Sept. 1 2022 08:00 AM

This season, I find myself switching gears between farm work and wedding planning.

My fiancé, Sam, and I took engagement pictures earlier this year in our heifer freestall barn.

With our wedding day fast approaching and the beckoning of harvest season on the horizon, my days are currently a frenzied blur of cattle chores, field work, and finalizing wedding details (well, plus my writing and graphic design side hustle, as well as regular housework, of course).

Picking up my wedding dress.
From picking up and trying on my wedding dress after morning chores to spending the rest of the day hauling loads of silage, pulling together our wedding while dairy farming fulltime is an interesting mix. Stopping by the house throughout my day of farming usually means putting an extra coat of paint on something wedding related, making a few phone calls, or adding to my extremely detailed to-do list.

The sharp contrast of clean, crisp, and elegant wedding details compared to dust-filled, gritty, and sweaty farm work is a real shift in mindset, to say the least. Honestly, the mix of these two extreme ends of the spectrum brings me a lot of joy in this season of life. It’s so fun to work on all the wedding preparations but sitting and focusing on my computer screen or stuffing endless envelopes does get old after a while — and partly reminding me why I moved away from an office job a couple years ago. When I need to stretch my muscles, move my body, or just flex a different area of my brain, my day-to-day cattle chores or the tractor cab are waiting with open arms.

My view unloading haylage as my brother packs the pile.
I’m someone who absolutely loves having a lot going on and I’m very task-oriented, so serving as our wedding planner was a no-brainer for me. With both of us coming from farming families, my fiancé and I are careful to consider chore timing, farmers’ preferences, and so forth in our wedding details. Take, for instance, that our wedding venue is less than 10 miles from both of our family farms — just in case the cows get out, a new heifer needs calving assistance, or my dad just has the urge to swing by to push up feed (which we certainly expect he’ll do).

Beyond our matrimony and scheduling of the weekend’s wedding festivities, you can bet we’re planning ahead for chore help and timing of field work. My mom and I may have (wink, wink) even been in cahoots to breed fewer cows and heifers one week last February to avoid a surge of fresh cows and new calves the week of our wedding.

We’re beyond excited for our wedding in a few short months, and you can bet we will be serving lots of ice cream and milk during the festivities. What else would you expect from dairy farmers?

Molly Schmitt

The author dairy farms with her parents and brother near Hawkeye, Iowa. The family milks approximately 300 head of grade Holstein cows at Windsor Valley Dairy LLC — split half and half between a double-eight parallel milking parlor and four robotic milking units. In the spring of 2020, Molly decided to take a leap and fully embrace her love for the industry by returning full time to her family’s dairy.