Fur Babies + Wedding, YES!

Fur Babies_Ring Bearers

Weddings are an opportunity for your closest friends and family to gather for a celebration of love, including your fur babies! Whether your pups are there to celebrate in person or are represented through heartwarming details, including them in your day can ensure sweet memories and add a personalized touch to your wedding.

Photo: Kelly Berringer Photography

Megan and Thomas were married at Cypress Grove Estate House last October and knew before they booked that their fur babies, Rupert and Colby, had to be involved in the event.

When we began looking for venues we made sure to ask if they were pet-friendly because we knew they would be a part of our special day. They’re like our children and we couldn’t imagine our wedding day without them there.” 

It was important to the couple that their dogs were not only in attendance but were included in the most significant aspects of their wedding day. 

They were there for our first look, greeted guests as they arrived, walked down the aisle in the ceremony, and took pictures afterward before they were taken home.”

Photos: Kelly Berringer Photography

 Ashley and AJ planned their December wedding at Cypress Grove Estate House with Ashley’s fur baby, Zoey, in mind, from finding the perfect venue to deciding how long she would be at the wedding.

“She’s been by my side for 7 years and she was going to be there for the wedding.  Any venue who didn’t allow dogs was automatically crossed off my list. She arrived with me and my bridesmaids in the morning and left at the end of the night with my parents. On the program, she was called the dog of honor, and during the wedding, she walked down the aisle with my parents.” 

Zoey even made an appearance on the koozies given to their guests as favors. Ashley noted that her guests loved having Zoey at the wedding, and she even contributed to some memorable moments.

When we were pronounced husband and wife she barked. It wasn’t planned, but everyone thought it was adorable.” 

Photos: Ashley Jane Photography

Honoring your pet at your wedding through touching details is a great way to include them if they aren’t able to attend. Nikki and George lost their dog, Bruce, shortly before their wedding.

We had plans to make him the ring bearer, so being able to include some small details of him at our wedding was very important to us. The beer glass pictured was one of the first gifts I ever gave to George very early in our relationship, and Bruce’s dog tags served as my ‘borrowed and blue’. As the loss was still very fresh and deeply personal we wanted to keep the details something that was close to us.”

Although Bruce wasn’t able to attend, he is still represented in the details, which allowed guests to share in the love the couple had for their baby.

Photo: Ashley Jane Photography

Including your fur babies in your wedding day festivities can help create an atmosphere of love and friendship that will leave you and your guests with fond memories of your big day. Including furry friends and the highlighting lasting impressions they have left on your hearts is a great way to ensure your wedding is one to remember! 
 
Xoxo, 
Megan 

Hidden Gems of Cypress Grove

Y’all know we love a good portrait, especially those that show off our gorgeous Estate House and stunning grounds! There are SO many hidden gems around Cypress Grove that create beautiful backdrops for those picture perfect, and let’s be real, cheesy romantic moments we all love! Have you had a chance to stroll thru the park recently? Take a scroll through some of our favorite hidden gems here at Cypress Grove !

The Rose Garden

Private moments and quick kisses can always be found in our Rose Garden. Nestled on the front lawn, the garden boasts vibrant blooms creating our very own secret garden. Special shout out to Orange County Parks & Recreation for keeping our roses blooming year round 😊 Need a great first look spot? Look no further than the Rose Garden!

The Sun Room

Our Sun Room is often bustling with bridesmaids getting dolled up. Once the time comes for the quiet before a ceremony, you’ll find our brides basking in the natural light, often taking a peek at her groom through the window. It’s actually my favorite room inside the Estate! Do you see the gorgeous lighting!? It also gives our brides the chance to overlook all the event spaces and watch the big day unfold. There is nothing quite like a room reveal to see your hard work in action, but imagine watching your guests react to the beauty of the water behind the gazebo or seeing your groom take a walk down the aisle.

Around the Grounds

Around the Estate you’ll find various settings for that perfect photo opp! The Garden Trellis, Archway, and Bridge are all private spots our couples venture to… can you blame them?

We all know the grounds are surrounded by cypress trees and moss dripped oaks, but if you are destined to capture all the dense greenery surrounding Lake Jessamine, the options are endless! The various flora and fauna are ever-changing and reflect the season of your big day! You should see the magnolias blooming right now!

Need the perfect backdrop for your wedding! Come visit us at Cypress Grove! Where the possibilities are endless and always beautiful!

Xoxo,
Alecia

What To Ask Your Florist

So, you’ve booked your venue, you’ve picked out your bridesmaid’s dresses, and you’ve sent out your invitations. Now its time to book your florist to create the vision of your dreams!

There are SO many things to ask a vendor before you book them so here are a few key points to hit with your preferred florist:

Will you coordinate with my venue to see if there are any rules or restrictions regarding my floral elements?

We know you’ve dreamed of greenery cascading from the chandeliers at your reception, but do you know if the venue allows this? Ask if they’ve worked at your venue previously. If they have, they’ll most likely know what they can and cannot do. Maybe you want your farm tables to be lined with an eclectic mix of taper candles. Your florist will know if the venue allows open flames, and if not, is that something they’ll find out on your behalf?

How can I re-purpose my flowers on wedding day? Is there a fee associated with you staying to move them after the ceremony?

Want your sweetheart or head table to really stand out during your reception? Why not move your gorgeous floral arch or columns from your ceremony to your table!? Have 12 bridesmaids and double the number of tables? Have your florist set vases on the tables so your bridesmaids can drop their bouquets in to serve as centerpieces. Or reuse those candles that are lining the aisle around your cake table.  Your florist should be able to recommend some cost saving alternatives to having separate floral for your ceremony and reception. Keep in mind that if the florist is required to stay on sight to move the arrangements, there is likely a fee associated. Even better, ask your planner to see if they will be able to move them instead!

Is a toss bouquet included?

Bridal bouquets can be heavy so it’s best to get a smaller version of your bouquet to throw, often called a toss bouquet. Be sure to ask your florist if they’d be willing to toss that in {pun intended} or if there is an added fee.

Will I get a mock-up of my centerpiece or bouquet?

If wondering what your centerpieces will look like is keeping you awake a night, be sure to ask your florist if they provide a mock up.That way, you get the chance to see exactly what you’ll be getting and make any necessary changes. This is also a good time view linen colors, chargers, and other décor items to make sure they complement each other.

Pro Top :: Designing floral is a visual process. The more photos you have, the easier it is for the florist to understand and recreate your vision. Organize your Pinterest board prior to the meeting and delete old photos that no longer fit your style. Decide on the style, color, and amount of greenery you like and only show pictures that feature elements you really love.

What other services/rentals do you offer?

Think linen, votives, arches, candlesticks, signs, etc. Florists can often supply arches, chuppahs, candles and votives, lanterns, drapery and some even offer linens and chargers. Find out what they have available and if it’s better for you to rent everything through them. Some florists may not offer certain items, but are able to rent it for you as a third party or at least offer vendor recommendations!

Floral, Arch, + Draping: Flowers by Lesley

What happens to the flowers after the wedding?

Florists typically want to have their vases, structures, and decor returned, but the floral is yours to keep. You do have the option to inquire about purchasing the vases and giving them as favors to guests. Many local charities and organizations will gladly take the flowers off your hands (think hospitals, nursing homes, etc.). Hosting a post-wedding get-together? Consider storing your flowers overnight and reusing the next day! If you love keepsakes, your florist may be able to recommend a preservation company so you can keep your bouquet for years to come.

Xoxo,
Chelsea

Planning a Brunch Menu

In case you don’t know, our HR + Development Manager, Kimberly, loves brunch. Fried chicken + waffles, shrimp + grits, corn bread, biscuits {can you tell she’s a southern gal who loves her carbs 😉} , fresh fruit, and everything in between just makes her mouth water. So we’re here to help you plan a stylish and scrumptious brunch with a fun, interactive ambiance for you and your guests!

Plan Ahead

Preparation is everything when creating a brunch menu. Food and beverage selections are a top priority for a successful meal, with a little something for everybody. Place cards are a great addition to give your tablescape that little something extra.

What’s on the menu?

Since guests will have breakfast and lunch options, it’s a great idea to feature a variety of flavors. Offer a range of items from savory quiches and sandwiches, sweet pastries, and some fun mocktails. Coffee is also the perfect beverage pairing for a brunch menu! There should be something for everybody to enjoy… and they will!

Stations and Little Bites

Allowing your guests to choose how they want their food prepared is a great way to entertain and interact. While one guest may want their omelette loaded with veggies, another may want one filled with cheese. Offering a station gives your guests the flexibility to choose what they’d like and how they want it prepared. Seasonal fruits are a delicious option with Belgian waffles or fluffy pancakes. Of course, brunch isn’t complete without that champagne POP! A bubbly bar will allow your guests to choose their champagne, juice and plenty of garnishes; it really gives brunch a flavorful feeling. Another big hit at brunches are Bloody Mary’s (for all the bacon lovers, I urge you to add it).

Something Sweet

Desserts play a vital role at brunch, and who doesn’t love sweets? I recently indulged in a maple coffee with cinnamon that was just the perfect amount of sweetness. Mini cheesecake bites can put the cap on a brunch gathering and are easy to display!

Xoxo,
Monique

Shopping for Your Wedding Dress

OMG! You are getting married, and now comes the moment every bride dreams of:

** Saying yes to the dress **

Wedding dress shopping may be the most important process in planning, and while you have dreamed of this moment your whole life, it can be a little overwhelming in knowing where to start. A few of the RW gals have been through the processes and we’ve got some tips for you!

It’s great to do some research on styles and trends before dress shopping. Bridal magazines, and Pinterest, can have the perfect dress inspo for your big day. However, it’s always important to keep an open mind, as the dress you least expect could be the one for you! Don’t be afraid to try on various styles and do not get discouraged if the type of dress you thought you’d love doesn’t work out. Most boutiques will pair you with a bridal stylist who will be a wealth of knowledge. Let them know your wants, but also listen to their suggestions. It’s their job to make sure you look fabulous!

This may be the most important point, and the one that is so often forgotten by brides!

Shopping for your dream dress should be exciting, memorable, and stress-free so make sure you are bringing a group that will be supportive to your vision for the big day. It may be tempting to bring a large crowd with you, but it can get overwhelming quickly! Plus, many boutiques are smaller and cannot accommodate larger groups so make sure to call ahead if you think you may have a big entourage.

A great suggestion is to bring an intimate group when initially shopping, and filter your favorites. That way you can include more people once you have selected the top few gowns to help you decide. You could also include people during the alterations process once your dress has been selected but they can still be apart of the final fitting.

Also if you have a specific style in mind that you know may clash with your group, be prepared to stand your ground! It is your big day and the biggest mistake a bride can make is buying a dress to appease someone else, and not what they want.

Every bridal shop can be very different in the style of inventory they carry, designers, sizes, order process, and price range. It’s not only important to let them know your needs, but to also probe them when wanting to schedule an appointment to make sure that boutique is a good fit for you.

Nothing can make a fun day of bridal shopping more stressful than going to a shop that may not meet your needs or wants. For example, if you’re adhering to a strict budget, but the entire inventory is way beyond that price. Another instance could be if you need a size inclusive line, but the shop does not carry your sizing in store.

It’s also important to note that many shops will only carry one sample of each dress in store, meaning they have to special order gowns. The order process can often take 6-12 months depending on designer, and some may charge hefty rush fees. If you are planning a short engagement, make sure to find a boutique that can assist with getting a special order quickly, or will sell stock pieces off the rack.

This might be a no brainer but wedding dress shopping is not like going to the mall to buy a pair of jeans. This is arguably the most important garment you will ever wear, and the dress search for most is a very new experience.

With most boutiques you will get a one on one experience with a trained stylist. They are there to help you dig into the crazy world of bridal fashion! Don’t be afraid to ask questions; they know this is a new experience for you.

The biggest difference you may notice between regular clothing and bridal is that wedding dresses can run notoriously small. Most designers use a European sizing chart, and the boutique can assist you in proper sizing. Many boutiques will use clips and other methods to help you visualize the dress fitting you perfectly.

Another point, which can be new to many, is that wedding gowns (yes, all wedding gowns) will need some kind of alterations, some more than others. Make sure to allot for alterations in your dress budget! The boutique will assist in helping your order the closest size and then a skilled tailor will help in making it your unique size.

This is a once in a lifetime experience so just remember to enjoy it! If the dress search starts to get stressful, take a step back and take a breath. If you adhere to the points listed above then you’ll lay the groundwork to have a truly enjoyable wedding gown experience. Go in with a positive attitude and remember at the end of the day it is all about the experience, and the big day!

Calvet Couture Bridal
Solutions Bridal

Xoxo,
Lacie

Wedding Venue Tours 101

| How to Make the most of Your Venue Tour |

Whether you a pre-planner who already has every detail in place or you have never thought about wedding planning until he popped the question, don’t worry because our venue management team has some easy tips for making the most of your wedding venue tour!

The venue is {typically} the first stop on your wedding planning journey. Once you secure the site, your location and venue are set in stone and everything else can start falling into place. It’s important to note that popular venues book quickly for prime dates; make sure not to procrastinate! 

1) Discuss Details & Budget! 
Since the venue is generally the first step in wedding planning, it is a good idea to try to sit down with your fiancé and family to discuss preliminary details and the wedding budget. This will help you decide what style and price-range of venues to inquire with, and also makes it easier to know what questions to ask when touring.  

The two essential details to decide on prior to your venue tour are wedding date and budget! A venue maybe stunning but if it is out of your price range, you need to be able to make a decisive decision on price. Also you need to decide if you are flexible on date, or if the venue is unavailable if that is grounds to keep looking? 

Other important details to note would be your guest count (as some venues have limited capacity), location to nearby hotels or transportation, and venue aesthetics.  

*Pro Tip – Be open to touring a variety of venue styles! Who knows, you might surprise yourself and fall in love with something different than your original idea or vision. 

2) Make sure to schedule an appointment for your site visit! 
Every venue will have different schedules and ways of handling tours. Making sure you schedule an appointment ensures the venue will be available when you would like to view it, and there will also be someone available from the venue staff to show you around, discuss packages, and details with you. If you opt to walk-in to a venue without an appointment you risk the venue being closed for an event, or not having anyone able to assist you on your tour.  

*Pro Tip – Reach out to the venue staff prior to your visit and probe them for information, or even ask for an estimate prior to touring that way you can discuss your day more in-depth during the tour. The more information you give the venue, the more they can help you during your site visit. 

3) Ask Important Questions & Take Notes! 
This does not mean you have to bring a full on wedding binder (even those these can be extremely helpful in the planning process!). When your tour appointment finally comes it is a great idea to bring a list of questions, or a checklist of important amenities you are looking for in a venue.  

Every venue is very different in their pricing and packaging so bringing a new checklist for each tour will help you to remember to ask consistent questions for all, and make sure you are getting the information that matters to you. Plus once all your tours are complete you can use the checklists and notes to compare each venue on paper before making your final decision.  

*Bring a wedding planner binder and/or notebook with you to the tour. This way you can have questions already listed on paper ready to ask and an easy way to document the answers. Plus many times you will receive pricing information during your tour and this way you can file it away to review later.  Haven’t found the right planning notebook yet? Check out our shop, Miscellaneous Market, for some cute options!

4) Remember to have fun! 
Often times wedding planning can get stressful, but it is important to remember the real reason you are planning this joyous occasion to begin with! Remember to have fun while planning and try not to stress the little things. Booking a reputable venue, and wedding vendors will help ensure your day is beautiful and stress free! 

Good luck venue hunting! 

Xoxo,
Lacie 

Make Your Wedding Unique

Most weddings have a similar structure – the ceremony followed by cocktail hour and ending with a reception. Incorporating elements that make the event unique to you and your fiance is what’s going to make the the day special and memorable! Maybe it’s your design style, your taste in cuisine, or what you enjoy doing together that will set your wedding apart from the rest. That brings me to our Cypress Grove couple, Tala + Michael. The two are amazing performers and they treated guests to a unique acro yoga routine during the reception. Did I mention these two are ah-mazing!?

Photos: JP Pratt

How did you meet?
“We were only acquaintances when we were asked to pair together as acrobatic partners for an upcoming show at The Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center. We agreed and began practicing together every day. We fell in love quickly and the rest is history! We did our first performance about one month after being paired together to a sold out audience of about 200 people. (And nailed it! Lol).”

Why was it important to you to include a performance at your wedding?
“Acro was a huge part of our love story. It’s how we met, how we fell in love and something that continues to keep us connected. We wanted to express and share all of those emotions through our favorite art form. Plus, we like being hams for the camera! :-P”

What challenges did you face during the planning process?
“I really can’t say I faced too many challenges. Alicia was amazing in recommending vendors and walking me through a lot of the process. Of course I stressed over details and wanting everything to be perfect. The biggest problem is probably that there are TOO many options and ideas out there and having to narrow them down!”

What aspect of the wedding were you and your fiance most looking forward to?
“Michael will tell you that he was most looking forward to the moment he first saw me coming down the aisle. For me, gosh, the entire day was pure magic. I was really looking forward to the reception. I wanted the wedding to be a celebration where we laughed and danced with all of the important people in our lives and got to shout out love out to the world. And the reception and the entire day felt just like that. It was absolutely perfect.”

Video: KEJ Productions

Side note: grab a box of tissues before you watch their wedding film 😉

Xoxo,
Kim

Planning Tips // 30 Day Wedding Checklist

Planning tips for the days leading up to your wedding.

If you’ve met me, you know that I am all about simplicity and organization. Whether that means decluttering my work or personal space, planning out goals for the month, or just taking a day to refresh and reorganize. I’m a planner at heart and I thrive on schedules and knowing what the plan is. So putting together a checklist of wedding planning tips is right up my alley. 😉 This planning tip checklist is certainly not exhaustive but does include the essentials:

Four Weeks Out
  • Apply for your marriage license {can’t get married without one ?}. Florida marriage licenses are actually valid for 60 days. While you could apply for this a bit earlier, I recommend waiting until about a month out so it doesn’t get misplaced.
  • Write your vows {if doing your own}. Give yourself time to really think about what you want to say during your ceremony. We love these his + hers vow books from Foxblossom Co. so they can be kept as keepsakes!
  • Deliver any specific song requests {or do not play requests} to your DJ or band.
Three Weeks Out
  • Finalize RSVP’s. This is a great task for your bridesmaids. ? Have them run through your invite list and call anyone who hasn’t submitted an RSVP.
  • Confirm ceremony details with your officiant. Be sure to discuss what will happen during the ceremony {i.e. unity candle, ring warming, etc.} and review any readings and such. Pro tip: your officiant should do a full run through of the ceremony at your rehearsal.
  • Finalize any printed materials and favors . Now that you have your final guest count, confirm how many escort cards, menus cards, programs, etc. will be needed. If your favors are edible, wait until a day or two prior to the wedding to have delivered.
  • Make sure groomsmen submit their measurements and schedule a time to pick-up their suits/tuxes.
  • Purchase bridal party gifts. I LOVE gifting, and our new store, Miscellaneous Market, has so many cute items to choose from {including gifts for gents}!

    

Two Weeks Out
  • Confirm seating chart. Once all of your RSVP’s are in you can confirm how many guest tables you’ll need and who will be seated where.
  • Submit final numbers to vendors. This will include your caterer, florist, rentals and any other vendor that needs a head count.
  • Finalize the day-of timeline with your DJ and/or wedding planner.
  • Attend your final dress fitting! Don’t forget to bring your day-of undergarments, veil, accessories, and bridal shoes to make sure the full look is picture perfect.
One Week Out
  • Create a “getting ready” timeline. Provide a copy to your bridal party so they know where to be and when.
  • Pick up your bridal gown. Make sure it’s stored in a breathable garment bag and away from any clutter.
  • Pack your wedding night bag. A change of clothes/shoes and toiletries are a must!
  • If you’re honeymoon immediately follows your wedding, be sure to pack a honeymoon bag. This checklist from The Knot covers just about everything you’ll need!
  • Drop off day-of items to your wedding coordinator. They will typically take on the responsibility of delivering these items to your venue on wedding day.
The Day Before
  • Pamper yourself! Get a mani-pedi, massage, and a good night’s rest – just avoid facials and anything else that may cause skin irritation or inflammation.

Our team hopes this planning tips checklist will help you relax on the days leading up to your wedding!

Xoxo,
Kim

7 Tips for An Easy Wedding Planning Process

We know that planning a wedding is the opposite of an easy-going task. One moment, you’re experiencing a proposal, and the next you’re feeling excited, but slightly overwhelmed by the stack of “to-do’s” that lie ahead. It is common to feel overwhelmed in the beginning but starting your planning process with this mindset isn’t the best idea. Trust us, there will be a lot of due dates, reservations and appointments that have to be accounted for– the scary part is that the details that come with a wedding are not visually displayed until (gulp) the day of your event. The RW Events team has managed hundreds of events between Cypress Grove Estate House, Luxmore Grande Estate, and our Rentals + Styling division, and we’ve picked up a few planning tips along the way. If you are in need of planning advice, consider these useful tips from our team + our friends at Eventbrite:

Find an Organizational Method
A big no-no of wedding planning is going into it without a method for success. Without an organized checklist or systematic approach, imperative wedding details and appointments can easily be forgotten, and there is no room for that with a tight schedule. In case one of life’s crazy moments get in the way of your wedding arrangements, a personal planner {and hiring a wedding coordinator} can reduce the risk of you falling behind.

Determine a Budget
Maintaining a budget is an effort that can be quite the challenge. As you move along in the wedding planning process, price re-evaluations and changes can occur when you least expect it. Oftentimes, you are spending much more than you thought you would. For us, spreadsheets are a serious addiction, and they make budgeting so much easier! For a service that you can reference on the go when you do not have access to your spreadsheets, try using a bill notification system app to complete payments on time.

Develop a Vision
As wedding ideas are becoming more and more unique, the variety of ways to go about planning are becoming even more creative as well! A common way brides love to start their planning process is by making a vision board! A vision board involves a poster board, glue and a cluster of your ideas– photo collages and fabrics could be some! Now, a vision board can also be created online— pretty neat!

Create a Guest List
It is essential that invitations are sent out in a timely manner, especially if you’re planning to invite a large group of guests. Whether you want to be extra artsy or simple, there are a variety of ways that invitations can be sent out involving both!

  • Handmade: If you are a creative genius, hand making your invitations can be the perfect way to notify your guests. Even though they might take a little longer to complete, it adds in a personal touch.
  • Online order: The internet is a great resource for finding information about absolutely everything. With an online invitation service you can pick the design, color and font of your choice for your invitations, and order them in bulk with envelopes!
  • Online RSVP: With this free online management platform, you can create an event and let guests accept an invitation– all online! This does not require the use of paper and you will be able to track all of your responses in one space.

Find a Location
Now it is time to determine your wedding venue! Depending on the kind of wedding space you envision, take the time to do some extensive research on different event spaces in your desired location. When choosing a venue, knowing the capacity, availability, layout and parking situation are all extremely important. If you are considering two different venues (one for your vows and another for the reception) be sure to find two places relatively close to one another to prevent your guests from commuting too far. If you are interested in having the entire event in one space, check out our luxury venues, Luxmore Grande Estate and Cypress Grove Estate House, available for booking!

Hire Your Vendors
Photographers, florists, and so many more! These vendors are the qualified helping hands that bring everything together for the event. If you have a set schedule for the arrival of vendors, it is best to communicate with them as much as possible about their arrival times and the amount of time they will need to either set up or work. When you discover initial interest in their expertise, let them know far in advance so they have enough time to prepare for your occasion (I removed chefs as we have in-house catering at both of our venues =))

Include the Event Essentials
If you have a unique or funny way of showing your love or that is a part of your love story, don’t be afraid to share it. Whether it’s an inside joke or a distinct memory associated with your relationship, include a wedding essential that is unique to you! This approach can make your wedding feel more personal rather than to just excite guests!

Are you in need of a rental space, specialty rentals, or styling services? Contact us at hello@rwevents.com!