September 20, 2022

Why We Close Our Office for a Full Week Every Year

Every year we close our office for an entire week so that the whole company can hang out together.

Well, technically, we don’t have an office. The Here Comes The Guide team is fully distributed, which is fancy business-speak for “we all work from home”—mostly in comfy clothes and topknots.

Since we all live in different parts of the country, it’s not surprising that we’ve made the choice to get together as a group at least once a year.

It’s a big investment to house and feed 30+ people, in addition to the time they’re NOT officially working. But we’ve found that these annual “retreats” are a huge key to maintaining a successful business.

Here’s why:

1. They help us hit a big, red “reset” button.

Many of us don’t take a lot of vacation time. We’re Type A women and we’re at our best when we’re busy. But being busy all the time ain’t good for no one. These  retreats are almost as much play as they are work, giving us all a chance to chill out, clear our chakras, and mentally refresh, which makes us better able to do our job when we return home.

2. We use the retreat time to “work different”. 

Work sessions during our retreats are very different from our day-to-day routines. The focus is often on big-picture stuff and everyone is encouraged to get creative and work in a quick & dirty way—without worrying about failure. For a bunch of perfectionists, this kind of “get out of your comfort zone” activity has us firing on a new level and fresh ideas flow in ways they never would on a normal work day.

3. We also reorient ourselves to our core values and our mission. 

Sure, we discuss dollars and cents and chart revenue goals. But beyond that, we talk about whether or not we’re the company we want to be. Are we living our Core Values in every single project we undertake? And finally, are we all heading in the same direction? Making sure the entire team knows not just where we’re going but WHY is critical to each person feeling invested and doing her best work.

4. We get in a ton of face time. 

When we go on retreats, we don’t rent hotel rooms. We stay at properties where we can all be together family-style—not only for meetings but also during meals. We cook together, hang out on the couch together, play board games, and watch movies. I firmly believe that co-workers who’ve bonded as friends are better teammates than those who barely know each other’s names. So, yeah, we might braid each other’s hair and paint each other’s toes. I’m not afraid to admit that.

Why does any of this matter to you?

Well, I think these retreats keep us at our best and most creative, which means we can serve your venue and our couples better.


Consider whether you could plan something that would be stimulating and reinvigorating for your team, too.

How could your company, or your team (or even just you, if you’re a one-person show!), get away from the day-to-day of the office for a while and engage in some chakra-clearing bonding time?

Even if it’s only an afternoon (which, by the way, is how we started doing this waaaaay back in 2007 when we had an official office), it can do wonders for morale and enhance your ability to service your clients.

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Meredith Monday Schwartz started at Here Comes The Guide in 1997 (we didn’t even have a website back then—there might also have been dinosaurs running around!) and was a wedding venue specialist for 10 years before taking over as Chief Bossypants in 2007. In the years since she joined HCTG, she’s learned a lot about wedding couples, wedding venues, and running a company profitably and well. To hire Meredith to consult on best practices in your wedding venue business, email