joe & amanda’s manor wedding

amanda jayne events blog

Spoiler alert – these are my wedding photos. But in honor of my two three year anniversary today, I thought I’d post repost just a few. Joe and I were lucky enough to get married on an absolutely gorgeous summer day in New Jersey – right in between the east coast earthquake and Hurricane Isabel. We got married in Joe’s family church, and had the reception at Woodcliff Manor in Woodcliff Lake, NJ. Here are some of my favorite details:

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the hermitage in nashville, tn

The Hermitage Event & Wedding Venue

Regular readers of this blog know that I’m a bit of a history nerd. So it should be no surprise that I am in love with historic houses as event and wedding venues.  On a recent work trip to Nashville, we took a quick side trip to visit The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson, also known as the #1 wedding venue in Nashville.

The Hermitage includes the mansion home of the Jackson family, extensive grounds and buildings (some date back to the 19th century), beautiful gardens, and a museum. While the house itself, dating back to 1820, is not available for rental (understandably so), the grounds, gardens, and a nearby mansion and church are available, as well as the Cabin by the Spring, an event venue.

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friday favorites – best event & entertaining ideas of the week

Best Event & Entertaining Ideas of the Week

Lots of great ideas out in the blog world this week, as per usual! Here are some of my favorites:

From left to right, clockwise:

Most baby showers are themed to a boy OR a girl – but what if the mommy-to-be is having a boy AND a girl (twins!). In that (incredibly rare) circumstance, this Bow Ties & Hair Bows Baby Shower is an adorable idea. { Confetti Sunshine }

Have you ever wanted to bottle your own drinks? This is such a great idea for an outdoor party. Step by step instructions included! { The Sweetest Occasion }

So I finally watched Frozen a few weeks ago – I know, I know. We’re the last people to see it. But now I finally know what all the fuss is about and I absolutely understand why I’m seeing so many Frozen parties. But this is one of the best ones I’ve seen – there are so many adorable details, but I really love the favor boxes based on Elsa’s sparkly dress.   { Styling the Moment }

I’m a bit of a book nerd and I’ve loved reading my entire life so of course I love the idea of a book theme children’s party. There are plenty of creative details; I especially love the banner made of old book pages. { Anders Ruff }

This wedding had a biscuit bar instead of a traditional hors d’oeuvres cocktail hour – delicious idea! { The Bridal Detective }

Have a fantastic weekend!

unexpected wedding venue costs

unexpected wedding venue costs

Everyone knows that weddings are expensive – depending on where you live the average cost might be 30, 40 or even $50,000 – and that’s just the average. While there are some enormous costs associated with the wedding – such as the catering for the reception – there are also many smaller costs that really add up. This is where it’s important to pay attention when searching for that perfect wedding venue. Some of the items below may be included in hotels or full-service special event venues, but others may not be included and might end up being an upgrade that costs hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Here’s what you should look out for:

Furniture Rentals: Some venues include the cost of tables, chairs and linens in the overall rental fee, or it’s worked into the per person menu price. But always ask – it might not be included. When it is included in the price it’s usually only the on-site inventory, so if you have your heart set on square tables and the venue only has rounds, you’ll have to pay to rent new tables. Sometimes venues have strange items that are included – such as the chairs are complimentary but you have to rent tables, or vice versa. Linens might be included or they may need to be rented through your caterer.

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doc mcstuffin’s birthday party

Doc McStuffins Birthday Party

I’m excited to share this children’s birthday party, styled by Lucia at Come Join Us. There are so many adorable details – it reminds me of playing doctor with my friends as a little girl (I predate Doc McStuffins by quite a bit). I love the creative menu choices that play on the theme – everyone knows that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, so apple slices are a must! Enjoy!

Doc McStuffins Birthday Party

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sweet fifi cakes

Sweet Fifi Custom Cakes

“A party without cake is just a meeting.”  Julia Childs said that, and she couldn’t be more right.

So many parties – so many life events – revolve around cake. Couples long remember their wedding cake (some even try to eat the top on their first anniversary… with mixed results). Effort and planning is put into so many birthday cakes, graduation cakes, baptism cakes. For those who want to celebrate with a gorgeous custom cake (and you happen to live on Long Island) there is Sweet Fifi Cakes.

Gabrielle Campbell, owner and baker of Sweet Fifi Cakes, first learned the art and craft of baking from her Grandma Millie. “She would bake these elaborate cakes for all of our birthdays, communions and graduations. The cakes quickly took center stage at all the parties.”

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how to choose a signature cocktail for your wedding or event

how to select a signature cocktail for your wedding or party

Signature drinks are everywhere these days – weddings, mitzvahs, even corporate events have jumped on this trend. Having a signature drink is a great way to add something special to the event – but it also helps manage the lines at your bar since many signature cocktails can be pre-made or even pre-poured and passed to guests as they arrive.

There are so many different ways to go with this trend – here are some ideas for selecting a signature drink that will wow your guests.

Color: One of the easiest ways to select a signature drink with a color that matches the color palette of the event. For example, if the wedding colors are red and pink, a red or pink cocktail would work. In order to find a cocktail based on color, search for cocktails whose main ingredient is a colored liquor. For example, many blue cocktails are made with Hypnotiq or Blue Curacao.

Theme: If your event has a theme, incorporate that into the drink. For example, for a mitzvah with a baseball theme, a baseball themed drink would work. Or if the theme is more subtle, such as a rustic country theme, signature cocktails in mason jars would be a fun idea.

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renaissance nashville hotel part 2 – meeting & convention space


Check out Part 1 of my review of this hotel, which covers the sleeping rooms.

The most important thing you need to know about the Renaissance’s meeting space is that a few months ago, the hotel took over the adjacent Convention Center and now operates the meeting space. From my conversations with staff, this isn’t necessarily a permanent scenario. The hotel would like to renovate the (incredibly dated) space but (at least according to conversations I had) it’s not certain that they will keep the space so it’s not worth investing in renovating.

So while the hotel’s meeting space consists of several ballrooms and meeting rooms IN the hotel which match  the decor of the hotel, your meeting might also be placed in the Convention Center, which was described as a colleague as “a bit dungeon-like.”

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renaissance nashville hotel part 1- sleeping rooms review

Renaissance Nashville Hotel Review

A few weeks ago we hosted an event in Nashville – just a small evening lecture and reception for about 90 people – at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel. I’ll have a review of the meeting space but since I stayed in the hotel for two days I thought I’d do a quick review of the sleeping rooms.

But before I get started, it bears mentioning that my experience at the hotel was a bit shaded. Shaded pink, in fact. Because of Barbie doll collectors.

You see, our meeting happened to coincide with the National Barbie Convention. Lucky us.

I hear from people who travel for leisure a lot complain about “convention” hotels because of the disadvantages of being a leisure traveler among a huge room block full of people for a convention. I’ve never been bothered by this personally, until I met the people who attended the Barbie Convention.

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more flower arranging tips & tricks

More floral design tips & tricks

A few months ago I took a private class on floral design taught by Rachel of Helen Olivia Flowers. To read my synopsis of the class, with tips and tricks on how to arrange flowers, visit this post.

We were lucky enough to hold another session with Rachel, this one geared toward nonprofit event planners. Instead of a hands on workshop, it was a demonstration, with Rachel making several arrangements while dispensing valuable suggestions.

Here are some of Rachel’s suggestions:

Conditioning Your Flowers:

Have you ever wondered why grocery store flowers just don’t last as long? They are usually not wet packed and the water isn’t changed. This means they will usually die pretty quickly, as compared to flowers purchased from a florist or a wholesaler. It’s important to condition your flowers. Make sure you peel the leaves off below the water line. Give flowers a fresh cut before putting in a vase, preferably a nice deep cut so the water can drink vigorously.

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