It’s no secret how much planning a wedding takes over the daily lives of a couple. We know from family stories and pop-culture about the stressful moments, the tears, and the hair-pulling frustration over the little details that seem as though they will never be figured out. Choosing a venue is half the battle for a couple and then their relationship is tried through a spectrum of hues, floral arrangements, cakes, dinners, and guest decisions.
We answer several inquiries a week about the Maryland Eastern Shore weddings we host here at Great Oak Manor. From couples seeking their perfect venue to guests and curious souls, everyone seems to be able to envision the great wedding backdrops and casual elegance our historic B&B has to offer. What we rarely discuss, however, is what we go through to ensure the venue won’t be another source of stress after the couple has already signed their contract.
On May 8 and 9, Great Oak Manor hosted our first wedding of 2015. Once we book a wedding, it becomes a lingering date in the back of our minds; Carolyn and John signed their contract back in September 2014. As early as March Jenn and I were reminding each other of the date and planning what needed to be done.
Plant flowers. Move furniture. Water the flowers we planted so they don’t die. What are we going to feed them for breakfast (especially knowing they’re going to be celebrating the nights before)? Keep in contact with the tent rental company. Check everything at least three times. Did you ever plant those plants? Everyone knows they can’t have off right?
And, while there are several things we can have done in advance to prepare for a wedding, because we still have guests and other B&B activities before the big day, we have to do a lot the week leading up to the date. Mow the lawn. Power wash outside. Set up all the rooms. More cleaning. Bring out all the decorations we’ve had hidden away for the bride and groom.
A few days prior to their check-in date, Carolyn emailed to make sure they could stop by to drop off some decorations. When she showed up with John and other family members in tow, I didn’t think much of the lazing dandelion puffs that had moved in on a majority of the back lawn. Until, of course, a concerned parent pulled me aside as everyone else went outside to ensure the lawn would be taken care of. It’s times like that when I realize the sheer trust families give us and how worrisome that could become for families, especially when they’re dropping off supplies as we’re still finishing our own preparations Sometimes that can cause worry where we were trying to avoid it.
So here’s the advantage of having your wedding at Great Oak Manor: we put ourselves in the shoes of the couple and their families. Suddenly we feel as though we hold in our hands a large portion of a couple’s vision and their dreams. That is an enormous amount of pressure that we don’t take lightly. We would rather take the pressure and stress of managing the little details for the venue than add them onto the ever-growing list of the couple.
At Great Oak Manor, we embody the Eastern Shore atmosphere and maintain an individualized approach to weddings; it’s never a situation where you sign the contract and become just another figure to us. From the first site visit, to fielding panicked questions at weird hours, to helping with set-up, to existing in the background during the ceremony and reception, and finally, to all the years to come after (because permanent goodbyes don’t truly exist here), we are there for our couples in every way possible.
From the bride: “Great Oak Manor was a magical place for our wedding! My husband and I knew right away the manor was a perfect fit for our family. With 12 guest rooms our wedding party and close family and friends were able to share in the entire weekend. Jen, Amanda and the rest of the staff were professional and extremely accommodating. The water views, grounds and the breakfasts were amazing! John and I look forward to returning to the manor over the years!”
*All professional photography from Shannon Nicole Photography*