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Wedding Weekend Venues: California Dreamin’

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Saying your vows surrounded by trees, the hill country mountains and that magic touch only a rustic ranch wedding can give you… What if we told you this is all available to you in the vibrant state of California? That’s right! Although getting married on the beach might sound like a great idea, a luxury wedding in the mountains is just as perfect!

Here are a few California wedding venue options to make sure you have the perfect ranch wedding weekend:

RUSTIC PARADISE

The amazing Temecula countryside welcomes you to an unforgettable weekend! This incredible property with a large, rustic house is able to accommodate up to 10 people in 4 large bedrooms, including two master suites with wraparound balconies overlooking the vineyards and the pond – so you can start your honeymoon a bit earlier!

Have a romantic wedding ceremony for up to 100 guests surrounded by the vineyards and a breathtaking landscape! Not only is this property ready to accommodate your guests but it also includes some key items such as tables, chairs and linens, wedding lawn, barrel room for reception, and a bridal suite with large deck and more!

WEDDED BLISS

This is a land where dreams come true! Secluded by the mountains and yet just a few miles away from the beach, this venue offers 4 houses, accommodating up to 46 guests! With a large swimming pool, yoga room, TV rooms and beautiful hikes on the woodland trails, there’s no need for you to ever leave the property!

Say “I do” in front of 150 guests in a private ceremony outside overlooking the view and the sunset or inside a luxurious barn! Either way, you can be sure that this Venue will fulfill all of your wedded dreams!

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MAJESTIC MOUNTAIN RANCH AND RETREAT

Begin your marriage life nestled among blooming meadows, ancient oaks and sunset plateaus. This amazing private property has two ranches available that are the perfect places to accommodate up to 24 guests. Enjoy the natural beauty of this amazing place hiking around the property, stargazing, horseback trail riding, swimming in the pool or relaxing by the fire! Hire a private chef, get massages and have a few relaxing days before your wedding ceremony!

Explore, relax, have fun and fall in love once more at this fairytale venue, with a beautiful ceremony and reception for up to 125 people overlooking the stunning Californian countryside.

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No matter what your choice is, with any one of these venues you will have the magical, intimate, country wedding you have always dreamed of…at an extremely affordable price!

Wedding Estate – New Orleans Edition

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New Orleans is one of the most eclectic, culturally diverse cities in the country. With numerous activities available – from partying until dawn in the streets of the French Quarter, dancing to jazz, walking around the historic neighborhoods, eating classic creole delicacies or taking a tour in one of the spooky cemeteries – there’s something for everyone!

So, it doesn’t matter if your dream wedding is fun, trendy, and casual or elegant, sophisticated and super romantic. Just like anything else in this vibrant city, there are Wedding Estates for all tastes! Here are two different and equally great ideas for the perfect wedding weekend in New Orleans:

  1. The Trendy Package

Rent the Downtown Deluxe and have your parents or other family members stay here. Located in the bustling downtown area near hundreds of restaurants, bars and shops, these two condos are actually stacked on top of each other and can host 8 people, all together. We suggest gathering on the first night on this beautiful rooftop for some wine and beers while everyone settles into New Orleans! Looking for a place to show your guests one of the top “go-to” restaurants in the city then head to Bacchanal. They are wine connoisseurs, have outstanding food and will NOT disappoint with the musical act of the evening!  

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Rent Perfect NOLA Getaway for your rehearsal dinner and wedding.

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With an amazing location, this venue allows you to experience romantic scenery with historic old trees alongside colorful, hip architecture. This property has overnight accommodations for 12 and was just remodeled! With a beautiful and spacious side yard, this is the perfect space for a Louisiana wedding! Wanna make it more authentic? Book Fete Au Fete Food Truck! Featuring the best of Creole Cuisine – a delicious mix of African, Native American, Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese cuisine all with a touch of the good southern flavor, this truck is the ultimate combination between trendy and gourmet, not to mention incredibly affordable!

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  1. The Romantic Package

Rent Lower Garden Loveliness for gatherings and a rehearsal dinner! Located in the beautiful Lower Garden District, this home is perfect for large parties, being able to accommodate up to 13 overnight guests and events for 75 people. Catch a ride on the train to explore the historic district or use one of the bikes available in the venue for a fun ride!

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Rent the Gated NOLA Mansion for your wedding and your rehearsal dinner. There are just a few places as romantic and unique for a wedding ceremony as the Historic Mansions in New Orleans. This property offers old-world charm combined with updated amenities, including a full gourmet kitchen and large dining room. With an incredible event space, heated pool and lush gardens, this house is the dream venue to host a beautiful, romantic ceremony for 125 lucky guests!

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Want to send your guests off with a parting gift/favor that is unique to this area? How about a late-night snack from District Donuts! These donuts are famous in the city for their decadence and one-of-a-kind flavors. 

If you love one of these options or would like anything different, we have many other gorgeous private wedding estates that can give you just what you need! Check our website or contact us directly here: https://www.venuesandvows.com/concierge or https://www.venuesandvows.com/need-a-venue  and we will help you find the perfect wedding spot for you!

Wedding Estates – Scottsdale, AZ Edition

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Welcome to the world of wedding estates! What is a wedding estate, you might ask? It’s the opportunity for you to have an entire compound for you, your fiancee, your family and friends. It offers the ultimate flexibility by providing so many options for your wedding day. Instead of only getting a venue for 6 hours, how about having it for a full three days?

One of the greatest advantages is that you can create your own vibe, style, and approach for your wedding. Want a relaxed BBQ? Great. Or, are you more formal? How about a our-course catered dinner. The choice is really yours…casual, informal, luxurious, elegant, bohemian, themed, chic – completely up to yo!

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We have created two options in sunny Scottsdale that give you the flexibility you’ve been pining for. Arizona is a great place to choose a wedding estate if you are looking for a beautiful outdoor ceremony and reception, with beautiful blue skies and warm weather. With hundreds of shops, restaurants, bars and outdoor activities, Scottsdale is a town that can not only give you the perfect wedding day, but also the perfect weekend. One of the best ways to do this is for some of your extended family or friends to rent a house that can host the rehearsal dinner or after-wedding brunch. Here are two great and different options for you:

Option 1: Kick back and relax ~

Rent the Stylish Scottsdale Resort for your family and friends and take advantage of all the space and amenities this amazing property has to offer! The backyard is the perfect size for a rehearsal dinner and a family post-wedding brunch. How about some beers and BBQ by the pool? The weather in AZ is prime for that!wedding-estate

Rent the Ultimate Paradise Estate for a cool, fun wedding! The space is perfect for a beautiful outdoor ceremony overlooking Camelback Mountain. Instead of a traditional wedding dinner, hire a Food Truck! Aioli Gourmet Burgers is one of the best trucks in Phoenix and can offer up to 10 different menu possibilities, including salads, sides, desserts, beverages and delicious burgers!

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Option 2: Glam all-the-way!

Take advantage of all of Scottsdale’s luxury and go big! Host your family and friends at the beautiful Upscale Scottsdale Estate and throw a great post-wedding brunch. Le Crepe is a great option, you can choose three flavors of delicious, made-from-scratch french crepes. Don’t forget the French75 cocktails! 

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Have your rehearsal dinner and wedding at Scottsdale’s most beautiful estate: the Greek Palace. The outside area is A STUNNER and has plenty of space for a ceremony and reception. Have a traditional seated-dinner while enjoying the breathtaking scenery around you.  We have plenty of catering options to help you choose the right one for an excellent price.

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If you think Scottsdale is the place for your wedding, make sure to take a good look at all of our other properties for different sizes and concepts. It’s your big day, and we can make it just right for you!

Love,

Luisa.

Exploring Marriage, Traditions and Wedding Venues with the Avowed Podcast

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Last week I was thrilled and honored to talk more about Venues & Vows and our wedding venues with the Avowed Podcast!

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Hey, that’s me! Katie Stoltz, the face behind Venues & Vows.


What is the Avowed Podcast?
 

affordable-wedding-venuesWedding cake baker turned Podcast-er Extraordinaire, Jasmine Lilly, started a new conversation about weddings that discusses traditions, societal expectations, and the evolving nature of love, relationships and weddings.

Jasmine and I clicked almost immediately because we both believe the wedding industry has gott
en a little wonky over the last few years. Just like Venues & Vows, Jasmine also believes in breaking rules seen as “tradition” when it comes to celebrating marriage in today’s multi-billion industry that fuels brides’ dreams. Talking with real people, entrepreneurs, couples and visionaries, this podcast is a great way to change your perspective when it comes to planning – or even thinking about – your wedding.

Here, There and Everywhere

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On our episode we talked about the beginning of Venues & Vows, how it all started and the reasons why we are so passionate about this business. I created Venues & Vows to strike that balance between getting more of what *you* want  while still keeping it real with your bank account.

I delve into personal experience when I had five friends get engaged at the exact same time.

Frankly, it was mayhem…Pinterest boards, Excel/Google sheets, comparing/contrasting venues. Then I find out that the average cost of a wedding venue is over $14,000!  $14k for a room for 8 hours that restricts your catering options, forces you to use their bartenders and charges $7.95 for a Bud Light. Sounds awesome. Blech.

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So, Jasmine and I explore better
options and we also chat about the pressure I (and she) have felt to get engaged, pragmatic questions to talk about before getting married, and what Venues & Vows ultimately wants t
o achieve.
Hint: it will save you a boatload of money.

affordable-wedding-venuesIf you want to hear more you can listen to it right here:

Jasmine, you are awesome – thank you so much for having me!

Love,

Katie.

 

Top 3 Food Trucks in Scottsdale, AZ

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Wedding concepts are changing everyday. We no longer feel pressure to get married in a big church by a priest or minister followed by a big seated reception with a white cake and champagne. People now get married on the beach, a barn, a winery, a meadow, a backyard, a brewery… The list is endless and full of fun possibilities.

Formal Is Out, Food Trucks Are In!

So, why should you feel that same pressure to serve a formal, seated dinner with a three-course meal? Usually plated dinners are the most expensive ones when it comes to catering options, so if you’re on a budget, a great option is to opt for a food truck!

Food trucks are fun, more personal, and there are an array of options so you won’t feel limited in any way when choosing the right cuisine for your wedding!

If you plan on getting married in beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona you’re in luck! Not only are there luxurious and affordable wedding venues, but the sunny and warm weather make it perfect for an outdoor wedding… which means you have the ideal setup for a food truck for catering!

https://www.venuesandvows.com/scottsdale-az/upscale-scottsdale-estate
Upscale Estate in Scottsdale, AZ.

Now the question becomes, which food truck?  To help you decide, we selected three outstanding food trucks in Scottsdale, AZ that are all completely different, but delicious all the same:

  1. Aioli Gourmet Burgers:

Wait a minute, burgers for a wedding? Yes! Especially if the burgers are ranked #1 in Arizona! With 10 different menu possibilities, choose between salads, sides, desserts, beverages and, of course, the famous gourmet burgers.

The complete package serves up to 100 people for $22+ per person during a 2 hour event window and it includes burgers, salads, sides (sweet potatoes, golden fries and mac & cheese bites), desserts (churros and s’more bread puddings) and beverages such as lemonades, soda and bottled water. If you like some spiciness in your life then the Taste of the Southwest menu is perfect for you, costing $22+ per person for mexican inspired burgers, street tacos, chips & salsa, street corn, tres leches bread pudding, churros and beverages!

The truck fee is calculated according to event distance, staff needed and other variants. If you are planning a casual, fun wedding, contact them!

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  1. Modern Tortilla

This food truck is perfect for all mexican food lovers out there! Serving fresh tacos, burritos, quesadillas and other mexican goodies, prices start at $15 per person, with their most popular menu being $24 per person.

You can choose from a set menu or cater a taco bar, where your guests can build their own tacos, choosing from several toppings and sauces in a way that will please even the pickiest eaters!  Just like Aioli’s the truck fee is calculated according to event distance, usually around $200. If you are a true Southwestern food lover, chances are this food truck will be a match made from heaven!

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  1. Le Crepe

Let’s talk about everyone’s favorite part: dessert! If you have a sweet tooth like me, I am sure the amazing sweet crepes from Le Crepe would be an amazing addition to your wedding menu repertoire! Deliciously made from scratch, with five different flavors you will have a hard time choosing which one to indulge in!

For catering they offer two different packages: the small package costs $500 and serves up to 75 crepes for 2 hours, with an additional charge of $6 for every extra crepe. The large package is $1,200 and serves 200 crepes for 4 hours, charging an extra $5 per crepe after 200. Both services include up to 3 menu items of your choosing, plates and silverware and serves. They also have the choice of a delicious savory crepe ‘The Frenchman’ with turkey, avocado, tomato, provolone and pesto mayo, in case you just want the whole deal!

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Take advantage of picturesque Scottsdale whether by hosting your wedding outside, among the mountains and make it casual, fun and creative for your outdoor reception in one of the many luxurious properties you can only find in this area. Food trucks are also perfect if you don’t have a lot of space for big tables, since they usually serve food people can easily eat with their hands, like some of the ones listed here, they are also very convenient for venues that don’t offer a kitchen space.

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The Stylish Scottsdale Resort has an amazing space for an outside ceremony and reception!

Doesn’t matter if you decide to go for a food truck because it fits your budget, because it logistically makes sense or because you simply love the concept (don’t we all?), if you decide from one of these three options listed here we promise there’s no way you can go wrong!

Cheers,

Luisa.

Finding the Perfect DJ For Your Wedding Reception

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If you are having your wedding in Scottsdale, AZ you probably know the town’s reputation for its incredible nightlife, full of amazing parties and DJs that are always ready to deliver a night you will never forget. So, if you’re concerned about the DJ’s ability to keep the party going and entertain your guests all night long, you shouldn’t be!

Scottsdale, AZ is filled with tons of talented and highly professional companies whose sole purpose is to match you up with a DJ that fits your style.  With so many choices out there, it can be hard to determine who’s good and who’s not.  With this in mind, we’ve decided to put together our list of the top 3 companies in Scottsdale who will not only provide you with the best DJ, but also follow that up with exceptional service throughout the process.  Afterall, the last thing you need is more stress when planning your wedding!  Without further ado, here are 3 companies that will exceed all of your expectations and make your party a huge success.

Top 3 Wedding DJs in Scottsdale, AZ

3 Oceans Entertainment

First up on the list is Cameron, who has an impressive resume to say the least.  Nominated Top Three “Best Dj Services” in Arizona by AZ Bride Magazine, Top Three Wedding Djs in AZ by Wedding Elite, and a six-time award winner of WeddingWire’s Bride’s Choice Awards for Wedding Dj, Cameron has a resume that speaks for itself.  With over 1,000 weddings under his belt (no exaggeration, he really has that many), Cameron definitely has the experience and know-how to bring the house down.  While smaller weddings will work just fine, we recommend searching for a larger Scottsdale wedding venue, so Cameron’s talents can really shine.

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Review of Cameron from his profile on WeddingWire
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Cameron djing at a wedding

Offering packages starting at $900 for a 4 hour event, as well as basic lighting, and an additional sound system for the wedding ceremony and cocktail hours. Dj Cameron will provide an epic night of fun and dancing for all your wedding guests!

Let’s Make Noyze

Owned by the popular DJ Gary, “Let’s Make Noyze” gathers talented DJs for one purpose: to make sure you have fun at your wedding! From prices starting at $895, these guys are ready to make your event a huge success, with special lighting included and some fun extra additions available too, such as a photo booth with an open air backdrop including a booth hostess for some fun props, and a photo guest book!

With nothing but 5 star reviews across the board, DJ Gary’s team are sure to make your Scottdale wedding a good one.  As Adele noted in her review on Yelp, “Let’s Make Noyze” has the perfect setup for an outdoor wedding venue such as this one.

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Beautiful outdoor wedding venue in Scottsdale, AZ
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Yelp review of Let’s Make Noyze from an outdoor wedding they did

The company offers a music consultation as well as a ceremony and reception worksheet to assist you in your planning, making sure that you have the right song for every special moment during your wedding day!

The Beat Booth

One of the most prestigious entertainers in this industry, DJ Nathan and his team at The Beat Booth have put together an amazing team to make your reception a fun and unique event! Pioneering the video DJing in Arizona, the company offers packages with or without music videos – although we highly recommend the creative, upbeat videos to go with the music.

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Turn tables and sound system used by The Beat Booth

Different from most, if not all, The Beat Booth works as a team! When you hire their services you get a DJ/MC to get your party going and on top of that, you also get a DJ assistant/music coordinator to make sure your event flows smoothly the entire time! The main thing they’re concerned with is not turning your wedding reception into a “cheese-fest”.

Meaning, no lame games, no constant annoying (and often unnecessary) announcements to your guests.  They’re just going to focus on bringing you a variety of music including Hip Hop, House, EDM, Dance, Pop, Rock, and Jazz.  With prices ranging between $1,600 to $2,000 with special lighting included, The Beat Booth is worth every penny!

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Here’s a review taken from Nathan’s profile on WeddingWire

Save On Your Wedding Venue – Not Your Wedding DJ

When we started Venues & Vows, one of the main goals was to provide amazing wedding venues at a fraction of the cost of your typical hotel or resort.  Your wedding day is one day in your life and should be just as fun as it will be emotional! But that doesn’t mean you need to break the bank just to do so.

By booking an affordable wedding venue in Scottsdale, you have the ability to spend that money elsewhere.  We can’t stress enough how important it is to get a quality, professional DJ instead of that “talented cousin who makes a killer playlist on his iPhone”.

Be prepared to spend – realistically – around $1,200 – $3,000 for a quality DJ, sound system, special lighting and all the other amenities you might want to include to make sure you and your guests bust a move on the dance floor! And since you’re already saving thousands of dollars booking one of our incredibly affordable venues, you can give yourself this little and crucial treat!

I hope you have the party of your life!

Love,

Luisa

Top 3 DJ’s in Austin, TX For Your Wedding

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Finding a quality DJ for your wedding reception can be hard these days.  With so many options, it’s hard to determine who has skills and talent – not just an iPod with a playlist.  Considering you only get one shot to get it right, we’ve narrowed down the list and come up with the top 3 wedding DJ’s in Austin.

Before selecting a DJ, the main thing you need to think about is cost.  How much do you plan on spending for a DJ?  Two things you really shouldn’t skimp on for your wedding are a photographer and a DJ.  The photos will last a lifetime (so they better be good), and the DJ is the main ingredient in making sure everyone has a good time.  So, dishing out a little more on a premium DJ for your wedding is recommended.  An easy way to add this into the budget is by going for a cheaper wedding venue.  

By saving a few thousand dollars on an affordable wedding venue, you now have the luxury of splurging on a high-quality DJ that will keep your party going smoothly all night long.  So, without further ado, here are our picks for the best wedding DJ’s in Austin.

 

  1. Austin’s Best DJs

With Austin’s Best DJs you get a variety of DJs to choose from, and Jason & Diana aren’t just operating an event planning business. They understand just how big your wedding day is, and that with the stress you’re already experiencing, the last thing you need to worry about is the DJ.

Austin’s Best DJs works hard to provide you with friendly, reputable, high quality DJs that will provide you with the music your heart desires, ensuring everything from your first dance as a married couple, through to the last dance of the night, goes off without a hitch.

Jason and Diana frequently write for Mobile Beat Magazine, a popular industry magazine for DJ’s, so they definitely know what they’re talking about.  That’s why when you use them, you’ll be able to choose from a variety of DJ’s at their disposal that fits your style.  They do have some budget friendly options, but we suggest getting a higher quality package by using some of the money you saved when booking a wedding venue.

 

  1. DJ Brian Weber

DJ Brian Weber has been in the business for almost a decade. He started out turning tables at parties and bars and after receiving such excellent feedback, turned his attention to weddings. Forget a DJ that turns up with an iPod and plays tracks, DJ Brian Weber mixes live with turntables. He beat matches songs to create seamless transitions, keeping the dance floor moving all night long. He will provide a wide variety of music and provide your event with a touch of class.

No matter where in Austin you book your (inexpensive) wedding venue, you can expect DJ Brian Weber to arrive hours in advance. He is the epitome of class, and will dress as formally as you like, happily coordinating his outfit with your color scheme. You can consult with him before the wedding to provide clear instructions regarding what types of music you’d like, what specific songs should be included (or excluded), and he brings all of the necessary equipment, including lighting, as well as mics for toasts and readings. He will provide announcements, introduce the wedding party, toasts, and the cutting of the cake.

For a truly professional and top notch service, you can’t go wrong with DJ Brian Weber.

 

  1. DJ Versus

Known as ‘The People’s Champ’, Joseph is a super friendly DJ who can provide any type of music, regardless of your tastes. You can expect a stunning light show to accompany the music, perfectly in sync and time with the beats. If you’re looking for a DJ to emcee the wedding reception of all wedding receptions, then there’s no one like DJ Versus. We had the luxury of having DJ Versus at our launch event, and he was amazing!  Constantly mixing it up, with a seemingly endless song catalog, Joseph made sure everyone was having a blast all night long.

Whether you want your wedding reception to feature classics, the top 40, hip hop, or an eclectic mix, DJ Versus will bring the goods.  Being able to keep the party going for hours on end and judge how at your Cheap Wedding Venues in Austin.

Save Money to Spend Money

With packages ranging from a low end of $800 (for the bare essentials), to the more realistic end of $1,500 – $2,500, getting a quality DJ for your wedding isn’t going to be cheap, but it’ll definitely be worth it.  The last thing you want is to have a room full of your closest friends and family all sitting around bored to death because the DJ can’t get the party going.  

A DJ can make or break a wedding, so this is not an area you want to skimp on.  Instead, save a lot of money by finding an affordable wedding venue in or around Austin, so that you can wake up the next morning saying, “man, that was one hell of a party!”.  Trust us, you won’t regret it.

 

Top 3 Affordable and Luxurious Venues in Scottsdale, AZ

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Congratulations on your engagement! I am sure there is a lot of planning to do and perhaps you are still not sure where to host your wedding. If that’s the case, I can suggest the perfect city: Scottsdale, Arizona. The perfect blend of scenery, warmth and entertainment. Located in the grand Phoenix area, Scottsdale is often described as a desert oasis, and here’s why:

  1. Perfect sunny weather all year round – although summers can get a bit intense.
  2. The most breathtaking sunsets only the desert sky can offer.
  3. Trendy shops, bars and restaurants. Scottsdale is all about the luxury and people here are not afraid to enjoy it.
  4. Crazy nightlife! Not many places allow you to spend a quiet, relaxing day outdoors and then have an epic night filled with music and good drinks!
  5. Amazing trails to hike or mountain bike, and perfect perches to practice yoga.

 

This the the best balance for you and your guests. You have plenty to choose from for vendors and your guests will have tons of options for entertainment.

Now that I know I have convinced you, let’s talk about the best part of it: the venues. Every venue in Scottsdale has luxury and elegance as their signature features. No matter which one you choose, you’ll end up with a Hollywood-like wedding but that doesn’t have to mean spending huge amounts of money. We have done all of the research for you and uncovered three stunning venues that will fit right in your budget:

Designer Phoenix Villa – Placed in one of Phoenix’s most prime areas, this brand new mansion is a designer’s masterpiece located in the exclusive town of Paradise Valley, in the Scottsdale District. Overlooking the beautiful sunny valley and the famous Camelback Mountain, this venue offers both entertainment and relaxation for you and 18 other guests during a memorable weekend! Hike, bike, lay by the pool or jump in the car for a one-minute drive to hundreds of trendy bars and shops in Old Town!

Finally, have a romantic outdoor ceremony for up to 100 guests during a priceless sunset, overlooking the majestic desert nature. Click here to book this venue!

The Resort Around the Corner – Why would anyone want to book a room at a resort when you can book an entire house that looks and feels just like one? Have all the privacy, comfort and fun you deserve at this amazing house located in the heart of Scottsdale. While secluded by the beautiful desert nature, this property is actually a few minutes away from all of Scottsdale’s most fun restaurants, bars and shops!

With 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, living room, dinning room, playroom and a heated swimming pool you might consider not even leaving the house! Host a beautiful ceremony for up to 100 guests in the spacious backyard for a celebration you will never forget! Click here to see more of this property!

 

The Royal Wedding Weekend – I know we are talking about Scottsdale but this venue deserves a shout out for its beauty and creativity! Only a 30-minute drive outside Scottsdale you will encounter this amazingly romantic venue that will make you feel like you traveled back in time. Inspired by 1800’s-style Victorian houses, this venue will make you feel like a princess 24/7!

The best part about this property is that you can decide between two wedding ceremony scenarios! Marry in the front patio facing the amazing Castle or go to the back of the Tuscan Property for a picturesque Venice wedding! Either way, the property is ready to provide you with tables, chairs, special lighting, onsite staff and whatever else you might need to make this day extra special! Click in both images to see the different options!

All of these properties are around 55% to 86% cheaper than the average venue cost for a boring, traditional wedding venue. Spend a weekend with your family and friends and take advantage of being able to have your rehearsal dinner or after-wedding brunch *in addition* to having your wedding ceremony and reception there. Other venues will not even come close to the experience you’ll have during an entire weekend enjoying all the luxury and style only Scottsdale and these venues can offer!

Love,

Luisa.

New Orleans – The Perfect Place to Have Your Bachelorette Weekend

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 Welcome to New Orleans (NOLA)! This is one of the most sought after US cities, with its crazy nightlife, tantalizing cuisine, distinguished culture, vibrant architecture and amazing music on every corner. You and your guests will have an endless list of fun things to do!

We’ve provided a guide to the best neighborhoods, restaurants, and activities – check it out!

Neighborhood: French Quarter

What to do: Go to Bourbon Street! In the heart of French Quarter, this is one of the most famous party streets in the world! Filled with amazing entertainment such as bars, restaurants, strip clubs and world famous festivals like Mardi Gras. While enjoying the nightlife on Bourbon Street make sure you get the Hurricane Cocktail (one of New Orleans’ most popular drinks) or one of their “huge ass beers”, served in big plastic cups for a low price. The best part? You can walk around with your drink through the charming downtown corridors!

Have a cocktail: Pat O’Brien’s Bar is the one and only to grab a drink when visiting the Quarter. Home of the Hurricane Cocktail – yes, they invented it! – this casual bar is filled with lush gardens and tons of charm. Have a great time enjoying your drink listening to a live piano at the lounge or even at one of its private party rooms!

Grab dinner or a snack: Saints & Sinners is a must stop for a bachelorette party! The restaurant and bar was created in 1897 and it was a haven for jazz musicians, risque women and men with questionable moral standards. Closed in 1917, it was re-opened by actor Channing Tatum (that should be reason enough to go) and a friend, as a tribute to the city’s ribald reputation. Have fun with your best ladies grabbing drinks, dinner and partying!

Saints and Sinners brings the burlesque atmosphere of the early XX century.

Where to stay:

Lux Life NOLA – https://www.venuesandvows.com/new-orleans-la/lux-life-nola

Live it up in this French Quarter chateau that has a private balcony overlooking the street. There is plenty of room to have a private dinner in the lower corridor – why not have it catered with some delicious creole food?!

 

Neighborhood: St. Charles Streetcar corridor

What to do: Get on the St. Charles streetcar of course! NOLA’s oldest continuously operating streetcars in the world are probably the best and most original way to see the city using its three different lines: St. Charles, Canal Street and Riverfront. The St. Charles route will offer you a great ride through a tunnel of Live Oaks, Tulane and Loyola universities and historic mansions and monuments – not to mention dozens of shopping centers, hotels and fine restaurants.  

Have a cocktail: Pontchartrain hotel rooftop deck. What better way to enjoy a fine drink then with an amazing view? With a design inspired in the 1940s, the Hot Tin – Rooftop Bar has a breathtaking 270 degree view to the Mississippi River and downtown New Orleans. Pop a bottle and soak in the view!

Grab dinner or a snack: Head to Bacchanal. Truth be told, this restaurant/garden is not in the St. Charles area but Bacchanal is such a cool spot that you MUST visit while in New Orleans. It’s in the Bywater area and this specialty wine shop and restaurant have delicious dishes and an impeccable selection of wine. The night we were there, we were lucky enough to catch a blues/jazz band that took us back in time. I cannot recommend this place highly enough! Get the rigatoni with cream and roasted cauliflower!!

Where to stay:

St. Charles Garden – https://www.venuesandvows.com/new-orleans-la/st-charles-garden

Don’t just admire the antebellum mansions alongside the streets, stay in one! This STUNNING luxury home is the definition of what the old, classic New Orleans was all about! It was recently remodeled and now has 6 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, two kitchens and a balcony overlooking St. Charles. Enjoy all the great shops and restaurants near by and feel like you are back in the 1800’s!

Neighborhood: Garden and Lower Garden District

What to do: Known by many as the “Hollywood South”, the Garden District has been featured in countless movies! Enjoy the beauty of the Live Oaks, as well as the many antebellum mansions you can find in the district – nowhere else in South has a better collection of antique mansions clustered together in one strip. Tip: stop by Washington Avenue and visit the Lafayette Cemetery No. 1  by Prytania Street. With its unique tombs and vaults, the cemetery was featured in many movies and it’s one of the oldest, spookiest cemeteries in town.

Have a cocktail: Barrel Proof. In the middle of the historic Garden District, this bar is actually a modern spot, opened in 2014 featuring over 50 beers and a list of 150 + whiskey bottles! Even if you are not a whiskey person like me, trying out one of their whiskey flights is a worthwhile experience, the ambience is classy, comfortable, and perfect for it!

Grab dinner or a snack: I honestly could add Commander’s Palace both as a place to grab dinner and a cocktail. With countless awards, including six James Beard Foundation Awards, and being New Orleans Best Restaurant for four years in a row, this should be enough reason to visit this 1893 landmark. But there is another excellent reason: 25-cent martinis. Yes, you read it right: grab lunch at this NOLA jewel and drink basically free martinis!

The Commander’s Palace, NOLA’s favorite!

Where to stay:

Lower Garden Loveliness – https://www.venuesandvows.com/new-orleans-la/lower-garden-loveliness

Located only a mile away from Bourbon Street, this 1907 built jewel is located right behind Elmeril’s Delmonico. Have fun enjoying all the shops and restaurants nearby, spend a couple hours at the balcony overlooking the Crescent City Connection or get one of the 3 bikes available in the house to explore the area!

 

Neighborhood: CBD (Central Business District)

What to do: Take a walk around the historic Lafayette Square in the evening and enjoy free concerts, theaters and numerous bars and restaurants! If you are visiting the city during summer, make sure to leave wednesday free for the Wednesday at the Square festival, featuring the top names in local acts! During the fall, the Square becomes home to a blues music festival.

Have a cocktail:  Need a little help to start the day? Fear not! No better way than at Daisy Dukes drinking their famous, award winning Cajun Bloody Marys! They also have a 24/7 amazing breakfast menu, which means that you get an excuse to keep sipping those Bloody Marys past lunch time!

The city’s most famous Bloody Mary

Grab dinner or a snack: Willa Jean. This is the best place for breakfast or brunch! I personally just went and after a rather aggressive evening of cocktails, I sopped up all that alcohol with their award-winning banana bread, a green juice, coffee, water, orange juice AND avocado toast with a fried egg. I was a NEW WOMAN!  

Where to stay:

Mardi Miracle – https://www.venuesandvows.com/new-orleans-la/mardi-miracle

If you are hosting a bachelorette weekend, there’s no better place to be! Located in downtown NOLA, right where all restaurants, bars, music festivals, art galleries, bands and beads are! This newly renovated condo is perfect for a weekend of jazz, cocktails and the unique NOLA atmosphere.

Hope you enjoyed! Email us if you need anymore tips or help organizing your trip! [email protected]

 

My Backyard Wedding: Engagement Pictures

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Our set was a park near our apartment during sunset.

Happy Valentine’s day everyone! Love is in the air and with that I thought it would be a good idea to talk about something my husband and I did before getting married: engagement pictures. They were a gift from my mother-in-law to us, and at first I thought that was a little bit cheesy to be honest. I could not have been more wrong! With a talented person behind the camera and the right scenario, you’ll get a gift of a lifetime!

Here is some personal advice for you to make the most out of this experience:

  • Have a quality camera

Perhaps hiring a professional photographer isn’t in the cards – after all, those wedding expenses can add up quickly! Instead, ask a friend with a quality camera to help you out. Alternatively, try one of the fun polaroid cameras. If you go the friend route, make sure you/they have a decent camera which is easy to handle. Maybe your friend already has one, but you can always rent cameras locally. Research!

 

  • Choose the right scenery/scenario

What is the right scenario? The one that best represents you two! It doesn’t matter if it’s a crazy huge sailing boat at sunset on a beautiful beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (yes, I saw that happening) or your grandmother’s front porch. If it’s a place where you two share memories together, or it fits your personalities, that should be enough.

Kaliegh and Ben chose an abandoned field in Tampa, FL.

If you are thinking of hosting an engagement party or planning a romantic weekend getaway for you two, there is no better time to have some pictures taken! Choosing to do it in a private setting, such as a house with a beautiful yard or view, is great if you don’t feel comfortable taking romantic pictures in front of strangers! We have great properties for these moments on our website.

Escape to the wine country of Fredericksburg, Texas
Need to get away from the city with your love? Head to the Hamptons, NY!

 

  • Focus on your partner and this moment
Be playful!

Don’t overthink the fact that there’s a camera pointed at you. In fact, forget about the camera! The best thing about engagement pictures is the experience itself. So laugh, be goofy, spontaneous, romantic. Don’t be afraid of hugging, kissing and being silly during the photoshoot, take this moment to appreciate how lucky you two are for having found each other!

 

Be romantic!

 

  • Bonus Idea

Maybe you are not engaged yet but this post is sparking a few ideas. Need a little help to come up with the perfect proposal? How about hiring a private chef to cook a delicious meal, and take a tour around the art galleries before popping the question? We have the perfect place waiting for you in Chicago, IL.

You can see more details of this property by clicking on the image.

Happy Valentine’s day.

Love,

Luisa.

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