Pros in the Know
It all begins with the engagement. So where do you start and who’s going to hold your hand? Or better yet, design the ring for that finger? Our talented wedding community is ripe with professionals ready to guide you. Out of the gate, it’s the jeweler, the venue coordinator, and the event planner that get your wedding party started.
STORY By Kim Wadsworth
The Ring leader
phil ralph, owner | madison jewelers
Q} The Ring is the first thing that gets a wedding announcement started. Should couples “shop” a bit first; or is it acceptable to “pick and present?”
A} Today’s customers and their tastes are like diamonds themselves: very diversified and unique. If the recipient likes surprises, “pick and present” is a good way to go. If something as uniquely different as they are is desired, then customizing the ring together makes for a great start to a “date night.”
Q} As a jewelry expert, what is the first thing a couple should consider when choosing this ultimate token of love?
A} Consider the true “Quality and Value” of the engagement ring you’re hoping to buy. When purchasing a ring, determine a budget, stay within or below it, and never purchase something that is beyond your means.
Q} Couples traditionally present each other with a gift on the wedding day. What are some favorite choices you recommend?
A} Two customer favorites are our fashion stackable collection for women; and our selection of pre-owned Rolex watches, for men and women.
Q} Are most engagement rings purchased out of the case or custom designed?
A} Although we carry a great selection of engagement settings, millennial couples getting engaged now prefer custom designing the ring that fits their lifestyle. With 3D CAD innovations, we are able to take a photograph from a cell phone and create that special ring for them within a few weeks.
Q} What is the most popular cut of diamond and metal choice?
A} While fancy shaped diamonds are making a comeback, round is still the most popular and versatile when it comes to finding a setting to accentuate that center stone. Gold and platinum are the most requested metals but we’re seeing yellow and rose gold with custom rings as well.
Stephanie Hall, Director of Catering | Hilton Virginia
Q} The Hilton is synonymous with the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. What are some of the exciting opportunities that couples can experience when they book their wedding at your venue?
A} Aside from having one of the only oceanfront ballrooms, the most important amenity is our staff. From planning to execution, the impeccable and detail oriented service that you receive at the Hilton Oceanfront is one of a kind. We offer couples and their guests a variety of fun activities for the wedding weekend, all in one location.
Q} Hosting out-of-town guests and securing their lodgings is a huge undertaking. What advice do you offer brides choosing a venue and beginning the planning process?
A} The best advice is to plan ahead. Too often, lodging is an afterthought and that’s where the challenge for couple’s planning a wedding begins. Whether you are getting married in the off season; or peak summer months, your guests will need a place to stay so make certain to secure a block of guest rooms at the same time you’re securing your venue.
Q} Themed “Welcome Bags” from the bride’s family are a standard gift waiting for weary guests. What would you include in bags that reflected the taste and feel of the city you cater to so well?
A} A beer from one a local brewery; a mini bottle of vodka from our local distillery; and in the near future, bourbon distilled onsite from our sister property, the historic Cavalier Hotel. Beach Crunch Mix from Taste; a chocolate Neptune from Schakolad Chocolate Factory; and a bag of popcorn from Jody’s Popcorn. I would also compile a personal list of favorite local shops and eateries.
Q} Share one of the most amazing moments you’ve seen at a Hilton wedding.
A} We had a couple that wanted their wedding on a Thursday so they were able to have their intimate reception at the rooftop Sky Bar with it’s panoramic ocean views. The bride was pregnant with their first child and her fiance was a Navy Seal deployed throughout most of the planning.
The bride wanted guests to know they were her extended family so a special touch became obvious to during the planning. When it was time to toast and cut the cake, trays of champagne were passed out in both pink and blue flutes. Guests voted on what they thought the sex of the baby would be based on the color flute they selected. The cake was cut revealing a very blue
slice of cake! At that moment, an F-18 Navy jet flew by that the squadron who attended had arranged to fly over as their toast to the couple, while working with me to have it all timed perfectly.
the perfect planner
barbara anderson, founder and Creative Director | Style Events
Q} What is the first thing a newly engaged couple should do?
A} Pick a number! Everything in the wedding planning experience is based on the total number of guests you plan to entertain. Deciding your budget, ceremony location, reception venue, menu and more are ultimately predicated on your guest count.
Q} Can you briefly explain the difference between an event planner and a day of coordinator. Which does a bride need more?
A} Every couple needs a Day of Coordinator! This professional is in charge of all the days’ details: wedding vendors, schedules, timeline and more. If a couple has little spare time and needs help scheduling appointments, booking wedding service providers and staying organized, consider a Full Service Wedding Planner to be by your side.
Q} What is your approach to getting a couple on an organized track; and how far ahead in planning time do they need to make their wedding event a success?
A} Starting at least one year in advance is crucial. The further out you are from your big day, the more likely you’ll get all of your “first picks.” Compiling the wedding details into one document that can be regularly updated and shared with clients is my ‘tried and true’ method.
Q} Are there any wedding recommendations that you always try to encourage brides to include in their day?
A} Besides a Day of Coordinator, plan to book your photographer and videographer for at least 8-10 hours. There isn’t any part of your special day you won’t want documented– these are images for a lifetime. Destination makeup and hair are also essential to keep your ladies relaxed and together.
Q} What is one of the biggest challenges you’re faced when coordinating a wedding?
A} Matching budgets to expectations! There are many creative solutions that experienced planners can work out to realize a wedding vision. Make a list of “Must Haves” vs. “Wish List.” Subtract the must haves
from your budget and now you know what’s left for special extras.
Q} Create a hashtag that best states how you feel about weddings?