Home Blog Page 2

Finding the Perfect DJ For Your Wedding Reception


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.

review of three oceans entertainment wedding dj
Review of Cameron from his profile on WeddingWire
wedding reception dj cameron
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.

gorgeous outdoor wedding venue in scottsdale az
Beautiful outdoor wedding venue in Scottsdale, AZ
wedding dj for outdoor venues
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.

dj's sound system in scottsdale
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!

the beat booth scottsdale dj review
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!



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


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


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!



New Orleans – The Perfect Place to Have Your Bachelorette Weekend


 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

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.



My Backyard Wedding – Dinner Reception: Menu or Buffet or…?

My wedding reception was at a cute Italian restaurant.

There isn’t just *one* way to do dinner for your wedding. In fact, you may not have an evening celebration at all. I was just at reception that was a brunch! The bride and groom decided they wanted a quick ceremony and to have a day-long celebration so they started with a brunch complete with mimosas, French toast, bacon, eggs, and tons of other options.

For those that are going to have your wedding in the afternoon or evening, there are a few choices you have: 1) Seated meal 2) buffet meal 3) family-style meal and 4) food trucks.

The first item to consider though are dietary restrictions. Keep in mind that some people may gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, etc. You can still have the meal you want but do it while staying flexible. To make it easier, when sending out invitations with the menu, create an additional box for your guests to fill out in case of any food allergies or preferences (vegetarian, vegan, for example). This way you’ll be prepared to handle those beforehand.

Option 1: Seated meal

A Three-Course Meal with at least two different options for each course, example:

      • Appetizer: kale caesar salad or green garden salad/creamy mushroom soup (simple salads or soups are a great appetizer because most people can eat just about all ingredients).
      • Entrée: Chicken marsala with julienne of zucchini, carrots and squash/ Medallions of beef with bacon brussel sprouts and risotto with herb pesto (avoiding pastas is a good way of saving yourself the trouble of having to create an additional ‘gluten free’ dish).
      • Dessert: you can simply serve the cake you chose for your wedding or come up with additional choices such as berry parfaits or homemade tarts.
        • If there are some vegetarians at your wedding reception, it’s a nice idea to have something different for them, like pasta or stuffed mushrooms. You can also create an entrée based on the things you already have, for example: why not serving the julienne of zucchini, carrots and squash with herb pesto?

Pros: You don’t have to worry about having enough food to serve people more than once, or to consider those who just eat a lot at buffets. Everyone of your guests will have the same portion and no food will be wasted.

Cons: Creating the menu can be a pain, especially considering allergy affects, eating lifestyles and other small things. Sometimes an entrée seems to fit all the criteria and only later you find out that amazing sauce has peanuts on – and one of your guests is going on an anaphylactic shock during your reception.

Option 2: Buffet Style

Personally, I think this is a much easier way to go. On my wedding, we had a big buffet of Italian inspired cuisine. The buffet included a big salad, dressings on the side, three different kinds of meat: salmon, chicken and meatballs, two different pastas (one was gluten free), rice, assorted breads and other goodies I can’t honestly remember.

Both me, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law are gluten intolerant and my husband’s cousin is lactose intolerant, so I know just how important it is to have good, flavorful options for people who can’t just eat anything.

Pros: Your guests will have the freedom of choosing whatever they want to eat, make the combinations that will most please them. The signs indicating what food that is spear you from the trouble of having to worry about anyone eating something they weren’t supposed to.

Cons: There’s a big possibility people will eat more than in a three-course meal dinner. If your guests have the freedom to get up and go back in line for more, a lot of them most likely will, so be prepared to have extra food saved for the big eaters.

Option 3: Family – style

This is pretty much a mix of options 1 and 2. You are seated but the food is passed around the table. Again, make sure your menu is flexible. I recently went to a wedding that had an array of options for all diets: rice pilaf, chicken, spaghetti, broccolini, roasted parsnips and sweet potatoes, and a dessert table for people to choose from, depending on their preferences.

Option 4: Food trucks

Here’s a fun and creative way of serving food to your guests. Food trucks are trendy, casual and everyone seems to love them. If you get yourself a cool venue that has enough space outside and allows you to do what you want, choose 2 or 3 food trucks of your favorite kind of food. How about a Mexican inspired cuisine? You can have trucks serving tacos, nachos, burritos and dulce de leche churros for your guests. This way you don’t even have to worry much about big tables and seating, since these are all items people can eat with their hands!
No matter what you choose, every decision will come with its pros and cons. As always, be conscious of your budget, the number of guests you have and the size of your venue.

Don’t forget to save yourself a bite!



My Backyard Wedding – Bachelorette Party


Tradition says before the romantic day there should be one last ride for the bride – and groom, of course. Bachelorette parties are not mandatory but they sure are a great excuse to gather your best friends for some adventure that will generate fun memories for a lifetime.

Maybe you are not a big party person and you don’t see a reason to go thru the ritual but just because the idea of staying up all night in some loud bar doesn’t amuse you, doesn’t mean you should give up on the idea of having your girls with you to have some fun. Here are some ideas:

  1. Let’s start with where to stay. The days of splitting up into 5-10 different hotel rooms are over! Get together with all your friends in one, big bachelorette house.
    One of our bachelorette venues in Autin, TX. Take a look clicking on the picture!
    Our incredibly cool bachelorette venue in fun New Orleans, see more clicking on the pic!

    Now you can have a dinner catered, unwrap bridal gifts, get a bunch of snacks and cupcakes, and stock the refrigerator with wine and Gatorade!


The cool thing about renting a house is that you’ll have more time to enjoy your besties’ company while visiting a new place!

  1. Get pampered. Who says a “bachelorette party” can’t be all about relaxing? Your wedding day is just around the corner so it makes total sense to have a nice, relaxing day getting a pedicure, facials, full body massages, and mud baths to make you feel rejuvenated and ready for the upcoming event. The experience gets even better when you have your best friends with you to chat, laugh all day, sun bathe by the pool or have a nice brunch.

  1. Party hardy. If you are like me and love a fun party this is the perfect opportunity to celebrate! You have a few different options: bar crawling, club crawling, bar + club, just a bar, just a club, dinner & drinks + party… the choices are endless and it’s up to you to decide what you like best.

I was lucky enough to have not only one but two bachelorette parties! Before I left Brazil I got together with my girl squad there and we went to a couple bars before moving on to a fun party where we danced all night!

We started off the night bar crawling in the streets of Rio before hitting the party!

Then back in Arizona I gathered a few friends, my mom and mother-in-law for what was going to be just a casual dinner & drinks at a cool bar but turned into another party-night later, thanks to my sister-in-law.

Fun dinner & drinks with my mom, mother-in-law and some of my bridesmaids in Scottsdale!


  1. Sweat it out. Ya know, after that crazy night of partying you may need to sweat it out a little bit. Try organizing a spin class to go to or walk to some of the city’s shopping destinations. Grab one of those rejuvenating juices because you probably have another night of partying on the docket or a plane ride home. Either way, HYDRATE!

5. One extra thing: Accessories! Doesn’t matter if you are going to a yoga retreat or a male strip club, make sure you have fun accessories so everyone knows this is not just a simple day/night! Maybe your maid-of-honor is already on it and you don’t even know, or maybe you might want to bring up the subject to make sure it’s going to happen.

The girls in Brazil made us personalized shirts saying “Bride Squad” and beer mugs with the hashtag #luvaicasar (portuguese for ‘Lu is getting married’)!

You can all make fun matching shirts, beer mugs, flip flops, hats… there are a lot of cool ideas if you go online and search for it on Instagram or Pinterest. If anything, have at least a crown and a sash. Why? Because you are a queen and it’s your moment and you deserve to have lots of fun experiencing it!



My Backyard Wedding – Choosing the Dress


For many brides, the wedding dress can be a crucial decision. For me, choosing the right dress was really important because it’s that *one* day you really get to shine for your fiancée and loved ones.  It’s understandable that we want to look stunning, right?? Just like the other decisions I had to make, this particular component required a lot of thought because there are thousands of dresses out there – how the heck do you choose? So, I am here today to give you some tips based on my experience when choosing my wedding dress.

  • What makes you feel comfortable? Consider your body type and what styles you like.

Choosing your wedding dress can be overwhelming since there are so many different styles out there so one thing that helps narrowing that number is to look at yourself in the mirror and think about what looks – and feels – best on you. Strapless dresses are beautiful and elegant but my boobs are not very big and I always get paranoid I’ll be naked whenever I put my arms up! Have you seen those nightmare photos where that happens?

Top 5 “My Worst Nightmare”

It was too much for me to handle so I knew I would feel much better with some straps on, so I discarded all strapless models right away.

  • When and where are you getting married?

It’s always a good idea to take your wedding venue  into consideration. For example, when I was planning to get married in Brazil we were going to have a big, glitzy ceremony, at night, during winter. Because of that I was looking for a really fancy dress with more of a “princess look” – lace, sequins and a beautiful pattern on my back. I actually got a dress at the time that looked a lot like this (I was also going to wear my hair up like in the picture):

But we changed our mind and decided to go with an intimate, natural backyard wedding in Arizona during the day.  I felt that the princess-like type of dress just wasn’t the right fit anymore -it was too much and I wanted something more simple, elegant and boho inspired.  Voila! Here is my dress:

Big difference, huh?

  • Instagram and Pinterest are still your best friends!

Just like what I wrote on my last post about using these apps to find inspiration for the different components of your wedding colors, flowers, and accents (if you haven’t read it yet, I strongly recommend you to stop right here and go back before moving on), Instagram and Pinterest will be just as important on your search for the perfect dress.

Personally, I think I followed about 10 different Instagram accounts dedicated to wedding dresses and had at least 40 different pins on my Pinterest board titled “wedding dresses”. For my search I typed tags such as “wedding dress”, “boho”, “backyard wedding”, “simple wedding dresses”, and went from there. I can’t even describe how helpful that was to picture what I was looking for.

  • What is your budget?

I have friends who had absolutely stunning gowns but had a different approach because they either didn’t have a big budget or didn’t want to spend a large amount on their dress. I had friends who bought a pre-owned dress, who bought directly off-the-rack because they didn’t have time to go through custom tailoring, and one who bought their dress from J. Crew but it wasn’t even a wedding dress. All of them had varying budgets and timelines, and that was a determining factor in how they moved forward with their dress purchase.


In the end the choice is yours. It’s your day, all eyes will be on you and if you want a big, puffy, full of feathers, sparkly dress for your small ceremony, you go for it! As long as you feel like the princess you are, your spouse will look at you with that “I can’t believe she is mine” look – you can’t go wrong!





My Backyard Wedding – Finding Inspiration


How to decide on your colors, flowers, bouquets, tuxedos, bridesmaid dresses, and all the other details can be a little overwhelming if design isn’t your forte’. But, there are a few ways to make it easier on yourself.

Shades of purple mixed with silver and mint set the tone for my ceremony.
Shades of purple mixed with silver and mint set the tone for my ceremony.
  • Start with when and where you are getting married. This will inform a good deal of the decisions you make. For me, I got married in December in Arizona. I also knew that I was having my wedding a
    t a private estate so there would be plenty of green grass, a beautiful backdrop and a lot of flexibility in how I could decorate, what furniture I could use, the type of ambience I wanted to create. Putting this information together led me to a few conclusions:

    • I wanted colors a little deeper, due to the season, but not too dark since it was a daytime ceremony outside.
    • When searching for “winter colors” on Pinterest, I automatically discarded reds because I didn’t want anything Christmas related, I also didn’t want navy blue because I feel like it works better in the evening.

When I found the combination of purple, mint and grey I knew I had everything I needed: they go well with the green grass, feel like winter, look great both day and night and give a romantic touch to the atmosphere.

  •  Now that you’ve decided the month of the year and the location, get online! Instagram and Pinterest will be your new best friends…

INSTAGRAM: Go to Instagram anpreview-2016_instagram_logod type “wedding” in the search bar to find tons of profiles dedicated to helping future brides with inspirational pictures. You can also do more specific
searches by using hashtags. #weddinginspiration #bridetobe and #weddingideas. These will help you find great content – don’t be afraid to hit that “follow” button!

PINs956ndzgfhw1gu8TEREST: Pinterest is amazing. If you don’t have an account there, do it right now! Filled with amazing pictures of all kinds, you can search and pin your favorite images, saving them in different boards you create yourself to stay organized! I had so many when I was planning, “Wedding dresses”, “Wedding hairstyles”, “Wedding colors”, “Wedding Bouquets”, “Wedding Venues”  the list goes on and I got at least one key idea from each of those boards.


  • Make a REAL (in-person) inspiration board. Yes, the online stuff helps but there comes a point when you have probably pinned the exact same bouquet three different times. Print some things out, stick them to a giant canvas, circle what you really do love and start to plan for there.

    Creating a real pin board will help you having a better vision of the direction you want to take.
  • Employ your family 😊 No, seriously. I won’t lie, I had help (lots of help). I am lucky enough to have an amazingly talented mother-in-law, who works as an interior designer and has the perfect eye for decoration. If you’re lacking talent in the family department, I’m sure you have a friend who has been through this before or was always the girl with the best outfit and accessories – find him/her and ask for their help! Don’t try to do it all by yourself – it may turn out to be more of a burden and if isn’t fun then, what’s the point?
I couldn't have done it without my family's help.
I couldn’t have done it without my family’s help.

Of course, there is always the option of a full-service wedding planner. Wedding planners *know what they are doing*. They can handle all the details for you: help with ideas for flower arrangements, colors, food menu, decorations, table assignments, etc.  Most planners have different levels of service, so do some research to figure out what may work best for you and your budget. At Venues & Vows, we have worked with wedding planners that we really admire and respect – please reach out if you need help identifying one!

There are a lot of ways to be inspired – take advantage of social media and apps, watch movies, buy magazines, ask friends/family. All of these will help put your ideas into action whether your wedding is DIY or with a wedding planner. Make it your own to give it the personal touch you are looking for!




My Backyard Wedding: Three Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing your Wedding Venue

Stevie's parents backyard was just the perfect size and location for our ceremony.
Stevie’s parents backyard was just the perfect size and location for our ceremony.

Honestly, before getting engaged I never gave much thought about how I wanted my wedding to be. At first, we thought of having the wedding in Brazil but with time we just figured it would make more sense to do it in the US, so we started planning.

Whenever you start searching for a wedding venue, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is important to us?

First, remember to always take your future spouse’s opinion under consideration. You may not agree on everything, but you two always need to talk and try to reach a common decision. Remember, this day will be for the both of you. If it weren’t for your partner you wouldn’t be getting married, right?

That being said, you two should sit together and write a small list of things you have in common: places that are special for your relationship, where your favorite date was, where you had your best memories… It may sound weird but trust me, usually that’s where the idea for your venue choice will come from. For example, maybe you two met at a country concert and you both love country music. A great idea and a place that highlights this would be to get married in a barn.

Country inspired property in Austin, TX. Can host up to 175 people, available at our website.
Country inspired property in Austin, TX. Can host up to 175 people, available at our website.
  1. Who needs to be there?

It’s important to be honest with yourself when you start planning. If you feel like it’s important to have all your childhood friends, distant family members and co-workers there, invite them and be sure to look for a place that can accommodate all of you. Perhaps a large ranch or a private estate with open space would work best. Or, if you are thinking of only having your close family and friends in a more intimate ceremony, consider a house with a small patio and a killer view for a romantic, cozy celebration. Making a guest list and prioritizing who you want to attend is essential to determining the size of your wedding venue.

dallas mansion

And the biggest one:

  1. Will this matter a year from now?

You’ll probably be surprised with your answers once you give some thought. You are going to realize that having a four-tier cake may not be the best way to spend your money because chances are you won’t even remember the flavor in 5 years. Right now, as you plan the big day, it may feel like the most consequential component is to have your wedding at a specific resort that will cost you at least $20,000 (for just one room!). But close your eyes and think of your future self, will that make any difference in 365 days? Maybe saving your money and looking for a cool house in a fun destination for a couple of days will give you something more to remember.

Tired of the cold and would love a few sunny days? Why not getting married in Pebble Beach, CA with this amazing view:
Tired of the cold and would love a few sunny days? Why not getting married in Pebble Beach, CA with this amazing view:

What made Stevie and I decide on having our back yard ceremony was we knew we didn’t want anything too big, so we made a list with about 100 guests, perfect for the backyard’s size. As far as the reception, we had it in a cute Italian restaurant, owned by a family friend. The place was beautiful and just big enough to comfortably accommodate us all during dinner and the party, but if we wanted, the backyard alone would have been fine for both ceremony and reception.

So, before you start shopping and end up regretting your decision in the future with some overpriced wedding venue, sit down and answer these questions. You won’t believe how much easier your work will be from there.




Most Viewed Posts

Get 10% off your V&V booking fee when you sign up today!
Your Information will never be shared with any third party.