weddings at the bridgeview yacht club – long island, ny

This may come as a surprise to some of you, but I’m a Long Island girl. It’s often a surprise to my colleagues because I have no accent (I survived growing up on Long Island without one!). Plus I haven’t lived on Long Island since I graduated high school. But I still have a special place in my heart for the island – and I like to keep up with wedding venues and locations.

I wanted to share some beautiful photos from recent weddings at the Bridgeview Yacht Club. The venue is in Island Park, on the south shore of Nassau County, only a town or two over from where I grew up. It’s a gorgeous venue, right on the water and very popular with brides (plus sweet sixteens and other events). In fall 2012, Island Park (and most of southern Long Island) were hit really hard by Superstorm Sandy. The Bridgeview Yacht Club was not spared, but as you can tell from these photos, it has rebounded beautifully.

weddings at the bridgeview yacht club, long island, ny

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sharing is caring – send me your wedding and event photos!

share your wedding photos!

This blog is a combination of event and wedding planning advice and inspiration. While I love compiling inspiring photos from around the interweb, I love original content more! What that means is real events – weddings, galas, showers, parties, etc. I really love to share these photos – that’s the best way to find new ideas, in my opinion. Plus it’s so much better when you know the story behind the photos!

If you would like to share your own wedding or event photos, please visit the submission guidelines page for more information!

Here is some recently shared real inspiration:

mike & bethany’s cape cod beach wedding

joe & amanda’s manor wedding

jenna & kenny’s romantic garden wedding

james & noel’s summer countryside wedding

I look forward to seeing your submissions!

pumpkin week – pumpkin centerpiece ideas for parties, weddings & events

brace yourselves - pumpkin flavored everything is coming!

While everyone is bemoaning the end of summer, they are missing the giant silver lining that comes with fall: pumpkin! Of course, the best part of pumpkin melee that descends upon America every fall is Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte. I was sure to ask the barista at the Starbucks near my office last week when they would begin pumping it intravenously serving the fall favorite, and was told their store begins on September 1. That means that we’re actually THREE DAYS into fall! And as far as I’m concerned, since DC doesn’t get particularly fall-like weather-wise, pumpkin spice lattes still symbolize fall even though I can’t break out my sweaters and knee-high boots until late October, sometimes even November.

Aside from pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin-everything really does take our country by storm. Pumpkin doughnuts at Dunkin Donuts. Pumpkin coffee k-cups. Pumpkin beer. Pumpkin ice cream! And of course, that doesn’t even include the pumpkins that are traditionally associated with the fall – carved pumpkins for Halloween and pumpkin pie!

So in my little corner of the blogosphere (what a funny word!) I decided to devote an entire week to pumpkin posts, on how we can incorporate the nation’s obsession into events, weddings and meetings.

To start, I wanted to feature some non-obvious pumpkin centerpiece ideas. Anyone can put a pumpkin on a table, through some fake leaves and maybe a cornucopia and call it fall-like décor. But check out these ideas, some work for fancier events, others would be a great DIY project while entertaining at home:

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the willard intercontinental

willard intercontinental in washington dc | amanda jayne events blog

Washington DC is one of those places that is constantly changing, yet some places are still cherished for their history. The Willard InterContinental Hotel is one such place. The Willard is so full of history that you’d be hard pressed to find someone in DC who hasn’t been there – whether to stay in one of their beautiful guest rooms, attend an event in the magnificent banquet halls, or even just have a drink in the Round Robin Scotch Bar (which is how I first discovered the Willard years ago when I first started visiting DC on work trips, long before I moved here).

The building of the Willard was built in 1901, but a hotel had been on the site for nearly 100 years prior. Due to its Pennsylvania Avenue address, located only steps from the White House, the Willard has hosted scores of famous, important types over the years, including nearly every president since the 1850s. The hotel was closed in 1968 and reopened in the late 1980s after a lengthy restoration and joining the InterContinental family.

We were considering the Willard for a 200+ person event in the fall so I headed over to do a quick site visit. I didn’t get a chance to peek at the sleeping rooms (although I’ve stayed there and they are wonderful) or even all of the meeting space (there is over 20,000 square feet), but I did get a chance to tour the lower level, which has the Ballroom and several smaller rooms and board rooms.

The ballroom is spectacular. I don’t usually gush this much over space, but this is one heckuva windowless ballroom. See for yourself:

willard intercontinental in washington dc | amanda jayne events blog

The ballroom is 4,700 square feet and would hold 450 theatre style.

Even the lobby is lovely:

willard intercontinental in washington dc | amanda jayne events blog

And the foyer:

willard intercontinental in washington dc | amanda jayne events blog

The Buchanan Room, 1,100 square feet and capacity for 90 theatre style:

willard intercontinental in washington dc | amanda jayne events blog

The Pierce Room, 1,900 square feet and capacity for 220 theatre style:

willard intercontinental in washington dc | amanda jayne events blog

Even the board rooms (Fillmore, Taylor & Garfield) were lovely.

willard intercontinental in washington dc | amanda jayne events blog

willard intercontinental in washington dc | amanda jayne events blog

willard intercontinental in washington dc | amanda jayne events blog

I love that each of the rooms have a slightly different character – so nice to see in ballroom level spaces!

This space just scratches the surface of what the Willard has to offer.

Of course the Willard is famous for its service, it is definitely an upscale, luxury hotel. And for that, you pay the price. But for the space it has to offer (and the amazing location), it is able to command those prices. And while it does a good amount of meeting and event business, it also is one of the top spots for DC society weddings – *swoon*.

Next time you’re in DC, if you haven’t stopped by the Willard yet, make sure you do so! Even if nothing else but to step into this amazing lobby:

willard intercontinental in washington dc | amanda jayne events blog

Have you hosted or attended a meeting or event at the Willard? What did you think?

paradise springs winery in virginia

paradise springs winery | amanda jayne events blog

I always wanted to get married at a winery. I ended up getting married at a beautiful historic house turned reception hall, but I’m still a little sad that the winery thing didn’t turn out, especially since I’m about to move to the middle of Virginia wine country and I’m surrounded by amazing wineries and vineyards that are the perfect place to hold a wedding or other private event.

Visiting wineries is a minor hobby of mine – I really enjoy it. But seeing how perfect so many Virginia wineries would be for DC area weddings and events, I am going to try and start documenting all of the ones I visit on this blog (knowledge sharing, right?).

The first installment of the Virginia winery wedding venue tour is Paradise Springs in Clifton, VA. It’s an appropriate first installment because it is considered to be the closest winery to Washington, DC – it’s only about a 40-50 minute drive from the city. However, it feels like an entirely different world. Once you leave the highway (66), you drive about 10-15 minutes on winding one or two lane roads through dense forest. It’s absolutely gorgeous. Then when you arrive at the winery, you are greeted by the sight of a wide open valley with vineyards on one side, the barn-esque tasting room, and plenty of tables to sit in the shade and picnic.

paradise springs winery | amanda jayne events blog

paradise springs winery | amanda jayne events blog

paradise springs winery | amanda jayne events blog

Paradise Springs has a few different options for weddings and private events, especially if you are flexible and can hold your event outside of regular business hours. For smaller events, they have the historical red barn which holds up to 50 people. The covered patio, below, holds up to 100 people. During business hours on weekends, this is a popular spot for guests to picnic and listen to live music.

paradise springs winery | amanda jayne events blog

The main tasting room is available to rent during non-business hours. It is a gorgeous room that I imagine can be completely reimagined for a wedding or event. I especially love the view of the wine barrels.

paradise springs winery | amanda jayne events blog

paradise springs winery | amanda jayne events blog

Oh, how’s the wine? It’s pretty good. I really loved the Sommet Blanc and I agreed with out pourer who said that their Chardonnay is quite different than most Virginia Chardonnays. I would say that for me, there are a few other local wineries whose wines I like a bit more at the same price point ($22-$30+ per bottle). And I’m also a bit partial to Loudoun County wineries and others that are further west because they tend to have beautiful mountain views. Don’t get me wrong – the ambiance at Paradise Springs is quite lovely. But I wouldn’t say there is much of a view.

For the location, it’s an easy drive from Washington DC and not too far off the beaten path and there are plenty of places to grab a table (indoors or out) and relax with a bottle and some good conversation.

paradise springs winery | amanda jayne events blog

paradise springs winery | amanda jayne events blog
I’ll close with a picture of these lovely ladies, who were my companions on our tasting and visit: Julianne, Lindsey and Abigail.

paradise springs winery | amanda jayne events blog

What are your thoughts on Paradise Springs Winery, or the winery trend for weddings in general? Any suggestions on which winery I should head to next?

fabulous brunch ideas

brunch ideas | amanda jayne events blog

Every Friday I start thinking about brunch. Ok, let’s be honest – I think about brunch all the time, not just on the eve of weekend mornings. Like many in DC and other urban areas, I’m obsessed with brunch. I love it. I love breakfast food, I ADORE mimosas, and nothing beats a Sunday afternoon that started with brunch with friends.

What’s better than that? Hosting your OWN brunch! I love hosting brunch as well. Even though it’s a ton more work than meeting friends at one of the many local restaurants that offer bottomless mimosas, hosting brunch is a blast. I’m even already planning a new year’s eve party followed by brunch the next day (and to be honest, I’m most excited about brunch.)

Here are some fun brunch ideas. These would be great for bridal or baby showers, post-wedding brunches, or any other occasion. Brunch on!

This waffle bar is pretty amazing. This was done for a birthday party, but it could work for any event – even dessert at a dinner party. I love the idea of using butcher paper to label everything – it’s fun and relaxed. Photo via Veronica Yem:

brunch ideas | amanda jayne events blog

For a sit-down brunch, I love the idea of including a customized crossword puzzle. It’s a great ice breaker if your guests don’t know each other, too. This would be really fun for baby or bridal showers. Photo via Martha Stewart Weddings:

brunch ideas | amanda jayne events blog

For an hors d’oeuvres style brunch, I love these mini french toasts in syrup. It’s a play on the grilled cheese triangle served with a shot of tomato soup which has gotten popular, but I like this even more.  You could also do this with waffles or pancakes. Photo via From Marriage to Motherhood:

brunch ideas | amanda jayne events blog

For an interactive element, what about cupcake fondu? Fondu is definitely not just for dinner or dessert, and I love the idea of mini cupcakes dipped in a warm frosting. Photo via Oh Cupcake:

brunch ideas | amanda jayne events blog

Gourmet doughnuts are making a come back right now (I feel like fancy doughnuts in flavors like ‘bourbon chocolate’ or ‘bacon walnut’ are popping up on menus around here), but I’ve always preferred doughnut holes, personally. Which makes this doughnut hole wedding cake the best thing I’ve ever seen and I’m jealous that we didn’t think of it first! This was done by a baker, but you could absolutely DIY this on a smaller scale with a ton of toothpicks. Photo by Caitlin Gerres Photography via Capitol Romance:

brunch ideas | amanda jayne events blog

Coffee is a good thing to provide at brunch, but I love the idea of giving it a little flair, like this ‘kick it up with rock sugar and Kahlua’ display. Photo via Hostess with the Mostess:

brunch ideas | amanda jayne events blog

Finally – the one part of brunch that is basically non-negotiable: mimosas. Now, for all of you who prefer a bloody mary, you can replicate this concept for that drink as well, but I love the idea of a mimosa bar, with several different juices, some fruit, and if you really want to get fancy, you can offer some additional liquor, such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau. I even love the sign here: Champagne is the Answer. Yes, yes it is! Photo via Tutto Bella:

brunch ideas | amanda jayne events blog

Those are just a few ideas – do you love brunch as much as I do? What are your suggestions?

Top photo via Bread in 5

are seating charts the next big thing for weddings?

wedding seating chart inspiration | amanda jayne events blog

My last wedding related posts was on escort cards (and if you don’t the difference between escort cards and place cards you should definitely read it!), but what if you want to forgo escort cards entirely? Before you accuse me of advocating open seating (otherwise known as wedding anarchy), have you considered a seating chart in lieu of escort cards?

Posted seating charts have been around for a while but they seem to be gaining popularity, which I attribute to Pinterest brides-to-be for having such great examples floating around the interweb.

There are a few benefits of a seating chart rather than individual escort cards. The seating chart can be completely organized (written out, printed, etc.) prior to the wedding day, meaning less set up on the big day. Guests don’t have to carry anything to their seat. Depending on how your organize it, it may be easier for guests to find out the others at their table.

The drawbacks are that you don’t physically give something to your guests to remind them of their table and you need to rely on their memory. And depending on how you organize it, it may be more difficult for guests to find their name (if you have it organized by table rather than alphabetically).

Honestly though, I think the two options are pretty comparable and you should use whichever you prefer. I think seating charts are having a moment right now because they are perceived to be more creative, but the options for both escort cards and seating charts are limitless. The window panes and chalk board versions of seating charts are particularly popular, but so are rustic weddings in general, and both of these complement that style well.

Here are some examples of well-executed seating charts:

The Pinterest darling – the windowpane seating chart. This one is consistently popular (although random windowpanes aren’t just lying around where I’m from), both rustic and a bit whimsical. Requires good handwriting (as do most DIY escort card solutions).  Photo via Style Me Pretty:

wedding seating chart inspiration | amanda jayne events blog

The chalkboard seating chart – the quirky cousin of the windowpane seating chart. Is chalkboard paint still a thing? I definitely thought this trend would have died down a bit. In fact, I once rolled my eyes at something chalkboard-painted and told my husband that I thought the whole chalkboard paint thing was overdone. Then I did my first chalkboard paint craft and I’ve never heard the end of it – lesson learned, don’t make offhand comments when you have a husband who actually listens to you. But anyway – I think these can be very cute – again, watch the handwriting and be careful – you don’t want a guest to accidentally wipe out half of your tables by brushing up against it.  Photo via Something Blue Bridal Boutique:

wedding seating chart inspiration | amanda jayne events blog

For the more simple, elegant yet understated look, I love this gold framed chart. The numbers are unique and the font is fun but still legible (make sure the font coordinates with other fonts you’re using such as for your menu, etc.). Photo by Edyta Photography via 100 Layer Cake:

wedding seating chart inspiration | amanda jayne events blog

There are lots of printable seating charts if you want a bit more design to your chart. I definitely recommend Etsy (expect a blog post in the next few weeks on why Etsy is so great for weddings). There are lots of graphic designers who have beautiful designed materials for very affordable prices – often you can just download the file and print on your own. This particular design is by Etsy seller He Saw Sparks:

wedding seating chart inspiration | amanda jayne events blog

Finally – to mix it up a bit, I love these two very different takes on the same idea: individually framed table lists. The first one is a more sophisticated, elegant look for a more formal wedding. The second takes the look and gives it a rustic, country twist.  You can drastically change how this looks by choosing different kinds of frames and background. This is a great way to incorporate wedding colors as well.

Photo by Sweet Little Photographs:

wedding seating chart inspiration | amanda jayne events blog

Photo by Anna Page Photography via Style Me Pretty:

http://www.stylemepretty.com/gallery/picture/456308/

What are your thoughts? Are seating charts here to stay or just a passing trend?

Top photo by Lavender & Twine via Heart Love Weddings