Story by Megan Whitehead | Dec 28, 2016
Photography by Keith Borgmeyer

Stay the night before and after your big day in a rustic bunkhouse.

What would you do with 40 acres of land? This was the question posed to Tanya and Dwayne Kempker after receiving family land. For years, the Kempkers raised elk and cattle, but, in 2015, they decided to go a new route.

Kempker’s Back 40, in Westphalia, is a wedding and event venue with gorgeous views and plenty of options. With two 100-year-old restored and refurbished barns, a beautiful lake, and an outdoor pavilion, any bride can easily have the wedding of her dreams.

A big attraction of using this venue is the “bunkhouse.” With beds for eight, the bride and her party can spend the night before the wedding in style. With a completely open concept; a kitchen complete with full-size refrigerator, stove, microwave, and more; a large bar made with original panels from the barn; and a family room complete with dining and poker tables, you have everything you need to party or relax the night away.

In the morning, the bridal party can prepare for the ceremony in two spacious bathrooms. Three showers, a claw foot tub, and a room length mirror allow all the girls to get ready together. Then they only have to walk a few feet to a split oak staircase for a photo session. Up that beautiful staircase is a loft used for ceremonies, rehearsal dinners, and receptions for 150 people.

All the décor in the bunkhouse came from the Kempker home and farm or was found at antique or thrift shops. Any antler you see, including the upstairs chandelier and mounted skull, came from Kempker elks; the lamps in the family room were made by a family member; and much of the art was created by inmates at the Missouri State Penitentiary, where both Tanya and Dwayne once worked. Most of the wood found in the bunkhouse is original oak from the barns, including the oak top tables.

After the ceremony and reception, the bride and groom can use the bunkhouse again to wind down before the honeymoon.

All-inclusivity: that is the draw, aside from spectacular views, of Kempker’s Back 40. Celebrate in a warm, rustic setting designed with purpose and love by the very people who have called this land home for decades.

Resource List

Designers – Dwayne and Tanya Kempker

Contractor – Michael Berhorst, Westphalia

Concrete – Wieberg Red-E-Mix, Meta

Electrical – Harold Stratman, Freeburg

Plumbing – Ryan Stuecken, Freeburg

Well – B&H Well Drilling, Westphalia

Excavating – Peter’s Excavating, Loose Creek

Roof Painting – Zieset Painting, Versailles

Lumber – Del-Rich Logging, Meta, and John Stark, Versailles

Sewer – Marty Buscher, Freeburg

Furniture and Appliances – Menards, Jefferson City

Trusses – Midwest Truss, Jefferson City

Hardware – Becker Millwork & Hardware, Freeburg, and Hometown Building Center, Linn

Windows, Doors, and Framing – Becker Millwork and Hardware, Freeburg

Landscape and Fencing – Daniel Schulte, Westphalia, and Lowes, Jefferson City