Sonia and Brian tied the knot amidst a setting of beautiful decor perfect for their culturally rich love story.
How They Met
Brian and Sonia first met in 2015 at a restaurant in Germany that was hosting a Facebook get together. Sonia had been using Facebook to connect with other English speakers. Sonia elaborates, “I am German-Moroccan. I grew up speaking French and Arabic and moved to Germany at age 19…so I liked the idea of practicing my English and meeting native speakers.” Growing up watching Hollywood films, it was a dream to fall in love with an American, and once she met Brian, her dream came true.
But it wasn’t until 2016 when they started dating. Brian messaged Sonia and they agreed on a first date in Mainz, Germany. They took a bus to a wine festival, where during an amusement ride, Brian took Sonia’s hand. Sparks flew immediately.
Brian and Sonia were engaged on December 23, 2017, in New York City. It was Brian’s plan to propose in front of the Statue of Liberty, but the ferry wasn’t going to get them there in time. Onto plan B. “All of a sudden Brian started talking about how great it was for him to be with me on this boat…I didn’t understand he was proposing to me until he pulled out a ring box!” Sonia said yes right away.
Brian and Sonia live in Germany, and with the help of their planner, Debbie planned the whole wedding remotely. “We only got to the United States one week before our wedding…and without Debbie, it would have been impossible to organize such an amazing wedding from abroad!”
While the couple didn’t have a specific theme, they wanted their big day to reflect German, Moroccan, and American cultures, giving snippets into their life through food, entertainment, and music. “The decor was only inspired by our wish to have a summer and colorful wedding.” Their colors were bright with magenta, poppy, and yellow creating a warm and welcoming vibe while keeping the integrity of their unique cultures.
They played musical chairs, danced, and even had an auction for Sonia and Brian to do crazy dares! Their July night was an impressive celebration, bringing together a variety of cultures on a beautiful, warm summer night.
Best Part of the Day
“The most emotional part was at the ceremony when we were pronounced husband and wife and when we said our own vows, I was very nervous and feeling emotional! We were also very nervous about our first dance, but we made it!”
“The biggest challenge was not living in the country where the wedding took place! Organizing the wedding from Germany wasn’t easy and without our wedding planner, it would have been impossible to organize such a great wedding from abroad! We only got to the U.S. one week before the wedding. In that one week, we had the chance to go to a cake tasting, but everything else was decided before we got to the U.S., so the decor, food, etc. was a total surprise to us and it was a real success!”
“Organizing a wedding can be very stressful. A lot of couples will fight over all kind of little differences regarding the wedding (The guest list, the money invested, etc). Don’t let little fights ruin this special day, afterward you’ll just remember the magic of this day! My only regret is that the wedding day passed too quickly and we spent all year organizing this event! I would like to celebrate it again!”
Here’s what you need to know about full-service vs. drop-off catering. Full-Service Catering vs. Drop Off Catering: What’s the Difference? Catering is one of the most important choices you’ll make on your wedding day. It’s important to know your options. Here’s what you need to know about full-service vs. drop-off catering so you can decide…
It’s all about the cocktails……tables, that is! From sashed to wrapped to floor length style, there are a million ways to dress up your cocktail tables from ceremony to reception. Get inspired with this guide to creative cocktail table styles.
By Marissa McCormick on Richmond Weddings How They Met: Allison and Bryan met through a mutual friend, Zach, in the summer of 2011. Allison, who’s originally from Richmond, was home visiting from North Carolina State University when she met Zach’s roommate, Bryan. Sparks were flying as soon as they met and within weeks they were…
Great events and weddings rarely, if ever, need an introduction. I’d like to think that our work does the storytelling for us. Still, it’s nice to put a few words down to frame the day…give you a sense of what took place or perhaps a hidden piece of information that enhances how you enjoy…
Melissa and Andrew June 3, 2017 How They Met: Melissa and Andrew met at a bar in Downtown Richmond in December 2014. He asked Melissa to dance, but she initially said no. Melissa explains, “He persisted and came back and asked again. I said we could talk, and the rest is history.” That night he…
Here’s what you need to know about full-service vs. drop-off catering.
Full-Service Catering vs. Drop Off Catering: What’s the Difference?
Catering is one of the most important choices you’ll make on your wedding day. It’s important to know your options. Here’s what you need to know about full-service vs. drop-off catering so you can decide what’s right for you.
Catering is a huge part of your wedding budget and should be one of the most important choices you will make for your big day.
After all, if the food is delicious, your guests will go home happy and full!
There are many options to choose from, but one major decision is whether you should select full-service catering or drop off catering.
Drop Off Catering
Drop off is for the budget savvy couple who is looking to have yummy food, but doesn’t want to pay for the bells and whistles of fancy serving ware, wait staff, bartending and clean up staff.
You don’t want to get charged by your venue for whatever’s left behind.
Who will be in charge of cleaning and racking the items that you rented such as plates, glasses, flatware, napkins, etc.?
Insider tip: Rental companies will charge if plates are left un-scraped of food, glasses are not emptied, napkins are not bagged and flatware is not altogether in the appropriate tub.
Who will bartend for the duration of the event?
Remember, you must have a licensed bartender on public property accompanied by your ABC license.
Who will pack up the bar at the conclusion of the event?
If you’re not paying the bartender to do this, make sure you a plan.
Who will dispose of the trash at the end of the night?
Most venues require the catering company to remove ALL trash from the property.
Make sure you ask yourselves these questions when you’re making your decision between full-service and drop-off catering.
Again, if you rented from a rental company, these items are required to be broken down and ready for pick up upon their arrival. You could incur a hefty breakdown fee from the rental company if their staff has to take the time to break it all down. Keep in mind, however, the rental companies do offer this as a paid in advance service to their clients. ; )
Drop-off service is a wonderful service for any couple, but just remember those very important “to-do’s” so you are not left holding the trash when you should be heading to your honeymoon.
Full-service catering means exactly that. You are most likely getting a catering coordinator with full staffing to help you from choosing your menu, to helping with the room layout, to helping select rentals needed for the day – all the way to the big day helping with setup, event service during the event, clean up and some breakdown at the end of the event.
It’s all hands-on deck for the staff and no hands for you and your family.
About the Author: Angela Simpson is the Sales Manager at Party Perfect, a wedding and event rental serving all of Virginia. Visit their website at www.partyperfect.com. She is also the Lead Coordinator of XOXO Weddings and Events LLC, a wedding management and coordination service in Richmond and the surrounding area. To learn more, visit their website at www.xoxoweddingsandeventsllc.com.
Whether your wedding is indoors or outdoors, one thing is certain – a party isn’t a party without cocktail tables! No matter what style of wedding you’re planning, your cocktail tables can play a key role in your wedding planning decor. Get inspired with this guide to cocktail tables and how to use them on your big day.
From sashed to wrapped to floor length style, there are a million ways to dress up your cocktail tables from ceremony to reception. Most of us in the wedding industry LOVE getting creative with our clients, so think outside the box when planning and don’t be afraid to mix it up!
What are cocktail tables & how are they used?
Cocktail tables are used in addition to your guest tables for cocktail hour, to add some extra décor pizzazz, and sometimes even extra seating. These tables are typically called “high-top” tables as they are commonly set at 42” height which is perfect for standing guests to lean on, set their drinks on or even nibble at.
Some rental companies will have a mixture of high and low tables, so you can choose to pair chairs with the shorter ones for added seating. Cocktail tables are available in round and sometimes square tops.
Creativity at the altar
Cocktail tables are the perfect height for your ceremony! They are commonly used for sand or unity candle ceremonies. You can choose classic linen colors such as white or ivory or you may add a pop of color! They can also be used as “stands” for your altar arrangements. Last, but not least, they are perfect for your guest book, since they are small and tall.
Stylistic contrast as guests mingle
Most couples will use these tables during cocktail hour for a different look prior to the reception seating, but also for their guests to have a place to mingle with other guests while enjoying a welcome drink and hors d’oeuvres. Again, you may wish to consider mixing the high and low cocktail tables here to give some of your elderly guests a place to sit during this time. They will appreciate it so much!
Flexible seating so anything goes
Cocktail tables can be mixed in with your guest seating as they can seat 2-4 guests and can be paired with barstool chairs for the taller tables or set low with standard chairs as well. This look breaks the standards of cookie cutter seating for sure but is a fun way to add some dimension to your reception room!
Your dance floor area most definitely needs cocktail tables nearby to hold those drinks and also for those guests who simply like to “watch” and not partake in the dancing festivities!
Different Looks for your Cocktail Tables
There are several looks you can choose for your cocktail tables such as floor length linens, sashed cocktails or wrapped cocktails. Most standard cocktail tables are 30” in diameter and 42” tall. The shorter version is 29” tall.
If you simply want the linen to fall to the floor, it requires a 120” round linen. One piece of advice, do not use them this way when outside as just a little wind will continually blow it off the table and make it hard to keep up with. This way is best used indoors.
This requires a 96” round to fall to the floor.
When using this option, we recommend using a 132” round linen with a standard sash 3”-4” wide and about 108” long. You start with the linen and then, you cinch it together on the single pole leg with the sash and can tie it in a bow, a knot or you can wrap it and give it a sexy hourglass figure.
The best linen for this look is a 120” round linen using the same instructions as above.
This look can be done with a 132” round linen as well. The difference is you will not use a sash, you simply use the linen and wrap it around the center pole leg tucking it in on the front side.
We still recommend a 120” round linen using the same instructions as above.
As you can see, there are so many fun ways to incorporate these cocktail tables into your wedding or special event.
Most of us in the wedding industry LOVE getting creative with our clients, so think outside the box when planning and don’t be afraid to mix it up! That’s a “wrap” folks!
Inspired yet? To browse more, check out Party Perfect‘s online store to find everything necessary for your big day from tents, to tables and chairs, to all of your tabletop necessities. Happy planning!
Angela Simpson is Sales Manager at Party Perfect, a wedding and event rental company serving Richmond for 22 years.
For more information, check out www.partyperfect.com to find everything necessary for your big day from tents, to tables and chairs, to all of your tabletop necessities.
How They Met:
Allison and Bryan met through a mutual friend, Zach, in the summer of 2011. Allison, who’s originally from Richmond, was home visiting from North Carolina State University when she met Zach’s roommate, Bryan. Sparks were flying as soon as they met and within weeks they were dating. But as summer romances go, summer eventually came to an end. Allison explains, “We both agreed that when I went back to school in August, we would go our separate ways.” But the two couldn’t stop talking and ended up dating long distance, making the 2.5-hour trip every other weekend. They dated long distance for the rest of Allison’s college career until she moved back to Richmond where the two started their life together.
Bryan asked Allison to be his wife in October 2014. “We went hiking, one of our favorite pastimes, on some trails along Skyline Drive. It was our favorite time of year to go out to the mountains because it is SO pretty when the leaves change.” They decided to hike Dark Hollow Falls, a beautiful scenic trail along a mountain waterfall. When they got to the bottom of the waterfall, they decided to take a break. “Bryan had awkwardly been carrying his sweatshirt the whole time, even though I told him he didn’t need it.” Before they hiked back up, Bryan got down on one knee, dropped the sweatshirt, and revealed that he had been using it to hide the ring box the whole time. “I never actually said ‘yes,’ I was too excited! I just kept asking, ‘Wait, for real? Seriously?’”
The two chose The Onmi because of its gorgeous ballroom and location in the heart of Richmond. Allison originally didn’t want a hotel wedding, but The Omni made it SO easy to be able to do everything under one roof. They also loved the idea that once the party was over they were able to just walk upstairs to their rooms. “The vast majority of our guests were from out of town, so we loved being able to have them stay in an area where there was so much for them to do during the day on Saturday.”
They wanted their theme to be classy, timeless, elegant, and incorporate those vibrant colors that come with a Virginia fall. They stuck with black, white, and gray as base colors with accents of burnt oranges, reds, and yellow to give everything that “pop” of fall color. “We really wanted to WOW people with a much more formal environment.” Everybody and everything were dressed to the nines.
Allison and Bryan used event lighting to give The Omni ballroom an amber overtone so that it really felt like fall in the space. The two decided on a Kings Table for their reception because, while the day was about them, they really wanted to share the night with those closest to them. “Our table had a total of 18 people at it! But it was important to us to have our whole bridal party and their dates join us for dinner and celebrate together.”
Favorite Part of the Day:
“It’s so hard to pick! But I would have to say the quick five minutes between the end of the ceremony and the start of cocktail hour was my favorite time. It was the only time we got alone, and even though it was quick, it was so nice to be able to reflect on the fact that we had just gotten married to my new husband.”
“I think the biggest challenge was one of the first steps, finding a venue!”
Best Piece of Advice:
“Don’t rush! After you get engaged, you’re super excited and just want to be married, but having a 2-year-engagement was the best decision we ever made. It made planning SO easy because we had plenty of time to make each and every decision!”
Check out this gorgeous event we did for some tenting inspiration!
*Video – Tredegar Iron Works Tenting Richmond Va
Great events and weddings rarely, if ever, need an introduction. I’d like to think that our work does the storytelling for us. Still, it’s nice to put a few words down to frame the day…give you a sense of what took place or perhaps a hidden piece of information that enhances how you enjoy the image. For example, it would be hard for you to know, unless you know these two or their families, that we’ve spent a good amount of time with them over the years through several weddings and various shoots. You couldn’t know that we’ve come to love working with them, hanging out with them, and enjoying these remarkable days with them.
And you couldn’t know how thoroughly touched we were to receive a letter from Emily and David after the wedding telling us what the images and the experience meant to them. At the end of a long year for Don Mears Photography that included moving to a new studio for the first time in nine years. In addition to the many events and weddings, it is both touching and refreshing to be reminded of just why we still love what we do. It’s about more than just images. It’s the trust people feel inviting us in to their families for a time and letting us tell their story. And it’s the gratitude we receive for creating something they and generations to come will cherish.
With their permission, I’m going to let their words and then their images tell the story. I couldn’t possibly say it better.
“Dear Don and Lindsay,
Thank you so much for our special prints and flash drive, but most of all thank you for your beautiful work on (and before) our wedding day. Starting from our engagement photos all the way to our last kiss in the getaway car, you made our memories turn into something we will treasure forever. Lindsay, those bridal portraits were such an amazing day for me and my mom, and we will pass those photos down for generations. Don, your work on our wedding day was just incredible. Thank you both for helping us feel at ease and for getting us through the craziness of that wedding weekend. There are so many photos we’re obsessed with, and they are all over our house. We love the shots of our parents looking happy, our grandparents having a great time, the kids being kids, and so many moments of joy and happiness with people we’re obsessed with. I wanted to personally thank you for the image when you caught of me and Dave having a very real moment leaning against the bar. He’s always there for me even when I’m overwhelmed, and you caught that on camera in a way words never could. Thank you! We’ve loved working with you guys and will look forward to seeing you at receptions in the future! Thank you so much!
How They Met:
Melissa and Andrew met at a bar in Downtown Richmond in December 2014. He asked Melissa to dance, but she initially said no. Melissa explains, “He persisted and came back and asked again. I said we could talk, and the rest is history.” That night he asked her to brunch the next morning. The two ended up talking the following day for hours at one of their favorite restaurants, The Urban Roost at Lunch and Supper. (They ended up having their rehearsal dinner there, to relive their first date with their family and friends!)
On Melissa’s birthday week in March of 2016, Andrew took Melissa to the mountains right outside of Charlottesville. “After spending the day outside enjoying our favorite wineries, we made plans to get ready for dinner.” After getting ready, the sunset was perfectly setting over the Blue Ridge Mountains.Andrew’s timing was impeccable. “I had a sneaky suspicion that he was going to propose that weekend, but it wasn’t until he pulled out the champagne that I was convinced.” Andrew got down on one knee and asked Melissa to be his wife. She, of course, said yes. Melissa divulges, “I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect proposal.”
Although both are transplants to Richmond, the two fell head over heels in love with the city. They wanted their day to highlight their favorite things about Richmond and the city that brought them together. “We chose the Overlook for our reception because of the view. We wanted our guests to experience all of Richmond, and what better way to do so than by overlooking the skyline.”
For a theme, the two wanted the quintessential Richmond wedding with subtle modern and whimsical details. “We chose a subtle ivory for the main color of the day.” Melissa used her love of fresh flowers to give her day a sense of romance. The pink and coral accents against the linens by Party Perfect were like something out of a fairytale. Their outdoor reception was perfectly bright and airy, with subtle touches that gave you a glimpse into the couple and their wonderful personalities. Instead of table numbers, they used Richmond neighborhoods to label each table, and on the guest book table, a set of Melissa and Andrew’s favorite books. “Andrew and I designed all of our paper products, including our invitations, table settings, and programs. I even hand wrote all the escorts!”
Favorite Part of the Day:
Melissa had two favorite parts of the day. The first? “Our first look. After the anticipation of getting ready with my best friends and Andrew’s mom and my mom, it was such a relief to see Andrew. All the nerves went away!” The second was at their reception, dancing surrounded by all of their favorite people.
For Andrew, his favorite part was also the first look and that monumental moment that Melissa walked down the aisle.
“Staying on budget and not sacrificing some of the key pieces we each really wanted.”
“Remember to slow down and enjoy the planning! It can get very overwhelming but remember to enjoy the moments! It all goes by way too quickly.”
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