Vendor Interview: Stephanie Barro, Bouquets of Austin

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One of my favorite parts of my job is working with all of our amazing recommended vendors. In order to highlight these vendors, we have decided to feature interviews on our blog. To start us off, we sent over some questions to Stephanie Barro, owner/designer of Bouquets of Austin, who has provided beautiful flowers to our clients since we opened our doors. Check out her responses below to some of our questions.

  1. How long have you been in the wedding industry? A little over 20 years.
  2. What is your favorite part of your job? Besides the obvious – which is working with gorgeous flowers every day – my favorite part of my job is the people that I get to meet, both clients and industry colleagues.
  3. Do you have a favorite flower? Having to choose a favorite flower isn’t fair because there are so many that I love! But I do have some favorites for every season: Spring – viburnum and lilacs; Summer – colorful hydrangea and garden roses; Fall – Oh fall…there are just SO many awesome berries and textures that I love in this season; Winter – this season is great because there’s the availability of some unusual blooms; I love amaryllis.
  4. How would you describe Bouquets of Austin’s “style”? Traditional with a twist!
  5. What floral trends are you currently seeing in the wedding industry and are there any trends you would like to see? As far as trends…I’ve seen the rustic/vintage trend declining and a ramp up of more “glam” weddings (think Gatsby). I would love to move towards more cocktail-style receptions with a few awesome, key elements.
  6. Where do you suggest brides should look for wedding inspiration? Besides the many traditional wedding resources that are available, I would suggest brides looking to home décor and fashion magazines, runway shows, and even architecture for wedding inspiration.
  7. Do you have any suggestions to help brides stay within their budget? Yes! It’s a part of my job to help my brides stay within their budget. They must be honest about their budget/expectations in order for us to assist them in providing them the very best elements/décor for their money!
  8. What is the one thing that you think every bride should know when choosing      wedding flowers? Flowers are very personal. They should choose flowers based on their own individual style – not just because certain flowers, colors, etc. are being done by everyone else. In this way, they can be sure that their wedding flowers truly reflect who they are.

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Interested in talking to Bouquets of Austin about your wedding or event? Contact them at 512.257.2395 or check them out online at www.bouquetsofaustin.com.

Written by: Samantha Botello, Wedding Sales Manager

Cocktail Hour Activities

Are you tired of the traditional cocktail hour and want to mix yours up?  Well here are some fun ideas of activities for your guests during that time.

Photo booths are a great idea.  Guests can have fun dressing up with different masks or hats and take fun pictures with others.

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It could also be fun to have a video camera set up so guests can leave a message or words of wisdom for you two to watch later.

Hiring a comedian for cocktail hour could be an entertaining activity for your guests.  I have never seen this idea take place at weddings, however, who doesn’t love a good laugh?  A comedian would be a great way to entertain your guests.

Having an “I Spy” card would be a great activity too (especially for the young ones).  You could list different things that they need to find at your wedding, such as a pearl necklace or a cake topper.

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Games can also be great entertainment.  Games such as Apples to Apples, Checkers or even Backgammon can help guests interact with each other and have a conversation starter.  Having couple trivia cards about the bride and groom would be a fun conversation starter as well.  Guests can mingle with each other while trying to answer each question.

Lastly, lawn games can be a fun activity in the cooler months.  Some ideas are corn hole, washers or blongo/ladder ball.  Both adults and children can have a blast with lawn games.

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Written by:  Mary Gividen, Wedding Sales Assistant

Kelly + Brent

This wedding is filled with unique personality and we just can’t get enough over here at Vintage Villas!

Obviously weddings are all about love, but sometimes they are transformed into pure magic by the people you choose to help showcase that love. Below are the experts, aka wedding warriors of this amazingly, fun love affair.

Wedding Planner: Becky with Pearl Events Austin | Officiant: Pastor Elroy Haverlah | Photographer: Matt Montalvo Photography | Video: 2nd Generation | Wedding Cake: Simon Lee Bakery | Groom’s Cake: Cakes, Chocolates and More | Rentals: Premiere Party Central | Floral: Flora Fetish | DJ: 1st Class Entertainment | Lighting: Intelligent Lighting Design | Flip Book: On the Flipside | Dessert Bar: Walton’s Fancy & Staple, Whole Foods, Delish, Elizabeth Street Café | Movie: Fun Flicks | Food Truck: mmmpanadas | Limo: Carey of Austin | Fireworks: Steve Wolf with Special FX International

During the cocktail hour guests enjoyed drinks and appetizers while the little ones enjoyed frozen hot chocolate. On the patio after dinner On the FlipSide was set up for everyone to create a custom flipbook, and on the Gazebo lawn all the children enjoyed a great movie set up by Fun Flicks.

To start the dance party off the bride surprised her groom with a flash mob dancing to the Harlem Shake. There were people in Gumby suits and props all dancing around the groom! Oh, and not to mention the amazing black and white checkered dance floor set up by Premiere Party Central.

At the end of the night the bride and groom drove away in style in their antique limo provided by Carey of Austin. How amazing are those fireworks!? Now that is a grand exit!

Matt Montalvo & Vintage Villas-15 Resized

Written by:  Erin Todd, Wedding Sales Manager

Fun, Festive, Family Reunions

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Summer is in full swing, for me this time of year sparks memories of family picnics, days at the lake, playing in the backyard with cousins and s’mores around a fire pit while catching fireflies in mason jars to end the sweet humid days.

Those were moments in life that everyone seemed to get along, even zany Aunt Sally was fun and mostly acceptable. It’s times like those that all members of the family had a great time. The kiddos had water balloon fights while the grams taught mom how to play cards and gramps schooled dad on how to grill the perfect steaks.

While we certainly can’t go back in time wouldn’t it be great to re-create those moments and build memories for the younger generations to reflect on for a lifetime? Wouldn’t also be great to have someone else do all of the cooking and cleaning?

Consider hosting a family reunion at a Vintage Villas! Imagine the family gathering for a private breakfast in the morning then heading to our lawn for a game of volleyball or cards on the patio where you can watch the little ones run around. Lunch is served before heading out to the lake for a chartered boat ride on Lake Travis. The evening ends with a great BBQ dinner and a build your own dessert bar in our beautiful Travis Room where you are able to watch the sunset over Lake Travis through the floor to ceiling windows. Following dinner it’s time to head to your private Villa where everyone can gather for storytelling and board games in the lobby.

The possibilities for activities in the area are almost endless. Everything from golfing, fishing, zip-lining, bounce houses, shopping, a trip to the spa and even hill country wine tours!

Our private Villas and event spaces, delicious menus, friendly staff and location make us a great choice for those who are looking to build memories for years to come. So starting planning your next family reunion and be sure to call us to play host, handle all the details, cooking and cleaning!

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

 

Meet the Chef

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Chef Steve and his look-alike Linguini from Ratatouille

Commonly referred to as “Chef” around Vintage Villas, our Executive Chef Steve Michalzik has been creating inspired dishes for our clients since 2004.

Chef Steve is a health conscious, easy-going, tri-athlete that often rides his bike to Vintage Villas from his home in South Austin.

He prepares menus ranging from authentic Texas Barbecue to an Asian Fusion cuisine that includes wasabi mashed potatoes. Yum! Steve is seasoned in accommodating your guests’ vegetarian and vegan needs and is attentive to anyone with dietary restrictions.

Clients and guests alike compliment our chef’s food on a daily basis and we never get tired of hearing the great feedback! Vintage Villas is proud to have “Chef” Steve Michalzik as an integral part of the team.

The food was so delicious. I received compliments the entire night about how good the food was! It not only looked delicious but it tasted amazing as well!” – May 25, 2013 Bride

Written by:  Lauren Allen, Director of Sales and Marketing

Should I Hire a Wedding Planner?

Jennifer Lopez

At Vintage Villas, many of our couples ask if they should hire a wedding planner/coordinator. Though it is not required, here is some insight into why you may want to consider hiring a wedding planner:

1.  You’re Too Busy – Let’s face it, you have other stuff going on besides your wedding – work, family, buying a house, having a social life, etc. Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. Wedding planners can help by taking on the time and stress involved in the wedding planning process. This will allow you to enjoy your engagement and go on living your life.

2. They’ve Got Connections – A wedding planner’s job is to ensure an entire event comes together so they have to maintain relationships with a variety of vendors and wedding professionals. They have the inside scoop on vendors based on actual experience, and they can connect you with vendors based on your specific needs or vision.

3.  They Know Money – Most brides have never planned a wedding before and have no idea where to start or how much things cost. Planners have experience working with a variety of budgets. They can help you prioritize where to spend your money based on the things that are really important to you. They can also give you a realistic perspective on standard industry costs.

4.  They’re Not Your Mother – When planning a wedding, you will get a lot of opinions from your family and friends. Some of these opinions may not fit into the ideal vision you have for your wedding, but it can be hard to disagree with your loved ones. A wedding planner can help this situation by being a third-party expert. They can offer insight and suggestions based on knowledge and experience rather than personal preference or opinion.

5.  You Shouldn’t Work on Your Wedding Day – There are a lot of little details to take care of before and after your wedding – setting up decorations, putting out favors, handling payments, gathering up gifts, counting rental items, and more. You may find yourself running around while your hair and make-up artists need you to stay still or your family and friends may be burdened with these responsibilities. A wedding planner can take care of everything so that you and your guests can relax and enjoy your special day.

6.  One Size Does Not Fit All – Planners can help as little or as much as you need. They have full planning services, day of coordination packages, and a la carte options. Whether you are just not that into the wedding planning process at all or you just need some help on the wedding day, they can create a package to fit your needs.

As an added bonus at Vintage Villas, we will waive our timeline coordinator fee if you hire a professional wedding planner.  Here are some of our recommendations:

Written by: Samantha Botello, Wedding Sales Manager

Dresses to Love

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I always love to see brides think outside the box when it comes to choosing the wedding party’s outfits. I absolutely adore feminine + neutral dresses for bridesmaids. These are just a few of my favorites from these online shops.

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Written by: Erin Todd, Wedding Sales Manager

10 Ways to Relax From the Stress of Planning Your Wedding

We all know that planning a wedding can be very stressful.  No matter how low key or top notch your wedding may be, there is still so much planning involved to make your day perfect.  As your wedding approaches, your level of stress will probably increase.  Therefore, it is important to find different ways to help yourself relax.  Here are ten ideas of ways you can relax:

photo via Spa at the Lake

1.  Have a spa day.  Find a spa and go get pampered with a massage.  Maybe even get your nails done!
2.  Yoga or meditation can help to free your mind of stress.
3.  Put on some comfy sweats, grab your favorite bottle of wine and some popcorn and turn on your favorite movie.
4.  Think of your favorite hobby and go do it.  Whether it’s only for an hour or a whole day it will get your mind off of wedding planning.
5.  Go on a drive down an open road while listening to your favorite music.
6.  Take some time to get outside and exercise.  You can walk, run, or even play your favorite sport.
7.  Put on your bathing suit and relax in a hot tub.
8.  If you like to journal, then set aside some time to write in yours.
9.  Sit down and enjoy reading a good book.
10.  Get some sleep.  We all know that the closer your wedding day comes, the less sleep you get.  So make sure you are getting the full amount of sleep your body needs.

Go relax and take your mind off of planning your wedding for a bit!

* Some of these relaxation ideas were borrowed from The Knot and Wikihow.  Visit these sites for more ideas.

Written By:  Mary Gividen, Wedding Sales Assistant

10 Things to Look for in a Meeting Facility

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When looking for a meeting facility you probably have a few keys things in mind. Surely, among the top would be things like price, location and room size. What about all the other little details? What makes one venue better than the other when it comes to the space your attendees, perhaps executives, will be in all day? I believe that a smooth and well organized event begins with the venue itself. The tiniest of details are important and can literally enhance or cripple your meeting. Consider these 10 things the next time you are searching for the perfect venue for your meeting:

Windows: Put yourself in the shoes of your guests, would you want to be stuck in a hole with no natural lighting all day going through facts, numbers, brainstorming, etc? If you do not have the option of having natural lighting, try to go with a space that is larger than you really need so that guests have plenty of room and don’t feel quite so closed in.

Outdoor or Private Space: Is there a space nearby the meeting facility where guests can step out to have a one-on-one session, answer a phone call or take a break? This isn’t necessarily a must have but will always be appreciated.

Electrical Outlets: Seems obvious that a space would have multiple outlets, right? Yes, they will, but what you will want to think about is if your guests will need access to them, i.e. will there be multiple guests who need to plug a laptop in? If so, are the outlets near meeting tables or in the ground that can be easily accessed?

Multiple Restrooms: Might sound silly to consider but imagine when your group will be taking breaks. Will they be short breaks that require your guests to be back to their seats quickly? If so, make sure there are multiple facilities near the meeting space. If not, ask your Sales Representative where others are so that you may point your guests in the right direction.

WIFI: ASK! Most places will have WIFI. What you really want to know is 1) the password, be prepared and have this information BEFORE the meeting begins and 2) is there a fee associated with the WIFI? Don’t be blind-sided the day of your meeting.

Parking: Is there adequate parking for all guests? If not, is there a parking lot or garage nearby with shuttle service (if needed)? Is there a fee associated with on or off site parking? The last thing you want is for an attendee to not have a space and then find themselves paying to park. If attendees will have to pay to park try to pre-arrange payment for them.

Location: Not only the physical location of the property but think of how your guests will reach the meeting facility. Will they be walking through a hallway, parking garage or outdoor area? Is there proper signage to direct guests?

A/V: Does the meeting facility have all A/V equipment you will need? Do they use a 3rd party? Make sure to think through each detail including extension cords, speakers, lighting, etc. If they use a 3rd party, ask for their information so you may speak with them directly.

Planner Room: If you are staying on-site but not attending the meeting, ask if there is nearby room that you can utilize as an “office”. Planners are typically the ones who have the agendas, packets, name badges, swag bags, etc. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a space that you can be organized for the day?

Hidden Fees:  These can be frustrating! Ask your Sales Representative to provide you with a list of fees to be expected, service charge, resort fee, WIFI, parking, etc. You will look like a rock star when you come in right on or under budget, knowing these fees upfront will help you stay on track.

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

Have You Planned for After Your Reception?

You’ve spent months planning your wedding, have possibly had a few good (and bad) dreams about tying the knot and most likely have spent more money than you originally planned. Then the day comes and it’s better than you could have ever imagined! The end of the reception comes quickly and your guests give you and your new groom a grand send-off. Now what? What happens to all of the little details that have made your day so uniquely yours? Who is responsible for taking your gifts, your extra cake, and the heirloom champagne flutes your grandparents toasted with on their wedding day???

During your wedding planning be sure to plan for after the reception. Delegate responsibility to your parents, bridal party and family members (choose those who will most likely be sober) to take your personal items after the send-off. We suggest hiring a professional wedding planner to gather your things, but still make sure you know where to find your guest book the next day along with the handkerchief your mom gave you to carry down the aisle. Remember that planning and organizing beforehand is one of the best ways to make sure your wedding day is smooth and stress free. Soak up every moment of your ceremony, enjoy all the details of your reception and ask your closest guests to help with the rest.

Top 10 items you’ll want to assign someone to take for you after your wedding:
-Guest Book
-Gifts/Cards
-Champagne Flutes
-Cake Knife & Server
-Extra Cake
-Extra Favors
-Extra Send-Off Items
-Unity Candle/Sand Ceremony Vases/Communion Glass
-Rental Items
-DIY Decorations & Pictures

Written by: Lauren Allen