Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?
These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.
Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...
...seems to be working so far
Monday, June 30, 2008
The Nuptials: Part Trois
Let me first make one thing clear, I am not on the OSV payroll.
At least I don't think I'm on their payroll. Don't hold me to that last statement.
We first met with Craig Arnold at OSV and shared our wedding plans with him. I liked him right off the bat. He had an infectious smile, and a way of enhancing our plans without detracting from them. And, he made the day affordable. Yes, I like him a lot.
After a few emails and meeting with Craig, we met next with Alexis Conte. I am not exactly sure just what Alexis's title at OSV is, but she seems to have had several during her tenure there and it shows. She knows her stuff. Again, not one to take anything away from our plans, but to gently enhance them by suggesting modifications, and a very high willingness to make whatever we decided on come to fruition. She very gently persuaded me to forget about the rollerskating chimpanzee as a ring bearer.
Yes, I liked her a lot, too. Both of these people made our planning and our day wonderful. Oh, there were some flukes, but it wasn't the fault of OSV. We hired a harpist for an hour and a half to offer music during the cocktail hour and a half hour into dinner. About 60 minutes into her gig, and after our entrance, I noticed a harp moving down the sidewalk to the parking lot. Strange. It was supposed to be moved into the dining room. I'll call her, and ask her if it was something I said?
First, let me share the ceremony with you. It was held in the Old Meeting House at the head of the Common inside Old Sturbridge Village. The candle chandelier was lit, and supplied the only additional light for the ceremony at 6:00 PM. The music was supplied by Walter Buckingham, OSV's head musician. Walter is a fine musician, and plays a number of instruments, including the antique pipe organ in the meeting house. The acoustics inside the church are good, so no electronic amplification is needed. Just as well. It would have detracted from the 1830's moment. He picked up the guitar a little over half way through the ceremony and sang "The Water is Wide" His voice was quite at home inside that old church.
After the ceremony, we left the meetinghouse for photographs on the OSV Common. A few photos in front of the church, and then a horse and carriage gave us a ride to the Salem Towne House on the other side of the Common. A few more photos, and then off on another carriage ride through the entire village. Alone. No family, no guests. No tourists. Just the driver and his wife, and all of OSV to ourselves.
The reception was a no brainer. Why travel somewhere else? The Oliver Wight Tavern was right there, although we had a choice of having it at the Oliver Wight Tavern, or the Bullard Tavern on the Common inside the village. There are several places in town that offer wonderful facilities for functions such as a wedding reception, OSV just happens to have two of them them.
The guests meandered over to the Tavern, and enjoyed a drink, and the harpist. I wonder how she was? We toured the village in the carriage, and made our entrance pretty much on time.
The Parlor was where the cocktail hour was held. It was done up very nicely with a little votive candies all over. The crew at OSV had done a great job setting up.
We were announced into the main room by the DJ ( he had to be told how to pronounce our name after he screwed it up introducing my parents), and then we began our first dance together.
Yep. Our first dance together as man and wife.
Where the heck is the music? We cast a glance over to the DJ, and he had no clue. Then the music began. Ahhh.
Wait. What the heck is this song? Celine Dion? How does one confuse Celine Dion with Michael Buble?
The songs from the DJ for the remainder of the night were just as foreign. We hadn't selected any of them. I had to speak to him a couple of times to increase the tempo of his music. I felt that he was channeling Lawrence Welk. Did he get us confused with the Lipschitz wedding? In the end he apologized for the songs, the wrong first dance song, and blamed it on the wrong CD's given to him at the office.
Yeah. OK. I'll be calling "the office", too.
The food was remarkable. Scrod, or the Turkey with Stuffing. Both were excellent. The table setting, and centerpieces were awesome. Tin lanterns surrounded by a ring of flowers Mary had picked out. Don't ask for any more details than that, I just know that Alexis and Mary did a great job.
All in all, I'd give Old Sturbridge Village a 5 out 5 Stars. The wait staff was friendly, efficient, and knew their stuff. The head server was excellent. She took care of every detail of the night for us. I'd give her 10 Stars.
Now, this isn't meant to be a "promo" for Old Sturbridge Village, but it is written to give credit where credit is due. OSV out did themselves from the planning, to the actual event itself. They took care of all the big things, and every little thing that would have consumed us. They did it with a smile, and sincerity. And, they did it for a price that wouldn't choke a horse.
Recomendation: Weddings and Receptions Old Sturbridge Village Sturbridge, MA
Five Stars *****
Now, about the photo at the top. That's Mary. It was our last day away, and we were aboard The Cat, the high speed ferry, coming into Portland harbor in Maine from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. The week away was fantastic, and the ride on The Cat on that last day was a great way to ease back into the world.
So there you have it. Married In Style In Sturbridge. From a meadow ceremony wearing sandals and a Hawaiian shirt with an accordion player to a real event, thanks to using our imagination, and the folks at Old Sturbridge Village to guide us.
Thank you, OSV.