L.Nyhoff and J.Mohr 2018.jpg

Mrs. In Training Lauryn Nyhoff and her fiancé Jeremy Mohr with their dog, Lanie.

Are you looking for a second full-time job?

I don’t know of anyone who is — we find plenty of things to keep our daily to-do lists packed. But if by chance you are looking for something to take up another 40 hours of your week, try planning a wedding.

I couldn’t relate when my friends were getting married. They would be exhausted and MIA for weeks. All they did was talk about the venues they had to visit, the caterers they were meeting and the cake-tasting appointments that just couldn’t be rescheduled.

I have to admit, I was convinced that they simply didn’t have the time management skills that I had, or my neurotic, Type A, perfectionist personality. Surely, I would make my wedding planning look effortless.

Well … isn’t that a slap in the face, as I am now that girl.

I was first hit with the stark reality of what wedding planning would throw at me when I began venue shopping. Still giddy with the "freshly engaged glow," I set out to dominate my wedding planning checklist.

After a quick Internet search, cross-referenced to reviews on "The Knot" (fellow brides are the best critics), I set up a half-dozen venue appointments in a week or two. I set off to each appointment with my planner in hand, ready to book the perfect place.

I drove to Glenwood, Iowa, to scope out a few wineries and quaint farmhouses. The romantic scenery and blissful quiet of each venue initially distracted me from the fact that I was in the middle of nowhere with no Marriott in sight. And due to the locations, I would have a smaller list of caterers and rental companies. A little too rustic and raw for this city girl and the wedding I imagine.

I need structure and packages with more options. I visited a couple of golf courses in the Omaha area and instantly felt more comfortable. Each had its own in-house catering, tables, chairs, linens and beautiful backdrops. They had everything planned for me!

But then I realized these banquet rooms with white-washed walls would require a lot of creative love. Drapery, uplighting, centerpieces, flowers — these would be needed to make the spaces feel like our dream venue. Some research on the additional price tags of decorative items made it a quick decision to keep looking.

Exhausted, I was about ready to fulfill my fiance Jeremy’s dream of a Vegas elopement, until I came across a small bridal event at The Ackerhurst Dairy Farm in Bennington. I persuaded Jeremy to tag along with me. (I told him there would be cake pop samples – sold!)

The second we walked into the barn, we immediately looked to the ceiling with jaws dropped. The owner addressed all of our (my) million questions, and we agreed we’d found our perfect venue.

We could choose from more than 16 caterers to find our perfect fajita bar-themed dinner, and the natural charm and character of the barn needed little to no decoration, which minimized additional expenses.

We saw multiple options for hosting the ceremony on-site, and both Jeremy and I will have beautiful suites for our parties on the day of our wedding.

All of our concerns alleviated, we left the bridal fair with a ceremony and reception site.

My best advice is to never settle on a location or venue that your gut tells you isn’t perfect. Whether it’s price, menu selection, service or scenery, I truly believe that Omaha and the surrounding area has a space for everyone.

Good luck to all my beautiful brides-to-be on your search!

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