22 Sep On getting married, fake plants, and our warehouse!
So the big joke amongst my family and friends is that I’m an all-around terrible hostess. If you showed up at my house unannounced and hungry, I’d probably be able to scrounge up some expired oat milk and rice cakes… but that’s about it. Which is why I was super happy that my mom offered to handle the food & beverage duties for my wedding ceremony, which happened a couple of weeks ago in my parents’ backyard… but I digress.
My now-husband Pat and I have been together for three years. Pat is a firefighter, which means he was able to help me with key wedding tasks, such as using a chainsaw to carve up logs to be used as a stand for our giant “welcome” sign. But, being the bride and all, there was also a lot that I needed to tackle on my own. Along the way, I learned a few things that surprised me, so in today’s post, I thought I would share my biggest takeaways from the process of planning and hosting a wedding while running two businesses in the middle of a global pandemic.
The first thing I learned is that warehouses make really great wedding reception venues – especially when you can find a way to string up 30 chandeliers from the ceiling, like we did. We managed to use the MMD warehouse as the site for our dinner and dancing without moving out many of the products that we normally store in there, which was quite the accomplishment. “Where the hell are we going to put all the marking paint and land survey lath during the reception?” became a common refrain around the office over the weeks leading up the wedding. But somehow, it all worked out.
In terms of helping people to feel safe and socially distanced, we built dedicated outdoor spaces to help create more space for people to mingle in, and I think all our guests felt pretty comfortable in the end, from a COVID perspective (check out the before and after photo at the top of this blog post to see what the warehouse looked like pre- and post-reception).
The second thing I learned is that you can TRY to do a zero-waste wedding, but even if recycling is at the heart and soul of everything you do as a human being, it’s next to impossible to actually pull it off. With that being said, given that being kind to the environment is incredibly important to me (it’s why I created Flat Can Recycling, MMD’s sister company), we did everything we could to make sure the different decor elements will be reused after our wedding and reception. We held a “bridal garage sale”, brought the rest to Goodwill, and then found more and gave it away to people in the Gilberts community.
The third thing I learned is that running a business is actually far less limiting than planning a wedding. What I mean by this is that you can innovate within your business or industry and literally do anything you want, but when you’re throwing your wedding reception in your company warehouse, there’s only so much you can do to make it look NOT like a warehouse. But I actually found that in my roles as bride and business owner, I cared much more about attention to detail in my business than I did in my wedding. So it didn’t bother me too much that there were boxes of marking paint visible while everyone was dancing to the music of the amazing band we hired, The Lenny’s.
The fourth thing I learned is that taking care of people (as in, my staff) is easier than taking care of plants for your wedding. Back in April, Pat and I bought six giant planters, and with the help of my friend Holly, we filled them with flowers, intending to use them for the wedding. Maybe it’s just me, but I had a hell of a time keeping those flowers alive – let alone ensuring they got the right amount of sun and water to make them look visually appealing. So, let’s just say I’ve really come to appreciate fake plants. And I used a lot of them in my wedding. #sorrynotsorry
A corollary to the “taking care of people” thing is that in these crazy times of COVID, it’s all the more important to be considerate towards your vendors, many of whom are hurting badly due to all the events that have been cancelled. To use a wedding example, a few months ago, we hired a bartender company for our reception, Ascher Events, and they said that based on the number of guests we planned to have, we were going to need four bartenders. Then the pandemic happened, and suddenly we had a guest list that had been cut in half.
We could have scaled back on the number of bartending staff, but I told Ascher Events that I wanted to honor my commitment by having two of the four bartenders do other things at the event, such as pick up empty cups, take trash out, etc. The vendor was so thankful. It felt good to do that. We wanted to be budget conscious with our wedding, but also people conscious. This philosophy is at the core of everything we do at MMD and Flat Can Recycling, so it only made sense that I would carry it through into the way I approached my wedding.
All in all, I’m thrilled with how our big day went, and I feel I’ve proven to myself that I’m not a bad hostess after all. In fact, Pat’s coworkers thought we did such a great job with our wedding that they asked us to host a firefighter Xmas party in the MMD warehouse in December! I’m not going to lie, though… as we move into the last portion of the year, I’m excited to hang up my “bride” hat, enjoy being married to Pat, and turn our warehouse back into what it’s designed to be: a space to serve our amazing customers from! (Oh, and do dance routines in. Because I’m about to get back to doing those and posting them on social media!) Song Requests?
AND a special thank you to Paul and Amy for being the most amazing team!!!
The folks who inspire me everyday: