When Austin event partners, Lesbutante and The Boss, asked Oh, Henry Productions to join forces back in 2014, we jumped at the chance. Thus began a long planning process to create four days and three nights of programming with six different events at four different venues on Galveston Island. The event logistics provided countless obstacles to manage and overcome, and the event proved to be a grueling challenge. But a small army banded together and created a safe, sex positive space for LBGTQ folks to rock out in late summer.
Pictured below is the Saturday night event on the Galveston Island Pleasure Pier. This .25 mile pier comes complete with a stage at the furthest point under the Ferris wheel. It was exciting to move a 36 foot truck of gear from 3 blocks away using only a push trolley and a Gator. Unloading took an astonishing 8 hours and three or four trips. But in the end, we created an amazing light show and hosted a rock band - a totally uncharted event for the Pier operators.
One of the coolest parts of this project was bringing together so many Austin event and performer heavyweights. Partnering with set designers like Jack and Christine Darling, event pro and my right hand lady, Nikki DaVaughn, Lisa Hause (who's photography is showcased here and all over this website), and BedPost Confessions' producers created a magical combination of event professionals. Performers Elle G and Austin staples, Julie Nolen and Jen Mulhern brought the house down with their vocal skills. Out of town talent from LA and NYC also added flavor to this inaugural southern coast event. And don't forget about event mascot, That Bitch Judy - a life size blow up doll who garnered more social media followers than most.
We couldn't have asked for a harder working production crew. Our lighting and sound teams pulled off miracles and made every show go off without a hitch. All event volunteers were top notch and oh, so cool. We're grateful to be a part of projects like these and so thankful to everyone who made it possible.
Photo credit to PIP and Lisa Hause Photography.
When the Blue Ridge Pride Center asked Oh, Henry Events to assist with the first LGBT Wedding Expo in WNC, we jumped at the opportunity. Building and organizing conferences is a passion because we love managing large scale event logistics. After a few planning meetings the concept came to life. We decided that the event could be more than just an average expo and the Three Pillars of Impact concept was born. We set out to entertain, educate, and build community. It was an honor to create a safe space in the community for LGBT friendly vendors and couples to get the information they need to help them plan their dream wedding.
After a day of speakers and presentations, vendor exhibitions, and real wedding between Erin + Mary, The Paper Crowns entertained a packed ballroom at the DoubleTree Asheville.
The event gathered a bit of press, also. The Expo was a chance to celebrate how far we've come. Legislation like HB2 reminds us there is still work to do to ensure we can all equally celebrate love.
Corner Kitchen is an Asheville staple. Not surprising since they have an amazingly delicious retail restaurant. As an event caterer, they specialize in upscale southern comfort food. They have full service offerings and a knowledgeable and available staff. Their food is delicious and working with them is a dream. They also run an equally amazing downtown spot, Chestnut.
Saffron Fine Foods knows the business of food. Their retail restaurant, Homegrown makes the best fried chicken this side of the Mississippi, and upscale is no problem for them either. Locally owned and operated, this group also certifies a living wage for their employees. Also an eco-friendly establishment, it is no wonder they are an AVL favorite.
Western North Carolina is a gorgeous place to get married, and there are no shortage of ahhhmazing venues in the Asheville area. Here's our take on the lowdown in the AVL.
The most obvious and well known venue is arguably The Biltmore Estate. George W. Vanderbilt purchased the land and commissioned architect Richard Morris Hunt and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted to build the French style chateau. It was completed in 1895 and is visited by over a million people per year today. The Biltmore is a gorgeous and well known spot to say, "I do." But they are not the only game in town by far.
The North Carolina Arboretum is a stunning spot for your outdoor ceremony. Plus, they advocate for green weddings. You can have both your ceremony and reception there, or move downtown to Celine and Company for your post-ceremony celebration. Owner, Kim Lloyd, was the head chef at Celine for several years before taking over. She offers a complete package including basic rentals, linens, amazing food and a sweet downtown location that makes for an easy transition into the after party.
The Venue is another all inclusive downtown space that can cover your rentals, linens, china, bar staff, food, and even sweet decor. The space is completely gorgeous and convenient for your downtown Asheville wedding. And we can't talk about wedding spaces without mentioning The Altamont Theatre - an artsy little space downtown on Church Street. Right outside of Asheville there are also many options. Head over to The Farm in Candler for a lovely experience with exquisite views of The Blue Ridge Mountains. Or a new venue, Olivette where you can get married on the banks of the French Broad River. The Olivette grounds will take your breath away. A little further out in Canton there's an adorable and rustic space called Camp Hope. Once a kid's summer camp, this unique venue is equipped with a commercial sized kitchen and old school camp-style bunk beds. It is a great space with a rustic aesthetic and budget friendly.
There are many options in and around Asheville for wedding ceremony and reception. From traditional to funky, large and small. The Blue Ridge Mountains make a gorgeous backdrop for wedding day photos and there's a thriving metro to keep you entertained before and after.
Your wedding, next to buying a house, car or your college education, may be one of the most expensive financial investments you make. The average wedding in Buncombe County is $22,921. The national average is between 26k - 31k, depending on the source. While the median is around 10k. Whatever your budget, you are going to hire multiple vendors to create what is essentially a large production, not dissimilar to a theatre show or any other live entertainment event you would purchase a ticket to attend. A wedding is an event steeped in tradition and decorum. Whether religious or secular, your wedding will consist of many ceremonious elements specific to your cultural and familial background. Your wedding is beautiful, live art.
There are many effective DIY strategies and tricks you can employ to have a gorgeous and reasonable wedding. When OHE is hired for Day of Coordination, brides often design their own wedding aesthetic. Many of the brides I've worked with will box up and label the decor by table so that it can be easily placed in the location they envisioned. This strategy saves on design fees and helps the coordinator ensure decor is appropriately placed and all gets used.
With all the DIY tricks used, there are still things for which you will need help. While it is true that Aunt Mae took a photography class, and your cousin, Kevin, just bought a new turntable and he is really making a go at becoming a DJ in da club scene - there is no substitute for experienced, professional wedding vendors. You will pay for this experience, and it will be worth the investment.
When your wedding is over, what you will have left (besides the obvious new life-partner) are a lot of wedding favors and your memories. When your memory fades you will have photographs. Hiring an amazing photographer is key to a successful wedding. You will narrow down the selection process by various elements: style, personality, inclusion of the bridal portraits, hours of coverage, ect. And here is what you are paying for:
Ever wonder what goes into a single wedding for photography?
(Courtesy of Shannon Skloss Photography)
That is between 25 - 62 hours of work per wedding. As Shannon says, "It is a beautiful process!" But it is a process, and one that is well worth the investment in your event.
We are thrilled by SCOTUS decision to make love accessible to all Americans. The rights granted by this decision put everyone on equal footing. These basic civil rights are long over due and it is a positive step in the history of our country.
Every LGBTQ friendly wedding vendor is excited to be a part of helping couples join together in matrimony. Oh, Henry Events is no exception. However, as engagements spark and the planning process begins, I can't help but wonder if the traditional ceremonial elements of the wedding and reception will continue - or if couples will be inspired to use this historical change to spice up the occasion. The ritual goes something like: ceremony, photos, toasts, dinner, dancing, cake, photos, sparklers, followed by a mad dash to the limo. It is a tradition as old as time. But now we have an opportunity to break with tradition on every level. I encourage all couples to look at their wedding ceremony and determine what makes it special for them. And then to incorporate all of these things into a unique service that is representative of their love, and their journey together.
There are many companies who chose to remain apolitical in business. This is a sound philosophy if yo want to maintain the status quo. However, it is my opinion that the right to marry whomever you choose is a decision beyond race or gender. Love is all conquering. As a long time supporter of LGBT rights, Oh, Henry Events is paying close attention to the legislation attempting to overturn the gay marriage ban in Texas. With the recent election of Republican Governor Greg Abbott we may not join the 30 states now allowing for same sex marriage tomorrow, but the good fight continues.
*photo credit nbcnews.com
1. Build your community
If you want to have a reoccurring event on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis there is no way to shortcut building your community. Artist Amanda Palmer writes in The Art Of Asking that people want to help when they feel like they are part of something. When you start a show, or performance, or dance party - whatever it is, you have to consistently connect with your audience. There is an exchange of ideas and energy happening and this is what makes people want to come to your event. There is no way to make this happen overnight either. Overtime, consistently communicating with your audience will help you build your following.
2. know your audience
Every marketing textbook will tell you to know your target audience. Who does your event appeal to? What does your event look like? Who is going to come? How will you find them? Most importantly, how will they find you? Understanding all of these layers will help you determine who your audience is. Only then will you know how to reach them so they know your event exists.
3. don't over saturate
There is a new song on the radio that you love and at first you don't mind listening to it over and over. Then you find yourself changing the station when it comes on. If you're fortunate enough to find an audience for your event you can love them, inform them, entertain them - but don't oversell them.
It's just after Valentine's and he finally proposed. You told your friends, shared photos of the ring, and your Facebook status has been updated. Now, cue the barrage of questions about details. When is the wedding? Which venue? What kind of food? What do you want your dress to look like? Where will you get his ring? Whoa, you say - we just got engaged.
Brace yourself for this new stage. Once the ring goes on your finger the questions can be non-stop. It's ok to say that you don't know yet, and you just want to take moment to enjoy this new phase of your relationship. Then, when you are ready the first step is usually to pick a venue. Often, the available venue dates are influential in your wedding date. From there, just remember to take it one day at a time. Wedding planning is a marathon, and minimizing your stress can allow you to enjoy the journey.
Using a wedding venue that provides catering is an one way to make it a little easier to manage your budget. And there are several venues that are gorgeous and have great food. A few we have worked with are The Terrace Club, Chateau Bellevue, and Thurman's Mansion at the Salt Lick. These venues also provide the majority of your table rentals, (go for the chair upgrades), basic linens, staff, and even centerpieces at The Salt Lick.
Most venues that do not provide on-site catering have a recommended or approved catering list. These are usually folks with whom the venue has worked, and they know the caterers can easily set-up and provide great service. Many of these venues do not have full kitchens, so you will want a caterer who can bring everything they need on-site.
For private parties, there is a lot more flexibility with catering options, and the choices can be overwhelming. Just about every restaurant in Austin offers levels of catering. It is important to ask if they provide staff to help serve so your guests aren't responsible for set-up. If you are open to a more non-traditional option, reach out to one of Austin's many food trailers to ask for catering for your next event.