About White Azalea
Hello and welcome to White Azalea! My name is Nan Hardin. My husband, Fred, and I are the proud owners of White Azalea. We are blessed with a wonderful blended family that includes three daughters—Cory, Taylor, and Jamie Ruth – and two sons—Jackson and Jamie Lee.
For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be in the wedding business. It all goes back to growing up in Ocean Springs, MS, and being a part of First Baptist Church. My mama, Mamie Hodges, and her friends hosted many wedding receptions and showers in the activities building at the church and she wasn’t shy about recruiting the family to help. We also hosted an annual Christmas party for my dad’s employees at the Coca-Cola company that took several days of preparation with all of the family and even the neighbors helping. I loved helping and have always enjoyed hosting events.
Starting in 2011, our family planned three weddings – ours, and my two daughters’ (Cory and Taylor). That renewed my desire to have a wedding venue, and two years ago I decided to finally make that dream a reality. Fred and I began the search for the perfect location to own a venue in 2018. We even looked seriously at purchasing an existing venue, but it wasn’t meant to be.
I have traveled to Huntsville frequently through the years in my career supporting NASA contracts and have always loved Huntsville. It’s a beautiful city and has all four seasons, which we didn’t have in south Mississippi or Houston, TX. We began to look for an opportunity to move here and start our venue business. In 2019, my work gave us the opportunity to move here and we were thrilled! We looked at no less than 25 properties before we found the perfect location on Jeff Road. We bought the property and began to design our dream venue. The venue project officially started as “Demo Weekend” over Memorial Day 2019. The entire family came to help us demo the barn, traveling from Florida, Texas, and Massachusetts to be here. My youngest daughter, Jamie, brought her boyfriend, Christian, with her and he told us that he intended to propose to Jamie. That gave us a new purpose for completing the venue by January 2021, the date they set for their wedding.
The venue name was a family event as well. After considering many options, we settled on White Azalea. “White” because we wanted the venue to be predominantly white, including using the reclaimed rough sawn oak boards that were part of the original barn. “Azalea” because, well, we are Southern, and it was one of my mama’s favorite flowers. I wanted to honor her and the love of event planning that she gave me by making something she loved part of the name.
Demo weekend was only the beginning. Fred and I combined our vision for the venue with a lot of hard work and sweat. We both have many years of experience in project management and Fred has done a lot of commercial property work through his love of Corvettes and all things that go fast. Fred handled the building design, demo, and construction aspects of the project. No words can express how difficult all of that was and the obstacles that we had to overcome, but it was a labor of love and he did a phenomenal job. I did all I could to help him and focused on the décor, landscaping, event flow, and the management of the business. Our daughter, Cory, is our marketing manager and she put her marketing degree to work in creating the image of the venue. From the logo to the website to the styled shoots and the marketing material, she has transformed our vision into a beautiful representation of the White Azalea experience we want for everyone that chooses to use our venue.
As in every aspect of our lives, the family was there for us every step of the way. I am thankful for them being there to cheer us on and encourage us when things got hard. You would have to know our family to know that everything we do is a group event. And our family extends to close friends that we love as family, like Brian Coole, Haley Quinn, and Thomas Smith. It means so much to me and Fred to have such a wonderful support system as we made our dream come true.
Now, we hope that you will feel not only the sweat and tears, but the tremendous amount of love that went into creating the venue. Our wish is for you to become a part of the White Azalea family and to allow us to be part of making your dream come true for your special day.