November 2022: our venue is more than a business
I’m curious. Now that we’re passed November 1, have you started listening to Christmas music, or do you wait until after Thanksgiving? Reply to this email with your response! Mike and I have a bet going.
Anyways. We are now going into holiday season, and with a number of events happening in the venue beforehand, my brain hasn’t even begun to process that the holidays are around the corner. (I’m jealous of all you go-getters who already started Christmas shopping!)
This past month we finished a ton of projects that we started back in August, to include the new cocktail space complete with stone arches and the expanded reception area. Albeit a smaller project, I finally also finished painting the light and decorative posts in the Gravel Grove, which had been on my to-do list for about six months at this point. Mike additionally completed the framework for the new bar that sits between cocktail and reception; it just needs the cosmetic facelift at this point and we’re good to go with all your drink orders!
If you follow us on social media at all, you probably saw some advertisements for our big event we had this past Sunday, October 30. What started out as Mike’s idea to host a styled shoot and invite some prospective clients to the venue during said styled shoot (what better time to see the venue than when it’s all dressed up for a wedding?), turned into a whole-day production. We did have the styled shoot, and we invited couples to the venue, but we also had a whole food tasting, courtesy of Tasty Creations Catering, as well as unbelievable giveaways, to include a whole wedding giveaway spearheaded by Fortuna Events Miami, a photoshoot giveaway offered by Rob & Ale Captures and Dima Osko, and a delicious flan giveaway from Ceci’s Flans.
We had no idea what to expect from the day, but it was a fun, exhausting, rewarding, humbling, chaotic, brilliant, and all-around exciting experience.
These past few months have been filled with enormous challenges and even bigger accomplishments. So, with that, I will share some of the takeaways and lessons Mike and I have learned from running the venue.
1. Our venue is very much a community.
This past Sunday’s event reminded me that our venue is our community down here. After unexpectedly moving to Miami, where I didn’t know anyone outside of Mike, I had to build a new foundation in the “Magic City,” with new friends, new neighbors, and new business contacts. If you’ve ever moved to a new location where you didn’t really know anyone, you can understand why the phrase “to be a fish out of water” was invented.
After two years in South Florida now, I consider myself to have a community here, and a solid one at that!
When the original models and the hair and makeup artist for the styled shoot this past Sunday couldn’t make the event at the last minute, we were scrambling. Afterall, this was the original reason behind hosting the event!
I quickly thought of one of our lovely couples, who had entered a photoshoot giveaway we did months ago on Instagram (but whose names weren’t drawn) and texted them three days before asking if they were free on Sunday.
Not only did they immediately agree to help us out by modeling for the shoot, but Patty, the bride-to-be, came through with several makeup artist recommendations (even offering to do her own makeup) and brought her own white dress and all. The makeup artist, Mariana from Mari D Makeup, whom I’d met probably a year ago at a networking event, also stepped in the day before to do hair and makeup.
I could not have been more grateful, and it made me pause and realize what a tremendous community the venue has helped to create for us. So many others also stepped up and helped us in the 9th inning to execute this event.
Photo Credit: Rob & Ale Captures.
2. Pre-planning is key to a successful event.
As you might be able to tell from the previous “takeaway,” even if you plan well, there can always be hiccups at any point in the process. However, having solid plans – and backup plans – in place will make the day run much more smoothly.
It’s one of the main reasons behind a rehearsal and final walk-through before a wedding. Identifying where the pitfalls could lie and how to mitigate as many of those risks as possible is key to hosting a great event.
I would admittedly say that we did not give ourselves much time to plan this past Sunday’s event. Between our personal travels (we were in NYC for a wedding and work, and Mike went to Amsterdam to visit a couple of friends), we probably bit off a little more than we could reasonably chew trying to get everything prepped and ready to go to our caliber.
However, we managed to pull everything off – even though it included staying up until 4:00am and waking up at 6:00am to get our new tables and chairs in place for the styled shoot and tasting.
We realize that to pull an event like this off in the future, we’ll want to start planning at least four months in advance – not one month before!
3. Owning a business is not for the faint of heart.
Especially a people-oriented business. Like an event venue. (And I’m not saying this to toot my own horn but to highlight that it can be a real struggle some days!)
With so many personalities coming together at any one point in time, it can be quite difficult for this people-pleaser to, well, please everybody. It’s a constant push and pull to try to make others happy.
But I am learning that that isn’t always possible. It is still a challenge to learn how to manage other people’s expectations, as well as my own. Disappointment often comes because we have high expectations for something and then the expectations aren’t met. When you work with people you have never met before, you have no idea what their expectations are, and they have no idea what yours are. There is more room for miscommunication to occur than hitting the mark. It is a delicate balance that leans on the ability for both parties to communicate effectively, and that is something I am taking a hard look at right now.
When my rational brain comes out, I think about how this whole journey is exactly what I need. It challenges me to stretch beyond my comfort zone, to question my own perspectives, to take care of myself – to include learning to ask for help, setting boundaries, saying no, becoming confident in my decisions, learning to become a leader, and managing expectations.
It’s not always easy, but it’s so worth it.
Updates for TheGoWM…
This month, we plan to:
Start hosting bi-weekly venue open-houses and tastings with Tasty Creations Catering, starting with one on Thursday, November 10
Finish the permanent bar using recycled material from the horse stables that sits between the new cocktail space and the expanded reception area
Finish construction on the new office space for client and vendor meetings, which is connected to the get-ready suites
Hang Art by Shannon Martin Perkin’s artwork up in the get-ready suite
Host THREE – maybe FOUR – weddings in the venue this upcoming monthOur Asks…
This wouldn’t be a community space without the help from, well, our community! If you can assist us with any of the following, we’d greatly appreciate it.
Share our next venue open-house and tasting on November 10 with any newly engaged couples or party hosts you know in the South Florida area!
Please subscribe to this monthly newsletter if you haven’t and share if you like what you read!
Please engage (share, like, comment, save) with our posts on social media.
Help us brainstorm events we can host in our space outside of private parties (e.g., wellness events, art galleries, concerts, gaming events, etc.).
Book a tour if you’re in the area and would like to see our space!
Thanks for tuning in this month!
-Emily, Co-Founder, The Gardens of Weber Manor
“You will find that most times you have a vision of what it is that you want to accomplish and that’s most important. It allows you to work backwards and make cuts and changes that will still reflect the overall outcome you wish to achieve. What good is splurging on one particular item if it doesn’t result in the overall outcome you were trying to create?