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Celebrating 'tranquil affairs'
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Nestled underneath the boughs of six graceful pecan trees on Monticello Street, just two blocks off the square, lies Sharon Lord's restful green backyard which she has recently decided to open up for wedding ceremonies.

"I've always been complimented on my backyard," said Lord, a native of Panama and a teacher at Heard-Mixon Elementary School. "I've always had so many people come and say, 'Oh I feel so relaxed in your backyard.'"

It was comments like these that Lord says started the idea of opening up her own business - Tranquil Affairs - which will host weddings, receptions and other special events all in the spacious backyard of her 1869 home.

Lord said the name for Tranquil Affairs came about because she wanted her business to exist to help take some of the stress away from planning a wedding.

"We work with you to create an extraordinary, stress-free memory for you and you guests," is the motto of Tranquil Affairs.

Surrounded by a privacy fence at the rear, hollies along both sides and native shrubs, Lord's backyard is secluded from the street. Bradford Pear trees and azaleas bloom seasonally around the yard. Lord said she anticipates adding more blooming foliage to the backyard.

"There isn't really a better decorator than God," said Lord of the attraction of many couples to getting married outdoors.

Lord said her backyard is ideal for small intimate wedding ceremonies of no more than 50 guests.

Couples can choose to use Tranquil Affairs only for their wedding or for both their wedding and their reception. Tranquil Affairs can also host bridal teas, rehearsal dinners, birthday parties and anniversary luncheons.

All events at Tranquil Affairs must be non-alcoholic said Lord.

Tranquil Affairs will be open for events from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. spring through fall. Lord said she envisions holding her first event this September. It is suggested that parties book their events three to six months in advance.

In addition to the use of her backyard, Lord said she is also available as a wedding consultant and can assist brides with finding caterers, wedding cakes, florists and the like.

Prices vary said Lord according to the desires of the party. Tents, tables, columns, and arches can all be rented and set up in the backyard. While she doesn't plan on opening up her home just yet for events, Lord said she has considered it.

"I feel like a steward to history being in here," Lord said. "But right now I just want to crawl before I swim."

For all events a 25 percent deposit is required up front with the balance due 24 hours before the start of the event.

Lord said plans are in the works for an opening event where prospective brides can come and view the backyard, enter a drawing for a free massage and sample some catering. Complimentary consultations sessions are available.