Preparing For YOUR Big Day
Guest Blog Post by Nicole McGiboney
Foreword By Dixie
There are so many things that I love about owning a wedding venue and being a wedding planner. When I started doing weddings in 2009, I never imagined what a blessing it would be. I have met and fallen in love with so many wonderful people. This is really hard when the wedding is over because I know that I’m going to miss them. Kinda sad isn’t it? Well fortunately, it’s not! I am so grateful to still have close relationships with many of my couples, long after they have said “I DO”.
This brings me to Nicole and Geoff. When they came to tour The Farm, I fell in love with them immediately, and I knew that I wanted them to be one of my couples. I was ready to book them immediately, but they had other venues to tour. They wanted to be sure they were making the best decision, so they left, and I was disappointed because they were so awesome. About 10 minutes passed, and they called me. I figured they must have forgotten something, but they hadn’t. They were calling back to book their wedding with me! I was so happy that I am pretty sure I did a cartwheel.
Needless to say, Nicole, Geoff and their family have been one of many blessings I have received. Recently, while Nicole and I were catching up, we were on the subject of her wedding and what happened to this person and that person. We talked about how she felt now, looking back and reflecting on the whole process. She had some really great things to say and great insight, so I asked her to write a guest blog for me and future brides.
So, meet Nicole! She is one of the coolest chicks around, one of my past brides, a wonderful wife, and mommy to a precious little girl.
You get asked to marry the man of your dreams. You say YES!! Everything after that is a whirlwind. Seriously, you get a glazed over look and it is on to make this day the best day of both of your lives. You start telling everyone and make it FBO (Facebook official). You start writing down your bridal party! STOP!! Let me tell you the mistakes I made and one so many other brides make.
Do not let the excitement overshadow who is truly meant to stand with you on this day. It is not about how many you have or how many you have versus your future husband (ding ding, my mistake). Its about your life connections, who has been and who will be with you. Of course there was no mistaking my Maid of Honor, my sister, my lifelong best friend. That one was easy. My future sister-in-law, easy! Even the best friend you have had for years….EASY! But then come the questionable. And maybe you have a girl that physically asks you to either be in the wedding of why you haven’t chose her (yep, me again). Your heart and gut wrench to know one of your friends is hoping to be in this special day and a big part of you knows if that person wasn’t chosen, it would hurt the relationship…WHAT? Yep, a good friend who you may work with or spend girls night with would stop being your friend because you didn’t choose her to stand with you. Fine. Then she isn’t your true friend. True friends may not understand if they aren’t chosen, but one day will and your relationship will be stronger for it. Do NOT sacrifice your big day worrying if this person is going to get along with everyone, if they are going to drink too much, or hit on too many guys….or worst off….act like a complete fool on YOUR special day. Please consider this so carefully. I wish I only had three bridesmaids, as listed above. But I had 8! What was I thinking. Only three of these women have stuck by me. Only three of these women have attempted to meet our daughter and only four of these ladies even give a crap to wish me a happy birthday each year. Yep….don’t be me friends. I made the best of it that day because I was our day and no one would overshadow it. But the aftermath was not pretty. That is what I have to say about that. Take my advice or don’t. There are always exceptions to every rule, but in my experiences also as a bridesmaid, every wedding I have been in has had this result.
This may be hard to believe but as an event planner myself, I knew it was going to be a challenge to collaborate with anyone on how we envisioned our day. My husband and I are simple people and just wanted our friends and family (not “guests”) to feel as welcome and happy as possible. I went way overboard on this, but would never regret it. So, before we could choose our date, we needed a place. I am Italian/Greek and my husband, as he would put it, is a country boy. So we wanted somewhere that captured both our personalities. We visited many places, but when we pulled onto the driveway of The Farm in Rome, Georgia, my heart swelled. The expansive property featured a horse farm, bridal cottage, bridal party suites and so much more. Best of all the main structure on the property is al old world looking farm! This captured my old world style and my husband’s country feel! We met with the owner, Dixie Bagley, who to say the least is one of the most professional but down to earth people I have ever met. Then the impossible happened, the date we wanted was available. We typically make quick decisions, but knew we to take out time and consider our options. As we got further away (maybe 5 miles) I looked at Geoff and said…No. We are NOT going any further until we call her. We have to secure this place. So frantically I was trying to dial Dixie, but the area we were in was so remote there was no reception! Finally the satellite phone was able to get her and sitting there on the side of some random country road, we confirmed. All was right in our worlds. We had our DREAM venue.
Planning, Planning, Planning
I had so much fun creating our ideal décor. I am a creative dork so I made all of our centerpieces, designed all of our save the dates, invitations, booklets, ceremony pamphlets, etc etc etc. I enjoyed this process so much. I should mention we had 14 months to prepare. I would NOT recommend this if you are planning your wedding in under 6 months. I had my bridesmaid over and we did crafting parties and maybe had some margaritas.
You obviously know now that I did not use a wedding planner. I DO TOTALLY recommend using one. Had I not already been an event planner, I would’ve hired one in a heartbeat. It takes so much time, energy and riff raff to deal with multiple vendors and cross all your T’s and dot all your I’s. Don’t try to do it yourself. There is no shame in having someone create your dream with you!
Remember how the bridesmaids went? Ya….there is also something to be said when inviting people to your bash. We invited all the bridesmaids, plus some other friends/spouses of our guy friends who I had become acquainted with. Too many women in one place is just not good. Especially when money is involved. Sorry to say it, but someone ALWAYS feels left out, someone ALWAYS ends up being the bad guy and someone ALWAYS has to help someone else see the light. Just my two cents, but keep your group small.
Funny story about my bash. We had NashBash in Nashville which in only a 4 hour ride from Atlanta where everyone is from. The entire weekend was filled with brewery tours, we sang at the Ryman (no I didn’t break any glass) and I pushed the BS aside and had the best time ever. The last night we were there, my sister tells me we are going to “The Big Bang’ I automatically know this is a strip club and am regretting my decision to wear a white thigh length dress. But I trust her and go up the stairs, but my stamp. I hear the music blaring, walk in and see NO STRIPPERS! No ladies and gentlemen, this was a dueling piano bar. And I could not have been happier. As much as I love the male form, there really isn’t anything cool about one in a banana hammock coming at you from all angles and the oils they wear….ew! But we thoroughly enjoyed the evening. When we left I was walking with my best friend and people were stopping to see a police horse and pet his nose. So I know your never to come at a horse before letting him sniff you so I gently place my hand under his nose and he smells me. I went to lift my hand to pet his nose and HE BIT ME! Yes, I am so serious. He totally bit me. There was not breaking of the skin but in my mental state, which was completely inebriated, I screamed out “Police brutality!” Luckily, the uniformed human officers were understanding and allowed my friends to take me away without further incident. I would like to state that I do not believe a police horse brutalized me, but my sarcasm was covered that evening in gin/tonic, vodka shots and probably some beer. Who are we kidding, I swam in a sea of whatever liquid someone put in front of me. PS Nashville is amazing for all bachelorette parties. That town is so much more wholesome than Atlanta.
You will always have problem people in your life. I had a few that were hell-bent on giving me issues and ensuing drama. Some were family of ours. You cannot let them take this time away from you. If your mom is being too pushy, tell her. If your mother-in-law wants to wear a white, floor-length gown to your wedding, STOP HER (yep, again this happened to me). But in all seriousness. Please do not let anyone try to steal this time away from the two of you. There is nothing worse than forgetting something or making rash decisions because your angry.
People will hate me for this, but the people you invite to your wedding are the MOST special people in your lives. Why would you not want them to feel comfortable and be able to partake in your goodies provided?! I have family and friends, so many of them, with legit allergies to gluten (celiac), dairy, lactose, nuts, etc. When I thought about those 10 people coming to our wedding, I did not want them to have to bring their own food. If you are buying food for everyone else, why would you not get food these people can eat. Its hard enough having to struggle in restaurants, but if you care about them help them! We had an amazing bakery, 2B Whole out of Alpharetta Georgia who handled our cakes AND our allergen meals. Toula, the owner, has a son with severe allergies. She created a allergen free bakery and the items are better than you could ever image. Our wedding cake was gluten, dairy, casein, wheat, egg, and nut-free. It was Italian cream cake and NO one knew it was hypoallergenic. Then Toula also made us incredible meals that were like this also. She made them for BOTH our rehearsal dinner and reception. I cannot say enough good things about what Toula is baking up. Please seek her out, but even more, CATER to your friends and family. Do not consider them guests.
Photographers, Videographers, etc
DO NOT SKIMP ON THIS PEOPLE! I know it seems like wedding photography is a lot of money. Let me break it down for you. Our photographer brought second shooter, was at The Farm for over 12 hours, THEN she edited over 400 photos and uploaded them. And they were delivered in an incredible box with some prints, a USB and a framed photo with her favorite photo of us and our wedding song lyrics. Just editing 400 photos alone takes around 12 hours if you do it straight and a pro at editing. And to be able to uniquely put those photos into a flawless story….priceless. You will NEVER be able to re-do this day. Take the plunge, do not just let a friend or family member who is a novice do it. If they miss something or don’t do it often, all you will have are memories. I have had friends NEVER get photos because their “friend” accidentally deleted the SD card, or they got photos but they are horribly edited. Don’t do that to yourselves. Please skimp other places.
Definitely always get a video. And it just so happens Dixie’s son is a videographer and he was ours! The day flies by so quickly and like I said at the beginning, it is a whirlwind. You want this visual, moving memory to have and look back on. To hear your husband repeat the words as many times as you want to hear them, again, priceless. Chase did a phenomenal job on our video. He takes his time and really gets it.
The BIG DAY!
All I can say is just have fun. Don’t let anyone make you feel like this isn’t your day or that it is not important. There will be those, that’s ok. Not everyone is happy, but refuse to let them take your sunshine away. Dance your heart out, relish in every moment, GET A VIDEO and enjoy the day where your soul is finally completed when you are bound to the person you love.
To end this post, I would like to speak a little but more about the unique, incredible venue that will always feel like home to me. The Farm. Dixie and Lee Bagley have created such a magical environment for their wedding parties and it shows in the love and care they give to every family and person they host. Dixie herself is a force to be reckoned with. She is so down to earth, fun, outgoing and an outstanding businesswoman. She not only helped me with our wedding but when things went astray, she was there, just like a family member, to take care of it with ease and take my worries away. If you haven’t yet booked your wedding, greatly consider The Farm in Rome, Georgia and Dixie. Even if you are not from Atlanta, its only a short, beautiful drive north and the views are breathtaking. I could write a book on how amazing my experience was at The Farm. We stayed on property from Friday until Monday of Labor Day weekend 2014. We arrived Friday and had our rehearsal and then the dinner onsite in the stables. Then the ladies stayed at the bridal house the guys stayed in the guest cabins. We had our wedding Saturday and then our 1st Official McGiboney Games on Sunday. This was sponsored by Miller Lite and we all basically had a BeerFest Then we all left Monday. Geoff and I went on our honeymoon and everyone went home, but not without The Farm leaving an incredible mark in our hearts. I will forever be grateful for Dixie, Lee and their love of life and all things love. I sit here almost 4 years later and still keep in touch with Dixie, still follow every wedding and love to see everyone enjoy their time at a place I consider heaven. I only wish all of you have what we got when it comes to venues. Its not just WHERE you say those vows, but it’s how you get there and man, what a great feeling it is. Much love to everyone and may your planning and resulting wedding day be everything you want it to be.
Farm Bride 2014