In the late summer of 2017 we started getting requests to open up bookings for events, and despite not having our renovations completed, couples wanted in! Who were we to tell them no?! We had SO MUCH work to still do, but for some crazy reason 8 couples asked us to host their weddings in 2018 and we said yes. We maintained an open door policy with all of our couples, and we still do. If at any point they wanted to drop by to see the progress of the space, we’d welcome them!
As soon as the snow thawed we got to work. The interior of our chapel needed to be torn out, insulated, re-wired, re-sided, and doors needed to be installed. We needed to run power to both our kitchen building and our chapel, which required a huge excavation. We also installed a tent, two hydro poles, built a commercial kitchen – which was its own huge process, built all of our own tables, and then got to work trying to rehabilitate our land after all of the excavations. It seemed like an unsurmountable amount of work, but luckily in the process of booking our 2018 season, we were realistic about how much needed to be done and we didn’t open our season until late August.
To say it was backbreaking work would be an understatement. I think there were a few months where Kevin and I barely said a word to one another, we were so tired. Working on your own business is a different kind of tired. It’s an exhausting, emotional, rewarding kind of tired, and we knew that at the end of it, we’d be better for it.
I often think about those months before opening. I would sit and contemplate everything that we needed to do, the weddings we had committed to, and a wave of joy mixed with panic would overcome my whole being. I think anyone who opens their own business is a bit nuts, and we’re no different. Luckily we had an amazing team of people that dedicated their spring to helping us get up and running. We had Ian Langdon on the day to day construction, Tim Dainard on electrical, Veenstra on all of our plumbing, Buzzy working on all of our excavations, and our good friends Ellen and Jesse coming up many of their weekends to pitch in wherever we needed it. I don’t know how Kevin did it, but he worked around the clock for four months in the spring/summer to make sure we hit all of our deadlines. I am still in awe.
Once August hit it was full steam ahead for our venue. Tools got put away, and it was time to put on our game faces and make some magic. To say that we went into our first season bright eyed and bushy tailed would be an exaggeration. We were exhausted, but we were determined, and so so honoured to be a part of so many happy moments.
Our first wedding was for Kat and Zach, and it filled our hearts with so much joy and gratitude. It completely refuelled us to get through the rest of the reason, and enjoy the process. We thought our first event would be the hardest, but honestly, it was so joyful and beautiful, I wouldn’t change a thing.
From then on, every single week was filled with laughter and tears (yes, I cry during every single ceremony) and so much beauty. We did everything on our end to make sure every event went smoothly, but honestly I think every wedding would have been perfect in any setting. There’s so much magic in the moment, the love is tangible, and we are so lucky to have been surrounded by it for weeks at a time. What bliss.
In the rush of wedding season, we also booked into our 2019 season, and began meeting the humans who would make up our next season. Because this is our home, it is so so important that every event we do here works with our energy and ethics. If we did events anywhere else it might be different, but here, everything needs to click, and we all need to be in line with one another. I truly believe that 100 Acre Wood has a very specific energy, and some people get it and some people don’t, and thats ok! I can honestly say that we’re thrilled about every single wedding for this year, and we are honoured to be a part of so many special moments.
We are constantly working on our space, and this year is no different. Projects include building a new bar, enclosing the sides of the chapel that are currently open with glass doors, creating a few outdoor seating areas, paving the floor under the tent, building an outdoor kitchen, and undertaking a huge landscaping project. This sounds like a lot, but honestly, it’s all manageable and fun, after all of the work we’ve already done.
Thank you for being along for the ride.