Off of Shoal Creek Road in Dawson County, Cold Creek Farm has been transforming boyfriends into husbands and girlfriends to wives since 2013.
Filled with cuddly farm animals and years of memories, Jeff and Susan Buffington were able to transform a barn and farmland into a beautiful wedding venue that sees scores of weddings each year.
But even though Jeff and Susan hosted weddings for years as an unmarried couple, the road that took them to their own marriage was long, windy and full of surprises.
In 2009, Jeff Buffington set up his account on match.com and scrolled across the account of Susan Carr. They met and enjoyed each other’s company enough to keep seeing each other. Both had been recently divorced and neither wanted to remarry anytime soon, so Jeff laid out a ‘five-year plan’ of how he would like to date someone five years before getting engaged.
“At first, the five-year plan offended me,” Susan said. “But once the five years came around, it was me that didn’t see the rush in saying ‘I do.’”
Susan was living in Dawsonville and Jeff was living in Woodstock when his house burned down in a freak accident. The fire prompted the two to move in together and together they began looking for farmland between Canton and Dawsonville to settle down.
“The first day, the realtor said he found some farmland in Dawsonville,” Jeff said. “We checked it out, hiked the property and knew this would be the place for us.”
Two years after the conclusion of the ‘five-year plan,’ Jeff proposed during a show on a cruise ship without giving any sort of indication to Susan that it would happen. He had talked to the cruise director beforehand and set up front row seats where the spotlight would be on the both of them, something Susan said was not her style at all.
“That is Jeff’s style though,” Susan said. “He has always been outgoing.”
Again, the couple felt no rush into getting married. Ten years into their engagement, Jeff and Susan invited their closest friends and family to the Smith House in Dahlonega for a New Year’s dinner. As their friend, who happened to be an ordained minister, told the dinner party to bow their heads in prayer, Jeff and Susan stood up to surprise the audience and make their life partnership official by becoming husband and wife.
“Even after being committed to her for so long, the days after were different,” Jeff said. “Our bond was different and it’s hard to explain.”
The Buffington’s wedding ceremony on Jan. 1, 2017 was to show the rest of their family that they were committed to one another, the couple said.
Now, years after their marriage, Cold Creek Farm truly is a family affair. Together with four of Susan’s children and Jeff’s children they run the venue as a family business. And not only does the couple work with each other every day, they also live full-time in the second story of the barn at Cold Creek.
“Where I lack, she is strong,” Jeff said. “When I want everyone to be partying and having a good time, Susan understands that there are rules and regulations and parameters that our guests need to follow. She is such a hard worker.”
Through arguments and tough days at work, in the end Susan and Jeff say they always come together and remember their journey to the current day. The highs and the lows roll along, but the two truly adopted the ‘opposites attract’ motto and learned that though they might disagree, things will always work out in the end.
“Jeff is funny and at the end of the day, just makes me feel comfortable,” Susan said. “I could not see myself doing this with anyone else.”