MARTINSBURG – RJ and Alison Harrell know a thing or two about the wedding chaos. The couple are victims of COVID-19, forced to reschedule, move and downsize this year. But they also know a thing or two about what the perfect wedding means, how all the pieces can fit together, and how those little details of personalization make all the difference.
The newlyweds, a charming and fun-loving couple who add warmth to any conversation, have a mission to make others feel as special as they were on their day through their new shop, The Rolling Tavern, a beer and alcohol truck and Photo booth that can be booked for gatherings of all sizes.
“We went through the alarm clock with our wedding,” Alison said with a laugh. “We have the best advice for anyone who needs it.”
From an impending storm during the ceremony to last minute cancellations due to the wedding reception, the couple’s wedding was a true example of the beauty of change and the perfectly fitting pieces so they had an understanding of the need for fun. personal touch on every special day.
The Rolling Tavern, a beautiful showcase of RJ’s craftsmanship that adds a special touch to any party, began as a small request from Alison when she was planning her wedding.
“I said, ‘Man, it would be really cool to have a beer cart at the wedding,’ and RJ said, ‘Why don’t we just make one? “Said Alison.” He’s the doer; I’m not. I say, ‘Let’s hire someone,’ but he’s a doer. He was all about it. He just got the idea and created this huge, ornate tavern The back of a truck. He was the one who wanted to add the photo booth in the back because most photo booths in our area are $ 600, $ 700 a pop, but we tied it all up at one price, 900 to 1,000 US dollars, depending on the packaging. “
That one small wish from his wife took over RJ’s thoughts – and sometimes life – as he had to work on her business. RJ made the truck himself with the help of some friends. This personal touch really means the world to the couple. The truck is now ready and fresh from its Harrell wedding debut. He embodies all of the work and love that went into what he is now, something the couple cannot wait to share with others.
“It probably took me four to six months to build,” said RJ. “A lot went in. We have a special rock siding that looks like real rock to look like a real tavern so I had to wait for this stuff. There were a lot of things built into it.
“I worked in the Justice Department and drew picture by picture on my noon drawing. My director at the time, I would say, “Hey, you have a second. I’m on lunch break and I have something to show you. ‘I would talk to him every day. He had a lot to say because we trusted his opinion on the style. He’s a very stylish guy. He also lent me a couple of tools to build it. “
Now, after hours of work on the 1960s F100 and a 26-hour drive to find the perfect truck for the company, everything has come together.
“I’m very proud because we’ve always wanted a deal,” said RJ. “Building it myself and not being a carpenter or having any of those skills before I build it while I am studying makes me proud to see it. It took me literally six months of cold weather, frustration. At some points I said to Alison, “I’m quitting,” and I’m not a quitter. I’m probably the most stubborn person you will meet, but some days have been really, really tough. I worked two jobs to get enough money.
“All summer I ran a restaurant for about six months and worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs. I went in at 7 a.m. and worked until 3:30 a.m. I would leave this job at 3:30 am to get to the restaurant where I was the general manager and manage all the staff from 4 to 10 am, count all the registers and come home. I did this 100 percent five days a week, but some days I did it seven days a week, for at least a month. It was very tough. The amount, work and effort I put into it makes me proud. It has been a year and a half of hard work to make this happen. “
The Rolling Tavern is truly a unique business in the area. The couple couldn’t find one nearby when searching for one for their original wedding date. RJ said the concept was more of a west coast idea popular in California and Colorado. Now the locals have a chance to enjoy the luxury business at an affordable price. The Harrells themselves are proof of how the truck can personalize an event one step further.
“The system I built, the kegerator itself on the back that makes the beer cold,” said RJ, “processes it through a 50 foot coil that cools the beer, and we put it back on ice as well.” I can mount a barrel of any size. I could fit a quarter barrel, a sixth barrel, small barrels, large barrels, anything. “
Hence, favorite beers can be on tap along with favorite wines or beverages, the truck from a full-service bar, a real chance to show love for a local brewery or vineyard, or favorites that are far away.
“We had beers from California for our wedding. We had sour beer from Maryland, ”he added. “The cool thing is that we don’t charge people for alcohol. You buy your own. You get the beer you want and we will join in and do all the work for you.
“It’s personalized just for you. I made hand made taps, faucets, so we could all write beer or congratulations. It’s very personal, which is cool. “
Similar to the Harrell wedding, business was set to start much earlier as the events were scheduled by the end of this year. But when COVID-19 struck, it changed the couple’s and many other brides’ plans. Alison and RJ know the pain of changing gears and making the plans so close to their hearts, and they do their best to ensure that every couple and event get the most out of their business.
“I’m a COVID bride so I really sympathize with everyone who went through this,” Alison said. “We are very sympathetic to everyone who had to go through the COVID crisis at their wedding. That’s why I’ve worked with a lot of brides lately who inquire, ‘We’re nervous and reluctant to deposit bail until we work it all out. ‘I say, “It’s okay.” We’ve definitely worked with a lot of people who have gone through situations similar to ours. We were very excited to be bringing everything to market over the next few years. “
The couple have already booked some events for 2021 and are receiving inquiries for 2022.
If you’d like to reserve the truck or have any questions, visit The Rolling Tavern on Facebook or email [email protected]