Three Tips Thursday, Vol. 9: Miami Marquees

I have a lot of favorite parts when it comes to running the venue, but truly, my most favorite is meeting couples and getting to know them, their vision, and their stories.

Maria and Joel were one of our first bookings in January 2022 – well before we celebrated our grand opening and just a couple of weeks after we’d planted most of the plants. The gardens had barely been established.

I remember their tour vividly. I was so nervous because while I had the vision for the venue, it certainly didn’t look like it yet, so it felt awkward showing off the baby-sized foliage and making hopeful promises that the plants would be much bigger by their wedding date.

But our meeting was kismet. Maria told me that she found our venue through a Facebook post. Our venue had been tagged as the location of one of her friend’s weddings. This was impossible, though, since we hadn’t yet hosted an event. When she double-checked the post, the location had been corrected.

Thankfully, Maria took that as a good sign that she was supposed to visit our venue. And Joel was actually the first one to fall for the venue, recognizing the potential it had (thank you, Joel!)

Ever since they booked, this incredible couple has become more than a client. Maria, knowing that I’d recently moved to Miami and didn’t know too many people yet, took it upon herself to invite me to festivities, support every endeavor we set out to accomplish at the venue, and set up play dates for our kids. This. This is my favorite part of having the venue. 

A few months ago, I received a phone call from an excited Maria. She and Joel along with Joel’s brother, Miguel, and his partner, Laura, had started a business: making and renting out marquee letters.

I couldn’t be happier for them. Maria has had dreams—still does—to start and run a business largely in part to build a legacy for their two sons. We can relate to those dreams.

Miami Marquees, which they aptly named their company, is truly a family business. Joel’s brother, Miguel, came up with the idea to build the marquee letters, asking Joel for his help in constructing them. Joel and Miguel’s father is a carpenter of 30 years, so he was able to assist them with constructing the letters and numbers.

Miguel’s long-term partner, Laura, also happens to be Maria’s closest friend from when they were babies in Cuba. They do a lot of the behind-the-scenes tasks for the business together. And recently, Maria’s brother bought a trailer and is converting it into a rentable mobile cart for events to add to the business’s growing repertoire of rentals.

Not only is their story amazing, but they also have top-notch marquee products. They’re high quality, hand-crafted wooden letters and numbers made by Joel, Miguel, and their father. And it’s easy to see that they made those letters with love because they’ve spent the majority of every free moment constructing them over the past several months.

Their marquees look fantastic in person and in photos, both during the day and lit up at night.

This all leads me into this month’s #ThreeTipsThursday. I felt that Maria and Joel would provide unique insight, from both the perspective of a bride and groom in wedding planning mode as well as a vendor in the events industry. They did not disappoint.

Photo Credit: Gardens of Weber Manor.

Three Tips for Hosting an Event

Below are Maria and Joel’s three tips for planning a wedding, which can also be used for larger events in general.

1. Keep your wedding plans organized.

Weddings can be so overwhelming and stressful, but one of the best ways to mitigate those feelings is to stay organized. Maria bought a notebook for $5 from Five Below at the beginning of their engagement and has managed to be one of the most organized brides we’ve yet to work with.

Maria: “The week after he proposed I got my own journal. And I have written in there the payments we made and the dates we made them…I have everything there, the seating chart, everything. And to me, that’s been a lot of help, you know, writing everything down. Because sometimes you lose a receipt or you can’t find emails or text messages. So I write everything down to make sure that I know what I paid off.”

Maria has printed invoices and receipts clipped to the notebook she uses for wedding planning. In her notebook she’s kept track of songs she likes that she wants played at the wedding. She wrote down her preliminary vows early on and has tweaked them over the past year. She used their journal to create a timeline to communicate to vendors.

If there’s a key lesson Maria wants to share, it’s to “make sure that you are organized, so you know what you’re doing.” 

Whether you use an Excel sheet, a wedding planning notebook, a generic journal, your phone’s notepad, or scratch paper, keeping track of your vendors and what you’ve paid will make the planning process much smoother.

2.     Give yourself time to plan the wedding of your dreams.

The nice thing about planning your own wedding is that you can decide when you want to host it. Do you want a short engagement? A long engagement? Whichever you decide, it should allow you enough time to bring to life your vision while staying within your budget.

Maria: “The best thing that could have ever happened to us was having a whole year to plan the wedding because it has been me and him (and obviously my mom and my brother), but we’re pretty much paying for everything. Lately, every paycheck that I get every week is going towards the wedding because we have two months left, and we want to pay everything off before December just to be good. 

Joel: “It’s not like we had the money and we’re like, ‘Okay, we’ll pay everything off right now.’ So [this year] gave us the time to pay everything off, on top of planning everything else…Time plays a big part in making sure everything’s paid off and making sure everything’s scheduled and good to go at the end.”

3. Hire the vendors with whom you have a good connection.

When it comes to planning a larger event with a longer time horizon, the likelihood that you are going to spend a good amount of time communicating with at least some of your vendors is high. Therefore, we collectively recommend you consider how well you connect with those vendors before booking them.

Maria: “Another tip from me: try to know who you’re doing business with. Not everyone has a passion for what they’re doing. Some vendors are all about the money, how they can get the most out of you. That’s all they want. Like, ‘How can I get the most out of these people?’ They see you as a dollar sign….”

Joel chimes in: “When you speak to vendors, get to know their personalities if you can. Get a vibe from them. And, you know, see how it feels, if you guys click and are on the same page about things. Also what helps is reading reviews online. Learn from other people’s experiences”

(Note: if there is the occasional bad review amongst a majority of good reviews, that’s usually not a reason to disregard that service provider.)

I think it goes without saying that a fourth tip is to include a beautiful marquee display at your next event! 😉 It’s the perfect way to add elegant, unique, and customizable décor to help you capture your special moment.

For any of our booked clients, we have special packages with Miami Marquees, so make sure to reach out to us if you’d like these beautiful letters at your wedding (we’re having “LOVE” and “MR & MRS”)!

To connect with Miami Marquees, follow them on Instagram.

Thanks for tuning in!

-Emily, Co-Founder, The Gardens of Weber Manor

Blog News: We love to connect with our clients and friends, and we publish a special newsletter every 1st Thursday of the month. We also provide a lot of wedding tips from our preferred vendors.

“You will find that most times you have a vision of what it is that you want to accomplish and that’s most important. It allows you to work backwards and make cuts and changes that will still reflect the overall outcome you wish to achieve. What good is splurging on one particular item if it doesn’t result in the overall outcome you were trying to create?

-Emily, Co-Founder, The Gardens of Weber Manor

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When I say that pictures and videos do not do this space justice, that is an understatement!! The Gardens of Weber Manor, in all of its whimsy and magic, is truly a perfect little nook in the heart of the Redlands. No matter what the vision or mood board, this venue and its versatility will allow you to transform it to match your wildest dreams. Add to that the fact that Mike & Emily are the absolute sweetest owners & venue managers, and there should be NOTHING holding you back from booking a tour and picking your wedding date that same day. It is clear that they have put their heart and souls into building up The Gardens from the ground up. So whether you’re planning a wedding, anniversary, birthday or corporate event, you need not look further. 

– Alianne Valladares-Prieto

The Gardens of Weber Manor is a hidden gem. This venue is magical. I can’t express how amazing it was working with Emily and Mike. They answered every question I had and made me feel that they had everything under control at all times. The staff was awesome!!! The rooms looked beautiful!!! I want to give a special thanks to Emily it was an absolute pleasure working with you. Everything went smoothly, easily and successfully thanks to Emily and Mike and the rest of the team. We felt like family from the time we started to plan the wedding and especially on our wedding day. Thanks to the Gardens of Weber Manor for the wedding of our dreams!

– Fernanda Rodriguez

We cannot say enough good things about this venue and the owners, Emily & Mike! It is truly a hidden gem. The garden is absolutely gorgeous – you really don’t even need to decorate because the scenery has so much beauty all itself. There are so many spots throughout the venue that could be used for different parts of an event, and no matter where you turned it was a perfect photo backdrop. Our friends and family kept telling us how beautiful the venue was and wondering how we found it.

– Kyla Hill