How to Prepare for and Attend a Bridal Show

What to Expect:

Bridal Shows are crowded and loud, but don’t let any of that deter you! Use this time to gather information and enjoy any of the special offers extended to you. I always tell brides to enjoy themselves and take it all in!

How to Prepare:

If possible, find out which vendors will be participating in the show before you attend. This way you are able to map out the vendors you really want to talk to.

WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES!

Bring someone with you, but not an entire entourage. You will definitely need help collecting information (and carrying it!). If you take too many people you will probably spend most of your time keeping everyone together.

Print labels with some or all of the following information:

  • Name
  • Phone Number
  • Email Address
  • Wedding Date
  • Guest Count

You will be spending a lot of time writing this information down if not! If you are writing it down, please write clearly. Vendors want to send you the information just as much as you want to receive it.

At the Bridal Show:

If you are provided with a “Bride” sticker, don’t be shy to wear it! It becomes very confusing for vendors to identify everyone that attends.

Don’t feel obligated to take everything that is handed to you!

If you have a wedding dress I would recommend skipping the Fashion Show portion of the day. Use that time wisely and visit with the vendors. Since the majority of brides will be watching the show, you will have a better chance to actually talk to a vendor and it will be a much quieter atmosphere.

Come visit us at the Bridal Expo on Sunday, January 26, 2014 from 1-5PM! It is being held at the Cedar Park Center. Click here to register!

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Written by:  Erin Todd, Wedding Sales Manager

Vintage Villas Joins Stash Hotel Rewards – The Independent Hotel Rewards Program

Start earning Hotel Reward Points when you stay at Vintage Villas! Vintage Villas is proud to be one of the newest hotels to join Stash Hotel Rewards. “Stash Hotel Rewards delivers the advantages of big chain rewards programs.” Joining is easy, fast and convenient! Simply visit https://www.stashrewards.com/ today and create your username and password, that’s it. You’ll start earning rewards on your very first visit; some partner hotels even reward you with extra points on your first visit to the property.

As a Stash Hotel Rewards member you’ll enjoy member promotions and bonuses, discounted redemption rates and even 5 points per dollar spent on eligible room rates. Plus, your points never expire! Stash Hotel Rewards has independent hotel partners across the country so no matter where your travels take you, you are certain to find a unique independent hotel ready to deliver a one of a kind experience that can only be found in these exclusive properties.

Benefits of membership apply to all of our clients, whether you’re an independent traveler, corporate client or bride, Vintage Villas will reward you with points to use for your next stay at our beautiful Hill Country hotel or another one of the fantastic Stash Hotel Rewards partners.  Visit the Vintage Villas profile on the Stash Hotel Rewards website by visiting http://www.stashrewards.com/hotel/austin/vintage-villas-hotel-and-events. Additionally, you can read about one of our unique offers in the latest Stash Hotel Rewards Blog here, http://www.stashrewards.com/hotel/austin/vintage-villas-hotel-and-events.

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By: Mallory Voorheis, IOM :: Corporate Sales Manager :: Vintage Villas Hotel & Events

Engagement Season is here!

UntitledHappy New Year! And for many newly engaged couples it is just that…a very happy and exciting new year! According to a recent study reported in the Huffington Post, Christmas Eve is the most popular day of the year to propose, with Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve coming in third and fourth place, respectively.

Marry Me

What does this mean for you, the bride that cannot stop looking at your new engagement ring? It means the wedding planning can begin and should immediately! Touring and reserving your wedding venue should be at the top of your wedding planning to-do list. Why? Because others like you will be taking advantage of any open spring dates and soon the prime fall dates will be filled too.

Proposal

I don’t tell you this to cause panic, but only to encourage you to put your new excitement into energy of reserving your wedding venue! Once you have your date and location, everything else will fall into place.

I said yes

Written by:  Lauren Allen, Director of Sales and Marketing

Thank You Cards

Thank you notes.  They are not the most fun, but definitely a necessary part of your wedding.  Thanking your guests for partaking in your special day with you is just the polite thing to do. When thanking your guests, make sure to thank them for not only the gift they gave but also for coming to the wedding.  Let them know how much it meant to you to have them there to help celebrate your special day.  It will make them feel great knowing that their presence meant so much to you. After letting your guest know you were grateful for having them at your wedding, be sure to thank them for their gift to you.  Be specific in what they gave you and make the note personal.  In order to do this, when opening your presents, make sure to keep a detailed list of who gave you what.  If you didn’t have a gift registry, but just had guests help contribute to your honeymoon, then let them know a few fun specific things you did on your honeymoon that they helped to pay for. Also, make sure your thank you notes are handwritten and not sent over email or a Facebook message.  Although sending thank you’s over the internet may be quicker, easier and free, it is just cheap.  So don’t do it. A cool idea for your thank you cards would be to include a QR code on the back so your guests can scan it and view all of your wedding pictures online if they wish.  It’s a fun new idea that your guests have probably never seen before! Last but not least, make sure to get your thank you cards out within three months of either receiving the gift or from your wedding, whichever one applies.

Below are some ideas for your thank you cards:

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I think this idea of having a picture of you both on your wedding day is great.  Your guests will love to keep your card around for a while just to remember your fun day.

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The idea of a postcard for your thank you’s is so cute (and less expensive when buying postage)!  You can have pictures from your wedding day or honeymoon on the front and then write your note on the back. Have fun creating and writing your thank you’s!

Ideas for this blog came from the websites below:

1. http://www.mywedding.com/articles/thank-you-cards-for-destination-weddings-and-honeymoon-registries/

2. http://www.mywedding.com/articles/thank-you-notes-dos-donts/

Written by:  Mary Gividen, Wedding Sales Assistant

Vendor Interview: Prima Luce Studio

I have grown to love Prima Luce Studio very quickly! I tend to gravitate toward wedding photography that tells the story of such an amazing day, and Bill and Mary do just that. Not to mention they are so personable that I could talk to them all day!

I wanted to give them the opportunity to explain who they are and why they do what they do, so I sent them a few questions. Hope you enjoy!

1. How long have you been in the wedding industry? Prima Luce Studio celebrated our one year anniversary in August. We had photographed some weddings both individually and together prior to that, but August was when we decided to form Prima Luce Studio. It’s been wonderful so far and we really can’t thank all of our brides and grooms enough for making it happen!

2. What is your favorite part of your job? What we love most about photographing weddings is that we are allowed to share in one of the happiest and most joyful experiences a couple will ever have. There honestly isn’t anything better than being around a group of people who have only one purpose at that time, to celebrate and honor the love between two people. After all, how crazy is it that two people can find each other out of all 7 billion people in this world and fall madly in love?!?! We love it, and this is actually the entire reason we started photographing weddings!

As documentary photographers, we are always looking to give a voice to those who may not have one in today’s society. We try to tell their stories in such a way that light is shed on some important issues that we may not normally be aware of. Weddings in many ways are a natural extension of this thought process. We knew at our very first wedding that we had found something special. Being around so much happiness, so much love, was just incredibly moving. Even more, we were so touched that people would invite us into one of the most special occasions they will ever take part in and trust us to tell their story. We sincerely feel honored that people place this trust in us, and we work as hard as possible for each couple to capture the special moments of that day and deliver their story in images.

3. How would you describe Prima Luce Studio’s “style”? I don’t know that style is really the right word. Both of us were trained in the documentary tradition, and so we certainly focus on the storytelling aspect of photography. That said, our approach has been to meet with our couples multiple times in order to get to know our couples as much as possible so that we truly know who they are both as individuals and as a couple. On their wedding day we will then do everything we can to tell each couple’s unique story, rather than forcing our look or style on the couple. This way, every couple we work with ends up with a highly personal reflection of their wedding day.

4. What photography trends are you currently seeing in the wedding industry and are there any trends you would like to see? Right now the big trend is towards an “Instagram” style approach to the toning of images, which is fun and interesting. It seems like people may be missing the look of film without even realizing it! As far as trends we would like to see, the only thing we would want is for the substance of images to take more and more of a priority over the surface. To us, the photos that will mean the most 50 years from now are the ones that caught that wink of the eye, or the tear rolling down the father’s face as he gives away his daughter. Those are the things people remember and we hope that becomes more of a focus!

5. Do you have any suggestions to help brides stay within their budget? This is so tough. Often times couples have been dreaming of their wedding for years (if not their whole lives!), and since they will only do it once, they want to fit everything in. Our best advice is to set priorities. What are the absolute “must-haves” for your wedding? What are some things that you would like to have, but maybe aren’t as essential? Lastly, have a category of “would be nice”. Work your budget to support the “must-haves” and as much of the “would like to haves” as possible, and then anything left over can be for the “would be nice” items. Of course, when planning a wedding almost everything can seem like a “must-have”! In those cases, put it to the time test. Ask yourself if 50 years from now having this (fill in the blank) will be something you even remember. Would it be important to you then? If the answer is yes, then find a way! If the answer is no or even maybe, then put your money elsewhere.

6. Should bride and grooms consider a first look? This is really such a personal decision for each couple. Obviously if the bride and groom want to follow tradition and have the groom see his bride for the first time coming down the aisle, a first look will be a bad idea! However if tradition isn’t the big issue, then we love the first look. Weddings can be so hectic, and many times the bride and groom will be swept up for the entire day. Before they know it the day is over and everything was a blur! The first look is a chance for this couple to have a very meaningful moment alone before the whirlwind begins.

7. What is the one thing that you think every bride should know when choosing their photographer? We have three things we feel every couple should consider when choosing a photographer. First of all, make sure you like their images! While it is easy enough to change the way images are toned (Instagram, vintage, modern, etc.) it is highly unlikely that the way the photographer captures an event will change. So if you do not like the images they do for others, you probably won’t like the ones they do for you! Secondly, make sure you like your photographer! There are few, if any, people who will spend as much time with you on your wedding day, so it is crucial you get along with them, and like their personality. Finally, ask your photographer why they shoot weddings, what got them in to the industry. It is important that you have a shared vision with your photographer, and their motivations for photographing weddings can have a tremendous amount of impact on that!

To request more information or view Prima Luce Studio’s work visit them online at www.primalucestudio.com.

Written by: Erin Todd, Wedding Sales Manager

The Curse of the Rubber Chicken

Meeting Planners, you have all been here before. You research locations, request proposals, go on site tours, read reviews,  perhaps even stay a night to make sure the hotel along with event space would be the perfect fit for your event. You choose the location, collect RSVP’s, schedule activities and make sure all i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed for your event and then it happens… the curse of the rubber chicken! Sure the event as a whole is a success, your meeting goals were achieved but all the attendees can talk about for the next year following the event is how terrible the food was.

Yes, it’s true, often times a main entrée of chicken is chosen because it is less expensive for the group and usually pleases the masses. However, this does not mean that you have to settle for a less than spectacular taste and quality. Whether you’re serving the protein plated or buffet, the quality should remain the same and it should be a little more exciting than just a piece of roasted chicken with green beans and potatoes. On a budget how do you overcome and deliver excellence to your guests for what would be considered an uncontrollable to you as the meeting planner?

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 First, if the venue offers tastings, do them! I would recommend tasting both a standard and an upgraded menu. This gives you a great perspective for what to expect on your plate for color, creativity and how far you can stretch your dollar by adding sides, upgrading the entrée or customizing.

 Second, read reviews and ask how long the Chef has been with the venue. Great Chef’s who can deliver the same quality for a table of 4 as they can for 200 people are hard to come by. You can make a safe bet that if the Chef has been with the venue for several years there is a reason and one of those must be because they deliver in creativity and quality!

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 Lastly, if your budget allows, add an element that will really impress the group. People enjoy being part of making something of their own so consider adding a “build your own” element. This is sure to keep your attendees talking about the food for the next year, in a great way!

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Remember, the food is one of the most talked about elements of your event. It’s important to get it right and choose a venue that you know can handle the task. In your events, cost will always be a determining factor for venue choice, but if attendee impression is just as important to you, remember to wow them with the food just as much as you do the view!

 

By: Mallory Voorheis, IOM ::  Corporate Sales Manager  ::  Vintage Villas Hotel & Events

Let It Go!

Having just celebrated my fifth wedding anniversary, I thought I would share some of my wedding pictures from November 7, 2008 at Vintage Villas and pass on what I believe to be one of the best pieces of wedding advice I can give.

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When looking back on my wedding day there are still a few things that I might have done differently. However, the good memories definitely outnumber the few minor things I would have changed. So every year I think of how much fun we had, how wonderful it was to marry my best friend in front of the people I love and to have been blessed with such a beautiful day!

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Believe me when I say I understand wanting everything to be perfect, and if you have planned well or hired a wedding planner then most likely it will be. But just like you, your vendors, wedding planners, chefs (everyone involved with your wedding) are human and are all capable of making mistakes. Let’s face it, technology can fail, accidents happen, and it might even rain, but if your focus is on marrying the love of your life then nothing else will matter.

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So my advice to all brides is to not sweat the small stuff! Seriously! Try not to let the few minor incidents, unexpected situations or planned moments that don’t happen keep you from enjoying your big day. You don’t want to later regret spending time focusing on something that no one will even notice or remember.

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CHOOSE to enjoy all the moments of your wedding day, on the day and after it’s all over. Even if the cake falls on the floor, the power goes out, the special heirloom Champagne flutes get lost, try to focus on the fact that you are married. And think of all the great memories that were made!

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Written by:  Lauren Allen, Director of Sales and Marketing

Should You Consider a Brunch Wedding?

We know that Saturday evenings are the most popular time to host a wedding, but it definitely isn’t the only option. Couples are choosing weddings every day of the week and all hours of the day. Here are some reasons to forgo the evening event and consider a daytime wedding for your special day:

Food & Beverage

Brunch weddings open the doors to a variety of non-traditional wedding foods. Imagine serving your guests sweet and savory items like stuffed French toast, quiche, migas, pastries, or pancakes.

http://www.whitneyleephotography.com/

Image Via Whitney Lee Photography

For a daytime wedding, you can also serve light and fresh bar options like Champagne, Mimosas, and Bloody Mary’s. These classic drinks are crowd favorites and cost less than the Full Bar alternative.

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Lighting

Yes, everyone loves a sunset, but morning weddings have their own special beauty. Daytime weddings highlight the natural surroundings of an outdoor wedding.

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Image Via Whitney Lee Photography

Daytime Gazebo Wedding_Ron Parks

Image Via Ron Parks Photography

Cost & Availability

Many venues will offer special rates for daytime events. Also, the cost of the brunch food and beverage options mentioned above tend to be less expensive than their dinner counterparts. If you are trying to stay within a specific wedding budget, considering a brunch wedding can really help.

Availability is also a big concern for brides, as many venues book peak dates far in advance. Being flexible to a daytime event will increase your chances to get your desired day, weekend, or month.

Time to Relax After the Wedding

Many couples rush off for their honeymoon the morning after their wedding without much rest after the late night of partying and drinking. A brunch wedding gives you a unique opportunity to relax, spend time with your new spouse, and wake up the next day refreshed and happy. After the daytime wedding, you can enjoy a romantic dinner together, lounge around in your hotel room, and prepare last minute items for your honeymoon.

 Drink with Lake Background

Image Via Iguana Grill

Some Vintage Villas couples even choose to plan activities with close family and friends after their daytime wedding, like golfing or even renting a party boat.

Party Boat

Image Via Just For Fun Rentals

Brunch weddings can be just as beautiful and fun as evening weddings (with some added benefits). Please share your comments and experiences below if you’ve had or are considering a brunch wedding.

Written by:  Samantha Botello, Wedding Sales Manager

Winter Weddings

Winter is quickly coming!  As fall weddings are coming to an end, winter weddings are just about to start.  I love winter weddings because they are so beautiful and cozy.  If you’re having a winter wedding, then here are some great ideas for you to consider as your day quickly approaches.

For your bridal gown, long sleeves are a great idea.  They will help to keep you warm and make you look elegant.  And no, you won’t look like your mom on her wedding day if you wear sleeves.  There are some great dresses out there with sleeves.  However, If you don’t like sleeves, consider a cute jacket or coat to help keep you warm.  There are lots of great selections out there.

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A winter bouquet can be full of beautiful winter colors or all white.  I love both!  White is so pure and peaceful to me while a bouquet with some colors has a more fun tone.

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Boutonnieres and corsages also help to add some light to your wedding.

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Your cake is another big part of your wedding day.  Every bride wants a beautiful cake that helps carry on the theme of her wedding.

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Centerpieces really help make a wedding over the top beautiful.  They help to add life and color to the whole room.

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If you’re having assigned seating maybe consider these for your escort cards.

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And last but not least, favors are a must.  They are a way to thank your guests for coming and celebrating your special day with you.  There are many great winter favors out there, but here are just a few.

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Have fun planning your winter wedding!

Written by:  Mary Gividen, Wedding Sales Assistant