In the beginning of November, a very dear friend of mine – who has realistically become a little brother figure in my life – asked me to help plan his wedding. I was ecstatic and very honored to have been asked! Then he said he wanted to get married before my husband deployed … in December … because it was very important to him that my husband be his best man. That meant we would be planning a wedding that would take place within the few weeks! No pressure or anything.
I jumped on the planning bandwagon the very next morning and began calling around. First and probably most important, we needed to book a venue. After that, we would be able to plan food, entertainment, and decorations. I knew the ceremony would be very small and we wouldn’t need a whole lot of room. Since I am a member of Saturn Barter, I looked on their website to see what venues they had available. Luckily, they had quite a few to choose from. One in particular caught my eye because I knew what it was and where it was located: The Old General Store in Roy, WA.
I called the phone number listed and spoke with Diana, the owner of the place. She gave me a lot of information, including pricing, what was offered, and the square footage of the space. At nearly 6,000 square feet of restaurant, bar, and dance floor space, I was unsure if this was the venue for us to use because there were going to be so few guests. My friend, Dane, and I agreed to meet with Diana to look at the space anyway just to get a feel for the venue.
As soon as we walked in the front door to The Old General Store, I had little “visions” of what the place would look like decorated for a wedding. Sure, we didn’t need the entire space but I knew that we could decorate a smaller space and make it more of an intimate ceremony for the bride and groom. Diana gave us a tour and showed us the restaurant space as well as the full size, functional bar. Towards the front of the restaurant is a stage in front of the store’s front windows. Obviously, this was a perfect place for a wedding ceremony to take place. Seeing this meant we knew we could have the ceremony and reception in the same venue. The dance floor could be closed off from the extra seating space by barn style doors, which would work in our favor for our small wedding. The most impressive part of the tour was the large dressing room for the bride that is located upstairs. It wasn’t just a room to change in, it was a full size space that included a mini kitchen, a seating space with a couch and love seat, large tables with mirrors for the bridal party to do their hair and makeup, a private dressing room, and even second private room with a bed for anyone who might want to nap. Down the hall was the groom’s dressing area complete with a poker style table. Across from the men’s dressing room is full size bathroom which features a clawfoot tub and shower. I was completely impressed with the amenities.
Once back downstairs, Diana explained the options for food and catering. She said the less work she does herself – meaning if we had an outside party cater in food – the more it would cost us. She went on to explain some of the food options we would have if her and her husband prepared the food themselves. Dane was looking for a chicken pasta dish since his bride preferred chicken. Diana made a few suggestions of pasta dishes she could make. She also went on to explain how the bar fees would be paid: either a deposit can be put down for an “open bar” style reception or guests could just purchase their own drinks. Any soda, coffee, or tea would be unlimited for guests for a small additional fee added to the cost of food.
We finished up our meeting and tour with the discussion of the cost for the venue rental, food costs, and bar costs. We shook hands with Diana and thanked her for her time. While Dane and I knew at that time that we had put in a few calls to other venues that we were supposed to look at, when we walked back to our car, we knew that The Old General Store was going to be the chosen venue. We knew the space was large but at the same we knew it would work. What seems to close any deal with me is the personality of the person I am dealing with. Diana is a class act who genuinely wanted us to feel comfortable, she wanted to work with us, and she knew we had a vision and wanted to help us make that come to life. I happily called Diana back the next morning to tell her that we had chosen The Old General Store as the place for Dane’s wedding and reception.
Diana sent us a rental contract to sign and we finalized a dinner menu to consist of chicken pasta, salad, and bread. I was given permission to bring in appetizers just so long as it was nothing that had to be kept warm. Understandably, no one wanted to be responsible for getting anyone sick from food that was not kept at correct temperatures. We met with Diana to drop off the contract and discuss table and chair placement. Pretty much, we had free range to do what we wanted – just as long as everything was put back where it was prior to us leaving the night of the wedding.
On Sunday, November 18, we arrived at The Old General Store at noon. As I was frantically rushing around unloaded boxes of decorations with my husband, I couldn’t help but notice that Diana seemed to have this grin of excitement on her face! She seemed just as excited as we were for the wedding day. We were able to decorate the restaurant area just as I imagined. We brought in our own linens, centerpieces that I made, lanterns, and decor. The place felt so cozy and welcoming. The “DJ booth” in the restaurant allowed us to plug in our iPod with our selected wedding music and there was dance floor lighting to accompany the music. The bride was thrilled with the luxurious space in which she was able to relax and get ready while we decorated. Everything just seemed to come together perfectly.
After the ceremony, our guests were seated at their respective tables while Diana and her husband served their homemade chicken pasta dinner. It was excellent! We have been to many weddings in the past where I’m sure the bride and groom pay an arm and a leg for catered food that is lacking in flavor. This was not the case for the food that was served that evening. The chicken was tender and had an amazing pink sauce coating the noodles. The bread was crispy and baked perfectly. Certainly not that kind of bread that has been sitting under a heat lamp and a bit soggy. It was like a nice home-cooked meal served at a wedding reception … probably because it was home-cooked! All of the guests raved about how the food was better than they thought it would be. Since I was the designated wedding planner, Diana checked with me about when to serve dinner, when to set out the glasses for a toast, and even offered a homemade pumpkin pie as additional dessert for the guests. She made sure no detail went unchecked and made sure the evening went according to plan.
After dinner, the cake cutting, and toasts, our guests made their way to the dance floor where we danced for the rest of the evening. One of the greatest things about having a wonderful woman like Diana host the event, is the fact that she felt comfortable enough with us to take up our offer for her to join us on the dance floor! It was truly a magnificent day and we all couldn’t have been any happier for how everything turned out.
The Old General Store is open twice a month and available for special occasions. If you’re in the area, looking for a unique place for a wedding or any other special event, I urge you to call Diana Riehm. She was such a pleasure to work with. She is sweet and caring and cares about helping you make your event special.
The Old General Store
104 McNaught Street
Roy, WA 98597
I’d also like to thank Yelm Floral, who I’ve previously reviewed, once again for the beautiful wedding bouquet! It was simple and perfect. Just what the bride wanted.