12.31.2019

2019 Recap

2019 was a whirlwind of a year, but easily my favorite of the past 24. I love photographs and the memories they capture, but I don't think any amount of pictures could explain the highs and the lows, the abundance of joy, the lessons learned, and God's faithfulness along the way.

Nevertheless, there were many, many fantastic memories preserved this year through photos, and I'm so excited to share some of my favorites!

January

- My parents, sisters, and I rang in 2019 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on our Gettysburg/Amish Country/Washington, D.C. trip
- I took my dad to a Hurricanes game for his birthday (against the Buffalo Sabres- Canes win!)
- We worked a lot on my and Harrison's house
- I started prepping wedding invitations!

February

- We celebrated Harrison's 24th birthday with dinner and drinks at the Grove Park Inn
- We celebrated Iredell County GOP's Regan Day Dinner
- Sailor took a field trip to ECU to stay with Cassie
- I picked up Harrison's wedding band (it was his maternal grandfather's)

March

- I had the best bachelorette weekend to Boone
- The most wonderful maid of honor threw me the most beautiful bridal shower
- We worked more on the house (finally started to pick out the fun things!)
- Wedding invitations were sent out!

April

- Harrison's coworkers threw us a sweet wedding shower
- I picked up a ton of wine for the wedding
- We watched plenty of playoff hockey by the fire pit
- I quit my job and said goodbye to NC State's campus after being there nearly every day for 6 years

May

- I packed up a trailer with all of my belongings in preparation for our move (and Sailor was a bit concerned about it)
- We honeymooned in paradise
- I got to exercise my creative abilities on our home
- Oh yeah, and I married the love of my life

June

- We finally got living room furniture!
- We did lots of farming
- We went on a hike or two (pictured here is Hawksbill in Morganton)
- I fell in love with my little flower bed in front of the house

July

- We took a trip to the coast and I took Harrison to my favorite place on earth- Shackleford Banks and Cape Lookout
- We picked (and ate!) a million blueberries
- We spent lots of time in the pool (and I took our beagle swimming- truly one of the history books)
- We hosted a gaggle of friends and family for a fantastic weekend

August

- Harrison got a new toy- a Spra-Coupe for spraying our crops
- I designed our farm's county fair booth
- Our corn started drying out and we started preparing for harvest
- We celebrated the start of Wolfpack Football from Statesville, complete with Old Tuffy beers

September

- We took lots of walks around the farm
- My parents came to visit and we went to the county fair
- Some friends came to visit/celebrate my birthday and we had the best time at a couple wineries and Tryon Equestrian Center
- Corn harvest began!

October

- Fall finally started
- I lost a sheep in Davie County and miraculously got her back
- I started needlepointing
- We took the most magical day trip to the Blue Ride Parkway to see the mountains in peak fall color

November

- We added a new pet to our zoo, Hattie the little black sheep!
- I took my favorite recurring trip to NAILE in Louisville for the Eastern National 4-H Horse Roundup
- We picked out our first Christmas tree
- We made it to a (very rainy) football game!

December

- My mom, sisters, aunt, cousins, and grandma came to visit and we took a daytrip to Blowing Rock (and saw some snow flurries!)
- We attended the beautiful wedding of our friends Mason and Taylor
- I enjoyed every moment of our Christmas tree 
- We sent out my favorite ever Christmas cards

2019 was truly a magical year and I can't wait to see what 2020 has in store!

10.24.2019

Our House Wish/To-Do List


Last November, we started renovating our house! Harrison worked so hard on it between then and the wedding to make it ready for us in May and it turned out so so good. All the big things were done and it has turned into such a cozy home for the two of us. There are a few things we haven't gotten to yet that are on my long-term goals list:

  • An entryway/console table for the living room // This is the last piece of furniture we need in the living room!

  • A new sliding screen door // Ours is torn.

  • New shutters // this is going to happen sooner rather than later! Shutters make such a big impact on a house and ours are fairly dated.

  • A new front & carport door // We have a door from Harrison's childhood home that hopefully will work for our front door!

  • Bushes/shrubs/landscaping in the front // I've always thought of bushes like the teeth of a house, lol. We tore out old, scraggly boxwoods and need something new now that it has cooled down.

  • Edging for a flower bed in the back // We had a patio poured, which is awesome, but now we need edging to make a flower bed!

  • Patio furniture // This will make us so much more apt to use our patio.

  • A fence // We are planning on fencing in our backyard so Sailor can run without us worrying about her.

  • Office furniture // The office space needs to be cleaned out before we can do this, and I think Harrison has some stuff we can use, but I'm excited to put this room together!

  • Finish painting the laundry room and pantry doors // This is the only room we didn't get to.

  • Finish staining the beam // We're so close on this one!

  • Caulk our shower // Some of the grout cracked in our shower, so we need to caulk it.

  • Add stair railings to our porches // For looks and safety!

  • Get new closet doors // The dark wood ones don't quite match the pretty white trim!

  • New ceiling fan for the office // The one in there is a bit dated.

Having a fixer-upper is a lot of fun, but the projects are never-ending it seems. It has been really cool to put things together how we want them, though. I'm excited to prioritize this list and get everything finished so we can photograph our home!

9.23.2019

Choosing a Caterer

Let's talk about the food at our wedding! Choosing a caterer was one of the hardest things we did during wedding planning... mostly because catering is insanely expensive. Upwards of $9,000 was not an uncommon quote for our 150 guest estimate. I love food and wanted to feed our guests well, but that wasn't going to cut it for us!

The first thing we did when planning our catering was decide what kind of food we wanted to serve, and we wanted to serve it. There are tons of choices across tons of price ranges. We wanted to serve barbeque at our rehearsal dinner for a more low-key vibe, and then wanted to up the ante just a bit for our reception. We decided to go buffet-style as it is much cheaper than a plated meal. Overall, we were looking for the right balance of style and price.

From there, we looked at the list of preferred caterers that our venue provided us with. We could have gone off the list, but would have incurred extra fees. Therefore, our first order of business was contacting each and every caterer (about 11) on the list for quotes.

With everything else, the "feel" of the catering service was important to us - we wanted vendors that complemented us and our day - but our primary concern quickly became price after receiving our first few quotes.


I created a spreadsheet with information on each catering service, including contact and phone number, overall price, price per guest, number of entrees, number of sides, etc. Moving everything from the PDFs that we received to a place where everything could be easily compared was key.

We had a few front runners, but ultimately decided to go with Old North State Catering. We actually went ahead and booked them before making it to a tasting because Hurricane Florence came through and changed dates. Crazy, I know, but it was on high recommendation from our venue and others!

The staff was incredibly friendly and kind, and truly wanted to tailor the meal to fit our day. They seemed to fit in perfectly with the very family-oriented style we had going. One thing that really impressed me upon talking to the owner was that they take a month off every year to feed others for charity.

We planned out our tentative menu, which included chicken, pork, 2 appetizers, 2 sides, salad, rolls, water, sweet and unsweet tea, plates and utensils, and late night chocolate chip cookies. I was able to attend a tasting in January and they graciously allowed both my parents and one of my sisters to go with me. Harrison wasn't able to make it as it was on a weeknight.

The tasting was phenomenal, and was more like a meal than a tasting! We got plates of food from a predetermined menu, most of which was on our tentative menu. Everything was wonderful and I was able to solidify some choices and change my mind on a few, as well. Finalizing our menu was truly difficult!

           


We ended up with the following:

Appetizers

  • Mango chutney cheese ball with assorted crackers
  • Jalapeno pimiento cheese hushpuppies with sriracha bang bang sauce

Dinner

  • Pecan encrusted chicken with NC honey drizzle
  • Brown sugar rubbed roasted pork loin
  • Roasted potatoes
  • Country style green beans
  • Spring mix salad
  • Rolls
If there was one thing I wish I could change about our wedding, it would be that I would have eaten! I heard stories all while wedding planning about brides who didn't get to eat at their wedding because they were visiting with guests, so I planned to make sure that didn't happen... and it didn't! The staff was wonderful and brought my and Harrison's meal to our table for us to make sure we got food. I was so hot, however, (and probably overwhelmed, too!) that I felt terrible during dinner and could only nibble. My second biggest regret is that we didn't take leftovers to-go with us to the hotel after we left!

Overall, I have nothing but fantastic things to say about our food and catering. Food seems to be something that people remember if it's bad, but forget if it's good. I wanted our meal to be memorable in a good way, and I think we definitely achieved that!

9.14.2019

If It's Not One Thing, It's Another...

...and sometimes it's both at the same time.

Farming and boat ownership have a bit in common: things always need to be fixed. One second things will be running smoothly, and the next... complete chaos.

This past Thursday night, I headed out to the farm after work to ride in the combine with Harrison because corn harvest was officially ready to begin! We ate our harvest supper of salami sandwiches, cut one load of corn, and started unloading it, expecting to be in the field way past dark.

We were there way past dark, but not for the reasons we originally thought. Our auger broke just as we were almost done emptying the combine. With no way to get the corn from the combine to the grain bin, we were done cutting for the night.

Harrison started tinkering with the auger and I started scooping corn. Then the chicken house alarm called. Harrison and his dad went to fix the problem there, while I stayed behind to shovel corn.

   

Three 55-gallon drums later, I headed up to the chicken houses to see what was going on. Without going into much detail, the issue had turned into a bigger issue and we had some work on our hands there.

When all was said and done (and scooped and cleaned), we went to bed exhausted and I reflected on the absurdity of it all:

  • Sometimes all you can do is laugh.
  • You know what they say about best laid plans.
  • It is possible for one girl to move half a ton of corn by herself.
  • Don't wear socks and crocs to the farm.
  • Never assume you're just going for a ride in the combine.


Happy weekend, everyone, and don't every cry over spilt corn!

9.13.2019

We're Pretty Corny Around Here

Let's talk about corn!


Corn is a crop that pretty much everyone has seen growing in fields as they drive by. Lots of people wonder, and you may have too, "Why is it turning brown? Why didn't they harvest it before it dried out?" The answer is pretty simple: the corn you see drying out isn't sweet corn! In fact, the only way you'll see this kind of corn in the grocery store is ground into corn meal or grits.

Sweet corn has too much sugar in it to dry properly. It is best for eating (Have you ever eaten an ear pulled straight off the stalk, no cooking required? I would highly recommend it if you get the chance!) and canning.

Field corn (or dent corn, as some midwesterners call it) is what we're focusing on here! In Iredell County (and other areas with dairy farms or even cow-calf operations), we typically see two things done with field corn: chopping and combining.

I'll write a post on silage in the near future, but let's focus on corn for grain right now.

Corn in North Carolina is planted between March and May. We planted the majority of our corn in mid-April. Corn typically matures in 120 days, then it's a waiting game for the moisture percentage to be low enough to harvest it. Moisture is greatly influenced by weather conditions. It has been pretty hot in Iredell County lately, around 90 degrees every day. Last week our corn was testing around 30%. Yesterday it was 18%. We have combined a few loads for some customers who want deer corn, but are largely waiting for it to be around 16%... which could be today!

Moisture is a very important consideration for corn harvest. Some people have dryers in their grain bins- they can harvest their corn at a higher moisture percentage. However, it costs money to run propane dryers, so that cuts into profit margin. An ideal time to have had dryers in Eastern North Carolina would have been two weeks ago, when we were waiting on Hurricane Dorian to come through. Our friends down east were running hard to get their corn in bins in anticipation of up to 12 inches of rain. Thankfully it wasn't as bad as it could have been, but there's a chance that some corn was brought in at a higher moisture content than is ideal.

Too high moisture can lead to spoilage and rotting, price dockage at mills, and even fire and spontaneous combustion.

Corn is planted on rows that are spaced 30 inches apart. The corn header on our combine has fingers that go between the rows to guide the stalks into the header. The ears are stripped off the stalks and go through the combine, which takes the kernels off and cleans out the big chunks of material that isn't grain. The grain is stored in the "hopper" in the back of the combine, then offloaded via auger to a grain cart, truck, or bin.

(Image courtesy of AgriExpo)
We market our corn in two different ways: we sell directly to consumers for deer corn and we sell through cash markets to local mills. We don't utilize futures contracts at this time. (Grain marketing is extremely confusing and as I learn, I'll share on the blog!)

Field corn is used for many different things: livestock feed, food for humans (grits, cornmeal, cereal, corn starch, etc.), ethanol and biofuel, as well as things like crayons, chewing gum, and shampoo! 

Corn is an extremely useful plant and fun crop to grow and harvest! Be sure to keep an eye on my Instagram for behind the scenes of corn harvest in the coming days!


9.09.2019

Welcome to Grace & Grain Bins!

Things look a little different around here! For a while I was writing as Positively Taylor, a brand that I developed as an extension of myself, and one that is still close to my heart and hard to transition away from. But, I've had quite a few new seasons here lately, so I figured my personal brand and blog deserved one, too. So, without further adieu...

Welcome to Grace & Grain Bins!


I've always like to write and tell stories, mostly to document my own journey. But now, as a farmer's wife (or am I a farmer, too? Post on that coming soon!) my story is intertwined with another... agriculture's. You see, I live on what most people outside of ag would consider a "factory farm." I want, through writing about my everyday, to try to expose the truth about farming

It's a crazy, not-normal, never-dull life, y'all... and I only have 4 months of marriage to, plus 2.5 years of dating a farmer to know that. I hope that what I have to say, as insignificant as it might be, makes people think: about where their food comes from and about the good stuff in life. 

So, if you choose to follow along, thank you from the bottom of my heart! You'll see a lot of farming, and some other stuff, too. I can't talk about just agriculture all the time! There will be a lot of wedding stuff for the next few months, as I document our planning and wedding day. If you're getting married, you may find this useful. If you're not, grin and bear it! 

You can read here to learn a little more about me and the meaning behind the name Grace & Grain Bins. You can read here to learn about about Westward Farms, although I plan to have Harrison (hi, babe!) to write about the history of the farm in a little more detail in the coming weeks.

You can follow along on Facebook, Instagram, or my personal Instagram, as well as email me at graceandgrainbins@gmail.com! Thanks again for reading!

9.05.2019

September Goals

We're a few days into a new month, but it's never too late to set goals! After making more progress in August than I have in past months, I'm feeling ready to cross off even more in September!

August Goals Recap
- Create wedding album // This didn't even get touched!
- Organize closet // Yes! I finally got all my clothes put away in their permanent homes.
- Paint & stain // Yes! Harrison actually finished this up for me, but it needed to get done regardless. The only things left is the staining the edges of the trim on our door frame to the kitchen/living room.
- Write/blog // I'll call this a win! I didn't quite stick to a schedule, but I started posting more, which feels really good!
- 2018 photo organization // Done! It's great to have those pictures culled and in a place where I can enjoy them.
- 2018 photo book // Also done! It was easy once I had the organization done to pick out my favorites and throw them in a book from Snapfish.
- Complete all workouts // Not even close, unfortunately!
- Do something for Harrison every week // I'll call this a half win.
- Budget check-in weekly // I started strong in the first half of the month then tapered off.
- 3 bottles of water daily // Unfortunately, no.
- Write the Word journal daily // Didn't stick to this one as much as I would have wanted to.
- Stick to cleaning schedule // Nope, so I ended up frantically cleaning the two days before my family came to visit.
- No frivolous purchases each day // A few days this was a win, but I still bought some "wants," instead of just "needs."


- Create and use a content calendar
- Create our wedding album
- Work on organizing our corner room
- Update YNAB weekly
- Move my body 4x per week
- Stick to our daily cleaning schedule
- Do my devotional each day

It's a much thinner list this month, but I wanted to focus on a little at a time this month to make some serious progress!

Do you have any goals for September?

8.19.2019

Choosing a Photographer

I believe that choosing a wedding photographer is right up there with the most important planning decisions you will make. You are entrusting this person to capture some of the only physical reminders of your special day! I didn't take this search lightly and we were so happy with the choice we made!

      

The first thing I did when searching for our wedding photographer was browse. I wasn't sure what pricing looked like in this field, but I knew what my preferences were for style, so I spent a lot of time on Wedding Wire and The Knot looking at local photographers.

I was looking for a fine-art photography style, with light and bright images. I wanted something classic that would stand the test of time style-wise. When I compiled a list of ones whose work met my criteria, I started digging into their websites and looking at what they offered. Let me tell y'all... wedding photography is expensive. Be prepared to spend a chunk of your budget on pictures, and even more if film photography is something you want.

I started to get a bit discouraged, as I didn't want to spend a small fortune on pictures, but still wanted something nice. I happened to be scrolling through Facebook one day when I came across Rachel Elisabeth Photography. Her work was beautiful so I decided to reach out to her for more information.

When she responded, she had some questions for me about what I was looking for in a photographer and my vision for my wedding day. This was a huge plus for me- as I mentioned in previous posts, we put a lot of stock in hiring vendors that meshed well with us, and right off the bat I felt this with Rachel!

After chatting with her via email and phone, we decided to hire her! Her packages and pricing lined up with what we determined we could afford and based on her personality and love for Jesus, we knew she'd be an asset to our wedding day. And yes, we hired her without meeting her in person! Wedding planning was a full-time job, and while having my real job, I had to make some sacrifices when it came to vendor meetings. I had such a good feeling about her, though, I didn't think twice about it.

We met for the first time when she came to Harrison's farm to take our engagement photos. Neither Harrison nor I had ever had photos taken like this, so we were a bit nervous. She made us feel so at ease in front of the camera, though, and made the whole session so much fun! She was up for whatever we wanted and made it all work for us.

We selected an 8-hour wedding package, and I ended up adding some hours on to it. Rachel played an integral part in determining the timeline for our wedding day, something I was so grateful for. She knew exactly how much time we needed for everything, which made fitting in the other happenings a breeze with our coordinators. I chatted with her often during our planning process and then one final time the week of the wedding. I was at the point where I was so nervous and anxious, but aside from going over final details, she really helped ease my mind. Something that stood out to me and I still remember vividly was her telling me that she was praying for us and for our wedding day to go smoothly. It meant the world to me to have someone who was invested in our day!

At the wedding, she worked SO hard- my mom kept commenting on how hard she was working and how awesome she was! I have a huge family and was slightly dreading family portraits, but she made them go so quickly and smoothly.

Our wedding day truly wouldn't have been the same without Rachel. My instincts were right- choosing the right photographer can truly make (and break) your wedding day! I would highly recommend her to any couple getting married.

Here are some tips for selecting the right photographer:

  • Figure out your style. Do you like moody portraits, deep colors, bright images, or formal poses? Spend time looking through Pinterest, Instagram, and other sites for pictures that are similar to what you want yours to look like. Then research photographers in your area to figure out who matches up with that vision.
  • Determine your budget. We had to spend some time researching average prices for photographers in our area. We couldn't budget for something that we had no idea what to expect for! When we did figure out what worked for us, we stuck to looking at photographers only within that range. There is one photographer who I adore, but is much more than what we could afford. I wanted to refrain from even looking at anything that would put a damper on our search.
  • Feel out the photographer's personality. Do you want someone more structured or someone who can go with the flow? Do you want a photographer who is just there to do a job or one who is invested in your day? Something that was huge for me is that Rachel asked me what I was looking for in a photographer. That showed interest in whether we will work well together.
  • Ask about packages and how your photos will be sent to you. A lot of photographers do online albums where you can download your photos. Determine if you are able to do that or if you will have to order photos through the photographer. Is the photographer able to use your photos in promotional materials? What do they offer as part of their package(s)? Do you only receive the photos they select, or do you get to see all the raw images and pick the ones you would like to be edited? Ask about retouching and what their style/preferences are regarding that.

I told Rachel in one of our initial conversations that photography is something that is incredibly important to me. Wedding photos are one physical remnant of your day, long after everything else had faded away. I wanted to invest in these images, something that we will show our future children and grandchildren, and I'm so glad we did!

8.16.2019

Our Wedding Coordinators

Hiring a wedding coordinator was the single most pivotal decision we made to ensure our day went smoothly. Most venues now require you to hire a coordinator or may even provide one as part of the venue package.

Right after securing our venue, I started browsing through coordinators in our area. Our venue provided a list of recommended coordinators, but we weren't require to choose from that list. I looked at the websites and social media sites for those and then expanded my search beyond the list. In all honesty, I only contacted one coordination service during my search, and they were the ones we hired. That's definitely not the advice anyone ever gives, but it worked out well for us!

Probably my favorite thing our coordinators did all day was decorate our cross. It looked like everything we wanted it to.
We hired Kelsi and Stacey with Every Little Element and were beyond happy with that decision. We purchased their Day Of package. Their services technically started one month our from our wedding day, but they were so responsive and willing to answer any questions I had between the time I hired them in June and when our contract started. I reached out to them about things like bartender recommendations, timeline help, and much more.

Around a month before our wedding, I met with them and we put together a timeline of the wedding day specifics: when we would cut the cake, do the bouquet and garter tosses, when the dances would be done, etc. Knowing that the flow of the day would be completely off of us put us so much at ease.

A week before the wedding, they contacted all of our vendors to confirm arrival times and details. They conducted our rehearsal, also. The package included 8 hours of service on the wedding day, but we ended up adding a few more hours to our package. They set up all of our decorations and made sure everything went off without a hitch - which it did!

We have only good things to say about our experience with Every Little Element and my hope for all brides is that they love their coordinators as much as we did! Wedding coordination is such a broad field, so here are some things we considered when looking:

  • What kind of coordination do we want: day-of, partial planning, full planning, etc?
  • How much are we willing to spend?
  • What packages does the coordinator offer and what do they include?
  • How many hours of service day-of are included? Will we need to add hours? If so, what is the fee per extra hour?
  • Are they excited about our vision?
  • How many weddings have they coordinated previously?
  • What are their reviews on wedding sites like?

The most important question I asked myself, though, was do they "click" with us? Harrison and I have a very strong sense of community and quite a few of our vendors are people we know or are in overlapping social circles. Because of this, "feel" was very important to us. We wanted people at our wedding who felt like friends and who were excited about their job. This was 100% the case with Kelsi and Stacey. 

My biggest piece of advice for brides is to hire a coordinator. This may seem like a no-brainer, but some people may feel like they can handle it on their own - and they probably can. But, having a coordinator takes the logistical stress off you and your family. Your only worry the day of your wedding should be getting ready to marry the love of your life. Do everything you can to make sure you can focus on yourself, your family, your wedding party, and having fun that day! If we didn't have coordinators decorating, our family would have been doing it. We wanted them to enjoy the day, too. 

Hire the coordinator, you won't regret it.

8.12.2019

Venue Hunting

Picking a venue ran somewhat concurrently with picking a date, but I wanted to share a bit about how we went about deciding where to get married.

We put a few weeks into our venue search, but ultimately we decided to go with The Pavilion at Carriage Farm!


This was the venue that I had in mind all along (even before I knew Harrison!). I know the family that owns it through 4-H and was very excited to work with them!

While I was pretty sure I knew where I wanted to get married, Harrison encouraged me to keep an open mind as we looked at some other venues in the area. We knew that we wanted to get married in or around Raleigh, and I had a pretty specific vision for what I wanted the venue to look like. Some questions we asked ourselves as we set out on the search were:

  • Do we want to have separate ceremony and reception locations? We wanted everything at the same place. We were not rooted in a church in Raleigh and we decided we wanted a pastor from Harrison's hometown to marry us, so we decided upon an outdoor ceremony. Therefore, we wanted to keep everything at the same place.
  • Is there a weather plan B? Since we wanted an outdoor ceremony, we also wanted a venue that offered an area to hold the ceremony inside in case the weather didn't cooperate.
  • How much do we want to spend? 
  • Are we interested in packages? Some venues offer packages where they provide catering, photography, planning, and more in their venue reservation. We ultimately decided against a package because I had specifics I wanted to incorporate.
  • What look do we want? I had a pretty specific vision, as I said. I wasn't interested in anything too "glam" or too rustic. We wanted a venue that didn't have to be decorated a ton and would "speak for itself."
  • Do we like the venue owner and/or coordinator? This is someone you have to work pretty closely with, so ensuring that they are responsive and willing to help make your wedding day phenomenal is so important!

With some general direction in mind, we started researching and contacting venues. Here are some other venues we looked at:

THE BARN AT VALHALLA

Image result for the barn at valhalla

This venue had a very intimate feel and everything was absolutely beautiful! They offered a really interesting rental package that spanned the whole weekend and included some lodging. We ultimately decided it was out of our price range.

SUMMERFIELD FARMS

Image result for summerfield farms wedding

It wasn't exactly in Raleigh and was out of our price range. 

WINMOCK AT KINDERTON

Image result for winmock at kinderton

This venue is a converted dairy farm and is in the town over from Harrison's. It didn't meet our city requirement but it was worth a look into anyway! I ultimately decided it didn't seem super conducive to the kind of set up we wanted for the reception and that we wanted to stick with Raleigh.

NEUSE BREEZE

Image result for neuse breeze wedding venue

A beautiful outdoor venue (also not in Raleigh!), but the indoor area was too small in the event that we had bad weather.

LESLIE-ALFORD-MIMS HOUSE

Image result for leslie alford mims house

This ended up being our second choice venue!

THE BARN AT BLUEBERRY HILL

Image result for the barn at blueberry hill elkin nc

This was a really cool new venue, but their availability did not match up with ours.

CARROLLOCK FARMS

Image result for carrollock farms

This was probably Harrison's favorite and they offered great packages! We decided that wasn't ultimately what we wanted to pursue, though.

When looking for venues here are some questions we asked:

  • What is included in the rental fee?
  • Do you have a list of vendors that we are recommended or required to use?
  • How much is the deposit, when is it due, and is it refundable?
  • What is the payment plan for the entire bill?
  • Do you offer any discounts for paying in cash or paying in full?
  • What is your contingency plan for weather?
  • What additional fees are not included in the venue rental?
  • Are we able to provide our own alcohol?
  • How much time is allotted for the rehearsal?

This obviously doesn't include everything, but will give you a good start when considering the venue where you want to get married!

8.08.2019

Picking Our Wedding Date

I'm finally beginning my wedding planning and recap series! My plan while planning was to share on the blog, but seeing as how my last post was the first in 2019, that clearly didn't happen. I had enough on my plate, so blogging the process went out the window! I'm wanting to recap everything now, though, so I don't forget anything and always have this to go back and look at.

I've been working on planning this series and figuring out how to organize it. I figured the most obvious place to start was with picking our date.

We got engaged on May 27, 2018. I knew I wanted our engagement to be around one year long. More than that I felt like I was dragging it out (I was so excited to get married) and much less made me feel like I wouldn't have enough time. That left us looking in the April to June 2019 range.


We went ahead and ruled out any holiday weekends, which were Easter, Memorial Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and the State 4-H Horse Judging Contest (duh). We took what was left, the Saturdays of April 6, April 27, May 4, May 18, June 1, June 8, and June 28, and began to look at venues.

I'll talk more about the venue search in the next post, but I found that generally most venues still had quite a bit of availability in that range when I was looking, which was in early June 2018.

Once we picked our venue, we sat down and looked at each date they had available that matched up with our wants. One was in early April, so that was ruled out. We talked about a later June wedding, after Harrison was finished with the school year. We really wanted to avoid the heat of that time of year, so ultimately he decided that being out of school towards the end of the semester wasn't a big deal.

We were then left with April 27, May 4, May 18, and June 1. When thinking about when we wanted to celebrate our anniversary in the future, April 27th didn't feel right (don't look at me like I'm crazy!). June 1st sounded like a pretty cool date, being the beginning of the month and all, but May really appealed to us.

Going back a few years for a quick story, I had always joked with my good friend Lori that I would have a Kentucky Derby wedding. We would have a screen that showed the race, wear hats, the whole shebang. I never really dwelled on that idea, because, to me, it was all dependent on when I got engaged (which was not any time in the near future relative to when we were talking about these ideas).

So, May 4th was really standing out in my mind. Combined with the fact that our venue was at a horse farm, it all seemed to fall into place! Harrison was completely okay with it (there weren't many things during planning that he wasn't okay with), so May 4th it was!

A few more notes about our wedding date: it is Star Wars Day (May the Fourth be with you), we know quite a few people we share an anniversary with, and the numbers make me happy. What do I mean? 5-4-19. 5+4=19. You're still looking at me like I'm crazy? Figured so.

8.05.2019

August 2019

One of my favorite parts of each month is going through my Powersheets goal planner. I haven't been great with it lately (I think getting married and moving is an acceptable excuse!), but I'm looking to get back on track this month!


MONTHLY GOALS
-Create our wedding album // I'm planning to get photos organized and decide where we want to make it! We may or may not order it this month... I don't want to skimp on quality, so if that means waiting and saving up a little bit, that's fine with me!

-Organize my closet // It's a bit embarrassing that I haven't gotten around to this yet, but oh well! I have baskets and organization stuff, now I just need to DO IT!

-Clean out the corner room // Oh my... this has been our storage room since we moved in. It is chock-full of stuff that needs a home, so I want to have it completely cleared out this month.

-Paint & stain // There are a few more things around the house leftover from renovations that haven't been done yet. I want to knock those projects out this month.

-Write & blog // I'm excited to stretch my creative and story-telling muscles a bit more. I'm planning all my posts recapping the wedding!

WEEKLY GOALS
-Complete all workouts // I made up a little workout schedule and want to check them all off. It's nothing strenuous by any means, but anything is better than nothing at this point.

-Do something for Harrison // I want to work on showing love and making him feel appreciated.

-Budget check-in // We use You Need a Budget, so I want to stick to inputting spending and categorizing it so we can get a better picture of where our money goes each month.

DAILY GOALS
-3 bottles of water // I can go all day without drinking anything, so I need to hold myself accountable!

-Write the World // I'm behind now, but I want to finish strong with Cultivate What Matter's Fresh Faith Challenge- using my Write the Word journal everyday this month.

-Stick to my cleaning schedule // I drafted a schedule to prevent myself from having to do everything all at once. So far, so good!

-No purchases // After buying a lot for the house last month, I need a spending break!
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