In a time where things are uncertain and we’re all doing our best to figure things out together- we’ve been thankful to have words of encouragement to share with couples who are still madly in love and still very much want to get married.
Here are a couple of informative blog posts we’ve been reading lately. We hope that you enjoy reading them as much as we have!
Two words that that honestly make me cringe. Before taking a big, giant leap into the wild world of weddings- I worked in banking for most of my adult life. Funding, financing, backing and budgets were all part of my daily norm. When talking about wedding spending, we all collectively tense up. Money isn’t an easy topic to discuss. It is also significantly less fun than literally everything else wedding related. However, it’s something that current and future couples need to talk about.
We have recently partnered with a Credit Union to help couples with wedding day expenses. Advancial has been around for over 80 years. They’ve recently started working with families and couples for wedding specific financing. They provide financing for as little or as much of your wedding as you need. Some couples opt to only finance the venue, but others may choose to finance their venue, catering and the honeymoon! Their first year interest free financing is a great way to give a little bit more breathing room and flexibility when booking the vendors for your dream day. AND! The interest doesn’t accrue the first year either. What a win!
Couples and families all choose differently how they’d prefer to cover the cost of wedding day. Having a safe option for financing is a great way to alleviate any financial strain for wedding day.
You can learn more and see if you apply for financing here!
Katy and Brain were married November 16th, 2019 at Avalon Legacy Ranch. We asked them to share a few thoughts about their wedding with future brides and grooms planning their biggest and best day!
How did you find Avalon Legacy Ranch and how did you know we were the right venue for your wedding day?
Katy: I think I found y’all through The Knot app and then reached out to you after looking at your website. In our eyes, everything was perfect for what we envisioned our wedding to be. Inside and outside areas for our guests, beautiful property with an outside ceremony area, and I fell in love with the bridal suite. 😍 You and your family were also very knowledgeable and helpful from the very beginning.
Brian: “because the bride said so.” (we can’t agree more!)
How did you both choose who was part of your wedding party?
My bridesmaids are all like sisters to me. I knew my actual sister, Mallory, would be my maid of honor, and she rocked it…even if she did kick the bouquet instead of catching it. Emily is my cousin and was my matron of honor. She’s been cheering me and Brian on since day 1. Ashlee has been my best friend since middle school, and I knew there was no way I’d get married without her being by my side. She also painted the awesome portraits of our dogs! Dylan and I became close in high school when we were both in color guard. She lives in Portland and was there when Brian popped the big question!
Brian picked his groomsmen because they’re his four closest friends from college to post-college life. They’ve always been there for him, so he wanted them there on the biggest day of his life so far.
What special little touches were you planning for your wedding and reception?
The paintings are seriously one of my favorite things! I knew I wanted our boys incorporated into the wedding, and these were perfect. Ashlee’s Instagram profile for her art is @lookslikeawinner.
I also thought the wood flowers turned out amazing! I bought those on Etsy from a shop called HeyBouquet.
I loved our sendoff at the end of the night. The light up leis and our Happily Maui’d sign were a great connection to our Hawaiian honeymoon.
Toasts & toast!
What advice do you have for future couples?
For booking vendors, do your research and read as many reviews as you can. Start with what’s most important to you. For us, that was venue, photography, and catering. Hire a coordinator! I cannot recommend that enough. Having (Alee) as our month-of coordinator helped ease so much of my stress and helped immensely the day of the wedding.
The wedding day goes by in the blink of an eye! Enjoy getting ready with your wedding party. Be in the moment during your ceremony and try not to let nerves get in the way. Find some time where you can be alone with your new spouse. You will be pulled in all kinds of directions that day, so it’s nice to have some time where it’s just the two of you.
Getting glammed up with all my girls and my mom and mother in law was so fun! With the bridal suite being upstairs, I was able to peek out the window to see the guests arriving. My favorite moment at the ceremony was when my dad handed me over to Brian. We didn’t know Marty would give us choreography, so we were all a little nervous about it. Haha! Dancing with all of our friends and family at our reception was the best! Andrew from Everlasting Sounds DFW did an awesome job as our DJ!
A very special thanks to the wonderful team that made Katy and Brian’s wedding day absolutely everything they dreamed about!
Michelle and Ian were married at Avalon Legacy Ranch on November 2nd, 2019. Matches like the two of them don’t come along every day- after meeting on eHarmony, Michelle & Ian had their first date in Historic Downtown McKinney. The date began at Filterd and then proceeded through McKinney including a little walking, a little talking, a little frisbee throwing- 14 hours later (Yes! You read that correctly… fourteen!) they decided it was time to part ways, only to see each other immediately the following day for another 12 hour date! What can we say- when you know, you know!
Ian decided to make it official on a trip to Wisconsin. Ian’s mother owns a beautiful homestead on a riverfront and he decided that would be the perfect time to pop the question. There were plans for a hot air balloon ride but unfortunately the weather didn’t allow it so Ian had to think quickly! On the final day of the trip, he brought out a pair of binoculars and pointed out an eagles nest (both a convenient distraction and a majestic sight!) to distract Michelle. His cousins helped with the master plan and they even managed to film the entire thing- something that was very important to Michelle! Obviously, she said yes- and they chose Avalon Legacy Ranch to host their most important day.
Michelle and Ian had guests flying in from all sides of the country. With so many travelers, it’s important to make sure they all have a worthwhile experience. We asked Michelle what she wanted her guests to take back home with them when they left her wedding- “I wanted them to feel “Texas”, I wanted a place where it was intimate, quiet, romantic and something totally different. A place where they had never been before but felt familiar. I wanted the ceremony and reception to be at the same location but not the same place (not like a hotel hall).”
Michelle and her mother were the wedding-planner-duo-team! We love seeing families involved in the process and being willing to help make sense of all the “wedding crazy” through planning season. We asked what Cathy & Michelles favorite parts were- “Honestly all of it, my mom and I are so close that planning it was like planning this amazing party with your best friend. It was also another “excuse” to see each other and just be together. Don’t get me wrong it was stressful at times but if I didn’t have her help my wedding wouldn’t have turned out so amazing “
Favorite morning moment: “My hair and makeup with the girls, it’s almost like a morning “sleepover” just being with the girls.”
Favorite ceremony moment: “Seeing Ian when I walked down the aisle, seeing how emotional he was. I have only seen him cry once so that was a big moment for him especially in front of our family and friends, it showed how vulnerable he was in that moment and it makes me love him even more.”
Favorite reception moment: “Our first dance, Ian and I are really good at not getting distracted by other people when we dance, I don’t know what it is but when we dance it always feels like it’s just us and no one else is around.”
Choosing the perfect venue is such an enormous decision! What is your best advice in narrowing down the search to find your dream setting for your big day? “Choose a place where you feel comfortable, where you connect with the people that work there. It’s was almost a ‘a ha!’ moment, we we picked Avalon. We had been to a few venues before but nothing felt special, they all felt like it had been done before. I wanted a venue where I knew I could be creative, I could make it my own wedding style that no one had done before. I also wanted my guests to have that ‘a ha!’ moment. I wanted them to walk in and say “Wow, I have never seen anything like this for a wedding, this I won’t forget.”‘
From one newly wed to a future bride- what is the best advice for wedding day and planning? “Don’t sweat the small stuff. The day goes by in a flash. What I wanted most from my wedding is for my guests to remember it how it made them feel. Your wedding will not be perfect, because perfect is impossible and if you let go of it being perfection it will be the most magical day of your life. I also suggest to take a moment, and what I mean by that is while people are dancing grab your husband and step to the side and watch. Take a moment to embrace the day you created and take mental images.”
Alexis and Evan got married this fall at Avalon Legacy Ranch. Alexis is a bride that loves nature and all living things- we instantly knew that this was the venue for her! Alexis and Evan decided early on that the Venue and a good planner were priorities. We were thrilled to work with Betsy Clark to help them have their dream day!
My favorite part before the ceremony was when I had all my bridesmaids and the MOB/MOG all upstairs in the bridal suite. It’s hard to get everyone together in one place. On that day they were all there and the love in that room was so tangible.
My favorite special detail was when Evan and I exchanged our vows with each other in private via a love letter. We didn’t do a first look. He was seated facing away from me. We made it, we were there! No cold feet and we ready to make the rest of our journey as husband and wife.
My advice for future brides is to try to walk away from the party for a moment. Not to leave but to be able to look at it all. Take it all in. It’s over in a flash.
My favorite moment in the reception was letting loose on the dance floor.
Being able to spend the whole day at Avalon really took the stress away. I was able to relax which was a big deal. I was at peace. Avalon has so much charm. Everyone had a place they could go and feel comfortable. If you didn’t want to be by the DJ then you could go inside. If inside wasn’t your cup of tea, then you could go on a stroll outside. It was perfect.
A huge thanks to all the vendors that helped make Alexis and Evan’s day so perfect!
Coordination: Betsy Clark
Photography: One Love Texas
This Saturday morning we’re hosting an intimate Open House from 9:00a-12:00p. Come out and see why Avalon Legacy Ranch is the perfect venue for your dream wedding! We’ll be serving mimosas and yummy light bites from a few of our favorite vendors.
What is an Open House?
-It’s a great chance to tour the venue at your own pace, see multiple decor and set up options! It’s also a fabulous time to meet vendors who are familiar with the space- inside and out! Open Houses are more of a stroll though experience, rather than a guided tour.
How much does it cost to attend the Open House?
-Absolutely Nothing! It’s totally free! Come enjoy some bubbly and enjoy the gardens at no cost.
How long should I plan to be there?
-Attendants tend to stay around an hour! You’ll want to be sure to enjoy all the yummy bites and meet all the vendors! You may even end up dancing a bit!
How do I RSVP?
-You can either RSVP by commenting directly to this blog or you can check our facebook page for the Mimosas & More event!
At Avalon Legacy Ranch we strongly believe in using our resources to help those who cannot help themselves. Our strongest area of giving is to orphanages and schools for children who would otherwise be left uneducated. We forget in America that free public education really is a gift. One of the many groups we support is My Father’s House Ministries. Avalon Legacy Ranch has been a supporter of “My Father’s House” ministry for the past 3 years with over $100,000 in support raised.
My Father’s House ministers to the Tabacal Community in Guatemala. The ministry was started when Carlos and Heidi Fernandez realized many of the youth only attended school through 6thgrade and then they went out to the city or far away from their families to work, enduring 10 plus hour days and getting paid close to nothing. They also discovered girls were getting pregnant and marrying at a young age with no real means of financial support. Carlos and Heidi felt like God put it on their heart to open a middle school and high school program in the village.
In Uganda we have sponsored the education of over 40 orphans of the AIDS epidemic. We have also provided finances to dig wells for drinking water as well as build and roof their recent high school. Last year we supported the education of 16 students in India.
When you get married at Avalon Legacy Ranch you are not only living out your dream, but you are also helping children who have no resources afford to have a dream. We are very thankful to each of you who are catalysts for these gifts and for the opportunity to be a part of the global community!
Ryan O’Dowd Photography is one of our favorite husband and wife photography duos that shoots in DFW. Ryan and his wife, Laura, do a fabulous job of bringing out the natural beauty and joy that radiate on wedding day! Their passion for photography and love of capturing the sweet, tender moments on wedding day makes their photos turn out all the more wonderful.
Ryan O’Dowd Photography, Each & Every Detail & Petals Couture
What decisions led you to begin your business?
It started with my wife’s love for photos. Laura had a contagious passion for photography that led us to buy some cameras to start taking family photos for friends. As they loved them, we slowly expanded into an official business and then weddings…and after my first wedding I was hooked!
Ryan O’Dowd Photography, Twigs & Twine, Erin Blaire
What is your favorite part of being a photographer?
One of my favorite parts about my job is getting to know and draw out the personality of my couples. Everyone is so different…and it is so incredible to see.And as a photographer, I get to not just get to know amazing couples and the love they share, I get to capture it. And to know that the photos I capture will help these couples relive and treasure their wedding days for decades is truly a joy & honor.
Ryan O’Dowd Photography, Three Strands Wedding Design, Edwards Floral
What makes you unique in your profession?
I have a huge passion for people and weddings…And so does my wife and trusty photographer sidekick. I think being a husband and wife team that truly values each person is what makes us different. After every wedding there are guests that thank us for doing a good job and for our hard work. I used to think that was weird – because they don’t know how any of the photos look. But then I realized that they were noticing our passion.
We really work our tails off at each wedding because we care. We could work half as hard and still get good shots…but we want great shots. It isn’t just another wedding – it is a couple we care about and want to capture moments for them that they will treasure. The pictures that will bring them back to the feelings and emotions of the wedding. Pictures that will remind them, when times are tough, of the beauty of marriage.
Ryan O’Dowd Photography, Twigs & Twine, Uptown Sound
What do you like about Avalon Legacy Ranch?
Weddings that foster community and breathe beauty are truly magnificent to be a part of. At Avalon Legacy Ranch, the tranquil & beautiful setting is the perfect place for friends and families to gather and enjoy their time together. It fosters a sense of community because when you are there, time just seems to stand still. Stress seems to fade. And life just seems sweeter. There are also so many beautiful spots for pictures.
On top of that, the beauty of Avalon is incredible! The trees, the lake, the well taken care of grounds. It is a photographers dream. The backdrop of my Avalon couples make their photos look magazine worthy.
Ryan O’Dowd Photography
What advice would you give brides and grooms?
Perspective. After 13 years of marriage and 100s of weddings, I can tell you that 1. Nothing ever goes as planned at a wedding and 2. It is okay…because in marriage, there is so much more that matters that the little details on your wedding day.
One of the most told stories of our wedding day was when our limo got in a wreck and we showed up over an hour late to our own reception. It is one of those stories that is hilarious to tell, but not as fun to have lived. But hey, it was all part of our story. And the silver lining is a got a few more smooches with my beautiful bride before the party.
Your wedding day is all just one big story. And all the planning in the world still won’t make you the sole author of it. And that is part of the joy. Enjoy your story…no mater how it unfolds!
Ryan O’Dowd Photography, Each & Every Detail & Petals Couture
A huge thanks to Ryan for sharing his insight on wedding photography and also for sharing such gorgeous photos with us! If you’re interested in booking Ryan O’Dowd Photography, you can visit his website (http://www.ryanodowd.com) or give him a ring at 972-987.0341!
It is THAT time of year again. The time when venues begin getting emails that say, “Our date is October 20th, 2019- do you have that open?” We don’t, and we have had it booked for a year and a half. We have heard horror stories of brides sending out Save The Dates and then not being able to find a venue.
October is the busiest time of year for venues. The other busiest times are the rest of the year! Sometimes August can be slow – but we have all our August dates booked.
If you are just wanting a particular date – you will always need to book early. Yes – we have 10-10-20 already booked 19 months early.
We understand that there are special dates – but the venue makes the wedding, not the date! Please be flexible with your dates. If the date is reflective of important family events, first dates, proposals – remember that it is always nice to have something new to celebrate!
Important Factors for Looking for a Venue:
Will it fit the amount of people you are inviting – or are you willing to invite less?
Is there a great back-up plan if it is an outside venue?
If you are having several bridesmaids – are there enough electrical outlets and room for you to all get ready?
How difficult and expensive will it be to decorate the venue?
How flexible are the staff with your needs and requirements?
Who will be there the day of your wedding for emergencies?
Are there hotels near by?
Oh…there are so many more – please know we LOVE helping to guide you towards the right venue if ours is not a good fit. We are professionals and love to share our knowledge.
One of the hardest things as a venue owner is to see a couple get stuck on a date. It always makes us sad because we know they are shutting the door to so many wonderful venues. And of course – we hate to see devastated faces when couples and their families love everything about our venue – but don’t book because they just have to have that ONE date. We even had one couple who had already sent out their “Save the Dates” before they found a venue and booked!
Your date does not MAKE your wedding. Your friends, and family and the setting you choose make your wedding! Let me try to make an analogy. Suppose the day you want for vacation, only Six Flags was open. But if you would choose the next day – You could go to Disneyworld. Wouldn’t you want to choose Disney World because of how much more it offers? Not that Six Flags isn’t a lot of fun…. but you are giving up a wonderful opportunity over a day.
The best choice is usually picking a date range first. It may even be over a few months. Go through your calendar – put in all the other events, holidays, family obligations, work schedules, other friends’ weddings and see where there is an opening. And then when you visit or email venues you do not have to mark the best venues and your favorites off the list.
Also consider birthdays – how would you feel if your birthday was close to your anniversary and so you never really felt fully celebrated on your birthday? Are you a presents person? Then this might cause future resentment. Seems silly – but it happens. Trust me. You want your anniversary to be a time when you can truly celebrate JUST THE TWO OF YOU!
Of course, some of you are getting married at churches with limited openings and you HAVE to make the church choice your first priority. That’s understandable. My advice then is to get the church booked AS SOON AS POSSIBLE – so you can have more choices with your venue.
Choosing the date first limits you and causes stress you shouldn’t have to experience. It also keeps you from giving up what you love best in the venue that no longer has your date. We recommend you don’t do that to yourself. But if you do just remember there is going to be a lot of disappointment in your search. And if the date is worth that – then you be you!?