I think I always start these posts with, I can’t believe a year has flown by! But it’s true, and exactly what I think every time I look back on a couple’s wedding day a year later. And here we are, celebrating Jessie and John in their own “wow, I can’t believe a year has flown by” post!

A few years in, I’m still flattered, honored, and humbled when a couple chooses me to help them with their wedding. And for whatever reason, those feelings are like times 10 when it’s someone I know who decides I need to be the one to help plan and pull together their special day.

Jessie and John came to Hart & Co. Events by way of John. He and I knew each other from my time in NASCAR. My husband has actually known John longer than I have, and once upon a time all three of us (my husband, me, and John) ended up on the same race team so we all got to know each other pretty well. (BTW, everyone in the NASCAR garage calls John, Marv. But his sweet bride always called him, John. So, I did too. And it was a tough transition for me, ha.)

Long story short, when John reached out and asked if we could all go to dinner to talk wedding planning, I was super excited for this old friend and excited to meet his bride-to-be. And of course, the second I met Jessie, I knew she was beyond perfect for him and it just made my heart happy. When they hired me to help pull all the pieces together, it was just the proverbial icing on the cake.

In my book, personal connections and details are what make a wedding day even more special than it already is, and this wedding was full of them. Jessie and John decided to marry on her family’s land in East Tennessee. Her family has the most beautiful land just outside of Johnson City, with a horse farm nestled among groves of trees and beautiful rolling hills. Jessie’s family was also in the process of turning the farm into an event venue so it was fun being a part of the venue’s first weddings and watching this couple pour extra work into things future couples could also enjoy.

The pair settled on vows under a giant beech tree just yards from Jessie’s parents home, the same tree where John proposed the year before. After the ceremony, guests were transported to the barn where they celebrated the new Mr. and Mrs. First with drinks in the roundpen, then a delicious family-style dinner set on the longest dinner table ever placed down the walkway of the stalls. Following dinner, everyone headed back to the dancefloor in the roundpen and partied the night away.

Some of my favorite details from the reception were definitely Jessie’s family’s horse show trophies we used for the centerpieces and the handmade pottery plates that John’s mom made specifically for the wedding. (I mean, who doesn’t love this??) And their exit? In the same mustang Jessie’s parents left their wedding in.

Jessie and John, thank you for bringing this old friend along to help with your wedding. I’ll always be grateful I got to spend that special time in your lives with you. Hoping this first year of marriage was wonderful, that the best is yet to come, and that your love continues to grow and only get better with time!

Special thanks to the team that made their day happen:
Blue Kite Photo {photography} Thomas Farm Events {venue} Springvine Design {florals} Hayden Olivia Bridal {gown} JK Sweet Cakes {wedding cake} Southern Knot Weddings and Floral Design {specialty rentals} Ashley Aesthetics {HMU} Atheneum Creative {stationery + graphic design details} Maria Graham with Graham Productions {DJ}

My first wedding of 2018 is in just a few days and I’m ready to get back into the swing of things! While I’m looking ahead to this weekend, can’t help but think back to my first wedding last year.

2017 was the year for destination weddings (almost half were out of town!) and it started from the get-go. Logan and Jess were my first wedding of the year last March and for it, we hit the road headed for Highlands, North Carolina.

This sweet pair are from the Charlotte area. They met in high school and both attended East Carolina University. They now call Chapel Hill home while Jess studies dentistry at UNC. When it came down to where to marry, Logan and Jess decided on a destination wedding and I wasn’t mad about it! And not just because they chose The Farm at Old Edwards Inn as their venue. (Personally, Old Edwards Inn is a favorite place of my husband and I. He vacationed there a few times as a child, and we’ve taken quick vacations there since we’ve been together. We just love it up there. Old Edwards had also been on my “dream wedding venue list” since I started Hart & Co. Events. I’m super thankful I had the opportunity to work there and sure hope I get to do it again – and soon!)

Logan and I hit it off right away, so naturally I loved everything she had in mind for her wedding day. Inspired by the beautiful rock fireplaces at The Farm, she wanted a cozy, super romantic but not stuffy wedding. The fireplaces came in handy by the way…there was still a little bit of snow on the ground when we rolled into town. The wedding day was sunny and beautiful with temperatures that warmed up nicely. Once that sun went down though, the roaring fires felt just right!

I think the team that came together to help make it all happen absolutely nailed it. We collaborated with some of my favorite vendors from the Charlotte area but also had the opportunity to work with some great folks out of the Raleigh area, Charleston, and Highlands. And I can’t forget the amazing team at Old Edwards Inn. They are some of the best! (Full vendor team shared below!)

I know it’s been a year since this happy day, but somehow still feels like it was yesterday! Logan and Jess, thank you for trusting me to help you pull all the pieces together and be alongside you during this exciting time. I hope this first year has been amazing, but I think it’s really only the beginning of an amazing life for you two!

xx

The Farm at Old Edwards Inn {Venue} Kayla Coleman Photography {Photographer} Brian Bunn Films {Videographer} Springvine Design {Florals} Old South Vintage Rentals {Vintage Furniture} Party Reflections {Linens} LULA Hair & Makeup {HMU} Dylan Skidmore {DJ} Creative Pastries by Sid {Sid Jackson – Wedding Cake} Fabulous Frocks – Charlotte {Bride’s Gown} A Signature Welcome {Guest Welcome Gifts} Wedding Invitation + Paper Goods chosen by bride via Etsy

 

 

Choosing your wedding venue is a big deal. It’s the backdrop for one of the most special days in your life, and there’s so much more to it than just how it looks.

Ashley Louise Photography | Hart & Co. Events Wedding Planning
Vesuvius Vineyards | North Carolina

Whether you’ve had yours picked out since you were little, or have no idea where to start, I wanted to share some questions and notes to think about as you consider your options…

Availability: This is an easy – and maybe obvious – starting point, especially if you have a date already in mind when you start the venue search. If you’re flexible on the date, then it may not impact you as much. I’d also throw in when asking about availability, inquire if the venue books Friday and Sunday weddings/events as well, or if yours would be the only wedding taking place on the property that weekend. If you’re getting married on Saturday, and they book a Friday wedding, that will more than likely impact your rehearsal plans – IF you’re planning on having the ceremony at the same place as the reception. It might even impact any installations, like say a tent. I’ve certainly had to juggle this very thing for clients, so it happens. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather go into the process knowing everything that might be taking place at the same time as my wedding and be able to plan accordingly from the get go.

What’s Included? I’ve definitely had clients over the years who book the venue before they book with me and come to find out, they didn’t realize they would have to rent tables, chairs, other items in order to carry out their wedding plans. It’s never fun to tell them there’s going to be additional expenses. So, I highly recommend asking and getting clarity as to what all comes with the rental of the venue. If they offer tables and chairs, be sure to ask what type of tables they have (are they 8 ‘ recs, 60” rounds), and how many they have on hand. And for the chairs, same thing. Ask how many they have and don’t hesitate to ask to see what the chairs look like. Not everyone knows what a chivari is!

Ashley Louise Photography | Hart & Co. Events Wedding Planning
Vesuvius Vineyards

Rain Plan: The “R” word isn’t anyone’s favorite when it comes to making outdoor wedding plans. Coming up with Rain Plans – and Plans C, D, E, you get it – is something I do at the beginning of every wedding, event, or project, even if it seems like weather won’t be a factor. (True Story: One time I did an event in Phoenix that involved a TV crew. On one of our planning calls, I brought up a rain plan and everyone kinda laughed at me. They said it never rains in the desert. Guess what happened the weekend of our event? Yep. Rained…cats. and. dogs.) If you have your heart set on having any portion of your wedding day outside, factor in alternate locations for those portions from the beginning. Ask if the venue has backup locations and be sure to look at them right then and there. And don’t forget to double check that your proposed guest count will fit in the backup location.

Another thing to consider, the Rain Plan might require tenting. Some venues include this automatically in the rental of the venue, which I think is kind of great because that cost is already factored in. But if it’s not, that’s an expense you need to be prepared for.

Vendors: I’d encourage you to inquire if outside vendors are allowed, or if you have to work exclusively with any preferred partners. I ran into this when my husband and I were planning our own wedding. We were considering a venue but they were really restrictive on which vendors you could use and that just felt limiting to us. We wanted to build our own team and have a little more say in the matter, so we ended up booking somewhere else. I do understand that perspective though, a venue wanting to use certain professional, trusted partners who know and are familiar with the venue. I’ve been in situations where maybe it’s only one or two vendor categories that you have to use the venue’s partner, and that’s totally fine and easy to work with. Something like this may not be any sort of deal breaker for you, but I just throw it in there as something to ask about when considering your choices.

Event Staff: Every venue has a different staffing structure and way they coordinate weddings. Be sure to ask who your main point of contact will be throughout the planning process, and who will be there on the day of your wedding. And go ahead and ask what that person will do/is responsible for on the wedding day. For example, you might be meeting with a sales team member for the site visit and work with them during the booking process. But once you book, they may hand you over to someone else. And then there could even be a third person you’ll work with on the day of. And that person may not do all the things you think they will. Because the venue is one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle, be sure you have a clear picture how your relationship will work.

Logistics: This may fall toward the bottom of some people’s list, but I absolutely believe it’s something worth considering before signing any contract. Think through what the logistics are. Is there a place for everyone to get dressed and ready at the venue? Where do guests park? (Is there enough parking? Will people have to be bused in? Do I have to pay for valet service or can guest self-park?) Where do they enter? Do they have to walk far? (If so, are there golf carts included or will you have to rent them?) What’s the flow from ceremony to cocktail hour to the reception space? How will people move from point A to point B? (I promise you, worth thinking through!) And what about bathrooms? Are there enough or will you have to bring in bathroom trailers? (I’ve definitely had to do that!) And do you have anyone that needs wheelchair access? I know logistics is a loaded item, but don’t wait until the month before your wedding to find out there’s not enough parking for all your guests!

Pricing: And now the biggest question of all, what does everything cost? After you see what all is included, know the venue’s availability, and everything else that will come with it, you can gauge whether this fits in your overall budget. There are a lot of fun and pretty things associated with weddings, but it all comes with a price. There’s nothing more tough than a potential client realizing they busted their budget on the venue and have a very limited budget remaining for other items. I don’t want to scare anyone, but I’d rather be upfront than not…right? And one last note on this item, after you have an idea of the cost, be sure to ask how payments work. If there’s a deposit, go ahead and ask if it’s refundable. (Most are not, but worth asking in case something happens and you realize you need to book elsewhere.) And totally ok to inquire about making payments along the way and about payment methods (check, credit card). Minor details maybe, but it all adds up!

There are so, so many things that go into planning a wedding and the venue is just one of them. I absolutely love working with any client at any point in the planning process, but I think you can see the magic of working together from the get go! I can help you find the right venue for you, and help you maximize your budget (and even help you come up with a budget!). If you’re just starting the process and searching for the perfect-for-you venue, give me a shout! I’d love to help you!

xx.

Have you set a date yet? I feel like this is easily one of the top questions asked after you get engaged, perhaps right after being asked about how the proposal went down. Getting engaged is an exciting thing, so family and friends asking (tons of) questions and being curious about all the fun details is a normal reaction.

I’ve been chatting with some excited newly engaged couples who haven’t quite landed on a date yet. If you’re like them, recently engaged and don’t have a date nailed down yet, don’t panic! Enjoy the excitement a little and when you’re ready to pick a date, here are some tips to consider:

What’s Already on Tap: This may be an obvious place to start, but look at your schedules – work, school, and current obligations already on the calendar. My husband worked in NASCAR when we got engaged, so we were pretty bound by the (long) race schedule. (Seriously, it’s one of the longest professional sports seasons. We used to joke it runs from Valentine’s Day to Thanksgiving!) That left us the options of getting married on the rare off-weekend, or waiting for the off season. We opted for the off season.

Take stock of what commitments and obligations you both might have, and consider what might work best for the people that you both feel are crucial to being there with you on your wedding day. NOTE: You will NOT please everyone with your wedding date and will drive yourself crazy trying to do so. Go with what works for YOU and what makes YOU happy, what works for those that you couldn’t imagine not being there, and set the date.

Budget + Don’t Rule Out Winter: It’s important to talk about the financial aspect early, too. A lot of couples don’t necessarily have a solid idea of what costs are associated with weddings, which is fine (and something we can help you with, too!). But it’s important to have this discussion between the two of you, consider what you might be contributing, and then have that conversation with who else might be contributing as well.

And how does this fit into picking a wedding date? There are definitely peak times of the year to get married – like May, June, September, October. Don’t rule out the winter. If you are open to it, some venues offer “off-season” rates for months like December, January and even February. This may vary by market, and of course, will vary by venue. But it’s worth keeping in mind while you weigh when to get married.

Be Open Minded: So maybe you don’t have a date picked, but you have your heart set on a certain venue. You reach out only to discover it’s booked solid every Saturday already. Have to have that venue? Be open minded. Ask if they are open to Friday or Sunday weddings. (I really, really, really think a brunch wedding would be fun. Any takers?!)

Mother Nature: She sure can be unpredictable. But let’s be honest. We all know it’s hot in the summer in the south. I never, ever want to crush anyone’s dreams of an outdoor wedding in July. I just always encourage clients to really think through what they – and their guests! – might experience. (Like…lots of sweating.) Consider what kind of experience is important to you and your guests, and how the weather might impact that.

And speaking of weather, we always come up with inclement weather plans especially with any wedding or event with a portion of it outdoors. Because…rain. If tenting isn’t your jam or in your budget, then focus on finding a venue with plenty of space to move things indoors should the need arise.

We know there are so many factors that can go into picking your wedding date. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, let us help you. That’s what we are here for!

xx,
Tiffany

When my husband and I set out to plan our wedding, we quickly realized that no matter where we decided to get married, our family and most likely a good amount of close friends would all have to travel. I’m from Texas originally. He’s from Durham. We have family on the west coast, in the midwest, and up and down the east coast. So, our solution…let’s all travel. We opted for a November wedding in the mountains in Asheville. Easy enough for us to get to during the planning process and relatively easy for all of our family and friends to get to come the wedding weekend.

I think a lot of engaged couples face the same dilemma or find themselves engaged and living in a city they don’t necessarily have deep ties to. They don’t live in their home towns, much less their home state. It is definitely not unusual these days that college or our careers take us to new cities, different states, and sometimes even different countries!

There are so many incredible places to travel to for your wedding day, here in the U.S. and across the globe. Since starting Hart & Co., I have been dreaming of all the places I’d love to go for wedding planning. For kicks, here is a peek at my list:

  • Aspen/Snowmass: In the mid-1970s, my parents hopped in the car and made the long road trip up to Colorado from west Texas. They ended up in the little mountain town of Snowmass and the rest is kind of history. Colorado has been my family’s second home ever since that road trip. (My first road trip there was just six weeks after I was born!) The gorgeous mountain landscape will never, ever get old to me. The Rockies are so captivating and definitely one of my happy places. So, it’d be a dream come true to plan some wedding magic there, too.
  • Texas: Because…it’s Texas. And my home state. And everything is bigger in Texas, right? Some seriously dreamy venues call the Hill Country home
  • Italy: Ok, so this is actually on my personal travel wish list. But let’s face it, who doesn’t love the idea of an Italian getaway to celebrate a marriage?! And I promise I’d definitely wait until your celebration concluded to begin any sightseeing…
  • The Caribbean: While I’m a mountain girl, I also love me some beach time…especially in the Caribbean. Wanting to have an intimate, small wedding with a super chill vibe? Not a shabby idea to get hitched somewhere on a white sandy beach…

So what do you think? If you’re dreaming of getting away for your wedding but don’t know where to start? Give Hart & Co. a call…I’ll definitely help you out!

xoxo