Bed and Breakfast | Mankin Mansion Blog - Part 2

36th Annual Greek Festival

May 24th, 2012

The always popular Greek Festival is making its return on Thursday, May 31 and will be with us in Richmond through Sunday, June 3.

The Saints Constantine and Helen’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral will once again host the event on its grounds, and is  expected to draw a large crowd with its delicious food, shopping, festive music and dancing. With the menu including all of the Greek favorites, you won’t be disappointed. If you can’t stop by the festival for long, you can enjoy their drive-thru with all the best sellers available. If you do have a chance to stay and have a little fun ,we suggest trying the delicious Greek wine or beer.

Every year, the festival gives back to the local community and this year’s charities include Area Congregations Together in Service, ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation, Full Circle and Northfield Ministries.

To see the menu check out their website here. Be sure you’re not missing out on the fun, and make your way to the Greek Festival!

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: https://www.facebook.com/RVAGreekFestival

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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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Thanks Richmond Weddings!

May 11th, 2012

After years in the wedding business, we’ve picked up quite a few tips and tricks along the way and we just love sharing our insight with our brides and grooms. Recently, we had the opportunity for not one, but two, fabulous features on RichmondWeddings.com and we’re excited to share them with you today!

Up first- one of our favorite topics! We know that the time immediately following an engagement can be a bit overwhelming. After all, it’s not every day that you plan such a momentous occasion! So we shared a bit of advice about how to get started with your wedding plans:

You may have caught our more creative submission, our poem Who Art Thou Oh Bride-

Special thanks to our friends Amye and Scott at Richmond Weddings 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 White House Catering

May 7th, 2012

If there is one thing we tell our brides time and time again, it’s this- hire a great Caterer. Nothing makes a good party like a fabulous menu and a great Catering team to execute it.

If you’ve been at the Mansion on a weekend, you’ll more than likely bump into our friends at White House Catering.  Today, their owner David Napier took a moment out of his busy wedding season to share a bit about what they love most about being in the wedding industry, and some key tips

How did you get your start in the wedding industry?

I started as a lead bartender 6 years ago. I landed in the office when I was diagnosed with severe Rheumatoid Arthritis. I had previously worked professionally in the music industry coordinating & booking bands. Brides are much easier than rock stars!


What question do you find brides asking you the most about wedding catering?
These days, cost is the main concern.

What’s the best thing about working in the wedding industry?
The honor of assisting with life long memories. I thoroughly enjoy the excitement of weddings!

Any tips you’d like to share with our 2012 brides?
Do not make this stressful. You are throwing a party. If it is not fun then it is not worth doing.

We couldn’t agree more- wedding planning may be stressful from time to time, but we have no doubt that you can turn it into a fun and memorable experience when you hire great professionals like White House Catering.

Thanks 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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Richmond Wedding: Marisse and Jeff!

May 4th, 2012

We can’t believe that April has come and gone already. The plus side? The wonderful wedding photographers who have been contacting us to share some of the highlights from the starts of wedding season 2012. Marisse and Jeff’s April wedding was just lovely from start to finish and we were just thrilled when Daniel Min Photography offered to share some favorites. Enjoy!

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 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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Q&A with Flowers by Mona Ray!

April 25th, 2012

Let’s face it- flowers can make or break the decor on one’s wedding day, which is why we just LOVE having professionals such as Flowers by Mona Ray on hand to make sure everything goes off without a hitch.

We’ve worked with Mona and her team for many years and were just thrilled that she could take time out of her busy wedding season schedule to chat with us a bit-

How did you get your start in the wedding industry?

I have worked with flowers since I was a child. I have worked in and out of the floral industry for many years. I have a degree in Flower Shop and Greenhouse management and taught Floral Design for many years in public schools along with my Horticulture/Agriculture Classes. When I decided to Home school my son 14 years ago I decided to start a home based wedding flower business and we have grown from there.  We now serve over 200 bridal couples a year and the whole family is involved in the day to day operation.


What question do you find brides asking you the most about wedding flowers?

Cost. Cost is the biggest thing that worries each bride. We work very hard to insure that all brides get the most for their floral budget. Many have misconceptions about what flowers are available when.. So many love the spring flowers and many of them are available year round but the most popular ones are not..


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

It’s always a happy time. We love seeing the look on our brides faces or hearing from them after the wedding about how much they loved their flowers. Or that we took their vision for flowers and did exactly what they wanted.. It is very humbling to be chosen to participate in the happy occasion of a couple embarking on their new life together..

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

Look at lots of pictures of flowers to get ideas.. Many brides make a file of them.. but it’s better to make a word document and write what you like and dislike about each design.. That way you will remember what you were thinking.. when you share with others..  Email or bring in your ideas so that we will be able to see their vision through their eyes..  Just because it’s in a magazine or online doesn’t mean its available in Richmond, Virginia year round.. Many flowers are seasonal .. we will try to get your flowers in but do have back up choices.. And most importantly.. Have fun with your flowers..

We couldn’t agree more- we just love when our brides have FUN with their wedding flowers. :)

If you’d like to get in touch with Mona, feel free to visit her web site today!

Thanks Mona 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 Hayes & Fisk

April 23rd, 2012

One of our favorite parts about the Richmond wedding industry is having the opportunity time and time again to work with some of the very best this area has to offer. Hayes & Fisk The Art of Photography, an institution in the Richmond are for twenty-five years, is no exception. We’ve had the pleasure of working with Jamie and Mary many times and have always been impressed by their professionalism as well as their amazing talent.

Today we sat down with Jamie and Mary to talk a bit about their background and tips for brides planning their Big Day this year, as well as the real reason Jamie likes to shoot weddings. :)

 

How did you get your start in the wedding industry?

Jamie:  I have been a photographer at heart my entire life.  When I was a kid growing up in Staunton, Virginia, I would save my mom’s S&H Green Stamps in hopes to one day buy a camera of my own.  Well, a bunch of books of stamps later I did!  I bought my first camera and it was history from there.  I photographed my first wedding at 15 years old and had to get my cousin to give me a ride to the wedding and then pick me up when it was over.  I did not want my clients to know that I was not even old enough to drive!  I love all types of photography and portraiture but weddings are where I began and I still get excited every single time I walk into the wedding day and get ready to create memories.

Mary:  Well, I have always loved photography and taking pictures.  I remember running to the local camera shop to get my 110 film printed and developed when I was younger.  But time and life took me on a different direction for a bit.  In 1993 I married my amazing husband and we hired the BEST photographer in Richmond to photograph my bridal portraits.  So, Jamie Hayes photographed my bridal portraits and I really did love them, for the first time I really loved a picture of myself.  In 1995 we were blessed with an amazing daughter and I knew immediately I needed to find Jamie Hayes to photograph and document this gorgeous angel’s life.  After going to his new studio and working with him for about 6 months we decided that we should work together.  And we did.  I started out just “running” the studio but I gradually and surprisingly found myself behind the camera and the rest as they say is history.

What question do you find brides asking you the most about wedding photography?

Mary:  I meet with and chat with most of the brides for their initial contact and the number one question is always cost?  How much are your wedding collections is what I hear first.  I understand that this is the only question that our brides and grooms and family members truly know to ask.  It is our job as professionals to guide them and educate them not only about our pricing but our expertise, abilities, history and products.  I work really hard to chat with these brides and ask questions about their engagement, wedding day and what they are looking for from a wedding photographer.  It is my job to make sure that I can fulfill their expectations but more importantly it is my mission to create a relationship with these couples.   Photographing someone’s wedding day is an amazing opportunity to give a visual history to a couple and future generations so I always consider it an honor when chosen.

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

Jamie:  Cake.  Hahaha.  Wedding cake every week-end, what a great way to work.  But seriously one of the best things for us is that we are now working with the families of so many of our couples.  I mean how awesome is that.  We photograph their wedding and then their babies and families.  Wedding photography allows us to create relationships with these people forever and we give them portraits and wedding day candids that they will cherish and share with many generations to come.

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

Mary:  My number one tip for all brides any year is love and trust your vendors.  Let’s face it there are a lot of wedding vendors in our area.  When choosing your vendors look at their websites, Facebook page, etc and ask around to friends and family members for a great recommendation.  If you love their style and creations that is step one.  Next step is to make sure that they are within your wedding budget.  And the most important step is to meet them in person and make sure that you not only like them but love them.  Weddings need to be joyous and fabulous, the last thing you want to do is be stressing over any of your wedding vendors or even worse not particularly like them.  So follow your heart and celebrate your day.

Thanks Mary and Jamie for stopping by! If you’d like to learn more about Hayes & Fisk The Art of Photography, visit their web site today!

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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Kentucky Derby Time!

April 19th, 2012

The Kentucky Derby is a southerner’s dream event- after all, who doesn’t love fabulous hats?  If you can’t quite make it all the way to Kentucky, you’re in luck because you can celebrate right here in Richmond.

Mark your calendar because the Conch Republic is throwing a Kentucky Derby Party on Saturday, May 5 from 3pm-7pm. Enjoy the races by doing your own bidding in a silent auction, while watching the game on the multiple televisions that will no doubt be tuned in to the big race. Raffles and door prizes will also be up for grabs throughout the afternoon and evening.

Additionally, proceeds from the event go to the United States Equine Rescue League, an organization that helps in the protection of horses that have been neglected or abused.

And ladies, you are most definitely going to be getting creative to win the best derby hat contest. :)

Tickets are $25 per person or $40 for two (in advance). Your admission will include appetizers while  drinks are available from a cash bar. So, get your derby attire ready and enjoy the races at The Conch Republic.

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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