Richmond | Mankin Mansion Blog - Part 3

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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Richmond Jazz Festival at Maymont

June 1st, 2012

The line up of talent has just been announced this week for the popular Richmond Jazz Festival at Maymont.

Start making your travel arrangements for August 10-12 to enjoy all the fun! Every year, the festival draws in large international talent and this year is no exception. Richmond native and jazz legend Lonnie Liston Smith will kick off the event on Friday evening at the newly renovated Hippodrome Theater along with other local artists. Indie Arie, a two time Grammy winner will continue the festival at Maymont on Saturday.  Over 20 other amazing artists will grace the two stages as well serenade everyone with the sounds of jazz, R&B and neo-soul.

While you are there enjoying the beautiful music, stop to take a look at the breathtaking gardens and grounds at Maymont. We suggest packing a picnic and grabbing a blanket to enjoy all of the sights and sounds of the weekend. The event does have an entrance fee and tickets can be purchased here, where you can also check out the full line up of artists.

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.jazzatmaymont.com/

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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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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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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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Special Rates!

April 13th, 2012

It’s official- wedding season is upon us! We’ve just enjoyed our first wedding of the season and look forward to many wedding weekends ahead of us!

We just wanted to take a moment to step away from our planning to let you know that we’re offering special pricing for three upcoming 2012 dates: May 5, June 2 and June 16. These are dates that just became available and are sure to go fast!  Not to worry- full wedding planning services are included for all our Mansion Brides!

For more information, please contact us today at 804-737-7773 or weddings@historicmankinmansion.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: Seth Roberts Photography

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Q&A with PaperFreckles!

April 12th, 2012

As we like to share with our brides, wedding planning takes a wonderful team of talented professionals. Lucky for us, we’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the very best that the Richmond wedding industry has to offer over the years. So every now and then, we like to take the opportunity to introduce you to some of the Richmond wedding pros that have helped our Historic Mankin Mansion Brides’ dreams come true.

Today, we’re chatting with the lovely Coleen and Joe Akers of PaperFreckles, who first caught our eye with Holly and Justin’s gorgeous invitation suite and wedding day stationery back in 2010:

Since then, Joe and Coleen have continued to wow us with their creative and thoughtful designs. So without further ado, here are Joe and Coleen-

How did you get your start in the wedding industry?

We started working in the wedding industry by “happy accident.”  A few years ago a family member  asked us to design her wedding invitations – a rustic country wedding with a custom, whimsical monogram.  Some of her friends then contacted us to work on their wedding stationery and it snowballed from there.  We couldn’t be happier to have landed in such a great industry!

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

Many brides that we meet  want ideas for incorporating personal touches into their wedding stationery while still adhering to traditional protocol.  They want to understand what they “should do” tempered with guidance for what they “can do”.   We always tell our brides that their wedding stationery should express the couple’s personality as well as set the tone for the type of event they are hosting.  While that can mean “anything goes,” we find most brides want to create stationery that includes traditional elements while also including a unique or unexpected feature – whether it be a gorgeous textured paper, an illustration or custom monogram.  We love meeting couples and coming up with ideas for how to infuse a bit of their personality into their wedding papers while still respecting the tradition that they love.

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

We absolutely LOVE meeting with couples to hear all about their big day – it really inspires us to design something highly-personal to fit their unique personalities.  It’s so nice to be around people in love who are so happy to be starting their lives together.  We are truly honored when couples select us to create papers for their special day, and nothing makes us happier than to receive wonderful thank you messages after the wedding and to know that our pieces played a part in such a memorable event!

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

At the end of the day, your wedding is about you and your groom.  Focus on the two of you and your special relationship and always keep that top of mind throughout your planning process.  Find ways to uniquely express your relationship through the things you share with your guests at the wedding, whether it be a timeline of your relationship in your program,  your favorite cocktail or his favorite dance song, always try to make sure your personalities shine through – making the day even more memorable for you & your guests.

Thanks Joe and Coleen for stopping by! To learn more about PaperFreckles, 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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HMM in the News: Richmond Weddings!

March 17th, 2012

After years of assisting brides and grooms plan the best day of their lives, we’re always excited when the opportunity comes along to share our expertise with other couples. We were just thrilled when Richmond Weddings Magazine featured our recent guest blogs on two topics that are particularly near and dear to us.

The first feature focuses on what brides should do immediately after they get engaged. After all, planning one’s wedding can be as fun as it can be overwhelming so nothing is better than making sure you get off on the right foot. Click HERE to read on.

And just this past week, we loved sharing our thoughts on big weddings versus small weddings. As you can imagine, every bride is going to think differently when it comes to the size of her well so we were happy to chime in and dig deeper into both options. Click HERE to read more.

Our sincere thanks to our friends at Richmond Weddings Magazine 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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