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Friday’s Finest Foods!

From the desk of Event Manager Elaina Pires

After the excitement of the holidays, we New Englanders truly begin settling into the winter… January, February, and even March can be some of the most brutal months here in Boston. With the summer seeming far off and the cold wind whipping away, it’s a great time to hunker down and discover some of Boston’s best local restaurant. One of my favorite things to do on a lazy weekend is cozy up on my couch and watch “Phantom Gourmet” then go out and experience all the delicious food for myself! Whether it’s for a drink or a comfort meal, these spots are some of my favorites to visit with friends.

Rosebud American Kitchen & Bar

Somerville

(link: http://www.rosebudkitchen.com)

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A milk shake that will warm you up in the winter?! Try Rosebud’s boozy bourbon milkshake, YUMMMM. Craft cocktails and beer paired with comfort food favorites like smoked chicken wings and fried Brussels sprouts make the Rosebud one of my favorite spots. All their wait staff wear flannel, it helps you to feel at home. Rosebud also serves an amazing brunch, with items like brioche French toast and hash and eggs… you really can’t go wrong here.

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The Publick House

Brookline

(link: http://www.thepublickhousebeerbar.com)

11/26/10 5:38:44 PM -- Brookline, Massachusetts Boston University 11/26/10 The Publick House, 1648 Beacon Street ,Brookline is a local bar and eatery. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky for Boston University Photography

Mac n’ cheese craving? Look no further than the Publick House on Beacon Street for THE BEST mac n’ cheese skillet around. Custom create your own combination adding in whichever protein and vegetable you prefer, or just extra cheese on cheese! Publick House’s tavern-like atmosphere with dark wood, cozy nooks, and a huge assortment of diverse beers on draft make this place a MUST to visit this winter.

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Christopher’s and Toad

Cambridge

(link: http://christopherscambridge.com.s122913.gridserver.com)

link: http://toadcambridge.com)

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My all-time, never-fail, go-to cozy nook is Christopher’s on Mass Ave. This no-frills local spot has come to be every local’s favorite north of the river. Christopher’s has it all: ever-changing local beer specials, loaded tater tots, buffalo cauliflower, and amazing burgers. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t love Christopher’s. Their staff treat every customer like they’re a regular, and if you get lucky you can even snag a seat in front of their roaring fireplace. Rotating local art is always featured throughout the restaurant, with new pieces hung every time you come in.

If you’re in the mood for some music, pop next door to Toad to catch live music every night of the week, at no cover charge. This intimate venue fills up quickly, so best to catch an early dinner and head over to Toad after. Or better yet, go straight to Toad where you can still order a Christopher’s burger at the bar!

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These are just a few of my favorites, but I encourage everyone to not let the winter blues get the best of you! Get out there and explore some new spots this winter. Even when you’re snowed in and feeling that cabin fever, finding a cozy local spot to retreat to can help make the winter feel like it” ain’t so bad.”


In the Spirit of the Holidays

From the desk of Senior Event Manager, Chrissy Kratz…

I won’t even try to lie to you – I am a serious holiday lover. The day after Halloween, I start listening to holiday music with my headphones set to super low so I won’t be judged by the people around me (yes, that includes my AE colleagues!), I am done shopping for friends and family before Thanksgiving, and my small apartment has more decorations than it has any right to fit inside of it (preview below). But what can I say? I love it all and don’t think a mere four weeks is enough time to celebrate! Of course, along with the spirit of the season comes just that – spirits. Here are a few of my current favorites to bring along to your next holiday party.

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Wine
This year, I attended a Fireside Chat at The Fireplace focused entirely on my favorite grape, Pinot Noir. Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir was hands down my favorite of the dinner and one I recommend to pair with a charcuterie platter or roasted poultry dinner.

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Thinking something white? Try Ashbourne – a unique Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay blend out of South Africa. Don’t be deceived by its light nose…the combination of the body from the Chardonnay and the acidity from the Sauv Blanc is a nice balance that allows you to drink this wine on its own (though pairing it with some oysters isn’t a bad idea either!).

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Beer
Who says you can only enjoy a bottle of vino around the holidays – give a holiday brew a try! Perhaps Nodding Head Brewery’s Sled Wrecker made with molasses and rum-soaked fruit (yes that is a shameless Philadelphia-pride pitch).

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Looking for something lighter? After a recent trip to northern California, I’m head over heels for Almanac Beer Co.’s Saison Dolores. I wouldn’t call it a holiday beer, but it’s worth a try if you aren’t into rum and maple syrup in your pint.

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Spirits
Get creative with your cocktails! My must-try this year is to make a Rosemary-Infused Honey Sidecar. Boil some rosemary in water before freezing the liquid into ice cubes. Combine 2 cups Cognac, 1 cup lemon juice and 1 cup honey before adding in the rosemary-infused ice cubes. Strain, and serve in sugar-rimmed glasses. Voila – a holiday classic with a twist! Plus, you can spike the eggnog with the extra Cognac.

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Whatever your spirit style is – embrace it and don’t be afraid to try something new. Cheers to a festive, fun and safe holiday season!


Southie Superlatives

New to the Neighborhood – A Newbie’s Guide to South Boston

From the desk of Kayla Gentile, Events Assistant:

As a new resident of South Boston, it’s been my personal mission to visit as many places as possible before massive snowpiles crowd the sidewalks (still going strong, fingers crossed!). Although I’m still discovering hidden gems each week, I’m now ready to hand out Southie Superlatives to my favorite places to eat and sightsee.

The Paramount, 667 East Broadway
As a self-proclaimed brunch-addict, I’m lucky to have The Paramount right down the street from my office and home. With its diner-esque menu, relaxed atmosphere, and some of the best Cajun homefries I’ve ever eaten, it’s the perfect spot for a quick bite with friends.

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American Provisions, 613 East Broadway
Keeping true to my Italian heritage, I’ve always loved a good deli, and American Provisions was a place I’d been told I “just had to try.” It didn’t take much convincing for me…I walked in during a recent lunch break and became an instant fan. Products are all locally grown, so you know you’re eating the freshest of the fresh. My personal favorite? The “Italian,” of course!

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Lincoln Tavern, 425 West Broadway
I like to describe Lincoln Tavern as a “one-stop shop” in South Boston. It’s a modern restaurant by day and an upbeat pub filled with 20-somethings by night. Whether you’re going for Sunday football or a laidback dinner, you can always count on Lincoln for a great time.

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Castle Island, William J. Day Blvd.
What do I enjoy most about Boston so far? There’s always something new to explore, and it’s usually right around the corner. In my case, that was Castle Island – a spectacular scenic location to run, walk, then eat some amazingly greasy food at Sullivan’s, all while taking in the view of the harbor and city skyline.

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Next time you’re in South Boston, be sure to check out one some of these local treasures in the AE Events neighborhood!

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The Big Day – June 20th, 2015

A final post from our in house Bride…

A little over 3 months ago all of the planning and hard work culminated into literally the wedding of my dreams. And since a picture is worth a thousand words, I figured I’d share some of my favorite shots from the day…

AJust one more thing before I shift into bride mode…

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Our vision was a romantic and classy estate wedding.  If you read any of my prior posts, you’ll remember that we settled on The Bradley Estate in Canton, MA, a red brick Gregorian-style mansion with an amazing brick edged parterre garden, romantically set behind the house and a large side lawn for a tented reception.

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For our ceremony we kept it mostly traditional, though we added in our own vows and a special sand blending ceremony with sand from both coasts to highlight our commitment to combine our two lives. To top it all off, we had one of our closest friends, Kate Baker, officiate the ceremony.

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We wanted cocktail hour to be classy yet fun, so guests sipped cocktails while they roamed the property and played games like corn hole and washers personally built and monogrammed by Tom.

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   The reception of course went by all too fast but what I remember most is being so in awe at all of the people who came to one place for us.  Our perfect day was made possible by our family, friends and of course our vendors who worked tirelessly to make everything perfect for us.  Gourmet Caterers did an outstanding job with the food, presentation and service.  And our DJ, Adam Conrad did an amazing job of keeping the night (and our guests) moving.

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Sperry Tents provided a wistful and light sailcloth tent with bamboo poles and candelabras.  I loved how it made the reception on grass still feel both upscale and intimate.

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We wanted our wedding to be romantic and classic with a little bit of sparkle. We worked with Peterson’s Party Center to accomplish this look with traditional fruitwood chivari chairs for both the ceremony and reception and alternated champagne and blush linens on our guest tables.  One of my pet peeves is when guest tables are too crammed, so we simplified the tables to include only rose petals, votives and centerpieces of gorgeous pink, cream and ivory roses from LauraJean Floral Design

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The table numbers were kept simple too, though each was placed in its own beautiful frame, which I had begun collecting from the moment we became engaged! I loved how this gave the tables a unique yet cohesive look.

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And for the sparkle, I scattered a few rose gold sequin linens (from Rentals Unlimited) throughout cocktails and of course on our sweetheart table.

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Our menu cards, along with the ceremony program and other various signage was beautifully designed by Mr. Tom Boates himself!

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In the end, everything turned out just exactly as we had envisioned it.  Perfect weather, the love of family and friends from across the country and Tom waiting for me at the end of the aisle. We couldn’t have asked for a better day!   

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                                                                                                                                        – Mrs. Boates signing off!

Venue: The Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate
Tent: Sperry Tents
Caterer: Gourmet Caterers
Cake: Konditor Meister
Floral: LauraJean Floral & Event Design
Rentals: Petersons Party Center
Rose Gold Sequined Linens: Rentals Unlimited
Photography: George Street Photography
DJ: Adam Conrad
Officiant: Kate Baker
The Dress:  Mori Lee by Madeline Gardiner
Hair: Janet Rodriguez
Makeup: Danielle Austin


AE + ACK

Love is in the air!  AE had the chance to plan a very special 40th Wedding Anniversary for a favorite client (yes, you are our other favorite!) and this took the AE team over to Nantucket for a long weekend in July.  We cannot begin to express our love for the island – the sun, the sand, and the fabulous vendors we befriended.

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After disembarking from the ferry – we headed to our first stop – The Club Car where the client hosted a lovely private dinner.  We had a fun time transforming the dining room from its usual look –with the help of linens from Table Toppers.  We were also fortunate to make friends with some island vendors.  Rentals came from Placesetters (Thanks Jen!) and the floral and table accents were from Soiree Floral Design (Thanks Dawn and Julie!).   The room had a completely different feel and passersby were full of compliments at the change!

 

club car interior

room interior

Since this party celebrated 40 years of the couple, we put on our thinking caps and went back to 1975… a daisy and sunshine theme emerged, which we were able to introduce through the subtle use of daisy accents on the menu cards and textured paper was used as a placemat.  This is a great way to bring added texture to your table with less cost.  Be sure to invest in something nicer than a plain cardstock or your look will fall flat!  Ours was pearl iridescent paper with embossed circle details.

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Drinks, merriment – an Irish tenor and a sing-a-long around the Club Car’s piano finished out the evening.

The following day we prepped for a cocktail party at the client’s home.  Nantucket tents came to the rescue with some gorgeous sailcloth tents.  To keep the evening feeling fresh and Nantucket (and still with the daisy and sunshine theme) we limited the palette to all white linens and chairs, but accented with warm yellows.  The result was clean, crisp and just what  a cocktail party should be!  The views from the client’s home didn’t hurt either.

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view from tent

Guests dined on delicious bites from Susan Warner Catering. To add height and visual interest to the food stations – rather than glass block risers, we opted for  glass cylinders with water and hydrangea.  This way, as guests arrived and before the meal was set, the table looked stunning as though it was one large centerpiece collection.

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Overall, AE [hearts] Nantucket and we look forward to celebrating many more events on the island!  Thanks again to our new island friends:  Club Car, Placesetters, Soiree Floral, Susan Warner Catering, Nantucket Tents, Last Minute Productions, Ron Lynch Photography and DJ Skooby who’s from the mainland – and provided us with a soundtrack for the weekend!


2015: Be Engaged

Happy New Year and Congratulations to the newly engaged!  The holidays are a season of giving and receiving.  We’ve found that a lot of those gifts include giving an engagement ring and receiving love to last a lifetime!

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Image courtesy of Zev Fisher Photography – to see the full photo and more – go here!

In celebration of all that lies ahead for you and yours, here are a few websites that we like to check out when looking for new or unique wedding ideas (or just fall in love with Love!).

Dorfman Jewelers – If you don’t have the ring (but know there’s a promise), be sure to have one of their specialists help you with the Art of Engagement. Discover the newly renovated Dorfman’s when shopping for your wedding rings as well! (and fiances of the world – have your sig-other keep a running list of things they like here – it will make future gift giving easy!)

How He Asked – a website dedicated to marriage proposals, with thoughtful words, photos and even video.  If you’re in the mood to cry out of joy and all things good in the world – go here.  If you’re in the mood to share your story of love – go here.

BHLDN – vintage, delicate, ethereal are all words that describe the dresses, accessories and other beautiful things you can find on this wedding website from Anthropologie.  Sometimes all you need to complete the look is that one perfect thing…

Vows – searching for your wedding dress can be fun, exciting and overwhelming.  The staff at Vows in Watertown, MA will help you find that perfect look. This bridal outlet offers high-end designer wedding gown samples and overstocks from famous designers.  You are one of a kind, maybe the dress should be too!

Style Me Pretty – See what other real couples have done for their weddings – great for inspiration and current trends. We love to see what wedding trends are happening around the country.

Squarespace – thinking of designing a personal website for the Big Day? Check this out – they have wedding templates and make it easy to customize to suit you and your fiance’s style.

Recycle Your Wedding – figured out your wedding style and feeling a little DIY?  We do our best to help our brides find ways to save some dollars here and there.  Sometimes this means buying accents (votive holders, lanterns, and other little tidbits) which can be hard to store.  From the Ruffled Blog – here are some classifieds to buy and sell your wedding goods!

Congratulations again on your recent engagment!  AE Events is here to help you create a beautiful and magical day for you and your family – give us a call or email us to inquire about our services and how we can help you go from Ms. to Mrs.!

 


Happy Anniversary Joanna and Bryan!

It’s Wedding Wednesday and while we can’t believe this lovely wedding is already a year behind us, we are still basking in it’s beauty!  Set at a gorgeous private estate, we brought some amazing vendors together to create the perfect wedding day for Joanna and Bryan on September 21, 2013.  They wanted a classic wedding, with elegant, romantic touches. It started with an outdoor ceremony (perfect weather), cocktails in the house (lots of bubbly), then dinner and dancing (Moroccan spiced lamb, yum!).  Happy Anniversary, you two!

We leave you now to enjoy the beauty of it all from the start of the day to the end – courtesy of Sarah Bastille Photography!

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Flowers by the talented Benjamin Newbold at Winston Flowers

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Joanna made such a beautiful bride!!!

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The Happy Couple! Congratulations all over again!

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Alternative to a traditional guest book – hand typed (or written) notes from guests offering “wishes and wisdom”.

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Many thanks to the vendors that made this wedding possible:

Photographer: Sarah Bastille Photography ¦ Flowers: Winston Flowers ¦ Linens & Rentals: Be Our Guest ¦ Audio & Lighting: High Output ¦ Tenting: Peterson Party Center ¦ Catering: Max Ultimate Food ¦ Videographer: Heirloom Pictures


#5 What does the groom say?

Weddings are about the couple, not just the bride! So we decided to hit up the other side of this equation – Thomas – for his thoughts on the whole ‘getting engaged’ thing, now that we are one year away from the Big Day.

So You’re Ready To Propose

So you think you’re ready to propose… not so fast!  A proposal worthy of the beautiful woman you are asking to spend the rest of your life with isn’t as easy as picking out a ring and hoping she says yes.  What are the 4 C’s?  What do you mean I can’t just walk out with the engagement ring the day I buy it?  Rings have sizes?  These were just some of the questions I had, and learned, throughout my proposal journey.

Be Confident She’s On The Same Page:

This one should go without saying. A relationship involves two people, and just because you’ve gotten to “that point” in your relationship doesn’t always mean she is in the same place. It might sound unlikely, but I’ve heard more than a few stories where the guy is ready to pop the question and the girl is ready to move on.  If you aren’t sure she will say yes, you’d better make sure before spending a lot of time and money proposing.  Forcing a girl into a situation where she has to say yes will likely not end well for either of you!

Picking Out a Ring:

Rings are not cheap.  The traditional guideline on what to spend on a ring is the equivalent to 3 months of your current salary (after taxes), though that is very much open to variation depending on your current financial situation.  The real key is to not put yourself into an incredible amount of debt, or make foolish decisions just to meet that number (DO NOT buy your ring on a credit card unless you can pay it off with another source immediately).  Typically your fiancé-to-be will have an idea of what size stone or diamond she is looking for, and hopefully it’s within reason.

Next, figure out what else she is looking for. I learned early on about the “4 C’s” (guidelines to focus on when picking out a diamond): Carat (the size of diamond), Cut (the shape), Clarity (are there any “inclusions” or dark spots?), and Color (is it clear or is there a tint of another color?).  Typically the most important factor to girls is the size followed closely by shape or setting.

Elizabeth mentioned she was less concerned with the color or clarity, but while I had the opportunity to buy a slightly bigger diamond with a sizable black inclusion in the middle of it, it just didn’t feel right – nor did it meet my standard of quality. In addition, Elizabeth hinted many times about the importance of an intricate setting as well as taking a particular liking in the Tacori brand.  For this reason I made sure to spend a little more on a specific setting to make sure it had the look she desired, even though it meant a slightly smaller diamond.

Another tip…If you can’t figure out how to find her ring size, an average ring finger is a size 6. When it comes to the type of metal, the most common type of metal is white gold, though this is definitely something worth getting right.  Find out what kind of jewelry she typically wears and use that as a guide. Lastly, plan to purchase the ring at least a month in advance (maybe more) so that it is ready in time for your proposal.

The Big Day/Night:

Before I planned everything out I noticed a picture on Elizabeth’s Pinterest page called “Rules for Engagement” that I think are a really great set of rules to follow for any man proposing:

1) Ask for her parents blessing.

2) Make it a surprise.

3) Use her full name.

4) Get down on one knee.

5) Have somebody catch it on camera.

#1-4 should be fairly obvious, but #5 was really an excellent touch.  This moment is just as important as any other in your life, and if you’re going to spend thousands of dollars on a photographer at your actual wedding, it’s a steal to spend a couple hundred and capture the proposal.  For our proposal, I turned to the wonderfully talented Mikhail Glabets to capture the special moment, and we couldn’t have been happier with the results! And to top it all off I’ll actually add a 6th item: Have her favorite champagne chilled and ready!

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Listen To Her Clues:

As you’ve read along you probably have noticed that Elizabeth did a pretty good job of making me aware of what she wanted without being overbearing about it, and I made sure to do my research ahead of time as well.  This is an important point for both the guy and the girl in this situation.

Ladies, it’s not always obvious what you really want.  Make sure to help your man out by leaving him clues or bringing it up in conversation (but please don’t come across as demanding or expecting).

Guys, your fiancé-to-be has been dreaming about this stuff for a very long time and probably has an idea of what she wants.  While I know most guys don’t want to feel like they are just being told what to do, now is not the time to prove your independence by ignoring her desires.  Absolutely find ways to make the proposal your own, but make sure to do your research so that you are trying to re-create the moment she has been dreaming about.

 

 Bride-to-be Elizabeth, approves this message.
Watch out for July’s post when E&T decide the fate of the food… Adventures in Catering and Cake.


#4 The Nitty Gritty… Spreadsheets, Dates & Venues

Post number four in our adventures with the engaged couple, Elizabeth and Thomas…

Upon my return from Winter Vacation I got right down to the business of crunching numbers and researching venues. I couldn’t think any more about dresses, décor, flowers or food until I had a date and a venue secured. After all, how could I plan any of the other details until I knew the setting and time of year for our special day? And I couldn’t commit to a venue until I had a basic budget outlined. I knew my numbers could, and probably would change, but I also knew the worst thing I could do would be to use up too much of our money on a venue – resulting in not having enough for the décor that would turn that venue into our vision. So, I quickly realized just how important it was to really KNOW my budget.

When it came to my budget, I was very fortunate to have a generous gift given to me from my Mom as well as additional funds from my Dad and my Grandma. Thomas and I then figured out how much of our own money we would be comfortable spending and that gave us our grand total.  (Tip: Keep in mind that even the most thrifty and organized couples will go over their budget so it is typically recommended to build in a 10-15% buffer into your grand total.)  After figuring out what our number was we put together a good ole excel spreadsheet with every single wedding expense we could think of.  (Don’t freak out: Most wedding books and websites will have plenty of budget templates to steal from.) While traditionally the Bride’s family is responsible for the wedding/reception and the Groom’s family covers the rehearsal dinner, I have found that in this day in age, there are no rules anymore.  My suggestion to anyone, who is engaged and hasn’t figured out these monetary specifics, is to have a conversation individually with your parents.  Go into it honestly and without any expectations and your chances for a productive conversation are pretty good.

After all the “fun” with numbers and spreadsheets it was time for some site visits. Looking at venues, to me, was the same as trying on a dress – I didn’t want to look at something (and risk falling in love with it) that I couldn’t afford. As a general rule of thumb, you should designate about half of your budget to your venue site and catering. Translation: Avoid booking a venue that is going to cost $20,000 in rental fees and catering if your budget is $30,000.  (Unless of course you have some magical way of getting a dress, photographer, videographer, floral, décor, music and rentals for $10K – in which case I ask that you please contact me immediately!)

I must admit choosing a date and venue proved to be a difficult task.  The excitement of the wedding was overwhelming for me (if you haven’t already noticed), and I am that person who has been waiting for my wedding day since I was about 7 years old! So the idea of waiting until 2015 (and being 31) before I was married, started to mess with my head a little bit. Luckily I have an amazing sister (and MOH) to bring me back down to earth and remind me that after waiting all this time, did I really want to rush this experience? Knowing that a Fall 2014 Wedding would mean a stressful 9-10 months of high intensity planning, we settled on June of 2015. Lesson learned? Figure out what is important to you when it comes to selecting a date. Are you willing to sacrifice venue availability, relatives being able to attend or the enjoyment of the planning process in exchange for the “perfect date”?

Choosing a location also became difficult. I had always envisioned myself getting married in my hometown, which just so happens to be considerably cheaper to host a wedding in, as it’s a smaller town. However, all of our memories as a couple are here in Boston.  And isn’t this OUR wedding, not just mine? (An idea I am reminded of constantly during this process!) As it turns out there are very few estates/mansions that host weddings in my hometown – a vision neither Thomas nor I could let go of regardless of cost – and so in the end the decision was made for us – Boston it was.

When looking at potential locations, it should go without saying that whether it be a country club wedding, an estate wedding or a hotel wedding, your venue should represent you and your groom as a couple.  Another very important aspect is flow. When visiting venues I focused on envisioning my event start to finish.  How would people arrive and where would they go once they arrived?  What about after the ceremony – Where would cocktail hour be? When looking at estates, did I want to have dinner in one room, dancing in another, and the bar in the third room, or did I want the whole celebration to take place under a tent? My advice to other brides/grooms is to take a moment envisioning the big day and figure out what aspects are most important to you.  For Thomas and I, we were adamant about having a big party where everyone could enjoy the reception in the same space.

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Although winter when we visited,
I did my best visualizing the Bradley in June!

The Bradley Estate captured our hearts the moment we arrived. Formerly known as Cherry Hill Farm, a colonial farmstead, it was transformed into a classic country estate in 1902. The beautiful red brick Gregorian-style mansion felt like it had literally been built from the vision I had in my head for our wedding. The interior successfully achieves an elegant, antique feel without coming across as “old” or “run down”.   The brick edged parterre gardens behind the house were a perfect setting for our ceremony and the terrace off of the side of the house would allow for a classy cocktail hour. The reception could then be held on the lawn, under a tent, on a warm summer night. With the estate falling within our price range and having our date available – we were sold!  One thing down… about 5 million more to go!

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Follow this link to learn more about the Bradley Estate.

On a side note: Elizabeth makes a lot of good points to you newly-engaged couples out there.  Being up front and honest about your budget will help the planning run more smoothly.  It is rare to have an “unlimited” budget and with today’s family structure, it’s no longer the bride’s family paying the entire way.  It’s also good to plan for that small amount of overage.  Don’t budget it in necessarily, just be aware that estimates don’t always include taxes, admin fees and all of those other small charges that add up. Come back in June to see their next post when Elizabeth realizes that she is only one year away from getting married!


#3 We’re Engaged!… Now What?!

I hope you’ve been following the Wedding Adventure of Elizabeth and Thomas – we’re about to get into the real details! – and so it continues…

champagne toast

After getting engaged, of course the first thing we did was celebrate! Since Thomas proposed on December 21st, I had the delight of flying home the next day for the holidays and celebrating with my entire family. And I’m pretty sure there was a brief shortage of Veuve Clicquot during that week in my hometown. But the SECOND thing I did (being the event planner/wedding fanatic that I am) was to start planning our wedding in GREAT DETAIL.  And even though my advice to anyone else has always been to enjoy your engagement before you start the planning madness, I couldn’t stop myself. (After all, I have been planning my wedding since I was about 7.)  I was dreaming about dresses, flowers, linens, venues, music…. You name it! I’d fall asleep pinning to my Wedding Board and awake only to go directly to The Knot while I had my morning coffee.

Thankfully, being from the Midwest, my family takes a tropical vacation every year after Christmas and this tropical place had little to no cell service or internet access.  I was limited to the three wedding magazines I had purchased in the airport (which I finished and dog-eared within a day) and by day two my need to plan downgraded to more of a daydream with the intent to plan upon arrival back to the states.

Thomas, who stated he didn’t want to do any planning or hear about any planning until after the holidays, had the right idea.  In retrospect I’m glad I wasn’t on the phone three days after getting engaged, with venues or caterers, because once the serious planning starts, it doesn’t really stop.  And the first part of your engagement, like the beginning of anything else, is a honeymoon phase – full of champagne celebrations and pure giddiness. In those few weeks after being engaged, your dream wedding is still intact and you haven’t been told yet that you can’t have the date or the dress that you wanted. You get to imagine what the rest of your life will look like, and gush over how he proposed over and over again.

I’m so glad I spent my vacation and those few weeks after our engagement celebrating and glowing with excitement that my dreams were coming true – that it was my turn and I had found my person!  For many of us, this time will only happen once, and I’m grateful that I was able to take it in and savor every moment of it…

…And yes, it is totally normal to look at your ring more than 20 times a day… 🙂

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