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16/02/2016

Celebrations now offered at Beavercreek Winery

Les and Paulette Wade turned their hobby into a full-fledged business when they began Beavercreek Winery in 2008, across their 86 acres of land in Lawrencetown, Annapolis Co.

They’ve since moved from a simple winery to a cafe, gift shop and wedding venue as well, which they have made clear is open to couples of all orientations.

Weddings can now be booked at Beavercreek Winery.

“We have this beautiful 4,000 square-foot wedding venue. My wife and I want this to be an open, comfortable place to anyone who wants to get married,” said Les.

While they’ve always been open to all kinds of weddings, they’ve recently been pushing to make sure the public knows it.

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“No matter who you are, what you believe or who you love, you’re welcome here. As long as you’re enjoying life and no one’s getting hurt, we don’t care.”

The couple has been doing weddings for a few years now, but their road to keeping things running had a few strange turns.

“We realized in 2010 that to get our full licence, we had to overturn an old 1934 prohibition bylaw stating that Lawrencetown was still a dry area,” said Wade with a laugh.

“We had to canvas the whole town, and we had to hold a vote on whether the village would allow us to have a winery or not. We ended up with a 99 per cent vote in our favour. But we had to jump through all the hoops. It was a different experience.”

Now with the winery in full swing, the two are just starting to get into the wedding business, with the last two years being an ever-changing cycle.

“Things have been crazy since we started. We’ve grown and learned how to deal with the crowds and how to schedule. We want to make it easy for people who come, and for a wedding venue, you rent to space. But we try to cater to the bride as much as possible,” he said.

“You get the space, your table, chairs, linens and everything down to garbage disposal. We take an all-inclusive approach, with rest-rooms, catering prep rooms and more. It’s their day and we try to help them with it as much as possible.”

The winery also has an outdoor cafe, which offers food and drinks to guests — a hit with wedding attendees.

“They have cocktail hours when couples get married. The ceremony and pictures are on the grounds, and our area can be utilized for casual drinks. We think of the guests and want them to enjoy themselves.”

The opening of a wedding venue was important for the Wades.

“There’s nothing in our area that acts as an outdoor and indoor venue, where 200 to 250 people can be accommodated. It’s up-to-date, has full amenities and everything. You could go to any farm and do an outdoor wedding, but you need fire marshal clearance, and for it to be properly engineered with electrical. How many brides want to go to a farm and hike their wedding dresses up in a porta potty? It just isn’t realistic,” he said.

“We have a nice feel, rustic scenery and all amenities and modern conveniences. We have just a really nice place to come.”

They have made clear their stance on gay marriage, recently posting an ad on the Facebook group Gays In Halifax that puts their feelings simply. “Love Is Love,” the ad says.

“Annapolis Valley is still the Baptist bible belt, and there are not many non-traditional places to wed. We like to have the space available for people. They will still get a traditional feel, walk up the aisle and everything,” he said.

“We never gave the idea of backlash any thought. We really aren’t worried about that. The people who would fight against this just aren’t welcome.”

Les said Nova Scotia is a gay-friendly province, but not many businesses put it out there.

“We don’t see other people saying (they) do same-sex weddings or alternative weddings, so we promote this,” he said.

“There’s a wonderful couple looking now. If one is looking, there could be 10 couples on the fence,” he said.

“We’re happy with the response, and doing weddings is so much fun.”

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