2018, year one.

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.

XO Mary

 

 

 

 

 

How 100 Acre Wood Came to Be

As the winter sun streams through our bay windows, I sit here in awe of the new year. Without so much as a website or a phone number our little project has found its way into the plans of many a love story and we’re so grateful.

Kevin and I looked for a few years for something to call home. We wanted to leave Toronto and the County beckoned us with it’s magic. We were looking for some land, a few buildings that we could slowly restore, and a home. Nothing was quite right, we looked at dozens of spots and it was starting to feel a bit hopeless, and then we stumbled upon a posting online, and there she was in all her glory. Rough around the edges, and just so right that we got heart flutters and called to book a viewing.

I can remember the day we stepped foot on the property for the first time. It was September 2nd 2015, and we seemed so far from finding a way out of our hectic city lifestyles that we so longed to leave behind. On that day I remember trying to catch my breath as we drove up. I looked at Kevin and just said, this is going to be our home. As we walked through the house and explored the barns, we just knew this was what we had been waiting for. After inspections, and months of sleepless nights working through all the logistics, talking ourselves in and out of every option, and back and forth between the two of us and the owners, we finally had the keys.

Through that first winter we travelled to and from Toronto, slowly building a plan for the space and working on our vision over many glasses of wine and nights on our blow up mattress. Come the spring we decided that if we were going to go for it, at least one of us should move to the County full time and dig in to the community, so we packed up our tiny Junction apartment and jumped in. I live in the County full time, and Kevin travels back and forth to Toronto for work. Over the past 21 months we have poured ourselves into our dream, working most waking hours on our project, as well as working full-time to sustain ourselves. It has been the hardest most rewarding time of our lives. We are exhausted mentally and physically, but we are also full of gratitude and excitement. This year on labour day weekend, 2 years after first stepping foot on the property, we were married on our land, christening the chapel with love and laughter. We are propelled forward with hearts full and minds focused, so ready to launch our project and begin the process of sharing it.

It takes a village, and we are so lucky to have the best humans in our lives. Our families have gathered around us and poured so much love and life into 100 Acre Wood, working alongside us, helping us in any and all ways, and we are forever grateful. We love you and this is yours as much as it is any of ours. To our new community, you have welcomed us with sincerity and it is because of you that we stay inspired. From growers and makers, healers and teachers, we are so lucky to call you our neighbours and our friends. We have never found a place so saturated with magic. Thank you.

To the lovers that have worked their way into our 2018 season, we cannot wait to welcome you with open arms, and throw you the party of your lives. Thank you for trusting us, for seeing the vision, and for being on this journey of our first year. We adore every one of you, and feel so honoured to be a part of your story.

Xo Mary Wood