Barn Tour Guide: Places To Visit In Our Area

We have a jam-packed fall wedding season coming up, which means hundred and hundreds of out of town guests will soon be coming to The Barn and spending a little bit of time in our tiny town! We're located just outside of Dardanelle, Arkansas, which is home to fewer than 5,000 people. What our area lacks in population, it makes up for with gorgeous state parks, fun adventures, quaint shops and good food! We LOVE where we live, and despite its rural setting, this area of Arkansas is actually a great place to visit. If you're the outdoorsy type, you'll never run out of things to do in this beautiful area. If shopping and dining are more your style, you're in luck, too!

Future Barn Couples, be sure to forward this post to your guests or share the link on your wedding website so they know about the fun, exciting things to do in our neck of the woods! 

Outdoor Attractions

Mount Nebo State Park is located just outside of Dardanelle, and it is one of the most popular places to visit in the state. There are several great hiking trails, cabins, waterfalls, a swimming pool, and two gorgeous overlooks, Sunrise Point and Sunset Point, which offer some of the most breathtaking views in the state. You may even see a few hang gliders and paragliders launching from behind the visitors' center or at Sunrise Point! Make the (curvy, steep, little-bit-scary) drive up the mountain and stay for a few hours or a few days... You won't run out of beautiful things to see!

Daniel Ray Photography . Mount Nebo's stunning Sunset Point.

Daniel Ray Photography. Mount Nebo's stunning Sunset Point.

Petit Jean State Park is located about 30 minutes from The Barn, and there are countless amazing attractions, trails and overlooks to check out on top of the mountain. A few of my personal favorites: the beautiful Mather Lodge (they also have a restaurant), the Cedar Falls Trail (long and difficult, but made worth it by the breathtaking 95 foot waterfall at the end!), the Gravesite Overlook (you can't beat the view), the Rock House Cave Trail and the Cedar Creek Trail. You can fish at the mountain's two lakes, rent a boat or canoe, and even check out The Museum of Automobiles.

Cedar Falls, located at  Petit Jean State Park

Cedar Falls, located at Petit Jean State Park

Lake Dardanelle State Park is located in nearby Russellville, and it also has a lot to offer for nature enthusiasts. There's a fantastic visitors' center with several exhibits that are entertaining for adults and kids alike, kayak rentals, free boat tours, and nature programs led by park interpreters. Lake Dardanelle is also one of Arkansas' most popular spots for fishing and boating. 

Downtown Dardanelle

Dardanelle has a great downtown, with historical parks, yummy food, and some of the best live music in the state! Front Street is home to Front Street Grill, Millyn's (a beautiful gift shop with the best customer service), Latham's (a great antique shop), and Riverfront Park. Tarascos has delicious Mexican food, as well as a bar and a private room, which makes it a great place for rehearsal dinners.  

Front Street Grill  is one of the best live music venues in Arkansas.

Front Street Grill is one of the best live music venues in Arkansas.

Front Street Grill is THE place to see great live music and have a beer in the River Valley. Past performers at FSG include Johnny Lee, Whiskey Myers, Jake Owen and Stoney LaRue. They also have live shows during the week, as well as great food! Their Facebook page is updated regularly with concert info and food specials. 

Dardanelle also has a rich Native American history, which you can learn more about at the Old Post Office (also on Front Street) or at Council Oaks Park

Downtown Russellville

Russellville is just a short drive away, and its thriving downtown makes it a wonderful place to visit! Russellville Downtown is home to several great restaurants, art galleries, and one-of-a-kind boutiques.

Some of the fantastic restaurants in downtown Russellville include Fat Daddy's Bar-B-Que (their cheesy taters are practically world famous), The Old Bank (a sports grill with a great bar that's located in a beautifully renovated downtown building), Pasta Grill (delicious Italian food, great atmosphere, tons of menu options), and Kob Jai (the best Thai food around). For a caffeine fix and some old school video games, stop by The Garage Arcade.  

Downtown Russellville is full of locally owned boutiques, gift shops and art galleries. For one-of-a-kind home decor, local art and gifts, check out A Conversation Piece or Pottery Worx. For a cute outfit, go to HipSway... one of the prettiest, trendiest stores in town! There are also two great bookstores located downtown: Dog Ear Books and B Street Books

Dog Ear Books  is a great place to hang out and shop, and they always have fun events going on!

Dog Ear Books is a great place to hang out and shop, and they always have fun events going on!

Sports

The Centerville Dragway is located just a few minutes from The Barn, and there's a reason why it stays packed on weekends! It's home to a dirt track, fast cars, and great burgers. They're closed during the winter months, so be sure to check out their schedule before you go. 

John Daly's Lion's Den Golf Course is also located in Dardanelle and was recently re-opened. It's a favorite course for local golf fans. You can read all about it on their Facebook page

We feel really blessed that The Barn is part of such a unique, supportive, wonderful community, and we hope our guests will fall in love with what our charming little area has to offer! 

10 Barn Weddings: Summer Loving

It's been way too long since I've written a 10 Barn Weddings post, and I'm not sure how I've managed to neglect my favorite blog series! Although we’re right in the middle of summer, our summer season has already started to wind down. (But we have a few openings for elopements in the near future, so if you’re interested in eloping in the near future, holler at us ASAP!) Summer weddings are oh, so sweet, and while it’s sometimes insanely hot at The Barn during these months, our summer weddings are always some of the prettiest. Here are 10 of my favorite summer weddings we've ever done! 

We'll be swooning over Regan and Cory's timeless, neutral summer wedding for literally FOREVER. Details for days in this wedding, y'all. I couldn't possibly name all my faves, but here are a few that you CANNOT miss: those romantic, jaw-droppingly gorgeous reception tables! Regan's beautiful dress and accessories. Perfect white bouquets with loads of greenery. The sweetest chair signs. This couple thought of EVERYTHING, and it made their day absolutely amazing. 

As much as we love weddings with neutral color palettes, we also get super excited when one of our couples requests something BRIGHT and FUN! Megan and Drew's wedding had perhaps the happiest color palette ever - "punch colors," as Megan described it. Their theme was rustic, and their florals, reception details, and the bridal party's attire were full of fun, bold colors. My faves from this wedding: Megan's dress (sooo good!), the bridesmaids' dresses in shades of pink, bright florals + succulents, colorful reception details, and that fantastic burlap altar! 

I think of Kassie and Adam's rustic glam wedding as the most "The Barn" wedding we've ever done, if that makes sense... haha ;) It had lots of rustic details that perfectly fit a rustic venue like The Barn, but it also had several glam weddings that made it feel totally like us! There's a reason why this wedding was in Southern Weddings aka the wedding planning bible! This was one of those weddings were you seriously must see EVERY detail. It was all so good - just look at those tables! 

Tara and Casey's was the sweetest of summer weddings. They went with a color palette of shades of blue, ivory and gold, and their theme was classic meets modern. Their details were simple, sweet and totally gorgeous. Although their ceremony details were all-white and very minimalist, it was one of our dreamiest ceremonies of all time. We also loved the vintage books used on their reception tables, their watercolor cake, and their blue and white florals - they were simple but stunning. This was the perfect Southern summer wedding! 

Morgan and Tyler's wedding was super unique, because if was one of the VERY few weddings our team has ever done not at The Barn. They chose to get married at a historical church in downtown Dardanelle, and our team totally rocked it. Their details were full of greenery, white florals, and timeless, classic touches. After their ceremony, they held their reception at The Barn, which was just as classic and romantic. This wedding will always be in style! 

This was another one of those bright colored weddings that makes us all giddy! Alyssa and Matt wanted their wedding to be FUN and not-too-serious - that was seriously their only requirement for their theme. They chose a royal blue, red and yellow color scheme, which made for beautiful, bright florals and gorgeous, bold reception details. I loved ALL of the bridal party's attire - the bridal gown, the groom's tie (so fun), and the blue and yellow bridesmaids' dresses. And that dessert table - one of our faves, for sure! 

Megan and Daniel's pretty peach and mint wedding is one that I ALWAYS come back to when I think of my all-time favorites. Their peach and pink florals were definitely my favorite part of this wedding, with their dreamy altar and Megan's amazing dress closely following. We also loved their rustic chic reception tables (those adorable pink bow napkins!) and their candy buffet, which perfectly matched their color scheme. Perfection! 

Dreamiest. Ceremony. Ever. Let's throw it back to 2014 and swoon over Anita and Wesley's ceremony details all over again! This couple chose a pretty turquoise and coral color palette and their details were both elegant and fun. They ended up moving their ceremony outside, but it was SO dreamy and romantic inside The Barn, too. Future couples, let's please do this again! P.S. You gotta see their groom's cake. 

Stephanie Parsley Photography

Stephanie Parsley Photography

I'm always gonna love Samantha and Danny's boho chic wedding! Beautiful pastel florals (some of the best florals we've ever, EVER done, imo). A green ombre cake. The floral crown of every boho bride's dreams. This aisle and altar combo!!! A barefoot bride. Those are just a few of the highlights from this wedding! 

The ultimate summer wedding bouquet! Lindsey and Matt's wedding was rustic and colorful. Their ceremony was super detailed, with antique doors, antique windows, barrels topped with flowers, lanterns, and loads of bright florals. Their reception was perfect - bright, colorful, sweet and summery. Sunflowers were made for summertime weddings! :)

Jessica + Justin's Bright, Rustic Summer Wedding

If there was ever a perfect rustic chic, summer barn wedding, this is it! Jessica and Justin’s wedding day was full of rustic, colorful details. They had some of the most gorgeous florals ever, several adorable personalized details, a sweet rustic chic ceremony, a gorgeous, brightly colored reception, and so many other pretty details. Crystal Malloy Photography is one of our all-time fave photographers to work with, and her photos of this wedding are giving us all the heart eyes!

Photographer: Crystal Malloy Photography | Venue, Coordination, Design, Florals: The Barn at Twin Oaks Ranch | Bridal Gown: Low’s Bridal | Bridesmaid’s Dress: David’s Bridal | Hair and Makeup: Brandi Farmer | Cakes: Kneading Hands Bakery | Catering: Old Post Barbecue

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Jessica and Justin were married at The Barn at Twin Oaks Ranch on June 15, 2019. Jessica described their theme as “Rustic Summer,” and their color palette was a fun combination of pinks, coral, and other bright, punchy colors. It was the perfect theme and color palette for a June wedding!

We were CRAZY over Jessica’s bright, beautiful florals! They were the summer florals of our dreams! They included roses in various shades of pink and coral, pink peonies, protea, succulents, and a few more punchy colored flowers. They were absolutely STUNNING! “The flowers were absolutely gorgeous,” Jessica said. She said they were some of her favorite details of her wedding day, and we’d have to agree!

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Jessica’s dress was from Low’s Bridal, and it was everything! The sheer back, the insanely gorgeous train, the delicate lace, and the feminine neckline were all so, so beautiful. She accessorized with a classic strand of pearls and the most fun pair of shoes. She was such a gorgeous, joyful bride!

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Justin and his best man and ring bearers wore khaki pants, vests and ties with white shirts. Jessica’s maid of honor wore a fun, summery coral dress from David’s Bridal, and her flower girl wore a sweet, floor-length dress with a coordinating coral sash. Their attire paired perfectly with the rustic summer vibes of this wedding!

Jessica said the first look she shared with Justin before their ceremony was her most unforgettable moment of the day. She said her absolute favorite memories were “marrying my best friend and seeing the look on his face when he first saw me in my dress.” Their portraits are so precious. Would you look at how these two look at each other?! We’ve never seen a groom look at his bride any sweeter than Justin looked at Jessica during their entire wedding day! My heart!

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If you don’t high-five your spouse on your wedding day, you’re doing it wrong! ;) Also, take a moment to SWOON over the back of this dress with us!

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Jessica and Justin’s ceremony details were rustic chic, brightly colored, and super sweet! We loved this rustic altar, with its burlap drapes and bold florals. Their aisle was lined with more of those amazing, bright colored flowers in mason jars, and they had the cutest little guestbook table. There were so many personalized details at this wedding, and those adorable fans were some of our favorites!

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Jessica and Justin’s ceremony was intimate and sweet. Jessica said her favorite thing about getting married at The Barn was that our team took care of ALL the details for her. “The team was fantastic and everything went smooth, which made it less stressful on me,” she said.

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After their ceremony, Jessica and Justin snuck inside The Barn to see it all fancied up before their guests came inside for their reception. We HIGHLY recommend this. There is nothing better than privately soaking up those first few minutes of being newlyweds. Plus, photos of these moments are always the most romantic!

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The Barn was looking SO pretty on this day! June looks good out here. :)

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We LOVE bold colored reception details! Many of our receptions are full of pale pinks or neutrals, and while we truly never tire of it, it sure is fun to see bright pinks and blues every now and then! We loved these tables, with their bright blue tablecloths, pink table runners, pink and coral flowers, and place settings that included even more pops of pink. The Barn looks amazing in these fun, punchy colors!

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We loved this steer head situation!

Kneading Hands Bakery made two beautiful cakes for Jessica and Justin… a classic, rustic white cake topped with pink, coral and orange flowers, and an epic fishing cake for the groom!

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Jessica and Justin had the best favors. “We did succulents which everyone loved,” Jessica said. This display is SO CUTE!!! I want them all! They also had custom drink koozies and cups with their new last name and their wedding date. Couples with more than one favor always impress the heck out of us! These were all awesome.

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Jessica and Justin shared their super romantic first dance as newlyweds and had not one, but two fabulous grand exits. They didn’t leave for their honeymoon just yet, though… in fact, they’re headed to Maui in August to celebrate their new marriage!

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Jessica and Justin, it was an honor to plan your wedding with you! It was a dream and we loved every second! Best wishes! xoxo

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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