By Kiesha Desautels Richardson
I started working at Common Ground Center in May of 2010. Quickly my job transformed from co-communications coordinator to rental coordinator as more and more groups wanted to hold retreats and weddings at Common Ground. Then I got to thinking – I’ll just have my wedding here. I never had to go to a million different venues searching for the best one because the best one was right in front of me. I’d been telling that to every couple who came for a tour or called to inquire about our site, why not me too? I quickly snatched the weekend of July 2, 2011.
Common Ground Center is a magical place where you really start to understand and cherish all the connections you can make in one place. At Camp Common Ground, we talk about connections all the time: to nature, to family, to oneself. My wedding weekend was full of magical connections, which transpired into memories that my family and friends are going to hold on to for a long time.
First, my 85-year-old grandfather from western New York was able to spend the weekend with all six of his kids and all 16 of his grandkids. This would not have been possible had it not been for the Eco-Lodge and its comfortable rooms. On the day of my wedding, I came out of my parents’ Lodge room all dressed in my wedding gown. G-Bob (short for Grandpa Bob) was sitting outside his room in a rocking chair. I pulled up next to him and he started singing “This is the day; this is the day, that Kiesha’s getting married!” I’ll never forget the connection we shared during those final moments before I got married.
Second, on the morning of my wedding I was a little nervous. It was a beautiful, hot summer day and I needed to do something calming. I got into my bathing suit and walked up to the gorgeous two- acre pond inviting people to join me as I passed them. With one other friend I swam out to the dock and lay there, basking in the sunshine and looking out into the surrounding views. The connection I felt to my surrounding environment was awe inspiring and magical. It was also very private – a personal moment I got to have before I made a commitment to share the rest of my life with someone else.
Third, this was after the band left, after the great meal we all had together, after I had changed out of my wedding dress and into something less restricting. It was while we were all sitting around the campfire. My parents were there; my sisters were there; many of my aunts, uncles and cousins; so many family friends and friends from our childhood and their significant others. We were all together sharing a moment around the fire. It was so special.
Since I work with a lot of other brides, I know they get the sense of connection and magical feelings about Common Ground Center just like I did. Just the other week, I was waiting in the office to check out a couple after their festivities. The bride came in and slumped down in a chair, looked up at me, and started crying. She wasn’t sad at all, she was crying because having her wedding here was just that special. I shed tears of my own the day we had to leave. I could really relate to her and I understood that she would cherish this time forever.
You can see that Common Ground Center creates a magical environment full of connections and memories, that it wasn’t just the moments where I said “I do” or had the first dance with my new husband; it was way more than that. You can dress up a banquet hall to make it as special as you’d like, but unless you get an overwhelming sense of satisfaction from the entire venue like I did (and like many brides like me do) after it’s all over, then it was just another wedding. If you want to create your own wonderful, enchanting memories, then you need to have a wedding here at Common Ground Center. It’ll be the BEST WEEKEND of your life!
To learn more about renting Common Ground Center's facility for rentals, weddings, retreats, and more, click here.