Posts Tagged ‘Perfect Wedding Venue’


Guide to a Perfect Birmingham Wedding: Comments from a Wedding Venue on the Wedding Cake (2 of 2)

Posted in: Wedding Traditions, Weddings | 1 Comment »

The Wedding Cake is a tradition going back centuries. Cutting the cake is also one of the highlights of the wedding reception. Choosing the cake is actually one of the more complicated decisions you will need to make during your wedding planning.

There are a number of misconceptions about a wedding cake. The biggest is that the wedding cake is for show, not for taste. Nothing could be further from the truth, but the fact remains that you probably have experienced a rather dry, freezer-tasting cake at a prior wedding.
This blog will attempt to simplify the cake-choosing ordeal so your cake becomes one of the fond memories of your perfect wedding!

The initial emotion most brides-to-be experience when looking for a cake is STICKER SHOCK! Cakes are expensive! A typical wedding cake costs between $500-$2000! This does not mean that you are going to have to pay that much, but many brides do. The number of slices and the complexity of the design and decorations heavily influence the cost of the cake. You can save a lot by having several smaller cakes or even cupcakes. You can also save a lot by avoiding the highly decorated cakes for something a little less complex.

The first step in planning for a cake is to find the baker. Ask around. There are numerous options ranging from a solo home based baker to grocery stores to even Walmart and Sams Club! Remember that some places actually use “frozen cakes” to start. Although this may save money, you may sacrifice taste. Ask around, check the Internet, talk to your venue manager and caterer. Talk to a wedding planner. All of these are good sources start with. Remember that all of the decisions regarding the cake are not essential to actually “book” the baker; you can make your choice of the baker prior to completing all of the other steps. Remember that the bakers that are in great demand may “book-up” a year in advance. Also note that a deposit is typically required so plan ahead.

The second step is to choose a design and components. Since the number of guests can influence the design, you will need to have at least an estimate of your guest count prior to this step. Since most cake decisions are occurring about 3 -6 months ahead of the wedding, most brides will have created a guest list for reference by the time you need this number.

Components vary as widely as the number of brides each year! You can choose the flavor of the actual cake, the types of fillings, the flavor of the icing and more! Take some time to consider each of these. Remember that each layer of the cake can offer a different choice so be prepared to explore your options.

Design: as unique as you! As you consider your cake, check out photos of cakes on Pinterest or other web sites. Choose a number and share the photos with your baker. The more communication you have with your baker, the more likely he or she will know exactly what you want. There are numerous basic styles ranging from “traditional” to whimsical. As you look at cakes, you will probably find a few that are very close to what your dream cake should be like. Remember that you can modify it to make it very personal.

Color: can be virtually any color. No rule says that you must have white icing! You can match your wedding colors or even choose a different color. Provide swatches of fabric or even paint chips from a paint store so you baker knows exactly what color you want.

Ask when the cake will be created. Cakes that are frozen for a few days will still taste fine, but the shorter the time between creation to plate the better!

Transporting your cake is a high-risk activity. We advise brides to have the baker deliver and set up the cake. We also suggest this happen late in the set-up process so workers setting up the band equipment, tables and chairs, lighting and other decorations do not attempt to move it. You can find lots of catastrophic stories about wedding cakes on the Internet!

Remember that the cake can include non-edible components such as ribbon or fabric.

Cake Toppers: Unless you have a vintage cake topper from a loved one, don’t top it with a cheesy plastic topper. It will detract from the art-work! Some couples use a topper that has meaning such as a special vase, piece of coral from a trip they took, a monogram, a seasonal item such as a snowflake or autumn leaves.

When should you cut the cake? Traditionally the cake cutting signifies the end of the wedding, but many couples choose to cut it at the end of the dinner so people who wish to leave before the party starts (think of the elderly) can enjoy it.

Plan for a complimentary color for the linen on the cake table.

Use a decorative cake stand to make your wedding cake really stand out. Woodrow Hall has several to choose from!

Woodrow Hall has purchased “pin lights” (compact flood lights that shine a rather focused beam) to shine on your cake to really highlight your masterpiece! Remember that when the room lights are dimmed, most colors look beige or grey! We offer these lights to specifically highlight your creation!

Remember that a Wedding Cake is a piece of art. It will probably vary somewhat from any sketches or photos or colors you are attempting to match.

Woodrow Hall would love to assist you with your wedding plans!

Call or text 205-243-4243 or 205-200-6494 or contact us by email at or

You can also schedule a time to stop by at Woodrow Hall by visiting our scheduling tool on our website:

We look forward to serving you!


Guide to a Perfect Birmingham Wedding: Comments from a Wedding Venue on the Wedding Cake (1 of 2)

Posted in: Wedding, Wedding Traditions, Weddings | No Comments »

A wedding cake is a work of art. And art can come in a variety of forms. Likewise, cake makers use a variety of terms to describe the ingredients and decorating techniques. This first blog on Wedding cakes will define the various terms so you can walk in informed and confident!


Gumpaste: a mixture of cornstarch, gelatin and sugar used to create realistic appearing flowers and fruit

Cornelli: a decorating technique used to crate lace-like patterns

Pulled Sugar: boiled sugar mixture that is edible and can be pulled to create flowers and bows

Dragees: edible balls of sugar coated with gold or silver

Basketweaver Latticework: a piping technique that creates interwoven basket-like patters of vertical and horizontal lines

Buttercream: a butter-based, creamy smooth icing that stays soft. Can be used to create piping, swags and decorative rosettes. This icing will not survive a hot summer outside wedding, as it will melt! But if your wedding is inside, this icing can be much less expensive and just as good-looking as fondant.

Swiss dots or dotted Swiss: A random piping technique that creates a find dot Swiss fabric

Fondant: an icing made from cornstarch, gelatin and sugar that is rolled out like pie-crust with a porcelain looking finish. It can be stretched over numerous shapes. This icing can handle heat like no other! One of the more expensive icings.

Ganache: Rich sweet chocolate icing or filling that is more dense than a mousse but less dense than fudge. This is a temperature sensitive icing that does not handle hot humid conditions

Torte: a cake with a thick texture that does not use leavening agents such as baking powder or soda

Marzipan Paste: A fondant like paste that can be rolled into sheets or molded into shapes. Made from ground almonds, sugar and egg whites. Beware the nuts if you are hosting to nut allergic guests

Pillars: wood or plastic structural elements to create a tiered cake

Royal icing: A paste like icing that dries to a hard and brittle final product. Made from egg whites and sugar. Used for latticework, beading, bows and flowers.

Whipped Cream: a soft whipped icing that goes well with fruit filled cakes but will not handle outside warm weather temperatures.

Woodrow Hall would love to assist you with your wedding plans!

Call or text 205-243-4243 or 205-200-6494 or contact us by email at or

You can also schedule a time to stop by at Woodrow Hall by visiting our scheduling tool on our website:

We look forward to serving you!


Birmingham’s Perfect Wedding Venue’s Guide to Your Wedding: Centerpieces

Posted in: Wedding Support, Wedding Traditions, Weddings | No Comments »

Although most weddings still have a LOT of flowers, we do see more and more weddings using creative alternatives to replace least a portion of their previous flower purchases.

Of course one of the most favored alternative is a candle in a lovely vase. And don’t think of just candles, many brides are opting for the oil candles that are inexpensive and do not leave you with the extra costs of removing wax from the linens! Lanterns are also popular and prevent the wax issue from being a problem.

Perfect Wedding Venue for Small Weddings, Woodrow Hall

The Magnolia Room at Woodrow Hall can easily seat about 100 people. Gold Chiavari chairs are standard with this room along with hand made tables and custom window treatments. This banquet hall is also very affordable!

Organic materials such as pine cones, reeds, tree branches, acorns, nuts, leaves and other tree materials, especially if sprayed with silver or gold paint and arranged in tall glass vases offer you a very inexpensive home made alternative that can be made weeks ahead of time, unlike flowers. Since most brides cannot prepare fresh flowers the day before their wedding, this alternative lends itself to a DIY approach.

Remember that dry organic material and flames do not mix well so do not plan to use candles with these options in the same vase!

Coffee Beans are a great way to create a delicious aroma and a centerpiece combined! They can be placed in a glass vase and a candle used with them or even fill the base with a little water and use a single large flower for a unique look.

Fruit and vegetables are available in a huge assortment of colors, shapes and sizes. These can also double as favors for the guests to take home if left whole. A new way to have a “green” wedding!

Also, if you combine a mirror with a small centerpiece you can create an endless variety of alternatives to flowers and have a look and feel that fits your style!

Woodrow Hall is a wonderful alternative to a church for your wedding ceremony. In addition to holding your reception at Woodrow Hall, we host wedding ceremonies also. This is becoming a rather common occurrence as many couples do not have a “home church” or there are religious differences that preclude the use of a church.

We have mastered the transition from audience seating to banquet seating with a short intermission that allows the couple to have time for photos and the guests to have cocktails and other refreshments in our large foyer.
Call 205-243-4243 to visit our unique, historic venue!


Guide to the Perfect Birmingham Wedding: Ten Catering Tips from Woodrow Hall Wedding Venue

Posted in: Affordable Birmingham Wedding, Food At Your Wedding, Wedding Support | No Comments »

Food for your reception can vary from simple finger food to a full sit down dinner with numerous courses. The combinations and types of food are virtually endless, but one common denominator is that all but a few courageous brides contract with a caterer. Woodrow Hall has a policy to allow choice, so we allow you to choose a caterer. But we do have some advise on how to choose that vendor.

First, choose a vendor who has experience with weddings. We saw one couple choose a street vendor with a rolling kitchen who sold food at fairs and other outside events… with less than successful results. We have also seen friends, family members and other non-professional people attempt to cater a wedding. Many of these resulted in a disappointed bride and groom as well as guests who were left shaking their heads.

So, we have created a list of ten tips!

1.) Choose a professional

2.) Make sure they are licensed

3.) Ask for references and check them out!

4.) Taste their food

5.) Be honest about your budget

6.) Ask if you can provide some of the food items, especially if you have an aunt who makes killer desserts!

7.) Read and understand the contract

8.) Insist that the caterer coordinate the entire event with the wedding planner, baker, venue and DJ to make sure the day runs smoothly.

9.) Make sure the contract spells out how many servers the caterer will bring. Rule of thumb 1 per 50 guests for buffet, 1 per 25 guests for served dinner.

10.) Hold back 5-10% of the total payment until the venue gives you the all clear sign. Caterers have been known to leave a big mess for the venue and you will face increased clean up charges if this happens.

Woodrow Hall invites you to choose from any caterer on our list of preferred caterers or bring your own. But remember we will have them sign an agreement that covers their responsibilities and will require him or her to be licensed and insured and clean up afterward.

Call Woodrow Hall for a visit or to talk about your upcoming wedding!


Guide to a Perfect Birmingham Wedding and Reception: Budget Worksheet

Posted in: Affordable Birmingham Wedding, Wedding Support | No Comments »

The following are the individual items you need to include in your budget. Use this to start the process of finding ballpark figures for each of the items. Once you have made a few calls and visited a few places, you can start to set a realistic budget.

Save the Date Cards
Postage for both
Misc stationary (thank you notes, letter head for notes to your bridemaids, etc.)
Wedding Attire: Tuxedo rental, Bridal Gown, Honey Moon Clothes
Attendant Gifts
Officiate Fees
Wedding Coordinator/Planner
Parking Lot Attendants/Security
Wait Staff (plan for one per 25 people for a sit down dinner and one per 50 for a buffet
Clean Up Services
Venue Rental
Misc Rentals: linens, dishes, glassware, special decorations, audiovisual equipment

Woodrow Hall would be delighted to provide you with a free estimate on our services. We have years of experience and two beautiful, restored, historic banquet halls to host weddings from 50 to 350 guests! Call 205-243-4243 to set up an appointment to see a perfect venue for your wedding!


Guide to a Perfect Wedding: Advice From a Birmingham Venue on Budgeting

Posted in: Affordable Birmingham Wedding, Wedding Support, Weddings | No Comments »

Your wedding is probably going to be the most important day of your life. It demands a lot of time and effort to plan it. And it will cost a lot of money! More money than you will ever spend again in your life for a single celebration… that is until you pay for your children’s wedding!

It is easy to get carried away when you are trying to live a life long dream in one day. But getting carried away is going to cost you a lot in stress and potentially cripple your first years of marriage. So, to ensure your wedding is relatively stress free and to be able to pay for your housing… you need to set a budget.
Weddings typically cost thousands of dollars. They involve a lot of individual costs, but there are some typical budget numbers that hold true.

The different “buckets” are:

Wedding reception: 50%
Photography: 10%
Music: 10%
Wedding Attire: 10%
Flowers: 10%
Stationary: 6%
Other 4%

You should set a relative budget for the wedding but be realistic. You cannot budget $1000 for your caterer for 200 guests unless you plan to serve a “Happy Meal”! Likewise a full, open bar for 150 adults of drinking age cannot be done for less than $3000. And renting a high end venue is not possible in Birmingham for less than $1000 unless you choose a community center and even then you will spend a fortune to decorate it if during the weekdays it serves as a basket ball court!

Although there are a thousand ways to have an affordable wedding, remember that most costs for a wedding are directly related to the number of guests. So plan accordingly. If you want a big wedding, expect to pay a big price or you will need to make compromises on the food, venue and entertainment. And most importantly, the day is a celebration of your love and commitment to one another and a way to have your loved ones celebrate the start of a new life together.

Woodrow Hall would love to help you plan your wedding. We are experts at helping couples meet their budget and have developed innovative ways to make the wedding of your dreams elegant, romantic, memorable… and affordable!

Call 205-243-4243 or email VintageRomance@WoodrowHall to set up a visit or just to talk!


Part 5, Guide to the Perfect Wedding: Birmingham Venue Offers Ideas, Monograms

Posted in: Uncategorized, Wedding Support, Weddings | No Comments »

Monograms have long been a form of identification that uses the letters of a person’s name or organization. They were an original form of currency when the initials of a ruler or governor were placed on a coin. This very personal identification was also used on royal banners, Coat of Arms, armor, weaponry and other important items.

Monograms can be both simple and beautiful and can come in an almost infinite variety. They can vary from a block type font to calligraphy and everything in between! They can contain graphic elements, swirls, an object or image … just about anything. They can be elegant, modern, classic or even fun. They are gaining in popularity as a way to demonstrate personal style.

Monograms are a popular wedding element. Many couples are designing custom monograms as a way of celebrating their wedding. Computer programs can do the work for you or you can use a scanned in version of a free-hand drawing as your monogram.

Microsoft Word can be used to create a monogram. Specific step by step instructions are available at:

Another method is to download a free software set. Many of these are available and are useful in either a limited fashion of for a short period as a way to entice you to purchase the more advanced program. A sampling of these are available at this URL:

You can also hire an artist to create an even more complex or beautiful monogram. Once done, you can use the digital version of the monogram to have cards printed, wedding invitations, save the date notifications, gobo lighting blanks for your reception, towels, virtually anything!

The convention for creating the monogram is to use the first initial of the man’s first name, the last name and then the first initial of the women’s first name.

Your unique monogram is a way to grace many of the items related to your wedding! SOme brides use a gobo, a projector like device that projects your monogram on the wall, floor, ceiling or drapery adding a custom look to any reception.

Woodrow Hall would love to see your monograms at our historic event venue. We now have two separate ballrooms that can handle up to 350 guests. Call 205-243-4243 for a discussion or to schedule a visit!



Posted in: Wedding Traditions, Woodrow Events | No Comments »

Unless you have helped with a lot of weddings or unless you have been through it before… you will find that planning a wedding is an immense challenge.

A wedding is a coming together of two people and their families and involves integrating tradition, cultures, religion, symbolism and creating a new life together as a couple. A wedding is also a celebration. Just the traditions could fill a book!

This task is something that will take a lot of time and energy, not to mention money. But it can be a rewarding time for the couple and the families involved.

One of the first tasks facing a couple is the task of finding inspiration for their theme. Your inspiration can come from a favorite hobby, a sport, a common love that both of you share, a family tradition, a past experience that gave your life significant meaning, virtually anything.

Some examples:

If you and your fiancé went to a special place on vacation, are there elements that were especially important to your memories of your trip? How about the sea? You could choose sea shells, sea horses (which incidentally mate for life), pink and coral colors, sand candles.

Or if you love the outdoors…you could choose elements from trees, pine cones, acorns, lots of wild flowers, vine wreaths. Shades of green and brown make up your color theme. Candles could be floating in a vase with water and pebbles.

If romantic candles turn you on, pair them with lots of mirrors and low light. Use crystals or crushed glass in the candle-holders. White flowers look great in low light conditions. Gold colors particularly “shine” in candlelight. Dramatic up-lights against the textured walls set off a dreamy atmosphere.

Some brides draw on previous generations for their theme. An antique wedding dress found in your grandmothers cedar chest, with plenty of lace can serve as a source of your theme. Lace and lots of soft colors and fabrics lend themselves to setting the stage for the center pieces. Crystal candle holders bring back the vintage feel of weddings long gone. Coupled with parchment you can recreate a turn of the century wedding theme.

Inspiration can come from virtually anything. Look into your heart for those fond memories of joyous times and you are sure to come up with a theme that makes your wedding unique and memorable!

Woodrow Hall can offer you inspiration. We have a collection of wedding books to pique your inspirational genes! We also have a vintage setting that can adapt to many different styles and color choices. Visit us for inspiration!

Call 205-243-4243 to set up an appointment or just to chat!


Guide to the Perfect Birmingham Wedding Venue. Third of a Series: Three Lighting Tips

Posted in: Wedding, Weddings | No Comments »

Lighting is EVERYTHING! Think about the last great sunset you saw. How about fireworks. And your last candlelight dinner. What were the common elements that made them special… LIGHT!

When you plan your wedding reception, think about the lighting. Do you want really overhead florescent lights?… of course not! Think about your lighting as you choose your reception venue or you may be stuck with them!

Do you want dozens of soft candlelights? What about the cake: how do you set it apart? Do you want the walls of the venue to really show off some texture?
Think about how light can add romance, drama and excitement to your wedding.

Lighting can be very complex and expensive, but the management of Woodrow Hall has made it simple.

First, Up-Lighting

Up Lights are used to show off the exposed brick walls and to add a wonderful atmosphere to accent your wedding colors. Woodrow Hall can provide a dozen of more Up-Lights that can be programmed to a number of colors.

Second, Pin Spot Lighting

We suggest this be used to light up the cake. This light can be set up from across the room but it has such a small beam that it can literally make your cake “POP”! It adds a totally new dimension to the room as the cake now stands out instead of hiding in some corner.

Third, Points of Light

These can be candles or small LED lights. Think about having a spray of branches lit up with small LED lights on a large centerpiece. These items can be powered by batteries or electric cords so they can be placed virtually anywhere. Other examples of “points of light” are an entire wall of small LED lights that hang from above. They add an especially festive atmosphere for a late night wedding reception.

When you plan your wedding reception, ask about lighting. Woodrow Hall has planned for your lighting needs and can save you hundreds of dollars in rental and set up fees. We can provide a variety of flood, spot and Up-Lights to make your wedding shine!

Call Woodrow Hall (205-243-4243) for a free estimate. We can serve a wedding for up to 350 people. And if you plan for about 100 guests, we have just opened a second smaller, very affordable banquet hall that is perfect for this size! It has Chiavari chairs and wonderful lighting options.


Guide to Choosing the Perfect Birmingham Wedding Venue: First of a Series

Posted in: Wedding Traditions | No Comments »

You have chosen the perfect mate, the perfect ring now, how do you find the perfect wedding venue?

First, define what you want your wedding and wedding reception to look like. Do you want a hotel banquet room, a VFW hall, or something more unique, like a historic ballroom? Do you want atmosphere, a great dance floor, romantic lighting, a stage, tradition, elegance, a rich patina? Or would you be willing to settle for florescent lights and carpeted floors?

Do you want to hold both the wedding and reception in the same location? This is an option more than half of all brides are now taking as it saves a LOT of money and makes the entire day go much more smoothly!

Second set a budget. Remember that the hall expense is typically the second most expensive parts of your budget. Food and drink are the biggest expense. Also, be realistic. Remember that banquet halls require an enormous amount of labor to set up and tear down, scrub and polish the floors and this labor makes up the majority of the cost of the venue rental.

Determine the size of your wedding reception.
The more guests you invite, the higher the cost as virtually every cost is proportional to the number of guests. Also, there are fewer banquet facilities capable of holding 200-350 people than 100 people and they charge accordingly.

Research venues on-line starting with the needed size. Call, look up photos and start a notebook. Take notes.

Visit every venue you are considering. And include a few venues that you might not otherwise include so you can get a feel for how they compare. Also, don’t forget to ask a lot of questions… but that is the topic of another conversation!

Woodrow Hall is really a perfect place for your wedding and reception. We have two different ballrooms. With a century of restored charm, all of the modern touches you want and the service you expect, we can make your dream wedding come true. Call 205-243-4243 for a visit or to talk to our manager, Tazmine!