Katelyn + Chandler

We still have a hard time believing that our first 30 weddings on the calendar were before we opened our doors. And most of those were tours given among boards and nails. We are humbled that complete strangers trusted us as they did.

Katelyn and Chandler booked their December 2018 wedding with us in April and this is what the barn looked like the week they toured…

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Obviously a venue under construction didn’t scare them away. And their December wedding came faster than anyone could have imagined.

Their day was simple yet elegant, and a little bit rustic.

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Where did you get your inspiration?

“Honestly, we just kinda went for it! We both wanted our day to really be all about who we are as individuals and as a couple. It was very Christ-centered, organized, beautiful, and simple. We're not Pinterest people; we like to do our own thing. We had a bunch of ideas in our heads. and when we locked in one vendor we really wanted/liked, we said, "Okay, let's just keep going and see what happens next." The Barn is so beautiful in itself, that it didn't need a bunch of decorations to make it look complete, so that made everything just that much easier. SO much of our wedding inspiration/process was a Godsend and we couldn't be happier with how everything came together.”

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We absolutely love that this first look involved Katelyn’s entire family of 4. The emotion and love displayed in these pictures is beyond words. All I can come up with “beautiful”, but yet that doesn’t seem to do it justice.

Katelyn: My brother was my Man of Honor, so just having him get to hangout with me during the day was something I will always treasure. He obviously saw me while we were getting ready, but he didn't see my final look until my dad saw it as well. I always thought I wanted to do one look with my brother and one look with just my dad, but I'm so glad we did them at the same time. Besides Chandler of course, those are the two most important men in my life. Seeing their reaction to something they couldn't know anything about for the past several months was just pure joy and love. My mom got to be there to share that moment with us, and we were able to have one beautiful moment together as a family.

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Their wedding colors were grey and champagne with little pops of red and green. Because a December wedding with pops of red and green is just classic and timeless. The guys’ red suspenders were the perfect touch.

What did you like most about your day at The Barn at Grace Hill?

Katelyn: Does the whole day count?!…Our officiant (who is also a dear friend to Chandler and I) led my family in a prayer before everyone got lined up for the ceremony, and that moment of intimacy and love was something that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Chandler: I very much enjoyed being able to have a suite for the groomsmen to hang out in. Another very enjoyable and happy moment for me was to be able to be with my groomsmen and my dad in that suite and get to have fun and laugh and enjoy the greatness of the day- the ultimate culmination of the past few months. Being in that suite with those men and the time we had there together was another part of the day that I truly liked and enjoyed.

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What is the one memory of your day that you wish you could freeze in time and never forget?

Katelyn: This may seem dorky, but honestly the moment I would freeze in time is actually a span of about thirty seconds. Once I got to the bottom of the stairs after my grand entrance, I really enjoyed my dad walking me down the aisle to meet the man of my dreams. That time with my dad was so precious to me, and I absolutely adore every picture I have with him from that moment.

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Chandler: That is an easy answer- the moment she walked out of those barn doors and I saw her for the first time. That moment was perfection.

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What ended up being your favorite part of the day?

Chandler: There were an abundant number of lovely, amazing, and memorable moments, but nothing tops this one moment for me- seeing my bride for the first time. There was an intense and suspenseful build-up to the wedding because I had zero clue as to what she was going to be wearing, what she would look like or anything of the sort. Absolutely no clue. I had been very (im)patiently waiting for that moment for months, and then being within such a close proximity to her on the day without getting to see her sparked a deep yearning and desire to see my bride. The set-up was perfect, the music was queued up, and the moment came in a flash. Those doors opened up and my beautiful bride stepped out, finally revealing herself to me, and I was blown away. Finally seeing her that day after months of anticipation was hands down my favorite part.

Chandler definitely got us all teary with his reaction that was caught so perfectly by Wild Oak Films in their wedding video that we’ve shared at the bottom.

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Tell us about some of the special details you incorporated into your day.

“We loved the wooden cross that was the main focal point during our ceremony. For our unity ceremony, we wanted to do something different, but still important to us as a Godly couple. We chose to do the tying of the knot, with three strands representing both of us as husband and wife, and God as our Father...ultimately becoming one in Christ. "And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him - a threefold cord is not quickly broken." Ecclesiastes 4:12. Our threefold strand was wrapped around the cross. We added something very special from Katelyn's family to the top of the cross; a crown of thorns that Katelyn gave to her parents for Christmas several years ago. Right when you enter the Barber house, the crown of thorns is on display to symbolize the most precious gift we as humans could ever receive. It was the perfect touch to the wooden cross during our ceremony.”

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“Instead of using a traditional guestbook to remember everyone who celebrated our wedding day with us, we wanted to use something different and something that we could actually look at and be part of our lives. Anchors have always been "our thing" ever since we met, so we chose to have our guests sign little wooden anchors and leave their best wishes for us. We were both definitely teary going through all of those the day after our wedding. Those were very special. “

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What advice do you have for couples planning their wedding right now?

Katelyn: My advice to couples that are currently planning a wedding is to just be yourself. Forget about other people's opinions of your choices, what might happen if this doesn't go right, all the Pinterest boards that look like perfection, and just make everything be about you and your new spouse…I would say that your vendor team is hugely important in creating a successful, beautiful day. I may be biased, but we literally had the most amazing team working for us! Something I'm really glad Chandler and I decided on was our catering. We heard over and over again that we probably wouldn't have time to eat on our wedding day because there would be so many people to talk to. I don't know if you like food as much as we do, but we made sure to have our favorite meal because we knew we'd be hungry after a long day. We had Texas Roadhouse and that was by far one of the best decisions we made throughout our planning process.

Chandler: …the message I kept preaching to Kate- stop stressing so much about the planning. Yes, there are things to do and get done, but everything will come together and everything will work out just fine. And it will work out just fine whether you are stressing about it or not…take the time to enjoy your engagement with your fiancé instead of worrying about the planning process. Everyone involved will be much more happy.

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Katelyn and Chandler, we adored you. Your day was beautiful but not more beautiful than who you are. You brought us joy so early into our business venture that showed us what we get to be a part of and who we get the privilege to cross paths with.

The Vendor Team

Ceremony + Reception: The Barn at Grace Hill @thebarnatgracehill

Photography: Kay x Bee @kayxbeephoto

Storytelling: Wild Oak Films @wildoakfilms

DJ: Absolute Sound DJ Entertainment @absolutesounddj

Florals: Red Bird Floral Co. @redbirdfloral

Catering: Texas Roadhouse

Cupcakes: Cheri's Bakery @cherisbakerywichita

Makeup: Beauty Call Makeup @beautycallmakeup

Hair: Studio 400 @studio400salon

Katelyn's Dress: Dress Gallery @shopdressgallery

Alterations: Quickstitch Alterations @quickstitchwichita

Calligraphy: Emilime Designs @emilimedesigns

Meet the Owners

I suppose a proper beginning starts with an introduction. We don’t want the focus on us, but we do want to give you a little bit of connection to us. Anything that makes this world wide web a little smaller. Plus, if I do a proper introduction, than maybe I’ll get over my complex of not knowing when to use “I” and when to use “we” when I write. So here goes…

I’m Amanda. I’m the one behind the blog, our social media accounts and all inquiries. I do 99% of the tours and all the communication with our brides. Basically, I have the most fun job of them all. And I’m the one known for insane attention to detail. Which comes in handy when you’re building a wedding venue. But not so handy when I tried to rest my head on my pillow every night and not think about the details.

My husband Dave and I, and our 3 children are the ones who live here on Grace Hill Rd., the same property the venue is on. You can’t see our house from the barn. Which is fine, you’re not missing anything. We live in a 2 story white farmhouse built in 1893, it’s a work in progress, and probably will be forever. But nevertheless, we love it. This little spot in the world has become such a blessing to us.

Together, Dave and I designed and built the barn. We told a lot of that story in our first post, in case you missed it. To our advantage, we also own a construction company, Balzer Construction, where Dave spends his days as a general contractor mostly for custom home builds, remodels and additions. From time to time I help design those projects too.

Dave’s crew came in and did a big bulk of the building. A 9-month timeline doesn’t leave a lot of time to get the hammer and nails out yourself. But even though he had other projects to stay on top of, he put in countless of hours to making that big white barn come to life. He was our rockstar. And I’d think we’d all agree that he’s the “most fun” owner and the most laid back. Except if you drive on the good grass. He’s neither fun nor laid back.

Just a few fun facts about us:

*K-state grads - we met at the K-State Union on our lunch break between classes. We love our Cats, but Dave is a lifetime OU fan too. So it can be a little confusing at times.

*For you Enneagram lovers, I’m a 3 and he’s a 9.

*We were married the week of the 2005 ice storm where everyone lost power for a week. I think most of our couples were in elementary school then.

*You’ll find us in Winfield for the Walnut Valley Festival every 3rd week of September. We’ve never missed it, and we’re determined owning a wedding venue will not break our 16 year run. (25+ for me!) (but now I’m depressed, because typing those numbers just made me feel way older than I want to be).


When we began this venue journey, some of our dearest friends (whom we had shared several years of “future venue talk” with) joined us. From the start, I knew they’d complete the places where we lacked! Joel and Kendall have 3 kids the same ages as ours. Needless to say, we were all heartbroken when our family found our dream country property and moved away from them as neighbors. But had we not, The Barn at Grace Hill wouldn’t exist. Or at least wouldn’t be located on Grace Hill Road.

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Some fun facts about Joel and Kendall:

*Bethel College grads who love cheering on the Threshers, Shockers, and Cubs.

*Enneagram 6 married to a……..9, 5, or 1. No one can figure him out.

*They owned The Wichita Photobooth Company (one of the first photobooth companies in Wichita) for the past 10 years before selling it to new sweet owners, so they could be more free to help run the barn.

*Want ice cream machines at your wedding?? They own Sweet Ride Soft Serve and they can hook you up with soft serve for your wedding day!


Our strengths have each of us placed in different roles in the business, but all of us spend some time on-site for events as well. We love that we have each other to count on so the other couple/family can step away. In just the last 2 months, we’ve added a few more staff members to the team as well!

Together, we have a team of owners with a shared passion to serve our couples and their friends and families.

Running a business like this alongside our kids has it’s challenges, and some days it’s not easy. Nothing is. But it also comes with surprise gifts! We love having them work alongside us and see the hard work that has to be put in. We love that our kids are learning about self-employment, marketing, finances, photography, wedding planning, parking cars, good catered meals, and which bakers have the best cake. There are times you may see a kiddo or 2 or 3, helping mom or dad out during a wedding. We wouldn’t change that for the world. And let’s be real, sometimes their motivation is the possibility of a cupcake. Having our kids alongside us has sweetened this dream of ours even more, and we are so thankful.

It may mean that all of our kids want to elope when it’s time for their weddings, but I think we can support that.

Thank you for choosing to follow along on this journey of ours. While most everything you see here will be wedding related, I don’t want to pass up the opportunity to encourage you on a personal level. So here’s a little bit from my heart to yours….

Owning a wedding venue may look glamorous (I have plenty of non-glamour details I could share!), but we are just like everyone else working to provide for their families and trying to do the very best they can with the gifts and talents that they’ve been given. We believe in God-given passion and purpose. And purpose is not always a fancy destination. It just so happened that our strengths and passions morphed into a big white barn. But God has designed you uniquely and has given you talents and gifts to share with the world that are completely necessary. But be on guard, because the enemy wants you to believe that you need to stay small. A life of humility doesn’t equal staying small, keeping your gifts hidden and your art a secret.

We think puddles, he thinks oceans. We think we want to remain realistic, God wants to show us what his reality looks like. We think about our children, he thinks generations upon generations. We think about our little community of influence, he thinks of a massive web of relationships stretching through eternity. We thought “What if we build it and no one comes?” And God has doubled our first year’s desired goal. Don’t be afraid to pray bold prayers and watch God move and use you in the way he designed you. He may just end up proving himself way bigger than you’ve ever believed him to be.

Success and easy paths aren’t guaranteed, but joy is. And the joy you will feel when you’re living out your God-given purpose will be proof that you’re right where you should be.

Let's start from the beginning...

We are often asked how we even began wanting to do something like this. Who just decides they’re going to build a wedding venue from nothing? Crazy people, that’s who.

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact beginnings. But when you add an entrepreneurial mindset, with a personally-owned construction company, with a passion for people and a desire to use our talents to serve others, and then finally the missing piece…the piece of property, it makes sense how it all came together. But even we didn’t believe that it would really ever happen. I think we’re just like everyone else, and through the years we often had conversations that began with “someday we should…” “it would be fun to…” , “man, I wish we could...”. It’s that dream talk that sometimes never becomes audible words, and if they do, you only dare speak it to but a few souls on earth.

And then we decided just speaking them wasn’t enough. We felt strongly that this excitement and passion inside us wasn’t just random. It was connected to our purpose. It’s no secret that our faith is priority in our life and business. So it’s impossible to tell the story of how this all began without including the One who led our every step and after years of casual chat, laid this new journey on our hearts intensely. If it’s hard for you to believe in something you can’t see, and you don’t like reading about others’ faith journeys, we aren’t offended one bit if you click the back button and exit out of this first blog post and come back later when it’s all pretty wedding stuff. But a fair warning…this stuff is better than the wedding stuff.

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The Summer of 2017 the thoughts became consuming. We had only shared our idea with one other person, and that person just happened to place a book in our hands that we trust God was using to nudge us. (The Circle Maker, by Mark Batterson) After the many nudges that we needed, research, prayer and a whole lot of faith, we concluded that the only way to truly know if God was leading us to build a big white barn was to take steps, trusting Him to guide them. Here’s an excerpt from the book that I posted on our social media on January 8, 2018:

“A dream is simultaneously the best feeling and worst feeling in the world. It’s exhilarating because it’s beyond your ability; it’s frightening for the exact same reason…if you’ve never had a God-sized dream that scared you half to death, then you haven’t really come to life. If you’ve never been overwhelmed by the impossibility of your plans, then your God is too small. If your vision isn’t perplexingly impossible, then you need to expand the radiuses of your prayer circles". “ - Mark Batterson

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Deciding to build a commercial building on non-commercial property isn’t just something you can just go out and start. While we had a builder in our back pocket, we definitely had to do this right. There are barn venues all across the country that get shut down weeks and even days before weddings, leaving couples scrambling and devastated. The right process includes letters from the county sent out to neighbors, research, a business plan, and presentations to the local zoning and commission boards, and fears of contest by opposers. We’ve read horror stories online of other venues trying to open in which community members, community government and neighbors have made it impossible. We are grateful to our local government and especially our neighbors who have showed support for us from the start. Not everyone is as fortunate. All of this was further confirmation that God was already ahead of each step we took.

We’ll skip past all the presentations and days spent waiting for approval. And skip you straight to January 2, 2018. We had been approved by our local zoning board and now were facing the County Commission for final approval. We walked into the Harvey County Courthouse with nerves like we’ve never felt before, and we walked out approved. The Barn at Grace Hill was happening.

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Even though we hadn’t officially been approved we had been busy behind the scenes getting our logo, website and rendered image ready to go. 6 days after approval, our rendered images landed in our email inbox and it was the first real glimpse of what had only been in our heads and a quick sketch on paper. Seeing this rendered image for the first time was surreal. We were confident that this image would be the sole driving force of our marketing for the first many months.

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Before we knew it, our local newspaper had announced our coming, and we launched our social media accounts only to find the inquiries for a building not even in existence, flooding our inbox. We possibly solidified our label of “crazy” when we confirmed we’d be opening in September. From that point on the question of the year became “Are you going to be done in time?”

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One of our favorite details of this story is that we gave 2-3 months of tours in our home, sitting at our dining room table. There was no building and nothing to envision except for what engaged couples could see from our rendered images and a floor plan. We added an interior rendering soon after, to help everyone get more of a feel for the inside. Our first handful of bookings happened with no white barn in sight. Talk about pressure. We now were responsible for a building that people were planning their entire wedding day around. These couples will always hold a special place in our hearts.

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Rendered Images: B.Hoffman Photography & Design

Rendered Images: B.Hoffman Photography & Design

When the weather warmed up a bit, and the building was framed, we finally gave our first REAL tour on March 8. It’s reasonable to state that it takes a certain boldness and element of adventure to book a wedding venue not built yet, but Abigail and Darrin acted as calm and cool as could be. They posed on the loft in hopes to recreate the same pic on their wedding day but between their rockin’ party and the full dinosaur costume, the re-enactment never happened. But it’s still a sweet one of the first couple to walk through the space.

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The scariest thing about construction is the unknowns. Weather being the biggest factor, but other countless issues also. We’d love to say we skated through these days full of confidence and no worries, but we’d be lying. Anxiety was high. And the countless “Are you going to be done in time?” questions continued. There were days we doubted the entire thing. We never had any major setbacks, but we had countless small and medium ones that took their toll on us over time. A 7 month timeline for a building like this is gonna do that. It’s in those moments of desperation and helplessness that God revealed to us even more that He was in this with us. And if we were going to make it, we were certain by now it would be only because of Him.

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We decided a “soft opening” would be beneficial. Not only to give ourselves an earlier date to be done by, but also to get people in the building before our first official wedding. Labor Day weekend 2018 was one for the books. We brought in a vendor team for our first styled shoot, and that night our bride and groom models got to use the space for their reception after having already had a destination wedding earlier in the summer. 2 days later we had another friend of the family use the space for their post-destination wedding reception also.

We were officially done. With 20 days to spare. We could credit the weather for being cooperative. We could credit our amazing contractor for his tireless work. Or we could credit ourselves. But we choose none of the above. While it doesn’t look like a miracle from the outside, those of us who lived through it can’t call it anything but.


”If you want to see crazy miracles, obey the crazy promptings of the Holy Spirit. Grab your pole, head to the lake, row the boat, cast the line, set the hook and reel it in. As you obey the promptings by casting your line, you never know what kind of miracle you’ll catch on the other side. Go fish.” - Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker

We heard later on that the quiet buzz around us was “they’ll never get done in time.” And all those kind people, whoever they were, would have been absolutely right had it been just us. But we were never alone and we were never in charge.

Call us crazy.

Photo: Kay + Bee Photography

Photo: Kay + Bee Photography