Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Rules of Engagement: Venue

First things first. Before running out and buying the dress you have been eyeing in the magazines for months, or picking your colors, guest favors, and sending out save the dates…you should probably find yourself a venue. I’ve been amazed at how many people I have encountered who have picked out their date but didn’t have a venue selected yet. I am guilty of this myself as I was determined that Chad and I were getting married on October 26, 2012, but had no venue secured. To me it didn’t matter - the date was perfect. Chad’s birthday is April 26th, mine September 26th, 26 is something we both share and I loved the idea of us adding our wedding date to that list. Plus I wanted a Fall wedding. What is troublesome is that there are so many of us out there who just assume we can pick a date and worry about finding the perfect location later without fretting about its availability because “of course it will be available for me, the stars will align for my perfect day!”

To me prioritizing meant telling my girls that I wanted them in my wedding party, coming up with a color scheme, booking my flight to California and setting up appointments for food tastings, dress fittings and coordinators. Basically, everything I just told you to hold off on doing. The husband is from California and it seemed like a fabulous place to invite our guests to join us for a weekend of fun. I was a little nervous with the idea of leaving our wedding planning in someone else’s hands that lived over a thousand miles away from us. Never mind that California has crazy wildfires in late October and that the Malibu home that I had been eyeing was right on top of a hill where it would surely fall victim to the intense winds blowing smoke everywhere. In addition, my wedding party with their dates had grown to 26, this was having a big impact on accommodation options. Oh! I can’t forget to mention that our budget seemed to be getting bigger and bigger as everything in California was 2x times more expensive than Texas. Which meant we would have to seriously cut our guest list (in half). Needless to say my first two months into engagement were not going so well. It was a Lindsay cluster.

So, we regrouped, re-prioritized and looked at Austin venues. We discussed what was important to us - what mattered. Chad and I lived in Houston at the time and had fallen in love with the Texas Hill Country when we had traveled to visit my parents who lived near Lake Travis. The idea behind California was that we would give guests a unique Californian destination experience in a beautiful location. Think ray-bans & beach boys. This meant that our Austin venue must: fit at least 150 people, mesh with the Hill Country/ Austin vibe and allow us to hire outside catering/vendors in order to save costs. If we were going to be having guests come to the Hill Country, we wanted to treat them to a real Texas Hill Country experience. So Mom and I hit Google and searched for days to find venues in and around Austin (smartest decision we made.) The next weekend Mom, Chad, and I went and toured our favorites. After about 10 minutes at VWR, we knew it was the venue - it was perfect.

However, VWR did not have anything in October available, and I mean nothing - no Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays. In fact they didn’t have a single open day for the rest of 2012 and it was only February. I remember my mouth hitting the floor with astonishment that they were booked so far in advance and recall being slightly confused when I didn’t immediately say “ok, thanks anyway” but instead asked “so, when is your next available Saturday?”

Suddenly the date was inconsequential, I had found something I wanted more. I needed a Saturday, because we wanted to host our guests for the entire weekend - everyone was traveling in from out of town. VWR was already booked into the summer of 2013 and we jumped at the first available day, Saturday, June 8, 2013. We booked on the spot. The minute I signed that contract I felt like the slate was washed clean and I was given the opportunity to start fresh from the mistakes I had been making. And that felt fabulous. Don’t make the same mistake. Find your perfect place before you pick your date. You will be much happier in the end.

Things to ask yourself when selecting a venue:
  • Do you love it? 
  • Do you have flexibility in the time of year you want to get married or year? 
  • Is it realistic for your budget? 
  • Will it work for your needs?
If you answered NO to any of the above, it may not be the place for you.

It’s important to have a general idea about what you want to spend on your wedding, but as a general rule, this likely will change. Before allocating your budget determine your venue and then move forward from there. Keep in mind the venue is the stage for your wedding. I'll cover budgets next time!

FYI- Mark your calendars! VWR is having a winter open house on January 4, 2014! Come & visit with me and tour the venue. Enjoy delicious drinks & eats and amazing vendors will be in attendance to meet!

If you have any questions just ask! I’d love to hear from you!




Monday, December 2, 2013

Welcome to the Club!

Thanksgiving is over and in case you hadn’t noticed it’s engagement season!  If you are newly engaged, congratulations! If you are already engaged or in the process of wedding planning take some deep breaths, it will all be worth it!

With the upcoming siege of new engagement announcements that will soon be filling your Facebook newsfeed, “the rules of engagement” seems like a perfect blog series to start. November & December are actually the busiest proposal months of the year.  So, not to put on the pressure, but there are a lot of couples out there are beginning their planning too.

Over the next few months I will share about my experiences and the things I learned along the way. I hope that you find this helpful…and again congratulations & welcome to the club! This is an extremely fun and special experience.

FYI- Mark your calendars! VWR is having a winter open house on January 4, 2013! Come and visit with me and tour the venue. Enjoy delicious drinks & eats and amazing vendors will be in attendance to meet!

If you have any questions just ask! I’d love to hear from you!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Fall Open House

Last month we had a fantastic Open House at Vista West Ranch. Thank you to all of the brides, grooms, family members, friends and vendors who came out to spend the afternoon with us! 

Special thank you to Nathan Russell Photography 
for taking some beautiful photos for us to share! 

Open houses are the perfect place to look for inspiration, to gather your ideas, and to meet vendors in the area who can help make your big day perfect. We hope that all who attended were able to connect with the professionals they needed and have their questions answered. 

If you have any questions about VWR please e-mail us at info@vistawestranch.com.

Monday, September 30, 2013

VWR Wedding: Geoff Duncan Photography

This eclectic & fun wedding took place at Vista West Ranch on Cinco de Mayo (May 5, 2013). 
The couple, Andrea & Jeremy, were a delight, so cool & equally as stunning. Cheers to forever! 

View more of their photos at Geoff Duncan Photography

Photo Credit: Geoff Duncan Photography
Wedding Coordinator: Coordinate This
Bar Service: Bar Butlers

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Featured Wedding: Style Me Pretty from Benfield Photography

This fairytale-like wedding took place at Vista West Ranch July 7, 2012. 
The couple, Signe & Chad, were absolutely wonderful & we wish them nothing but happiness together!

Read about their story and view their full gallery on Style Me Pretty

Photo Credit: Benfield Photography
Florals: Petal Pushers
Wedding Coordinator: Coordinate This
Bar Service: Bar Butlers

Thursday, September 19, 2013

VWR Vendor Spotlight: Coordinate This...

It is your day and Vista West Ranch wants you and your loved ones to enjoy every moment of it! That's why when you have an event with us each package includes a day of Wedding Coordinator from Coordinate This. 

VWR believes that behind every great event is a team of professional vendors who look to the coordinator for direction and guidance. Vista West partners with Coordinate This because we want only the best event planners who are experienced and dedicated professionals to service our Brides and Grooms. They thrive on the challenge of bringing your event inspirations to life and execute flawlessly!

Coordinate This is a full-service event planning company that services Austin, the Hill Country, Texas and destinations around the world. They are passionate about making your event an exceptional, unique, and stress-free experience. 

The Ladies of Coordinate This will be at the Vista West Ranch Open House this Sunday, September 22 from 2-6! Stop by and meet Jamie & Kimberly!

For more information about your day of Coordinators or if you find you are needing/wanting more than just the day of coverage, contact them for a consultation. Please check out their blog at http://www.coordinatethis.com/ & on Facebook