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Meet Amanda Balzer

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amanda Balzer.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
At our core, my husband and I are entrepreneurs with a heart to bring our passions and God-given skills together to provide for our family, love every day of work, and serve others. To mix all of these together is really the ultimate dream. So, an occasional porch chat about the idea of building and operating a wedding venue “someday” turned into a big dream. The summer of 2017, it was obvious the Lord turned on the heat and made us both feel this “far away dream” become a very burning desire, simultaneously in both us. It was apparent we were being nudged to step out in faith in what would be the biggest endeavor of our lives. Ultimately, we knew we could talk about it for the rest of our lives and wonder what it would have been like, or we could take steps. We put our dream in the Lord’s hands and decided to act. We knew he’d either open doors or close doors, and land us where we were supposed to be. The first doors that needed to open felt impossible – county approval, zoning, building plans, budget. Before we could even blink, doors were flying open. We launched our website, social media, and a vision of what the venue would look like in the first week of January 2018, immediately after hearing the official approval from our county commission. We broke ground a month later, immediately began tours (which happened in our private home because concrete hadn’t even been poured yet), and had our first wedding 9 months later in a building that had only existed in our heads, and now was real.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
As if putting our lives on the line (that’s what it felt like), building a venue from the ground up, and hoping people would actually come, wasn’t hard enough, the pandemic shut us down for 3 months. And even after those 3 months the level of stress that continued was unmeasurable. Thankfully, we had a full year of running smoothly under our belt before our world was rocked with unprecedented restrictions. We made it out alive and only credit that to the Lord walking through it with us. Owning a wedding venue looks super fun on the outside, and it is! But it is also high pressure, non-stop, and an insane amount of work. There’s good stuff – like the people, the vows, the celebrations, and there’s the bad stuff – like drunks and trash. But we truly desire to serve our couples and their families on one of their biggest, and often, most stressful days of their lives, and being able to do so makes all the hard stuff worth it.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
Wedding venues seem to be popping up all over the place these days. And while we were initially one of the first weddings venues to build from the ground up for the sole purpose of being a venue, we knew that wouldn’t last forever. We went from being the first white barn in Kansas to being one of many. We knew we never wanted to be just a building. Our biggest priority is to do anything we can to make a wedding day as smooth and stress-free as possible, so that it can be enjoyed and celebrated to the level that a marriage celebration should be. While we pack in as much value to our rental as we can, we also pack in as much service and care as we can too. This is truly the element we feel will keep us moving forward successfully, no matter how many other wedding venues pop up. We feel a strong sense of purpose and ministry in what we’re doing, which makes watching so many other venues opening up way less overwhelming than it could be.

The crisis has affected us all in different ways. How has it affected you and any important lessons or epiphanies you can share with us?
The Covid-19 was truly a crisis. I often will refer to them as “some of our darkest days” – as parents, we were trying to help kids with school, and as business owners, we were trying to navigate uncharted waters. The biggest takeaway from it all is that we were blessed beyond belief to be walking through it with the most compassionate and kind couples and families (minus a few bad apples). They knew it wasn’t our fault, they were understanding of the policies we had to put into place, that we weren’t out to get them, and they knew we desired to help them through the mess also. While the stress for us felt unbearable, we did feel like we had a front row seat to be able to encourage, serve and love on our people even more through this mess. We walked through the toughest days with the BEST people, with the most caring hearts, and in the end, we made it through. We credit this solely to God’s goodness and mercy and answered prayers to send us the best couples!

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Image Credits

Kay & Bee Photography
Elephant Juice Photography
Skyler Livingston Photography
Alex Bo Photo
Allison Taylor Photography
Ashley Church Photography

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