The “Unveiling” of BARN TALK!

Hi everyone!  Colin and I are thrilled to introduce our brand new video series called, “Barn Talk”.  You will learn more about us, the Barn and several tips, tricks and strategies to have the best wedding ever!  Feel free to share and comment and please subscribe.  Let us know what you want to hear about and we will make it happen!

Announcing the Local BBQ Tasting Experience!

Local BBQ Logo

Getting married in 2018/19 and need a great caterer or maybe you are still looking for a fabulous rustic event venue…  Join us on April 7, 2018 at 6:00 at the Legacy Barn for an exclusive tasting event with The Local BBQ.  Even if you just want a chance to hang with your friends, eat GREAT FOOD and enjoy GREAT AMBIANCE – this is the place to be!

Tickets are $25 per person and you will be treated to the following:

  • Applewood slow smoked beef brisket with au jus or creamy horseradish sauce
  • Berkshire smoked pulled pork sliders with sweet BBQ sauce and our signature Cole Slaw
  • Locally picked farm fresh salad bar
  • Sample all their delicious side dishes:
    • Loaded potato salad
    • Mac and cheese
    • Sweet potato casserole
    • Nachos
  • And leave room for their famous cinnamon roll topped with local maple candied bacon!
  • Refreshing beverages will be served as well, including lemonade, sweet tea, beer & wine.

Questions about the event?  contact Crista at or The Local BBQ at


Am I Required to Give My Guests a Plus One?

guest list

Weddings are a big social event and people love going to party the night away.  However, the guest list can cause major headaches for the couple, especially when their venue is small and they can only invite a certain amount of people.

So when inviting guests to your wedding, do you need to give everyone a plus one?

The short answer to this is no.

The rule with Plus ones if:

  • They are married – obviously their spouse should be invited.
  • They are engaged – they are a couple at this point and go together.
  • If they have been together for years – you know that couple, they have been together for 8 years and don’t plan on marrying.

That’s it!  Every one else can come to the wedding solo.  You are under no obligation to feed a person they “need” to have with them to have fun.  If they are truly your friend, they will be there.  If they are petty enough to not come because they will be alone – then fine.  You don’t want them there any way. Plus, it will save you money.

Guests: don’t expect a plus one.  If you have been married and planned a wedding, you will totally get this.  It’s expensive!

Remember – this is YOUR WEDDING.  You invite friends and family to celebrate with you.  No need to add 100 guests who don’t know you from Adam.  It should be enjoyed with people you know.

Here’s to Bliss!

What Exactly Does the Best Man Do?


Your buddy/brother has just taken the plunge – he’s found the love of his life and proposed.  Now he is up to his neck in china patterns, color swatches, Chicken Marsala, and checklists.  He has entered a world that is foreign and, frankly, a bit scary.  However, there is a silver lining – YOU!

Yes, you, the best friend, the best bud, the Best Man.  Contrary to popular belief, your job is not to find the most expensive stripper and drink the most beer.  Sorry!  You have actually been entrusted with very important duties as the Groom’s right-hand man.

Yes, you will still have fun – really!  Take pride in the fact that the Groom trusts you with such an honor.  So here’s your chance to help your friend through the maze of wedding craziness and, if you follow the suggestions in this Guide, you just might make the Bride fall in love with you, too!

The Duties of the Best Man

In days of old, the Best Man was there to fight any other man or marauding tribe who may come to claim the Bride (yes, seriously).  But because that doesn’t usually happen these days (thank god), you get to help the Groom with the following:

  • Assist the Groom with getting the Groomsmen‘s and Ushers’ measurements taken for the tuxedos.
  • Keep the Groom on-time and organized.
  • Organize the Bachelor party.
  • Ask the Bride and Groom what they would like you to do.
  • Be perceptive to the unspoken needs of the groom in the weeks before the wedding and the day of the wedding.
  • If you are coming in from out of town for the wedding, consider arriving by Thursday evening.
  • Attend ALL of the pre-wedding festivities (except bridal showers); most importantly, the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
  • Be available to pick up guests from the airport or hotels, if necessary.
  • Help decorate the hall the night before.
  • Make sure that the Groom has the marriage license the day of the wedding.
  • Clean and decorate the get-away car.
  • Make sure the men of the bridal party are ready, where they should be, and on time for the ceremony, reception, and for pictures.
  • Guard and present the rings during the ceremony.
  • Assist the Groom with all of his clothing and accessories at the church and the reception.
  • Along with the Maid of Honor, witness the signing of the marriage license.
  • Act as the chauffeur to the Bride and Groom if there isn’t a professional hired.
  • Act as one of the hosts at the reception.  Help with anything that needs to be done, dance with the ladies, and thank people for coming on behalf of the Bride and Groom.
  • Act as the “main security official” at the wedding.  If there are any problems, you are to take care of them.
  • Give the first toast (Please don’t be drunk, rude, or crude).
  • Make sure to deliver payment to all vendors (clergy, musicians, disc jockey) the day of the wedding.
  • Assist as needed in removing all items from the reception and cleaning up at the end of the party.
  • Coordinate the transportation for the Groom and Bride to their honeymoon suite or to the airport.
  • Return all of the tuxes the day they are due back after the wedding.

 Your Financial Responsibilities

  • Your tuxedo and all of your accessories.
  • Your travel and accommodation expenses.
  • The bachelor party (sometimes this expense is split between all of the Groomsmen).
  • Your wedding gift for the Bride and Groom.

Final Advice

Nothing is sexier at a wedding than a man that knows what he is doing and is helpful (the tux helps too).  Here is your chance!

Times have changed.  Weddings are becoming bigger productions, and it is hard to get everything done.  If you take the advice above to heart, you will not only help your friend immensely, but the Bride will remember it – forever!  You DEFINITELY want to be on her good side.  Have fun!



What Exactly Does a Maid/Matron of Honor Do?

maid of honor : jessica newton photography

Jessica Newton Photography

You go, girlfriend!  You are the chosen one – the one that the Bride has entrusted with assisting her with the wedding of the century (at least in her mind!)  By the time the wedding is over, you will be a planner, an organizer, a referee, a weight-loss consultant, a therapist, a counselor, a day laborer, and a gopher – all in the name of the perfect wedding.

If your Bride has chosen a wedding planner, a lot of these will be covered by her.  However, for this blog post, let’s assume she is doing it all on her own.  In this case, you have a lot of roles to fill.  Being in the wedding party is not just a bunch of fun – it is an honor and has responsibilities that go along with it.  Here goes…

Your Duties As Maid of Honor

So, what exactly do you do?  Other than “everything the Bride asks,” there are some tasks that you are specifically responsible for:

  • Assist the Bride in choosing her gown and the gowns for her attendants (if she asks).
  • Follow-up with all of the Bridesmaids to make sure they make their choices and get measured in a timely manner.
  • Keep the Bride on time and organized.
  • Help address invitations.
  • Help the Bride and their family with anything they need.  For example; putting favors together, taking invitations to the post office, deciding on decorations.
  • Attend as many pre-wedding events as possible.
  • Organize the bachelorette party (with the Bridesmaids).
  • Attend the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
  • Help decorate the hall the night before.
  • Make sure the bridal party and the Flower Girl and Ring Bearer are in their places when they are supposed to be.
  • Arrange the Bride’s gown and veil before and after the ceremony.
  • Hold the Groom’s ring before and during the ceremony (if the Best Man doesn’t hold both).
  • Hold the Bride’s bouquet and fix her train during the ceremony.
  • Along with the Best Man, witness the signing of the marriage certificate.
  • Make sure the Bride looks fabulous all day by keeping an extra lipstick and powder with you.
  • Make sure all items get from the church to the reception (unity candle, guest book etc…).
  • Act as a hostess to the wedding guests and assist them in any way they may need.
  • Give a toast after the Best Man. (This is optional.  Ask the Bride if she would like you to do this.)
  • Assist Bride with her clothes after the wedding.
  • Assist as needed in removing all items from the reception and cleaning up at the end of the party.

Your Financial Responsibilities

  • Your dress and accessories.
  • Your travel and accommodation expenses.
  • Make up and hair expenses (This should be your choice.  If you feel you can’t afford it or just don’t want to spring for a professional make up artist be honest and tell your Bride.)
  • The bachelorette party (sometimes this expense is split between all of the Bridesmaids).
  • Your wedding gift for the Bride and Groom.

How to Provide Emotional Support for a Bride

Very carefully!  Patience and forgiveness need to be two virtues with which you are very familiar.  As you know well, women start planning their wedding the moment they are born.  Your Bride is no exception.

Keep her stress level in mind; she has 5,001 things on her mind and in order for her to get them all done she believes that you are not only able to read her mind, but to anticipate any problems that might get in her way.

If you have been watching any of the popular shows on T.V. featuring “Bridezillas,” you know how bad a Bride can get.  I thoroughly believe that most of them need spankings, but I know that even the nicest, most even-tempered Bride can lose it.  So what do you do if your Bride’s stress begins to show?

1.     Take a deep breath.  Not just good for life, but keeps you calm.

2.     Tell her that you are there for her in anyway that she might need – then do it!

3.     If you have any problems with any of the scheduled events, make sure she knows ahead of time.  If you tell her last minute, she’s liable to explode.

4.     If she asks for your opinion, then give it.  Don’t give it to her if not solicited.  The only exception to this is if it concerns something that would really embarrass the Bride.  We have all seen decorations that are so bad we feel that we are on candid camera.  However, this is not an area that warrants your intervention.  Pick your battles!

5.     Sometimes the Bride just needs to vent – or cry.  Let her do it.  She will feel better when she’s done.  Ask her if there is anything you can do to help.  If it is something that doesn’t include anything illegal, do it for her.  If she says nothing, then take her out for some serious chocolate.

6.     Try not to get caught up in family disagreements.  Just be there as support and look for ways that might lessen her stress.

7.     In case of “Maid of Honor abuse,” you need to determine whether it is bad enough to ruin a friendship.  If you walk, or if you confront the Bride on her questionable behavior, there may not only be an ugly scene, but you may never speak again.  I am not giving the Bride a free pass here – but it’s something you need to think about very seriously.

Final Advice

Most likely, this will be a wonderful experience that makes you and the Bride closer.  A wedding brings families and friends together in a common purpose: to see two people commit to each other for the rest of their lives.  Your job is to help the Bride plan this event and prevent her from being committed in another way – to a mental institution.

Remember that this is all in the name of love and friendship and, don’t forget, you can always get her back by having her be your Matron of Honor!


How Diamond Engagement Rings Became the Biggest Scam in the Wedding Industry


Ah, the diamond ring: the pinnacle of what every woman expects when the love of their life pops the question.  Woe is the man who dares to defy tradition by buying a small one or worse yet – NOT A DIAMOND AT ALL!

Does that really happen?

Does the man live through the proposal?

Seriously, what Bride could ever expect to start a successful marriage without a diamond ring worth AT LEAST 2 months salary.  Pshaw – everyone knows that’s the rule.

What if I told you this was one of the most successful marketing campaigns – like ever!  There is no tradition connected to the diamond ring.  No rule (note: there are no wedding police out there.  You really can do what you want) saying it has to be a diamond or (GASP!) no ring at all.

In 1938 the De Beers Diamond Company crafted (in my humble opinion) the world’s most effective marketing campaign.  They grew their company from nothing into one of the most profitable businesses by making people BELIEVE and have an EMOTIONAL CONNECTION to their made-up “A Diamond is forever” campaign.  So much so, it has persisted through the past 2 centuries!  Not too shabby De Beers.

Here’s the lowdown on the claims of De Beers:

~ A diamond is forever: well, yeah, I guess if you take care of it.  It will certainly be something you can pass on (if your marriage survives) and you want an heirloom – but that’s about it.  It doesn’t mean that your marriage will last forever (ask 50% of people over the past couple hundred of years).  Also, I might add that it could be said the same of any other rings or jewelry. No real benefit to a diamond over others.

~ It should be AT LEAST 2 months salary: to this, I politely call bull hockey.  Another arbitrary rule made up by the De Beers people to get you to buy more of their diamonds.  And if you are a Bride who expects this or is ready to “Ring Shame” your love, SHAME ON YOU! The size of the diamond does not measure the love or respect he has for you.  That reminds me of something else – hmmmmmmm….

~ A Diamond Ring is an investment: another bull hockey statement.  Very similar to a car, your “investment” loses 50% just by walking out the door. (Kind of like divorces are – buh dum bum.  Thanks every body, I’m here all week). This is not a true statement.  You will never get all the money out of it that you spent on it.  Just try it & you will see.

~ It has to be a certain cut or clarity to be the best diamond: ultimately, that decision is up to you.  You may not like the really clear ones, or emerald cut or the ones that go “BING!”  Seriously, this is yet another way the De Beers company has got you feeling like you have purchased a rare, high quality diamond, that will be a huge asset for your marriage – WRONG.

Look, diamonds or jewelry are just like people.  There are all kinds of shapes, sizes, colors and depending on their personality – clarity.  I have had many a Bride tell me they hate diamonds but their finance got them one because “he had too”.  Nothing could be further than the truth.  If you feel like you want a ring (and I get it, what woman wouldn’t?), then look around.  There are all kinds of them out there.  Get your birthstone, a precious gem, black gold, a simple band, whatever appeals to you.  If I were to get married again I would ask my husband to go to Pandora.  Their rings are awesome & will not make him take a mortgage out BEFORE the wedding.

If you are reading this and are saying to yourself, “I don’t care what she says, I want a diamond – a big one.  I deserve it and he better get the one I like or I’ll kick him to the curb”. You just might want to adjust that attitude or he might just kick YOU to the curb.

I am not anti-diamond.  I have one on my finger in fact & love it.  However, what I DO HATE is the fact that there is NO RULE saying you have to get a diamond and that you have to spend thousands on it for you to be respected. People save for years and wait to get married because of this lie and that makes me mad.  We have all fallen for it for years.  But now you have the knowledge – the power to make your OWN decisions instead of following a 79 year old marketing campaign that was devastatingly effective.

The truth is, the success of your engagement and marriage depends on you.  What the two of you put into it and how you work together.  The ring is nothing in comparison.

Here’s to Bliss!



Who to Invite to the Rehearsal Dinner

rehearsal dinner

So, what is the rehearsal dinner?

It is basically, it is the dinner you have right after your rehearsal.  Easy right?

Not necessarily.

Generally, (not all the time), the rehearsal dinner is paid and hosted by the Groom’s parents.  With today’s Brides & Grooms marrying later, often they pay for it.  Ultimately, it isn’t important who pays for it, however, there are some important things to remember so you don’t offend or leave anyone out.

First, this dinner DOES NOT need to be formal!  It can be pizza at someone’s house, lasagna made by mom, or catered by a company that drops off.  Don’t think that t has to be very fancy, at a banquet hall or a swanky restaurant.  It doesn’t.  It literally needs to feed the people who were at the rehearsal dinner.  It is also the last time you get to be with each other before the formality of the next day.  It should be as early as possible so people can get a good night’s sleep and keep the alcohol to a minimum.

Second, who do you invite?  This tends to be the most contested question when discussed among the families.  So here is your answer:

  • Immediate family (Grandparents, parents, siblings and their families)
  • Anyone involved in the ceremony (Bridal Party, ushers, readers, singers, pastor, Flower Girl & Ring Bearer).  The only exception to this is if they are paid vendors such as musicians, videographer, photographer if they are there.  It is still nice to always invite the Pastor & spouse if there is one.
  • Any family or friends who may have traveled a very long distance or you haven’t seen them in years.  It is a nice gesture to invite them as well.  They may not come, but invite them still.  Again, this is optional.

Third, do you need to provide alcohol?  Absolutely not.  Just like at your wedding, you are under no obligation to provide alcohol to your guests.  Besides, you do not want to be drinking too much the night before.

Fourth, it is generally when you present gifts to your Bridal Party.  Since there are fewer people at this dinner, it makes it easier to take this opportunity to thank them graciously for their help and participation.

The rehearsal dinner should not go late into the night.  The next day is very long & stressful and you want to make sure you get a good night’s rest.  There will always be last-minute details to take care of that night and you don’t want to feel rushed.  This dinner is the last chance you have to spend with your closest family & friends before the craziness of your wedding day.  Don’t over-think it and certainly don’t over-do it.  This is when the official wedding festivities start.  Make it fun for everyone!

Eat Drink & be Married

Crista Tharp, CBSP is an award winning event planner, entrepreneur, author and speaker. As the CEO of Blissfully Simple™ Events, Crista has worked in the event planning industry for more than 15 years and has authored 11 books, designed more than 1,000 events, and spoken at numerous conferences and workshops. She is also the creator of the Blissfully Simple Wedding Planning Business System, a turn-key business system for those who want to be successful wedding planners. Crista has been featured in the New York Times, Associated press, Fox 59 and hundreds of industry blogs and publications. She does all this in addition to being blissfully married and mom to 10 children. Crista is considered an industry expert and is one of the Midwest’s highly sought after event planners. Feel free to use this article, but you must post the bio above in its entirety.