The Grand Ol' Barn Coordinators Spill All the Wedding TEA!

We LOVE Wedding Coordinators! 

At The Grand Ol' Barn we truly love wedding coordinators because we know they are VITAL to producing an extraordinary wedding! We have 3 on-site coordinators at the barn who are all seasoned planners and we asked them to answer all the questions you WANT to ask a wedding coordinator! Since we asked our Grand Ol' Barn wedding coordinators to spill all the wedding tea, we also asked our onsite coordinator from our sister wedding venue in Greensboro, GA, The Wildflower 301 to join in on the fun as well.

 We couldn't squeeze all our questions and their answers into 1 blog post, so stayed tuned for MORE next week! 



Meet Our Adventure Together Wedding Venue Coordinators: 

Grand Ol' Barn + The Wildflower 301 Wedding Coordinators 


Ashley Barksdale (AS) of The Grand Ol' Barn! Ashley has 10+ years in the wedding industry and hails from Saint Augustine, Florida. 

Jamie O'Connell (JO) of The  Grand Ol' Barn! Jamie has been a wedding planner for 10+ years and comes to us from our very own backyard, Volusia County. Jamie is the owner of: Jamie O'Connell Events .


Melinda Sabina (MS) of the Grand Ol' Barn! Melinda has been with the Grand Ol' Barn since the beginning and has coordinated 40+ Grand Ol' Barn weddings! Melinda comes to us from the Orlando area.


Nicole Moore Dawkins (NMD) of the Wildflower 301 (sister wedding venue in Greensboro, GA)! Nicole is the lead coordinator at The Wildflower 301 and the owner of Always and Forever Weddings and Events , which was created in 2019. Nicole joins us from the Atlanta area.




Spilling The Wedding Tea:

Q +A's with Wedding Coordinators! 

Photography by Lex Take Pix

Photography by Lex Take Pix 

 1.)What's your top 3 best tips when it comes to wedding planning in general, whether it has to do with time of year, the type of venue, how to begin +/or wedding planning specifics?


The time of year here in Florida plays a big factor in wanting an outdoor ceremony. The first thing to do is find your venue. This helps determine the style of your dress, floral, & colors of your wedding. Always ask the venue for rates before touring & if they have any specials going on.- AB


Try to be flexible with your wedding date. Hire a planner. Discuss and decide your budget before you do anything else. It's a hard conversation, but will save so much stress & grief during the entire planning process to have those in place. - JO


(1)As much as I love inspo boards & things like that, it's so important you cultivate the vision inside your head. Who says you can't mix elegant with some fun disco balls? If you love it, GO FOR IT. It's your wedding day after all.
(2)After you book your venue, I highly suggest booking your officiant. There's so many couples & so limited wedding weekend dates. My 3 personal favorites: Sam Mullen, Wiley Lowe and Pastor Mike all book up quickly.
(3)Have a private last dance. It's so special to take that moment at the end of your wedding, with it's dirty tables, messy dancefloor, & falling hair, to really enjoy the stillness of the moment before we ramp right back up for your fun exit. -MS


Always begin with a budget (even if its a loose one).Hire your planner/coordinator FIRST. A planner/coordinator can help make sure you are staying within your budget & direct to venues & vendors that work for your specific needs, style & budget, ultimately saving you both time & money. Lastly, skip all the things you don't care about. It's your day! If you don't like cake, don't spend hundreds on cake. If you don't like the idea of a garter toss/ bouquet toss GREAT, that gives us more time to party! -NMD



 Photography by Alicia Lynn Photography

Photography by Alicia Lynn Photography 

2.) For venues specifically, as a wedding planner, what is it you want to remind your brides + grooms to be on the lookout for when it comes to deciding on a venue?

The guest capacity of the venue, also, ask if they have getting ready rooms/suites, & access time on your wedding day. - AB

Inquire about: on site staffing, if there's a weather /back up space, & requirements of licensed & insured vendors. - JO

Make sure the venue you're visiting has enough restroom accommodations. I usually suggest 1 restroom for every 20-25 guests, especially if there's an open bar for obvious reasons. - MS

Definitely check to see what's included, inclusions are where you save! Time slot, do you have the venue exclusively for the entire day. Many venues have more than 1 wedding per day or limit your time onsite. Is there a bar or catering minimum? - NMD


Photography by Alicia Lynn Photos

Photography by Alicia Lynn Photography 

3.) You've all coordinated at other venues, what makes the Adventure Together wedding venues: The Grand Ol' Barn  + The Wildflower 301 stand out from the rest? What's your favorite Grand Ol' Barn or Wildflower 301 venue perk?

We offer in house catering and on site florals at the Grand Ol' Barn! - AB


The biggest wow factor for me when I came on board at the Grand Ol’ Barn was all the décor & rental items that are INCLUDED in the venue rental! I'm still in shock over it now! It really is a great value for anyone looking for any kind of barn wedding in Central Florida. I think our barn is also so amazingly versatile. Although it is a barn & it will always have a certain look to it, it really can be transformed in so many unique ways. - JO


I love that The Grand Ol' Barn includes as much as they do: the centerpieces, the signage it all adds up quickly & it's so nice to not have to purchase them & then hope to sell them on various marketplaces & websites. - MS


To be completely honest, what is there not to LOVE about The Wildflower 301?! It is quite literally the most dreamy venue I've had the opportunity to work with! Everything was so well thought out & executed, from the Whiskey Room, to the White Room, to the Celebration House! The gardens are right out of a magazine, it's PERFECT! Just hire a planner (shameless plug!), weddings in general have too many potential disasters to count & as coordinators, it's our job to "fix them all", lol. - NMD



Photography by Shelbi Ann Imagery

4.) What wedding day "oh no!" situation was YOUR PERSONAL hero story? In other words, a wedding where you were the coordinator and YOU saved the day? What happened, how did you fix it?

Leading up to one of my couples weddings their videographer went MIA weeks before their wedding. The big day was upon us. We expected him to show up the morning after finally hearing from him a week before the wedding. He didn't show & we couldn't get in touch with him. Thankfully we have great relationships with our local vendors & after many phone calls we were able to find 1 of our videographers in our little community who was available! He didn't charge my couple 1 dime & he was amazing! - AB


I have so many of these stories, I could probably write a book, but 1 of the most memorable times was when a baker forgot about the wedding cake delivery! After she was about 15 minutes late I called to just get an ETA figuring she got held up in traffic, when she started screaming into the phone, “OH MY GOD! I have it down on my calendar wrong! I’m loading it up now & bringing it!”. Of course this created a major issue in the timing of all the events & having to have the baker bring it in while other things were happening that the actual set up itself was most definitely in the way. I quickly went into action & changed up a few things, & luckily it worked out! The baker was 2 hours late, however, to this day, the bride + groom have NO idea any of that happened. That is the best part for me. - JO

I had a wedding where a DJ didn't show after telling us "he was on the way" when we were minutes out from the ceremony. I personally held a speaker attached to my Bluetooth as I streamed Spotify & played their ceremony music having to time out song changes while queuing the wedding party. Having been in the service industry as a bartender for many years, I reached out to my contacts & had a DJ at the Grand Ol' Barn before we even opened the doors for reception, all without the bride knowing. "Incredible", if I do say so myself! - MS

A panicking bride came to me 4 days before her wedding, because she could no longer hold her completely planned & designed wedding at the original venue due to policy changes. She lived out of state, therefore it was completely up to me to vet new venues at the last minute. Long story short, not only did I find her her dream venue, but I came in under budget & my husband (who is an event designer) redesigned her décor to fit the new location! She landed the day before her wedding & she was completely happy! - NMD

 Photography by Anna Xon  Photography

Photography by Anna Axon Photography 

5.) What should brides keep in mind when it comes to wedding glam and/or wedding attire?

Always schedule a hair + makeup trial! This is where you really get a feel for the stylist & whether or not you like their work. Plus, it's a great opportunity to schedule your engagement photos for the same day. - AB


Do what you want. It really is about you + your partner & the love you have for each other. - JO

When it comes to gowns, forget the rules. If you want to wear your Great Aunt Mildred's wedding dress from six decades ago, DO IT! If you want something modern & short, DO IT! This day is about you & you get ONE of them, so do it wearing what YOU want. - MS


Photo by Shelbi Ann Imagery 

Midsummer’s Dream All Inclusive weddings at the Grand OL Barn! 

Have you heard about The Grand Ol' Barn's July + August All Inclusive Packages? Check out that blog post here! 


Photography by Alicia Lynn Photography Photography by Alicia Lynn Photography 

1.) What are some of the questions you've had from inquiring couples, when it comes to the Grand Ol Barn's all inclusive wedding package: Midsummers Nights Dream package for July + August 2022 + 2023 weddings?

Q: Why don't we offer something like this yearly?! A: We don't offer this yearly because not everyone wants all inclusive & it is very labor intensive to create these packages, especially considering our host partners, they too have schedules that might not align with our schedules (glam team, photography, etc.). Also, many couples like the freedom of bringing in the vendors they want to work with, etc.

Q: Can we drop or add certain foods to the cater side of things? A: Yes! We can always work with catering to add in or change items when needed depending on if those items are main entrees or side items, etc.- AB


Couples get to choose one of the special upgrades, but many have asked can they also purchase more than one of them. Even as an additional cost they are truly great values. They can add all of them if they wanted to!- JO

A lot of my couples have asked if they could upgrade their package options by paying the difference, whether it's with catering or florals & the answer is yes! How great to be able to upgrade & further customize your options. - MS

2.) What's your FAVORITE detail(s), host vendor (DJ, cake artist, glam vendor), inclusion when it comes to our all inclusive summer packages? Or a great memory or something wonderful to mention about one of our Midsummers Dreams wedding pros?

The only ones I have worked with are our onsite florist at the Grand Ol' Barn: Arrangements Floral Studio and Chef Lee :), our Head Chef for our onsite catering, Grand Ol' Barn Catering and I LOVE them both! - AB


I don’t know if I can pick a favorite. The whole package is such a great value & includes so many amazing services. It makes it such an easy experience to host your wedding with us. - JO

I love that all of the vendors within our package options have been here at The Grand Ol' Barn before, it speaks to their professionalism that we've invited them back to be part of your special day. - MS

Midsummer Nights Dream Weddings!

Want more?! Us too!

Stay tuned, next week we will be publishing the remaining questions + answers from our wedding coordinators + we ask them about: décor trends, family drama at weddings + MORE! Are you subscribed to our emails? What are you waiting for! Click HERE!