Venue Spotlight: Simsbury 1820 House

Venue Spotlight: Simsbury 1820 House

Traditionally, the most important decision a bride and groom made while planning their wedding was choosing the right venue for their celebration. Today’s couples, however, place just as much emphasis on the food. As a result, some couples go the route of renting an “empty” space and bringing in a high quality caterer of their choosing in order to deliver on both. I recently rediscovered a venue that offers both a gorgeous space and phenomenal food in one of Connecticut’s most picturesque towns. Welcome to the Simsbury 1820 House in Simsbury, CT!

Simsbury 1820 House / Metro Bis

Simsbury 1820 House / Metro Bis

Perched atop a hill overlooking Simsbury’s charming downtown, the Simsbury 1820 House is an elegant country inn with a rich history. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this quintessential New England bed and breakfast and its 31 guest rooms have been graciously restored and feature luxurious, modern amenities in a period setting. After attending a friend’s wedding here years ago, I became smitten by its classic beauty and timeless charm. Now as a local resident, it strikes me as a place that strives for excellence and prides itself on being a gathering place for both the community and intimate celebrations.
As if all this wasn’t enough, it has now joined forces with the award-winning Metro Bis restaurant. Since its days as a snug bistro on Route 10 in Simsbury, Metro Bis has had an outstanding reputation for superb food and great service. Ranked in the top five restaurants in the state for American food according to the Zagat Survey, Metro Bis moved into the Simsbury 1820 House back in 2013. I knew the combination of the two was something special and would be a very attractive option to engaged couples planning their big day.
Recently, I had the chance to chat with its Innkeeper, Pamela Gutlon, and Courtney Febbroriello, co-owner of Metro Bis and wife of its celebrated chef, Chris Prosperi. Courtney is an accomplished author (her memoir, “Wife of the Chef”, was published in 2003) and runs both the front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house operations at the restaurant.

Q: How long has Metro Bis been in business?

A: Metro Bis has been in business for 17 years–15 years at our bistro that was just up the road, and we’ve been here at the Simsbury 1820 House for the last two years. During that time, we’ve hosted numerous weddings, along with a variety of other private events including rehearsal dinners, showers, anniversaries, birthdays and retirements.

Q: Tell us about hosting a wedding here.

A: It’s a great place for hosting a wedding. Many of our couples choose to have both their ceremony and reception here, while their guests enjoy the convenience of staying on the property.
We host a large number of weddings on Sundays, when the restaurant is closed for business. They have access to the whole restaurant, so they can hold their ceremony on the restaurant’s large porch or at our ceremony space behind the Inn. The reception itself can be in the actual restaurant. If a couple is interested in a Sunday wedding, we just ask that they meet our $2,000 food and beverage minimum for opening up the restaurant. We also host weddings Mondays through Saturdays while the restaurant is open for business. In this case, our couples usually get married at the ceremony space and then move into our downstairs event space through its own private entrance.

Q: How many guests can you accommodate?

A: If the wedding reception is being held inside the restaurant, full seating is 70 guests. The downstairs event space can accommodate 120 guests.

Q: Do you offer wedding packages, or are they customized to the couples needs?

A: While we do have a couple of menus that we’ll provide to couples, the majority of the time they are customized for each wedding. We work with the bride and groom on what they’d like to serve their guests. We’ve even themed out the food for certain weddings. We’ve done Thai food, Indian food, French food. The reality is that our chefs are at a higher level, so we’re able to do this. We’re flexible and try to accommodate the couples’ wishes as best we can.

Q: What sets Metro Bis apart from other Inns that feature a restaurant on the premises?

A: We’re a full-service restaurant, so we have flexibility with the bar. There’s no need to bring in the alcohol from other suppliers. It’s all here.

Q: What is your most popular time of year for weddings? How far in advance should couples book their wedding?

A: We’re pretty busy Spring through Fall, although we do host winter weddings as well. We recommend couples book with us as soon as possible. We’ve had couples book two years in advance, while we’ve also accommodated last minute bookings.

Q: What makes the 1820 House special as a wedding venue?

A: The Inn gives you that destination feeling without having to go to Vermont. You’re local, but still have that feeling of being away, and you’re not spending a fortune to experience that atmosphere.
Sims 1820 Hse Lobby

The Lobby of the Simsbury 1820 House

Q: What is the Inn’s best feature?

A: Everything is right here…the whole experience. You can have the ceremony here, the reception and your guests can stay at the Inn. You don’t have to miss a minute of the celebration.

We want to thank Courtney and Pam for being a feature on our blog! Should you be interested in hosting your wedding at the Simsbury 1820 House and Metro Bis, please contact us . Together Down The Aisle and the Simsbury 1820 House along with the Metro Bis team will make your wedding day extraordinary!

BlogSignature
Down The Aisle Featured Wedding: Rustic Charm at Brotherhood Winery

Down The Aisle Featured Wedding: Rustic Charm at Brotherhood Winery

A girl from Newtown, CT meets a boy from New Jersey at college in Pennsylvania. Down The Aisle Featured Wedding: Rustic Charm at Brotherhood Winery.

They met as undergraduates at Muhlenberg College when they were paired together as biochemistry lab partners. After years of dating, and with both pursing their medical degrees, Ari decided to propose to Caitlin over Thanksgiving 2013 when he surprised her at work and got down on one knee. As if they didn’t have enough on their plates, they set their wedding date for early June…a mere 4 days after they both graduated from medical school.

The Moment Of The Proposal

The Moment Of The Proposal

 

Engagement Photo

A Historic Venue: Rustic Charm

While searching for venues, Caitlin and Ari came upon the historic Brotherhood Winery in scenic Hudson Valley. Brotherhood is located in the quaint village of Washingtonville, NY, and is known as America’s oldest winery. Rich in both history and rustic charm, Brotherhood has become a desirable wedding venue with couples who are seeking a blend of elegance with simplicity. Featuring a 19th century stone building with towering ceilings, hand-crafted wooden floors, exposed wooden beams and ten foot round antique wrought iron chandeliers, these gorgeous details come together in a grand space in the Grand Monarque Hall.

 

Down The Aisle Ensures The Newlywed Couple Have A Quiet Moment Alone

A Picturesque Wedding

While Brotherhood’s beautiful details certainly provide a spectacular backdrop, another desirable aspect is the open space it offered our couple to truly customize their day. Their outdoor ceremony took place in front of a gorgeous stone archway featuring perfectly understated flower arrangements, while Down The Aisle placed rose petals on the backs of guests’ chairs for them to throw in celebration of the new couple.

Jess In Action Cones1_CR

 

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 10.51.42 AM

At the conclusion of the ceremony, and with the level of excitement at a high, our newly married couple and their family and friends immediately continued the celebration at the cocktail hour on Brotherhood’s expansive cobblestone patio, which was mere steps from the ceremony location.

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 10.45.47 AM

Guests then moved into the impressive Grand Monarque Hall for the reception. Caitlin and Ari’s 120 guests enjoyed a variety of delicious food, from flank steak to asparagus risotto, from the Hudson Valley’s own Bridge Creek Catering. Guests were also treated to champagne and an assortment of Brotherhood’s fine wines.

While managing the details of the day and keeping the Bride calm are second nature to a wedding coordinator, as an added gesture Down The Aisle’s day-of coordinators were able to whisk the newlywed couple off alone in their reception room—not an easy feat to achieve with the family and friends “paparazzi”—so that they could have a quiet moment alone (and actually eat something!).

B&G Quiet Moment_CR

Down The Aisle Ensures The Newlywed Couple Has A Quiet Moment Alone

Set Up Room Before

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 10.46.08 AM

Details & Wine Theme

We at Down The Aisle and their intern assisted with the set-up of the wine-related touches. Their details of their day featured a unique cork “LOVE” detail, their gorgeous cake atop a wine barrell with a playful cork bride and groom, and homemade Limoncello wine favors. One of the newlyweds’ favorite moment was a visit alone to the the wine cellar.

Intern at Reception

cards and gifts
Sign Corks

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 10.52.33 AM

Capturing The Day: The Bride’s Look

Capturing the bride’s look was through the very talented Jamie Levine Photography, and his assistant Subrina. Caitlin met Jamie during a trip to the famous Kleinfeld’s Bridal in NYC, where Caitlin found her stunnig Maggie Sotero gown. Many brides-to-be know Kleinfeld’s is famous not only for its gorgeous gowns, but it’s also where “Say Yes To The Dress” is filmed. Jamie is Kleinfeld’s official photographer and his impressive portfolio includes weddings, events and portraits of numerous celebrities including Natalie Portman and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Shoes

Brotherhood Winery: A Day To Remember

We were so honored to be a part of Caitlin and Ari’s special day. Everyone from the bridal party, family and friends, and top-notch vendors were wonderful to work with and came together to make the day truly magical.

Worried about your month-of details? We’re here to help, reach out for a private consultation to find out more.

BlogSignature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

C&A Sunrise
C&A Chris-Jaime-Jessica

The Talent:
Month-Of Management: Down The Aisle
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Brotherhood Winery
Transportation: Majestic Transportation
Hair & Makeup: LaV Beauty
Officiant: Veronica Moya 

 

Wedding Planners Aren’t Just For The Wealthy

Wedding Planners Aren’t Just For The Wealthy

Wedding planners aren’t just for the wealthy, but we know it’s one of the biggest misconceptions about wedding planning. You know…those couples where the sky is the limit in terms of cost, use the creme de la creme of wedding vendors, and are featured in the most exclusive wedding publications. Those are the images that come to mind when I mention the word “wedding planner”, right?…besides J.Lo of course (although I do love that movie!). However, Down The Aisle explains wedding planners aren’t just for the wealthy.

But Is There A Market For Wedding Planners?

This was most certainly the case during a conversation I had last week with my friend’s father. We were speaking about wedding planners when he asked, “Is there really a market for that?” I was a bit surprised by his question…this coming from a father who paid for his daughter’s entire wedding, a very expensive wedding at that. Even when money is less of a concern, many people don’t associate themselves with the “wealthy” set and therefore believe they wouldn’t benefit from the services of a wedding planner.

Wedding Planners Aren’t Just For The Wealthy

Not true! Wedding planners aren’t just for the wealthy, they are for every couple, for any style whether it be simple or elaborate, and for every budget. We come to the table with proven guidance, extensive knowledge of costs, and relationships with fantastic vendors at every price level. The majority of our couples have a specific vision for their day and a very specific budget…sometimes a tight budget. Weddings are a big expense and its easy to get caught up and either overspend or spend in the wrong areas. Quite simply, our budget-conscious brides are looking to get the biggest bang for their buck. While we certainly love working with couples on their full-service or day-of coordination weddings, we also know some couples simply can’t afford these services. That’s why we offer a number of a la carte services specifically for budget-conscious brides, and we’d be happy to further explain what exactly wedding planners do.
Down The Aisle Team

Down The Aisle Team

Now What?

One particular service that our budget-conscious clients take advantage of is our “Budget, Guest List Development & Vendor Referrals” service. Here we start with the biggest driver of your overall budget…your guest list. We meet with you in-person to discuss your guest list and budget in detail, and then from there we develop an estimated wedding budget, custom for you, based on our knowledge of local costs and resources. We also provide you with 1-2 recommendations of trusted vendors in each service category that fit both your taste and budget.
Interested in having us take a look at your budget? Reach out to us, we’ll put you on right path as you start to execute your wedding vision that delivers on both style and budget. 
BlogSignature
I Have A Venue Coordinator, Do I Need A Day Of Coordinator Too? Difference Between Venue and Day of Coordinator

I Have A Venue Coordinator, Do I Need A Day Of Coordinator Too? Difference Between Venue and Day of Coordinator

So you have the venue chosen and it comes with the “venue coordinator” who will assist with your wedding decisions, but would it be necessary to also have a wedding planner or day-of coordinator (stay tuned to learn the differences between those two)? We’ll help you sort out whether you’ll need a day of coordinator outside of your venue coordinator.

This is one of the most common questions we’re asked by brides and others outside the industry: “is there a difference between venue and day of coordinator”. The answer is a resounding YES. While they are both a valuable asset to the planning process, their responsibilities vary greatly, especially on the all-important wedding day.

Wedding Planner/Day Of Coordinator Christine With A Bride

Wedding Planner Christine With One Of Our Brides 

The Venue Coordinator

The venue coordinator is an employee of the venue you have chosen, and therefore they work for the venue. During the planning process, the venue coordinator will draw up the contract between the venue and couple. They set up your menu tasting and work with you to finalize your hors d’oeuvres, meal choices and bar menu. They also work with you to determine your table setup (number of tables and chairs, place settings and linens) and reception arrangement (location of cocktail hour, bar setup and band/DJ location).

On the wedding day itself, the venue coordinator works to ensure all these details are followed and the venue has delivered on their contracted services. Often times, the venue coordinator departs after the meal is served, with some returning at the end of the wedding to make sure tear down occurs and the venue is properly locked up. Keep this in mind if you are looking for help or support throughout the rest of the wedding.

An important detail to note is that many venues are unable to guarantee you’ll work with a specific coordinator on your actual wedding day. Numerous brides, including myself, have experienced this with their own wedding. In some instances, the couple works with one coordinator throughout the planning process, but receives another on the day of the wedding. This is common with larger venues that host multiple weddings on the same day. In other instances, the coordinator you’ve started planning with has left the venue and is replaced with someone you’re not familiar with—another thing to keep in mind if you’re looking for continuity on your wedding day.

DTA Team - Chris and Jaime

DTA Team – Chris and Jaime

 

The Wedding Planner/Day Of Coordinator

The wedding planner/day of coordinator is your personal consultant, and therefore works for the bride and groom. They focus on every detail to ensure the flawless execution of your vision on your wedding day. From the initial planning stages to coordination on your actual wedding day, your wedding planner is with you every step of the way and present for all the decision-making that happens.

Most planners offer a variety of services, from full service planning (from the initial planning stages through the wedding day), to day-of coordination (begins 6 to 8 weeks prior to the wedding date), to a la carte services (specific aspects of the wedding). Therefore, their involvement and responsibilities do vary based on the services you’ve hired them for.

Full-service wedding planners are working with you from the very start, helping determine your vision for your wedding and a comprehensive wedding budget. They provide recommendations for the venue, caterer, photographer, videographer, florist, band, transportation and all other vendors, and subsequently review all contracts. Then in the final weeks leading to the wedding, they shift gears to become the “day of coordinator) as they develop a detailed timeline for the day, coordinate your rehearsal and confirm all details leading up to the day with your vendors.

On the wedding day, the planner coordinates all day-of details and arrival times of the vendors while overseeing the accurate setup of the venue, from table settings and floral arrangements to personalized details and DIY decor. They oversee the time management of the day to ensure the smooth transitions from the ceremony through the reception including photography, cocktail hour, first dances, meal service, cake cutting, etc. Just as importantly, they are there to minimize the stress of the day, helping and supporting you throughout the entire day and addressing any issues that arise so you don’t have to.

Team

DTA Team

The Bottom Line

Both the venue coordinator and wedding planner are an essential part of your special day, but it’s important to understand their differences and what each is and isn’t responsible for to avoid possible frustration and disappointment on your day. If hiring a wedding planner seems like the right option for you, contact us for a complimentary get-acquainted session. We’re here to help!

~Blog contributed by Jaime Hrubala, Associate Wedding Planner/Coordinator with Down The Aisle

BlogSignature