Vendor Review

While the groom and the bride are obviously the most important people on the day of the wedding, a few others play a significant part: the officiant, the parents, the wedding party, and the vendors. Our vendors helped make our day special. Our vendors transformed a very empty barn into a rustic-chic paradise. Our vendors are still being praised by our guests for their mouth-watering food. Our vendors (coordinator) held the day together and made sure everything went smooth.

So for other Charlotte brides out there, I thought I’d provide a run down of our vendors and review them on a 1-5 heart rating scale. 1 being the worst, 5 being the best. This is just my opinion, you should form your own opinion.  I do recommend meeting your vendors before booking them and “interviewing” them. It’s okay to meet with multiple vendors in the same category before making your decision.

1. The Dairy Barn 4 hearts

We chose The Dairy Barn after many internet searches for photos, talking with the staff and visiting for a tour. We loved it. However, the Dairy Barn is bare-bones. You get the structure of the barn, the grass outside and if you’re lucky the sunshine outside. You are locked into a deal with Creative Solutions to provide your tables/chairs/decorations and cannot use another vendor. It is also suggested that you use Leroy Springs Catering for your food, as other vendors do not have the ability to enter the barn before a certain time the day of the event.
DB1The barn is beautiful. The inside is spacious. The upstairs is stunning. Like I said, we loved it. We had planned for a wedding by the cabin on the hill, facing a tree and a field, but instead we got married in an old loft. A perfect tribute to my grandfather, who used to let us spend hours playing in the hay loft. During the wedding, we had a “barn monitor” who sat under the stairs. Not quite as troll like as it sounds, but that is essentially what it was. He was there to make sure things were not out of control, to problem solve and to assist us with getting in the cabin for photos.
dbinside

I give them 4 hearts for the space, the communication, and the quick return of our deposit!

2. Creative Solutions 4 hearts

Creative Solutions is contracted with the Dairy Barn to be the sole-provider of decorations. You can bring your own items in as far as chalkboards, pictures, etc. And if you wanted, you could bring your own larger items, but you have to remove them at the end of the night, so you end up paying for convenience to rent these things. I appreciated their continuous ability to work with us on our constant changing of the floorplan (pictured below) and adding and removing items. My biggest qualm was finding out 3 weeks before my wedding that they had to know by 9 A.M. the day before if it would be inside or out. At 9 A.M. the day before, I couldn’t even get a 24-hour forecast. Now, we all know that the day before I was a mess, and I was easily able to make that call since skies were grey and everything was wet. They actually worked with me on this as well and I had until 1 PM the day before to make the final decision.
floor planWe loved the decorations that were in the barn, including the linens and the white chairs. We weren’t able to rehearse with the chairs in the upstairs of the barn due to the late call of moving it inside – but that didn’t really throw anyone off.
creative solutionsI also give Creative Solutions 4 stars. You can be assured you will get what you ask for with them and they were great to work with.

3. Leroy Springs Catering 5 hearts

Leroy Springs Catering should actually be number one on the list because they were far and above the best vendor we had. Our guests are still raving about the food. I even had someone text me this weekend asking for NC BBQ recommendations and when I provided some options, they asked “How does it compare to your wedding food?”
leroyWe had a Southern spread at our wedding: Pulled pork barbeque, fried chicken, mac-n-cheese, sweet potato souffle, green beans, slaw and cornbread. Stop drooling! It WAS as delicious as it looks. We barely remember tasting it the day of the wedding, but luckily, the Maitre-d’ William packed up two big ol’ plates for us and sent them in our getaway car. If Leroy Springs opened a restaurant, we would be regulars (and probably weigh 10 lbs. more than we do today).

Leroy Springs gets a 5 in our book, and I think all of our guests would agree. If we ever plan a vow-renewal, we are going to use them again and have breakfast for dinner. I can only imagine how heavenly that would taste!

4. Ta-da’s Florist 5 hearts

We used Ta-da’s not only for our flowers, but also for our coordinator (more to come on this because Melanie deserves her own section). The flowers were combinations of garden roses and hydrangeas. They were gorgeous and just what I had envisioned. Jan was great to work with and helpful in identifying what types of flowers we could use.
flowers

flowers 2
5. Wedding Coordinator: Melanie McKelvey 5 hearts

Initially, I did not want a coordinator. I figured, I will tell people where to go, what to do, and we’ll be fine. THANK GOODNESS I DID NOT GO THROUGH WITH THAT IDEA! The first time I met Melanie, we talked for over 2 hours. The second time with my husband-to-be (at the time) was only slightly shorter. She was SO easy to talk to, so easy to walk through ideas with, and so friendly! We loved her. And we loved having her there on the day of the wedding because everything, I mean everything, went smoothly. Melanie was the best money we spent for our wedding day. I HIGHLY recommend using Melanie for your wedding, and if not Melanie, use A coordinator. It makes all the difference in the world to have someone else dealing with minute details that the bride doesn’t need to hear about on the wedding day. Melanie can be contacted through Ta-da’s florist and does wedding planning as well as coordinating.

Whew! That’s only 5 pieces of our big day, and this is getting long. Going to stop here and let you catch up on those reviews and we’ll pick back up tomorrow with videographers, beer, shuttles, etc!

Feeling Lucky

Last week, I traveled through Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama for work. I started in Knoxville, Tennessee with one heck of a tour of the city (a $35 cab ride) from my awesome cabbie. I treated myself to breakfast in bed on day 2 in Nashville – because hey, I deserve it. On Thursday, I left one of my running shoes at our hotel in Mississippi (this is a place I NEVER have to go again and I’ll be perfectly happy!) – so I bought new shoes when I got to Alabama and took a little run around the Ross Bridge area to scope it out. I’m sure you can imagine how excited I was to arrive back home in Charlotte on Friday.photo2However, as I was sitting on the tarmac in Atlanta waiting for my connection to Charlotte, my mom called and told me I needed to come home to see my Paw Paw. My Paw Paw is not just any paw paw – he has really been more like a father to me and my brother, and is undoubtedly one of the most important men in my life. My sweet fiance picked me up at the airport, coffee mugs filled and snacks on hand and we drove 3 hours to Virginia. We didn’t get there until after my sweet Paw Paw was asleep but we saw him and got all the details. We spent lots of time with him on Saturday (most of which he was feeling much better!). I kept telling him he had to get better so he can be at my wedding (I’m tearing up writing this) and he promised he would. He also apparently told everyone that the hydrangea plant that was sent to him needed to be kept alive for my wedding (seriously? I love him).

So it was an exhausting week + weekend, and we missed our food tasting on Saturday. But family comes first – so we were in Virginia instead of South Carolina. We also delayed our meeting with our vendor for tables, chairs and linens that was scheduled for today, just to make sure everything is still improving. We came across “Luck Ave” while in Roanoke, Virginia – and boy could I use some luck! We enjoyed some green beers for St. Patty’s on Sunday at our fave local restaurant – Harry’s, took our boys to Lake Wylie for a long walk and chance to put their feet in the water and the best part, we came home to find these adorable forks had arrived complete with a stamp of our wedding date! (Less than 5 months, folks!!!). You can see all the pictures from my travels last week and our adventures in Roanoke, VA this past weekend on Instagram.
photo1 Although I wasn’t expecting any major set-backs in my planning (or family emergencies), I think we handled this one pretty well and nothing has been majorly impacted at this time. We confirmed our florist and mailed off a deposit and also booked a day-of coordinator (more to come on this!). And most of all, I feel completely lucky to have had such an amazing person by my side through this entire ordeal!

How have you dealt with wedding planning set-backs?

Sunday Funday Bridal Showcase!

On Sunday, I road-tripped it to Chapel Hill to hang out with the best MOH a girl could ask for – and to attend the Carolina Inn’s 18th Annual Bridal Showcase! A special “Thank You” to Jenna at Southern Bride & Groom magazine for the tickets to the show. To say we were underprepared for what awaited us, would be an understatement. I’m still trying to figure out how many calories I took in at all of those cake tasting booths! IMG_3956We had a day full of paper products, flowers, cake and petit fours … and champagne. How can I forget the never-ending flow of champagne? Sarah was giddy over the supply of macaroons that were on-hand – and as a bride who is loving the idea of “mini-desserts”, I loved seeing all the options available. What talented caterers the triangle area has!
bs1One of my FAVORITE cakes was from husband and wife duo Ashley & Co in Raleigh. This burlap delight made my heart skip a beat. And since I met my beau at work and we still work together, I love that they do too!

Ashley & Co burlap beauty!
Ashley & Co burlap beauty!

We hit up the hors d’ouevres pretty early on since neither of us had eaten lunch. Lots of deliciousness going on in that tent – and of course, we were smitten with the Carolina Inn ice sculpture!
IMG_3922Since my wedding is being held in South Carolina, I really just used this event to gain some ideas and not so much vendors. We did meet LOTS of vendors – and we adored the goodies that they were giving away. Check out this ADORABLE cooler bag from Erin McLean Events! I have been back and forth on whether or not to hire a planner/coordinator to make sure things go off without a hitch – and I loved the idea of just a “day-of” coordinator. Plus, I’ve only heard good things about Erin. And Martha Manning took the cake with her giveaway… Krispy Kreme? Who can say no to Krispy Kreme doughnuts? While I’ve already chosen my photographer, Martha was able to give some recommendations on videographers which was much appreciated. IMG_3952Next on my “to-do” list is to secure a florist for our big day. I want simple flowers (I really want the hydrangeas from my late-grandmother’s bush back home in VA, but that’s a little far-fetched). And since green is our accent color, I was hoping for green flowers – but the fiance insists on them being naturally green and not dyed. So, we checked out some booths at the event and got to actually hold some bouquets (it’s AMAZING how big some of them are!). I like the idea of adding something fragrant to the bouqet – like freesia or mint! IMG_3953We got to see a fashion show while we were there – and I immediately recognized the Southern style of Lula Kate in this dress – and also saw Christy, the owner of Bella Bridesmaid in Raleigh. She sold us our stylish dresses for my friend’s wedding this past August. We somehow missed the bridal part of the runway show, but we did catch the grooms and groomsmen and they sure did look dapper!
IMG_3935I had several totebags full of information and goodies as I left, including wedding magazines and honeymoon magazines. We definitely have some reading to do (and decision making on the honeymoon front!)! IMG_3954I LOVED the experience of the bridal show, especially sharing the fun with Sarah. I have to point out one vendor that I was head-over-heels for before we went to the show and I’m so glad I got to see their stuff in real life. I am even more in love now… if that’s possible. Pressed Cotton has some of the CUTEST things I’ve ever seen – and not just for gatherings but for your household. If anyone is interested in a special offer on their items, leave a comment and I’ll be sure to share the deal!

I want to say thank you to all of my readers! Almost to 1500 views (in less than 3 months!). Stay tuned for a very exciting announcement that has to do with ME, this blog, and you reading it!