More than 10 years ago, Ernest and Carmen Tisdale were a young couple, searching for the perfect venue for their fall wedding. They wanted something simple yet elegant, peaceful, and quiet, that could easily be personalized to fit their unique style. But after calling more than 65 potential venues, the couple realized that finding the perfect venue was more challenging than they thought.
“I’m not a cookie-cutter person,” Carmen said. “We wish we could have found something that better suited our personality.”
While they did eventually find a venue to celebrate their big day, the couple decided to sit down and write a just-for-fun business plan for their ideal wedding venue, including everything that they wish they could have found in their own exhaustive search. They called their future dream business “The Gem.” After writing it all down, they tucked the plan away and started their new life together.
After building careers in the public and private sectors and having three children, the wedding venue idea resurfaced. Both of their business mentors brought it up in the span of a week. Around the same time, a friend in commercial real estate told the couple about a venue space that was for sale in Holt, MI.
“This might just be the time that we take the leap of faith,” Carmen said.
When the couple visited the venue, the former Charlar Place in Holt, they were blown away.
“It was exactly what I had imagined all those years ago,” Carmen said. “I couldn’t put it into words.”
In addition to the venue’s versatility and charm, the couple was drawn in by the peaceful pond and outdoor space available. Tucked away into a serene corner of Holt, they were excited about all of the possibilities of this new space. The couple decided to name their new wedding venue “The Hidden Gem.” They purchased the property in February 2020 and got to work making cosmetic updates and renovations for the upcoming wedding season.
Then, COVID-19 canceled all events for the foreseeable future.
The couple decided to stay positive, choosing to enjoy the extra time together as a family and the new opportunities to complete renovations on the venue. From new floors to landscaping to the assembly of the brand new chandeliers, the family took advantage of the extra time to turn the former building into the new Hidden Gem Event Venue.
“You feel something internally when you walk into the venue,” Ernest said. “Every aspect has been thought about, evaluated, and a lot of deep thought went into each part. We take pride in that and hope that others will experience that same excitement to host their events with us.”
While the couple is excited to see their own vision of the wedding venue come to life, they are pleased that the Hidden Gem’s address will remain on Charlar Drive, an homage to the history of Charlar Place and the community’s love and support of the long-standing business.
Looking ahead, the couple is looking forward to booking weddings and events for the upcoming season and getting back to the “new normal,” whatever that may entail. For now, they’re doing everything they can to make their venue a safe place for events to be held during COVID-19, allowing limited guest events, outdoor events, sanitized interiors and above all, superior customer service.
“We both have a passion to provide a great customer experience and amazing moments for people,” Ernest said. “We want every step of the journey — from when you walk in to when you book to your event to the big day itself — to be something amazing and memorable.”
The Hidden Gem Event Venue is at 4230 Charlar Drive in Holt, 517.699.5595, www.thehiddengemvenue.com.