My New Venture

I mentioned in a past post that one of the reasons I’ve been such a bad blogger is that I’ve been pretty busy. More specifically I’ve been busy with wedding plans. Not my OWN wedding plans, of course. Now, that really would be news! No, no, I’ve been busy with other people’s wedding plans. My sister, for one. And now a very good friend.

We have a large covered pavilion with a kitchen and a rather large meat smoker that my great-grandfather had built back in the 1960s. It was added on to a few times since then, and over the years we’ve hosted everything from small afternoon gatherings to company picnics for thousands of people. We’d become well-known in the area for our smoked pork barbecue and my grandfather’s secret recipe sauce. In the last 10 years or so, however, we’ve cut back drastically on the events we host because everyone in the family (otherwise known as the people expected to work these events for no money) had gotten a bit burnt out. And tired of fighting with my famously stubborn and difficult grandfather who didn’t seem inclined to want to spend the money needed to keep the place in good condition or to really utilize the space as it could be.

My sister announced in January that, after changing her wedding date a few times over the past 2 years, she would be getting married here on the farm in June. Which gave us 5 short months to get everything fixed up and ready. The upside was that my grandfather grudgingly agreed to the remodeling we decided needed to be undertaken. He complained loudly through the whole process but he didn’t actually stop us from doing anything we thought needed to be fixed.

As it does in a smallish town, word got around that we were remodeling and possibly back in business. We instantly started getting calls from people who wanted to get married here. One couple was so desperate to have a wedding lakeside that they came out mid-remodel and just put up with the construction.

lakeside wedding

By June, we were all half dead, but it was done. And everything came out quite nicely.

our pavilion, fixed up and decorated

My sister got married under this beautiful arbor our brother built out of wood found on the property.

And the wedding requests just keep coming. We’ve recently had another wedding and are already starting to book things for next summer.

Most exciting for me is that my good friends Lisa and Wes are having their wedding celebration here in September (they got married in February, but neither of their families could be there then). I’m so excited because I’ve known them for several years and they’ve spent so much time here on the farm. It just felt like the place they should get married.

Since they are in Seattle and we’re in Tennessee, I’ve had the added fun of coordinating everything locally. For some reason, this stuff is so enjoyable for me. At the last minute things always get crazy, but the months leading up to it are great: talking about food and china patterns and floral arrangements… These are just things I like to do. Especially when the couple is so much fun and doesn’t mind that I make a million suggestions.

We’ve just made the decision to purchase china and silverware. Previously, we didn’t have anything to offer clients, so they either had to rent china or use plastic. If you’re reading this blog you can probably guess my feelings on disposable plastic plates… they are a NO GO. I hate everything about them. I think they are ugly. I hate that they are almost never recyclable and, even when they are, that people usually don’t bother. I just hate them. I love china, but buying enough new china to feed 100-200 people costs a small fortune. And you end up with a huge, boring set of china, which is almost indistinguishable from what everyone else offers.

But, above and beyond anything else, the very best part of all this, for me, is that we decided to buy secondhand, vintage and antique china and silverware! I had the idea while I was admiring all the photos of weddings with mismatched china. They were just so beautiful and exactly what I would do. I was lamenting the fact that there wasn’t anywhere to rent mismatched, vintage china when it hit me: Why should I be looking for a place to RENT this beautiful china when I could BUY it instead?!?

And so the great business plan emerged. I get to spend the next several months scouring secondhand shops and the internet for cast-off china and silverware. I will rescue these unloved pieces and give them a wonderful new purpose. Rather than sending my dollars to some big corporation, I will give my money to local shops and internet entrepreneurs. I will reuse. And, by basically having the time of my life (oh dear lord how i love secondhand shops!!!), I will carve out for myself a little niche in the market. I will boldly explore wedding decor possibilities that no one else around here can offer.

I’m going to be stinking rich! Well, not rich, probably. But I WILL have the best china of anyone I know. And that, my friends, is deeply satisfying.

So, yeah. I’m a wedding planner/ event coordinator/ china dispenser now. It sure is fun.

And now for some gratuetous photographs of my sister in her dress because it was sickeningly beautiful. And because the farm looks stunning.