What Clients Need to Know About Private Venues

What Clients Need to Know About Private Venues

Choosing a venue can be hard for many clients. There are so many places to look at and decide on.

Many clients are attracted to private venues. Private venues include museums, historic locations, private mansions, farms, stylish buildings, and so much more.

What attracts clients to these venues is how unique they are. Country clubs and hotel venues cannot compare to how a private space shows. These unique venues are amazing for pictures because the scenery/building style is beautiful. They also allow guests to have their own privacy as they are exclusive.


These reasons may convince future clients to choose a private venue over any other place. But, what many clients don’t know is that besides paying for the venue space itself, they will have to pay for a lot more.

Here’s why: Everything must be brought in when renting a private venue. That means bringing in one’s own tables & chairs, table settings, barware and perhaps a bar as well….besides the florist, catering company with service staff, entertainment service and everything else imaginable.

Private venue owners are concerned with providing their venue period. They may provide a beautiful space with a lovely chandelier, a dressing room, or even a cute bathroom, but nothing more than a list of recommended vendors (who usually pay a price to be on that list).

This is where full-service catering locations differ from private venues. For instance, hotel or country club venues accommodate their guests with service staff, meals, chairs/tables, cutlery, plate ware, and so much more. Clients will usually spend less money here rather than a private venue.

It is so important for clients to know what they are getting into when they select a private venue, as this will determine how much you will need to spend on your special event.

Hilary and Edoure’s Wedding

Hilary and Edoure’s Wedding

On June 21, 2014 Hilary Avart was wed to Edoure Russell, the VP of Entertainment for Galaxy Productionsat a beautiful ceremony at Benvenuto’s in Boynton Beach, Fl. Planning Hilary and Edoure’s wedding was very special for me. Through the industry, I’ve known Edoure for 10 years. We have done numerous events together and in the time that I’ve known him, he has become a trusted colleague and a valued friend. Because of Edoure’s multiple connections in the event industry, I was honored and delighted that he chose me to plan his wedding with his wonderful fiancee, Hilary and her lovely mother, Hope.

The wedding was an elegant and romantic affair full of family, friends and lots of love. The photographer, Michael Anthony, was able to capture every worthy moment. Despite the bit of rain, the ceremony took off without a hitch. It was soon-after followed by a cocktail hour serving delicious hors d’oeuvres  and then proceeded into the reception. Decor and rentals provided by Visions Furniture & Design as well as floral supplied by J. Adan made the entire room come together. The whole event went over flawlessly, and the love shared between Hilary and Edoure was evident all night. From the impressive first dance to the exhilarating Junkaroo Band, the evening was fun, lively, and picturesque. I wish every happiness to Hilary and Edoure and am so thankful to have been part of their wedding experience!

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Cool Tips for Summer Weddings in South Florida

Cool Tips for Summer Weddings in South Florida

There is a lot of appeal to having a summer wedding. Summer months offer many discounts from vendors and venues because it is down season. As well, there are many holidays (Independence Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day) that will provide days off from work and perfect timing for guests to travel and for a couple to celebrate their nuptials . However along with a summer wedding can come a few hurdles. Luckily for you, if you follow these tips and tricks, those obstacles can be easily avoided!


1. Think About Fabrics  Using clothing that is lightweight and airy will be well appreciated come your wedding day. Fabrics such as chiffon or silk dresses or linen suits can do wonders for keeping the bridal party cool while still looking formal and chic.










2. Cooling Down the Guests One way to prevent your guests from overheating is to give out fans before the ceremony. These fans can be personalized and can even double as wedding favors. They are a cute way to keep your guests cool and everybody happy.

3. Updo hairstyle  When considering what kind of hairstyle you want to rock on your wedding day, take into consideration the weather. More often than not, an updo is a classic look that will not be affected by the climate. Not only does keeping your hair up limit the effects of humidity, but you also don’t have to worry about hair sticking to the back of your neck as you say your vows.

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4. Indoor/Outdoor Venue In case of bad weather, it is smart to consider a venue that has an indoor space in case you need to bring the festivities inside. Picking an outdoor area that is independent of a physical structure, such as a park or the beach, can leave you with not plan B if it starts to rain. Always prepare for undesirable weather when planning an outdoor wedding; you wouldn’t want all your well-spent money to go to waste.

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5. Natural Shade  If your wedding budget doesn’t allow for tents, one way to avoid making your guests sit in sunlight is to utilize natural shade. Large trees are a natural canopy from direct sunlight and create a beautiful backdrop for any wedding ceremony.

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6. Keep Your Guests Hydrated Guests are likely to get thirsty during any wedding ceremony, especially one during summer. Do them a favor and supply them with water before it begins. Either offering water in jugs filled with lemons or other fruits, or giving out water bottles with custom labels, are a good addition to any summer wedding.

7. Wedding Favors Take advantage of the season when planning your guests’ wedding favors. One great idea, especially if you have a beach themed wedding, is to give out flip flops to your guests. They can wear them at the event and keep them afterwards. Flip flops can be personalized to say the name of the Bride and Groom and/or the date of the wedding. Other ideas include personalized beach tote bags and sparklers.

Photographers: Gonzalo Villota, Creative Focus

Why Opt for a First Look?

Why Opt for a First Look?


I believe an important decision that brides and grooms must make as they near their wedding day is whether or not to do a First Look. A First Look, for those who are unaware, is a staged moment before the wedding ceremony when the bride and groom see each other for the first time. Traditionally, brides and grooms first sight of each other was not until the bride walked down the aisle. Today however, more and more couples are opting for a First Look shoot. So why is it beneficial to choose the non-traditional option?


Special Moment – A First Look is definitely an emotional moment between a bride and groom. For many of us, it is easier to experience this vulnerability when you are alone together and don’t have all of your wedding guests watching every move. The photos that come out of a First Look are typically beautiful and uninhibited, something you cannot get if you are in the middle of your wedding ceremony. It gives the couple time beforehand to let the wedding be about them rather than not being able to have an actual moment alone until after the ceremony.


Timing – Having a time slot allocated for taking pictures before the wedding can free up a lot of time later on in the day. This way you do not feel as rushed after the ceremony and are able to attend the cocktail hour so you can spend more time having fun with your friends and family. On top of that, who doesn’t want their photos taken when their hair and makeup is the most fresh?


Forecast – Weather conditions can play a large factor in any wedding, particularly in South Florida. If it were to rain on your wedding day, it is best to have a time before the ceremony to take photos in case weather is expected to be unfavorable later on. As well, most weddings occur in the evening. In order to benefit from natural lighting, it is best to get your photos taken early on in the day.


Nerves – No matter how prepared you are for your wedding day, it is common to feel nervous beforehand. Anxiety stems not only from the big moment that is coming up but also worrying about if the planning and logistics will run smoothly. The optimum way of preventing those nerves is through the hiring of a wedding planner, and having a First Look shoot will alleviate them even more. My brides have often said that being able to see their groom prior to the ceremony puts both of them at ease, allowing for a much more enjoyable experience.


As you can see, it is evident that First Look photos are becoming the more common option for wedding day photography; brides that opt for the First Look are rarely ever disappointed  And do not be afraid of missing out on that special moment as you walk down the aisle. My brides have said that by doing the First Look shoot, they are able to truly enjoy the experience of walking down the aisle and becoming a couple. Isn’t it better to relish in both of these memorable experiences rather than just one?


Photographer: Gonzalo Villota

The Do’s and Dont’s of South Florida Weddings

Here’s what to do, according to Myrna Swire:
1. Always have fans or some sort of air-conditioning. Florida in the summer is beautiful, but it also can get up to degrees above 100.
2. Always, always, always have a backup plan in case of rain. Most resorts and hotels have some sort of indoor ballroom that can always be used in case of rain.
3. Make sure you have a roof in any sort of manner. There may be afternoon sun showers. Most bands also have clauses in their contracts that prohibit their instruments from getting wet. So you always have to have cover for them.

Here is what not to do:
1. Because it is hurricane season, don’t underestimate the weather. Hurricanes can form within a matter of days.
2. Do your photos on the beach earlier in the morning when it’s not too hot and not raining so that you’ll have the ocean in your photos, but don’t rely on the sun-shining at 4 p.m. before your ceremony
3. As much as you’ve dreamt of an ocean ceremony, don’t have a wedding on the beach in the summer.

Don’t let this happen to you!

The Best Wedding Hair for You

Who says up-do’s are the only way to go? More and more brides are choosing to literally let their hair down on their wedding day. Here are some of the best up and coming, and simple, styles we have seen:

1. Try a style that is down and to the side like Carrie Underwood in this picture. If you need more inspiration, this seems to be Carrie’s go-to hair style so there is plenty of photos for you to work with. The simple nature of the style allows you to play up more with your gown in terms of jewelry and maybe a veil. To turn it up a little, add more curls and volume than Carrie’s sleek hair.

2. If you have shorter hair, have your stylist smooth it out in a sleek, voluminous style – especially if you are having a beach wedding where your curls aren’t going to hold in the heat anyway. A simple hairspray will keep this style looking great through your ceremony, reception and beyond. Cameron Diaz, below, shows that straight hair can be more formal than you think.

3. Do you absolutely need to have your hair up at your wedding? If this is the case make sure to go with a simple up-do with lots of volume. Don’t add too many accessories or it can become distracting, especially if you already have a veil on your head.

 4. Princess Kate herself went very simple with her hair on her wedding day. Her dark brown hair seems as though it was taken through a large barreled curling iron and was sprayed just so it could look good under her crown. Get more tips on how to get her hair at:

 5. If you have short hair, there is a way for it to be curly at your wedding without looking too large for life. Eva Longoria’s delicate curls like the ones shown below are a perfect look for a wedding day. Have your hair stylist use hot rollers to give your hair body.

7. If you have long hair, there’s no way to got wrong with letting your hair stylist give you long, luscious curls for your wedding day. Kate Beckinsale, below, lets her hair fall naturally along her back. This hairstyle would be perfect to add a veil onto.
8. If you want an accessory, like a headband, have your hairstylist tease your hair along the line of the headband. Reese’s style below would look good on anyone, even people with longer hair than her.

9. A half-up, half-down hairstyle is always fun but it simple at the same time. Carrie’s hair has a ton of body and volume but it is not too distracting. This look is perfect for a wedding.