Thursday, December 3, 2015

70 years of wedded bliss!

We love when couples renew their vows on special anniversaries. There’s just something very meaningful about returning to the beginning of your marriage on these special occasions. But this couple in China might just have everyone else beat!

70 years of marriage! (Thanks to CNN for the story)
Cao Yuehua, 97, and Wang Deyi, 98, were married in 1945, after Mr. Cao worked for the US Army during World War 2 as an interpreter. So, to mark their 70th wedding anniversary, they recreated their wedding photos in the same park they were married in way back when.

Of course, these days it’s not as easy for them to get around, so their four children helped them get ready for their special anniversary, wedding dress, flowers and all.

So, tell us in the comments – have you attended a vow renewal or are you planning one? 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Have a wedding weekend like Sofia and Joe!

I don’t know about you, but my news feeds this weekend were filled with all the fun of Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello’s wedding weekend. From beachside welcome parties to the big event itself, the celebrity couple looked like they had a fabulous time in Florida.

But you don’t have to go to Florida to plan a wedding weekend like a celebrity! Here at the Heritage, we can help you plan a weekend getaway to remember with a rustic, elegant New England feel.

We can start your weekend with a welcome reception in any of our banquet rooms. For fall and winter weddings, you can choose a room with a fireplace or for warmer-weather occasions, enjoy the firepit on the patio near our Adirondack chairs!

If you’ve got the time, schedule tee times on our golf course; get pampered at our day spa; or spend the afternoon in one of our two salt-water swimming pools!

After your rehearsal, let us handle all the details of your rehearsal dinner. Then you and your guests can take the elevator to your newly-renovated guest rooms to rest and relax before your big day!

For your wedding day itself, your ceremony can take place in our stunning Stone Garden, followed by a reception to remember in our Timbers room, a spectacular space featuring cathedral ceilings, a massive stone fireplace, and wall-to-wall windows. Timbers, a warm and inviting room with our dark wood walls and beams overhead, is the perfect place to show your guests the best of what New England has to offer any time of year.

Plan an after-party in the Tavern, our comfortable pub and restaurant and let your guests enjoy our hospitality for one more night in their comfortable guest rooms!

The next morning, enjoy our post-wedding brunch. You and your guests can take one last dip in the pool or spin on the exercise bikes before they head home and you head off on that fabulous honeymoon! 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

It’s wedding fashion week!

It’s that time of year again, when the models who come down the New York runways are all in wedding gowns! While we all may not be able to afford a couture gown, the trends that hit the runways this weekend will shape what brides will see as they shop for dresses.

Designers will show their visions in everything from gowns to jewelry to shoes and more! With Zac Posen for David’s Bridal and Dennis Basso for Kleinfeld presenting already, it’s been a great start to the show!

A gown from the Dennis Basso collection

Tell us: Do you pay attention to Bridal Fashion Week or do you follow your own style for your wedding dress?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

We love fall weddings!

Fall in New England. Weddings in New England – what could we possibly love more than a fall wedding here in Connecticut? The leaves are turning, the days are (usually) bright and crisp and fall food themes are fun! If you’re planning a fall wedding, there are so many ways to incorporate the season into your big day!

You can make your whole theme of the wedding fall, using burnt oranges, bright reds and warm browns as your color scheme. Or, if you have different ideas, but still want to celebrate the season, you can choose just one fall-flavored focus!

You can use a cider- or pumpkin-based drink as your signature cocktail or choose hors d’oeuvres that include those flavors.

If your venue allows it, you can use potted mums as decorations throughout the ceremony and reception space.

If you want to celebrate a little bit of Halloween, you can always use carved pumpkins as decorations or have a Halloween candy buffet!

If there are outdoor elements to your ceremony or reception, just remember that fall weather can be fickle! You may want to be prepared with small blankets or shawls for your guests and wedding party if it’s chilly; and prepare for the opposite – an unusually warm day in late October.  

Do you have fall wedding favorites? Share them with us!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Celebrating 10 years

It’s amazing how time flies -- somehow, I turned around and it’s been 10 years I’ve been here at the Heritage Hotel and Conference Center! While it seems like just yesterday, a lot has changed in wedding planning in the last decade!

Pinterest: Almost every bride (and even some grooms!) uses Pinterest as a place to get ideas and put them in one place. Whether your wedding is formal or relaxed, quirky or traditional, you can find inspiration there.

Social media: Facebook existed in 2005, but was still just for students. Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat? Weren’t even on our radar! Hashtags with cute couple names like #ChrisAndPat2015? Nope! Now, you can see all your friends’ pictures of your wedding in real time! (Unless of course, you are having an unplugged wedding!)

Same-sex weddings: While Connecticut had a civil union law on the books in 2005, it wasn’t until 2008 that the state recognized same-sex marriage. Now, of course, it’s the law across the country!

Of course, for the Heritage, our biggest change has been a major renovation throughout the resort: with a new entrance, updated guest rooms, a brand-new hospitality room and more!

It’s been a fun ten years of celebrating weddings… here’s looking to ten more!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Formal or fun, on paper or electronically, how to get those RSVPs in!

You’re getting close to your big day – you know what you’re wearing, who’s in the wedding party, and where it’s going to be. Your Save-the-Dates and then your official invitations went out. But only half your guest list has returned their RSVP cards and the deadline for your caterer is coming fast! What do you do?

The first thing is make sure you gave yourself some “wiggle room.” Make your response card deadline at least a few weeks before your deadline with the caterer. That way, you have time to hunt down the guests who have not responded.

How do you get your guests to return these? Sample response card from our friends at Respond if You Please.
Make it easy for your guests to RSVP. Yes, the traditional form is to print a response card with your invitation suite and supply a self-addressed, stamped envelope; that’s never wrong. But if you have a less formal wedding, or you just want to give your guests options, there are plenty of electronic ways to get RSVPs, too! If you have a wedding website, create a section for people to RSVP. Send out emails, and accept RSVPs that way, too. You can even make a closed Facebook event to get people to respond.

Get help. If the guests who haven’t responded are from one side of the family or another, ask family members to help. Perhaps your mother-in-law-to-be can get her cousin on the phone for you! (It’s also a great way to direct the energies of a person who wants to help, but doesn’t know how!)

What ways have you gotten your guests to RSVP? Share them in the comments!  

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Tips on shaking that wedding planning overload!

You are as excited as ever to be marrying your sweetheart, but there comes a point in planning most weddings when you start to feel more than a little overwhelmed. We have some tips to help you get through the stress and re-energize yourself!

Organize. Use a wedding binder or an app to keep yourself on track, and make good lists. That way, you won’t get too sidetracked as the planning progresses.

Take a break. Really! Take an evening and go out with friends, or have dinner with your sweetheart. Make a promise to yourself that you won’t talk about the wedding. Just enjoy a dinner, music or movie without letting wedding planning enter the conversation. Your seating arrangement chart will still be there in the morning, but you’ll be more refreshed and ready to attack it!

Stop looking at Pinterest. Once you’ve made your decisions, give Pinterest a break too. Every idea looks fantastic and you can only do so many different things. At some point, you have to tell yourself it’s okay to stop looking. The themes, colors and favors you choose will be perfect for your wedding, so don’t let yourself get caught up in “Pinterest regret.”

Delegate. Let your future mother-in-law pick up the flowers, if she wants to. Or give the task of alphabetizing the escort cards to a member of your wedding party. People will want to help – let them!

Enjoy. Yes, the two of you are planning a very important event. And yes, you have a lot to balance. But take time to remember why it’s such an important day and step back and enjoy the process.

What tips do you have to make the wedding planning process easier?

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Start spreading the news!

When you’re newly engaged, you want to tell the world! With social media, it seems like you can with just a push of a button. But that’s not the only way to get the news out – don’t forget the traditional engagement and wedding announcement in your local newspaper.

Newspaper clippings of your engagement and wedding announcements are a great keepsake to tuck into a scrapbook. It’s also a great way to tell your entire hometown that you’re engaged – even the people you’ve lost touch with! While not every couple can get their wedding announced in the New York Times,that doesn’t mean you can’t contact your local paper!

Each newspaper is going to have a slightly different format. Your best bet is to visit your local paper’s website. Most papers will have a “contact us” link on their site so you can call their news department.

Once you find out who to talk to, ask if they have a specific form they wish you to fill out. If there is a form, print neatly and carefully to save yourself from spelling errors! If you want to attach a photo, ask for their photo guidelines. While most papers’ guidelines aren’t as strict as the New York Times’, each newspaper does have them.

Which newspapers should you choose? If you and your sweetheart are from different hometowns, you’ll want the papers for each of you, as well as the newspaper where you live now. Include both your daily and your local weekly newspapers, too!

Also, since you’re going to want to print your engagement and wedding in the same newspapers, ask for the guidelines for both announcements when you call for the engagement form. That way, you won’t have to make a second round of phone calls! Even if you’re planning a lengthy engagement, you can put the wedding announcement form in your wedding planning book to fill out later. 

Lastly, engagement and wedding announcements usually run when the editor has space for them; make sure you follow the newspapers' deadlines so you have the best chance of your announcement getting printed as quickly as possible!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

It's the bridal show of the season!

We are ready to bring you the premier wedding show of the season! The annual Southbury Bridal Show is happening in just a few short days -- please join us from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 1, right here at the Heritage Resort, Southbury.

We are so thrilled to be working with Respond If You Please again this year to bring you the best the area has to offer. The top wedding industry vendors in the area are ready to impress you with their expertise and talent, not to mention some amazing show discounts and gifts!

And while it’s called a “bridal” show, both brides- and grooms-to-be are welcome! We will have sampling of cakes, cupcakes, food and treats, special show promotions and discounts, cash bar and more prizes and give-aways than you can imagine!

Best of all, this event is FREE to attend for brides, grooms and their guests! While pre-registration is not required, it is suggested. We want to be sure that our vendors are fully stocked with giveaways and prizes.

So, to pre-register, visit the bridal show's website.

We hope to see you there!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Going to a bridal show? Try these tips on how to get the most out of it!

Bridal and wedding shows are a great way to get a lot of information in one place. But if you don’t plan ahead, you can find yourself overwhelmed by so many choices.

Be prepared. Bring a notebook with questions ready to go so you know what you’re looking for. If you already have a DJ, but not a florist, don’t spend too much time at the DJ tables and instead focus on the floral arrangements. Or vice versa, if you are looking for an amazing DJ.

Make address labels. Every vendor at a show will give you the option to join their mailing list. Make up some labels with your information (name, address, email) and use them to sign up. It will save you a lot of writing at the tables. There are many easy tutorials online on how to make them, depending on your computer system.

Ask for special bridal show deals. Many vendors will have special offers for attending the show. Some ask you to simply mention you saw them at a show, while others may require you to book at the event itself. But if it’s a vendor you’re happy to be working with, always check to see if they are offering a special deal!

Bring a buddy. Whether it’s a member of your wedding party, a family member, your sweetheart or another good friend, having someone with you will also help keep you from being overwhelmed.

Do you have tips on how to get the most out of a bridal show? Tell us in the comments!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Want to catch your guests having fun? Try a photo booth!

Couples are always looking for ways to get photographic evidence of all the fun their guests are having. While many weddings have used the “disposable camera on the table” trick, another option is the photobooth.

While the idea is like those booths we used to find at the mall, the wedding photobooth has a lot more options. Most wedding photographers either have a photobooth set-up, or work with someone who does, so your best bet to start is to check with your wedding photographer. And, depending on the set up, today’s photobooths give you much more flexibility for how many people you can fit in. It’s not just for two people to squeeze in together anymore!

Next, you need to think about props. Again, some photographers will have prop options, but if you’re having a themed wedding, here is where you can have lots of fun. Is your wedding Star Wars themed? Have light sabers on hand to catch some epic duels! Roaring 20s theme? Fake cigarette holders, flapper-style hats, fake mustaches and top hats will get your guests laughing. Whatever your look is, the photobooth props should match. Check your local party store for lots of ideas!

You can even use the pictures as favors. Again, work with your photographer on pricing options, but those old-school photo strips are a great giveaway.

Last, but definitely not least, work with your venue so they know you’re planning a photobooth. You’ll want to set aside enough space for the whole set-up.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Pre-registration is open for the Southbury Bridal Show

Did you get engaged over the holidays? Or hoping to be engaged on Valentine’s Day? Pre-registration is open for the free Southbury Bridal Show, to be held right here at the Heritage Sunday March 1, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

It’s a fun-filled day of local experts and professionals in photography, wedding attire, invitations, confections, transportation, jewelry, makeup and more. There also will be gourmet appetizer sampling and a cash bar. Best of all? It’s free! And everyone who pre-registers will receive a copy of “The Little Blue Book,” to help plan your wedding day.

The pasta station in the Terrace room was a big hit at the 2014 Bridal Show
Colorful tables and helpful vendors await you at the Southbury Bridal Show

To learn more, visit The Southbury Bridal Show and pre-register

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Are you unplugging your wedding?

I’ve talked in the past about social media and wedding planning, but what if you want to it all during your wedding? Some couples are happy to make Instagram hashtags and share their day over Facebook, while others want a less smartphone-heavy wedding day. But if you want an unplugged wedding, how do you ask your guests to comply?

It’s easier to request that your guests put phones away during the ceremony than during the reception, especially if you’re having a religious ceremony. Find wording you prefer and use it in multiple places. Your wedding website and signs at the ceremony are great places to start.

You also can ask your officiant make a statement at the beginning of the ceremony. You can say something like “[Couples names] thank you for attending their wedding. So that you will enjoy the ceremony as much as they have enjoyed planning it, they respectfully ask that all cell phones remain on silent and are put away for the ceremony.” Sure, you won’t get everyone to put their phones away, but the vast majority of your guests will be smiling at you, not looking at you through their smartphone screens!

Keeping everyone unplugged throughout the reception will be more difficult. People are used to having their phones out and taking pictures of everything, from their meals to selfies to their crazy dancing; while people who have children at home with babysitters will want to be able to stay in contact. Again, you can ask your DJ or members of the band to make an announcement requesting no smartphone use during the reception. But you may need to compromise a little here, depending on your guests.

You can request that family members leave the photography to your professional photographer during the special moments like cake cutting and first dances. While photographers are used to working around your guests, it will make their jobs easier if they’re not competing with phone camera flashes. It also means you’ll be able to see our guests’ faces in the pictures, instead of a host of phones!

 Are you trying to keep any part of your big day unplugged? Tell us in the comments!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Make the budget, then stick to it!

Whether the wedding of your dreams is a small, intimate gathering that will cost $1,000; an extravaganza that will cost $70,000; or (like most of us!) somewhere in-between, you need to make a budget that you can stick to! But where do you start?

Know how much you have to spend. Are family members helping to pay? Are the two of you using your own savings? Get a real number together, and don’t start shopping until you know what you’ve got! This is a time to be very honest with yourself, your family, and each other. You don’t want to get your heart set on a dress, venue or anything else until you know what your limits are.

Get organized. There are plenty of ways to get your budget together. From the wedding planning binders you can find at any bookstore, to online budget calculators, pick what works for you and do it! The trick, of course, is not only to set up the budget, but to keep it updated. You’ll need to know if you’re going over budget in one area, so you can make up for it in another!

Remember the little things. We know the venue and the dress make up most of a traditional wedding budget.  But don’t forget that the little things do add up. Postage for your wedding invitations will most likely be more than the cost of a single stamp. And you’ll need to order more than Save-the-Dates and invitations. Don’t forget to include things like your escort cards, programs and thank you cards! Are you going to DIY your centerpieces? Plan for things like ribbon, fabric, and other supplies, too! (Of course, if you’re trying to trim your budget, things like that can be cut altogether!)

Other wedding-related events. Are you planning to have an engagement party? Ask your wedding party to be a part of your big day in a special way? Have an engagement photo session? These things, too, need to be part of your overall plan.

Making your budget will take some time (and it will feel a lot like homework) when all you want to do is go to cake tastings and try on some great clothes. But it is such an important part of any wedding planning!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Surprise weddings aren’t just for celebrities!

Celebrities like surprise weddings – Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden had a surprise ceremony just this week! It keeps the paparazzi off the celebrities’ trail and allows them to enjoy their wedding a little more. But you don’t have to be a celebrity to have a surprise wedding, you just need to be a daring bride or groom!

Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden tied the knot in a surprise ceremony this week. But is it for you?
Who would have a surprise ceremony? Perhaps your family relationships are complicated, or you just don’t want a huge fuss leading up to your wedding, but you do want family and friends there. Surprise them with a party that turns into something more!

Let your venue in on the secret, though! Make sure the restaurant, hotel or location knows exactly what you’re planning, and that they know it’s a surprise for your guests. They will be your best help in getting things done.

You still need to plan for the legal parts. Unless you’ve already gotten legally married and your surprise is just the reception, you need to do the same planning every other couple does. You’ll still need a marriage license and an officiant, so make sure you check on the local laws on what paperwork you will need done!

Be prepared for some people to not be able to make it. If you’ve told people it’s a special dinner party or other get-together, they might not work as hard to get to it as they would if they knew they were attending a wedding.

Be prepared for some people to get upset. Your great-aunt, your mom, or your grandfather might get mad that you didn’t follow the usual path for wedding planning. I always recommend having a few stock answers ready for anyone who’s upset by the surprise. “We just wanted to keep the pressure off,” or “We just wanted to have some fun with it.” Eventually, they’ll come around.

If, however, you are looking forward to wedding planning, be sure to come to our Bridal Show, Sunday March 1 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s free, and you can register by visiting