Advice for brides

On Uniqueness

MichelleGirardPhotography189-(ZF-7163-86976-1-001)Here at the Wadsworth Mansion, uniqueness is our delight.  Each event is it’s own celebration, standing solo on our calendar for that day and befitting the design of the host’s individual vision.  Our mansion and grounds are merely a (beautiful) blank slate, leaving any and all details  — food, decor, flowers, floor plan, and more — up to the thrower of said party.

When my husband and I were married here almost one year ago, we loved that we weren’t forced into hiring a specific DJ or caterer or florist; the absolute last thing we wanted was a “wedding factory,” where we would just be shoehorned into a pre-set model like afterthoughts and hurried through our wedding to make way for the next one.  The a la carte manner in which the Mansion goes about it’s events allowed our big day to actually reflected us as a couple.  We had the wedding we intended from top to bottom (which, incidentally, you can get a taste of here, just scroll down a bit).

And since then, now that I am employed by the Mansion, I have seen many more weddings and parties here and none are alike.  Even among weddings with similar teams of vendors, the celebrations are unique representations of the hosts.

And all that freedom of choice isn’t for everyone.  I certainly give tours where our historic mansion and it’s one-of-a-kind, symmetrical footprint throws people off.  It does take some creativity to think outside of the same old, single ballroom box.  And that’s okay — coloring outside the lines is great for some and uncomfortable for others.  Plenty of people like to stick to safe, tried-and-true ways of doing things because the enormity of hosting a big event can be stressful enough.

But I can promise that if you’re willing to be intrepid in your party throwing you will reap so much more than if you copy the majority just to stick to the norm.  I recently overheard a comment by a guest at an event (who was late, and purposefully hanging back): “…if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all.”  Yikes.  To be honest, the host didn’t deserve such an assessment at all. However, if that’s the general perspective you’re up against, wouldn’t you want to blow that thought out of the water?

Don’t worry so much about how everyone else did it, or does it, or will do it.  What makes these things so special and noteworthy is how personal they are.

Be uniquely you and your wedding will be extraordinary.

Happy Planning!
Natalie

Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.

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How to Make Your Wedding Yours

Oftentimes when giving tours of the Mansion to potential brides and grooms I am asked, “what do most people do?”  While I’m happy to relay typical arrangements of tables and chairs or layouts that harmonize fire code with aesthetics, it seems to me that the question is actually much more loaded.

MMwed-353The pressure put on couples (by themselves or others) to conform to certain ideas, ideals, traditions, and desires is real.  I see it every day.  I experienced it myself.  It varies in shades and degrees from wedding to wedding, but it is always there.  And it is perfectly natural and to be expected — two people in love from two different families [we hope, but that’s a different blog] and backgrounds are uniting in a singular celebration in a finite period of time.

Amid all the excitement it can be weirdly easy to confuse your opinions with those of your loved ones, or feel pressured into conforming to suggestions you don’t love.  Your best friend continuously tells you what colors she thinks you should use, your favorite uncle has written a song he insists on singing during your ceremony, and your parents feel they should get to cast the final vote on every last detail because that’s how their wedding was planned.  And yes, you want to be inclusive, and maybe someone will have a stroke of brilliance that you never would’ve come up with…

But.  Each couple deserves a wedding that reflects them as a couple.  The two of you should dream up a vision together that becomes the foundation for the event.  You have the right to decide if a particular tradition is or isn’t meaningful to you.  It’s okay if you & your fiancee don’t really care about flowers even though everyone else seems to.  Don’t worry so much about keeping up with the Joneses or being Pinterest perfect or agreeing to things just to appease certain people.  Your wedding will be happiest and most meaningful to all of your guests if it echoes you.

So the question is really, “how do you keep the wheels on the wagon?”wadsworth00496

Step 1:  Breathe.  In and out.  Slow is good.

Step 2:  Remember, everyone involved cares deeply about you.  If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be so passionate.  (This is an important marriage lesson in general.)

Step 3:  Tell yourself that this is all completely normal.  Because it is.  It really, really is.

Step 4:  Listen to the idea.  It just might be a good one, or half a good one.

Step 5:  Thank your loved one for the suggestion.  Whether it’s “yeah, that’s similar to something we’ve discussed,” or “I hadn’t thought of that before, but we’ll take it into consideration,” be kind and acknowledge it’s coming from a good place.  Sometimes recognition of a suggestion is all that’s needed.

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Step 6: Gently remind your loved one that it’s your day.  Be firm if you have to, but the key word is ‘gently’.  Emotions are already high and there’s no need to be nasty.  The point will be made.  Slow your roll, ‘Zilla.

Repeat all (especially Steps 1-3) as needed.

 

Trust the foundation that you set as a couple — and I mean that in life and in wedding planning. The rest will fall (okay, sometimes hurtle) into place.9 Dancing 1
Happy Planning!
Natalie

Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.

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The Devil’s In The Details (or, Tips For Planning The Best Event Ever)

Coming from the latin word for flat, the word plan is a much-used root word defined as:  a scheme or method of acting, doing, proceeding, making, etc., developed in advance.

Some people have a natural knack for masterminding things while others… well, not so much.  If you fall into the latter category, don’t fret — you’re not doomed to having a less-than stunning party.  The key is creating a detailed plan, which will become the foundation of your event.  So get out your Excel spreadsheet or Eventbrite‘s event planning software or regular old pen and paper because the first thing you should do is…

  1. Write it down.  There is a lot to keep track of — vendors, guests, timelines, budgets, shopping lists, etc. etc.  You won’t be able to keep it all straight in your brain, so don’t even try.  Professional party planners keep detailed notes, and so should you.
  2. Create a total budget. (and put aside an emergency reserve.)  Set these as early in the process as possible.  Beautiful weddings can be thoughtfully designed on any budget, but blindly spending is a good way to add unnecessary stress to the process.  Use the reserve as your safety net or to add extra finishing details in the day or so before the event.  Or save it for the next big thing!
  3. Dream up a vision.  Close your eyes and put yourself at your venue, say, The Wadsworth Mansion.  Imagine the portico’s stately columns rising to the sky, imagine the late afternoon sunlight streaming through the loggia windows, imagine the long expanse of our lush, green vista framed by rows of cedar trees stretching from the terrace… Now pick an adjective or two that describes the atmosphere you’d like to create here for your guests.  Keep your ideal atmosphere in mind as you select vendors and decide on details throughout the planning process.
  4. Photograph & label everything.  If you want your details to look cohesive and reflect your vision, do a test run; when your mock-up looks to your liking, put your smart phone to work and snap some pictures.  Label liberally — what is obvious to you may not be so clear to vendors during set up. This will save precious time on the day-of, earning you extra moments to deal with any last-minute hiccups.
  5. Communicate.  Save the surprises for your guests. Talk to your vendors. Make sure everyone on your team is on the same page. A quick phone call to confirm plans or specific details the day before can be the subtle difference between seamlessly smooth and stressful disaster.
  6. Walk in your guests shoes.  From arrival through any activities to the exit, step your way through from a guest’s perspective, which will help with 2 things: assessing if you’ve overlooked any details and making sure your festivities are fluid. If you throw a party for yourself and invite people, that’s exactly what it will feel like to your guests. If, however, you keep the invitee’s experience at the forefront of your planning, the likelihood of “Best Event Ever” status exponentially rises.

Photo by: Alicia Ann Photographers

Stay tuned for future editions of posts on event planning…  In the meantime share comments, experiences, thoughts, and questions below in our comments section.

 

Happy Planning!
Natalie

 

Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.

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It’s Wedding Season (…well, almost!)

With April just around the corner, we here at the mansion are eagerly anticipating our hosting duties for what should be one of our busiest wedding seasons yet!  Now is the time when our spring couples are excitedly discussing their event details with us and feeling the final days of their engagements rapidly approaching.  While each couple is different, they all have visions about what their perfect day will be like.

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When planning a wedding (as those of you who have done it can attest), there are always surprises between the popping of the question and retiring to the bridal suite on the wedding night.  It may stem from an unseasoned vendor, an overzealous family member, an unplanned weather event, or accidental wardrobe malfunctions… but every wedding has something happen that you just can’t plan.

Sometimes they are happy accidents — like lucking into the world’s best DJ when your budget didn’t allow for a live band.  And sometimes they’re really not — like a groomsman bowing out mere hours before the ceremony.  Regardless of the outcome, or how much you try to prepare or overthink each possible outcome, something will catch you off guard.  And when it does, just keep moving forward!  It might be the best thing that could’ve happened.

 

Any wedding pros or married readers care to share their experiences with the unexpected?  Please regale us with your stories and how you handled the surprise in the comments section below!

Happy Planning!
Natalie

 

 

Natalie Newman Locke, the Event Supervisor and a Wadsworth Mansion bride herself, is a seasoned wedding & production professional.  When not creatively writing, photographing weddings, or acting as social media guru, she enjoys sampling wedding cake.

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Frommer’s Lists Wadsworth Mansion in top 50!

Frommer’s Lists Wadsworth Mansion in top 50

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Middletown, CT.   The Wadsworth Mansion was listed as a “Best Place to Get Married in all 50 States” by Frommers.com this July.   Frommer’s selected one venue from each state for this distinguished list.  Some venues were selected for their stunning locations, others were selected for their beautiful architecture.  Executive Director, Deborah Moore, was delighted when she received an email from Frommer’s saying that the Wadsworth Mansion had been selected.  ‘We are honored, as the Biltmore in Asheville, NC is included as well as the Grand Canyon and the beaches of Maui.  We don’t have beautiful beaches or mountains, but the Olmsted designed 100 acre estate is very private and the Beaux-arts style mansion is beautiful. Couples can exchange their vows on a 700’ lawn and can dance on the terrace under the stars.  I don’t think there is a more beautiful place in Connecticut to get married.” http://www.frommers.com/slideshows/848035-where-to-get-married-the-best-weddings-in-all-50-states#slide849489

The Mansion hosts 70 weddings a year as well as other celebrations.  It is owned by the City of Middletown and was restored in 1999.

Frommer’s is a travel guidebook series founded by Arthur Frommer in 1957. Frommer’s has expanded to include more than 350 guidebooks across 14 series, as well as other media including the website Frommers.com. Since May 2007, Arthur Frommer has been actively blogging about travel on the Frommers.com website.  In 2007, Frommer’s celebrated its 50th anniversary of guidebook publishing.[1]

 

Information will be available at the Wadsworth Mansion by calling (860) 347-1064 or visiting www. WadsworthMansion.com.

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Bliss Celebrations Magazine Feature

Gorgeous BLISS Feature!

We were recently featured in the newest issue of Bliss Celebrations magazine! We are so happy to have such wonderful representation. To see the full article you can go toBliss our feature is on pg 181. We hope it inspires you!

To see the rest of the images from their wedding look at our blog post from 8-5-14 it features Linnea and Joey!

 

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Wadsworth Mansion Bridal Show 2015

Our 2015 Bridal Show was one of the best yet! We want to thank all of our vendors, as well as all of our brides and grooms for making it such a success! The new fallen snow made the Mansion appear even more magical.

Along with the amazing tables showcasing  flowers and wedding photographs, there was great food, drinks, and entertainment  What more could you ask for on a snowy Sunday afternoon?  Thank you to all of our vendors who donated raffle prizes to help  our brides and grooms plan their special day.

Another very big thank you to our 3 lovely Mrs. Wadsworths: Lisa Awugah, Sarah Gadbois, and Lisa Maino. They were on hand to offer advice and helpful hints to our new soon to be brides. They were lovely and so very helpful.

Another big thank you to all of our vendors who participated and really helped to make this show such a success. Thank you for all you do!

To see a full list of this years participating vendors, click here.

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Meet our 2015 Mrs. Wadsworth {All three of them!}

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Every year at our Wedding Show (March 1, 2015 from 11am to 3pm), we invite a select few of our 2014 brides who really impressed us with the way they brought their wedding vision to life.  This year, we once again have three lovely brides who created beautiful, unique celebrations that transformed the mansion into a reflection of their taste and style.  The honorary title of Mrs. Wadsworth, Expert Bride, is given to these three ladies who will be on hand throughout the day of the wedding show to offer their personal experience and expertise in planning a mansion wedding.  What sets us apart from many other venues is the ability to truly create a one-of-a-kind event from the decor, to the food, to the layout of the day.  These three women really took that concept and ran with it to create some of the most memorable Wadsworth Mansion weddings of the 2014 season.  Stop by our table to chat with one of them, and the Mansion staff (Deborah, Jessica, and Rebecca) to learn more about a wedding here.  Then wander around to meet our preferred and recommended vendors and discover all the possibilities of a Wadsworth Mansion wedding.

Now, in no particular order, we’d like you all to meet our three 2015 Mrs. Wadsworth!

Lisa Awugah

Lisa married Kevin on 8/23/14 and their wedding was nothing short of gorgeous.  Every aspect of the day from the table numbers to the wedding cake topper was carefully thought out and executed. We blogged about her spectacular celebration here and then their wedding was featured on Reverie Gallery with some lovely words from the bride herself.

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Lisa Maino 

Lisa and Gregory were married on 10/12/14, just when the leaves began to hint at colors of autumn.  She had her ceremony on the vista, cocktails on the terrace, and brought her guests into the Loggia for dancing and merriment.  Her personal touches of a guitar for guests to sign in place of a guest book, her fantastic kids table to keep the little ones entertained, and gold painted mini pumpkins as place cards were some of the creative touches she used to personalize her day.

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Sarah Gadbois

Sarah and Joshua were married on 8/15/14 in our tennis pavilion.  She was 100% a princess bride. She saw the mansion, imagined a full blown princess inspired theme wedding, and boy did she deliver.  Complete with a pumpkin shaped horse drawn carriage to carry her to her ceremony!  Sarahs wedding was previously blogged by us here, check it out to see all of her amazing details.

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So to all of our future Wadsworth Brides, or the discerning bride looking for something beautifully unique and memorable, come to our Wedding Show on March 1st from 11am to 3pm to discover some of the best vendors and embellishments for your unforgettable wedding!

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