August 18, 2017 | by WesleyLife
It's one thing to say you've cultivated a workplace environment where people feel like family. It's quite another when a group of people choose to become a family within your environment.
Hearthstone, WesleyLife's Community for Healthy Living in Pella, is used to hosting special events; it's home to a great number of older adults who observe and celebrate all kinds of things within the community's walls. But a recent event -- the wedding of two young people -- marked a bit of a departure for Hearthstone.
"My daughter, Mikaela, wanted to do an outdoor wedding, really small, just both sets of parents, and I thought of The Cottages at Hearthstone because the garden area is so pretty," said Kristy VanDerWiel, WesleyLife's Vice President of People and Culture and mother of the bride. "Also, three of the residents there are like grandmas to my kids, so it's a place that holds meaning for us. I suggested it and Mikaela immediately said, 'Oh, Mom, that's perfect.'"
Kristy approached Nancy Hamilton, Executive Director of Hearthstone, about her idea. Nancy immediately agreed.
“We were honored and excited to be asked," Nancy said. "It was a particular honor since Mikaela is Kristy's daughter, and Mikaela's close relative and family friends -- AnnaMae VanderWiel, Dena Bokhoven, and Anne Bokhoven -- are residents. And we knew our courtyard would offer a perfect backdrop for the special day."
Kristy said it did indeed; the wedding couldn't have been more perfect, and the bride and groom -- the newly united Mikaela and Patrick Ledford -- and their families couldn't have been more pleased.
"Everyone there was so helpful and generous; Nancy gave Mikaela the spa room for her to get dressed in, and from start to finish, the event was just so intimate and private -- just what they wanted," she said.
Nancy said Hearthstone won't advertise its services as a wedding venue anytime soon, but everyone involved with the special day was glad to have taken part.
“The residents enjoyed seeing the bride and groom, and many were able to watch the proceedings from their window in the comfort of their rooms," she said "It was an honor for all of us!"