Getting Married: 32 Weeks – Silent Auction

We interrupt this regularly scheduled program for an important announcement. If you don’t know me very well (which, if you are part of Matt’s crew, that is probably pretty true), I would like to share something that is very heavy on my heart with you. I have sought to be involved with the international community since I graduated from high school. I was intending to become a Bible translator and trekking the wilds of Nepal, teaching the Nomadic tribes about the love of Christ. Through a series of events (some felt unfortunate at the time, but the end result, I will not complain about 😀 *heart*) God took me through three unlikely countries (for me) before plopping me right back to southwest Ohio and saying that it would be here that I would serve Him. When I came home from China, I thought that God would send me back there at some point. I started offering English lessons to some of the workers in Chinese restaurants in the area. I worked on learning more about the culture and the language. But God decided to use my exposure here to teach me about something else.

Buy it on Amazon!

I got ahold of a book called “Not For Sale” by David Batstone. This book began with an account of a normal man, in a normal suburb, who found out a young Indian woman was found beaten and left wrapped in a carpet on the side of the road a few streets over from him. This woman was kept in debt bondage to a local Indian restaurant and then cast out, left for dead. It amazed this man that something like this was happening in his own backyard. This was my first real exposure to Human Trafficking.

And then it happened in MY own backyard. I discovered that it was happening to people who I had come to know and had spent time with. I was floored and began to investigate even more about this issue. Learning more about Human Trafficking, the various forms it comes in (debt bondage, sex trafficking, slave labor, child slave labor, child sex trafficking), God began to put these people on my heart. He brought a Bible verse to my attention:

“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
– Isaiah 58:6 (ESV) –

Yep, we thumbs up.

I was so excited when my dear friend Amy Davis shared that God had been pulling her heart towards this same issue and to these hurting people over the years as well. She has been such a blessing and helped me get beyond just thinking about the problem and raising awareness to actually doing something concrete. We started out by going through the Love146 Task Force curriculum with a group of people at our church and others. We got a Fairfield police officer to come and speak at our church about the issue in our own hometown. Also, Matt has totally come on board to help whenever work permits and that is such a blessing!

This past weekend, we organized a Silent Auction to benefit a ministry reaching out to women in the sex industry in Dayton, OH. There are so many things I could point out about Human Trafficking in Ohio. Ohio is in the top 10 for human trafficking, with Toledo being the number one city in the nation for Child Sex Trafficking recruitment. Kids are regularly taken off the street and transported to other cities and states for the purpose of prostitution and pornography. Many active adult sex workers were forced into the business before they were 18 and most have experienced some form of abuse as a child. It pains me so much to know that there are people and children hurting like this, and that the demand exists at such a high level in our state.

This was our first time ever doing a Silent Auction and I honestly had no idea what to expect on support and amount raised. When we started talking to people about it, the promises for donations came pouring in. We would come into church and someone else would hand us a basket or bag of items they wanted to donate. The women’s ministry group at the church organized all the food and refreshments. And just when I was getting discouraged about not selling enough tickets, we had a few people come up to us that morning to buy some.

Three Citizens…yes, I realize there are four of them. They still sound good.

The week before, we had a bit of music debacle, but it all worked out with finding a new group that is fantastic! [Insert plug here] These are Three Citizens. We are so grateful that they came out to play for us. We had a great time with them.

We raised over $1,000 for Oasis House! It was so good! God definitely was in control of the whole thing. If you would like more information about Human Trafficking and the impact in Butler County, you can check out the Butler County Human Trafficking Awareness Facebook page. We are completely grassroots right now, but who knows what God will do in the future?! He has done crazier things in my own life so I won’t hold Him to any plan of mine.

Here’s a link to Oasis House, as well: I’m looking forward to spending much more time with them in the future!


I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

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Getting Married: 33 Weeks – Dearly Beloved

I’m going to apologize ahead of time that this post might be a bit of a tear jerker. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to write it or not, but last Friday, we got word that Matt’s grandfather finally passed away. He had been sick and in a lot of pain for a long while. I never got a chance to meet him as he seemed to always been in a precarious state when I had time to go for a visit. But that happens and knowing how much he meant to Matt and his family, he will have a dear place in my heart as well.

Matt’s Grandpa Charles and the boys (Matt’s the cheeser on the bottom left)

I was one of the lucky ones to not have any grandparents pass while I was in grade school/high school, even in college. I had several friends who had to deal with losing a grandparent while we were in school, and although I love my grandparents dearly, I had no idea how to sympathize with them. My grandparents have always been, as the Japanese say, genki (“gen-kee”) – strong, and energetic, if not healthy. And we have enough personality in the family to make Joe Biden jealous after a debate. Going to see the grandparents, which was a short drive for one set and a long 6-hour drive to Pittsburgh for the other, was always a good time and filled with laughter, usually good treats (whether oatmeal cookies or pancakes for breakfast), and great hiding places for games with the cousins.

My grandparents have always been devoted followers of Christ. My mother’s parents got saved and plugged into a church after they were married. From two very strong Italian families, they threw themselves into the faith. My grandpa became an ordained minister, my grandmother taught Sunday School, they both sang in the choir, and they lived their lives with integrity. There are two things you could count on when visiting the family in Pennsylvania – good food and going to church. And we loved it! The church was small and sweet – I have fond memories of Easter egg hunts, getting to church early and helping to fold the bulletins, and using flannel-graph during Sunday School.

I think that, as children, you always think certain people will most definitely be at your wedding. It’s sad to know that some will not because of distance, cost, changed relationships, but death is the most abrupt form of separation. I have two grandparents who will not be attending because they have gone on to heaven. I also have an uncle and a cousin who I would have loved to be there, but I hold on to the hope that we are separated only for a time and will all see each other again.

Grandma and Grandpa Russell at my college graduation.

We said goodbye to my Grandma Russell last November. She had got an infection in her heart and before it was discovered, it was too late for treatment. She was in the hospital a bit before Thanksgiving and then moved to hospice. A day or two before she went, there was a great moment of clarity (she had been sleeping off and on for a long time and not making much sense). We had quite a bit of time where she was talking with us and telling us how special we were to her. We spent the evening around her bed singing sweet hymns trying our best not to choke over the words. It is one of my favorite memories and I am so grateful to have it.

Grambo and Pappy Cook

My mother’s dad, Pappy Cook, ended up in the hospital early this year, in February, I believe. He had been suffering through the effects of Alzheimers and deteriorating mentally for a few years now. Out of nowhere, he developed a blood condition – he wasn’t producing any platelets and no matter what the doctors did, he wasn’t getting better. We went for a visit and his memory was really fading. He would get caught up on one thing and ask the same question about 50 times during a visit. What I loved, though, was that my Pappy had always been a goofy, ornery kind of man. He was still that man, but he became even sweeter. He might not have remembered who we were all the time, but he was the gentlest, most gracious patient and above all, he never lost his faith. I am grateful for that as well, and for the testimony he gave to every person who walked into that hospital room. I miss so much of him, even though we didn’t get to see him that often – his laugh, his jokes, his smell, his singing, how he would bop us on the head when we walked by, his prayers, how he rode the factory ride with me over and over at Hershey Park just so I could get another free candy bar, and so much more!

Matt’s Grandma Martin passed away in 2009. She went in for a surgery and suddenly was gone. I have heard how much she meant to his family, to the whole family. I would love to hear more about her, but sometimes it’s hard to talk about loved ones who have gone on. Matt’s mom made recipe boxes for all of the cousins with recipes of grandma’s and covered in pictures of her and the family. Matt told me that when he was younger, sometimes it was hard for the family to get to and from church, so she and his grandpa would often convey the boys the 40 minutes to get to the church and then back. She was a spiritual leader for the family and her family was very important to her. (I’ll try to get a picture up here soon; we’re having some technical difficulties in getting one.) Here’s one story from Matt: “Once they (Grandma and Grandpa) were talking about going to Hueston’s restaurant. Their specialty was frog-legs. Grandma asked what they were like and Grandpa said, ‘A lot like chicken legs. She said, ‘I’ll just have the chicken legs then.'”

Grandpa Charles – what a handsome man! 🙂

When I started this post, I said that Matt’s grandpa had just passed away. That was last Friday. He had been sick for quite some time. Matt’s mom’s family is from somewhere down in Kentucky (I have yet to locate it on a map!) and so his grandparents have been down there, along with an aunt and uncle. He had served in the military and I’m not sure if it was from the discipline he gained there or not, but Matt says he was a very orderly man – everything had its own place. A man after my own heart, I’m told he was a storyteller, but whether they were true or not is another story. I wish I had more to tell you about him, but I’m going to have to learn the stories myself before I can share them with you. I do know that he became a believer well into his adult years, but that he was a committed follower of Christ.


There are so many things I wish I could tell you, so many inside jokes that you wouldn’t understand unless you were in my own quirky family. I know Matt would say the same.

Thank you for reading and I hope I didn’t make you cry too much. If so, just holler at me next time you see me and I’ll tell you some of the silly stories too. Trust me, I’ve got plenty!


I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

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Our Wedding Website on

Getting Married: 36 Weeks – 20 Thoughts

There’s another blog that I follow that I enjoy quite a bit. Every now and then the writer will just list 20 things she has been thinking about or wants to say, without much theme. I like it. So, I’m going to do that for you this week.

1. Is our wedding really only 36 weeks away?!  2. I’m loving the time I’m getting to spend with friends lately; it seems so full and uplifting.  3. Matt working 2nd shift is not my favorite AT ALL!  4. We opened a joint checking account to put our wedding money into. Talk about weird!  5. I feel so on top of things and then I think about money and it makes me a little queasy.  6. Today, I am going up to The House to plant bulbs for a Spring/Summer garden!  7. I have so much stuff that I’m starting to filter through it now.  8. That seems like a never-ending task.  9. We’re putting the deposit down for the wedding flowers today.  10. My best friend is going to be even further away from me once I’m married and I’m not a fan of that.  11. My other best friend will just be far away from me, and I don’t like that much either.  12. I’m going to get whole new towns and cities to explore when I move.  13. That means new restaurants … score!  14. If we’re friends on Facebook, you know I post a lot about food. I think it’s much more agreeable than politics or drama. 🙂  15. I’m so excited to marry a man who has a countdown to the millisecond on his phone to our wedding day.  16. Did I mention that 36 weeks seems like a long way away? 36 weeks. 252 days. 6055 hours. 363,300 minutes. 21,798,000 seconds.  17. We had a cake tasting this week and it was wonderful!  18. I’m prayfully looking forward to God showing us what our ministry together will be.  19. I am looking forward to learning to love to cook.  20. C’mon 36 weeks!

Hope you all have a great week! (Once we do our other cake tastings, I’ll post more about them)

Until then, enjoy this:


I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on

Getting Married: 43 Weeks – Bridalrama


This is a pretty long post this week, but I think you will find some good info. It’s basically a review, so stick around and, hopefully, you’ll find something you may enjoy!

Sunday afternoon (July 29, 2012) in Cincinnati was a celebrated biannual event called Bridalrama. I’m sure other cities have similar events, but I’ve been hearing about Bridalrama since I was young with a sort of hesitant curiosity. I’m not really a shopper. It wears me out and makes me a bit irritable if I’m not in the right mood of it. But, seeing as I am now engaged (and my sister scored 4 free tix to the event), I decided to go.

Most of my friends are married, but it’s still fun to go and scope out things wedding-related. My “Friend of the Bride”, Amy, and our friend Dannie, headed down to check out what goodies we could find. Since I already have the ceremony and reception venues, photographer, and caterer, I wasn’t interested in too many stands except cakes, flowers, and potentially, videographer.

As it was a Sunday afternoon, we met up after church and drove down to the city. I always park in the Race Street garage when I’m downtown. It looks like the kind of place one would find zombies or see in a B-movie horror flick, but the men who run it are extremely nice and keep great tabs on the vehicles in their care. I highly recommend them…but not too much because I want to have room to park when I’m down there.

We walked around the block to have lunch at It’s Just Crepes on 4th Street. This is one of those purely Cincinnati treats (only three locations with two downtown and one in nearby Crescent Springs, KY. It was my friends’ first time there and I wish I had taken a picture of our crepes. They have an amazing selection of fully customizable crepes, dessert and savory. I got a chicken Florentine with onions that was so hefty, I couldn’t finish the last 4th of it.

After lunch we headed to the Duke Energy Convention Center where Bridalrama was being held. There were so many vendors! I can’t even begin to tell you about them all, so if you want the complete list, you should go here. Like I said, I’m not a fan of shopping, but I’m also really good at ignoring salespeople who I don’t need to talk to. I was there to see what was available, talk to people I needed to talk with, and taste everything that could be tasted. I was not disappointed. We all had kind of wished we had gone a little lighter on our lunch, but we managed to have room for all the treats. I’m going to break down the vendors that stood out to me by category:


This is something I had not really considered as being something important. I like photos, but my friends were recommending a video of the wedding to get a different perspective of the day. Of the three videographers present, Spirit Video Productions, Inc. stood out to me the most. I spoke with one rep who went through the offers with me and I was pretty impressed. You can ask for two videographers, one to stay at the front of the church and one to stand on the balcony above the entrance door. They go through the pre-ceremony moments with the different groups of the bridal party, the ceremony and the reception. They then compiled it into a quick video of the highlights and put it on a USB for easy sharing. The cost was a bit more than we would be interested in paying, but they also do wedding/engagement photos and family portraits. They are also Christian-based, which is always wonderful. Go ahead and check them out!

Photo Booth

Photobooths has become all the rage lately. Not sure what one is? It’s where people have a cloth put up and silly props and then someone taking pictures of the guests in fun poses and such. Like this:

Oh, how I wish my Pappy could be here for a pose like that!

I’m not sold on the idea for ours, but I did chat with one vendor, Inlight Photography. I have a $100 off coupon here for them, and they seem to have a lot of fun stuff to offer, but it is still quite a bit out of our price range, especially after we are not holding back on the cost of our actual wedding photographer, who is amazing…see previous post. Also, there are four different ways they posted their website on their printed material and only one of them will actually take you to their site. They should pay a little more attention to detail.

Cakes and Desserts – the good stuff

The Bridalrama website only lists 4 cake vendors ad we apparently hit them all! They all tasted really good! For me, I’m more concerned with taste and texture than appearance. Yes, I want a cake that will look nice, but I don’t want the decorating to compromise the flavor. All of the samples we tried were super moist, no fondant and amazingly yummy!

Simply Delicious – tried their Champagne flavored cake with, I believe a raspberry filling, and it was to die for. They have a bunch more flavors, but you’ll have to call for an appointment, because they don’t seem to have a website. 859-359-5382


Sweets by LaDawn – I remember trying a sample from this stand, and I remember it being very good and talking with the woman about how I’m glad they don’t use fondant and why, but I can’t remember much else besides the cake pictured on the left. Matt’s only comment was, “That certainly isn’t traditional.” I thought he’d a bit more excited about it. 🙂 She has a lot of variety, so go check her out.



.Patricia’s – I had to make sure I remembered this woman’s stand. She had several samples out and I tried a couple. On man! Were they good. My favorite, though, was the caramel cake with apple filling. If I were having a fall wedding, I would HAVE to get that in one of the layers! She’s definitely in the running…I may have to do more “research” though. Her website.



J Annette’s Cheesecakes – Last, but definitely not least, is this little jewel. It was funny, this is the very first stand we went to. Dannie was telling us about this place in West Chester who has amazing cheesecakes, as we picked up one of the cheesecake samples. I’m always a sucker for cheesecake. I was getting ready to tell Dannie about the raspberry cupcake I had had on that Friday night, when we both looked up and saw that it was, in fact, the very same business both of us were talking about! Matt’s cousin was celebrating her birthday and her mom had picked up cupcakes from her favorite place, J Annette’s, and grabbed a postcard with info for me. There was a red and yellow decorated cake in the window and she thought I would just love it. What I loved was how the cupcake tasted! It’s hard to get a really moist, flavorful cupcake, but this woman nailed it! To hear Dannie confirm that she was top-notch at cheesecake as well really puts J Annette’s at the top of my list. Matt loved the chocolate cupcake he had that night too. Again, I think more research is necessary, though. 🙂 Her website.


Kreative Dezines Chair Cover Rental – I saw a friend from high school at Bridalrama with her own business. Lindsey rents out chair covers (I’m still not sure how I’m going to really decorate the reception hall) and decorates the tables. What she is able to do with strips of colorful fabric is so lovely! I would definitely recommend you check her out. Website.

One Little Band – The girls and I got a bit distracted at this booth. Julie has such a great selection of adorable accessories for weddings. I have spent quite a bit of time perusing her Etsy shop.

Have you used any of these vendors? Do you have any suggestions/recommendations?

We ended the afternoon at Bridalrama a little early. We still had an hour before the dress fashion show was scheduled, so we decided to walk down to the new Smale Park right on the Ohio River. We had quite a bit of snacking and lunch that we needed to walk off a bit before heading back home. Of course, we had to make a pit stop at Orange Leaf at The Banks. I finally got to taste their Wedding cake flavor. So very yummy!

Thanks for sticking around for this really long post! Hope you enjoyed!


I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on


Getting Married: 45 Weeks – Guestlisting


Thanks for stopping back! Sorry I’m a few days late in posting this. I’ve had a lot going on but am feeling loads better than the last post. This week, I decided to scrub through my part of the guest list and get it up on our website. When looking for a wedding host website, we wanted pretty themes and all, but mostly we wanted the feature for our guests to RSVP online. We checked through the various ones, but settled on There might be others that would do the trick, but we really liked this one.

Matt and I have a quandary. We both have fairly large families and we have a pretty wide base of friends and coworkers who we would want to be at our wedding. However, we have limited funds and a reception venue which can only hold a certain number of people. So, how do we get everyone there and yet only having a small portion of them? We decided to have an open ceremony and a closed reception.

This has brought a lot of relief while we’ve been casually putting together our guest list.  Family, bridal party, and close friends are automatically put through to the reception and everyone else is allotted an invite to the ceremony. Matt and I also have attended our respective churches for years, he much longer than I, and have built a strong relationship with the family there. While I would love for everyone to be at the reception to cut up and boogie down, I’m going to have to settle with having everyone at the wedding.

We also have a couple ideas for age-specific groups. We plan to have a kids table at the reception with favors specifically for kids 10 and under. I also have something special planned for my girls 11-18.

Two years ago, I spent a lot of time with some girls from church. They were in my Sunday School class and all in 5th grade. I remember what it was like heading into Junior High. I had a girl scout troop with some good girl friends, but 6th grade was the year that the 5 elementary schools of our district poured all their kids into one building. It was crazy to see how many kids were my age in the city and I had gone from an average-sized fish in a little pond to another average-sized fish in a great big pond. I’m not athletic by any means, and not overly outgoing. It may surprise some of you to know that I am, in the truest sense of the word, an introvert. (We have our 10 year reunion next month and some of my friends really want me to go. I honestly have a giant fire-ball of anxiety in my chest every time I think about it.) But back to junior high: It was intimidating. I had grown to know and love these 5 girls in my class and decided that I wanted to do something special with them. For that whole year, we would do something fun once a month. I bought them journals and made fun fabric covers for them. My first big sewing project and I was so jazzed at how well they turned out. We did all sorts of neat things: tea party, gong out to lunch after church, a painting class, etc. These girls were so special to me that year and the goal was that they could have a non-family adult to talk to about whatever and they would draw close to each other. They needed a support system before heading into that great big world of junior high and pre-teendom. And it worked! Those girls are pretty close now and on track to staying close for years. They’ll probably have a blow out here and there, but what’s being a teenage girl without blow outs. Trust me, I had plenty. I want to do something special for these girls…but I’m not writing it here. It will be a surprise! 🙂

What about you? Have you planned a wedding and had guest-list woes? Have a special idea for acknowledging people dear to you? As much as we would love to have everyone at the reception with us, it’s just not possible. We hope that there isn’t too much disappointment and that an open invite to the ceremony will make up for any hurt feelings.


I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on


Getting Married: 46 Weeks

I was looking forward to the week following the last post since I figured we had the two big things booked and locked away, so I could relax a bit, enjoy being engaged. Sadly, southwest Ohio weather had another idea. I started getting a bit of a sore throat by Sunday night which progressed to a full-on sinus infection by Thursday. That made for a miserable week with barely any sleep, lots of coughing and a Z-pack.

While I haven’t been up to par, that doesn’t mean we didn’t make any headway on the wedding plans. We decided to do our own invitations to save some money. I’m excited and have been brainstorming ways to make them fun and creative without going overboard. Matt met me near my work place on a half day to have lunch and hang out a bit before going in to work the afternoon. We stopped into Michaels to peruse. I’m glad we did. They were having a fantastic sale on paper and stationery. We got an amazing deal on the blank card stock and envelopes we need for invitations including some card stock for embellishments and our separate reception invitations. When I say, “We got an amazing deal…,” I mean, we got everything paper that we needed for under $50, plus some fun red/yellow flowery things that we can use to decorate for the reception. I can’t wait to start experimenting with designs and trying out different things. I will post some of the outcome on here for you all when I get them going.

After chatting with my sister one night, I decided I should go ahead and schedule my wedding dress shopping date. There has been a great summer sale going on at David’s Bridal this week, but it seems too soon to go get my dress already. We’re planning to go on Labor Day weekend, hoping for a sale, and also hoping that I can get myself in a little better shape by that time. There are going to be 10 of us there if everyone can show up! It’ll be so much fun though, and I want to try on the truly awful dresses too, so I’ll have some pictures for you.

Well, here’s hoping that this week is much better than the last!


I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on

Booked! (47 weeks)

There were just two things that I have been stressed about to get booked for this wedding, yes, even 11 months before the aimed-for date: a reception venue and wedding photographer.

This week’s post is to let you know that we have them booked! I am so confident about my vendors so far, that I’m going to do a quick review/plug for them.

RECEPTION HALL – Barn N Bunk – Trenton, OH

Borrowed from the Barn N Bunk website

First, here is the website:

Both Matt and I have been to wedding receptions here, so when we found out how economical the place was, we knew we had to get it. Located in Trenton, OH, a very farming-heavy community in Butler County, OH, this venue is ideal for weddings and receptions. Barn weddings/receptions have become super popular in the last few years and this 1893 barn is definitely up for the challenge.

The owners, Bev and her husband (Tom, I believe…I did meet him, but it was for a split second), have been doing this for years. their granddaughter works in one of the shops. You can tell that the whole place is a labor of love. During the growing season, the fields surrounding the barn are filled with a variety of vegetables and beans. They have a farmers’ market and a slew of community activities throughout the year.

What amazed me was how excited Bev was about our future marriage. I’m thinking that she must see about 52 weddings a year and yet she was still so thrilled that we are getting married and having our reception there.

Here’s the breakdown of the deal:

For 200 people, we were quoted a price of $3200. This includes catering for those people of a hot buffet (there are two other buffet options available) with three meats (sliced ham with pineapple, turkey breast in gravy, and roast beef au jus) and four sides or salad options. We chose mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans with ham chunks, tossed salad with dressings, and applesauce. Matt hasn’t insisted on too much so far, but he pretty much said it was a deal breaker if we didn’t get those mashed potatoes. Naturally, I accommodated. I love potatoes too. They also provide iced tea, lemonade, water, and coffee.

Any guests above the 200 is an additional $11/person, which is a very good price based on what I’ve gathered from friends and family who have planned weddings before. We can also bring in pop, if we want, but we would be responsible for clean-up and monitoring of that. They will allow alcohol, but again, you are completely responsible for organizing that. They do have china dishes and silverware available, but they typically use Styrofoam plates and plasticware. This is where I expressed some concern. We have plans for repurposing things for this wedding – reducing our waste and lowering cost. I asked her if we could buy thick paper plates instead of styrofoam, so that the material would at least be biodegradable. Bev is in a recycling mode so she was very glad to help out and said that she would price-check for us and if it wasn’t much more than the styrofoam plates, then she would just consider it in the original cost. Just a testament that you shouldn’t be afraid to ask about something that is important to you – you may not get the answer you want, but you also just might.

I will probably do another review of the place after the wedding, but for now, I leave you with the above. I’m very hopeful for what our special day will be like.

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER – Images by Sadie – Sadie Hodge

Here’s her website:

Just about every one of my friends have commissioned Sadie to do photos for them. She runs the gammut of Senior pics, engagement shots, weddings, mom-to-be photos, baby and kid photo, and full family shots. She first came into our lives when my matron of honor (who will be doing our engagement photos) married her super-cool rockstar hubs. I believe that he and Sadie knew each other from school, but regardless, she did some promo shots for his band and then she did their engagement and wedding photos…then my other bridesmaid had her do mommy-to-be shots, then it seemed like just about every other of my friends had her do their engagement shots and weddings. Most recently, she has done pics of friends’ new baby boy and she was brought in for a surprise proposal session at a Cincinnati Reds game.

I have wanted her to do my wedding pics for a long time, years even! So I was so excited to hear that she was available for our wedding date. She has some different wedding packages which are on her pricing page. I have had too many friends who didn’t get a very good photographer and their groomsmen ended up with a mullet from the shadow, or heads chopped off, or missing whole segments of the night because the photographer sat down to eat his meal during the dinner. I do not plan to be a picky bride, but a top-knotch photographer is one thing I am not willing to compromise on. Sadie is the best and has very reasonable pricing for the quality of her work.

Another really great photography couple that I would have used had Sadie not been available is her friend Tammi Harris and hubs Rudy. You can find their website here. I really like the stuff that they come up with and as a husband/wife team, they work super well together.

Thanks for stopping by!


I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!