COLLABORATE // col·lab·o·rate // kəˈlabəˌrāt // verb // "Work jointly on an activity, especially to produce or create something."
I'm not sure how to begin this post in a way that truly expresses my gratitude and excitement after collaborating with so many talented individuals for the grand opening celebration of Vintage Oaks Banquet Barn. Please bear with me as I try to articulate my feelings after this amazing experience!
As I grow in this business and journey, I am reminded - time and time again - of the power of encouraging, supporting, and serving others. Getting to know Haley at Vintage Oaks has reminded me of this and more!
At the beginning of this year, I reached out to Haley to say "hello", formally introduce myself, and encourage her along this crazy ride called small business ownership. You see, I've "known" Haley for quite some time if you will... We are both from neighboring small towns, so it's easy to feel like you pretty much know everyone even without technically knowing one another! And after that initial email, I never would have guessed that I would come to know Haley and her servant heart as I do now.
As soon as I heard about Haley's project and dream to open an event venue, I knew exactly how she was feeling with a passion, a spark, and a drive to serve others. It's truly a beautiful thing! She told me of how her dream started - read more here - and where she was hoping it would go. The barn (built in 1837) restoration project started in June 2015. As I've come to know Haley and had many conversations, I am always in awe with her positivity, strength, faith in the Lord, and forward thinking nature. Myself, and I'm sure many other family + friends, have enjoyed following Haley, her husband Jake, and her boys on this journey.
I had the honor of going out to see the progress on the barn in June and to snap a few photos to be featured in WeddingDay Magazine's post titled "More Indiana Barns We Know You'll Love" - how fun! It was amazing to see the restoration team hard at work along with Haley's sweet little boys helping alongside them. Over the next weeks, Haley and I kept in touch as the "opening date" drew closer and closer, and I was honored when she asked me to collaborate on a styled shoot following day two of the opening celebration. Soon enough, the two-day opening was here, and I was excited to play a part in the event!
I photographed a beautiful wedding in Central Illinois on day one of the grand opening, but on day two, I was excited to be on-site. As soon as I arrived, I met Kevin and Toni - a husband and wife photography team out of Lafayette, Indiana. They were as sweet as could be from our first meeting and truly felt like old friends by the end of our day together! These two, along with sweet Amber from b.eloquence, told me how day one of the opening was an absolute success with many friends, family, neighbors, and future brides stopping by for a visit! I LOVED to hear this!
As soon as I set foot into the barn (remember I hadn't seen it since June), I was in awe. It was magnificent and beautiful. I forgot to mention that Haley has impeccable style when it comes to style, decor, and home decorating, so I was excited to see how the final style for the event came together. I was completely blown away by the fresh florals and event styling by Amber - she is oh so talented! And you know I'm a lover of cake... This cake by Something Blue Bakery was AMAZING!
I loved wandering around the barn to photograph details and to see the finishing touches while exploring the various vendor booths setup for the opening. After the open house was finished, we went full throttle into a styled shoot with the cutest, most laid-back models - Shelby and Koby. It was HOT outside, but these two were amazingly cooperative and willing to work with our vision! Special shout-out to Jenna Fassnacht at Create Hair Studio for the gorgeous hair + makeup that continued to look fabulous despite the heat.
Shooting alongside Kevin and Toni with a little direction from Amber's styling was so fun! We picked spots in the barn and locations throughout the surrounding property to photograph the couple. The dress the ladies picked out from Chiffon Bridal was perfectly fitting, too. I love these shots and the chemistry between the couple!
In the end, this experience is one that I will never forget. It was inspiring and encouraging, and I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to build and grow these relationships. Goodness, it's unbelievably fulfilling!
Venue: Vintage Oaks Banquet Barn - Delphi, Indiana | Florals & Event Styling: b.eloquence - Lafayette, Indiana | Dress & Tux: Chiffon Bridal - Lafayette, Indiana | Hair & Makeup: Jenna Fassnacht at Create Hair Studio - Flora, Indiana | Cake: Something Blue Bakery - Lafayette, Indiana | Models: Shelby & Koby | Photography: Kevin and Toni - Lafayette, Indiana + By Kara - Bourbonnais, Illinois