Let's Chat About Money!

Money. It’s the topic no one wants to discuss when it comes to planning a wedding! Setting a budget is perhaps the least fun part of planning a wedding, but it’s crucial. Weddings can be insanely expensive, and it’s way too easy to go way over budget very quickly. In fact, nearly half of all recently married couples reported going over budget on their weddings.

According to the Brides American Wedding Study, the average cost of a wedding in the U.S. in 2018 was $44,000. In 2017, the average cost was $27,000. That’s a $17,000 or 63% increase in just one year! Why the insane increase? Are wedding costs rising that much?! Well, not exactly. To put it simply, the study found that couples were still spending the same percentage of their budget on most parts of their wedding - like the cake, stationery, and favors - but they are spending more in general. For example, according to Brides, “The amount spent on flowers, for one, more than doubled, from an average of $1,274 in 2017 to $2,629 in 2018, per the study.”

Paxton Goates Photography, from  Jessica + Eli ’s wedding

Paxton Goates Photography, from Jessica + Eli’s wedding

Over-the-top weddings are the thing to do right now, and so many couples unfortunately feel the need to plan the “perfect” wedding to impress their guests, their Instagram followers and their Facebook friends. Sadly, weddings have become more of a performance than a celebration of a new marriage. While they are becoming more expensive, they’re also becoming more stressful and less enjoyable for many, many couples. And that’s really sad, y’all! Honestly, if you’re married to the love of your life at the end of the day, that is what’s really important. If you and your new spouse enjoyed your wedding day, it WAS the perfect wedding day! There’s no need to go broke over your wedding!

Here’s the thing, you guys... it’s totally possible to have a dream wedding without going broke and that you and your spouse will fully enjoy. You don’t have to spend more on your wedding than you would spend for a down payment on a home for it to be perfect! At The Barn, we plan dream weddings for a tiny fraction of the cost of the average American wedding. We are able to create magical, fairy tale weddings within any budget. Did you know our elopement packages at The Barn start at $1,850, and that includes everything except your dress, photographer, and officiant? That’s far less than just a typical venue rental alone. Our full-blown, all-inclusive wedding collections are very budget friendly, too, and they include flowers, decor, catering, entertainment, planning, coordination, set-up and tear-down, and so, so much more. Even our most over-the-top weddings are nowhere near that $44,000 average. According to The Wedding Report, the average cost of a wedding in Yell County, Arkansas, where The Barn is located, is $15,033, and in nearby Pope County, it’s $16,620. Spoiler alert: weddings at The Barn are way cheaper!

The best thing about The Barn is that there is NO stress involved in our weddings, because we do everything to ensure that our couples are able to fully enjoy each other and their guests on their wedding day. Our couples don’t have to worry about coordinating vendors on their wedding day, or managing to cram their set-up, ceremony, reception, and tear-down into a certain time frame. We do all the hard work for them!

It’s like magic, y’all... Insanely gorgeous, super detailed, truly all-inclusive weddings planned and coordinated by an experienced, extremely talented staff who do ALL the work so brides and grooms don’t have to lift a finger, all at a small fraction of the cost of the average wedding in the U.S. Take it from a former Barn Bride... this is THE way to go when planning your wedding day!

Samantha + Tyler's Blush & Bashful Wedding

If you’ve never seen Steel Magnolias, you just might want to watch it before you check out this wedding! It will make you appreciate all the brilliant details so much more. ;) This bride was fully committed to her Steel Magnolias-inspired details, and our team nailed it. There was plenty of blush and bashful, Southern class, and even an armadillo cake… yep, we went there! And while a wedding with this theme could have been horrendous, this wedding was the complete opposite. It was romantic, elegant, and truly a fairy tale… with a side of the best movie references that any wedding has ever seen! We honestly LOVED it. (I just want to mention that this was our second bride this spring whose wedding was inspired by this movie… one of the hundreds of reasons why Barn Brides are the best!!) We had the privilege of working with Kimberly Jean Photography on this wedding, and she beautifully captured all the fun, gorgeous details!

Photographer: Kimberly Jean Photography | Venue, Coordination, Design, Florals: The Barn at Twin Oaks Ranch | Videography: Greenglass Productions | Bridal Gown: David’s Bridal | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: JCPenney | Hair and Makeup: Madeline Bradley at Urban Society Salon | Cakes: Kneading Hands Bakery | Entertainment: Brock Forness

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Samantha and Tyler were married at The Barn at Twin Oaks Ranch on March 30, 2019. They actually tied the knot months earlier on October 19, 2018, but their big wedding day was this spring. Their colors were blush pink and deep red, and as I mentioned, many of their details were inspired by the movie Steel Magnolias. Their wedding was romantic and elegant, with a Southern touch and a few rustic chic details! “Tyler and I both love red, but I also love the movie Steel Magnolias,” Samantha said. “I am a die hard fan, and so naturally pink and pink with Southern class and a bit of language with some armadillo cake fit perfectly.” We love it!

We always encourage our couples to work a videographer into their wedding budget! When you’ve forgotten all the little details and fun moments of your wedding day, you’ll want to be able to look back on a video and remember. Plus, a video shows all the emotions and vibes of a wedding that photos just can’t! This one by Greenglass Productions is so sweet!

Samantha’s deep red and blush pink florals were stunning, and in her words, dreamy! We used a combination of burgundy dahlias, blush pink roses, pink astible, red amaranthus, and a variety of greenery to create the most gorgeous, elegant bouquets. “They draped and flowed perfectly and coordinated wonderfully with the bridesmaids dresses,” she said.

Samantha’s bridal gown, from David’s Bridal, was a fairy tale dress! It was perfect for this romantic, Southern wedding. We loved the fuller silhouette, the sheer lace sleeves, the gorgeous train, and her veil, which had the most delicate lace details. Tyler wore jeans and a gray jacket and vest with a blush tie. The perfect combination of casual and elegance!

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Samantha’s bridesmaids wore gorgeous red dresses from JCPenney. Each dress had lace detailing and perfectly coordinated with the rich shades of red in the florals! The addition of red kept the “blush and bashful” color palette from being too feminine, and we absolutely LOVED this color combination!

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Samantha and Tyler chose not to do a first look before their ceremony, but they did share a few sweet moments together without actually seeing each other. While we LOVE first looks, we also think this is a really precious idea! And it makes for the sweetest photos.

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Samantha and Tyler’s ceremony was elegant and romantic. The redbuds were bloomed out all around the ceremony site, which added the prettiest pop of color and some majorly dreamy springtime vibes. Their altar was STUNNING… we were crazy about the unique draping, the gorgeous blush and burgundy floral arrangement, and those hanging lanterns! So, sooo pretty. They also had floral arrangements in mason jars lining their aisle.

Their ceremony was extremely special, and one reason was because they included each of their kids. “We are a blended family and to include our children, we had a tree planting during our ceremony,” Samantha said.

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Our wedding was perfect! I loved the decor, the flowers were gorgeous, and Tyler and I were able to just enjoy while Lesleigh and staff took control. It was a beautiful day! I can’t say enough about Lesleigh and her ability to ease anxiety on the big day and she just takes control while you enjoy. The staff was very polite.
— Samantha
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Samantha and Tyler’s post-ceremony portraits are GORRRGEOUS. The Barn in spring is pure magic, plus this couple is just beautiful. These photos are too pretty!

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Samantha and Tyler with all six of their kids. The sweetest family!

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Samantha and Tyler’s reception was a fairy tale. Their details were rustic chic, with burlap table runners, wood details, lanterns, and more of those amazing burgundy and blush florals. Behind their adorable sweetheart table was a special detail that was one of Samantha’s favorites. “Tyler tracked down an old vintage window and we attached our engagement pictures by Ashley Lewis Paullin Photography,” she said.

Samantha said her favorite thing about getting married at The Barn was the decor! “Lesleigh did a great job of listening to what we wanted and her decor was on point,” she said. “Really the location and everything was perfect! I can't really pick one favorite detail.”

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If your wedding is going to be inspired by Steel Magnolias, it’s obviously a requirement that you have an armadillo cake. Yep, it was red on the inside. ;) And would you check out those napkins! Kneading Hands Bakery blew us away with Samantha and Tyler’s THREE wedding cakes. “Tyler loves the Red Sox so his cake naturally had to be a Red Sox cake,” Samantha said. They also had a blush pink scraped cake that was just so pretty!

Oh my… this subtle detail on the bar was one of my favorite Steel Magnolias references! Hilarious.

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Samantha said the most unforgettable memory from her wedding day was her first dance with Tyler. “The first dance was one of the most romantic moments of my life, under the lights and chandelier in The Barn, surrounded by family,” she said. “The way my groom looked at me... it was everything I had dreamed of. I enjoyed watching our kids dance and our parents. The Barn was just so beautiful!... magical!”

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Samantha and Tyler went on a cruise to Mexico for their honeymoon! “We took a Royal Caribbean cruise from Galveston to Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico,” Samantha said. “We enjoyed seeing Mayan pyramids, relaxing and my personal favorite was seeing dolphins in the wild, jumping alongside the front of the ship. This was our first cruise experience and it was very enjoyable.”

Samantha and Tyler, we loved your amazing blush and bashful wedding! We loved planning it with you and spending this day with you two and your precious kids! We wish y’all the very best! xoxo

Red, White & Blue

Happy Independence Day from The Barn at Twin Oaks Ranch! We hope you're having a great long weekend, full of fireworks and sparklers, BBQs, pool parties, and plenty of red, white and blue! Just for fun, here's some patriotic prettiness. Red, white and blue weddings are hard to pull off. They can look a little cheesy... Your best bet is going for a nautical or vintage Americana look! Here are some classy all-American wedding ideas that we love. 'Merica!!! ;)

Tryston Hines Photography , from  Breanna + Bryan 's wedding at The Barn

Tryston Hines Photography, from Breanna + Bryan's wedding at The Barn

Unique Bridal Parties

Bridal parties are a huge part of what makes a wedding day so special for brides and grooms. Few things make you feel as loved as being surrounded by the people you love most on your wedding day, so it's super important to choose exactly who you want to stand beside you as you say your vows. For some people, that means a traditional bridal party including five bridesmaids, five groomsmen, a flower girl and a ring bearer. For others, it may mean a HUGE bridal party featuring all your besties (a la Jessica + James... their bridal party was enormous and so pretty!). Or it may mean doing something that feels totally right for you and your love, even if it may be a little unconventional. 

Is your grandma your BFF? Nothing would be more special than asking her to be your maid of honor or a "flower grandma." It's not super uncommon for grooms to ask their dad to be their best man, either. Do you want all of your besties present at your wedding, but you don't want to stress them out with all the responsibilities of being in a bridal party? You can choose to skip a formal bridal party and find a more simple way to make them feel special or make them stand out... (Have them all sit together, give them all a small bouquet or boutonniere, or ask them to wear something similar but not as matchy-matchy as a traditional party). It's no secret that we also love pets in weddings... they make for really adorable flower girls/ring bearers! Is your best friend the opposite gender? Best women, men of honor, bridesmen, and groomsmaids are all a good idea. Include your kids in your bridal party, skip a bridal party altogether, or have just a maid of honor and best man... You do you! Here are a few of the more unique bridal parties our couples have had! 

Flower Grandparents

Kids-Only Bridal Parties

No Bridal Party

Elmer Escobar, from  Amanda + Brad 's wedding

Elmer Escobar, from Amanda + Brad's wedding

Man of Honor

All The Flower Girls + Ring Bearers!

Amanda + Tyler' s wedding

Hugest Bridal Party EVER

Best Woman

J. Millwood Photography, from  Kaleena + Spencer 's wedding

J. Millwood Photography, from Kaleena + Spencer's wedding

Rachel + Andrea's Minimalist, Modern Wedding

Rachel and Andrea come from very different backgrounds (she’s American, he’s Italian), and their wedding day was a beautiful marriage of their two cultures. They incorporated several Italian traditions into their ceremony and reception, and their minimalist, modern details paired so beautifully with the rustic backdrop of The Barn. It was a little bit Arkansas, a little bit Italian, minimalistic, modern, unique, and totally gorgeous. They tied the knot on the most perfect April day, with the blooming dogwoods making every detail even more romantic and beautiful. This was our first time working with Ashton Rail Photography, and her photos are stunning. These photos are not only beautiful and romantic, but they also capture so much emotion. I can’t wait for you to see them!

Photographer: Ashton Rail Photography | Venue, Coordination, Design, Florals: The Barn at Twin Oaks Ranch | Bridal Gown: BHLDN | Entertainment: DJ Mario Luna | Catering: Blue Willow Catering & Event Planning | Cake and Desserts: Kneading Hands Bakery | Coffee: Russellville Mountain Mudd

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Rachel and Andrea were married at The Barn at Twin Oaks Ranch on April 19, 2019. Rachel is from Arkansas, and Andy’s family is Italian, so many of their details were inspired by both of their backgrounds. They wanted their details to be minimalistic and modern. They used pale colors, like sage green and blush, throughout their florals and details. “We wanted our wedding to be a marriage of the cultures but we also didn't want things to be over the top,” Rachel said. “We also liked the idea of taking a rustic venue like The Barn at Twin Oaks and blending it with the modern and minimalistic style that we like.”

Rachel’s bridal gown, which was from BHLDN, was the perfect dress for their minimalistic wedding. It was simple and elegant, and the cut-out back kept it totally modern. Her veil was so romantic and absolutely stunning. We also loved her elegant hairstyle and makeup (which was done by Andy’s sister), as well as her sparkly shoes! What a beauty this bride was!

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Rachel’s bouquets and florals had an undone, organic look, with a variety of greenery and pale colored flowers. “I wanted the bouquet to be a bit more wild and loose,” she said. “Lesleigh absolutely nailed it - my bouquet was huge and wild and fresh. I loved it!”

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Rachel and Andy shared a sweet, romantic first look underneath the dogwood blooms. The portraits that followed are hands down my favorite photos from their wedding! These are an absolute dream. Not only was The Barn looking insanely gorgeous on this day, but the love between this couple is so evident and beautiful. It’s so important to soak in as much alone time with your new spouse as possible on your wedding day (even though it’s really hard… wedding days are busy!) and we loved how these two fully embraced their few private moments together.

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The wedding was perfect! The decorations were gorgeous, the altar was exactly how we envisioned it, and the vibe was exactly what we wanted to achieve. Lesleigh did a wonderful job with incorporating elements from both cultures. It was a mix of Arkansas with a twist of Italian traditions that blended together for a great evening where fun and happiness were at the forefront.
— Rachel
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We adored this moment! Rachel and Andy sharing a quick dance before the craziness of their wedding day begins.

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Rachel and Andy’s ceremony details were simple, elegant and beautiful. They chose a triangular style altar (we call this our modern teepee altar), with two floral arrangements filled with greenery and gorgeous pale flowers. “Our favorite detail was the combination of the altar decorations and the decorations at the end of the seats during the ceremony,” Rachel said. “The greenery and colors from these small touches were simple but blended in perfectly with the surrounding trees and green from the grass. This ties in with our favorite part about The Barn, the atmosphere of it. The natural beauty outside and the coziness of the barn was exactly what we wanted. We had always envisioned a beautiful space where friends and family could come together and share with us this special day.”

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Lesleigh and her team did a fantastic job both before and on the wedding day. Part of the reason that we chose Lesleigh was that from the start she understood exactly what we were envisioning. Since we are living in DC we wanted to be sure that the wedding planner had plenty of experience and was able to work with us remotely.
— Rachel
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After their ceremony, Rachel and Andy headed inside The Barn to see their reception details. They shared a quick, romantic first dance as husband and wife, just the two of them. It’s so special to see couples savoring every moment and every detail of their wedding day together! Then they headed outside onto the lawn for a fun, beautiful cocktail hour with their guests.

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This cocktail hour was everything! Their seating chart was displayed on a rustic wooden cart, there was a custom version of our arrow sign in Italian, and the ruffled tablecloths created such an elegant look. We loved every detail of this cocktail hour!

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Rachel and Andrea’s reception was stunning. Their details were minimalistic, modern and elegant, and they were so gorgeous with the rustic look of The Barn and the glowing chandeliers, string lights and our signature draping inside. Their reception tables included light gray tablecloths, simply elegant greenery garlands, a few flowers, and metallic lanterns and geometric vases. Their place settings were very simple and elegant, with white dinnerware and white napkins.

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Some of the highlights of this reception were the incredible foods that were served. Rachel and Andy served their guests an amazing Italian dinner, and they had one of our favorite dessert bars of all time. They not only had a coffee bar, the cutest, tiniest wedding cake ever, beautiful pies, cookies, and other small, sweet treats, but they also incorporated an Italian wedding tradition.

“There are several things that made our wedding ours,” Rachel said. “The biggest one would be the incorporation of Italian traditions into our wedding. In Italy it is customary to have confetti (an almond covered in a sugar coating) as a small sweet treat. It is also customary instead of desserts to have a mix of chocolate, nuts and clementines. So for the dessert table we had several small types of desserts that people could take but also chocolates and clementines. The best part was the hammer that people used to break open the nuts!”

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Rachel and Andy shared their first dance, their guests toasted the newlyweds, and then their dance party began. “We will always remember the moment when the song from ABBA ‘Dancing Queen’ came on and everybody jumped on the dance floor and started dancing,” Rachel said. “The explosion of joy and happiness in that moment where people were just happy to be there celebrating with us on this special day is something that we will both cherish forever.”

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Rachel and Andy’s sparkler grand exit was so dreamy! They left The Barn and headed off to Mexico for a relaxing, beachy honeymoon. “For our honeymoon we decided to focus solely on us so we booked an all-inclusive hotel in Cancun,” Rachel said. “After being surrounded by people nonstop for almost a week, we were very happy to finally have some time for us without having to worry about anything. We just wanted to lay by the beach with a drink in hand and simply relax!”

Rachel and Andy, we ADORED your wedding. It was an absolute joy to plan it with you! We’ll truly never forget this one because of your stunning details and the Italian touches you incorporated! We wish you two the best. xoxo