We had the good fortune of connecting with Brenda Baker and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brenda, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
My husband, Bud, and I were both raised in the very rural of Iowa. Bud in a small town where the phone number was 4 digits, and me, on a farm, where I was surrounded by fields of corn and beans as far as the eye could see. Our phone was connected to a “party line” where 6 families had to share the phone line and conversations of others could be overheard. My parents purchased a tiny farm house on property and began the process of expansion and remodeling. They are – still – some of the original DIYers and I’m not sure how they did it all without Google. I was included in every project from holding and handing tools, to running to get something, to painting. I also grew up with chores, helping on the farm, projects for 4-H and learning to sew my own clothes. I became accustomed to identifying tools, analyzing issues and problem solving, and finishing strong. More important than learning to work and the education about many “how toos”, was the establishing of my faith. My family not only attended and were active members of church but God was part of every aspect of our lives. This small portion of the telling of my background story reflects the foundation of my entrepreneurial spirit and creative drive. My faith has allowed me to step out with confidence with fierce understanding that God has a specific plan and purpose for my life. My faith in God has carried me through the lows and allowed me to worship fully in the highs.
What should our readers know about your business?
My husband and I own Oak + Ivy Wedding Venue in Aubrey, Texas. We just opening in October 2019. I still love weddings! I love helping to provide the place where a couple, surrounded by their closest family and friends, begins their own family. I love seeing their future as they look at each other and I love helping install all the details that help make their day special. When we designed and built this venue we really had in mind that we would want the bridal party to be able to come out and spend the whole day spending time with friends and family and celebrating relationships. I thoroughly enjoy working with the bride and her family and the planner helping them put the details together for THE day and doing my best to answer all the questions. I think my love of people and my hearts desire to help every bride love her wedding is what sets me and our business apart from others. I got in to the wedding business 10+ years ago when a friend asked me to help her create the flower bouquets and centerpieces for her daughters wedding (flowers are another thing I love). All of a sudden I was in the floral business. I was in and out of a variety of venues. I always loved something about the venue and then wished there could have been… When we took a look at our next 10ish years of work life we wanted to find something we could do together – to serve the Lord, to love people, and perhaps invest in ourselves. So we took the plunge, designed the venue and built it. The last 18 months have been hard, and pressurized, and sometimes scary, but in the midst of it all there have been solid down right miracles. There have been precious micro-weddings where the bridal party of 9 ordered pizza after the ceremony and sat around a table and talked and told stories, little elopements of just the bride and groom and their parents and a photographer for an hour, and large and loud celebrations with mariachi bands and dancing and sparkler send offs. All of these, intimate and wonderful celebrations served to balance the hard, soften the edges, put people and relationships back into the business end of things. I still love weddings. I still look forward to the bridal party coming in early for hair and make-up, I still look forward to the beautiful flowers, the treasures that come from the beginning of a new family.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
One of our favorite places, by far, is Fortunata Winery! On the weekend they feature live music and have the best outdoor space to enjoy sitting out and eating one of their wood fired pizzas and drinking a glass or two of wine. If someone needs an overnight stay, Fortunata’s also have the most darling new villas. Downtown Denton would be another great option. Denton is well known for it’s live music and has multiple places for local bands to share their talents. The food on the square is also a treat. Barley and Board, LSA Burger, Thai Square and Queenies Steakhouse to name a few. The best time to come is during the annual Jazz fest where music is everywhere. And, finally, if we were looking for a picnic lunch spot, I would choose the Dallas Arboretum – it is beautiful any time of year.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Wow! There is an extensive line up of people who supported us, love and prayed for us and offered encouragement when we needed it. First of all, Bud and I would have never able to walk through building process of this venue without our faith in the Lord. The roller coaster of highs and lows and learning how to navigate government officials, sub contractors, schedule changes, material delays – all of it and the pressure of being ready for our first wedding. The Lord truly worked in miraculous ways, not only physically allowing needs to be met, but spiritually enhancing our trust and faith. Our family-parents, siblings and daughters and spouses have been nothing short of glue holding this process together. Our biggest cheerleaders, supporters and encouragers as well as listening ears and helping hands – there is nothing like the words “we know you can do it” and being able to share the excitement with those who have had faith in you from the beginning. Our friends, most of over 20 years, who have prayed for every single big and small thing, who asked about not only how the building was progressing but how we were doing personally. Who showed up at events and followed all the social media accounts and continue to be with us and for us. And finally, those sweet souls who took at chance and invested and backed us financially. We couldn’t have put it together ourselves and we owe them a huge thank you for believing in our dream enough to partner with us to make it happen. I hope we can help someone put their dream together some day. I am so incredibly grateful.
Photographer: Matt McElligott