Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Do you want to be in the Wedding Business?

Snow, sleet, rain, and wind could not stop us this weekend as we celebrated the wedding of two wonderful guests in our parlor. The rain stopped, we got all 40 celebrants in the parlor, and the ceremony was wonderful. All ages were there, from beautiful little girls all dressed in silk, to elegant grandmothers holding court and giving out sage advice.

Behind the scenes, we scurried around like chipmunks, mixing punch, pouring sparkling cider, cutting cake, gathering glasses and plates, and quietly greeting other guests who arrived during the wedding, all the while trying to stay out of the limelight, letting the family enjoy this momentous occasion. When the final toast had been made, the bouquet had been thrown, and the bride and groom had made their formal departure, we changed into comfortable shoes and started the work that would turn our little chapel back into our parlors and dining room. When other guests arrived in the evening, they never knew what had occurred earlier this day.

All together, someone was working on the wedding from 10 am until 6 pm. It took 4 people and about 20 man hours to do it smoothly, not counting the pre-meetings our wedding coordinator had with the bride and the florist.

Kristi Ball is our wedding coordinator, and she does a marvelous job! When something goes against plan, she calmly finds a way to get us back on track, and no one knows there ever was a problem. She and I are working the entire time. I hire someone (thanks Ari!) to help me move the furniture out of the parlor and back again, and Jessica supports Kristi all during the ceremony. I do dishes (my specialty!) until the crowd is gone and I can get to the task of furniture moving. By the end of the day, the house is reset to its original splendor and we are pooped, but contented.

Why do we do weddings? Because it is the right thing to do. Few families have a home this big today, and church weddings are not always the best choice. Our “home” can offer a warm intimate location where all can gather and feel the history of the many weddings that have come before. Weddings have been held at the Walnut Street Inn since 1988. I’m not sure how many, but a bunch. I do know we see many of the married couples back for their anniversary or other special occasions. In a way, our home becomes theirs, a place to which to return for warm memories and to rekindle the love that brought them here in the first place.

We also do it for the marketing. If 40 people come to our Inn for a wedding and have a wonderful time, they are going to think of us in the future when they have an anniversary or birthday, or when they have out of town guests and no place to put them. They become our best form of advertising. Thanks folks!

So for all those aspiring Innkeepers out there, we encourage you to open your homes for weddings. Yes, it is hard work, but it is a wonderful way to share your property and make memories that will last a lifetime.

Gary at Walnut Street Inn
900 E Walnut Street
Springfield, MO 65806
Info: 417-864-6346
Reservations: 800-593-6346

1 comment:

  1. Just wanted to jump in and add my thanks to Gary for the wonderful time we had last week at WSI. We felt at home as we stepped in the door, greeted as if we were old friends. The room was excellent and Rita's breakfast was savored as a true delicacy. We'll definitely be back for another visit and plan to stay longer next time.


The Walnut Street Inn

The Walnut Street Inn
the Inn is made up of three 100+ year old buildings.