Amanda + Jaime’s Hill Country Wedding at the Marquardt Ranch

Although the weather posed to be a concern, it turned out to be the most perfect wedding day for Amanda and Jaime at the Marquardt Ranch. The backdrop at the Marquardt Ranch provided the fairytale, whimsical scenery that Amanda had always envisioned for her big day. The lovely couple even had the opportunity to have a kiss under a rainbow.



The Marquardt Ranch
238 Marquardt Road
Boerne, Texas 78006
(830) 324-6599
Photo Credit: Lauren Moffett Photography
Florals: Blume Haus

20 Questions to Ask a Wedding Venue

Courtesy of Lauren Moffett Photography

Courtesy of Lauren Moffett Photography

Looking for the perfect venue is not a simple task, but knowing the right questions to ask will help you navigate through these unchartered waters with ease. In the end, you will feel confident in knowing that you have selected the perfect place to say “I Do”. Here is the list of of the “must ask” questions when visiting wedding venues:

1. What dates are available in the month I’m considering? TIP: If the venue has every Saturday available in the month you would like to get married, don’t use this as a excuse to postpone a contract. Dates fill up quickly, and procrastination could cause you to miss out.

2. How many people can this venue comfortably and spaciously accommodate? NOTE: Sometimes venues will sell themselves by telling the client that the room fits 200, while in reality 200 is a very tight fit. You want to make sure that your guests are comfortable in a room with plenty of room for dancing and mingling. 

3. May I hold my ceremony here, too? Is there an additional charge?

4. Are there dressing rooms for the bridal party? If so, how many people do the rooms accommodate?

5. What is the rental fee and what is included in that price? For instance, complimentary rehearsal time, tables, linens, chairs, glassware or decor?

6. How much is the deposit, when is it due, and is it refundable? What’s the payment plan for the entire bill?

7. What’s the cancellation policy? NOTE: Some venues will refund most of your deposit if you cancel far enough in advance, since there’s still a chance they can rent the space. However, after a certain date you may not be able to get a refund.

8. How long will I have use of the event space I reserve? Is there a charge for extra hours?

9. Are there decoration guidelines/restrictions? May I use real candles, rose petals, sparklers?

10. What time can my vendors start setting up on the day of the wedding? Is it possible to start the setup the day before? How early can deliveries be made?

11. Can the venue accommodate a DJ or live band?

12. Is there parking on site? If so, is it complimentary? Do you offer valet parking, and what is the charge? If there is no parking on site, where will my guests park?

13. How many guest restrooms are there? TIP: You should have at least 4 restrooms per 100 people.

14. What security services do you offer? Do I need to hire my own security guards, or does the site hire them or have them on staff? What charges will I be responsible for?

15. Does the venue have liability insurance? NOTE: If someone gets injured during the party, you don’t want to be held responsible—if the site doesn’t have insurance, you’ll need to get your own. For info on insurance, check out WedSafe Wedding Insurance at

16. May I hire my own vendors, or must I select from a preferred vendor list?

17. Do you have an in-house caterer or a list of preferred caterers, or may I provide my own? If there is an in-house caterer, do I have the option of using an outside caterer? If the venue does offer in-house catering, you will want to ask:

-What is the food & beverage cost on a per-person basis? What are the tax and service charges? Is there a food minimum that must be met?

-May we do a food tasting prior to finalizing our menu selections? If so, is there an additional charge?

-May I bring in a cake from an outside cake baker, or must I use a cake made on the premises? Is there a cake-cutting fee? Do you provide special cake-cutting utensils?

-May I bring my own spirits, wine, beer or champagne, and is there a corkage fee?

-Do you provide bartending services? If so, what is included in your bar packages? Is alcohol priced per person or by consumption? Are there additional charges for bar staff? Is there a bar minimum that must be met before the conclusion of the event?

18. What overnight accommodations do you provide? Do you offer a discount for booking multiple rooms? Do you provide a complimentary room or upgrade for the newlyweds? What are the nearest hotels to the venue? TIP: Some venues have partnerships with local hotels that offer a discount if you book a block of rooms.

19. What’s your weather contingency plan for outdoor spaces?

20. Will there be a venue staff member present during my wedding? How long will they stay on property during my event? What will be there their role for the evening? Will they be available to my wedding planner in the event of an emergency?

•If you really love the site, ask the venue representative to put together a proposal with all the pricing and policies—including the tax and service charge—so you have an idea of the basic cost.

•Pay attention to the venue as a whole: Check out everything, including the restrooms, the foyer, the dressing rooms, the outdoor lighting and even the kitchen. You want to be sure your wedding vision can become a reality at this location. If possible, make arrangements with the site representative to visit the venue when it’s set up for a wedding.

•Get everything in writing. Your date is not officially reserved until you sign a contract, and in many cases, give a deposit—even if a site contact says “you don’t need to worry about it”. Once you’ve found the perfect place to say “I Do”, make sure you ask what is required to get your booking locked in, and then follow through on satisfying those requirements. Before you sign a contract, read the fine print and make sure it includes everything you and the on-site coordinator agreed on. As new things are added or changed in your contract, have the updated version printed out and signed by you and the site representative. Also, document all your conversations in emails and keep your correspondence.

Wedding Day Break-Outs

Although nothing can guarantee flawless skin for your wedding, the right management can greatly improve skin that is prone to break-outs:

See a Doctor and Devise a Treatment Plan. You could spend months jumping from one over-the-counter treatment to another with absolutely no improvement at all. When you’re on a deadline, it’s best to bring in the pros right away.                                                                  

Start a Strict Skin Care Regimen. A good skin care routine will include cleansing, exfoliating, moisturizing and sun protection, as well will incorporate treatment medications provided by your physician.                                                                                              

Book a Makeup Artist. If you’re opting to have a professonal do your makeup, now is the time to start lining one up. A good makeup artist can help camouflage breakouts, so even if your skin isn’t quite perfect by the time your wedding arrives, at least it can look like it is. The best makeup artists are busy, so book your date well in advance.      

Manage Stress. You’re immersed in wedding planning details and starting to feel the pressure. Many studies have shown a link between acne severity and stress. Try yoga, meditation, reading, running, or any other activity that helps you feel more centered. If alleviating stress doesn’t help your skin, it will at least help you enjoy the wedding planning process.                                                

Cortisone Shots! If break-outs flare up just before the big day, get cortisone shots. A cortisone shot helps reduce inflammation and flattens out those big blemishes, sometimes within a matter a few hours.Talk to your doctor about the possibility of having a cortisone shot done before you desperately need one. Then, if the need arises you can be in and out, without a big fuss.                             


Choosing a Wedding Photographer

Courtesy of Ragan Patterson Studios

Choosing a wedding photographer is one of the most important decisions that a couple can make when planning their big day. In all actuality, your wedding photographer is the one vendor that will provide memories that will last a lifetime. In this issue of Volare Tips, Ragan Patterson Studios gives pointers on what we should look for when choosing a wedding photographer.

1. Photo Editing. Photo editing is a time consuming talent, which can very well drive up the cost of wedding photography. Be sure that your photographer is transparent on how many images will be professionally edited. Ask to see portfolio images before and after the editing process. Some wedding photographers edit all images, some limit the amount of edited images, and some skip the process altogether. If the photographer does not advertise or mention editing, it is especially important to discuss their intentions. Proper photo editing is crucial in providing a beautiful end product of your wedding day, which should provide memories to last a lifetime.

2. View Wedding Portfolios from Beginning to End. In the digital age, it is quite simple to become a photographer overnight. Never choose a photographer based on a website portfolio of 30-50 beautiful images. Instead, ask to see their wedding portfolios from beginning to end. This request should provide you a realistic expectation of what your pictures will look like, which is ultimately what you are paying for.

3. Is your Wedding Ceremony or Reception Indoors? If your wedding ceremony or reception are indoors, ask to view several sequences of shots that the photographer has shot indoors. Natural light photography is beautiful, yet easily attainable. Many ceremony and reception venues do not provide enough natural light to consistently provide great pictures; a skilled photographer will know how to shoot in low-light situations.

4. Know the Photographer. It is of utmost important to know who will be responsible for photographing your wedding day. Some companies meet face to face and introduce the photographers on the spot, while others inform their clients within weeks to days before the wedding. Be leery of any photographer who does not meet face to face in the beginning of the planning process. Establishing a wedding day photography timeline is essential for a quality end product. Additionally, you should know how many photographers will be shooting your wedding. Wedding day details and once in a lifetime moments require at least two photographers, as well as two points of view.

5. Know the Photographer’s Storytelling Philosophy. A good picture tells a thousand words. Would you rather have 100 beautifully edited images that tell the story of your wedding, or 2,000 images that provide no rhyme or reason of your day? There are two general photographer storytelling methods; decide which is best for you:

The Shoot and Burn Story Method – The photographer will show you every acceptable shot.

The Engaging Story Method – The photographer will show you the very best shots in each sequence that expresses the story of your wedding day.

6. Read, Read, Read Reviews. Unbiased reviews will provide great insight to how previous clients’ overall experiences were. Reviews are also the ultimate way to find the best of the best the wedding industry. Be sure to utilize unbiased reviews on reputable sites such as The Knot and Wedding Wire.

7. Review Your Budget. When done correctly, wedding photography is extremely time consuming and therefore expensive. It is important to understand that high prices and a good portfolio do not necessarily correlate to a consistent level of high quality photography, which is ultimately what you deserve. Remember to stay within your budget, but know what you are paying for.

Save the Date Cards

Once you have set your date and established a guest list, you may consider sending save the date cards. Save the date cards are an excellent way to formally announcing your engagement, while politely allowing your friends and family to mark their calendars. They are also especially helpful if you are planning a destination wedding, or if your nuptials are being held over a holiday.

Like many aspects of wedding planning, save the date cards also require specific etiquette protocol:

Save the date cards may be mailed up to one year, or more, in advance of your wedding, however they do not replace a formal invitation, and should mention that a wedding invitation will follow.

Every guest who receives a save the date card should also receive a formal invitation. For instance, you must not invite a guest and later choose to not invite them. So, when sending save the dates, one much be certain of their guest list.

Save the date cards should be simple. All that is required are your names, wedding date and the location.

Save the date cards come in many forms. They may match your formal invitations; there are also many fun designs that show your personality. In our modern era, save the dates can even be emailed with links attached to a couple’s wedding website.