Meet the Chef

Chef & Cartoon

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

5 Things to Discuss with your Potential Wedding Venue

We understand that most brides aren’t professional event planners and may not know what to ask when shopping for a wedding venue. Here are 5 topics to consider and discuss before visiting wedding venues:

1.  Availability – We suggest being flexible with your wedding date until you find a location. However, if your heart is set on a particular date, make sure you check availability up front. There is no sense in falling in love with a venue that won’t work for your schedule.

2.  Capacity – Make sure the venue has a space to match your guest count. You don’t need a grand ballroom for 40 guests, and there is no way to squeeze 400 guests in a space that is meant for 200.

3.  Cost – Ask for a cost estimate. It is easier to see if a venue will fit into your wedding budget when you see the total cost. An estimate should include any or all of the following: facility rental, food, beverage, coordination, sales tax, service charge, and other applicable services and fees. Make sure to also ask about required minimums and if certain dates may be less expensive than others.

4.  Amenities & Services – Find out exactly what you get for your money. (i.e. catering, tables, chairs, china, linens, centerpieces, sound system, etc.) Every venue will include different services and amenities. Knowing exactly what is included (and not included) will help you finalize your total wedding budget.

5.  Rules & Restrictions – These will vary from venue to venue. Restrictions may apply to décor, vendor selections, music, time blocks, food, beverage, and more. Don’t just assume that the sky is the limit; make sure you ask up front.

Written By:  Samantha Botello

The Highlights of Austin

Are you or any of your wedding guests new to Austin?  Do you need ideas of fun activities to participate in while here for the weekend?  Well look no longer!  Here are some great ideas of places to go, see, and eat while here in Austin.

There are many fun water activities here in Austin.  Lady Bird Lake is a great place to go if you like to kayak, canoe, paddle board, paddle boat, and much more!  You can also take your whole wedding party on a boat ride either at Lady Bird Lake or Lake Travis where you can enjoy the view without the work.

 

 

 

 

 

Via Rowingdock.com

Barton Springs Pool is another great place to go when the weather is hot.  It is a fun place to swim for all ages.

Via Texasoutside.com

 

If you want to travel a little outside of Austin to go swimming, Hamilton Pool is the place.  With just a small hike in, you arrive to a new world.  Hamilton Pool has the feel of a beach mixed with a beautiful waterfall.  It is a great spot to swim and soak up some sun.

Via Texasoutside.com

Volente Beach is another fun place.  At Volente Beach, adults can eat and drink while children can play at the water park.  It is a great place for everyone!

Via Google Images

If you do not feel like getting wet, there are many things to do downtown that do not involve water.  One fun activity is to walk on the paths on either side of Lady Bird Lake.  While walking, you can see the lake (and sometimes turtles swimming on the edge), beautiful trees, the city buildings, as well as many others walking and having a great time.

Via Freeaustinfun.com

The State Capitol Building it a great tourist attraction.  You can join a tour or go explore the capitol yourself.

Via Brandonseidel.com

6th Street is also a great place to go, especially on weekend evenings.  If you love music and bars, then it is the place to be.

Via 6street.com

You can’t miss taking a classic picture by the “I Love You So Much” wall on Congress Avenue/James Street.  It will make for an unforgettable picture that you and your friends will love.

Via Endlesscanvas.com

If you thrive on adventure seeking activities, zip lining over Lake Travis is the outdoor activity for you!  Although it is not downtown, it is a blast and a fun adventure.

Via Ziplaketravis.com

Lastly, Austin is known for its bats.  Between the months of March and October, thousands of bats fly out from the bridge on Congress Avenue at dusk.  I guarantee it is nothing like you’ve ever seen before.  This is definitely something you do not want to miss out on.

Via Google Images

As you can see, Austin has some great activities to participate in.  However, after a while you might get hungry and need a place to eat.  Well you’re in luck because Austin has some great places to eat as well.  The Oasis is a great restaurant that is located near Vintage Villas.  It overlooks Lake Travis and is a great place to eat while seeing Austin’s beautiful sunsets.

Via The Oasis

Steiner Ranch Steakhouse is another great place to eat that is located close to Vintage Villas as well.  They have delicious steaks and much more.

Via Steiner Ranch Steakhouse

Austin has many great food trailers to eat at downtown.  They serve Mexican food, burgers and fries, dessert, and much more.

Via Food Truck Austin

Last, but not least, Hopdoddy is an amazing place to eat.  The line can be long, but if you love all-natural and homemade burgers and fries then it is the place to go.  They have amazing drinks as well.  You will not be disappointed.

Via Hopdoddy.com

Have fun exploring Austin with your wedding guests and make sure to check out some of these ideas.  Enjoy the Texas Hill Country while you’re here!

 

* Make sure to click the link below each picture to view the photo credit as well as the picture itself for more information.

Written By:  Mary Gividen

Spring Weddings

Spring is here!  I love spring because it is full of beautiful colors, blooming flowers, fresh fruit, and new life.  It provides many beautiful ways to decorate, especially for a wedding.  In every wedding, no matter what time of year, every bride always plans details, details and more details to make her wedding perfect.  So here are some ideas to add the beauty of spring into the little details of your wedding.

 

To incorporate spring into your hair, try adding some flowers or fresh herbs.  A flower or herb garland is beautiful.  However, if you do not like garlands, try pinning just a few flowers into your hair.

         

We all know that every bride wants a beautiful cake.  Having a beautiful cake is one of the most important details of your wedding day.  Fruit and flowers look beautiful on any cake and help to bring out the colors and beauty of spring.

          

Another important detail of each wedding is the decorations.  Whether decorations may be on the dining room tables, sign-in table, present table, or anywhere else, they are very important and help to truly make your wedding perfect.  To bring out that spring feel, try decorating with bird nests.

 

If you want to use candles as part of your decorations, try a beeswax candle or perhaps tie some flowers or herbs around your candle.

         

As far as centerpieces for dining room tables, fill a large bird’s nest with spring flowers or maybe even use fruit as your centerpiece.

           

To help each place setting have a spring tone, try using a pastel napkin and tying some flowers or herbs on top.

Last, but not least, wedding favors are another important aspect of any wedding.  It is hard to think of cute and unique wedding favors that your guests will enjoy.  If you need ideas for cute spring favors, try some of these ideas.  Flower pins can be worn by your guests during and after your wedding.  They are reuseable and crafty.

Flower or herb seeds, are a fun way for your guests to make their home bloom and they are eco-friendly.

Another fun idea is finding any box, adding a beautiful flower on top, and filling it with your favorite candy.  Your guests will love the box and of course the sweets inside.

Lastly, honey and jam are unique and tasty favors that every guest would love.  If homemade jam is too much work, buy jam at the store and put it into small jars with a homemade label and cover the top with spring fabric.

         

Enjoy planning your spring wedding and hopefully some of these ideas will be useful!

Written By:  Mary Gividen