Southern Sophistication and Charm: Showcasing Two Local Treasures 

By Sheila Duncan 



The wedding day is one of the most cherished and anticipated events in a person’s life. It’s a celebration of love, unity, and the promise of forever. Amidst the whirlwind of emotions and preparations, one element stands out as particularly significant—the venue. Choosing the right venue sets the stage for the entire occasion, creating an ambiance that reflects the couple’s style, personality, and the essence of their love story. 

One of the most enchanting aspects of selecting a wedding venue is the opportunity to bring your dreams to life. Whether you’ve always envisioned a fairytale castle wedding or a rustic barn celebration, there’s a venue out there to suit every couple’s preference. The process of finding that perfect setting can be an adventure, as you explore various locations, consider their aesthetics and amenities, and envision how they align with your vision for the day. 


Nestled in the heart of Brent, AL, the Howard Cooper Cleveland House stands as a testament to both historical preservation and timeless celebrations. Built in 1835, this majestic estate holds the distinction of being the oldest home in Bibb County, proudly listed on the Alabama Historic Register. Its journey from a historic residence to a beloved wedding venue is a tale woven with passion and dedication by its current owner. 

Owner, Teresa Suttle is the daughter of Jim and Margaret Suttle and the granddaughter of Lola and Carlisle Suttle and is the visionary behind transforming this historic home into a cherished venue. She was born and raised in Brent, AL. A graduate of The University of Alabama with a degree in Interior Design, she refined her craft in Boca Raton, FL, and later in the scenic landscapes of Utah before returning home in 2005. Her journey led her to acquire the Howard Cooper Cleveland House in 2011, envisioning it as an idyllic setting for weddings. 

The transformation began with reverence for its heritage. Teresa shared, “I added a chapel, conservatory for receptions, and a barn,” she recounts, detailing the thoughtful expansions that have since made it a sought-after wedding destination since 2012. Recently, a covered pavilion for dancing was added, enhancing the venue’s allure.” 

Clients rave about the venue’s unique charm and convenience. The estate features a bride’s room upstairs and a groom’s room in the attached carriage house, equipped with entertainment options and comfortable seating. The chapel hosts intimate ceremonies, while receptions unfold in the elegant conservatory and courtyard. A covered dance pavilion with a stage ensures festivities continue regardless of weather, complemented by a prop room stocked with decorative elements. 

Beyond its aesthetic appeal, the venue ensures a seamless experience for clients. Every detail, from onsite parking to lush landscaping for photography, is meticulously curated to create unforgettable wedding memories. Couples from across the United States, and even as far as South Africa and Ireland, have chosen this historic locale for their special day. 

Community involvement is also integral to its sentiment. Initiatives like local partnerships and cultural ceremonies reflect a commitment to inclusivity and community enrichment. Memorable anecdotes abound, from cheese curds at receptions to unique love stories that have unfolded within its walls.  

Looking ahead, the venue aims to further promote sustainability initiatives and eco-friendly practices. Future plans include continued enhancements to accommodate larger events while maintaining its intimate charm. 

In the words of satisfied clients, the Howard Cooper Cleveland House offers more than a venue—it provides an experience that blends history with celebration, ensuring every wedding is a timeless affair. As the legacy continues to evolve, this historic gem remains a beacon of love and heritage in Brent, AL. 


Teresa is also the owner of the Historical Vance – Ellison Bed and Breakfast. Teresa shared, “The Vance-Ellison House, constructed in 1899 by my great-great-grandfather, Robert Vance, was later purchased in the early 1900s by the Ellison family. Mr. Ellison, an attorney, resided there with his two young daughters, who remained unmarried throughout their lives. Upon their passing, the property passed to their closest relative, Howard Cleveland, Jr., the son of Mrs. Emily Cleveland, who owned The Oaks and was their cousin. Teresa recalled, “After Howard Cleveland, Jr. passed away, ownership of the house transferred to his children, Howard III and Amy. Having admired the restoration work I had done on their grandmother’s house; they contacted me to inquire if I would consider purchasing it. Interestingly, they were unaware of my family connection to the property. Remarkably, some of the furniture still in the house had belonged to my great-great-grandfather.” 

While they have preserved the historic beauty of the building, they have also made necessary updates to make it modern and comfortable. The bed and breakfast features 6 bedrooms and can accommodate up to 14 people, every room has an en-suite bathroom, and you can look forward to a delicious breakfast served on Saturday morning by Ms. Betty Beam. 

Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a solo adventure, the Vance-Ellison Bed and Breakfast provides a charming retreat in the heart of Centreville. Reservations are recommended, especially during peak seasons or for special events in the area. 

In conclusion, the Vance-Ellison Bed and Breakfast in Centreville, Alabama, offers more than just a place to stay; it offers an opportunity to immerse oneself in Southern culture and hospitality. Whether for a weekend getaway or an extended vacation, guests are sure to leave with cherished memories of their time at this charming historic inn.