The Greenbrier: A Wild & Wonderful Wedding Venue

If you've never heard of The Greenbrier Resort, prepare to have your world rocked.

Approximately 30% of all proposals take place between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day, otherwise known as “Engagement Season”.  Yes, that’s a real thing.  If you were one of the lucky ladies to get a shiny new ring in the past few months, congrats!  Now the real fun begins…planning a wedding!  You’re undoubtedly beginning to explore your options for photographers, florists, and caterers.  Before any of that, though, you need to find a VENUE!  And it’s important that you know all of your options.  There are a plethora of amazing choices both in and around Pittsburgh.  But have you ever thought outside the city?  Heck, what about outside the state?!  After reading this post, you just might want to consider it.

A short four hour drive south, in White Sulphur Springs, West Virigina, sits The Greenbrier.  Otherwise known as America’s Resort, this place is where Southern hospitality meets luxury and leisure.  Surrounded by the Allegheny Mountains, The Greenbrier is a natural oasis for those looking to get away.  The beautiful scenery and a world-class spa will make relaxing and recharging easy.  Yet with a casino, championship golf course, and over 50 other activities, you’ll never be bored.  And when it comes to weddings, The Greenbrier does them like no other.

Whether you’ve always dreamed of exchanging vows at an intimate, mountain-view ceremony or dancing the night away in an opulent hotel ballroom, The Greenbrier caters to a wide range of styles.  Regardless of yours, you’ll be in good hands.  Their commitment to outstanding service and hospitality means your wedding day is just as important to the staff of The Greenbrier as it is to you.  From the infamous white columns and charming décor to the wondrous mountains surrounding the resort, you’ll never run out of incredible backdrops for those bridal portraits.  With the accommodations and entertainment, your guests will experience their own mini-vacation thanks to your wedding weekend.

Don’t just take my word on all of this though.  Learn just what makes The Greenbrier so special, straight from Maren White, the Wedding Director there.

What makes The Greenbrier an excellent choice for a wedding venue?
The Greenbrier is an extremely unique property that speaks not only to our brides, but also our grooms!  The feminine and colorful interiors designed by Dorothy Draper are an exciting juxtaposition to the wild and wonderful West Virginia outdoors.  With over 50 activities to keep your guests entertained throughout your wedding weekend and the elegance of our ballrooms, there is no other property as special as The Greenbrier!

What is The Greenbrier's best feature?
It is hard to say that any one feature stands out at The Greenbrier.  With our presence within the West Virginia and White Sulphur Springs community since the 1700s, our team of service members has been deeply rooted in our town’s culture for hundreds of years.  At The Greenbrier, we are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.  It is our excellence in service that set our guests' experiences high above any other property of our caliber.

What is the advantage of hosting a wedding or event at The Greenbrier?
The Greenbrier’s Wedding Team is dedicated to assisting our brides with the entire wedding planning process.  From selecting the perfect reception location to fitting your groom’s tuxedo in our Ralph Lauren store, The Greenbrier prides itself on having everything that a bride could dream of for her wedding weekend!

How many guests can be accommodated in the various spaces?
The Greenbrier is an extremely versatile property.  With our iconic North Parlor being able to accommodate groups of 40 guests or fewer, we are an ideal location for intimate weddings.  If you are planning a grand affair, our Colonial Ballroom can comfortably accommodate over 600 guests with plenty of room for a dance floor and a band that will keep your guests celebrating all night long!

Can a ceremony be held on-site?
The Greenbrier is host to many gorgeous outdoor ceremony spaces, including the North Garden and Presidential Lawn.  However, our brand new Chapel has been the preferred venue to exchange vows this past year!  Nestled on The Greenbrier’s North Lawn, The Greenbrier Chapel was designed to blend in with the historic structures and natural landscape surrounding it, while also offering romantic touches including custom chandeliers, stained glass windows designed by Carlton Varney, and modern conveniences including private rooms for the wedding party and ADA accessibility.

Minimoons are becoming a popular trend among newlyweds!  Why is The Greenbrier an ideal spot for a trip like this?
Since 1778, people have traveled to The Greenbrier to “take the waters” and bathe in the white sulphur springs.  Today, The Greenbrier's world-renowned mineral spa offers a variety of services designed to bring newlyweds the relaxation and comfort they need after a whirlwind wedding!  Not only is the spa an inviting reason to minimoon at The Greenbrier, but our food and beverage team is dedicated to making every dinner romantic and delicious!

Who knew such a luxurious destination existed this close to the Burgh?!  I for one can’t wait to check it out.  And if you’re still wedding venue shopping, you definitely should too.

While I did team up with The Greenbrier to bring you this post, all opinions are my own.

Introducing Vintage Alley Rentals & An Offer!

If you consider yourself a vintage bride, you need to check out Vintage Alley Rentals.  Furniture, set pieces, china, and other antique decor, this rental company has all the extras you need to bring your vintage, rustic, or whimsical theme to life.  Check out a bit of what they offer here!

Mention Burgh Brides when booking and receive FREE styling of your head table!

Oh, and Vintage Alley Rentals is the sister of the Pop Up Pittsburgh Wedding Company.  If you're looking for a unique alternative to the everyday nuptials, you NEED to check them out!

 

Introducing Kata Banko Couture & A Discount!

Handmade, a bit bohemian, but absolutely beautiful, Kata Banko Couture is redefining wedding day accessories.  For the loveliest of veils, belts, headpieces, and more, be sure to head here!

Visit Ribbon Bridal and mention Burgh Brides to save 15% on your Kata Banko Couture accessories!  You’ll also receive a free custom consultation with Colleen (a $75 value)!  Appointments are required.

Or head to Instagram today, where Kata Banko is taking things over!  So.much.prettiness. coming your way!

4 Simple Reasons Why You Should Consider a Small Wedding

Are you looking for a few reasons why you should consider a small wedding?  Here are four of them from Lauren, owner of PointBreezeway, the hippest, cutest little venue around.  At the end of this post, if you still have a guest list a million miles long, we need to have a little chat…

From Lauren…

Hello Burgh Brides!  My name is Lauren and I am the owner of PointBreezeway, an urban barn in the Burgh.  I converted my childhood home into a pretty amazing little venue with the hopes of preserving its rich history of a utility barn (circa 1880), tavern, speakeasy, tea room, and ultimately my family home for over 25 years.  It is an absolute privilege to share something so special.  PointBreezeway is a match made in heaven for low-key celebrators and lovers of old-world charm, everything vintage, historic, and eclectic.  Since opening PointBreezeway, I've discovered lots of reasons why small weddings are the way to go.  Here are my top four!

1.) Unique Location

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by,  And that has made all the difference.”
– Robert Frost

This one is probably my favorite.  Why?  Well, I own one of the most unique spaces…ever.  Hosting a small wedding opens up a world of possibility with the venue you choose.  Hell, you could probably get married in your favorite coffee shop!  Give your guests something to talk about, kids.  Different = Beautiful

2.) Intimacy

“I have learned that to be with those I like is enough.”
– Walt Whitman

It’s your thing.  Do what you wanna do.  Parents are probably giving me the evil eye right now.  Invite your closest, most awesome people.  Love them.  Be married with them.  Share a night of cozy togetherness and hearty laughter with them.

3.) Budget

“Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”
– Franklin D. Roosevelt

Heck yes, Mr. Roosevelt!  The thrill of creative effort.  Let that sink in for a moment.  Small weddings are all about creative effort and that’s what makes them so perfect!  I’m going to speak to PointBreezeway on this one.  I can confidently say that with a guest list of 60, you can have a fantastic wedding here for under $10k.  Let me repeat that.  Under $10k!  Imagine if your wedding was even smaller.  The key is finding spaces that are charming and ready to go, allowing you to focus on the food, drink, and extras.  I’ve hosted weddings that served their favorite beer and pizza, hired a photographer, and picked up their florals beforehand.  The evening was spectacular and it was a dream come true.

4.) Simplicity

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”
– Jack Kerouac

When great changes are about to happen, you want to feel as calm and healthy as you can.  Mentally.  Physically.  Emotionally.  Am I right?   The more simplicity that can be added to the start of a marriage is key.  When you choose to celebrate small with a big focus on what is truly important…well, as John Lennon once said, “All you need is love.”

There you have it…4 reasons why you should consider a small wedding!  What about you?  Are you considering a more intimate affair?  Why?  Comment below!

Wedding Advice from a Photographer Bride

Open your eyes and ears…you're about to receive some EPIC wedding advice from a photographer bride!  Burgh Brides Vendor Guide Member Eva Lin has been on both sides of a wedding…usually as the one capturing beautiful images of the big day.  But last year, she had her own.  And it was just as stunning as you can imagine.  Today, she's guest posting with some great tips for those getting ready to make their own walk down the aisle.

From Eva…

As many of you know, Art and I tied the knot last year, and after our wedding I feel like I have SO much that I want to share with upcoming brides!  Obviously, there are things that worked for me, and I know there are hundreds of opinions out there, so take what you need and leave the rest!

Pre-Wedding Planning

Your wedding day is one of MANY “best days” of your life.  When people say that your wedding day is THE best day of your life, does that mean it's only downhill from there?!  While your wedding day is a huge and super important milestone, it should be one of just many best days to come.  When you think of it as this end-all-be-all-ultimatum date, it becomes this giant thing in your head, creates so much unnecessary pressure, and honestly, makes you go crazy.  Try to think of it more as just planning a big party for all your favorite people, which leads me to my next point…

Remember WHY you're doing it.  It's SO easy to get caught up in the details – and there are a LOT of details.  Remember that a wedding is the celebration of the love between the two of you, not about the decor or the food.  Yes, everyone wants to throw the best party ever, but at the end of the day, remember the WHY behind this giant party to help you stay focused.

Pick and choose what traditions you want to follow.  If a tradition doesn't feel like you as a couple, don't feel pressured to do it.  If it does, go for it!  It's as easy as that.

Set aside 5% of your budget for last minute things the week of your wedding.  So many unplanned things come up last minute (and during your “wedding week,” cost becomes a non-issue!).  If you don't want to break the bank, it's better to account for this stuff ahead of time so there are no surprises!

Once you've set your budget, prioritize what's the most important to you, spend your money there, and be okay spending less in other areas.  Of course for me, photography and videography were on the top of my list, so I chose to spend my money there and less on everything else.  I was so lucky to find vendors who were able to work with my budget in other areas to still execute my vision!  I also plan on re-selling my dress, and I bought my shoes from DSW (which no one could see under my dress anyway).

Spend your money where it counts.  I've been to enough weddings to realize what is memorable and what is not.  As much as I adore beautiful hand-written calligraphy, we usually throw away the envelopes.  So as an effort to save on our invites, we just included one card and had our guests RSVP online.  Invitations can cost up to $1000+ with all the bells and whistles, and we ended up spending $250 on them (helllllo more money for cake pops!).   We chose to do a family-style dinner to avoid the need for individual place cards (we still had a seating chart – having completely open seating is kind of a nightmare).  The week of my wedding, I went a little nuts and wanted to change the backs of the flower crowns for my flower crown station from a white twine to ribbon, which would have been extra.  Luckily, my florist and my wedding planner reminded me that this is one of those things that people will not care about, and I would have regretted spending extra money on it (thank you)!

Do NOT compare yourself to Pinterest or your friends.  Chances are, you've scoured Pinterest for ideas and also have attended many friends' weddings in recent years.  And we all know comparison is the thief of joy.  No comparison, only inspiration.  Let you be you.  Your wedding will be perfect because it's yours.

The Day of Your Wedding

Take time to breathe.  I had my friend, Lauren, teach a yoga class the morning of my wedding – to get grounded, to be reminded of why we do all the crazy things we do for this one day, and to be rooted in gratitude for everyone in my life.  It was AMAZING to help me be completely present for the upcoming day.  Even if yoga is not your jam, take some time in a quiet room by yourself to just breathe some long deep breaths.  Inhale what you need to be reminded of – gratitude, love, happiness, excitement.  Exhale out what isn't serving you at the moment – anxiety, nerves, annoyance.  Repeat.  I did this a few times the day and week before – anytime I started to feel myself getting crazy over silly things.

Stick together.  I got this advice from my yoga/life teacher, Anna, who put it so well.  On your wedding day, everyone will be pulling you left and right, but make sure to stick together as you go around.  When you're talking to guests or dancing, do it together.  It's a beautiful metaphor for the rest of your life – as life takes you in different directions, move through it all together!

Savor each moment.  It's 100% true when people say your wedding day flies by.  One of my favorite parts of our wedding was when we were eating dinner – Art and I had our own sweetheart table, and we just took a moment to look around at all of our friends and family eating, laughing, and talking.  It brought us so much joy just to sit, enjoy that moment, and feel grateful that they had come to celebrate the day with us.

Delegate!  I was lucky I had so many helpers for our wedding.  My friend was my day-of coordinator to organize everything at the venue and make sure the ceremony and reception ran smoothly (some venues offer this, but if yours doesn't – I highly recommend hiring a day-of coordinator).  The last thing you want to do on your wedding day is have people asking you tons of questions left and right!  And this may seem like common sense, but you also need someone, usually your maid of honor, to be your right-hand-woman for the whole weekend.  My sister made sure I got everywhere on time, organized the entire day-after brunch for us so we wouldn't have to worry about it, and was just an amazing help the entire time.  It also helps if this person can operate with little to no direction (#bosslady).  Our friends and families also were a huge help the whole weekend – don't be afraid to ask for help!

After the Wedding

Host a morning-after brunch.  The toughest thing about weddings is that there are so many people who come who you may not have talked to or seen in a long time – and you have NO time to catch up at the wedding!  We originally weren't going to do this, but realized how nice it was to actually be able to catch up with the bride and groom at our friend's wedding a few weeks before.  So our families helped to whip up a brunch last minute and we are so glad they did.  It's also a great time to be able to say goodbye to everyone and thank them for everything!

Get a massage.  I didn't even wear heels on our wedding day, but my feet and body were just so exhausted from standing and dancing all day!  We booked a spa day at Bedford Springs, and it was definitely one of the best decisions we've ever made (that, and getting married)!

No regrets.  What's done is done.  With SO many moving pieces, there are plenty of things bound to go not as you had planned.   Thinking about them over and over will not change anything.  At the end of the day, if you are married and had a wonderful time with all your favorite people, wasn't that the hole point of it all anyway?  If you just can't let something go – just remember – you can always renew your vows in 5 or 10 years and do it again!

Thanks for all of the fantastic tips, Eva!  You're a beautiful soul, inside and out.  Any other vendors have their own advice?  What did you learn from being on the other side of a wedding day?  Comment below!

The Top 5 Reasons You’ll LOVE Having a Wedding Film

If you're on the fence about hiring a videographer, Post Script Productions is here to give you the top 5 reasons you'll LOVE having a wedding film.  Honestly, after reading this list, you should be totally sold on one.  I was one of those brides…I originally thought a videographer wasn't a necessity.  I figured I'd just splurge on a really good photographer instead.  A few months before my wedding, I changed my mind and decided I had to have a video.  BEST.  DECISION. EVER.  Seriously.  I'm so, so glad we did it.  Without it, I'd never be able to see my grandfather, who has since passed away, smile again, or hear our best man's hilarious speech, or relive the epic air guitar battle that happened on the dance floor.  If you don't believe me, maybe Carolyn, one half of this uber-talented Burgh Brides Vendor Guide member, can convince you!

From Carolyn of Post Script…

We got into the wedding film business by accident and we are SO glad we did.  We started our business and someone asked us, “Do you film weddings?”  We, of course, saw that as an amazing opportunity to not only grow our business but, more importantly, as an avenue to tell stories that people would love for a lifetime.  Having a wedding film used to be an “extra” or something that often got overlooked.  As more and more couples decide to include a wedding film into their budgeting, they are also seeing it as a necessity, just like photography.  That makes us so happy!  The moments we’ve been able to capture are incredible.  And we feel so blessed to be invited into our couple’s homes, churches, synagogues, and reception spaces to capture one of the happiest and most significant days of their lives.

Here is just a short list (we could go on forever!) of our top five reasons why you’ll absolutely love your wedding film.  We think you’ll agree that it’s definitely a necessity and definitely worth it!

1.) Family & Friends

We are there to capture the special moments…the moments you experience with your friends and family throughout one of the best (and busiest!) days of your life.  There will be SO much you won’t remember.  And there are so many people who mean so much to you that will be there to support you.  We want you to have memories of not only yourselves, but of those amazing people in your lives.  Grandparents and parents, your mentor, your college roommate – everyone.  We believe love, success, a life is nothing without people to share it with.

2.) Confidence in the Filmmaker

One of our favorite compliments we’ve received is “I didn’t even see you!”  To us, that means we were doing our job.  We don’t want to be part of your wedding day; we want to capture it.  We take that very seriously.  We want to capture it as it unfolds, as it actually happens as opposed to staging things or directing the day’s events.  We believe your wedding ceremony is sacred, regardless of where it is.  We are respectful of whatever space it’s in, the people that are involved, and those that attend.  This is your day and your film, not our film.  And, we absolutely love capturing weddings.  It’s such a joy for us and it’s a new experience with every couple.  We like to blend in with the crowd, not only in the way we dress but also by the smiles on our faces 🙂

3.) Protect your Investment

You’ve worked so hard to plan this event.  And unless you’re a professional event planner, it is probably the biggest event you’ve ever, and maybe will ever, plan.  It takes a lot of time, energy, and effort to put it all together – but how awesome is it gong to be?!  SO awesome!  A wedding film allows you to protect the investment you made.  Your wedding film is like a time capsule.  Everything will be captured – the laughter at cocktail hour, the moment you and your bridesmaids cheers with the mimosas made from your favorite champagne, the design of your bouquet, the look on your groom's face as you walk down the aisle, the speech from the best man, the words you and your husband-to-be say to each other as you promise to spend the rest of your lives together and so much more.  It all happens in a flash and a wedding film preserves it forever.

4.) Relive the Day

I can definitely relate to this topic because I just got married this past January.  It was crazy!  It went by so fast and after the day was over, after we returned from our honeymoon, and after we opened all our gifts, all I wanted to do was rewind and relive it all over again.  A wedding film is different from photographs.  They’re images, but they move!  (Our motto is “Images That Move”…get it?)  And there’s audio.  Yes, yes, the audio!  We love it.  Bridal prep/pre-ceremony footage can sometimes be audio gold.  And all that hilarious and/or tear-jerking stuff your maid of honor says in her speech  – we got it!   These are memories you’ll get to relive for years to come.  We don’t film for the wedding, we film for the marriage.  We want our couples to be able to relive their wedding day and how their marriage started – where they were, how they felt, what they promised, and who was there to support them.

5.) Two Places at Once

Yes, with a wedding film you can actually be in two places at once!  Ever wonder what’s going on with the groomsmen before the wedding?  We have it covered!  (Hint: they’re probably watching sports and enjoying a couple of beers up until about 20 minutes before they have to leave, LOL!)  Some of our favorite goofy moments (and sometimes sentimental moments) came during the pre-ceremony time with the groom and his groomsmen.  And, depending on the timeline of your day, you may not have a chance to see what cocktail hour looked, felt, and sounded like – we’ve got that covered too!  Our classic package includes two filmmakers so we can divide and conquer!  And, even if your budget only allows for one filmmaker for the day, we can usually work it out so that we can be in all those places for specific, significant moments.

There you have it – our top 5 reasons why you'll LOVE having a wedding film!  We’d love to hear about the moments you want captured on your wedding day.  We know every couple is different and therefore every wedding is different.  Comment below and let us know what’s important to you and your families!

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Introducing Soiree by Souleret & an IG Takeover!

A fine arts background helps Shayne of Soiree by Souleret bring the beauty of a wedding to life.  With a love of details and an appreciation for what a big day is really all about, this wedding planner creates stunning events that are executed seamlessly.  Hear from Shayne and see more of her artistic touches here!

Then, head on over to my Instagram feed to see lots of pretty inspiration from Shayne today!

Introducing Jenni Grace Photography & A Giveaway!

Photography is in Jenni's blood.  Her great grandfather and grandfather were both photographers, and now this lady is the talent behind Jenni Grace Photography.  Classic and clean, her work is downright incredible.  See for yourself and hear from her here!

I'm incredibly excited to say that Jenni is offering up a FREE engagement session to one extremely lucky couple!  Interested in winning?  Head to Instagram to read all about how you can enter!

Burgh Brides Vendor Guide Member: Jenni Grace Photography