THE NEW ABOUT US
Hi! We are the new owners of Happy Apple Celebrations!
Because of all the historical information below I wanted to leave the previous “About Us” section intact.
Let me introduce myself, I am one of Rick and Sue’s six kids mentioned below, Sara Pray. My husband Ryan and I purchased the Venue at the beginning of 2019, making us the third generation to own and operate Happy Apple Orchard! We are a young(ish) couple in our late 30’s and would love nothing more than to continue the tradition of hosting wonderful experiences on the land I was raised on and love. I have been a part of Happy Apple for the last 25 years. I grew up working the orchard as a youth and continued helping with weddings as an adult. As we all get older, Rick and Sue are hoping to move more into retirement while still helping oversee the weddings and guide my hand to give customers the best of both worlds; new energy with almost 10 years of wedding expertise!
Going forward, we are still offering the same great services everyone has grown to love while adding a few more options for bookings. We now have single day options for couples that don’t need or want as much rental time (which also decreases the price). We are also providing more of the tedious tasks thus taking more off your plate to help destress one of the most important days in a persons’ lifetime.
We cannot express how excited we are to be a part of your upcoming wedding!
~Sara & Ryan Pray
Happy Apple Orchard was started in early 1970's.The original 2 dozen trees, that were planted on the farm, came from K-mart on Hickman Rd. They were an end-of-the season close-out price, that Rick Motzko purchased while delivering landscape stone to their garden department. The trees were labeled dwarf Red and Golden Delicious; although they all turned out to be standard size, MacIntosh apple trees. Rick thought this would be a good thing for his dad, Dick, who had just purchased a farm near Cumming. Dick, together with his wife Audrey and son Rick, planted and nurtured more and more apple trees, year after year, until the orchard numbered more than 4000 trees.
Dick and Audrey owned and operated the orchard until 1989, at which time they sold it to Rick and I (his wife, Sue). We, along with our six kids, all worked and grew the business. During the 1990's, we sold our apples to all the Dahl's grocery stores around the Des Moines area, had apples at most the local farmers markets, and sold apples right at the farm Dick and Audrey continued to help, and direct!, us until they passed. They are greatly missed still. In 1999, due to an agricultural over-spray from a neighboring farm field (while the trees were in full blossom), over half the trees died and had to be removed. Rick and I continued to sell apples, although at a much smaller scale. The kids all graduated went off to college or vocational training to begin their own lives.
After attending a few close friends and family weddings, and experiencing the stress of our own children's weddings and receptions ... we had the hair-brained idea to start hosting weddings and events at Happy Apple! So, in 2009 we phased out the apple business and began hosting weddings full-time. One of the major difficulties we saw at other wedding venues was the short time alloted to each wedding party for the rental of the facilities. We wanted our hosting parties to have a full weekend available for their special occasions. This allows wedding parties to come and decorate before the event, to truly experience the ceremony and enjoy the reception with their guests, and to pick-up the facility at a calmer time the following day. Rick, I, or trained staff work fully and individually with the hosting parties and are available throughout the event. We believe this makes Happy Apple uniques and as relaxed and as a wedding can be!