Wedding Planning

Thoughts on Wedding Florals Through the Eyes of a Florist | Guest Post from Alicia of William's Florist

Today I am so excited to share this wonderful guest post from Alicia Reilly of William’s Florist:

William's Florist Behind-The-Scenes with Dawn M Gibson Photography

As the floral wedding consultant at William's Florist, I often have brides tell me that flowers are one of the hardest elements they need to shop for during the wedding planning process. Why? Often times, a bride gets 3 VERY different quotes from 3 VERY different florists, which can be stressful when they think they are getting the same thing at each place. 

Why are floral quotes so different? Think of florists as steakhouses! That sounds strange but hear me out - you'll get a very different steak if you go to Applebee's than if you were to go to the Chophouse. There's nothing wrong with an Applebee's steak if you're just craving some beef, feel like dressing casual and don't want to spend a lot. But there's also nothing wrong with putting heels on and dropping a pretty penny on a filet mignon if you really value a gourmet meal and a fancy ambiance. Florists are the same. You often get what you pay for. Also, Pinterest can be helpful but is also difficult. When you show a florist a picture from Pinterest, you need to make sure they are quoting true to picture.

William's Florist Behind-The-Scenes with Dawn M Gibson Photography

When planning your wedding, I highly recommend placing value on each element of your wedding. What is most important to you? Your dress? The food? The decor? The photos? I would set your priorities and then budget accordingly. When it comes to flowers, some people really value them and some people... don't. And that's OK. 

As a florist, I fall in to the category of designing for the brides who really value the look of their flowers! I feel as florists, we are one of the few vendors that can really speak to the personality of the couple through the creative use of flowers. We do not offer floral packages, and every wedding we design is unique. Here is why I would recommend using a high quality florist if you really value the flowers at your wedding:

1. QUALITY OF PRODUCT: There is nothing more terrifying to me than a bride carrying brown or droopy flowers. When purchasing flowers for your wedding, they should be what you've always dreamed of! It's important to hire a florist that knows their varieties and knows how to maintain quality... experience is necessary in this category. For example, there are certain varieties of roses that just don't open. Who wants a tight bullet-looking rose in their wedding bouquets!? I have studied the best varieties of roses and only use top of the line for our weddings. Another example:  hydrangea. This popular wedding flower wilts VERY EASILY when it doesn't have enough water. For that reason, I never recommend using hydrangea in bouquets since they are often out of water for hours on end. When we use them in centerpieces, we process them in a unique way to make them last!

William's Florist Behind-The-Scenes with Dawn M Gibson Photography

2. QUALITY OF SERVICE: You can tell a florist is all about service if they make the process of shopping for your wedding flowers easy for you. They must be organized, detail oriented and timely. If they do this, you can have faith that the day of your wedding, things will go smoothly. Our product is all about TIME. On a hot July day, your flowers need to stay in the cooler as long as possible. The flowers are often delivered when the bride is getting dressed and about to start pictures. There is no time to be late. There is no reason to have your Uncle Joe pick up your flowers and deliver them to where they need to be in his 80 degree car, making fast turns as the flowers flail around in the car! Hire a florist that will deliver to you and will be on time!

William's Florist Behind-The-Scenes with Dawn M Gibson Photography

3. CREATIVITY: Hire a florist that you trust creatively. Look at pictures of their past work to ensure your vibe matches their style. Give them creative freedom to design your dream wedding flowers. I am so lucky to design for these types of brides! This is when we do our best work! With creative flexibility, I can often buy really unique elements that are available on the flower market that I didn't necessarily discuss with the bride, but fits her style and color palate perfectly. Those week-of purchases are what really make the florals attention grabbing.

William's Florist Behind-The-Scenes with Dawn M Gibson Photography

Below are some pictures of me that Dawn of Dawn M Gibson Photography captured while I was setting up a wedding at a private residence in Eden, NY. I feel as if this wedding captures all 3 elements really well. First, it was hot as Haiti that day. I was chugging water like crazy... imagine how thirsty all my flowers were! It was so important that we chose high quality flowers and didn't set them up too early. As for creativity - this was a fun one! It took a lot of logistics and creative thinking to design the hanging chandelier and get it hung with McCarthy Tents. I also was given permission to cut some florals from the property's yard to make a couple arrangements for the bar. How fun!

Overall, it's my goal to design a bride's dream wedding flowers. I am so grateful to have such a passion for my career and am thankful for the couples that hire me to live out this passion. It's a lot of detail oriented planning combined with intense physical work... but so worth it! My overall recommendation when choosing a florist is to choose one that you trust. When you hire a florist you trust, you can relax and actually enjoy your wedding day instead of worrying about dead flowers and running late. My favorite part of the wedding day is showing a bride her bouquet and showing her the reception room all set up. The creative process comes to life in those moments, and there is nothing better than making flower dreams come true! 


Inquire for more details from Alicia and the rest of the wonderful staff at:

William's Florist & Gift House
1425 Union Road
West Seneca, NY 14224
716.675.7800
www.williams-florist.com

Thank you, Alicia, for stopping by and sharing your expertise!

 

Historic & Charming WNY Wedding Venues That Can Host Your Ceremony and Reception All At One Location

Yay, you’re engaged! Congratulations! Now it’s time to get to work on the planning! Chances are if you’re reading this post, you’re new to wedding planning and have no idea where to begin. Well before you hit the ground running on the little details, I highly recommend deciding on when and where your vows and celebration will take place, as the venue location(s) you choose will most definitely tie in every detail that’s to come!

The hunt for the perfect venue can be easy for some, and incredibly challenging for others. To make the process as easy as possible, it’s best if you and your fiancé sit down and iron out a few details before booking venue tours. How many people will be invited? Actually draft up your guest list, as you might be surprised at your head count once everything is on paper! Are you hoping to getting married AND dance the night away all at one location? Do you have a seasonal preference? Pro tip: book real early if you’re hoping for a fall wedding here in WNY! Then of course, what’s most accessible to you and your family/wedding guests as far as location, especially if anyone is traveling from out of town? Once you’ve done a little up front leg work, now the fun part of looking at venues can begin!

After nearly a decade photographing weddings here in WNY and throughout NYS, I’ve had the honor of photographing in a wide array of venues. From ballrooms to barns to old industrial spaces to lakefront vineyards, and everything in between. Nearly all of my favorite venues have three things in common:

1) The venues are easily accessible with the capability of having almost everything on site – sometimes even from your morning prep all the way up through the late night dancing, though at the very minimum, capacity to hold both your ceremony and reception on site.

2) Some are able to hold only 80 people, others can hold upwards of 300. Some are more traditional and others have a more modern flair. Regardless of their unique differences, they are all brimming with charm, character, and a rich history.

3) They are beautiful to photograph in AND work at. In other words, the lighting is amazing, there are great nooks on site to do your formal photos (this is GREAT for keeping things simple and stress free on the day of), AND the staff treats its vendors well (which means I can only hope they’d be treating you even better).

With allllll of that said, let’s get to it! Here’s my personal top 15 WNY wedding venues (in no particular order of preference, of course). Though I do also need to note, there are A LOT of great country clubs, hotels, and restaurants/banquet halls that offer all-in-one ceremony & receptions here in WNY as well. However, for the purposes of this post’s theme, I have not included them.

Historic & Charming WNY Wedding Venues That Can Host Your Ceremony and Reception All At One Location

All Photos taken by Dawn M Gibson Photography with excerpts written by Dawn and details provided by venue contacts.


The Mansion on Delaware | Buffalo, NY

In the heart of downtown, is the beautifully restored and renovated Mansion on Delaware, Buffalo’s only AAA Four Diamond Hotel. Featuring modern and historic elements, along with above-and-beyond service, this is the perfect location for any couple looking to have a timeless and elegant wedding ceremony and celebration.

Vibe of the venue: Classic & Historic
Guest Count: 160 (for sit-down dinner)
Rooms for wedding party preparation: Yes
Ceremony on-site: YES (100 or less fits best, 80 sitting, 20 standing)
Table/chairs and food/catering provided: Yes
Parking on site: Yes
Time restrictions: Must end by 11pm
Do you cater to same-sex weddings: Yes
Lodging on site for wedding guests: Yes

Who to contact for a tour? Melinda Smith (catering@mansionondelaware.com)
Website: www.mansionondelaware.com
Social Media: Instagram & Facebook


The Buffalo Club | Buffalo, NY

One of Buffalo’s finest private clubs, The Buffalo Club is brimming with history and charm, and will provide a beautiful backdrop for your elegant and distinguished wedding celebration needs. Start your morning off with pampering at the full-service spa and/or get ready for your big day in one of the luxurious guest rooms. Rest-assured you are in great care as the staff works to make sure your wedding day is effortlessly perfect from start to finish!

Vibe of the venue: Classic elegance
Guest Count: up to 250
Rooms for wedding party preparation: Yes, as well as a full service spa
Ceremony on-site: Yes (seated 120, standing 175)
Table/chairs and food/catering provided: Yes
Parking on site: Yes
Time restrictions: May apply based on final booking arrangements
Do you cater to same-sex weddings: Yes
Do couples need to be members: Not necessarily, non-members would need a Buffalo Club member to sponsor them
Lodging on site for wedding guests: Yes, boutique hotel

Who to contact for a tour? Erin George or Kristina Hasseler, 716-886-6400
Website: www.thebuffaloclub.org


The Twentieth Century Club of Buffalo | Buffalo, NY

Vibe of the venue: Classic Historical EB Green building, rich with history and a gorgeous garden 
Guest Count: 190 max (for both ceremony and reception) 
Rooms for wedding party preparation: Yes
Ceremony on-site: Yes (in the garden outside or in the Colonial Ballroom inside)
Table/chairs and food/catering provided? Yes
Parking on site? Yes (lot on Franklin)
Time restrictions: Not too many restrictions 
Do you cater to same-sex weddings? Yes
Do couples need to be members: Sponsorship is required, we will help locate a sponsor if needed 
Lodging on site for wedding guests: No

Who to contact for a tour? Erin Sullivan (manager@tccbuffalo.com)
Website: twentiethcenturyclubbuffalo.com 


Hotel @ The Lafayette | Buffalo, NY
Marquis, Crystal, and AAA Ballrooms

The Hotel @ The Lafayette has several different wedding rooms, each with their own unique character! The first floor ballrooms are beautifully renovated and catered by Classic Events (Acqua). The Marquis Ballroom boasts beautiful chandeliers with hard wood floors while the Crystal & AAA Ballrooms feature original tile floors (from 1904) and intricate details on the ceilings. All spaces provide a elegant atmosphere for your unique wedding needs.

Vibe of the venue: Historic elegance
Guest Count: 280 in the Marquis Ballroom and 140 in the Crystal Ballroom
Rooms for wedding party preparation: We do not have a separate bridal suite, however most of our clients book a bridal suite with the Hotel Lafayette.
Ceremony on-site: Yes (280 sitting, 500+ standing)
Table/chairs and food/catering provided: All tables, chairs, glassware, silverware, china, and linen is provided by us. We are also the exclusive onsite caterer.
Parking on site: No, however clients can purchase valet parking for their guests
Time restrictions: Cannot host events past midnight
Do you cater to same-sex weddings: Of course!
Lodging on site for wedding guests: Yes

Who to contact for a tour? Rachel Catalano (rcatalano@classiceventsbuffalo.com, 716-427-5540)
Website: classiceventsbuffalo.com
Social Media: classiceventsbuffalo


Hotel @ The Lafayette | Buffalo, NY
Greenhouse & Courtyard Rooms

Love the historic vibe of the Hotel @ the Lafayette but looking for a more rustic/modern backdrop for your wedding celebrations? Venture to the upstairs floors, and you’ll find a beautiful courtyard terrace able to accommodate a small gathering for a ceremony, and two unique rooms for wedding reception and event celebrations. The Greenhouse Room has a rustic, industrial vibe with brick walls, hardwood floors, and exposed ceilings, while the Courtyard Room features wood paneling that gives the room an old-world vibe. Both are great spaces to host your event (especially with the private outdoor patios for those warm summer nights)!

Vibe of the venue: Rustic
Guest Count: Up to 225 in the Greenhouse Room, up to 170 in the Courtyard Room
Rooms for wedding party preparation: Yes, booked through Hotel @ the Lafayette
Ceremony on-site: Yes (either indoor or outdoor in the courtyard with limited seating)
Table/chairs and food/catering provided: Yes, catering through Pearl Street
Parking on site: No, but valet parking is available for guests if desired
Time restrictions: Cannot host events past midnight
Do you cater to same-sex weddings: Yes
Lodging on site for wedding guests: Yes, booked through Hotel @ the Lafayette

Who to contact for a tour? catering@pearlstreetgrill.com
Website: http://pearlstreetcatering.com/  
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PearlStreetCatering/
Instagram: @pearlstreetcatering


The Admiral Room at the Marin | Buffalo, NY

Newly renovated, the Admiral Room at the Marin is the perfect venue for intimate gatherings or monumental occasions. With floor to ceiling windows, intricately-detailed arches and beautiful chandeliers, there is no question this venue will leave a lasting impression on your guests, while also providing you with endless on-site photo opportunities.

Vibe of the venue: Classic elegance/upscale
Guest Count: 350 (depending on set-up)
Rooms for wedding party preparation: Yes
Ceremony on-site: Yes (depending on set-up; 175 seated / No limit for standing)
Table/chairs and food/catering provided:
Parking on site: We work with All Pro Parking to offer valet and Downtown Parking Garage/93 Pearl for parking
Time restrictions: No
Do you cater to same-sex weddings: Yes
Lodging on site for wedding guests: No but shuttle is included to Embassy Suites

Who to contact for a tour? Cyndi D'Avignon
Website: www.admiralroom.com
Social Media: @the_admiral_room


The Saturn Club | Buffalo, NY

A social club founded in the late 1800’s, the Saturn Club is the perfect venue for those looking for a classic, upscale wedding venue with dark wood and a cozy castle feel nestled in the heart of the Elmwood Village in Buffalo, NY. The Saturn Club caters events for members only, or those who have been sponsored by a member, and is the perfect location for a celebration any time of year – especially in the summer if you’re looking to have an outdoor ceremony (weather pending)!

Vibe of the venue: Classic; traditional; historic; English Tudor; Castle
Guest Count: 150-300 depending on season and set-up
Rooms for wedding party preparation: Yes, either one or a combination of our smaller private meeting rooms or overnight rooms
Ceremony on-site: Yes (seating/standing capacity depends on season and set-up)
Table/chairs and food/catering provided: Saturn provides tables, chairs, food, beverage and most linens. Specialty decors can be arranged from outside vendors
Parking on site: Yes
Time restrictions: Only that entertainment (DJ, Bands) if outside (I.e. in the courtyard) ends by 11pm in keeping with City ordinance.
Do you cater to same-sex weddings: Yes
Do couples need to be members: Yes, The Saturn Club only caters to events for its members, and those sponsored by its members
Lodging on site for wedding guests: 4 rooms (3 suites and 1 bedroom; each with their own bathrooms)

Who to contact for a tour? Robert Seth (rseth@saturnclub.org) or Kelly Scarlett; Member Services Director
Website: www.saturnclub.org


Hotel Henry | Buffalo, NY

This massive recently renovated Urban Resort and Conference Center is a National Historic Landmark that was originally opened in the late 1800’s as Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane. Bringing new life to this historic campus, Hotel Henry boasts beautiful gardens and sweeping original architecture on the exterior, while the interior has been fully redesigned into a modern hotel and event space.

Website: www.hotelhenry.com


Marcy Casino | Buffalo, NY

Located in the heart of Buffalo’s Olmstead Park, The Marcy Casino has the capability of hosting outdoor ceremonies in the Rose Garden or along the water front of Hoyt Lake. Your guests can enjoy dinner on the first level of the Casino, which has a charming interior space lined with stone walls before making their way outside for dancing under an attached canopy. This is a great location for those looking for a more laid-back wedding atmosphere.

Website: http://marcycasino.com/


The Foundry Suites | Buffalo, NY

Located just outside the City of Buffalo (in North Buffalo), the Foundry Suites is a boutique-style hotel and event space with a modern/industrial flare. There are two rooms available for wedding celebrations, each having exposed brick and open ceiling rafters, and there is even an outdoor courtyard with fountain that provides a great space for outdoor ceremonies. This is a great space for those looking for something a little different than the norm, while still celebrating in a building that is full of history and charm.

Vibe of the venue: Modern/Industrial with exposed brick with open ceiling rafters
Guest Count: 320 in the Signal Room / 160 in the Taylor Room
Rooms for wedding party preparation: We do not have bridal suite on the main floor but the majority of our clients book a bridal suite with the hotel.
Ceremony on-site: Yes (Approx 50-100 sitting or 100-200 standing though these numbers change based on if you are having your ceremony outside in the courtyard, in a separate room, or in the same room as your reception)
Table/chairs and food/catering provided: All tables, chairs, glassware, silverware, china, and linen is provided by us. We are also the exclusive onsite caterer.
Parking on site: Yes (Valet Parking is required for events over 100 guests)
Time restrictions: Cannot host events past midnight
Do you cater to same-sex weddings: Of course!
Lodging on site for wedding guests: Yes

Who to contact for a tour? Ali Jenkins (ajenkins@classiceventsbuffalo.com, 716-240-9693)
Website: classiceventsbuffalo.com
Social Media: classiceventsbuffalo (Instagram & Facebook)


Asbury Hall (Babeville) | Buffalo, NY

In the heart of downtown Buffalo is a historic, renovated church fully equipped with a concert sound system, stage, and upper-level pew-style seating. Dance the night away under twinkly lights and the large vaulted church ceilings!

Vibe of the venue: Historic
Guest Count: 125-230
Rooms for wedding party preparation: There is a bridal room but it is not designed to get ready in. Most wedding parties come ready ahead of time from their hotel. 
Ceremony on-site: Yes
Table/chairs and food/catering provided: Yes
Parking on site: Yes, and you have the option to rent an additional ramp if required. 
Time restrictions: Most weddings start at 5pm or 6pm and go until 11pm or 12am. If there is a ceremony it goes 30 min before the start of the reception. 
Do you cater to same-sex weddings: Yes
Lodging on site for wedding guests: No

Who to contact for a tour? Austin Scaccia (Austinscaccia@ultimaterestaurants.com, 716-228-1851)
Website: babevillebuffalo.com 
Social Media: www.facebook.com/babeville


Hydraulic Hearth | Buffalo, NY

Hydraulic Hearth is great for those "indie" weddings where you don't want the formality of a giant banquet hall, and you just want to throw a party at a fun bar. There is an amazing indoor & outdoor space, making this the perfect choice for a laid-back celebration!

Vibe of the venue: Hip, trendy & warm
Guest Count: 150 standing inside
Rooms for wedding party preparation: No, just bathrooms
Ceremony on-site: Yes (50 sitting / 40 standing / 90 total)
Table/chairs and food/catering provided: Yes
Parking on site: Yes
Time restrictions: No
Do you cater to same-sex weddings: Of course!
Lodging on site for wedding guests: No

Who to contact for a tour? Harry Zemsky (hzemsky@gmail.com)
Website: www.hydraulichearth.com
Social Media: @hydraulichearth 


Knox Farms | East Aurora, NY

Nestled in the heart of East Aurora, NY is a unique historic park and the beautiful Knox Farms estate, which has been hosting weddings on-site for the last several years. Wedding parties have exclusive use of the Main House and immediate grounds; perfect for both the ceremony and the reception. There is only one wedding reception booked per weekend, and the day before is reserved for your set-up and ceremony rehearsal.

Vibe of the venue: Historic
Guest Count:
150 (sit-down dinner inside) / Unlimited (outside)
Rooms for wedding party preparation: Yes (two separate rooms reserved for wedding party)
Ceremony on-site: Yes (seating capacity varies depending on location)
Table/chairs and food/catering provided? No, these will need to be provided by outside vendors
Parking on site? Yes
Time restrictions: Music and alcohol must end by 10pm / All guests must exit park by 11pm
Do you cater to same-sex weddings? Yes
Lodging on site for wedding guests: No

Who to contact for a tour? Marcia McNallie (mmcnallie@gmail.com)
Website: www.weddingsatknox.com
Social Media: Facebook


Hayloft in the Grove | East Aurora, NY

This more than 150 year old restored barn venue located in the quaint village of East Aurora is the perfect fit for those looking to say “I do” and celebrate with a more laid-back atmosphere. Having both indoor and outdoor ceremony locations, a bridal suite and groom’s lounge on-site, and the perfect indoor/outdoor combination for cocktail hour and dinner, this venue is a great fit for an all-in-one location wedding day!

Vibe of the venue: Rustic elegance
Guest Count: 200
Rooms for wedding party preparation: Yes (there is a Bridal Suite and a Man Cave on site for bridal parties to get ready in prior to the ceremony, as well as a cottage on the property that sleeps 8-10 that can be rented. Many couples rent the cottage and the girls stay there the night before and get ready there in the morning!)
Ceremony on-site: Yes (indoor and outdoor locations available, up to 200 guests seated)
Table/chairs and food/catering provided? Tables, chairs, and a variety of other furniture and amenities are included with barn rental. We also provide a list of exclusive caterers that we work with for food and beverages, as well as lists of recommended vendors for all other wedding vendor needs.
Parking on-site: Yes
Time restrictions: Barn rental on wedding day begins at 9am // Music off by 10pm // Everyone off of the premises by 11pm
Do you cater to same-sex weddings? Yes
Lodging on site for wedding guests: No

Who to contact for a tour? Liane Roy (liane@lelyn.net)
Website: hayloftinthegrove.com
Social Media: Instagram: @hayloftinthegrove // Facebook: HayLoft in the Grove


The Roycroft Inn | East Aurora, NY

The Roycroft Inn, as part of the Roycroft Campus, is National Historic Landmark located in the heart of East Aurora, NY, styled with unique details from the Arts and Crafts Movement. There are rooms for getting ready in the morning, several areas to hold intimate ceremonies, and a beautiful dining area for dinner & dancing. This is a great venue for intimate brunch receptions or breezy, summer cocktail hour/hors d'oeuvre style celebrations.

Website: https://roycroftinn.com/


Thank you so much for checking out this post! I hope it helps get you started on the hunt for your wedding venue. Like what you see here but maybe you’re considering having your wedding elsewhere in New York State? Check out this post for additional venue recommendations from Rochester all the way to Albany!

Also, stay tuned for upcoming posts geared towards helping you with your wedding planning process!