I have a history of biting off more than I can chew.
Shortly after opening The Barn in Castle Rock I decided to try to turn it into a special event destination. So, on top of managing a brand new location for an extremely unusual retail business, I wanted to add to the pot by promoting it as a place to have a wedding (or other special events). My Crazy Landlord kind of looked at me sideways and suggested nicely that maybe I should just work on the main business first before adding another business to the mix (which would surely complicate things). As usual, I always look at that type of advice as a challenge….Special Events, here we come!
I put a small ad in the back of a Bridal magazine and held my breath. Incredibly, I got a few phone calls and I scheduled some appointments to meet the brides.
It takes a special bride to want to have a wedding at an old rustic barn. She needs to be forgiving of the type of building the barn is and she needs to appreciate that the reception offers more than your usual reception…there will be shopping!
The night of the first wedding was crazy! The bride had hired a well-known local caterer who was able to work with the limited electrical conditions in the Barn. We eventually got most of the breakers to stop blowing. The band set up in a cleared out merchant space on the west side of the building. We lined the entire length of middle of the Barn with antique tables and chairs. All the merchants came to the wedding because the reception was partly a shopping extravaganza.
The groom and has attendants lined up on the south end staircase and the bride came down the west upstairs (from the bathroom) and then down the staircase. The ceremony took place right on the stairs with the minister at the bottom step.
It was hot, but we found that we had to turn off all the fans in the Barn in order to hear what the minister was saying. It got hotter!
As I will often do in my blogs, I will refer you to an earlier writing.…Remember our wonderful train that passes through town with such charming timing? Well, just as the bride and groom were saying “I do”, the train came through town…. horn blaring and maniacal conductor grinning! Fortunately, the bride and groom had a sense of humor and the entire wedding party erupted in laughter.
Just as memorable was the town resident population’s participation in the party. All the side doors to the Barn were left open during the evening to encourage air flow. The band played and the music attracted quite a lot of attention downtown….so much attention that locals were crashing the party in enormous numbers. Before we knew it, we had a sizable party on our hands. Even my Crazy Landlord jumped onto the dance floor from the west sidewalk. It was about this time I gave up trying to control the situation!
Later, while cleaning up, we realized that the entire concept was successful! We had created a one-of-a-kind wedding experience! I remember knowing right then that I wouldn’t be able to do this very often. The Castle Rock Police showed up to make sure that people driving home were able to drive and the Fire Department came over to sample the leftovers. Everyone agreed that this was a unique evening.
I had one other wedding at the Barn, but it just wasn’t the same. The Police watched more closely (can’t blame them) and the Townies acted like being turned away from the party was an infringement of their rights as Castle Rock citizens. I knew that, while the concept was great, the timing was not. I had in fact bitten off more than I could chew.
Lesson learned, but a good time had by all!