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.
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.