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SPEARFISH | After making the joyous decision to tie the knot in February of 2018, Dan Berens and Tia Ferguson settled into a serious search for a wedding venue.

But finding a place for a ceremony and reception that met their needs wasn’t that simple.

“We both have big families and a lot of friends so we knew it would be a 250-300 guest wedding,” said Tia, a director of business development for Comfort Keepers of Spearfish.

Her fiancé, Berens, a primary care physician in Spearfish, is originally from Iowa.

They searched around the Hills without finding a place they loved, They also considered, then dismissed, a destination wedding in Colorado, and also thought about going to Sioux Falls to split the difference for her and Dan’s family, from Iowa.

None of those options produced a suitable wedding venue, so they decided to make their own and go into business.

Their new wedding and event center, The Barn at Aspen Acres, is hosting a ground-breaking ceremony this Friday at 3:30 p.m. at 11011 Kellem Lane, located about 2-1/2 miles north of Interstate 90, Exit 10 on Highway 85.

The Barn, designed by Williams and Associates of Spearfish, will be a modern farmhouse style event center, approximately 8,000 square feet with a 4,900-square-foot open air banquet hall. Capacity for the venue will be in the range of 440 guests.

The design calls for a white-painted building with interior chandeliers and modern landscaping.

“We can’t be the only people looking for a venue that can fit 250-300 people and have that modern, clean feel to it,” Ferguson said. “I don’t think you’ll find the word rustic anywhere in our marketing materials.”

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Other features include a warming kitchen for caterers and a loft for a bride and her attendants to prepare for the ceremony.

The 40-acre site will also offer a panoramic view of Spearfish Mountain, Terry Peak, Lookout Mountain and Crow Peak.

They also plan to sow natural grasses, native and their namesake Aspen trees.

Pods of Aspens, they said, will grow together to become a single organism, a perfect metaphor for their wedding venue.

Ferguson and Berens are planning to be one of their own first clients, with their wedding date set for Aug. 10.

August and September are already fully booked for events, Ferguson said.

Their own preparation process helps them relate to other couples.

“We’re going through the thick of it that others are going through. We know the vendors, the planning and the stresses,” said Ferguson, a Black Hills State University graduate who is also active in Leadership Spearfish, 100-plus Women Who Care About Spearfish and South Dakota Center for Enterprise Opportunity events for women.

“We hope to create a business model that takes all of that into account,” she said.

“There is no better way to do that than to be the customer,” she said.

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