Hi everyone, Amber here!
It's been quite literally an eternity since I wrote a blog post, and my only defense is just "life craziness!" But I'm back with another honest venue review from the point of view of a vendor. This time, I'll be reviewing one of our favorite venues, Barnsley Gardens.
Scroll all the way to the end to read about why this couple is one of my very favorite couples of 2019. Hint, it has to do with my undying love of Chick-Fil-A and those delicious chicken sandwiches. If you ever want to buy me a present, send me a CFA gift card, LOL!
All photos in this post are courtesy of Jessica Williams, who is FANTASTIC. Go check her out!
Overall, Barnsley Gardens gets high scores from me.
I MEAN, LOOK HOW BEAUTIFUL THESE RUINS ARE. AND THE TREES OMG.
There aren't a lot of cons for me, but the few that I do have are listed below!
LOOK at this ceremony site with the ruins in the background!! We always play to the right hand side, on the porch of that blue house. That way we are super close to the action, but we are covered from the hot sun, wind, etc. It works out great!
How beautiful are the ruins set up for the cocktail hour?! So breathtaking.
You'll see we've positioned ourselves in a great place to play fun music for the cocktail hour!
This is the reception space behind the ruins. I love that it's covered, and I love that the grass is fake (astro-turf,) so that it looks amazing year-round and won't get torn up with folks dancing on it.
NOW THEN. We have to talk about why this couple is the best. They had CFA sandwiches catered for their reception, AND they had the CFA cow there breaking it down on the dance floor. I mean. I never thought I would have clients who love CFA even more than me.
I'm laughing so hard at this cow dancing, I truly cannot breathe. I'm so glad Jessica captured all of this fun! I should've thought to have a CFA cow at my wedding, lol!
It's time to get back to practicing for me, but if someone wants to send me a CFA sandwich, waffle fry, and a Dr. Pepper, that would be great. ;)
Overall score: 8.5 out of 10. I love the beauty and seclusion of Barnsley Gardens, and I love everything this venue has to offer. My only deduction is because of weather considerations and the fact that you'd have to give up the gorgeous outdoor views if it rains!
It's time for another venue review! Today I'm reviewing a new venue, The Hotel at Avalon, which is located at the Avalon in Alpharetta.
We had never played a wedding at the Hotel at Avalon before, and I have to say that overall, I thought it was pretty great! I'm a big fan of the Avalon (my husband works 1.5 miles from the Avalon, so we have a lot of date nights there!) I love the shopping and the restaurants! It's a really cool place and it's got a really fun, modern vibe.
Big thanks to My Life Photography for sharing all of these great photos with us! You can check them out at MyLifePhotoBlog.com
Overall, I have lots of great things to say about this venue.
The ballrooms have plenty of room for dancing!
And I LOVE the way the Avalon looks at night! Look how fun!!!!
Again, big thanks to MyLifePhotography for these photos!
OVERALL SCORE: 8.5 OUT OF 10: I love the Avalon so much, and I really enjoyed the Hotel at Avalon. The only reason I had to make deduction out of 10 is because vendors have to pay for their own parking.
I hope that you all found this review helpful. Let me know if there's another venue you'd like me to review!
Something that I've been wanting to do for FOREVER is venue reviews. We play so many weddings at so many different venues, and let me tell you, the venue the you choose for your wedding is EVERYTHING! You'll find a lot of client reviews online, but there are a ton of logistical aspects that the vendors deal with--things that the clients are often unaware of. Hopefully a vendor's perspective will give brides and grooms a better idea of things to ask their venue, as well as what to look for in a great venue.
My goal is to give a completely unbiased, honest review of venues where we play. The good, the bad, and everything in between!
To be completely clear, this is NOT a statement about any particular wedding that we have played at the venue, but rather an unadulterated review of the venue itself.
First up, CROWNE PLAZA in Atlanta, GA.
All of the photos in this post are courtesy of AHP Photo + Video, and I chose this particular wedding to highlight because of how much I loved these photos! Seriously, your eyes are in for a real treat with these pics. Have you ever seen such a precious couple? AND THAT DOG OMG.
Now then, on to the nitty gritty!
Crowne Plaza Midtown, Atlanta GA
Take a look at that view though!!!!!
Gahh look at this preciousness! I HAVE NEVER LOVED A RING BEARER DOG AS MUCH AS I LOVE THIS PUP.
YESSSSS CITY STROLLING CUTENESS
I CANNOT HANDLE THE CUTENESS OF THIS BRIDAL PARTY.
Overall score: 5 out of 10. This venue gets a low score mainly because of the parking and logistical difficulties. Venues that make it more difficult for vendors to work are always going to get low marks from me!
Puppy score: 12 out of 10 for unbelievable cuteness and preciousness
If there is a venue that you'd like me to review, let me know in the comments below!
This wedding was awesome for a lot of reasons, not the least of which was the fact that there was a tiny weenie dog and I got to pet her. The tragedy is that I forgot to get a picture. But trust me, she was adorable. One of the goals of my professional life is to play more weddings with doggie ring bearers. Any other crazy dog people out there?
Ok. Now that you all think I'm a little bonkers, let's move on to the many non-dog reasons that this wedding was great.
First of all, the photos are spectacular. All of the photos in this post were shared curtesy of River West Photography (riverwest.co) I will apologize in advance that there are so many photos, but believe me, I wanted to post about 50 more.
This wedding tok place at The Foundry at Puritan Mill, which is an awesome venue. It's got a cool, industrial feel, but it still feels warm and romantic.
Have you ever seen such a precious bride?
This wedding was coordinated by one of our very FAV planners, Kristen J Scott of Kristen J Scott events. She is hands down one of the most meticulous, organized, and thoughtful planners that we have the privilege of working with.
We also really enjoyed the music for this wedding. They chose a mix of classical tunes and modern, romantic songs.
If you look closely, you'll see that we are playing a classical tune called "Traumerei," which means "dreaming" in English. This wedding really was like a dream!
During the lighting of the unity candle, we played a string trio arrangement of "The Prayer," which is one of my very favorite songs! It's such a beautiful and romantic song, and it works really well as a "background" song during a unity ceremony.
Brb, I'm dying.
How stunning are these florals by Gertie Mae's Florals?!
All in all, this was a stunningly beautiful and romantic day. The next time there's a dog, I'll be sure to take a picture!! :)
Planning: Kristen J Scott Events
Photography: River West Photography
Venue: The Foundry at Puritan Mill
Bridal: Sweet Elegance Bridal
Tuxes: The Black Tux
Floral: Gertie Mae's Floral
Catering: Endive Catering
Video: Active Prod.
Linens: BBJ Linen
Do y'all love the olympics as much as I do? Summer, Winter, I love them both. But when the winter olympics come around, I LOVE to watch figure skating. Figure skating is awesome enough, but the music selections are what I really love. And the 2018 Peongchang olympics were no exception. I watched every minute of figure skating that I could, and I was beyond thrilled to hear so many string-heavy selections. There were so many great songs, but I'm going to round up a few of my favorites below. So crank up your Spotify or YouTube, because you're going to want to listen to these tunes!
photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty
First up we have probably my #1 favorite song of the games, which was selected by Mirai Nagasu of the USA. (GO USA!!!) She skated to Nocturne no. 20 in c#minor by Chopin. Originally written for piano, it has been adapted for violin and is now part of standard violin literature. PLEASE go listen to this piece! Your heart will break of beautifulness.
Nicole Schott of Germany skated to the theme from the movie Schindler's List by John Williams. Possibly one of the most beautiful melodies ever written, it was famously recorded by one of the greatest violinists alive today, Itzhak Perlman. Seriously, look up his performance on YouTube and tell me how much your soul could not contain the gorgeousness.
Elizabet Tursynbaeva of Kazhakstan skated to Carmen Fantasie as performed by the violinist David Gerrett. Garrett is a very popular violinist who often gives a modern twist to classical favorites. Requiring technical skill of virtuosic proportions, this piece is super exciting and worth a listen.
photo: nbc olympics
Finishing first overall and earning herself a gold medal, Alina Zagitova skated to Don Quixote, which is a very famous ballet. It was exciting to hear so many classical standards played at these games! There were a lot of selections from operas and famous ballets during these Olympic games, like Tchaokovsky's Swan Lake. Yay classical music!!!
Michael Christian Martinez of the Philipines skated to a song that really took me back to my childhood. He chose Emerald Tiger by the fusion violinist Vanessa Mae. I absolutely LOVED Vanessa Mae when I was young. She is a "fusion" violinist, meaning that she combines classical training with non-classical music. I was super inspired by her when I was young, and I listened to her cds until they were warped. Her music is so fun and worth a listen!
photo: nbc olympics
Una Shoma of Japan finished 2nd overall and earned a silver medal. He skated to a VERY famous classical piece: Winter from The Four Seasons by Vivaldi. The Four Seasons was written in 4 parts, with each part representing a different season. We frequently perform movements from each season, and Winter is actually one of my favorites!
Dmitri Aliev of the OAR skated to another famous classical selection: Masquerade Waltz by Khatchaturian. Masquerade Waltz is a very fun and exciting piece written for orchestra. Khatchaturian is also famous for writing an awesome violin concerto, which I also highly recommend for listening fun.
This brings me to another one of my VERY FAV tunes. (Although I feel like I keep saying that each one is my favorite, haha. But this time I'm serious!) Misha Ge of Uzbekistan skated to Massanet's Meditation from Thais. I cannot overstate how much I love this piece. We play this piece every chance we get because it is just that beautiful. It features violin melody lines that are so beautiful your ears will be in a constant state of disbelief. If we have ever played your wedding, there is a good chance we played this at some point. It's so pretty!!
I could ramble on for hours about all the great string and orchestral music I heard during the 2018 olympic figure skating events, but I will wrap it up with my favorite from pairs skating. Astakhova/Rogonov of the OAR skated to a medley, but it began with one of my all-time favorite pieces of music: Adagio for Strings by Barber. If you have never heard it, I highly, HIGHLY recommend you look it up. It's one of those songs that is so beautiful but tragically sad at the same time. But mostly it's just soul crushingly beautiful.
Thanks for reading along! Let me know if you fall in love with any of these tunes. Yay strings!!!!!
I'm already excited for Beijing 2022!
It's Throwback Thursday! And that means we are throwing it back to one of the gorgeous weddings we've played recently. Today we want to share Molly and Joe's wedding, which took place at The Estate in Buckhead back in October. This wedding was beyond elegant, but with some unexpected twists! All of the images in this post were shared with us curtesy of Sandra with Picture This Photography. (We've done quite a few weddings with Sandra and she's always awesome!) Keep scrolling to view the beautifulness.
These two...I mean just look how beautiful their portraits are! So sweet. The Estate really provides some beautiful spots to take wedding photos.
The elegance of this wedding is obvious. But what I loved is that Molly and Joe put their own personal twist on their wedding. Their music selections were some of my favorite of this whole year.
Molly asked me to write music for a few of their favorite songs to be played during their wedding. She requested "Little Talks" by Of Mice and Men, and "Stubborn Love" by The Lumineers. I had so much fun arranging these songs for strings! I especially loved "Little Talks," which they used as their recessional song. It's so fun when our clients ask us to learn new music, because then their wedding is really a reflection of them and their personal tastes. When details of a wedding are customized, it really adds a special touch.
After the wedding, we headed upstairs to play the cocktail hour. The Estate is really cool because it has so many different areas. We kept the set list for the cocktail hour fun with lots of modern, upbeat songs!
Don't mind me, I'm just casually dying over these florals and tablescapes. <insert crying face emoji>
I mean! I can not get over these lights. All the heart eyes for this reception.
What a fun day! It really doesn't get any better than when a client combines classical elegance with modern, fun twists. Congrats to Molly and Joe!
Venue, catering, bar, & florals: The Estate, Michele Lend with Legendary Events
Planning: Suzanne with We Tie the Knots
Ceremony and Cocktail Hour Music: yours truly, Cobalt Strings!
Photography: Sandra with Picture This! Photography
Video: Matthew Baxter
Band: Atlanta Showstoppers
Hair & Makeup: Brushworx
Transportation: Atlantic Limo
Hey friends, Amber here! Happy Throwback Thursday! Today we are throwing it back to a beautiful wedding we played back in August at the always beautiful Big Canoe! All of the photos in this post were shared with us by Frank Gibson, one of the sweetest photographers around! You can find more of his work at www.frankgibson.com
We were lucky enough to have gorgeous weather for the wedding, and then moments after the ceremony ended, the bottom fell out. But I think the rain made for some gorgeous photos! Big Canoe is always so pretty, but I think the misty skies are especially beautiful.
For the prelude music, we played a mix of hymns and modern, romantic songs.
For the processionals, we played "Falling Slowly" and "Canon in D," and for the bride's entrance, we played "A Thousand Years!"
Frank caught us laughing about something or other. ;)
I mean, let's talk about that view. How breathtaking are those trees with the lake in the background?!
Mary Catherine and Jim were such a precious couple. We are so lucky to have great clients!
I love all these gorgeous detail shots that Frank snapped of our instruments!!!
Congrats to MC and Jim!
Venue: The Chimneys at Big Canoe
Planner: Winey Blonde Events
Ceremony Musicians: yours truly!
Florist: Kasey Currie
Caterer: Talk of the Town
Cake: Sweet Treats by Leigh
Hair/Makeup: Tammy Frye
DJ: Pirone Entertainment
Photography: Frank Gibson Photography
Rentals: Party Time Rentals
It's Throwback Thursday, and we are throwing it back to a stunningly beautiful wedding we played at Foxhall Resort back in March! This wedding was filled with stunning details, which were all captured by the amazing Sarah Ingram (www.sarah-ingram.com) All of the photos in this post were taken by Sarah, except the few that were taken with my cell phone. ;)
We love playing at Foxhall Resort! We have played many weddings there, and it's always so beautiful. For Cori and Michael's wedding, we played as a string trio, providing the music for the prelude and ceremony.
Gushing over these detail shots that Sarah took! How breathtaking are these florals done by Forage & Fleur?!
Cori walked down the aisle to Norah Jones' "Come Away With Me" arranged for string trio! The rest of her set list was filled with love songs. :)
Taylor Dawn (taylordawndesigns.com) designed and planned this wedding and it was so great to have her at the helm!
Congrats to Cori and Michael! We were so honored to provide wedding strings for your special day!
Planner + Designer: Taylor Dawn
Photographer: Sarah Ingram
Florals : Forage & Fleur
Venue: Foxhall Resort
Cake: Lush Cakery
Hair + Makeup : Taylor Sellers
Dress : http://www.weddingangels.com/
Bridesmaid dresses: Adriana Papel + Jenny Yoo
Catering : http://simplycatering.org/
DJ : http://www.djqtip.com/
Hey ya'll, Amber here. It's throwback Thursday! So we are throwing it back to last month, when we traveled to North Carolina for a gorgeous wedding.
We had so much fun riding together up to North Carolina! Lots of awesome conversation, laughs, fun songs on the radio, and beautiful scenery along the way!
Tom and Chelsey's wedding was held at The Farm at Old Edwards Inn in Highlands, NC. What a stunning venue! Huge thanks to our gals at Chancey Charm Weddings for planning and coordinating an absolutely beautiful day!
Summer storms couldn't put a damper on this beautiful wedding.
The couple had a special request for us to include the benediction from their church. They asked if one of us could sing it, so I offered to sing, and I arranged it for viola and cello so Sarah Beth and Alana could play the backup music. It turned out really beautiful!
We played the cocktail hour under one of these breezeways next to the building where the reception would take place.
You can find a video clip from the cocktail hour on our instagram account, @cobaltstrings. :)
Look at those mountains! So beautiful. Can't wait until the next time we get to play here!
The countdown of our favorite 2017 weddings and events continues with a beautiful, rainy wedding at the Four Seasons in Atlanta. The wedding took place high above the city, with gentle rain streaming down the glass windows and the city as the backdrop. So gorgeous!
Congrats to Elizabeth and Michael!! Elizabeth walked down the aisle to Schumann's "Traumerei," which is one of my favorite classical pieces!
Even the lobby of the Four Seasons is gorgeous!
In June, we got to play an event for the International Rotary Club. the event was held at the Georgia Aquarium, so we had a blast playing next to the fish and whales!
We played the cocktail hour in the lobby, and the remainder of the event in the ballroom where the giant, awesome fish tanks are. It was so cool to play right next to the whales and rays!
For this event, we played a lot of jazzy standards, with some classical tunes thrown in.
Later in June, we got to play a wedding at the Fabulous Fox Theater in Atlanta! The wedding was held in the Egyptian Ballroom, with the cocktail hour taking place on the outdoor patio.
How beautiful is that ceiling!
Marcella and William's wedding was very sweet and incorporated a lot of elements of their faith. We played a lot of beautiful classical pieces for this wedding. which seemed very appropriate in this setting. A sweet wedding in an elegant setting makes for an all around lovely day!
We loved this outdoor patio space at the Fox!
In July, we got to play at one of our favorite venues, The Conservatory at Waterstone in downtown Acworth.
Whenever we play at the Conservatory at Waterstone, we sit on the balcony overlooking the ceremony. It's neat to have a bird's-eye view of the ceremony!
Tiffany and Branden's wedding was absolutely precious. It's obvious that they love each other like crazy. Their wedding was a testament not only to their love for each other, but of their faith in God. Their set list was awesome--for the prelude, we played a lot of super romantic, jazzy love songs like Gershwin's "Summertime" and Etta James' "At Last." Tiffany walked down the aisle to "Make You Feel My Love," and the couple left to Coldplay's "Viva la Vida." You can find a video of their recessional on our instagram account!
I'll end this post with one of the many outtake photos that fill my camera roll. We have way too much fun playing together! ;)