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!

Happy Anniversary!

Today marks one month of being married. We’ve each been asked a dozen times if it feels different- it doesn’t. But it’s still amazing. In honor of our first milestone, I’m re-capping our wedding and sharing some of our wedding photos (the ones that our photog is not submitting to magazines).

Pixel Photography
Pixel Photography

The rain started bright and early and caused me to move my wedding day run indoors. No problem, I knocked out a hotel-gym workout before my bridal brunch. My mom hosted the brunch for all the lovely ladies on both sides of our families.

After the brunch, mom and I headed off for hair at Modern Salon in Philips Place. I had done a trial back in March, so it was a pretty quick effort when I got there – just lots of extra hair spray to defend against the rain.
photo-10

Then I had to rush back to the hotel for my make-up to be done and to get ready with the gals. At 2:45 we headed off to the Dairy Barn for pre-wedding photos. From here… I feel like the day flew by. We were inside and out taking photos, then the guys arrived and we were hanging out in separate areas. My groom later informed me he got to speak to guests as they arrived and enjoyed seeing everyone.  Although it rained, we didn’t skip a beat. My mom (love her!) rushed out to buy green and navy umbrellas to match our color scheme so that our wedding party could stay dry and I could still get at least a few outdoor photos.

Pixel Photography
Pixel Photography

I’m thankful everyone was a good sport when it came to the weather. I had my bridesmaids walking up hills, through grass and gravel, to get some of the shots I had planned pre-rain. We all pretty much had to re-do our hair before the ceremony but to me, it was worth it.

Pixel Photography
Pixel Photography

My sweet brother walked me down the aisle to “What a Wonderful World” played by my husband’s aunt and uncle on a banjo. Our mother’s came down to “You are my sunshine.” We chose to go with part traditional vows and part of our own. And just like that we were kissing and walking back down the aisle to “How Sweet it is” as husband and wife.

photo-8We had a photo booth which our guests thoroughly enjoyed – as did we. After immediate post-ceremony pictures, we scooped up plates of southern goodness and tried to eat as quickly as possible. While the real food was incredible, I cannot stop thinking about our cake. It was vanilla coconut with pineapple filling and coconut buttercream icing. Yeah – YUM.
DSC_6912bwOur first dance was to “You & Me” by Dave Matthews Band and we cut our cake to “Oh” by Dave Matthews. We’re big DMB fans, if you can’t tell. Our last dance of the evening was to Ryan Adams “I love you and I don’t know what to say.”

Pixel Photography
Pixel Photography

We haven’t stopped talking about how perfect our day was and how wonderful it was to be surrounded with everyone that we love so much. I’m glad three of my sweet friends are planning 2014 weddings so I can help with wedding related tasks and get my fix now that my own planning is over. At times it seemed like the big day would never arrive, and now it seems like it flew by and a whole month has somehow come and gone. We are enjoying every moment of our happily ever after!

8 sleeps!

Today is August 8th and we have 8 sleeps left until we are HUSBAND & WIFE. So exciting. And I get giddy everytime my sweet fiance tells me how excited he is or what wedding thing he plans to work on after work or do this weekend while I’m out of town. I smile from ear-to-ear as we talk about our honeymoon (we might have already checked out from work!). And I love the feeling of everything being completed and us having a few days to truly “sit back and relax.”

And the best news of the day is that the 10-day forecast shows our wedding day being “perfect” as LW said, with just a 10% chance of rain (and perhaps some cloud cover for our guests). Just yesterday I was telling a friend that I hadn’t thought of a contingency plan for our rehearsal which is set to be outside the day before. But alas, the forecast shows 0% chance of rain and a perfectly sunny, 80-degree day. I could not be more excited/relieved/happy. It’s here! It’s almost our WEDDING WEEK and it’s almost our time to say “I do!”

10day

First Look

After freaking myself out yesterday that we only booked the venue for 4 hours and the photographer for 4 hours (neither of which is true)…. I began emailing back and forth with my photographer regarding ideas for photos. We have been pinning some ideas, and I’ve been saving some others that I plan to present her with before the wedding.

But she brought up the first look question last night and my answer was “I don’t know.” Part of me would love to have a few quiet minutes with just LW and to enjoy each other and all the love of our wedding day – but another part of me wants to see his face when I walk down the aisle. Don’t all girls dream about that moment? I know I certainly have…

I stumbled across these gorgeous First Look photos (also – she is kind of making me want to do bridal portraits!). And found these on Pinterest:

Pinterest
Pinterest

first look 3  first look 4first look

I absolutely love the raw emotion in the pictures. I kind of like the idea of a “door” picture where we don’t really see each other but we can at least exchange gifts and hold hands for a moment and quietly enjoy some “us” time.

What are your thoughts on first looks? Should we stick with tradition and wait until that magical moment on the aisle?

 

*All photos taken from Pinterest.