Guest Blog – Top Table Planner – Adam Leyton

| Weddings

Hey guys!  If you remember a few weeks ago, I did a blog on wedding apps.  Today, Adam Leyton from Top Table Planner is here to talk more about his app and why it’s a perfect app for many couples.  I can tell you that as I was working on the apps blog the other week, the first thing I told Amber (A Bride’s Story) was that this was definitely an app she needed.
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TopTablePlanner-Couple-Laptop

Arranging The Seating For Your Wedding Doesn’t Have To Be A Nightmare

The wedding seating arrangement is something that often brings about a feeling of panic for many couples.  Whether it’s complicated family politics that are to blame, or that fact that you’ve entrusted your husband-to-be with the seating arrangement and he’s left it right to the last minute, the seating plan is widely recognized as one of the hardest parts of planning a wedding.  It doesn’t have to be that way though, and by following a few simple rules you can have all your guests seated in no time!

Firstly, start early! You don’t have to wait until all your RSVPs are back to begin working out where everyone is going to sit. Most of your close friends and family are probably going to be coming anyway so you can work out where they’re sitting even before the invitations have been sent out.

The head table can often be one of the trickiest parts. Don’t feel you need to stick with the traditional head table layout though. There are plenty of alternatives, such as a sweetheart table for the bride and groom.  Seating close family can be tricky if you have parents who are separated. Asking parents to each ‘host’ their own table in front of the head table can work really well.

Next think about the obvious groups – wider family, groups of friends, co-workers etc. Once you’ve got them sorted, you’ll probably find you’ve got 75% of your seating arrangement done!

Try and think about people who may get on with each other – the meal is a long time to be sitting with someone you have nothing in common with. Always try and sit single guests with other people that they know, and never use it as an opportunity to try and play cupid. It’ll be really obvious and they probably won’t thank you for it! Tables that hold eight but a group of ten? This can leave a tricky ‘leftover’ couple to fit in. It’s worth asking your venue if they have one or two different sized tables. Alternately you may find that splitting the group into two 5s (or a 6 and a 4) opens up a solution.

Event decoration

Finally, using TopTablePlanner  is a great time saver. You can import your guestlist and start seating your guests straight away. Being web-based you can log in to your account wherever you are, on whatever tablet, laptop or PC and make changes.  Your account gives you 5 plans to save, so you can start again with a totally different version if you hit a block. Once finished, you can email a copy to your venue – much less stressful than scraps of paper!

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To get a feel for the software, just use the free trial – no login or signup is required. For personal use, a six-month account costs just $20 and includes five plans that you can rearrange as much as you need!

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Article written by Adam Leyton, Director at TopTablePlanner. After experiencing first-hand how complicated arranging the seating for a wedding can be, Adam developed and launched TopTablePlanner in 2007. Since then, the software has helped thousands of couples in over 100 countries with their seating arrangements.

Until next time, enjoy the spring weather and share the love on Facebook!

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A Bride’s Story – New Goals

| A Bride's Story

Hi guys!  I can’t believe that we are getting so close to Amber’s wedding.  The countdown has begun and with that, today’s blog deals with goals that a lot of people have, whether they are getting married or not.
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Week 19

Hello, friends!! Sorry for the brief hiatus, but a sinus and double ear infection had me down for the count last week! I am finally starting to feel better though and wanted to jump right back in! Here we are, eight months out from the big day and the biggest worry I have right now is one that most brides have…weight loss!

Every bride imagines herself at her ideal weight, with her hair and makeup flawless, the dress falling perfectly, and every photo looking like something out of a magazine. Every woman, at least deep down, knows that this will not likely happen. I am fully aware that I will probably wake up with a massive zit the size of Mt. Vesuvius on my chin and will have to rely on my bridesmaids to cover that ick up! However, there are plenty of things that I can start now to avoid some of those problems. With eight months, I figure that is more than enough time to work off the spare tire that comes from a fiancé that cooks far too well for me to be able to say no to a second helping!!

I figure if I put my goals out here in public than I have all of you to hold me accountable! I don’t have unrealistic goals, just the usual, about ten pounds and some muscle tone. My plan is to cut out soda (which for those of you that know me well, you know that is a massive undertaking), drink more water, and start by walking in the mornings and evenings. This brings me to my second (and frankly most important goal) to quit smoking. I know that I won’t be able to build up any stamina if I keep up my disgusting habit and know that Dan is more than ready for me to quit smoking! I have tried and failed to quit smoking more times than I can count, but I can’t think of any better reason to make it stick than starting my new life with Dan as a non-smoker.

I have hemmed and hawed about whether to share specifics of the progress and am still unsure if I will be doing that. Every woman has her own body issues, weight goals, etc. and I don’t want to make anyone (myself included) feel poorly for not losing what we think we should. One of my blogs each month will have some sort of recap of my progress, even if it’s just an overall breakdown of what I have been doing, not doing, or even struggling with. If anyone has any words of wisdom about either quitting smoking or losing a few pounds at home, I welcome any and all advice! I will point out that any regime I begin will have to be at home because all money right now is going to the wedding and I do not have a spare penny for a gym membership or a trainer!

Until next time, my friends!

Amber

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As Amber mentioned, please leave your words of wisdom in the comments.  They will be helpful not only to Amber but most of us.
Tomorrow’s blog is a guest blog by Adam Leyton, Director of Top Table Planner.  Top Table Planner is one of the wedding apps from our blog the other week.  And in next week’s vendor spotlight, we will talk to Charlotte Limo.

Until next time, enjoy some sun and be sure to share your love on Facebook!
Laurie

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SPOTLIGHT – CHILDRESS VINEYARDS, WEDDING VENUE

| North Carolina, Vendor Spotlight, Venues

Are you a wine lover? Are you looking for that perfect wedding venue that seems to have it all – vineyards, gorgeous buildings and lush grounds, and is located within driving distance of Charlotte? If so, let me tell you a little about Childress Vineyards.

Owned by Richard Childress, this vineyard features 72 acres of vineyards and produces more than 30 different wines including Classic house blends, premium varietals, a sparkling wine, dessert wines, Reserves, Signature Reserves and Muscadine wines.

Along with a full working vineyard that includes tours and tastings and an award winning restaurant “Bistro,” Childress Vineyards is also the perfect site for your corporate or social event.  With it’s Italian Renaissance styled winery and spacious banquet facilities, it can be host to your event whether it’s two guests or 300.

Today I sat down with wedding coordinator, Amy Parrish, to learn a little more about Childress Vineyards.

I know that Childress Vineyards is a working winery. What made you decide to go into the wedding business?

One look at this place and you can see why! It’s too beautiful not to offer to couples for their special dayJ. We are a winery first and an event venue second, but we have found through the years that the two pair perfectly together.

Childress Vineyards

What are some of the hurdles that come with running both a vineyard and a wedding venue that couples may not know about?

Not as many as you would think! Probably the biggest hurdle is the fact that we are open to the general public until 5pm, which prevents us from hosting weddings prior to 6pm on any given day. In a general sense, we always have to be mindful when working and scheduling events as much of what we do has to mesh well with the day-to-day business of our Tasting Room, Bistro and winemaking facilities.

What sets Childress Vineyards apart from other venues?

It has to be the scenery and uniqueness of knowing that this is a working winery.

What is your favorite area of the venue?

It’s definitely the Terrace. The view from here is simply stunning, especially at sunset.

Childress Vineyards at Sunset

How many weddings do you have in a weekend/month?

We can host as many as three weddings in one weekend with weddings taking place on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, as we only host one wedding per day. Typically throughout spring, summer, and fall we average 6-9 weddings per month.

What is your favorite part about the weddings?

Getting to know my clients, their families and friends. When you spend several months planning together, you tend to build some pretty strong bonds with folks. This not only allows us to exceed their expectations day-of, but also it also helps us to continue that relationship after the big day has passed!

Do you have a favorite fun story?

That’s a tough question! There have been so many great memories over the years here at Childress. But honestly, the first thing that came to mind is all the times we have dried ceremony chairs at the winery. Maybe it sounds silly, but to me it really shows dedication to the cause. The staff here are such good sports… I’m sure they wouldn’t consider this to be a “fun story” at all J. I am an avid believer in Plan A, NOT Plan B. There have been countless times where we have dried hundreds of ceremony chairs more than 3 times before the wedding begins. We’ve also moved lawn furniture and placed out ceremony chairs IN the rain because we just know in the bottom of our outdoor-ceremony-lovin’ hearts that right around the corner there’s some sunshine coming.

Childress Vineyards Foyer

What different packages do you offer your couples?

Currently we offer two smaller reception packages – one for 30 and less guests and another for 50 and less guests. These reception packages correspond with our Barrel Cave and Barrel Room rental options at the winery. Receptions with guest counts of 51-300 receive a full privacy rental of the Main Floor of the winery and outside grounds. Ceremony packages are also available inclusive of chairs, dressing areas, all set up/tear down, and a Plan B option in case of inclement weather.

How long in advance do you typically start working with a bride?

Typically, we start 6-10 months prior.

Do you provide someone dedicated to the couple on the day of the event to help them?

The event staff at the winery takes care of all set up, tear down, and food/beverage service. Day-of we are responsible for assisting with vendors and placing out all tables, chairs, linens, centerpieces, place cards, favors, programs, guest book, photos, etc.

Barrel Room

What size wedding is typical for you?

125 is a very average guest count at the winery.

What trends do you see with the current brides?

Last year seemed to be more neutral colors and pale hues; this year seems more bold and bright! We also are seeing a lot of mismatch this year and I am loving it.

If you could tell the brides one thing about your business, what would it be?

We really strive to under promise and over deliver in any way possible! If there is something we can do to make someone’s special day a little more beautiful, memorable, special… we will do our best to make it happen!

Finally, at Childress Vineyards, you host events other than weddings. What other events do you have at Childress Vineyards?

Pretty much anything! Birthdays, anniversaries, reunions, retirement celebrations, rehearsal dinners, corporate meetings, fundraisers, etc.

I hope you have enjoyed our discussion with Childress Vineyards today.  Want to know more about them and how they can help you with your event, be sure to follow her on social media:

Website: http://www.childressvineyards.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Childress-Vineyards
Instagram: https://instagram.com/childresswines/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/childresswines/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ChildressWines  

Don’t forget to share your love on Facebook!

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A Bride’s Story – Savannah Squares

| A Bride's Story

Hi guys!  For those of you looking for the next edition of Amber’s – A Bride’s Story, you get me instead.  Unfortunately, Amber is under the weather so I’m taking over this week’s blog.  I hope I do her proud.  Don’t worry, she should be back next week…lol.

In keeping with her wedding theme, I thought we would talk about how to get married in one of the many squares in Savannah.  Below is a list of 25 different squares in Savannah that would be a gorgeous setting for a quaint Savannah wedding.
- Calhoun Square Abercorn St. between Taylor St. & Gordon St.
- Chatham Square Barnard St. between Taylor St. & Gordon St.
- Chippewa Square Bull St. between Perry S.t & Hull St.
- Columbia Square Habersham St. between York St. & State St.
- Crawford Square Houston St. between Hull St. & Perry St.
- Elbert Square Montgomery St. between Hull St. & Perry St.
- Emmet Park Bay St. between Lincoln St. & E Broad St.
- Forsyth Park Bull St. between Gaston St. & Park Ave.
- Franklin Square Montgomery S.t between Bryan St. & Congress St.
- Greene Square Houston St. between York St. & State St.
- Johnson Square Bull St. between Bryan St. & Congress St.
- Lafayette Square Abercorn St. between Harris St. & Charlton St.
- Liberty Square Montgomery St. between State St. & York St.
- Madison Square Bull St. between Harris St. & Charlton St.
- Monterey Square Bull St. between Taylor St. & Gordon St.
- Oglethorpe Square Abercorn S.t between State St. & York S.t
- Orleans Square Barnard S.t between Hull St. & Perry St.
- Pulaski Square Barnard St. between Harris St. & Charlton St.
- Reynolds Square Abercorn St. between Bryan St. & Congress St.
- Telfair Square Barnard St. between State S.t & York St.
- Troup Square Habersham S.t between Harris St. & Charlton St.
- Warren Square Habersham St. between Bryan St. & Congress St.
- Washington Square Houston St. between Bryan St. & Congress St.
- Whitfield Square Habersham St. between Taylor St. & Gordon St.
- Wright Square Bull St. between State St. & York St.

Once you decide that you want to get married at one of the many squares, I would suggest a road trip and photo shoot.  Be sure to take pictures of each angle so you can plan where your chairs will go, where your aisle will be and where you will stand to be married.  You will also want to take pictures of where any statues and walkways are, as well as flowers and trees so that you know what will be in bloom for your wedding.  This will be important especially when planning your wedding colors and flowers.  Finally, be sure to look where your morning or afternoon sun is based on your wedding time.  You don’t want to be looking into the sun as you are saying your vows.

Once you have your pictures and have picked out your five favorites, then check out the Policies Report and Appendix.  This will breakdown each of the squares with regards to availability and capacity size.

After you have picked your square (have a backup in case yours is booked for the weekend you are looking for) you will need to fill out a public assembly permit.  There is a charge for renting the square and several forms and policies that you must follow. These policies are broken down based on topics of insurance, vending and alcohol permits, maintenance, etc.

The Leisure Services Bureau can handle your questions, requests, etc.  The Director’s Office number is: 912-351-3837

For pictures of some of the beautiful squares in Savannah, check out my Pinterest page.

Screenshot 2015-03-17 16.47.03

Until next time
Laurie

Enjoy the sunshine and Be Sure to Share your Love on FACEBOOK!
Be sure to check back tomorrow as we take a look at Childress Vineyards.

 

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Weddings – Must Have Apps

| Weddings

Wedding planning can be a very time consuming process. Whether you are planning on your own or hiring a planner, there are certain things you will need to provide.  In this day of the internet, smart phone and tablets, apps have been created to make your job easier. They do everything from streamlining your process, to keeping track of the money to staying social. Today, we are going to take a look at some of these apps and what they do.

@laurie_louis instagram

INSTAGRAM:
One great way to look at your wedding after the fact is to use Instagram. Create a hashtag just for your wedding and let your guests know it. Ask them to post throughout the day and then go back and look at the pictures after the wedding. Modern day’s answer to disposable cameras.  #bride&groomwedding
* Here is a hint: Create a business card size – social media card to go in your invitation with your hashtag, Instagram feed and website.  That way your guests can follow too.

LaurieLouiscom Pinterest

PINTEREST:
One of the first things I ask my brides when we meet is:  Do you have a Pinterest board with ideas of what you are looking for?  If they tell me no, I suggest they set up several and start playing:  Dresses, bridesmaids dresses, color inspiration, theme inspiration (rustic, nautical), flowers, cakes and invitations.

POSTABLE:
When I was looking at wedding apps, this turned out to be one of my favorites.  If you are like me, you have all your friends email addresses but finding their snail mail addresses is another story.  Postable makes it easy.  They give you a link to email out to all of your friends, who in turn, click on a link and fill out their own address.  Postable organizes it into a neat file that is even exportable.

THE KNOT WEDDING DRESS LOOKBOOK:
Everyone knows that all eyes are on the bride on her wedding day, which means that finding a dress is one of the most important items for a bride.  But, if you are anything like my friends that are currently engaged, they work full time and have busy schedules. This app allows you to look at dresses during your down time. All you need is a smartphone.  Then, you can bookmark your favorites and start calling your local bridal shops to go visit.

TABLE PLAN SOFTWARE

TOP TABLE PLANNER:
Once you have everyone’s name in your database, it’s time to figure out where they are going to sit at the reception.  This app lets you import your list and then drop and drag the names as you get your RSVP’s.  You can adjust the table size, indicate the meal preference and add other room elements. There is a nominal fee for this application but it does have a free trial.

VYCLONEVYCLONE:
It’s your wedding day and you spent your money on a great photographer instead of a videographer, what do you do.  Tell your friends and family to download this app.  It aggregates all your guests’ wedding videos and puts them together into a seamless video. If you are the creative type, you can even add a soundtrack to the video and edit the reel.

Along with all these different apps, be sure to check out the local magazines in your area. Most major markets have wedding magazines in print and online.  They can help with local vendors as well as trends in the market.

Until next time, stay warm and be sure to share your love on Facebook!
Laurie

 

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A Bride’s Story – Cash vs Open Bars

| A Bride's Story

Hi guys!  I can’t believe that we are getting so close to Amber’s wedding.  This week’s blog is a subject that I bet people don’t think about until the last minute.

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Week 18:

Happy Wednesday, friends!! I feel like I say this every single week, but it’s always true…time is flying by! Closing in on the 8 month mark and we just got the final email for the chair rental for the ceremony and are pretty much down to finalizing centerpiece options, getting our rings, and fitting the guys for their snazzy clothes. If you have anything you need to rent-any type of chairs/tables/etc. check out Host South. They have been awesome to deal with and are so nice! 

As promised last week, I am going to talk about cash vs. open bars. As stated many times throughout my blog, every wedding is different and only you and your fiance can decide what is best for you, so these views are strictly my own. 

As someone from the North, cash bars are really not an option. I was raised that cash bars are tacky. For any other bride with a destination wedding, I will say this: you are already asking your guests to pay for travel and accommodations, gifts and/or cash, and walking around money if they’re staying more than a day. Asking them to pay for their drinks at the wedding as well, is a little short sighted. I know (trust me) how expensive weddings can be, specifically the food and beverage part, but you should only be planning on doing this once, so throw the party you deserve! If you’re on a tight budget, it is most certainly a place to save money, there is no doubt about that, but make sure that you’re guests know that. I would suggest letting someone close, family or bridal party, spread the word. 

If you and/or your family are not drinkers, for religious reasons or otherwise, then clearly I am not talking to you! I would say this is for those sitting on the fence, having an open bar for a few hours and then switching over to a cash bar is acceptable, but the vast majority of guests go to a wedding expecting to have some great food, drink (we’re all friends here, so let’s be honest) to excess, and party down on the dance floor  to celebrate your union! 

As long as you let guests know that it will be a cash bar, most will completely understand. There is nothing worse than going to a reception with no prior knowledge and walking in with no cash on you!! If it is really coming down to dollars and cents, consider doing beer and wine only and foregoing liquor. Places will charge up to double the dollar amount per person by adding liquor. Another alternative to think about, that has become very vogue now is having 2 signature cocktails and strictly beer and wine other than that. Two – of course – so the bride and the groom can both be represented. If you add a little cranberry to your choice, you have a ready made Blushing Bride! Feel free to have fun with the drink names too, it’s your day! 

I hope that this was helpful and more importantly, I hope that no one was offended by my viewpoint. It is just that…mine. Your wedding/your choices. Don’t let anyone (especially some ding dong with a blog) sway you! 

Until next time, friends!
Amber 

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If you like the idea of the signature cocktail like I did, be sure to check out – The Knot’s Signature Cocktail Finder for your own ideas.

Be sure to check out tomorrow’s blog about Wedding Apps.  I had no idea until I started researching this blog that there were that many out there.  And in next week’s Vendor Spotlight, we will take a look at Childress Vineyards.

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SPOTLIGHT ON: WinMock at Kinderton, Venue

| North Carolina, Vendor Spotlight, Venues

WinMock

I am so excited to tell you about WinMock at Kinderton today.  Located nine miles west of Winston-Salem and less than two hours from Charlotte, WinMock is a great event venue.  I had the opportunity to talk to Rebecca Kearns, Director of Weddings and Social Events for WinMock and once I heard the story of this venue, I fell in love.  If you are looking for a historic venue with a little bit of elegant, rustic feel, I think you will fall in love too.

How did WinMock come to be?  What’s the backstory?

Named for its location, nine miles west of Winston-Salem and nine miles east of Mocksville, WinMock at Kinderton survives from the estate built by S. Clay Williams, a former president of RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co.
During its prime, Win-Mock Farms was one of the largest dairies in North Carolina with one of the biggest and best herds of Red Poll cattle in the country. It was said that Mr. Williams was passionate about agriculture and ran the farm hands-on like a ship captain instructing every facet of the operation until his death in 1949.
After the passing of Mr. Williams, the Bahnson family purchased the property, operating 850 acres of the Win-Mock Farm and preserving its history until the late 1990’s when it was sold as part of a commercial development package.
Restoration of the historical property by Sterling Events Group began in November, 2010 with the intent to turn this extraordinary barn into an elegant venue for weddings, social functions, and corporate events.
WinMock, following months of intense renovations, opened in June, 2011 and now features a stunning, spacious Loft ballroom, multiple breakout meeting rooms, two private dining rooms, an executive boardroom and two outdoor terraces.
The historic property was added to the United States Register of Historic Places in December, 2010.

I’m glad that you brought up the National Registry, did that hinder any of the changes that you wanted to make to the farm so you could turn it into a wedding venue?

We have always considered ourselves stewards of this magnificent property and made it our priority to retain its historical integrity throughout the entire renovation process. The stipulations of being on the National Registry really helped to enhance the character of our property while still allowing us to incorporate those modern conveniences clients should expect.

What are some of the hurdles that come with running a wedding venue that couples may not know about?

WinMock is still such a draw as it has not even been open for a full four years yet. We feel that many of our clients find out about us from word of mouth, and it only continues to grow!

What sets WinMock apart from other venues?

Historic and elegant, WinMock at Kinderton is nestled in the peaceful town of Bermuda Run, North Carolina, just a short drive from downtown Winston-Salem. By design, our charming property housed in a historic barn is unlike any other and offers our guests several lovely venue options, including stunning indoor spaces and serene outdoor settings for all kinds of weddings.
While barn venues are quite popular in the south, we are set apart from most because we offer rustic elegance along with the modern amenities you should expect like on-site restrooms and, of course, heat and air!

You have two different outdoor venues and the Granary.  Which one seems to be the most popular for couples?

The two outdoor venues, the East and West Terraces, work well with the main barn where our signature space, the Loft, is located. The main barn is ideal for our larger weddings and events, but the Granary is perfect for smaller celebrations!

 

 

What is your favorite area of WinMock?

My personal favorite area is our smaller venue, the Granary. While both the main barn and the Granary have gorgeous features all on their own, the Granary is intimate and extremely cozy!

 

WinMock Granary

 

How many weddings do you have in a weekend?

On a busy weekend, we could possibly have up to six weddings per weekend!

What is your favorite part about the weddings?

Goodness, how do I choose?! I love seeing most how our sweet brides and grooms put their own personal style and taste in our barn for their very special day!

 

 

Do you have a favorite fun story?

Each event has its own unique aspects and special moments – I couldn’t possibly pick just one.

What different packages do you offer your couples?

We currently offer two different packages—the Inclusive and A La Carte.
The Inclusive offers the maximum value by including the rental of WinMock plus complete food and beverage service along with event rentals like linens, china, flatware, and glassware.
The A La Carte offers our clients the option to handle all of the food and beverage coordination on their own by selecting vendors of their choice and working with them directly.

 

 

How long in advance do you typically start working with a bride?

As soon as our brides contact us we start working with them – it could be four months or even two years.

Do you provide someone dedicated to the couple on the day of the event to help them?

We actually provide several event hospitality staff members on event days! We want to ensure that our clients feel completely taken care of, so we have our on-site staff available before our clients even arrive to provide excellent service throughout the entire event.

What size wedding is typical for you?

We typically see weddings in our main barn between 150 and 250 guests, but we can typically accommodate nearly any size.

 

 

What trends do you see with the current brides?

Rustic chic is still going strong, gold and copper are trending, non-floral centerpieces make for a unique twist, and it seems that this year we have had a huge influx of fall wedding dates!

If you could tell the brides one thing about your business, what would it be?

I would love for all of our brides to know that we can easily create tailor-made packages just for them and their special day—whether there is a specific menu item request, décor dream, or wedding vision, we would love to help!

Want to know more about WinMock at Kinderton, be sure to follow them on their social media:
Website:  http://www.winmock.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/winmock
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/winmock
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/winmock

Don’t forget to share you love on Facebook!

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A Bride’s Story – Gratuity

| A Bride's Story, Weddings

Hey guys!  It’s that time again and I have to say that I was reading Amber’s blog, I realized that I had never thought about her topic today.  I pride myself in learning from my father how to take care of my servers in a restaurant or bar but I never really thought about all the other different people that take care of you in a celebration like this. I hope you learn as much from today’s blog as I have.

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Week 17

Hello friends!! As some of you have surely noticed, I always write the week at the top of the blog and writing “Week 17” just now really bugged me out! It’s been 17 weeks since Dan asked me to be his wife and while it seems like time is flying by…it feels like we were just in Asheville yesterday!

As usual, I struggle with what to write about that I think will be helpful to the masses, but I think I have a good one this week. Gratuity! A lot of people take this for granted and assume that any service charges automatically go the serving staff and you’re done. Many places have a service charge on a bill (ranging anywhere from 18-35%), this is not guaranteed money for the serving staff that is taking care of you and your guests. Some places take a portion of the service charge for the “house” to assist in payroll, supplies, etc. and others do give it all to the staff. I would suggest reaching out to your venue and asking what their policy is and how it will be split amongst the staff. Throwing the servers at your wedding a little extra isn’t necessary, but it is a nice thing to do. Especially early on so that you take whatever impeccable service you were expecting and send it through the roof! When I reached out to my venue to ask their policy, they were pleased and shocked. I guess it doesn’t happen often and while I completely understand, it also makes me a little sad. As a bride, we have a zillion things to think about, but taking care of those taking care of us, should always be at the top of the list!!

Bartenders generally make their own separate wage (often times it’s a shift pay of $50 + tips) and don’t generally need to be tipped out more, but make sure that your guests are doing the right thing. As someone who has spent a good portion of her adult life behind a bar or serving tables, getting extra will always make them happier overall, even if it’s just $20. Most guests that have ever been to a wedding have learned that throwing a $20 (or higher) in the bartender’s tip jar at the beginning of the night will make sure the bartender remembers what you’re drinking and tossing a little more in every few drinks will nearly always guarantee that even if the line is long…the bartender will have your beer sitting on the edge of the bar for you. This is a tested and proven theory of mine at MANY weddings over the years!

As for other vendors, I have reached out and asked professional opinions on this because I haven’t done this before and wanted to be sure that I was giving you the correct information. If you are paying for a service (planner/florist etc.) a tip is not necessary, but if your vendor went above and beyond, feel free to reward the exemplary service. If they did exactly what was expected and you have paid them for their service, at least send a thank you note and write a review of the company on any site available. Just as you relied on reviews to choose your vendors, other brides will be doing the same. Help the vendor and help the new brides to be! If you aren’t sure about giving cash, but want to do something nice above and beyond the thank you note…consider a small gift. Whether you know that your planner cannot live without Starbucks or your photographer can’t get enough movies…find something that would mean something to them and however small, it will be appreciated. I hope that this was helpful and stay tuned next week when I discuss the bar: open vs. cash.

Until next time, my friends!

Amber

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Be sure to check back tomorrow as we take a look at WinMock at Kinderton.  A venue nine miles west of Winston-Salem, North Carolina and next week we will take a look at the different wedding apps that are out there today.

If you haven’t followed me on Instagram yet, be sure to check out our Follow-Me contest at a chance to win disposable coasters.
Until next time –  stay warm and Be Sure to Share your Love on FACEBOOK!

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Weddings – Appetizers

| Weddings

Appetizers seem to be a popular theme on my Pinterest feed this week so I decided to do my blog on Wedding Appetizers.  I picked five fun looking appetizers and two my friends and I started cooking, taking pictures along the way.  Disclaimer:  none of us are chefs and we aren’t professionals and shooting food…that would be my friend Taylor of Taylor Takes a Taste.  It turned out to be a great Girl’s Night! As a matter of fact, if you are getting married soon and trying to decide what type of food you want to have for your wedding, what better idea for a Girl’s Night then cooking some of the recipes your are contemplating and letting your friends help you pick.

For this week’s blog, we picked 5 recipes:  Ham Cups, Cheese Bacon Bombs, Mini Deep Dish Pizza, Taco Cupcakes and Fried Pickles.

wedding appetizers
I think the general consensus between the three of us was that the Taco Cupcakes were our favorites.  I found the recipe on the blog – The Girl Who Ate Everything.  The recipe calls tomatoes on top with sour cream but we used salsa instead.

IMG_0491

We learned the hard way with the Cheese Bacon Bombs that the dough expands, so we need to divide the biscuits up.  But aside from that, it’s bacon and everyone loves bacon.  A friend of mine told me after looking at the pictures that we needed to add chocolate.  We found this recipe on the site Oh Bite It.

Bacon Cheese Bombs

 

The Mini Deep Dish Pizzas came from the website Dashing Dish.  These were fun and very good but I don’t know that they are the best thing for a wedding reception or party.  They can be a little messy.

Mini Deep Dish PizzasWe found our Breakfast Ham Cups on Menu Musings of a Modern Mom.  This would be something perfect for a morning brunch the day of the wedding or the morning after. If we were going to make these again, we need to do a better job with the ham and putting it in the muffin tins.

Ham CupsThe final appetizer that we made was Oven Baked Fried Pickles.  We found this recipe on Food.  These were really good and since they were broiled in the oven, we didn’t feel as bad eating them.  We served them ranch dressing.

My original thought for this was to style a table for the shoot and do a cute menu design to go with it.  I ran out of time and energy but I promise next time we do this, I will do a better job with the pictures and styling.  Until then, try out the recipes above and be sure to let me know what you think.

Next week’s Vendor Spotlight will be WinMock at Kinderton, a wedding venue in Bermuda Run – right outside of Winston-Salem, NC.  Until next time – stay warm and don’t forget to share your love on Facebook!

 

 

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A Bride’s Story – Vendors

| A Bride's Story, Weddings

Hey guys!  It’s that time again and Amber’s blog today and I have to say that as I was reading it, I was going through my website in my mind saying…does my site do that, do I have that, etc. As some of you may notice from reading Amber’s blog, my site is currently a work in progress and things are changing daily.  I would love to know what you guys think.  As Amber’s blog says, my goal is to make my site user friendly for everyone, especially that new bride to be.

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Week 16

Hello, friends! I cannot believe how quickly time is flying by and yet the wedding seems so far away still! I have been trying to figure out what on Earth I still had to write about since the planning part has come to a standstill, but after doing some research online yesterday I thought I might blog for the vendors! I know that vendors (whether already working with Laurie or wanting to work with her) take a peek at this every now and then and there are some things that I think might be helpful for them. On the other hand…vendors may read this and thank their lucky stars that I opted for a Savannah wedding and they don’t have to deal with me! I hope it’s the former. J

While looking online for vendors, which every bride does regardless of in town or destination weddings, we look for key things. First and foremost, we want to meet you!! Most vendors have an “About Me” section on their site, but I have realized that a lot of them tell you about themselves and never say their name! I never thought about it until yesterday when I was searching for someone’s name and it was nowhere on the site. I also find it very fun when they pose silly questions (what’s your favorite movie, if you could be a shoe what kind would it be, etc.) and tell you something about themselves that is off the wall (I read one where a photographer said her friends referred to her as the Momarazzi). Everyone wants to feel a connection and that is hard to convey online, but being open about your quirky ways, how much you love your dog, that you have traveled the globe, or how you used to line your teddy bears up and make them say cheese…these are things that go a long way to make that connection. I don’t say this in a gimmicky way, be honest, and tell us something that makes us go, “OMG! I love the red M&M’s better too!” Most vendors try to do that, but to those who don’t…maybe it’s time to update the site. As a bride, I want a vendor to be courteous and professional, of course, but I am a loud and often ridiculous force of nature and want to work with people that will let their proverbial hair down and be silly sometimes!

Another thing that I have noticed and I don’t know how anyone lets it happen…make sure your website is easy to read! We all love the cute colors and backgrounds, but if you have a dark brown background, you cannot use black text. It makes it almost impossible to read and trying to highlight the text so I can find your email address is kind of exhausting. Have a navigable website for your future (and current) customers. The contact section should be simple: Address (at least mailing), Phone number (if you want), but most importantly an email address! Those online forms are super helpful, but sometimes a bride has 1 question that she would like to ask you before wasting any of your time to work up a quote! For example, some people want to make sure that a vendor is gay friendly or willing to travel, there is no reason to waste your time with all of the information that is requested on those forms if your answer is in the negative. Most sites use info@…, but a growing trend that I have seen and think is adorable is hello@… It gives it a personal touch! There is nothing wrong with the former, if you have that, I am not at all implying that you should change it or it’s outdated!! I am merely saying that if you don’t have an email address and are relying on online forms, it’s a fun alternative!

Finally, dear vendors, I would like to speak for all brides when I say this last bit. We know that you are the ones that make our weddings beautiful. You put in the blood, sweat, and tears to make sure that every centerpiece looks exactly the way we want it, even though we changed our mind 17 times…just yesterday. Even when deep down you may want to smack us over the head with that beautiful vase that we insisted had to be in the center of table 5, not table 7, because Nana is sitting at table 7 and Aunt Judy gave us that vase and Nana hasn’t spoken to Aunt Judy in 25 years because of the fruitcake incident, which we can’t talk about. You give us the memories that hang on our walls for years to come. You make the delicious cake that the family brings up after every wedding. You are the ones that keep us calm and grounded, when we threaten to call off the wedding or cry because how could 1 piece of chocolate put those five pounds back on? We know that without you and your beautiful visions, endless patience, and sometimes pure ingenuity…we could not have the best day of our lives go off without a hitch…at least as far as we know, because no one tells the bride when the caterer is late and the flowers are half dead and the DJ is wearing cut off shorts when he gets thereyou shield us from the chaos until it’s all over and you can tell us while we have a champagne buzz and are high on love and can laugh about all those things that went wrong and just say, “Thank You!” Thank you, vendors, for all you have done, are doing, and will continue to do…and we’re sorry. About Nana. And the indecision. And the meltdown. Ok, the meltdownS, we’re sorry for all of them!! (Mostly Nana though, she’s such a diva).

Brides—make sure you thank your vendors. Not just monetarily, but verbally, technologically…however you can. Let the world know that you have amazing vendors and your wedding would not have been as amazing without them!

Until next time, my friends!

Amber

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If you saw the food pictures on instagram yesterday, be sure to check back tomorrow as we discuss wedding appetizers.
Until next time – stay warm and don’t forget to share your love on Facebook!

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