When most people make an international move, they spend a few months adjusting to their new life. We certainly didn't do that. Within a month of moving home we created a micro wedding and elopement venue in Luray, Virginia.
So how did this happen? After living in Greece for a year, we came home to the U.S. and unfortunately spent our 15 year anniversary self quarantined (whomp, whomp.) We had been planning to renew our vows in Rhodes, and discovered that most wedding venues were closed in Maryland and Virginia. Also, we'd been receiving requests from couples wanting to use our rental cabins as micro wedding venues. What were we going to do?
That's when the "ah ha" moment hit. We had purchased a lot 2 years prior with the intention of building a cabin on it. Why not repurpose the old deck and screened porch built for the previous owner's camper into a place for our vows? And, if we were going to go to all that effort, why not share it with other couples? One of our family mottos is, "If you can't find it for you, build it for everyone." This motto has led to several tech companies, a book, a lacrosse club in Greece, and now a micro wedding venue in the mountains.
This is the overgrown lot BEFORE we got started:
This is the ceremony deck AFTER some chainsawing, staining, and building:
I LOVE before and after photos... and this is one of our best projects to date! Having our vow renewal in the very near future gave us the motivation to push through 98 degree temperatures and very un-Greek humidity to make this place magical. I love that we're a couple who can see a crispy old deck with trees growing through it, envision a wedding venue, and build it ourselves.
Our vow renewal was so special. It was just supposed to be us, but then we had a friend who's an amazing officiant and we asked if she was available. She was, and then my best friend from Girl Scouts was planning to visit me the same weekend. Suddenly we had the makings of a mini wedding.
Being entrepreneurs, we couldn't help but realize that photos from our vows would be very helpful for a venue website. Suddenly, I was shopping for a wedding dress, arranging flowers, and getting hair and makeup done. It was so much fun. Instead of the stress of a full-blown wedding we focused on us. We focused on our love story, the things we wanted to commit to for the next 15 years of our marriage, and the joy of being on top of a mountain in the sunshine.
Usually when we restore cabins for AirBNB, we never get to enjoy them. We create beautiful spaces for other people. This time, we got to enjoy our hard work ahead of others. Our officiant consecrated the space as a place full of love and promises blessed by God. It was unforgettable. I can't wait for other couples to start their love stories at Vista Vows and hear their experiences!
The story doesn't end here.... Next up is transforming the screened in porch from a hunters den to a wedding lounge. Stay tuned for the next before and after at Vista Vows!