9 On Your Side reporter Ally Kraemer got engaged in November. She will be writing about her wedding planning experiences until her wedding in August. Expect to see the good, the bad and the bridezilla. (Just kidding!)
CINCINNATI -- I put planning for my wedding on the back burner for the past several weeks to focus on another important wedding. My future mother-in-law, Amy, got married!
Jake's mom was engaged long before us, and we've been planning for that for the past year and a half.
Great minds think alike: Amy and I both wanted low-key rehearsal dinners. Jake's Aunt Karen hosted everyone at her house.
Karen is the greatest cook and made the appetizers. Then an amazing chef came in and made paella on the back deck.
It was the coolest setup with a heavy iron skillet. The chef mixed the rice with mussels, shrimp, chicken, sausage and pork. It was more than enough for our crew!
Sure, we practiced how the wedding was going to run, but really it was just a nice opportunity to unwind before the craziness.
By now you've probably seen those kimono robes in wedding pictures. They make great bridesmaid gifts and they do look cute, but on sites like Etsy, they can be upward of $50 each!
Amy ordered the robes for $16 on RobeMart, and I embroidered initials on them. They're high-quality, and they're something we'll actually use again. I highly recommend them!
Karen is an incredible hairstylist (she does my hair just about every month) and was willing to do everyone's hair for the wedding. The flower girl was the absolute cutest with her curls!
Sarah Crain came in to do our makeup. Her airbrush makeup is awesome. I've talked about false eyelashes before; most of us opted for the glam!
The day flies by quickly, so my best advice is to start getting ready early! Extra time is never a bad thing.
Amy and her fiance, John, got married at the Mulhauser Barn in West Chester. It's really convenient, hidden just off the Union Centre Boulevard exit. It's a big, beautiful white barn that sits on a pond and feels like a hidden gem in West Chester.
The inside is great for parties. It has a fireplace, a large kitchen area, free tables and chairs and a loft area for smaller groups. It doesn't have air conditioning, so summer events might get a little steamy, but it was perfect in April.
I think it's $1,000 to rent on weekends and less during the week. That's not bad compared to some local wedding venues. If you're hosting a party or a casual wedding, I highly recommend it!
The Mulhauser Barn has a kitchen area with a refrigerator/freezer and sink, but that's about it. Amy had food catered by Ferrari's Little Italy in Madeira. They delivered great big chafing dishes and took care of the setup, replenishing as we ate.
I ate chicken fettuccine Alfredo and Parmesan chicken until my little heart was content. And there were plenty of leftovers, which we devoured when we got home.
My mom and I whipped up 10 dozen vanilla cupcakes with raspberry filling and vanilla buttercream. They were amazing, if I do say so myself.
I've never made this many cupcakes at one time -- it was a labor of love! I really did enjoy it, though, because it added a little something special to the day.
I'm always looking for advice! No, really, I want to hear from you! What made your wedding special? What do guests really want to eat and drink? Should I allow kids at the reception? I want to hear it all.
Send me a quick video and you could make it in my next blog post! My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.