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Posted: Thursday, Sep. 26, 2013

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Ashleigh has been living in Charlotte since 2008 with her oversized yellow lab. She is a communications professional, grad student, runner, and lover of all things wedding! After attending 13 weddings in three years, it's now Ashleigh's turn to be at the altar. Join her as she blogs about her adventures in step-by-step wedding planning and tips for other brides-to-be!

Choosing vendors is such an important and time-consuming part of the wedding planning process. While the Bride and Groom are obviously the most important people of the day, your vendors help put the day together. These are decisions that should not be made on a whim and that should consider your budget, style and date. Here’s my review of the local vendors we used for our wedding:

The Dairy Barn
4 Stars: I give the Dairy Barn 4 stars. We chose The Dairy Barn after many internet searches for photos, talking with the staff and visiting for a tour. We loved it. It is a lovely space, both inside and out. However, the Dairy Barn is bare-bones. You get the structure of the barn, the grass outside and if you’re lucky the sunshine outside. You are locked into a deal with Creative Solutions to provide your tables/chairs/decorations and cannot use another vendor. It is also suggested that you use Leroy Springs Catering for your food, as other vendors do not have the ability to enter the barn before a certain time the day of the event. The staff was easy to work with throughout planning. If a barn wedding is what your heart wants, I definitely recommend checking out the Dairy Barn in Fort Mill, SC.

Creative Solutions
4 stars: You can be assured you will get what you ask for with them and they were great to work with. Creative Solutions is contracted with the Dairy Barn to be the sole-provider of decorations – so we didn’t have an option here. You can bring your own items in as far as chalkboards, pictures, etc. And if you wanted, you could bring your own larger items, but you have to remove them at the end of the night, so you end up paying for convenience to rent these things. I appreciated their continuous ability to work with us on our constant changing of the floor plan and adding and removing items. My biggest qualm was finding out 3 weeks before my wedding that they had to know by 9 A.M. the day before if it would be inside or out. At 9 A.M. the day before, I couldn’t even get a 24-hour forecast. Now, we all know that the day before I was a mess, and I was easily able to make that call since skies were grey and everything was wet. They actually worked with me on this as well and I had until 1 PM the day before to make the final decision. The inside of the barn looked gorgeous with the burlap and navy décor we had chosen. They did a great job!

Leroy Springs Catering
5 stars: Leroy Springs gets a 5 in our book, and I think all of our guests would agree. I even had someone text me this weekend asking for NC BBQ recommendations and when I provided some options, they asked “How does it compare to your wedding food?” Not only was the food amazing, but William, the Maitre d’, took care of us all night and sent us home with two big plates of food! I know I said that The Dairy Barn recommends using Leroy Springs Catering, but so do we. If they had a restaurant, I’d be a regular!

Wedding Coordinator: Melanie McKelvey
5 stars: Initially, I did not want a coordinator. I figured, I will tell people where to go, what to do, and we’ll be fine. THANK GOODNESS I DID NOT GO THROUGH WITH THAT IDEA! Melanie was the glue that held it all together. For example, because of the rain, there were two leaks in the barn and Melanie ran out to get ferns to catch the water before I even arrived to the barn. We absolutely loved working with her and having her there the day of the wedding. Melanie was definitely the best money we spent for our wedding day. I HIGHLY recommend using Melanie for your wedding, and if not Melanie, use A coordinator. (Melanie can be contacted through Ta-Da’s Florist).

Southern Cake Queen
5 stars: We missed our cake tasting with Emma when my Grandfather got sick. We didn’t sweat it too much. We figured, she has a business, people are still buying from her and it’s dessert – it’s hard to mess up dessert. Surprise! Our wedding cake was the best cake I’ve ever tasted (vanilla with pineapple filling and coconut buttercream icing!) and the cupcakes (key lime) and cookies (chocolate chip) were equally as good. We were very happy with our decision to go with Emma and aren’t at all disappointed that it was a blind decision. Even if you don’t use her for your wedding, I recommend snagging a cupcake when her sweet-filled truck is in your area!

Each vendor played an integral part in making our day special and we are so thankful for each of them. I’ll finish up the review next week with the rest of the amazing people with which we had the opportunity to share our day. They helped make our day perfect. Be sure to check out Carolina Bride’s vendor listing while planning your wedding – many of our vendors are listed here!

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