Going PRO vs. DIY

Although do-it-yourself weddings have occurred for decades, Pinterest, the economy and the “trend” of DIY has taken weddings to a new level; sometimes to a level I personally do not understand. Don’t get me wrong, literally putting your own personal touch on some aspects of your wedding can be charming and add sentimental or unique value. However, when you are considering “doing the wedding yourself” instead of hiring professionals, think twice.

I understand if you are thinking, “I’m on a budget and I’m not sure if I can afford professional vendors.” But know that there are more wedding professionals than ever willing and ready to assist you. Also, if you think that doing things yourself will save you money, the end results might cost you more (both financially and emotionally).

Take a look into the following vendors and see why hiring a wedding professional may be money well spent:

Food/Cake: People love to rave about a good meal, and love to complain about a bad one. Either way, your guests will remember the food. So while asking your mom to cook your favorite dishes or your aunt to make your cake may seem like a way to make things personal and save some money, the food and the cake are best left to the professionals. A caterer will know what foods are best served in which season, how to accommodate guests with dietary needs or restrictions, and how to cook on a large scale for an event with many guests. A baker will ensure the cake not only tastes great but looks great too!

 Photography: These days everyone knows someone with a quality camera and a good eye. But before you agree to let your mom’s friend or your neighbor take photos on your big day, remember that there are advantages to hiring a photographer. A professional won’t know anyone at the event, so they won’t be socializing and potentially miss important moments. A photographer will also understand where the lighting is best, what time of day is the best for different kinds of shots, and will think to get different shots that a family friend might not consider. Your wedding photos will be treasured forever, so consider hiring a pro to capture your special day.

Music: It’s certainly inexpensive and easy to make a playlist on your iPod. But a band or a DJ has a presence, and is there for the opportunity to add another layer of warmth, personality, and vibe to your wedding. Asking a friend to manage the music and make the announcements is asking them to work and not enjoy your wedding. A DJ or Band MC can take requests, set the pace of the event, and change the types of music they’re playing based on the mood of the crowd—your iPod can’t.

Flowers: Deciding to have flowers or not or choosing to have real ones or fake ones is a no-brainer. Even if you want to limit the amount of flowers at your wedding, definitely go with real ones. Fake flowers are just that…fake. They are not as pretty, do not have that sweet fragrance and do not represent such an honest and pure day. Also, if you are having an outdoor wedding, real flower petals are biodegradable, where wind blows “silk” petals everywhere leaving the grounds littered. Hiring a professional florist will save you precious time on the day of your wedding too. Picking up flowers, cutting them and arranging them might seem like a good idea, until your big day comes and you find yourself rushing to get dressed, wanting to spend time with your bridal party and starting to stress.

Planning/Coordinating: Sure, you’re organized, you know exactly what you want, you like being in control, and you enjoy the planning. But whether you choose to have a planner for the entire duration of the wedding, or a day-of coordinator, professional help can mean the difference between an event that feels handmade and inviting, and an event that feels rushed and disorganized. A coordinator dedicates themselves to making sure you and your fiancé are happy, that the event will look as good in real life as it does in your head, and ensures that the end of your wedding is perfectly wrapped up nice and neat. Having a planner will allow you to be worry-free and truly experience your wedding day.

Your wedding is possibly the one and only opportunity that you will host the largest celebration of your life with the people that mean the most to you. So why not treat yourself and your loved ones to a stress-free time with great food, amazing service and quality products provided by professionals? After all, it is your wedding day!


Written by:  Lauren Allen, Director of Sales and Marketing

Meet the Sales Team

At Vintage Villas we host events for every occasion from weddings to corporate meetings to birthday parties. Our sales team is here to help you plan and execute the perfect event. That being said, I thought I would take some time to introduce you to the ladies who help make it all happen.

Lauren Allen, Director of Sales & Marketing

Lauren has been at Vintage Villas for 8 years. She started as a Wedding Sales Manager and was later promoted to Director of Sales & Marketing. However, she still assists brides with their weddings, rehearsal dinners, and brunches.

Lauren Allen- WM

On a personal note, here are some Fun Facts about Lauren:

Favorite Color: Coral

Pet: Peanut (Shih Tzu)

Favorite Sport: Watching- Basketball / Participating- Yoga

Hobbies: Riding Bikes with my husband and two year old, Watching Movies, Spa Treatments

Samantha Botello, Wedding Sales Manager

Samantha joined Vintage Villas four years ago as a Wedding Sales Manager. She helps couples choose their wedding location, select food and beverage options, and plan other wedding events like dinners and brunches.

Samantha Botello- WM

Fun Facts about Samantha:

Favorite Color: Green

Pet: Lola (Pomeranian)

Favorite Sport: Longhorn Football

Hobbies: Billiards, Knitting, Travel, Movies

Erin Todd, Wedding Sales Manager

Erin started as a Sales Assistant at Vintage Villas almost 3 years ago and worked her way up to Wedding Sales Manager. Along with Lauren & Samantha, she helps couples with their weddings, rehearsal dinners, and brunches.

Erin Todd-WM

Fun Facts about Erin:

Favorite Color: Benjamin Moore Shaker Gray

Pet: Ozzie aka Nugget aka Ozzman (Long Haired Dachsund)

Favorite Sport: Well I’m forced to “enjoy” football, but I’ll go with yoga.

Hobby: Traveling to far, far away beaches.

Mallory Voorheis, Corporate & Social Sales Manager

Mallory has been at Vintage Villas a little over a year. As the Corporate & Social Sales Manager, Mallory handles any and all non-wedding related events. Whether it’s a business retreat, bar/bat mitzvah, or family reunion, she can help you plan the perfect event.

Mallory Voorheis- WM

Fun Facts about Mallory:

Favorite Color: Pink!

Pets: Tember (Border Collie, 15yrs), Abby (Jack Russell, 7yrs), Carrera (Pomeranian, 5 months)

Favorite Sport: To Do – Dance, To Watch – College Football

Hobbies: Wine & Hot Tub, ATV’ing, RV’ing / Camping, Laying on the Beach!, Spa Treatments

Mary Gividen, Sales Assistant

Mary has been with Vintage Villas for almost a year. If you call or visit the sales office, Mary will be happy to greet and assist you. In addition to working in the sales office, Mary acts as a timeline coordinator to ensure that wedding receptions flow smoothly throughout the evening.

Mary Gividen- WM

Fun Facts about Mary:

Favorite Color: All autumn colors

Pet: Bear (Catahoula Leopard Mix)

Favorite Sport: I don’t like sports.  But I do love taking long walks with my dog and husband, hiking and kayaking.

Hobbies: Watching TV and being outdoors


Written by: Samantha Botello, Wedding Sales Manager

Photos by: Daniel C Photography

Welcome Gifts for Your Guests

Welcome gifts for your guests are a great idea.  A little bag full of goodies will make your guests wowed when they check in to the hotel.  Welcome bags are definitely not a must for your wedding, but if you have the time they are a lot of fun.

Some ideas of what to put in a welcome bag could be bottles of water, candy, cookies, snack food, a list of restaurants and local things to do or even an itinerary for the weekend (if you have one).  To personalize the bag a little more you could add a logo on the front with your new last name and wedding date or give your guests a reusable cup that is personalized to your wedding.  You could also incorporate things into the bag that reflect the area in which you are getting married.  For instance, when getting married in Texas, a bottle of specialty barbeque sauce would be great.  If you’re getting married in Austin then something to do with the bats on South Congress bridge, music or “Keep Austin Weird” would be great.  If you did choose to have welcome bags for your guests, we would be glad to hand them out upon arrival here at Vintage Villas.

There are many fun gifts you can put in your welcome bags to your guests.  Just be creative and have fun!

Written by:  Mary Gividen, Sales Assistant

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.


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!

Bridal E- photo 4 (2)

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.


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

Engagement Season is here!

Untitled Happy 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.


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:


Image via here

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.


Image via here


Image via here

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?


 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!


 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!


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