bed and breakfast in richmond | Mankin Mansion Blog - Part 2

Aisle A-List: We’d Love your Support

June 13th, 2012

This summer, Richmond Bride Magazine is hosting the first annual Aisle A-List survey, to select the best of the best wedding professionals  here in Richmond.  We’ve been most appreciative of everyone’s support of the Mansion over the years and thank you for considering us as you cast your vote.  All participants will be entered into a drawing for a $100 gift certificate to Strawberry Street Cafe and voting ends on July 31, 2012.

Please click HERE for more information and to vote.

Thank you in advance for your support!

See you soon,
Paula & Martin Ramirez

Paula and Martin Ramirez are the proprietors of Historic Mankin Mansion, a wedding resort and bed and breakfast just minutes from Downtown Richmond. They enjoy new restaurant finds, Virginia wines and discovering fun events and activities throughout the area for their guests.

Photo credit: Marta Locklear Photography

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Real Richmond Wedding: Lisa and James!

June 7th, 2012

We love connecting with photographers after a wedding at the Mansion and revisiting the Big Day through their lens.  Lisa and James were married at the Mansion just a few weeks ago and we were delighted to reconnect with David Abel Photography. Enjoy some favorite shots from the day-

To check out more from Lisa and James’ wedding, visit David’s blog. Congrats to the happy couple and thank you to David for taking the time to share these fabulous images with us!

See you soon,
Paula & Martin Ramirez

Paula and Martin Ramirez are the proprietors of Historic Mankin Mansion, a wedding resort and bed and breakfast just minutes from Downtown Richmond. They enjoy new restaurant finds, Virginia wines and discovering fun events and activities throughout the area for their guests.

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Q&A with Cakes by Graham

June 4th, 2012
Sweet treats are always a big hit with wedding guests and we here at the Mansion always love to oooh and ahhh over the wedding cakes. We have had the pleasure of tasting a few (okay, maybe a little more than a few!) cakes from Cakes by Graham and we’re here to tell you that they are both gorgeous and delicious. We sat down with Graham to find out how he got his start and he was also happy to share some tips for our 2012 brides.
Take it away, Graham-
Mind giving us a little background as to how you got your start in the wedding industry?

I graduated High School at 16 and joined the Army, where I served 16 years with the British Military.  My interest in cakes started as a hobby.  I served as a Master Chef Instructor in the British Army.   In Ft. Lee, I served with the American Army as the Pastry Team Captain and Technical Advisor.  I trained food service personnel and the U.S. Army Culinary Arts Team (USACAT).

In 1991, I got out of the British Army and worked at 2 local bakeries back to back.  I worked at each of the bakeries for about a year.  It was during this time that I had the desire to start my own business.  In 1994, after I wrote my business plan, I sought advice and opened Cakes by Graham.  Wanting to stand out from what was already existing, I came up with the slogan “More than just the icing on the cake” and “Richmond’s only custom cakery”.  Weddings became a large part of Cakes by Graham.

What is your favorite part about working in the wedding industry?

My favorite part of working in the wedding industry is meeting with the bride, finding out what her vision is, and taking her vision and transforming it into a visual/physical object for everyone to savor.  It is about seeing the end result and hearing the feedback from the bride that the cake exceeded her expectations, ultimately, adding even more joy to such a memorable day.

What question do you most often get from brides about wedding cakes?

One of the most common questions I get from brides about wedding cakes, especially in the beginning of the planning process, is about budget.  Initially, she does not know how to set a budget and pre-printed articles use statistics and averages to determine cost.  Every bride is an individual and not “the average”.  I work with the bride to meet her needs.  It is important for the bride to know that “a cake doesn’t have to be expensive to look expensive”

Are there any favorite wedding trends that you’ve liked as of late?

One of my favorite wedding trends is the bride’s desire to make the cake what she wants it to be.

Any tips you’d like to share with our 2012 brides?

The one tip I have for 2012 brides:  Use websites such as Pinterest, Facebook, Etsy, and Instagram as a guide.  Use them as inspiration only.  Don’t think that all pictures apply to all circumstances- keep in mind that the pictures will probably need to be changed to meet the needs of her individual wedding.  For example, a picture of a 5-tier cake would need to be scaled down to 3 tiers to accommodate a bride’s guest count of 100.

To learn more about Cakes by Graham and set up a tasting, visit their website! Thank you so much Graham for chatting with us!

Paula & Martin Ramirez

Paula and Martin Ramirez are the proprietors of Historic Mankin Mansion, a wedding resort and bed and breakfast just minutes from Downtown Richmond. They enjoy new restaurant finds, Virginia wines and discovering fun events and activities throughout the area for their guests.

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Q&A with The Cordial Cricket!

May 30th, 2012

It’s pretty safe to say that we here at the Mansion love wedding etiquette as much as stationery so we were delighted to get to know Elizabeth Howard of The Cordial Cricket, who is an expert on both! Today, Elizabeth was kind enough to chat with us a bit about how she got her start in the wedding industry, as well as tackles a stationery question we also get all of the time! :)

Take it away, Elizabeth-

Mind giving us a little background as to how you got your start in the wedding industry?

I started my own stationery business out of my home 7 years ago based on my love of invitations, stationery, weddings and etiquette. I have always loved a good old handwritten note and much prefer the tradition of a nicely printed invitation to an evite. I have since trained formally in the world of etiquette and helped hundreds of brides and clients find the perfect invitations and stationery to express their personal style. My business now has three boutique studio locations where I enjoy meeting with brides and clients by appointment to discuss their invitation, stationery and event planning needs.

What is your favorite part about working in the wedding industry?

I truly enjoy spending time to really get to know my clients and developing close personal relationships with them and their families during some of the most special times in their lives. Helping customers to achieve their goals one-on-one is my passion. I am also very “Type-A” and every aspect of the wedding industry, invitations and stationery included, involve lots and lots of details. I thrive on the details of working in the wedding industry.

What question do you most often get from brides about wedding stationery?

This is a tough one because there are so many questions that we get asked repeatedly. Brides certainly want to know about timeline for mailing, which is 8-12 months prior to the wedding for Save the Dates and 6-8 weeks prior to the wedding for invitations. Sometimes brides like to try to come up with reasons they feel it necessary to mail their wedding invitations more than the suggested etiquette guideline of 6-8 weeks before the event. There really is not an acceptable reason to do so, no matter how important the reason may seem. It is just not proper to mail the invitations more than 8 weeks prior to the wedding. Save the dates can really help to balance this desire and get the most crucial information regarding date, travel, accommodations info, etc. in the hands of their guests as far as 8-12 months prior to their special day.

Any tips you’d like to share with our 2012 brides?

Sure, one tip is to capture your guest’s entree selections properly and efficiently if having a plated dinner at your reception. Many find it important just to ask guests to check on the response card which entree they would like, rather than asking who is actually going to have which entree as their meal. It works very well and concisely to ask guests to “Please indicate entree using your initials” on the response cards, which gets you both answers in one, who is having chicken and who is having beef and how many chicken and beef entrees you need to designate for their family/party. This will help immensely and save so much time at your reception when the servers actually know which guests at a table are supposed to get certain entrees.

To learn more about The Cordial Cricket and their services, visit their web site today! Thanks Elizabeth for stopping by!

See you soon,
Paula & Martin Ramirez

Paula and Martin Ramirez are the proprietors of Historic Mankin Mansion, a wedding resort and bed and breakfast just minutes from Downtown Richmond. They enjoy new restaurant finds, Virginia wines and discovering fun events and activities throughout the area for their guests.

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Q&A with Martin Ramirez!

May 23rd, 2012

Nothing gets the party going at a wedding quite like music and here at Historic Mankin Mansion, we’re thrilled to have Martin Ramirez as not only our Proprietor, but our in house Wedding DJ.  Today, Martin sat down with us to chat a bit about how he got his start, as well as tips for making your Big Day both fun and memorable.  So without further ado, here’s Martin-

How did you initially get your start in the wedding industry?  

I have been doing music entertainment for weddings for more than 25 years now.  I started in Southern California and loved DJing from the very start. I gained more knowledge and expertise through the years, and once I became more well known, expanded my services to various areas across the country.

How have weddings changed since you began your wedding career?

When I first began as a DJ, most receptions were held in church halls and it was typically a band that played the music. Now weddings and receptions are more elaborately held in hotels, country clubs, and Historic Mansions. There is significantly more attention to detail, such as color schemes, decor, flowers, than before. In addition, now far more brides and grooms opt for DJ entertainment for their wedding, allowing for a wider variety of artists, genres, as well as control over the entire flow of the party.

What do brides and grooms tend to ask you about the most about wedding day music?

Almost all brides and grooms ask that I play all of their favorite music. This can be challenging when given hours and hours of songs to play. I suggest they make a list of all their favorite songs and then go back and highlight the top 15 songs that are MUST HAVE’s. I ensure those top songs will be sprinkled throughout the night mixed with the others they have chosen.  It takes some of the guess work out while customizing the music to their exact wants.

How can brides and grooms get more creative with their Grand Entrance?

The Grand Introduction is a great time to make it personal or fun depending on the bride & groom, wedding party, and guests.  It is nice to announce to guests, as the wedding party is introduced, not just by their names, but their relationship to the bride and groom. Add something personal as to how they met, a fun fact about them, or something they did together that makes the relationship unique. Brides & grooms can also make up nicknames based on their friends’ personalities as they are being introduced. A sit down meeting with the DJ exploring all options is not only a must, but a great way to brain storm.

Any wedding planning advice you’d like to share with our 2012 brides?

Add personal musical touches to the day. In addition to the dance music, there are many other opportunities to make the day and evening fun through music. There are the traditional first dance and parent dances, but what about cocktail hour and dinner time?  Go beyond the typical background music played during most weddings. There are lots of great styles or combination of genres to choose from. Personalize the list. Feel free to discuss your particular musical likes with the DJ to see how they can be incorporated into the reception. The more the DJ knows about the bride and groom, the more likely the music will be a clear reflection of them on their Big Day.

Thanks Martin!

Paula and Martin Ramirez are the proprietors of Historic Mankin Mansion, a wedding resort and bed and breakfast just minutes from Downtown Richmond. They enjoy new restaurant finds, Virginia wines and discovering fun events and activities throughout the area for their guests.

Our sincerest thanks to Don Mears Photography, Emily Dean Photography and James Linkowitz Photography for the images.

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First Annual Food Cart Derby

May 17th, 2012

Food carts and trucks are all the rage for weddings and parties, so we were pretty thrilled when we stumbled upon this upcoming event. You can check out all Richmond has to offer in the way of Food carts and trucks this Sunday, May 20, at the first annual Food Cart Derby.

The Food Cart Derby will be held at the 17th Street Farmers Market in Downtown Richmond and will include all the local food and beer favorites. With the event starting up at 11am and ending at 6pm, you can come enjoy brunch, lunch and dinner! Over 20 local food carts and breweries will be in attendance. A wide variety of food including BBQ, tacos, hot dogs, pizza, hamburgers and vegetarian cuisine will be sure to satisfy everyone’s taste buds. Bands and DJs will be entertaining foodies throughout the day with the lineup including Hear No Evil, Beast Wellington and DJ Reinhold.

We are sure that this will join the ranks of favorite food festivals in Richmond and hope you enjoy the food you love as well as try something new this weekend at the Food Cart Derby. To see the full list of food carts and breweries that will be there, click here.

See You Soon,
~Paula & Martin Ramirez

Paula and Martin Ramirez are the proprietors of Historic Mankin Mansion, a wedding resort and bed and breakfast just minutes from Downtown Richmond. They enjoy new restaurant finds, Virginia wines and discovering fun events and activities throughout the area for their guests.

 

Photo Credit: http://birdinthebeehive.blogspot.com/2012/04/food-cart-derby.html

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Published: Erica and Dave!

May 14th, 2012

We may be a bit biased, but we think our weddings at the Mansion are rather gorgeous. :) So you can imagine our delight when our colleagues in the wedding industry fall in love with our weddings as much as we do!  Erica and Dave were first featured in our Best of 2011 series and now enjoyed a recent feature on Head over Heels:

Special thanks to Head over Heels for the opportunity!

See You Soon,
~Paula & Martin Ramirez

Paula and Martin Ramirez are the proprietors of Historic Mankin Mansion, a wedding resort and bed and breakfast just minutes from Downtown Richmond. They enjoy new restaurant finds, Virginia wines and discovering fun events and activities throughout the area for their guests.

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28th Annual Lebanese Food Festival

May 10th, 2012

The food festivals of Richmond are making their grand return and the Lebanese Food Festival at St. Anthony Maronite Church in Glen Allen is the perfect start to the season.

The Lebanese Food Festival will be held the weekend of May 18, Friday through Sunday, from 10am until 8pm. The menu for the three day festival includes all of your Lebanese favorites with over 20 dishes in which to choose, along with complete dinners and boxed lunches. The favorites include stuffed grape leaves, falafel and hummus. The boxed lunches are available every day prior to 3pm except for Sunday and include three small entrees as well as a delicious dessert. Not up to facing the crowds? Well you’re in luck as full dinners can be ordered by fax throughout the event.

Enjoy traditional music and dancing while you treat yourself to some delicious Lebanese favorites. Whether you are already a fan or you feel like trying something new, this is the perfect festival for you to indulge!

See You Soon,
~Paula & Martin Ramirez

Paula and Martin Ramirez are the proprietors of Historic Mankin Mansion, a wedding resort and bed and breakfast just minutes from Downtown Richmond. They enjoy new restaurant finds, Virginia wines and discovering fun events and activities throughout the area for their guests.

 

Photo Credit: http://www2.richmond.com/

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Q&A with Champagne Taste Catering!

May 3rd, 2012

Today we’re back to chat with another one of our favorite wedding pros. Whitney Fero, owner of Champagne Taste Catering, is a regular at the Mansion as you can often find her putting the finishing touches on a memorable menu with one of our couples.

Today, we sat down with Whitney to talk a bit about how she got her start in the industry as well as some wonderful tips for our brides and grooms to be!

How did you get your start in the wedding industry?

I became a caterer because I loved to throw parties and I wanted to make a change in my career.  This was a decade ago.  I have an MBA and wasn’t thrilled with working in corporate America.  It occurred to me one day that I have “Champagne Taste on a beer budget” and that I throw fantastic parties and the idea began.  It took a few years for my business to take off, but we doubled revenue every year for a lot of years – and now here we are.

My first wedding was my Brother’s back in 2002.  Boy – do I wish I could do that all over again!  I knew NOTHING back then.  Every time I mention it, he is so gracious.  Maybe I will throw him a 10th Anniversary party this year to show him what we can really do!  Someone (not one of my staff!) was super helpful at that wedding and decided to bleach the reception chairs right before the reception, but they didn’t rinse off all of the bleach…. sooooo…. three guests had ruined clothes…  My skin still crawls when I think of it….  Reminds me of the bride who wanted a signature drink with blue dye.  This was before I knew my job well enough to realize wedding professionals need to help brides get out of their own way sometimes.  Well, we had 150 people with blue teeth at that wedding.  That will NEVER happen again!

The best thing I ever did for my company was to limit the number of brides we book.  I do almost all of the cooking myself, take every phone call, every email and every meeting.  Once we began limiting the number of brides per week, we were really able to give the kind of service that should be expected from clients leading up to and on their wedding day.  I become very close with most of our brides – this is a momentous occasion in their lives!  By limiting the number of brides, I can spend more time thinking about them and helping them with the process.  It makes this job more fun and more authentic.

What’s the best thing about working in the wedding industry?

Relationships.  Of my closest thirty friends, 25 of them are in the wedding industry or work with me in my company.  Also, I have become very close with several dozen of our brides.  Three of those closest thirty friends were once our brides!

This is a very social industry, which makes all of the long hours and hard work worth the effort.  Most of my staff have been with me for many years, so coming to work is so much fun.  We have become close with the staff at most of venues, so every weekend we get to work hard with people we enjoy.  Florists, DJs, photographers, wedding planners, bakers – some of my favorite people are vendors for our events.  Those relationships are a bonus for brides.  When all of the vendors enjoy working together there is something special that happens at a wedding.  It’s hard to describe, but we all buy-in to the event as a group and want to go above and beyond to make sure everything exceeds expectations as a group.  We work behind the scenes in the weeks before the wedding to double and triple check details.  It’s like the biggest extended family you’ve ever encountered and we are all working toward making sure we are individually and as a group giving our all for our brides.

Any tips you’d like to share with our 2012 brides?

A few-

1.  ONLY HIRE VENDORS THAT YOU ABSOLUTELY TRUST.  If you cannot say that you absolutely trust them, schedule meetings until you do and then hire them.  If you cannot say you trust them then keep on looking!!!  I want all of our brides to look at me and think, “I know she will make sure my day is perfect.  I can let go of it all and let her work and speak for me.”  It is the greatest compliment EVER when a bride says, “I trust you.  Do what you think is best.”  I think you should only hire a caterer (or other wedding vendors) if you feel that way.

2.  LISTEN TO THE PROFESSIONALS.  Once you hire your professionals, let them do their jobs.  If you have faith enough in them to hire them, then check it off your list and let those details go.  It will help with the stress in the months leading up to the Big Day.  Also – they have worked hundreds of weddings and likely know more about the process than brides do.  Your input as a bride is SUPER important, but once you’ve made decisions and signed contracts with people you trust, stop fretting and move on to the next thing on the list.

3.  SET REASONABLE EXPECTATIONS.  It is your wedding day.  The MOST important element is getting married.  Everything else is just the window dressing.  I rarely see a wedding day when one thing does not go wrong.  Anything can be fixed and if you have hired people you trust it will be fixed – and probably without you knowing there was a problem in the first place!!  On your wedding day, focus on your husband and the people that love you.  Let the people you’ve hired – who you trust – take care of everything else.

4.  ONCE A WEEK in the months before the wedding, designate one day when you absolutely DO NOT talk about the wedding.  I’m not kidding.  Sometimes I see couples whose whole lives become the wedding.  At least 7 out of 10 of my brides say to me at some point, “I just can’t wait for this whole thing to be over.”  I hate when I hear that.  I understand it – but I hate it.

5.  DAY 17 THROUGH DAY 3 before the wedding, spend two hours a day with your fiancé and DO NOT talk about the wedding.  Rather, take time to just breathe and be with the person you’ve chosen to love forever.  An old friend gave me that advice about twenty years ago and it still ranks high on my “Best-Advice-Ever-Given-List.”

6.  ADD YOUR OWN PERSONAL STYLE to the wedding.  It is YOUR wedding.  If you love spaghetti-Os and meatballs, serve them in a shot glass with a mini-spoon as an appetizer!  If you secretly dream of being a lounge singer, sing to your husband on a piano during the reception!  This is YOUR day.  It is a reflection of your love and relationship with your partner.  DO NOT worry about pleasing everyone.  Present your best self and your husband’s best self and celebrate the love to which you are committing.

7.  YOU ONLY GET MARRIED ONCE  have fun during the process!

Wonderful tips- we couldn’t agree more. Thanks Whitney for stopping by!

See You Soon,
~Paula & Martin Ramirez

Paula and Martin Ramirez are the proprietors of Historic Mankin Mansion, a wedding resort and bed and breakfast just minutes from Downtown Richmond. They enjoy new restaurant finds, Virginia wines and discovering fun events and activities throughout the area for their guests.

 

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Dominion RiverRock Returns to Belle Isle

April 30th, 2012

Looking for a little adventure this May? Well, Dominon RiverRock is the perfect outdoor festival for you to enjoy the spring weather and indulge your inner daredevil.

Dominion RiverRock will kick off the festivities Friday, May 18, and will continue to rock Belle Isle until Sunday, May 20. The fun starts out with the Miller Lite Filthy 5k Mud Run, with tough terrain including a rock hop, a little dip in the James River and a mud pit finish. Other events include an Adventure Race, bike free styling, paddle boarding, mountain bike racing, boulder climbing and slack lining. A wide variety of bands will play throughout the weekend with the headliners including Galactic, The Travelin’ McCoury’s and JJ Grey and MOFRO.

The Interactive Village gives the opportunity for everyone to join in on the fun. You can try out kayaking, paddle boarding, white water rafting, slack lining and rock climbing. This is fun for the whole family with interactive activities.

Admission to the event along with the concerts is free. Please note that there is a fee to participate in the Interactive Village.   Step outside your comfort zone and enjoy the James at Dominion RiverRock.

For More Information: http://www.dominionriverrock.com/

See You Soon,
~Paula & Martin Ramirez

Paula and Martin Ramirez are the proprietors of Historic Mankin Mansion, a wedding resort and bed and breakfast just minutes from Downtown Richmond. They enjoy new restaurant finds, Virginia wines and discovering fun events and activities throughout the area for their guests.

Photo Credit: http://www.dominionriverrock.com/

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