A year in Review: by Alysa Klassen
As we enter into the New Year, we have been reflecting on the past summer and the joy it was to host so many people on our little farm. We really had no idea that people would be drawn to our property in this way. When we first began, we thought weddings would be a side project to our growing vegetable farm. Little did we know that couples would love with our property as much as we do! We always felt like this was a magical prairie place with its warm golden hour, tall prairie grasses and breathtaking sunsets. It never ceases to amaze us that we get to be a part of such a magical day in people’s lives.
When we launched in 2017, we made a little makeshift kitchen not realizing how quickly we would outgrow it. This past spring in 2018 we moved that little kitchen shack out into the field and constructed our new work in progress kitchen. We were reminiscing about our original kitchen the other day remembering how charming it was and how much we adored it.. We built it ourselves with little experience and we felt so proud of it because it was a truly a labour of love. We quickly realized that first summer that despite the love we had for it, it was just too small. After much debate, we knew that we needed to move into something that better supported the new vision that the Gathered was turning into. In the winter of last year we made the decision to build a new kitchen complete with indoor washrooms and a place that was wheelchair accessible. We also added a space we refer to as the “Gathering Room.” The Gathering Room will be completed this spring and have the capacity to to hold smaller events of about 15-20 people. This space will offer a place e to bring a group of people together in a relaxed atmosphere for a slow food experience. Weddings are generally a fast-paced event with dinner being served and eaten within the hour. Ideally our Gathering room will be a slower experience, with multiple courses taking the time to stop and enjoy the flavours and tastes of the farm while enjoying conversation around the table year round.!
Another change this past summer was we added synthetic lawn into the tent which allows our guests peace of mind knowing that the tent will now be warmer and dryer. We are absolutely in love with the lawn as it ties in with our original vision of dining under the stars and keeps a very outdoor feel inside the tent. Our old and beloved “makeshift” kitchen will be turned into a Bridal Cottage which will offer the Bridal Parties a space to to wait prior to the ceremony! We also added in a complete coffee and espresso bar as another luxury for everyone on the property to enjoy. ! A huge shoutout to Rosso coffee for taking the time to work with us and train us on making delicious lattes!
We have been so fortunate to partner with such wonderful vendors and artists this year and feel truly honored to be so welcomed by the wedding community in the Calgary area. We continue to discover that there really are so many amazing, kind, genuine people in the world! It has been a fun experience to be able to partner with local farmers, searching out amazing pasture raised animals that are raised ethically and humanely for all of our guests to enjoy.
In addition to changes around the farm, our family has gone through some amazing changes this year as well. My youngest sister Natalya went off to college leaving Elaine and Paul with their last child at home before they become empty nesters! They also welcomed their first grandchild Little Leo Hauser and it is safe to say they are obsessed with him proving that my brother Kendall and sister-in-law Breeanna make ridiculously cute babies! My other sister Mikayla and her husband Cody are also expecting a baby in March so Gigi Elaine will have a baby to hold in each arm! Family is something that is so important to us and all my siblings have been so supportive in this Gathered journey we are so blessed to have them cheering us on!
Last but not least, we are of course extremely thankful to our couples who allowed us to partner with them for one of the biggest days of their life. To be able to host a couple for their day and provide them with a peaceful relaxing environment, while also feeding them food grown and prepared by our hands warms our souls and is a gift that we will never take for granted. We are so thankful for each of the couples and families that we hosted last summer, learning so much from each group and feeling forever changed by each one of you who allowed us to be part of your big day.
2018 has been such a beautiful year of growth , allowing us to meet with so many amazing people. As we reflect on all the incredible moments we had in 2018, we cannot wait to see what 2019 has in store for us!