Signature Drink Saturday: Champagne Cocktail

We have been working with our fabulous couple Casie and Mark for nearly 2 years their honor (and in honor of their "bubble lounge") we thought we would share a simple yet tasteful Champagne Cocktail for this weeks Signature Saturday.

What You'll Need:
3oz Champagne
1/3 oz of Cognac 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
1 sugar cube

What You'll Do:
1. Soak the sugar cube in champagne flute with bitters
2. Then, Add the Champagne and Cognac
3. Finally, garnish with a sprig of currents
 4. ENJOY!

Originally found online in Sweet Paul Mag.

Free Fact Friday!

Hello all! Today's fun fact is about registeries. A new trend we are seeing these days is that our clients want to do online registries. We at Team ACE also like the idea, but we don't necessarily recommend to only offer online options. Your younger guests will be completely supportive of going online, placing an order, and getting it sent to the new Mr. & Mrs. (etiquette tip: gifts should be sent to the home of the newlyweds, not brought to the wedding). However, that is not necessarily the case for your older guest. ACE suggests that you do one of both. One online and one in a store... besides it will be fun to go in with your love and pick out things you both like! We have listed below some of our favorite online registries.  Have fun!

The Man Registry-- Registry for your man! Here he can find groomsmen gifts, tips as a groom, and a gift registry of those "man gifts" he may want

Wish Pot- We especially love this website. Here you can create one wish list that includes items from more than one store. Crazy? We know.

Photo courtesy of
Happy planning from Team ACE!

Tina and Ernest: An Engagement Story

Team ACE has been working with Tina and her soon-to-be husband Ernest, "Q". We have enjoyed preparing for her fresh, yet timeless, wedding at a great venue location: The Half Moone next weekend. We are excited for this sweet couple to get married and the oppurtunity to work with such amazing vendors! Below are some engagement shots of the two by Debonair Tina and Q!

Monday Meetings: Photographer Echard Wheeler

It's that time to introduce you to another amazing vendor: photographer Echard Wheeler! We always love working with Echard. His laid back style is always so appealing to us and our clients.  Echard has such creative, yet timeless, taste in photography. Meet Echard:

Tell us about your business!  
I know it sounds like a cliche, but I love photography. I love everything about it--whether it's digital or film (which I still use and regularly develop myself). The whole process is comforting to me, and has been since the moment I picked up a camera in my teens. I have a camera in my hand 99% of the time. Whether I'm on commercial assignment, a portrait shoot, documenting a wedding or just hanging around town, you can bet I'm taking photographs. Every. Single. Day. Because it's second nature to me, and if you love photography then you're inspired by anything and everything, every day.'

I consider myself a documentary wedding photographer. My goal is to capture your wedding day naturally, the human element, the grace, the beauty--a visual wedding diary, to be cherished and visited over and over again.

What kind of packages do you offer? 

Every couple I meet with is different, and they usually want a package that is customized to fit their needs on their wedding day. I start with a base 6 hour package. We can then add to it -- hours if need be, and all the extras like portrait sessions, photo booths and albums. By working with a couple to customize what they want, you get to know and understand the couple, so that as a photographer you fulfill their vision.

How do you make your work unique from other vendors? 

I have a beautiful wife and daughter and I know how it feels to love so much that your heart explodes. I can relate to all those emotions on a wedding day--the intense love a groom has for his bride, the pride and bittersweet adoration a father has seeing his daughter marry her soulmate. I feel it, and there have been many times at weddings when I am photographing with tears in my eyes. That's what it's all about--that's what I capture. I'm not going to stage you throughout the day to make pretty photos for my site, or retouch you beyond recognition. I'm going to record those precious moments that happen throughout your wedding day, those moments that take your breath away, caught when you didn't even realize I was there (my ninja photographer skills). That's been my goal when I began photographing weddings 16 years ago and I still have that fire in my belly today. 

What advice would you give couples who are in search of a good photographer? 

First, choose me--always choose me as your photographer :) And hire a great wedding planner!!!
Really, I think the most important thing a couple can do is to make sure they are a good fit with their wedding team. Know the work of the people you're choosing for your wedding day and make sure your vision is in sync (ie: don't hire a traditional photographer if you want photojournalistic photos) I like to have a comfortable relationship with my couples, so that on the wedding day there's an ease and trust between us. My photography work tells the beautiful and unique story of your day, and it's important to me to capture it sincerely and creatively.

What has been your most favorite moment while in the wedding industry? 

I love the real moments. There are those times that bring tears to your eyes--that special time between a father and daughter before the bride walks down the aisle...a grandmother's laugh...a child doing just about anything...a groom seeing his bride for the first time. So when I capture those magical moments for my couples, I know I've given them something they will cherish forever.

We especially love Echard because of our favorite staff picture he captured:

Meg of Fluttering Flowers. Lindsey, Antonia Christianson, Stephanie of ACE

Below are some of Echard's favorite shots from weddings he has had the privilege of shooting:

Free Fact Friday!

We thought it would be fun to give away free knowledge to anyone planning a wedding every Friday! Here's today's goodness:

Is your guest count getting too large??

Industry standard would say that 2/3 of who you invite will actually RSVP yes.

So, take the number you invite...say you have 100 people on your list- times it by 2/3 and you will have roughly 66-70 people will be in attendance.  So when planning food, drink, favors, or even numbers for the venue you can be more accurate! And maybe fit a few more people you didn't think you could on your list!

Happy planning from Team ACE!

Monday Meeting: Summer Interns- Kait and Amie

One of the things I love about being a business owner is educating and giving back. Each semester we host an internship program to one or two college students and today we wanted to introduce you to our awesome Summer Interns: Kaitlin and Amie!

(Amie and Kait at an ACE wedding Rehearsal)

Amie York, a Virginia Beach native, graduated from Princess Anne High school and is now a Junior at James Madison University. She is a Hospitality Management Major with a Business Minor. 

What sparked your interest in the wedding industry? My passion for events began in high school where I had the numerous opportunities to plan and execute community service, fundraising events, and my class' junior Ring Dance and senior Prom through class council leadership. I knew I had a passion and the gifting for planning events. I went into JMU my sophomore year of college as a Hospitality Major with hopes to own my own Bed and Breakfast (which is still a dream of mine), but it wasn't until I worked for Early Katering in Harrisonburg, VA and was catering staff for many weddings that I saw the potential of the wedding industry. It was like my high school career, only times ten and every weekend! Although this industry is very time-demanding and exhausting at times I have loved my experience thus far.

At the event, what has been your favorite moment at a wedding? My favorite moment this far was at Sara and Karl's wedding in May... they had their flower girl walk with a bundle of roses and hand them out to the guest on the end of the rows as she walked down. It was such a cool twist of the traditional flower girl and it really personalized the event for the guests as well! 

What it your favorite part of  planning a wedding? The time in the office with Antonia and Kaitlin. Does that count? Just kidding...I would have to say my favorite part of planning a wedding is the actual meeting with clients. The paperwork, bookings, ordering, and other parts are fun and make me feel really professional but when we actually get to meet and know the client it adds life and a personal touch to what we are doing. And I love being a small part of such an exciting time of these couple's lives!

At the moment, what is one of your favorite wedding trends? I am a sucker for anything rustic or antique. Burlap, mason jars, white wash wood, antique furniture, pastels with navy... and any trend is complete with twinkle lights in my opinion I also am loving the cupcake trend as well. It is so much funner for guests to have options in type of cake... and they can bring some home!

Kaitlin Walsh, from Hampton, VA, graduated from Stonebridge High School in Chesapeake, and is now a Senior at James Madison Univeristy. Kait is also a Hospitality Major with Spanish and Business minors. 

What sparked your interest in the wedding industry?
I think that my interest in the wedding industry comes from my love for people. I've attended an abnormal amount of weddings, and I just loved the uniqueness of each event. I started thinking a working in events my sophomore year of college, after sitting in my living room with my 13 housemates- stressing what to major in. They were super encouraging and surprisingly were like, Kait you should do events. Since then, I have worked in catering and loved getting to see that side of events, and now am so enjoying getting to be a part of the entire process.

At the event, what has been your favorite moment at a wedding?
My favorite moments are just getting to observe the couples relationship, and their affect on the people close to them. The vows, toasts, and dances... I may or may not have cried... a few times.

What it your favorite part of  planning a wedding?
I love people, and I value relationships more than anything- so of course I love getting to meet with clients. To know them, and their story, and getting to serve them in any way I can.

At the moment, what is one of your favorite wedding trends?
Who doesn't love anything "vintage" or "antique"? But recently I have loved the use of different shades of one color- blues or greens, and very simple design with specific and influential details.

Monday Meetings: Sweetwater Cuisine

This morning we want to introduce you to another amazing vendor! Sweetwater Cuisine is in the hot seat today. Here at Antonia Christianson Events we have been a fan of Sweetwater for years, and it was such a such a blessing when they moved in below our office. Sweetwater caters on and off sight with a restaurant open Monday-Friday. Sweetwater is known for their attention to detail with a southern flare. You know that someones an amazing vendor when you use them in your personal life... meet Sweetwater Cuisine and maybe you can too:
The face behind the name: Jodi Moore-Newland 

If you are looking for a small, intimate location for your wedding and ceremony, Sweetwater is also available. Below are some images from a wedding we partnered with Sweetwater for:

How did Sweetwater Cuisine get it's started?  
Jodi learned the love of cooking from her mother and catered events for friends on a regular basis.  She was asked to cater a large professional development seminar for her employer.  One week later she was licensed and operating on a part-time basis as Sweetwater Cuisine.  During the seminar three more events were booked for the following month.  For the next year, Jodi worked as a teacher while operating Sweetwater part-time.  In January of 2005, Sweetwater made its debut in the wedding industry at the Karen Eagle Bridal Show and in June of that same year, Sweetwater became a full-time venture by Jodi and her sister, Kelly.

What are some ways to make an event unique?  
It has always been a goal of Sweetwater to make each event special and unique.  Our menus are created specifically with the client's vision in mind.  Each menu item is handpicked by the client, even if that means perfecting the bride's family recipes for the event.  This together with our beautiful food displays that incorporate all the elements of the event create a completely unique event for each client.

What are some of the biggest trends you're seeing for weddings?  
The most recent trends are definitely vintage themed and shabby chic events.  Comfort foods go hand-in-hand with these themes.  

Do you have any advice for couples looking to find the right caterer for their big day?  
Things to look for in a caterer:  Do they understand your vision for the event?  Do they offer opportunities for tasting food items prior to signing a contract?  Does the caterer listen to your ideas or only focus on their own ideas?  Can the caterer offer full-service including staffing, rental items, serving pieces, setup, and breakdown?


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