgan, from Lebanon, PA and Makayla from Portales, NM originally became friends on social media through mutual friends. Morgan graduated from Eastern New Mexico with a degree in Criminal justice and Makayla graduated from Clovis Community College with a nursing degree. After chatting on Facebook, the two decided to go on a blind date to Chili’s. They instantly connected and spent nearly 4 hours getting to know each other. Morgan and Makayla dated for a little over 3 years before he popped the question.

How did Morgan propose?

Makayla’s story of the proposal is just perfect.

 “For about 2 months we had family pictures with his family planned and my friend, Alli, who is a photographer was going to take them. After taking several family photos at our first location and discussing where our next location will be, Morgan and I jumped in the car with Alli who looks at the both of us and says, “Okay, I have a surprise for the both of you.” She pulls out two blind folds and tells us to put them on. Little did I know, I was the only one who put the blind fold on. Alli starts driving around and I’m sitting there saying over and over again, “Morgan, what could it be?! Where are we going?!” He’s playing along the entire time saying he has no idea! The whole time I’m freaking out because we are supposed to meet Morgan’s family at a different location to take more family photos and here we are doing this! The car finally stops and Alli opens our door and helps me out of the car. She guides me a few steps and says, “okay, you guys can undo your blind folds!” To a VERY BIG surprise, Morgan was not by my side blind folded, but instead on one knee with all our family and friends behind him holding signs and balloons that said, “Marry Him.” It was the most perfect day ever! I was completely caught off guard!”

What is one of your favorite memories from you wedding day?

“Our favorite memory from the wedding was getting to spend that entire day with our friends and family getting ready and finally soaking in the reality and the fact we were getting married! Walking down the aisle was so surreal getting to see Morgan standing there at the alter. It was a beautiful day!”

We absolutely adore this couple and wish them a lifetime of happiness together!




Top 5 Favorite Pinterest Wedding Ideas

If you aren’t looking on Pinterest for wedding inspiration you are missing out! I often find myself scrolling through Pinterest thinking “why didn’t I have this when I was getting married!” I had a really hard time narrowing my list down to 5 of my favorites to share with you.

  1. Polaroid Guest Book

One of my best friends recently did this at her wedding and it was so much fun. It is such a great way to remember each friend and family member who attended your wedding. Not only does it create a special memory for the Bride and Groom but it is a lot of fun for the wedding guests as well!

2.Framed Wedding Guestbook

Another unique wedding guest book idea is something framed that you can hang in your home. I love the idea of each person signing their name on a heart and dropping it in the frame. This is such a cool idea that you can hang somewhere and be reminded of all your loved ones who attended your wedding day.

3.Instagram Sign

I’m sure most of your wedding guests are snapping selfies and posting them on Instagram and Facebook throughout your ceremony and reception. This is a fun way to make sure you get to see all the wedding pictures your guests took of your wedding day.

4.Honeymoon Fund 

I have attended several weddings lately where a honeymoon fund was part of the reception. A dance with the Bride or Groom is the most popular I have seen but I love the idea of guessing who will get the wedding cake in the face.

5.Remembering Loved Ones


I saved the best for last. This is by far one of my favorite ideas. This is an idea I wish I would have thought of for my wedding day. Framing pictures of loved ones who have passed or creating a family tree with framed photos is such a sweet, sentimental touch. We’ve had several brides at Autumn Oaks who beautifully displayed pictures of passed loved ones. See a few of them here, on our Autumn Oaks Event Center Facebook page.



Bailey + Ben

Meet Bailey and Ben

Bailey and Ben tied the knot at Autumn Oaks Event Center in August. They had a gorgeous outdoor wedding on a beautiful, summer day where they were surrounded by family and friends. The couple ended the night with an indoor reception in the banquet hall celebrating with guests and dancing the night away. These two are the sweetest couple! Can’t you just feel the love from the pictures?! We were so excited for them when they came for their wedding venue tour. Get ready to fall in love with these two and their sweet story.

How did the Bride and Groom meet?

Bailey is originally from Arizona but moved to Lubbock, Texas where she later met Ben her Junior Year in High school. That’s right- High school sweet hearts. Bailey went on to college at South Plains in Levelland, Texas and Ben chose to attend Columbia Southern University. These two weren’t about to let long distance get in their way. They dated for 8 years before Ben popped the question.

The Proposal

One of the couple’s favorite things to do together is hike. While on a camping trip with Ben’s best friend, a hike led to Ben getting down on one knee and proposing. Bailey had no idea Ben was planning a proposal and was completely surprised. She was thrilled that Ben’s friend was there to capture the moment for them.

Favorite Wedding Memories

Bailey says their favorite memory from their wedding at Autumn Oaks was “having all our family together in one place.” Isn’t she the sweetest!

Autumn Oaks Event Center was honored to host Bailey and Ben’s wedding and had so much fun with this sweet couple. The Bride was gorgeous, the ceremony was intimate, and the cake was delicious! We wish them a lifetime of love and happiness.








Top 10 Things To Do Immediately After Engagement

1.Tell your family

Share your excitement with your family. They will be thrilled to hear your news and want to know all the details! Make sure to send them a picture of the engagement ring!

2.Tell your close friends

After sharing the news with your family be sure to tell your closest friends. Let them know that you want to be the first to post your “We are getting married” announcement on social media.

3.Pamper yourself

Make an appointment at the spa and salon. Everyone you see will want to see your ring so you will want your nails to look great too! Don’t forget the engagement pictures you will want to take!

4. Schedule engagement pictures

Ask friends and look online at portfolios to find your photographer. Decide what style of photography you like best and choose a photographer with the same style. Keep in mind this can be a wedding photographer interview for the big day!

5.Choose a wedding date range

Decide with your fiancé on a wedding date range that would work for you both. Keep in mind setting a specific date could be challenging when picking your wedding venue so setting a range of dates may make things easier.

6.Set your budget

Before you can really start planning your big day it’s important to set your budget. Forget the traditions of what the Bride’s family pays and what the Groom’s family pays. Sit down with each family and see what they are willing to help with. Once your budget is established you can move on to making choices like how many people you will invite.

7.Create your guest list

Creating your guest list is something else you should do while you are sitting down with each family- the moms won’t let you forget anyone! Once you have an estimate on how many people you will invite you can start looking for a wedding and reception venue that will accommodate all your guests.

8.Choose a location and venue or event center

Now that you have narrowed down your guest list you can decide on the location and venue or event center for your wedding. Make sure to schedule a tour so you can visit the venue and see what all they offer.

9.Pick your wedding party

There are so many fun ways to ask your closest friends to be bridesmaids and groomsmen and share your special day with you. My sister in law sent me a box full of goodies and a card that I still have. Check out Pinterest for inspiration!

10.Pick your wedding dress

Now for the fun stuff!! You have most of the big choices out of the way it’s time to find THE dress. If you haven’t already, get online and find several different styles you think you are interested in. Then, invite your girls or just go with your Mom and try on as many as you want until you find the one. Take pictures, laugh, and soak in all the memories!







Letter of Gratitude

To anyone and everyone we have worked for or with in the past 2 years: Thank you!!! When we started this new adventure, we really had no idea the blessings that were headed our way. We have had the pleasure of working with so many incredible people. You guys make our job so much more fun and enjoyable.

To the brides: Thank you for choosing us! We know you have several options for wedding venues in and around Lubbock, Texas, and we are so honored and grateful that you chose Autumn Oaks for such an important event! We have sincerely enjoyed each and every one of you. You have all been so sweet, so appreciative, and SO GORGEOUS! Words cannot express how much we adore you all.

To the parents of our brides and grooms: You have all been so wonderful. We know how stressful and exhausting a wedding can be and you have all been so good-natured and easy to work with! We have made genuine friendships with many of you and we feel so blessed.

To the vendors: Lubbock, Texas has some of the most incredible wedding vendors! We have seen such a wide variety of styles of weddings and each has been incredible in its own way. It takes such a distinctive person to decorate and arrange flowers and bouquets. It does not look easy and we have seen some of the most beautiful wedding décor and arrangements! The food. Wow! Can we talk about the food?? I can’t imagine cooking for 200-300 people – keeping it all fresh and warm has to be a task and it’s always so tasty! Of course we always sneak a plate when there’s enough (i.e. research ;)) and we are rarely disappointed. The same can be said for the wedding cakes we see. So many photographers have shared their photos with us to use for marketing and have tagged us in their posts, and we cannot tell you how much it is appreciated. So much talent here in and around Lubbock, Tx!

To the planners: You make everyone’s lives a little easier! You always keep everything so organized and keep all the wedding vendors and members of the wedding party on task and on time. Not to mention you are all so kind and so fun to work with. We are clearly very fond of you all!

We have been on quite a journey these past two years. It has been exhausting and overwhelming at times, but has also been incredibly exciting and rewarding. YOU are such a big part of why this wedding venue has become such a blessing in all of our lives, and as a family, we just wanted to send out the most heartfelt THANK YOU to each and every one of you! XO, Autumn Oaks (Thornberry and Smith families)



A Passion for What We Do

Since our opening, we have hosted various events, which we are so grateful for. We have had several weddings, varying in size and style, and we’ve learned a lot from each! We created our venue to be versatile, and I am pleased to say that it has been just that.

We’ve had a wedding for 100 guests and a wedding for 500 guests. We’ve had a casual, country wedding, an elaborate, elegant wedding, and everything in between. Each wedding that we have hosted has been different and beautiful and so special! Each bride has been unique and absolutely gorgeous.

One of the things I’ve discovered that make a wedding special is the details. It’s the photos of family that has passed on the reception tables, so everyone remembers they, too, are there to celebrate. It’s the sign in book, or painting, or bench that was made by someone special just for the bride and groom. It’s the unique trinket given by the groom to the bride to wear or carry on her walk down to commit to forever with him.

Moments also make a wedding noteworthy. It’s the story during the ceremony that is told of the bride and groom that brings a tear to everyone’s eye. It’s the secret moments the bride and groom have when no one else is watching when they realize they can finally call each other husband and wife. It’s the instant the parents of the bride take a deep breath of relief knowing their daughter is in good hands.

Maybe I’m just 40 weeks pregnant, but thinking back on these moments I’ve witnessed the last few months absolutely gets me emotional. I feel so fortunate to get to see this all the time. Marriage is such a beautiful thing and one of the most exciting things in life, and I get to see this commitment made every weekend. How lucky am I??

There are certain people that you meet that just really make an impact. We’ve certainly met several families that have been that for us. We feel so incredibly blessed to be able to interact with so many incredible families. It makes all of these 16 hour wedding days so completely worth it! 🙂