Rustic buildings, beautiful landscapes at Selene Homestead

Published on Thu, Mar 26, 2009 by Marisa Willis

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Rolling hills, picturesque wetlands and rustic buildings frame Whatcom County’s newest outdoor wedding venue.

Selene Homestead on Kickerville Road is ready for business and taking reservations for weddings, rehearsal dinners, family reunions, corporate events and even princess tea parties. Owner Debra Miller said the location is for those wanting to celebrate amid beautiful Northwest scenery.

“It’s not for someone who wants the traditional Semiahmoo-type wedding,” Miller said. “It’s for someone looking for the privacy and beauty that our own regional landscape has to offer.”

Miller said there was a need for an outdoor wedding venue in the area and she wanted to provide that for the community. After working as a wedding coordinator for several years in California, Miller said she was ready to start her own event planning business.

“I really enjoy working with brides and helping them get organized and plan their special day,” Miller said. “It’s always such a positive experience.”

The estate is named after two of the first homesteaders in the Birch Bay area, Tuls and Hanna Selene, who settled here in the 1870s. Miller said the Selene’s sons Emil and Frederick built the Mt. Baker Theatre and several other prominent churches in Bellingham.

Besides the seven and a half acres of country meadows that make up Selene Homestead, there are several indoor venues available for events. The Magnolia Blossom building accommodates up to 50 guests and the Bridal Salon is used for wedding day priming and primping as well as children’s parties.

For outdoor weddings and other celebrations, which Miller said is her main focus, the grounds can accommodate up to 250 guests.

Miller said she needed that focus to get her though the two-and-a-half year process of obtaining the proper conditional use permit from the county. It also took $40,000 in renovations to get Selene Homestead up and running.

“A lot of people just hang up their shingles and call it good,” Miller said. “They don’t go through the whole process. We went through the process.”

Miller said she does not mind the time and effort it took to create Selene Homestead. She said now she feels confident that her business will operate safely and successfully in the future. Miller did, of course, do her fair share of research and found how successful other wedding venues in the area are doing, despite economic downturns. Miller also said she strived to be unique by emphasizing the rustic qualities of Selene Homestead.

And it appears rustic history is the luring attraction at the new venue.
The focal point of the facility, a large barn acting as a backdrop to many photographs, was also built by Emil Selene in 1896. Miller said she has been working with one of the Selene’s grandsons to register the barn as a historical site.

Selene Homestead is owned and operated by Miller and her husband, Ken Miller, whose ornamental iron business, Steel Magnolia, is also on the estate. Miller said there are still plenty of dates available for the summer season and those interested are encouraged to call 360/305-1405 or visit www.selenehomestead.com.