When I first started planning our wedding I was torn between a camp wedding and farm wedding. We nixed the farm idea when we couldn’t find a farm that would actually grow our food on-site without costing us an arm and a leg. After some turmoil and a lot of research, we ended up at Indian Head Camp. Are you ready for some knock down gorgeousness?
All photos family photos unless otherwise noted.
And here comes a huge bridal blogging fail. I like to think it is a testament to how much fun everyone was having, but I hardly got any pictures of the venue from anyone during the whole weekend. Lots of pictures of the wedding. Lots of pictures of us having fun. But hardly any of the camp itself. I didn’t even get a picture of the cute sign they made that said “Dani and Nelson’s Wedding” that was waiting for us when we arrived. Sigh.
Well hopefully this hodge-podge will give you an idea of what we saw when we arrived on Thursday afternoon.
The sun was shining, birds were chirping, and an army of staff were waiting to make our weekend incredible. There were cabins waiting to be filled with our guests.
And that one, just there on the lake shore, that one was for me and Mr. Veggie. They had turned it into a cute little honeymoon suite, with a double bed and linen and a minibar with snacks. Of course I didn’t get a picture. Grr.
There was a lake ready to be skied on, canoed on, and swum in.
A field ready for softball.
photo: Indian Head Camp
And another one ready to become our ceremony site.
photo: Indian Head Camp
There were ropes ready to be climbed.
photo: Indian Head Camp
And a dining hall and canteen to decorate.
photos: Indian Head Camp
There was even a wee little tipi and fire pit awaiting some late night shenanigans.
photo: Indian Head Camp
This was the first time Mr. Veggie had ever seen the venue, and only my second time. Before our families arrived we took some time to walk around and get a feel for the place. It was then that we saw people there from the other group. Ummm what?!? Other group?
Yeah, turns out that because we were having very small numbers on Thursday night the camp decided that another group could be booked for that night through lunch the next day. Without letting us know. At first I was annoyed, really annoyed.
But then I just thought, “Whatever. We do have a really small group here tonight, only our immediate families. They wont care that there are other people here. And there’s nothing I can really do about this”. So, I just let it be. And I chose to be happy and indulge myself in the beauty of the place and the fantasticly good vibes that the staff were sending our way.
Were there any unexpected hic-ups when you arrived at your venue?
Mamma Veggie came through big time this week. You see, we are about 4 months (yikes! 3 months) away from wedding day and I still hadn’t seen actual pictures of the inside of our venue. There are numerous reasons for this. Because of the whole double booking
debacle, we were in a bit of a rush to book a new venue. Which meant booking based on website pics only. Granted this picture is gorgeous, but it leaves a lot to the imagination… namely the entire interior.
I’ve been asking for interior pics, but the camp director’s wife just had a baby and so he’s been a little out of the loop lately. Which is totally understandable. Oh yeah, and then there’s the fact that we are planning from approximately 8 billion miles away and so there’s no way that we could actually go visit the venue ourselves.
I was starting to freak out a little.
How could I plan lighting like this without knowing what ugly fluorescent monsters we might be dealing with?
How do I know how many poufs I need to make to make this dream come true, without knowing what the ceiling is like?
But, true to form, Mamma Veggie pulled through. Thanks to her driving what I am guessing was about 2 hours out of her way on a recent trip, I now can put to rest some of the nightmares running through my head.
Here is the interior of the dining hall.
Looks great! Dinner on one floor and dancing on the other. I think my DIY lampshade idea will work perfectly with their existing globe lights and my poufs might just work along the slanted roof of the lower level. Ugly Chairs. Hmph.
But wait. What’s this? Pics of our rainy-day ceremony backup location, the Play House.
Photos by Mamma Veggie.
And some new questions have emerged. The biggest of all being, “Can I let a beautiful room like this go to waste, or should we move our reception here?”. Of course it would be easier to have it in the dining hall where there is a kitchen, and tables, and chairs, and cutlery… and a parking lot. But its just so pretty. It makes me think of my original idea of having our reception in a barn.
Convenience or beauty? I’m torn.
Sometimes life just isn’t fair… like when your computer breaks and then your fiance has to go away to a conference for a week and he leaves the same day that your monthly friend comes along and you have cramps so bad you can’t even stand up and then the wedding venue sends an email saying that oops they’ve double booked your venue.
Oh yeah, I had a melt-down this week. Well, technically several meltdowns. One via Skype with little veggie sis, one via phone with Mr. Veg, and several on my own. These lapses in sanity were prompted by an email from our wedding venue letting us know that our date was no longer available.
Their timing is impeccable. I had actually sent out the last few Save-The-Dates that morning.
This post was supposed to be about our amazing Save-The-Dates, created by the incredibly talented Shari Amos. It was supposed to be about how I was so excited to send them out that I couldn’t sleep the night before. It was supposed to be about doing our first wedding project and having it come out perfectly and just how we (I) imagined. It was supposed to be about getting emails from people telling us what they were going to grow for our big day. But its not.
It is now about me trying to be a calm and peaceful soul. It is about me trying to roll with the punches. It is about being thankful that Skype is only video and not sensory, because I really would have pummeled that camp director in person.
What will happen? Where will our wedding be? When will our wedding be? Is it all ruined (like I was feeling yesterday)? Or is it just clearing a path for a better thing to come along (how I hope to be feeling tomorrow)? Stay tuned. Only time will tell.
After months of searching camp websites and Skyping with camp directors at obscenely early hours of the morning (NZ time) I found a venue. Which means that I also know our wedding/ anniversary date. Hooray! Even just typing it I get giddy.
Here is the lake.
And the cute little cabins people will stay in.
And the beautiful lodge where we will hold the reception.All pictures from Camp Choconut Website.
Isn’t it amazing? We will have the whole camp for the whole weekend for around $4,000. We are planning on charging people a small fee for accomodation. We figure that they would pay for a hotel anyway if they were coming from out of town. We haven’t exactly worked out the logistics of this yet, but even if we charge $15 per person per night, we will end up getting our venue for “free” and have some money left over to spend on food for the wedding. What a deal!
Remember my Camp v. Farm dilemma? Well, the more farms I looked into, the more wise to the “farm wedding” industry I became.
Most of the farms that I found that hosted weddings were not working farms any more (of course there are exceptions). While many of them used to be farms, they now exclusively do events. Some have a small veggie garden, and a few are actually working farms, but many don’t grow any food at all.
I asked one of the owners about this. He had been farming for 40 years and just started doing weddings 5 years ago. “The truth of it is, I can make more money on a wedding weekend than I can in practically a whole season of growing food. It’s a better investment for me to keep renovating for events than to put money into growing food”. Huh? Wow.
So, if the food wasn’t going to be grown on the farm (in most cases), what were we getting for our money? A beautiful venue. A finely catered meal (generally organic, some local). Great service. All this for a fairly high price tag.
Sigh. Buh bye beautiful farms.
I love your refurbished barns and picturesque settings. I love your waiters and your matching dinnerware. I will dream about being one of the beautiful brides on your website enjoying her elegant wedding. You host gorgeous weddings that I swoon over, but I think we are just too rustic and hippy for you.
Too rustic and hippy for a farm? Go figure.
Of course, this is just our experience. I know that there are some great farms out there that do wedding events. And when you choose to host your wedding at places like these, you are helping to support local farmers (of the produce, not wedding variety). One that I came across is Broadturn Farm.
Any others out there that you know of? I would love to restore my faith in the farm wedding industry by finding other food-producing venues. Or did anyone have a really great experience at a non-food-producing farm venue that might help change my mind?
So, thinking about our wedding venue wishlist, I began to do some intensive googling. My keywords? “farm wedding”, “organic wedding”, “thrifty wedding”, “eco wedding”, “barn wedding”, “cheap wedding”. This was one of the first venues I stumbled upon. Organic local food? Absolutely stunning? I’m in love.
Mama Veggie: Umm… that looks kind of expensive.
Me: How expensive could it be? They’re farmers.
The answer: out of our price range for sure. Not just minimally, but way out. Onwards. Maybe I should emphasize the “cheap” keyword. Hmm… this looks interesting. “A Practical Wedding: Creative, Thrifty, Sane”. I like it. I especially like this one:
Mama Veggie: Ooh let’s call them right now.
Me: I’m already on the phone with them. Oh. They have a no alcohol policy. Thanks anyway, bye.
Not that we are big drinkers, but we like to have a good time. And I think Mr. Veggie might need a shot of something to get down the aisle. Onwards.
My search led me to many beautiful farms. Gorgeous farms. Stunning farms.
And that’s just three of them. I must have found dozens of gorgeous farms with gorgeous people willing to host our wedding.
But…I just kept going back to that great camp wedding. Camps have big beautiful lodges, right? Camps aren’t used much after summer, right? We might even be able to find a camp that has a farm! Let’s see what we can find.
Ooh check out this $2,000 wedding!
Or how great is this lodge?
Ugh, decisions decisions. Let’s make a list.
-Used to doing weddings so better service.
– Generally no need to rent things like linens, chairs, etc.
-More likely to have connections to local growers even if they don’t grow food themselves any more.
– Everyone could stay there all weekend. Fun!
– Looks like it would be a lot cheaper.
– May be more flexible since they don’t do weddings as often.
Which would you choose?
At the beginning of our relationship (many moons ago… well about 44 moons ago) Mr. Veggie and I lived on his farm in Andover, New Hampshire. He had a 200 year old farm house on 36 acres of land. The property was at the end of a dirt road and butted up against a few thousand acres of forest. We lived off the grid, with a well for water, composting toilet, and photovoltaic power. We had an acre of cleared land around the house where we would grow veggies while Bruce the dog lazed in the sun and ate raspberries from the bushes.
During this sun-drenched summer we lived in a bubble of new love. We talked about our future plans, our future babies, and even our future wedding. Funny how the wedding conversations tailed off as the prospect of actually getting married started to cross Mr. Veggie’s mind. Hmmm.
But anyway, we had decided that our house would be the perfect spot for a wedding. We could do the ceremony at a nearby lake and the reception at home. We could have people park at the log landing. We could rent out the Inn at the top of the hill. We could plant flowers in the spring that would be ready for late summer. Our best plan was that we would grow all of the food for the wedding ourselves. Heck, maybe even raise some animals for the big day. What better way to spend an engagement than working the land together in preparation for a marriage?
But plans changed. We quit our jobs. Mr. Veggie enrolled in a PhD program. Bruce the dog moved in with an auntie. We sold the farm and moved to New Zealand. Maybe the new owners will still let us have the wedding there? Probably not. We certainly can’t grow all the food anymore.
So, as I started looking for venues I had a rough idea of what I was looking for:
– A beautiful space for an outdoor ceremony.
– Willing to work with our desire for local organic food. Maybe some place that can grow the food, or has contact with a local farmer.
– Since we don’t get to see our family and friends very often, why not make this a full-weekend event. Let’s try to find a place where everyone can hang out all weekend.
– A relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
– A place that would work within our small budget.
What did I find? Stay tuned.
Most people have a general idea of the wedding location pretty early on. For us it was a bit more difficult.
We are expats, living in New Zealand while Mr. Veggie pursues his PhD. We live in Raglan at an eco retreat
. Gorgeous? Absolutely
. But the idea of having the wedding here wasn’t really an option for us. The carbon footprint of having even just our immediate families fly around the world was too much to think about. Not to mention the price tag. Also, since we don’t get to see most of our friends very often, we want to be able to include as many people as possible in the wedding. So, New Zealand… out.
Once Mr. Veggie Farmer finishes his PhD we are planning to move to Nicaragua. We have lots of friends there already and just love it. Maybe we could have our wedding there. That’s a lot closer to home for most of our friends and family and would give them a chance to visit our future home. Gorgeous? Ummm, yes
. While the flights might be a bit expensive, things are so cheap in Nicaragua, that the overall pricetag might actually be manageable. Oh, but there’s that little problem of malaria. Anti-malaria meds can’t be taken by kids under 5, and we have 3 neices and 2 nephews that fall into that category. Nicaragua… out.
So, we turn to the US. Before we left we lived in New Hampshire. Mr. Veggie’s parents live in Massachussetts and he has other family in Pennsylvania. My parents live in New Jersey and I have tons of family in Washington D.C. If we stick to the mid-atlantic we will be in driving distance for most folks, and possibly bike/bus distance for some. No shots or meds required (well, it might be wise to take some if you’re traveling to NJ -hehe). Gorgeous? Can be
(and that picture is in New Jersey!). So that settles it. We will get married somewhere between D.C. and New Hampshire. Now to find a venue.
Things that we kept in mind in terms of the location of our wedding:
– Minimizing the total carbon footprint of travel for our wedding (not just for us, but for guests too). For us this meant finding a location that was drive-able for most guests and hopefully bike-able or bus-able for some. As we start to narrow down venues we will try to choose one that has public bus service.
-Natural beauty. We want an outdoor wedding in a gorgeous setting to celebrate our love for each other, but also to honor the earth.