Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I’ve booked my wedding venue now what do I do next?

I’ve booked my wedding venue now what do I do next?

By Erica Gregory

Overwhelmed by the insurmountable amount of things to do for your wedding? Take a deep breath. Here are some words of wisdom with a five-step plan.

The scenario: You’ve booked your wedding and reception site and now you’re staring at a popular Internet site where a 150 point “to do” list is awaiting you. Though these sights can be very useful for research, advice, and much more, they can be overwhelming.

First step: Make a personalized wedding binder. As Michelle Gregory, Coordinator and Event planner at the Jones Victorian Estate, tells all her Bride and Groom’s is: make a “Wedding Fun Finder.” This fun finder is a binder that you create with sections for Budget, Wedding/Reception location, photographer/videographer, wedding dress, bridesmaid dresses, groomsmen attire, flowers/decorations, meal (including food choices, table/linen design, etc.), cake/dessert, Minister/Pastor, DJ/Band, gift favors, guest list (including hotels for out of down guests), invitations, rehearsal/rehearsal dinner, transportation, and honeymoon. This helps you get into the mood of wedding planning. In between these sections, place some clear page protectors for samples, contracts, fabric/ribbon and magazine pictures (because it’s easier to show someone something than describe it), as well as five blank pages for notes and/or ideas. On the front of the binder, Bride and Groom’s can put pictures of themselves, their wedding date, and anything that makes it personalized. Although binders at popular bookstores are beautiful, a personal touch adds much more to the experience and represents the two of you. Once you’ve finished your initial design and layout for your fun-finder, it’s time to take your time and find the gown of your dreams!

Second step: Finding your gown. Your gown is one of the most important aspects of your wedding because it denotes the style and tone of your wedding, whether it is traditional, edgy, whimsical, or contemporary, your gown impacts the style and design of your wedding.

Take your time when finding the perfect dress. Research. Pick up some bridal magazines and peruse their selection of wedding dresses, so you have a good idea of the style you would like and a favorite designer or two. Once you’ve selected some dresses from magazines, make sure to put your top five or ten into your wedding fun-finder for reference. That way when you make your appointment to visit the Bridal shop to try on dresses, you can show the consultant just what you envision yourself wearing.

When finding your bridal gown, remember: don’t settle! Though some Bride’s may have the budget to buy whatever gown she wants, many brides today don’t have a $5-10,000 budget for a bridal gown. If you are one of those Bride’s, don’t settle; be creative! If you find something you love, don’t rule out the possibility of finding that dress available at a sale (or as a sample), Ebay, auctions, or having it tailor made for you. But most importantly, find something you love!!

Third Step: Photographer. Finding the photographer early is important as many book in advance and pricing may vary. This is one item a Bride can give the Groom to research while she is looking for her Bridal gown, and then can help him narrow down the options to find one they will both love. Many venues and coordinators have a referral list, start with those. These photographers are known for their exceptional service and attention to detail, why not see if they can serve you? Then, ask friends or family members for photographers who they have used and do some research. If you need more opinions, try searching the web for positive write-ups or blogs. Once you’ve narrowed down your search, meet with three to five. Here are some helpful questions to ask when visiting a photographer: What packages do you offer? Do you include engagement photos? Will you visit the site prior to the wedding to go over pictures opportunities? Do you have an assistant? How many hours are you on-site? Do you have a travel fee? What is your interpretation of all day coverage?

After deciding on the photographer whose style and attitude complement yours, reserve the photographer, fill out the paperwork, let your coordinator know who you’ve chosen, and move on. You have just accomplished another item on your list! Well done!

Fourth Step: Make a wedding collage on an 8 ½ by 11” page. This page has textures, colors, ideas, themes, etc. Think of it as a compilation of ideas. For instance, you may find a page in a Bridal magazine with a gold dress, a jeweled purse, and a bouquet, or a page with an oak tree, fresh potted plants, and raffia. You can use this page to start your collage, or begin your very own from scratch and then add your own details such as a feather, picture, swatch, beads, etc. This will help you begin the design process. Remember, you do not have to complete this page, as you are just beginning planning, but getting a head start will help you start formulating ideas and colors. You can always add more ideas as you go along. If you don’t have a set idea or theme, don’t worry. Cut out anything that strikes your interest, attach them to the page, and soon you will see a theme coming together. Place your collage in the front of your “fun finder” to refer to during planning.

Fifth Step: Bridesmaid Dresses. While you may be tempted to look for Bridesmaid dresses while you look for your wedding dress, wait until you have finished the above items, especially the collage page, which will offer some color ideas. The Bridesmaid dresses do two things: they help set the color scheme of your wedding and accent your wedding dress.

When choosing a Bridesmaid dress, research. Find out what designs and fabrics would complement your wedding dress. If your Bridal gown is organza with a sweetheart neckline, you may opt for a strapless bridesmaid dress with Organza fabric for continuity. However, as the Bride, you may want to stand out and have a different style from the Bridesmaid dresses. The style and cut of your bridesmaid dresses are your decision though you can ask for input from your maids. Remember, when asking for suggestions from the bridesmaids, these are just suggestions and it is ultimately your decision because it is your wedding day. Whether you decide on a specific color and allow the Bridesmaids to choose the style, or you choose both, this is your day.

Make Bridesmaid dress shopping fun! Before choosing the five to ten dresses that you would like the Bridesmaids to try on, let them pick one of the oddest, most funny dress each and have a mini fashion show to create a fun mood. While they are trying on the dresses, select the dresses you would like them to model afterwards. Once you have chosen the dress, you are ready to move on to the planning stages of your event.

STOP: With these five items finished, take a few weeks or a month off. By taking some time off, you will have a fresher look at what you’ve accomplished and be excited to begin again. Remember, this is your wedding day. Take your time and enjoy the process! Happy planning!


Erica Gregory

The Jones Victorian Estate


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

10 Perks To Having a Full Service Wedding and Reception at the Jones Victorian Estate!

Did you ever wonder what the perks are to having a Wedding and Reception at the Jones Victorian Estate? Look no further. Erica and I have listed them here!!!
Michelle and Erica - (714) 744-1608

10 Perks To Having a Full Service Wedding and Receptions at

the Jones Victorian Estate

1. A one shop stop: Everything is at your fingertips.

Your meal (Buffet or Sit Down, including your hors d’oeuvres!) and soft bar (homemade Lemonade, Iced Tea, Bottled Water, Gourmet Coffee and Hot Chocolate), florist, cake, Dj, service staff (valet, service staffing, bartenders, Wedding Coordinator), equipment (tables, chairs, linens, stemware, silverware, lighting, microphones, surround music system, umbrella, heaters, easels, soft bar) are all included!

2. The Estate’s Coordinator/Planner: A full-service wedding coordinator, Michelle Gregory, who will assist you throughout the entire wedding planning, rehearsal and wedding day. She is here to answer any questions, offer suggestions or ideas, and be there for you along the way! Having the same Coordinator during the planning stages as well as the day, eliminates confusion and frustration on your wedding day.

3. Your Wedding and Reception is at the same location! This reduces the time lost moving to and from venues. The guests are more comfortable not having to drive to additional locations.

4. Our Brides and Grooms may bring and drop off their Gowns/Tuxedos, all accessories and decorative items the week of the Wedding. They can enjoy their own Private Bride and Groom Quarters. This eliminates a wrinkled gown and Bridesmaid’s dresses, lost supplies, and missing gift favors.

5. Menu and Cake tasting! When you are our bride and groom, we invite you to the Estate for a private Cake and food tasting according to your budget. Food tasting is hosted in the Estate’s formal dining room with a service for six people including the Bride and Groom. They are able to taste a variety of hors d’ houvres, salads, and entrees. And who doesn’t like Cake? The Estate’s pastry chef comes with your favorite fillings, frostings, and cakes! And if you don’t like Cakes, how about a Croquembouche or dessert station? All these and more are your options.

6. Color and Theme selection, which includes a personal appointment with the Coordinator to discuss your ideas, a field trip to Shinoda Design Center, and finally an appointment at the florist!

7. Full Staff Service for your guests! Our full-service staff includes: Valet Parking (in private, secured parking lot on the Estate’s premises), attentive house staff, greeters and servers, all dressed in formal black and white attire ready to attend to your guests needs.

8. A full referral listing of other upgrades and services available. Thinking about a chocolate fountain, photo booth, or personalized linens? We have them available for you!

9. One event per day at a private and secluded venue. Tired of looky-loos and wedding crashers? The Estate is secure, and here for you and your guests. We do not host appointments or bring in potential clients during your event. Since the Estate only hosts one event per day, it is not a wedding mill.

10. Bridal Departure: The departure of the Bridal couple should be as charming as the wedding. The Bride and Groom exit to the showering of rose petals and love and well wishes. Also, because the Estate is full-service, the Bride and Groom’s luggage and to-go meals are pre-packed in the get-away car. As the final service, the gifts and cards are numbered and tagged, and organized in a pre-selected, approved vehicle of a family member. Along with the gifts is a check-list of all the items (toasting glasses, cake knifes, unity candle, extra menu cards, memorabilia, etc.) paired with a box containing those important items.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

More Options at the Jones Victorian Estate


I found these pictures and I had to post them because they are ssssooooooooo beautiful!!!
The closet picture with the Bride's gown is captivating. The gown actually looks like it belongs there! Here at the Estate, our personal service is what sets us apart. We invite all our Bride's to bring their gown early in the week for safe keeping AND on the wedding day, it's here!! The worry about wrinkles and the rush to get to the site are eliminated.
The woodsy photo shows the diversity of the Estate. Here at the Jones Victorian Estate, we take the time for these special moments.
What about the cake? Her colors of orange, yellow and green popped and were so beautiful. The cake was delicious! How about that Orange Zest Cake with Orange Creme Filling? Seconds, please!
Thank you to Renee Broughton Photography!! Contact us at (714) 744-1608 -

Hurry over to the Jones Victorian Estate for the Mr. and Mrs.


Here at the Jones Victorian Estate, we only have a few dates left for 2010!! Are you looking for June 19 or 26th? Are you looking for September 11th? Are you looking for October 30th? If not,why not consider these dates! We are available!!!

There is no need to worry about time or details, here at the Estate, we assist you through the entire process. Do you like cake tasting? Do you need ideas for colors or centerpieces? We have ideas for you and helpful hints to find just what you are looking for!!!

Call us today, (714) 744-1608 or better yet, visit our Website at

Michelle and Erica Mae

Monday, March 1, 2010

Planning with a Touch of Sunshine- Jones Victorian Estate

Laura and Matt came out to California to start their wedding planning for their July event at the Jones Victorian Estate. In only one weekend, we tasted a wide variety of cake flavors and mixed and matched fillings to create their personalized wedding cake. We met and discussed all sorts of ideas and design touches that made selecting the floral accents a walk in the park. They were able to decide on all the bouquets, arch decoration and the centerpieces. Our florist, the amazing Flower Allie, helped us pull together our ideas of Orange and Blue. With these strikingly beautiful Orange Roses and Calla Lillies with the ever gorgeous and classical blue hydrangea, we were able to make her ideas a reality with breathtaking beauty!
The weekend came to a close with the selection of their dinner menu complimented with details on menu cards, napkin color with special folds and gift favor ideas. What a wonderful weekend.
Thank you Matt and Laura! I enjoyed planning with you! I can hardly wait to see it all come together!
Whatever your color scheme; be bold, be dazzling, be you and have fun! The fun never runs out at the Jones Victorian Estate, the unique, private and Orange County venue!!!