Wedding Budget Tips – Save or Splurge

When it comes to allocating your budget, there are about a million different ways to do it.  Each client has different event goals, each venue requires different logistics, and each market is priced differently.  As an experienced wedding planner, planning weddings in Richmond, Charlottesville, Northern Virginia, DC and Maryland, here are a few tips on…

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Club Theme Bat Mitzvah Richmond, Virginia

Venue: When you grow up going to the Carpenter Theatre, now the Dominion Energy Center,  with your mom and grandmother, it’s only natural you would host your bat mitzvah there.  This family opted for a full theatre takeover to maximize the space for their guests and the many fun features we had planned.  As guests…

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Why You Should Get Married On a Weekday

There is an ‘It Factor”  A ‘je ne sais quoi’:   Weekday weddings are just very chic.  There is a level of sophistication with weekday weddings. It is a much more intentional event.  Special Date: If you have a special date in mind, don’t wait for it to come around on the weekend.  If you…

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10 Tips For Wedding Dress Alterations

1. Always assume you need alterations.  Even the most well-fitting gown will look better if it is tailored perfectly to your body.  2. Alterations can add up quickly.  The average alteration cost is between $100-$1000 depending on what you need to have done.  3. Get an estimate before you purchase the dress. Ask your dress boutique…

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Wedding Venue: The Perry Belmont House Washington DC

A Beaux – Arts Wedding Venue in Washington DC  “The Perry Belmont House is possibly the finest, intact example of a Beaux-Arts style mansion in Washington, DC. Beaux-Arts translates as “beautiful art”, a style-prevalent from 1880-1920 – and is generally related to theatrical or monumental design employing classical details and proportions.” Perry Belmont was a…

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Why Discounts Don’t Work In The Wedding Industry.

Value is something that is determined by many things.  Some consumers value the luxury experience.  Some consumers are driven by cost. Wherever your tolerances for either meet, is where your event lives.  What I offer are a great service and a customized design reflective of you and your desires.  Our prices are competitive for the…

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Things to See and Do In Richmond Virginia

  In a city full of history, fabulous food scenes, and outdoor activities, Richmond is one of the best central areas to vacation in and around in Virginia. Whether you’re a diehard foodie or outdoorsy guru, there is literally something for everyone in the River City. There are great restaurants, a ton of breweries, an…

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How To Get Married In Virginia

After months of planning your wedding you are ready to walk down the aisle.  Your vendors are all secured, your design plan is amazing, and your planner has the timeline and logistics on lock.  Then is dawns on you, how do we actually get married?  What makes this a legal arrangement.  Well, the answer is…

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Hotel Room Blocks for Weddings and Events

If you are hosting an event and have invited out of town guests, setting up room blocks is a good idea.  It is a nice gesture for your guests, but it also helps organize transportation, after parties, brunches, and welcome bag drop-offs. Room blocks do make scheduling transportation easier.  We will know where the majority…

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The Masculinity of Florals- Dover Hall Richmond Virginia

The Masculinity of Florals at Dover Hall in Richmond Virginia  ” order_by=”sortorder” order_direction=”ASC” returns=”included” maximum_entity_count=”500″]  Our editorial shoot is finally live and I can now share all of the dets.  This was a shoot that I had been thinking about for a while.  I ran through several concepts, watched several vendors, and edited, edited, edited. …

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Team Spotlight: Josie Miller

We have our official bios, but here are some fun facts about our team and some photos taken by Erika Lynn Photography   Josie joined our team in 2018 and I am so glad to have her as a member of Swoon Soiree.  She has a passion for art, design, and theatre, which has come…

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Team Spotlight: Lauren Purcell

We ask our clients and our vendors a TON of questions during the planning process.  I figured it was about time we started answering some of them ourselves. We are sharing a fun Q & A, and some photos taken by Erika Lynn Photography Lauren is the owner and lead designer/planner of Swoon Soiree. What’s…

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Venue Tour: Oak Ridge Estate

Oak Ridge Estate is an 1802 estate out in Arrington Virginia.  The estate was acquired at the turn of the 20th century by Thomas Fortune Ryan, a Nelson County native who had become one of the 10 wealthiest men in the nation. He made several alterations to the buildings and grounds – adding a formal…

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The Best Wedding Dress Shopping Tips

It’s almost the busy time for bridal boutiques.  Most bridal boutiques will really ramp up after the holidays when all of the new year’s gowns come in and the brides really start getting serious about dress shopping.   Here are some tried and true things to consider before heading out. 1. Wedding Dress sizes are…

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Groom’s Details

With all of the focus on the Bride and all of her details, it’s easy to overlook the Groom.   Groom’s details play a large part in telling the narrative of a wedding day.  They spend time curating their look and putting their details together too.  Those items should be showcased. Here is a list…

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Venue Tour: Burlington Plantation

There is a new venue in town, and it’s a looker. Burlington Plantation is technically located out in Charles, City, but I’m pretty sure we can group that in with Richmond Venues.  This venue is gorgeous.  The stables have been converted into a gorgeous ballroom.  High ceilings, natural light, chandeliers, I could go on.  There…

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Faberge Egg Ballet Wedding at The VMFA Richmond Virginia

A Romantic Ballet Inspired Wedding at The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts  ” order_by=”sortorder” order_direction=”ASC” returns=”included” maximum_entity_count=”500″]  The creative process is such a funny thing.  When I started conceptualizing this shoot, I didn’t have a certain venue in mind.  As the design started falling into place, and I realized what size room I needed, and…

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How to Be The Best Wedding Guest

1. RSVP on time: For anyone who has ever planned an event, whether it be a birthday party or a full size wedding, you know the struggle.  People just don’t respond to RSVP’s anymore.  As our culture moves toward more casual interactions, RSVPs are being caught in the crossfire.  If you receive an invitation you…

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All of the Wedding Abbreviations You Need to Know

Soon after you start planning a wedding you will realize that you have just entered a whole new world. There is so much to learn.  Most couples turn to message boards, forums, blogs, social media, and other online sources for their inspiration and vendor referrals. There is a shorthand that is used in this space. …

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How To Choose The Perfect Venue:

There is so much that goes into wedding planning.  So much. However, nothing can be done without a venue.  The venue will determine your date, create an atmosphere, and will set the pace for the rest of the budget.  Figure out the basics: When you start planning your wedding you should have a general idea…

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Real Wedding: Becca and Kevin The Market at Grelen Charlottesville, Virginia

  Chic Garden Inspired Wedding in Charlottesville Virginia at The Market at Grelen ” order_by=”sortorder” order_direction=”ASC” returns=”included” maximum_entity_count=”500″]  I can’t tell you how long I sat staring at these photos.  There were SO MANY special moments, gorgeous details, and beautiful scenery. Charlottesville, Virginia is such a pretty location for weddings.  I knew I couldn’t share…

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Wedding Planner, Wedding Coordinator, Wedding Designer, Venue Coordinator. What is the difference?

There are many overlapping career titles within the wedding industry. It’s no wonder couples aren’t sure which one will fit their needs.  Although there is some overlap with each description, there are some key differences. Wedding planning is time-consuming and time-sensitive work.  Make sure you know what you are getting when you hire your professional.…

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Venue Tour: The National Theatre

The National Theatre is not the traditional wedding venue, but it would be perfect for someone who is looking for something unique. The National is located on the 700 block of Broad Street.  This used to be known as Theatre Row.  The National was opened in 1923.  It held both live shows as well as…

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Venue Tour: The Graduate Richmond

Richmond has a new hotel in town and it’s a fun one. The Graduate Richmond is definitely a spot to check out. The Graduate brand is unique in that it is only in college anchored cities. Each hotel is different and it reflects the city that it is in. Hey cool.  The Graduate Richmond is…

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Venue Tour: The Greenbriar

I have always wanted to visit the Greenbriar Resort.  When I booked a wedding out at Smith Mountain Lake around the same time as my wedding anniversary, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity.  My husband came out as my assistant (he has worked weddings before and does a great job) and we made a…

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Bachelorette Parties in your 20s vs 30s: Girls Night Out at Quirk Hotel

  ” order_by=”sortorder” order_direction=”ASC” returns=”included” maximum_entity_count=”500″]  It’s wedding season. Which means, not only are you trying to figure out if you were tagged in someones photo wearing the same dress you are planning to wear to the next wedding, but you have bachelorette parties. I have been to my fair share of bachelorette parties.  I…

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Venue Tour: The Science Museum of Virginia

The former train station, now The Science Museum of Virginia, has several event spaces that serve multiple purposes.  From corporate events, to galas, to weddings, there are plenty of options to host your event.  The Rotunda is the most recognized event space at The Science Museum.  It is a five-story dome that has interesting architecture and…

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Venue Tour: Linden Row Inn

Linden Row Inn is an historic urban hotel that focuses on the “True Richmond” experience. It has a European style and a great history. It was originally called Linden Square, named after the linden trees that are in the garden.  The Linden Row Inn was originally seven row houses that were built in the mid-1800s. …

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Venue Tour: The Valentine

The Valentine is a historical museum in the heart of downtown Richmond. It acts as a vault and a source of interpretation for Richmond’s rich history. The museum is broken out into several permanent exhibits that cover different topics, such as Richmond’s history, culture and government.  In addition to the several permanent exhibits there are several…

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Venue Tour: Ashton Creek Vineyards

I have been hearing so much about this venue that I just had to add it to my venue tour.  It is one of the newer venues in Richmond and they have been busy busy.  It is a working vineyard, event space, and tasting room.  The venue is located south of Richmond, right off of…

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Venue Tour: Independence Golf Club

This venue is definitely a classic.  It is located right in the middle of Midlothian, Virginia which makes is such an easy venue to get to for both vendors and your guests.  There is ample space and parking.  The architecture of the building mirrors the iconic Jeffersonian style that Virginia loves so much.  When you…

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Venue Tour: Tuckahoe Woman’s Club

The Tuckahoe Woman’s Club is located off of Cary St. in the Near West End/Windsor Farms area. They are an operational social club, however you do not need to be a member, or be sponsored by one, to have an event here.  They allow outside vendors, and are focused on making your day everything you…

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Venue Tour: Tuckahoe Plantation

Tuckahoe plantation is the perfect venue to highlight the beauty and history of Richmond. Whether you have your ceremony downtown, or on site your guest will get to experience the city, its history, and its charm.  Classical elegance and southern hospitality is what you will get with Tuckahoe Plantation.  Built in 1733 The 2-story colonial…

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How to Chose Your Bride Tribe

Choosing your wedding party is not an easy feat.  There are so many things to think about.  Do you ask your family members, your best friends, your college roommates, your childhood bff?  Ugh, it’s impossible to choose.  The good news is that there are trends moving toward having smaller wedding parties, or not even having…

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Venue Tour: The Jefferson Hotel

Oh The Jefferson.  The cornerstone of Richmond Va.  The Jefferson has been hosting luxury weddings since 1895.  With the gorgeous Rotunda for cocktail hours, the sprawling staircase for a grand entrance and portraits, and the recently renovated ballrooms, this is a venue that makes a statement.   The Jefferson is managed by a team of…

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Venue Tour: The Jefferson Hotel

Oh The Jefferson.  The cornerstone of Richmond Va.  The Jefferson has been hosting luxury weddings since 1895.  With the gorgeous Rotunda for cocktail hours, the sprawling staircase for a grand entrance and portraits, and the recently renovated ballrooms, this is a venue that makes a statement.   The Jefferson is managed by a team of…

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Venue Tour: The Renaissance

Sarah Mitchell with sknowphoto and I were able to sneak away from the day-to-day grind and tour The Renaissance. I have been working on getting a tour with Tommy and Jon for sometime now but they are literally booked solid. If you have ever met Tommy or Jon, or seen the venue you know why.…

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Wedding Dress Code Deciphered

Alright.  You have sent in your RSVP, booked your accommodations, and now you are staring at the fine print on the invitation that states the dress code.  White Tie, Black Tie, Black Tie Optional, Creative Black Tie, Cocktail Attire, Festive, Dress to Impress, Beach Attire, Garden Party Attire, the list goes one.  With so many options…

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My Favorite Wedding Trends for 2017

Weddings are tough, and it’s hard to not get mixed up in what is popular and trendy. This is the first social event you are hosting as a couple and it should be something that feels like you.  You don’t want to attend several weddings in the same year and realize that all of your…

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Top Ten Reasons You Need a Wedding Planner

10.  You don’t have the time.  The average wedding takes about 200 hours to plan.  Most of the time it takes up to 300-400 hours since you will spend extra hours vetting out vendors, sourcing your rentals, and orchestrating everything.  There are a ton of people to hire. It takes time to find them and…

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Venue Tour: Upper Shirley Vineyards

Upper Shirley Vineyards is an estate, winery, restaurant and wedding venue right on the James River.   The venue is gorgeous.  It is clean and modern, something that Richmond desperately needed.  When you walk in the first thing you notice is all of the natural light.  This is a photographers dream come true.  The walls…

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Venue Tour: Altria Theatre

The recently renovated Altria Theater Ballroom is one of the largest venues in Richmond Va.  It has hosted numerous gala’s, after parties for the concerts at the Richmond Coliseum, and they are booking weddings.  They have the capacity for approximately 1,000 standing and a seated capacity for about 900.  If you wanted a dance floor…

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Venue Tour: Dover Hall Estate

“I want a ballroom where I can entertain 300 of my closest friends” joked Dennis Pryor when he met with Architect Mark Spangler. The Pryors wanted a house that they could entertain in.  They requested a two floor library like the one at the Biltmore House in North Carolina.  The gothic architecture was inspired by…

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Venue Tour: Fairview Farms

Photographer Jennifer Milota and I went on a venue your to Fairview Farms in Powhatan Virginia. This venue is so turn-key that it can save a couple a boatload if rustic chic is what they are looking for.  When you book with Fairview Farm you have complete access to the full estate.  Fairview Farm can…

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Venue Tour: Bandit’s Ridge

If you are looking for southern hospitality and a rustic venue, then you should check out Bandit’s Ridge.  The farm is located on 25 acres out in Louisa Virginia.  It is located right between Richmond and Charlottesville.  They have hay fields, a barn, a main house with a pool, and horses. At Bandit’s Ridge you…

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Venue Tour: Celebrations at the Reservoir

Well the venue tour continues, and this week I am covering Celebrations on the Reservoir.  This venue has five different sites to get married at.  They all have their unique features and can be used for several different events.  They also have several options for your reception. The Manor House is the most traditional site,…

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Venue Tour: Agecroft Hall

I have to start out and say that this is not an actual wedding venue.  You won’t be able to host a party or a wedding here.  However, they do accommodate non-profit organizations.  I toured this venue because people are always asking where they can get their engagement pictures done, their bridal portraits, where they…

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Venue Tour: Virginia Museum of Fine Art

I had no idea when I walked into the VMFA for my tour that they had so many options available.  There are several spaces available, and several different styles. They are also reasonably priced. I was truly surprised. The first venue is the one I’m sure most people think of when they think of the…

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RSVP means Fucking Respond

I know that I just said what everyone is thinking. You’re welcome.  For anyone who has ever planned an event, whether it be a birthday party or a full size wedding, you know the struggle.  People just don’t respond to RSVP’s anymore.  As our culture moves toward more casual interactions, RSVPs are being caught in…

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Venue Tour: Quirk Hotel

This hotel is super fun.  I mean seriously who doesn’t love an art focused, pink hotel, that was built in a converted luxury department store?  There are several fun art pieces on each floor, the rooms are modern, and the beds are made from refurbished wood.  Quirk even has it’s own custom blend coffee, you…

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Venue Tour: The Mill at Fine Creek

This 10-acre site has everything you need to make your day perfect.  The grounds have gorgeous gardens, trees, pathways, and a babbling granite creek.  The old mill ruins offer a truly unique and historic site for your ceremony.  The large gray stone of the old mill is covered with greenery and makes for a gorgeous…

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Venue Tour: The John Marshall Ballrooms

Elegant, Grand, Classic. “The Finest Hotel in the South.”  These are all words used to describe The John Marshall Ballrooms.  Your guests will be awestruck by the lobby space with it’s classic black and tan decor and it’s inviting lounge furniture.  As your guests arrive, this is a great space for some pre-ceremony cocktails and…

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Venue Tour: The Virginia Cliffe Inn

If you are looking for a beautiful southern style with spacious grounds, that is still in Richmond, this is the perfect location.  Located off of Mountain Road In Glen Allen this is just a short drive from the city.  The Virginia Cliffe Inn is an actual Bed and Breakfast where your guests could stay, or…

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Venue Tour: Historic Tredegar

With the city of Richmond as your backdrop and the James River streaming by this is the perfect blend of history, city, and nature.  The Historic Tredegar was built on a prime location near water power, working coal mines, and the railroad.  Originally the Tredegar was used to make locomotives, sugar mill factory pieces, and…

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The Five Million Ways to Address Envelopes

Just Kidding.  I don’t think there are five million different ways on how to address envelopes.  I hope not at least. In order to be socially mobile you must know how to properly address those around you.  Knowing the proper etiquette to use when addressing envelopes shows your level of education, your awareness of social practices,…

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Venue Tour: The Hippodrome

Welcome to the Hipp!  Those are Ron Stallings famous words as he escorts you into the grandeur theatre that we know as The Hippodrome.  The Hippodrome is located in historic Jackson Ward right off of Second Street.  The Hippodrome was originally opened in 1914 as an entertainment venue for African Americans.  It quickly became a…

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Venue Tour: Seven Springs

I am not only a wedding planner, but I am also a match maker. You come to me as a resource. I need to know what venues will fit your budget and style, what vendors will help create the perfect atmosphere, and what will make your event spectacular. As your wedding match maker I conducted…

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