My wedding is at a vineyard and since we’re in the middle of historical Charlottesville, I have chosen a country-vintage theme. This ‘theme’ has been very popular lately so its been easy to gather all the perfect accessories and personal touches.
Charlottesville is a small town and most of the vendors, from venues to cakes, all know each other. Sometimes it seems they are getting a little tired of all the crazy brides. I feel for them, definitely. Some vendors have been really sweet but then give me the hugest estimates I’ve ever seen. Others have been completely dismissive for even asking for prices before booking with them. Well, none-the-less, I have most of my vendors picked and I am completely thrilled with all of them. Each of the vendors I chose have been friendly, flexible, and low and behold… reasonably priced!
If you are planning a wedding in Charlottesville and would like some advice, feel free to email me: sylvia (at) va-girl.com.
Planning services: Since I am such a hands-on person, I couldn’t imagine having a full service planner. I just didn’t know what I would use them for, since I like to examine all my options myself. However I knew that I would definitely need a coordinator to ensure no one, including me and my bridesmaids, have to stress out and help manage the guests during the day, when they should be enjoying themselves. I talked to various planners but I found one who was not only welcoming but also really flexible and her website photos matched my style of what I was envisioning for my wedding. She even provided some free preliminary advice and handles her coordination through an online portal! brilliant! Love a vendor who uses technology! (which, is rare in Charlottesville, by the way). I highly recommend: Events with Panache, Jennifer Hamlin has been so nice and helpful this whole year, even though I only officially have her hired as a coordinator which means she starts 6 weeks out.
Photography: I chose a wonderfully artistic photographer who likes to ‘stylize’ photographs. Her pictures are romantic with soft lighting and gorgeous pastel colors. She will set up shots of all the details too with her 2nd photographer who specializes in this. This sounded perfect to me, I think we are both the same kind of neurotic who freaks unless it is all perfect. I mean, photographs can be pretty perfect, if you set them up right. She brings an assistant and a 2nd photographer: Amber Flynn Photography.
Catering: I chose a restaurant who has had decades of catering experience. Not only is their food amazing but it also smells amazing every time I walk into the restaurant! They are listed as one of the top 5 caterers in Charlottesville and have over 40 years catering experience. I negotiated the same low price per person regardless of which entrees we chose. We will have 4 entree choices, hor d’oeuvres, and desert. We have also been told that they provide the most food (on the plate) of all the caterers! They are even doing pre-ceremony drinks like lemonade and citrus punch, and the tasting was so delicious, I am sure the food will be wonderful: C&O Restaurant and Catering.
Flowers: I went around and around with florists. Flowers are so gorgeous and are essential in overflowing quantities. Although I am planning this vintage, country wedding and I don’t want to over-do it. I wanted an elegant vintage, sweet look that has been pretty popular in other country-vintage vineyard weddings. I found a florist who also has vintage rentals and also was incredibly reasonably priced! He has his own store in Cozet and buys wholesale from local farms. He also has been in business for a long time so he has great relationships with farms and maybe thats why his prices are so great. Our initial consultation was great too, he was calm, and just listened to what I wanted, and was right next to his computer looking up my Flowerzzz Board Pinterest page so that he could see exactly what I wanted! He was really nice and him and his assistant have been responsive, flexible, accommodating, just great to work with: Ken at Couture Design Events in Crozet, VA, a short drive from Charlottesville.
Music: I grew up studying classical voice and being a huge fan of sinatra and big band music. Mostly because I loved their authentic, rich sound and talented classic vocals. So I had to get good music right?? Yes. Well, I was debating between a string quartet and a harpist and I finally just started polling people. Everyone said they’d prefer the harpist! I loved the harpist I chose, she plucks the chords so quickly you’d think she was playing the piano. She is so talented, I cant wait to hear her in person!! http://www.virginiasharp.com/
China: Since I am at a vineyard (instead of a hotel), I have to bring in every single piece of everything we need. The only thing the vineyard has is tables and chairs – which, at least they have that! So this was fun because I could scour the end of the earth for the perfect china. Luckiy I found one in DC. I decided on the ‘something vintage’ company, which has gorgeous mis-matched china, along with other vintage rentals. I opted to have them select china settings with gold rim, so it will have some congruency throughout. I also chose their beautiful mis-matched vintage tea cups for every place setting, and gold flatware. I cant wait to see it all on the table! http://my.somethingvintagerentals.com/
Venue: I don’t know if a ‘venue’ is a ‘vendor’ but in any case, I have had a wonderful experience with Trump Winery. The one thing I grappled with, as I am sure many brides do, is realizing that you’re going to be working with the staff and contacts at your venue for the entire time you’re planning. Responsiveness, creativity, welcomeness, flexibility, were all things I watched out for while touring venues. After all, if a venue staff can’t be nice and welcoming at the very beginning, how will they be down the road during minor and major issues pop up, when you email them various questions, and coordination details get complicated?
The winery is stunning from all angles and from the time I contacted Trump Winery, the venue manager Patrick Butler was quick to respond, helpful, and completely great. The event space is in a private section of the winery, so there won’t be random people walking through your venue tour, or when you go back to envision the flow of your day, or when you go back for the millionth time to see where the trees are located. There wont be wine tastings going on 15 minutes up to your wedding like in other winery venues either; its an incredibly peaceful setting. This private event space also means vendors have flexibility when setting up and picking up their supplies, which you don’t quite realize what a load off your mind this can be. As the bride, you can get ready in their spacious bridal suite, and there are several rooms for your wedding party to hang out before the ceremony. There are so many picturesque photo opportunities, I can’t even count them all. I chose August for their peak wine season and can’t wait to see it all come together but no only that, since the coordination is so good at the venue, I am confident everything will come together perfectly.
If you’re considering Charlottesville for your wedding, check out those amazing vendors, I’ve had a great experience with all of them.