Outdoor Weddings {Brazos Valley Wedding Planning}

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Let’s face it, you’re either the personality type who can handle an outdoor wedding ceremony and/or reception or you’re not. Yes, it is gorgeous. You have the purity of the natural beauty as your setting and you get to build on that when considering your wedding décor. But you also have mother nature as your guest of honor, who may or may not be in a cooperative mood.

If you are a bride who has always dreamed of an outdoor ceremony or reception and you know that you will not be satisfied until you find that perfect location, even if it is equipped with a questionable back up plan, by all means go outside! You have a 50/50 chance that you will get that perfect day that you have envisioned, and along the way, you will create and execute plans for “just in case”.

We have been very lucky the last few weeks to have been blessed with many inches of rain, mostly on Saturdays. That, of course, has made for some scrambling to put Plan B into place, quick drying of chairs as the rain stops 15 minutes before the outdoor ceremonies and a few nervous brides around the Brazos Valley. It has not, however, stopped anyone from getting married, having the most beautiful wedding of their dreams, and getting to celebrate and dance the night away with friends and family.

Most people think that rain is the main issue when planning an outdoor reception, but realistically it is a very small portion of what you will have to deal with when your big day comes. When planning an outdoor ceremony and/or reception, keep these things in mind to help you be prepared for what is to come.

12008_356Weddings by Crystal Littrell Photography

{Back Up Plan} – If it rains, what is your back up plan? That might be a tent, it might be another building on the property, it might be the same location as the reception with guests sitting at the tables, but you will need to have a plan in mind so that you can go to it if necessary. If it is a tent, find out what you need to do to get that reserved and what your final deadline is to reserve. If it needs to be a frame tent or pole tent. Decide on sides and flooring, and what you will do if there is a break from the tent to another building that guests will be in as well. If the back up plan is another building on property, can that building hold the ceremony and reception? Will you have to do a flip or can you have both set up in different locations? If your guests will sit at their tables during the ceremony make sure there is an aisle for you to make it down and that everyone is able to make it in out of the rain in some fashion.

{Wind} – Often the wind can be just as bad, if not worse than the rain! Keep the wind in mind when you are designing your table-scapes. Keep your centerpieces heavy enough to not be effected by large gusts and minimize what other pieces you have. Napkins may need to be weighted down by silverware, plates, chargers, or folded in a creative way to keep them in place. LED candles will be your best friend with the wind! Don’t try real candles, you will fight all night long. Table clips might be a consideration for your linens to make sure they don’t blow off the tables. You can also prop the chairs up against them to keep them in place.

{Bugs} – Most locations keep a very close watch on bugs year round to make sure they don’t have too many gnats or mosquitos as unwelcome guests during a reception, but it is always a good idea to bring some additional back up. Spray, candles, or clips can be good options, and you can ask the venue what methods they use and if they see any issues with bugs in the evenings. If there has been a large rain or there is a pond (which will provide a beautiful backdrop) you could have some extra “friends”. Keep in mind if you have your cakes, food or bar being set outside that the bugs will probably be drawn to these areas too due to the tempting sugar and alluring lights!

{Heat or Cold} – Let’s face it, this is Texas, so we can swing 50 degrees in a day at the drop of a hat. Keep heat and cold in mind and know what options you have with fans and/or heaters to be provided by the venue or rented by you and placed to make your guests (and yourself) comfortable. Large fans are great to circulate air for the heat, but “swamp coolers” are another good addition when it is extreme. Think about water or alternative beverages during the ceremony and options for shade if it is during the daylight.

Let me share with you three precious couples who made sure their days were covered in back up plans.

end of ceremony
Audrey & Glen were married in March at Astin Mansion in Bryan. They had a lovely spring wedding planned with an outdoor ceremony and reception. On the rehearsal day we had nice “springtime” weather with temperatures near 75 degrees. On the wedding day the temperature dropped to near 45 degrees and we had winds of 30 MPH. Plans changed. The ceremony was held outside with heaters to warm the guests and the once planned outdoor seating for the reception was moved indoors. The indoor seating gave Audrey and Glen a great opportunity to spend quality time with each guest at their tables while finishing dinner and was a nice intimate setting.

HeatherDustin007
Heather & Dustin were married in early October in a church and went to Royalty Pecan Farms for their reception immediately following. It was a beautiful, sunny day, but there was a little bit of a breeze when setting the reception! The guests tables and dance floor were all set in a tent and to keep the linens and napkins on the tables pieces were strategically placed and used as anchors. Heather kept in mind that wind can often be a factor at outdoor receptions when planning her centerpieces and made Plan A and B for everything that would be on the table tops.

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Lauren & Brant were married at Pebble Creek Country Club in a ceremony overlooking the golf course in August. An evening ceremony was planned, which seemed like a safe plan, until it was the hottest summer on the books. Five minutes before the wedding party was to walk down the aisle it was still well over 100 degrees. The ceremony was abbreviated and the guests were quickly ushered into the air conditioning to enjoy nice cold beverages and appetizers. The wedding party, bride and groom finished pictures like rock stars!

Come rain or shine, wind or storm, the show will go on. So, if you are a bride who has dreamed of that day being outdoors, keep these things in mind and keep and open mind. If you think it is too much for you handle on your wedding day, maybe battling Mother Nature is not your thing. Either way, your day will be perfect for you. Each wedding should.

xoxo

Brazos Valley Bridal Show Fall 2013

Each year the Bridal Association of the Brazos Valley (www.BABV.org) works diligently to produce two bridal shows. One in the Spring and one in the Fall. We have just finished the Fall 2013 Spring show, and had a blast! This year the venue changed from the College Station Hilton to the Brazos Valley Expo Complex Ballroom, and there were a few extra people in town celebrating TAMU vs SMU and most importantly Aggie ring day, which proved for a successful show.

All in all, there were a reported 148 brides, 392 attendees and around 75 vendors who exhibited. The bridal show is a day that anyone planning a wedding is able to get A LOT done…cake tasting, personality matching, design brainstorming, and discount registering! As a vendor, it is fun for us to get to see our clients, point them in the right directions and network with other vendors. I love that we live in a town where everyone is able to work together and not feel threatened by like businesses, and I hope it stays that way always!

For those brides who attended the show and left feeling a little overwhelmed, it’s okay, you’re not alone! Start sifting through your information and keeping that from the vendors that you felt that spark with. It might have been the picture that caught your eye, or that easy conversation that made you feel like you had known that person for years, but you know when you fit with someone. You won’t hire every person you meet, and that’s okay. You can slowly start making one on one appointments to sit down with those vendors and check things off your list. It can be a nice, easy process to make you feel comfortable.

For those brides who attended the show and walked out with all of your vendors booked, good for you! You are the type who knows what you want when you see it and doesn’t mess around! Start compiling your lists of vendors you will be working with and checking off which have been booked, when deposits are due and what you have left. You’ll be done in a flash!

We look forward to meeting our brides from the show moving forward and helping them pick out their rentals for their wedding, design their tables, and plan their weddings! Next year maybe we’ll take pictures of the brides coming through to share the different expressions and personalities. Until then, here are a few of the booths from vendors this year during set up.

Amazing Grace Photography
Amazing Grace Photography

xThe Hilton
College Station Hilton

xCakes by Blondie
Cakes by Blondie

VIP bridal
VIP Bridal

Unforgettable Floral
Unforgettable Floral

Traditions Club
Traditions Club

The Greenbranch
The Greenbranch

The Chocolate Gallery
The Chocolate Gallery/Ciana’s Cakes

Susan's Ballroom Dance
Susan’s Ballroom Dance

Perrine Winery
Perrine Winery

Paper Inkpressions
Paper Inkpressions

Moore Ranch
Moore Ranch on the Brazos

MediSpa
MediSpa, Makeup by Kim

K Norwood
k. Norwood Portraiture

D'Vine Cuisine
D’Vine Cuisine

Double Creek Crossing
Double Creek Crossing

Delight Studios
Delight Studios

Christopher's World Grille
Christopher’s World Grille

Booth Favors
Booth Favors

Aggie Football vs Wedding Day

I’m writing this blog during the calm before the storm, as we in Aggieland prepare to host the biggest football game (dare I say) EVER at Kyle Field. As those of you who are familiar with Bryan/College Station know, we “march to a different drum” when it comes to planning our calendars.

“I can’t have my wedding in College Station, in the Fall on a home game.”
“What time is the game? We will set the ceremony accordingly to make sure the wedding doesn’t interfere.”
…or one of my favorites…
“I HAVE to have a TV set up with the Aggie football game playing so that my guests can watch during the reception.”

Yep, it’s true, our lives here in the Brazos Valley revolve around our beloved university and the schedule of the football team. And we would have it no other way. Things took a bit of a turn when Texas A&M left the Big XII and became members of the SEC, which happened to be the same year as when “Johnny Football” made his debut. Who could forget November 10, 2012 when the Aggies defeated #1 Alabama. People around the globe fell in love with the heart and passion of that Aggie team and stayed on the edge of their seats as they watched #2 juke and jive his way to victory. And so the preparation for the 2013 Texas A&M vs Alabama game began for fans everywhere.

In the event industry in the Brazos Valley, we’ve seen a turn the last year of local events being held in the Fall amongst the football games. It used to be that it was frowned upon to have your wedding on a “home game” weekend, but this year people have gotten down right feisty when they hear that there is another “event” happening outside of Aggie Football. For those brides who have a wedding which falls on an Aggie football game, I’m sorry, you’ve had to hear this gripe a lot.

We’ve been season ticket holders for many, many years and have endured the good, the bad, and the ugly (in no particular order), and I am actually excited to say, we’re NOT going to the game! Nope, we’re going to a wedding. A wedding in a gorgeous location outside of the Brazos Valley, to unite our dear friends Macee & Cannon. Macee (a Sam Houston alum), has been a rock star on handling all of the heckling from the Aggies for having her wedding on THE GAME. For me, you really can’t get much better than this weekend. We’ll be surrounded by close friends, watching the game as we all get ready for the wedding, get to celebrate a great love with these two, and not have to fight the influx of visitors in BCS. So really, this bride would be the one who has it figured out, right?

The ceremony and reception site are in the process of being “built” right now in a field just down from Macee’s parents’ house and on Saturday everything will be adorned in coral, mint, gold and black and white stripes, and we just can’t wait! Check back for what we get to share about the wedding.

To the Aggies, BTHO Alabama! To Macee & Cannon, see you soon!

aggie football vs macee and cannon

xoxo

Here we are, 2013!

Welcome to new visitors, hello and thanks to all for stopping by the new website. We’ve been busy working on this during the summer, as well as keeping up with our fantastic clients and events. During 2013 we’ve gotten to work with so many creative, fun, loving clients and we are so thankful for each experience they’ve given us! We can’t wait to see what the rest of the year and 2014 will bring.

As we launch the new site, we pledge to keep our events on the blog! So, let’s start with the first wedding that kicked off 2013, Katie & Brantley Freeman. I loved every single second of the design process with Katie. Her creativity was always racing and her eye for style was superb! We used the natural wooden tables mixed with shantung satin for guest seating, repurposed wooden boxes and antique silver pieces for floral, grapevine balls to twinkle over the dance floor, doilies as chargers and placemats at the family tables, and monogramed anything that would stand still.

Wedding Date: January 5, 2013
Ceremony: First United Methodist Church, Brenham
Reception: La Bahia Hall, Round Top
Photographer: Crystal Littrell Photography
Florist: Moosefeathers
Caterer: Design II
Baker: Diana Glenz
Band: Josh Weathers

Katie & Brantley Weddings by Crystal Littrell PhotographyWeddings by Crystal Littrell PhotographyWeddings by Crystal Littrell PhotographyWeddings by Crystal Littrell PhotographyWeddings by Crystal Littrell PhotographyWeddings by Crystal Littrell PhotographyWeddings by Crystal Littrell Photography

Katie & Brantley, you guys are precious! xoxo

Looking for a start in the event industry…we need you!

If you, or someone you know, might be interested in joining our team, please stop by to fill out an application, email a resume to [email protected], or call and get a little more information.

Job Description

  • Hours – M-F 10am-5:30pm (37.5 per week)
  • General Duties:
    • Inside sales – linens, specialty tables, centerpieces, coordination packages, general décor – maintaining an overall inventory knowledge and pricing
    • Field calls/emails on general information regarding rentals, wedding planning, invitations, event design – general operations
    • Assist in the office side of event planning – booking vendors, constructing time lines and ceremony details, week of wedding prep, checklists, week of confirmations
    • Ring up sales for Sandee’s Sweets, answer questions about special orders, maintain general product knowledge
    • Put together estimates for clients on rental, coordination and design packages
    • Maintain knowledge of upcoming events and rentals, coordinate with clients for delivery/pickup/return
    • Occasional deliveries
    • Maintain the appearance of the showroom – cleanliness and product displays
    • Responsible for weekly scheduling for showroom and warehouse
    • Maintenance on existing accounts
    • Operate equipment as needed – washer, dryer, press
  • Needed:
    • General Office Skills
    • Communication (verbal and written)
    • Multitasking
    • Design Ability
    • Customer Relations
    • Ability to lift at least 50 pounds
    • Ability to go up and down stairs often
    • Valid Texas Driver’s License

Assistant Showroom Manager

Ashley & Co.
3122 Texas Avenue South

College Station, TX 77845
(979) 485-9802

 

In search of…Assistant Showroom Manager

Assistant Showroom Manager
Ashley & Co.
3122 Texas Avenue South, College Station, TX 77845
979.485.9802

If you, or someone you know, might be interested in joining our team, please stop by to fill out an application, email a resume to [email protected], or call and get a little more information.

Job Description

  • Hours – M-F 10am-5:30pm (37.5 per week)
  • General Duties:
    • Inside sales – linens, specialty tables, centerpieces, coordination packages, general décor – maintaining an overall inventory knowledge and pricing
    • Field calls/emails on general information regarding rentals, wedding planning, invitations, event design – general operations
    • Assist in the office side of event planning – booking vendors, constructing time lines and ceremony details, week of wedding prep, checklists, week of confirmations
    • Ring up sales for Sandee’s Sweets, answer questions about special orders, maintain general product knowledge
    • Put together estimates for clients on rental, coordination and design packages
    • Maintain knowledge of upcoming events and rentals, coordinate with clients for delivery/pickup/return
    • Occasional deliveries
    • Maintain the appearance of the showroom – cleanliness and product displays
    • Responsible for weekly scheduling for showroom and warehouse
    • Maintenance on existing accounts
    • Operate equipment as needed – washer, dryer, press
  • Needed:
    • General Office Skills
    • Communication (verbal and written)
    • Multitasking
    • Design Ability
    • Customer Relations
    • Ability to lift at least 50 pounds
    • Ability to go up and down stairs often
    • Valid Texas Driver’s License

Open House 07.30.2012

 

The time has finally come. One week from today we will be celebrating our new venture with colleagues, friends and family. It seems like it has been a long journey to get to this point, but at the same time like yesterday that Jeff and I were standing in the “new” building drawing out plans.

Come join us for our first annual Open House on July 30th from 4pm to 7pm and share in the excitement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q&A :: Interest in the Industry

I was contacted last week by Marissa Dalton, a student at Oklahoma State University, who is completing an assignment for her Business Communications class that requires an interview with someone in your profession. She, like many, is interested in pursuing a career in the wedding planning business upon graduation. She’s headed in the right directions with the questions she’s asked and will hopefully be looking to gain experience soon to put her ahead of the game!

As I was answering these this morning I thought it might interest a few others, either looking to get into the industry, or already here. I know some of you might have some opinions of your own, and want to share experiences….comment away if you feel the desire!

Q: What made you want to get into wedding planning?

A: I started in sports and corporate planning during an internship in San Francisco with a sports PR/planning firm. I was moved from PR to event planning within the first week and worked for them for about 6 months. I basically got thrown into wedding planning with the venue I was working for in 2004. I was actually very leery about it because, at the time, I knew nothing about weddings!

Q: What combination of education, experiences and skills did you need to get your job?

A: I have a bachelor’s in Ag Journalism with a PR emphasis, so this was not my plan during school! I have my professional wedding planning certification, but the experience I had before was much more pertinent. I have worked in the event industry for about 13 years and have been wedding focused for eight. I worked for a local venue for four years before starting my own company, An Affair to Remember. I have been an independent wedding planner for four years now and in April will open a showroom which will expand my business to include linens and boutique event rentals, Ashley & Co. I will have a team of coordinators who will continue the planning portion of my business and I will also coordinate for certain packages. Skill absolutely comes in, but follows experience I think. You need to have a sense of design but often that comes after getting comfortable with the situation first.

Q: Of those (education, experiences and skills), what do you rely on most often?

A: Experience by far out weighs education in this business because you can’t be taught how to deal with most situations. You have to be flexible, professional, compassionate and direct. You learn with each client and continue to broaden your knowledge with style, trends, details and design.

Q: How important are professional/personal connections?

A: Professional and personal connections are incredibly important in this business. Both relationships create great word of mouth referrals and help your business grow. Wedding planning is a very personal time for your clients, so you become more similar to part of the family than a business connection. Professionally you need to know different styles and personalities of those in your industry to better help your clients and help those vendors build their business.

Q: What are the upsides to a job like this?  Downsides?

A: When you are in this industry you love it. You know immediately if it’s not for you, so those who stay have a true passion. I love being the guidance that makes the wedding come together and the calm behind the scenes that keeps things in track. One of the best things about what I do on a wedding day is that I get to watch the bride, groom and families relax and enjoy their guests. They are never working on their wedding day.

Some aspects that are harder to learn to juggle with this business are 1) weekend work and 2) personal time. The weekends are your prime work time, so you do miss out on certain things that go on during the weekends with family and friends. It’s a commitment that you have to make without being resentful. There becomes a very fine line with your business hours and personal time as well. If you use your cell phone for business you are always available and need to set boundaries with when and how you will respond to calls, emails and texts.

Q: What are some of the popular misconceptions about this job?

A: Being an actual wedding planner is not like the movie! Your days are long but you have to remain fresh throughout, your feet hurt by the end of 15 hours, and you probably do more physical labor than you ever imagined possible. But, like I said previously, if you are doing this type of work, you love it.

Q: How did you go about starting your own business?

A: I used my previous experience with local venues and vendors to start my business. After a total of seven years experience in Bryan/College Station I felt I was ready to make that step. I obtained a DBA to operate under and joined local associations affiliated with my work.

Q: Did you work under a wedding planning business before starting your own? If so what was that experience like?

A: The venue that I worked for before was not purely wedding focused. We did a large array of events, but I was able to turn the wedding program into a full service option which gave me the opportunity to gain more experience. The other events that I operated probably gave me just as much experience as the weddings!

Q: What would be one thing you would have liked to know about being in the  wedding planning business that you did not know before?

A: Actually, nothing. It’s not my personality to need to know all about something before I begin. I would rather start and form my own opinions as I go, and I think that everyone in the industry has a different outlook. Like I said before, the experience you gain for working with each client and event will continue to be different and teach you something new!

Q: What do you consider the future of the profession—in five, ten, twenty years?

A: I see wedding planning continuing to grow and become more competitive. Couples getting married now are busy and need that extra help to make sure they enjoy their wedding day and process. As more people use wedding planners, more will aspire for that career.

Q: What advice would you give someone like me?

A: However you can, gain experience! You need to know that this is an industry you want to be in and the only way to do that is to personally experience it. The experience will also make you much more marketable in future jobs and with future clients.

Good luck Marissa, with this class and your future endeavors! We would love to have you join the wedding industry and learn the insides and outs for yourself!

xoxo