You might think purchasing a wedding venue just days before a worldwide pandemic halts public gatherings would be a stroke of bad luck. Abby Evans Misegades, known for her sunny outlook and winning smile since her days on the Wildcat cheer squad, doesn’t see it that way. She and husband, Logan, bought Margot Hill Weddings & Events near Cedar Creek Lake and have been using this time of mandated social distancing to create special touches at the site and make it their own.
Logan, born and raised in France to American missionaries, helped his parents run a bed and breakfast called The Colorado in a small town called Rosiers-d’Egletons. Their goal, Abby says, has always been to bring a taste of America to the heart of the French countryside. Logan’s father, Bob, still plays live music for dinner each night, with songs like “Hotel California” on regular rotation.
After Abby and Logan married, they quit their jobs, put everything in storage and moved to France to help his family run The Colorado. While there, they found they enjoyed working together and had complimentary skill sets. When daughter, Stella, was born, they moved back to Texas with the dream of someday creating something similar all their own. In the meantime, Abby formed Dear Abby Marketing Co. and began helping small to medium-sized businesses grow their online presence.
“I love to write,” she says, “so it’s been fun to create fresh and updated copy for websites, email campaigns and social media/blog posts. I still have a handful of amazing clients that I work with on a monthly basis, and now I get to use my marketing skills to promote our wedding venue.”
Logan and Abby finalized the purchase of Margot Hill in March – right before the COVID-19 shelter-in-place order restricted gatherings and sent partygoers worldwide scurrying inside.
“It was an interesting time to get into the wedding industry to say the least,” says Abby. “The benefit is that our first few weddings have been 10 people or less, per the government regulations, so it gave us great experience without a whole lot of the added pressure that comes with bigger weddings. I also loved the intimacy of those weddings, because I got to know the entire family by name by the end of the evening. I know it won’t always be like that, but I will always cherish these first few ‘petite’ weddings. It has been a lot of work, but we enjoy it so much it doesn’t feel like an obligation, it feels more like a privilege. We still look at each other and think ‘Did this really just happen?’ It is truly a dream come true. God moved mountains on our behalf, and we will never forget the miracle that is Margot Hill.”
Getaway weddings are all-the-rage these days, with brides seeking to bring loved ones together in unique spaces for their special event.
“Looking back, my favorite weddings I attended were the ones where we went out of town and got to spend the whole weekend with our family and friends, not just at the reception,” says Abby. “What is great about Margot Hill is that we are 5 minutes from Cedar Creek Lake, so the wedding weekend becomes a mini vacation without having to purchase a plane ticket. There are some gorgeous VRBOs around the lake that can house a lot of people. The hard part is that out of state guests have to drive an additional 1.5 hours from DFW Airport to get to us, so that’s a lot of travel for a day but worth it, in my opinion.”
Abby and Logan didn’t build Margot Hill – they purchased a venue which opened in 2018 – but they did rename it. Margot was name they had ready when little Andrew was born 2 years ago after two sisters, and they added a nod to the house nestled at the top of the hill.
“Our ultimate goal is to start infusing more and more of Logan’s French culture into the property’s architecture and landscaping so that we can have ‘The Colorado’ effect like Logan’s parents’ place in France,” says Abby. “We hope that Margot Hill helps bring a taste of the French countryside to East Texas. It’s is also why we have the bundle of lavender above our logo.”
During the economic downturn of the pandemic, Abby worries about people working in the wedding industry – caterers, photographers, venue owners, hair and makeup stylists and others – and says her heart is broken for the brides. Some went ahead and exchanged vows at literal backyard weddings and pushed their receptions to later dates. With most venues booked years in advance, she knows finding a location could be a struggle. She’s offering a $500 discount on weekend wedding packages to any bride affected by COVID-19.
During this slow time at Margot Hill, Logan and Abby are enjoying life with Stella, 7, Chloe, 5 and Andrew, nicknamed “Moose.” The family is currently living in the venue’s residence, though the long-term goal is to build a separate house on Margot Hill’s 40 acres and leave the home available for the wedding party to get ready and to stay overnight. They’re also considering building additional lodging for guests, adding a bridal suite and/or purchasing a tiny house or RV where the Misegades family could stay during events.
“My kids love it here,” says Abby. “They are the ones who are really pushing for us to live in this house. I think part of that has to do with the fact that there is a pool in the backyard and a fishing pond out front. Not to mention a golf cart that my 7-year-old now knows how to drive. Now we just need to get my city kids acclimated to bugs, frogs and cowboy boots.”
Finding a work-life balance and home schooling three little ones during the pandemic, she admits, hasn’t been easy.
“I’m still trying to find my stride to be honest. With the kids not returning to school after Spring Break and the implementation of at-home-learning, I have relied a lot on my mom, Debbie Yarger. Lucky for me, her entire career background was in education, so she has filled the homeschool gap for us while we focus on building the business.”
Margot Hill is 60 miles from Lake Highlands off State Highway 31 W in Malakoff. You can check out video of the venue here.