“A Slice of Heaven” with Anna Cakes

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anna cakes weddings

Anna Hightower, owner and operator of Anna Cakes, found her love of cake designing quite by accident. Agreeing to take a cake decorating course with a friend, Anna never dreamed of one day owning her own business. But, after just one class, she was hooked.

Growing up the daughter of a musician and an art dealer/interior designer, Anna had always been rooted in the arts. She spent the greater part of her late teens/early 20’s, immersed in art, poetry, singing, and songwriting, with the ultimate goal of recording with a major label. Little did she know, her pursuit of music would lead her to Orlando, and ultimately to Anna Cakes.

Following the dream, Anna, her husband Marlon, and their daughter Marlee relocated from Indianapolis, to Orlando, in 2004, to write and record with close friend, Kyle Cook (Matchbox Twenty). But music wasn’t enough. The artist in her, was in need of an additional outlet.

Cake design, which was to merely be a hobby, quickly grew into a full-blown passion. Armed with only a few classes, and the sound of her husband’s words ringing in her ears, “Business is 90% confidence, Anna,” she called her sister and said, “Cancel your cake lady. I’m making your wedding cake.” The fall-themed, 4-tiered cake received rave reviews, and Anna Cakes was born.

Why are Anna Cakes and Heaven Event Venue the perfect combo?

Heaven is hands-down one of my favorite venues in Orlando! It has such a cool vibe and so much versatility! You can transform the space in a million different ways. I pride myself in staying on-trend and also being adaptable when it comes to cake design, so this is something we have in common! I have delivered many wedding cakes to Heaven over the years. The room is always breathtaking, when we walk in. Anna Cakes strives to create that same reaction, when our clients lay eyes on their cake for the first time!

What are some trends you are seeing in wedding cakes for 2017?

The semi-naked cake is still going strong. It all started with the naked cake (no icing) but this trend has evolved to include a sister version, dubbed the “semi-naked”, because it includes a schmear or “crumb coat” of icing. It sounds hideous, but it is actually gorgeous when paired with fresh flowers. Very rustic and “pinterest-y”. haha

Another cake trend is bling bling bling! Brooches, rhinestone ribbons, sparkly monograms — it’s all the rage! Add pin spot lighting to the cake and it is sparkling for days! This is also typically an inexpensive option, since these decor items are non-edible — but it looks like a million bucks!

A really cool technique I’ve been getting requests for lately, is fondant marbling. Whether it is just one accent tier, or the entire cake, it really becomes a conversation piece. This look replicates actual marble, by kneading various colors together. It is fairly easy to achieve the design, but the outcome is really impressive. It almost has the appearance of being hand-painted.

And lastly, the 3D groom’s cake is really gaining traction. Replicating the groom’s car or dog or something near and dear to their heart, is a great way to surprise and honor them. These cakes can only be achieved by certain bakeries, so be sure to do your homework when ordering a 3D cake. They are not cheap, but they pack major punch, when done well. People will be talking about it for years, after the wedding!

What is one tip that you would give a bride planning a tasting in Central Florida?

My advice is to ask your venue and other vendors for referrals, and research them online first. Narrow it down to your absolute favorite bakery. Check their availability on your date, and schedule a tasting with them, just to be certain their cakes taste as good as they look. If you like the flavors, book them right then and there! Life is short and wedding planning is stressful. haha It feels good to check cake off the list. As for the actual tasting, I always suggest to bring cake pictures that have caught your eye, as well as dress pics, color swatches, floral proposal, invites/save-the-dates, and anything else that could inspire the design. Oh, and come hungry! I generally give people a ridiculous amount of cake, and let them take home the leftovers!

Fill in the blank: From a Cake Artist’s perspective – A Heavenly Event is when:

a couple’s vision becomes an even more amazing reality than what they had ever hoped or planned. This happens when you choose the right vendors and let them work their magic!

As Heaven is a blank slate, what are some stunning pastry opportunities?

It’s all about presentation. Lighting can really make an amazing cake look even more stunning. Height is something to consider also, since the high ceilings can allow for a larger cake display. Once we even suspended a cake from the rafters of Heaven on a piece of plexiglass. It appeared to be floating. SO GORGEOUS!!!

What inspires you to do what you love to do?

I have been making cakes for over 10 years, and I still get that “high” after each delivery. I stand back and take the final photo, and a rush of pride and excitement comes over me. So much goes into the cake, from cracking the first egg to placing the topper on the finished product. You take quite a journey with each cake, so seeing it go from sketch to life, is a real thrill. One of my favorites things about the whole process is the tasting and design session. I love meeting people and sketching their ideas. I have an art background, so people are often surprised at my sketches. They will say, “Oh wow! You’re an artist, too!” I think every great cake designer is an artist first.

If you could have one event there.. any theme.. what would it be?

Ever since my daughter was little, she has accompanied me on cake deliveries. She has seen many venues, but maintains that Heaven is her favorite. She just turned 17, so this is hopefully a long way from now, but I suppose her wedding would be my first choice! 🙂 Theme? I’ll leave that to her. At Heaven, the sky is the limit!

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anna cakes wedding and events

Taste of Heaven – Big City Catering

From Weddings, to Corporate Galas, to Family Christmas Parties, our management team has collectively gathered more than a hundred years of hospitality and catering experience. Our Owner and President, Tom Pokorny, had a vision to establish a Gourmet Kitchen that took all events to the next level.

The careful coordination of the Culinary and Operations teams blends menu creations and logistics into a seamless experience enjoyed by both guest and host alike. From the simplest party to the most lavish, casual or elegant, Big City is ever mindful of the details, assuring a successful event, regardless of budget.

Why Big City Catering and Heaven Event Venue is the perfect combo:

In Heaven anything is possible and that is what we say about our menus! Not having any set packages allows us to truly create anything you want. The Menus are simple suggestions!

What are some unique foods combinations you are creating?

Our newest {and most popular} creation is our Bacon Brulee Station – an entire slab of Bacon, rubbed down with Butter and Brown Sugar. Our Chef Brulees the Bacon on site and serves a slice of the Caramelized Bacon on top of Cheesy Grits…. YUM!

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What is one tip that you would give a bride planning a menu in Central Florida

Some clients focus too much on making all of their guests happy with the menu and not fulfilling their own desires. While it is very important to consider everyone’s eating habits {including allergies and intolerances} it is very difficult to make all 50 people happy!

What trends are you seeing in menus/table décor for 2017?

We are LOVING the Farm Table and Whiskey Barrel trend. We use RW Events for vintage rentals all the time.

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From a Catering perspective – A Heavenly Event is when:

1) We are able to get the Bride and Groom to sit down and eat for a few minutes!

2) Our Event Manager plans in great detail with the Bride and Groom so that we don’t have to ask them any questions on the day of – a seamless experience for them!

3)  EVERYONE has a great time with great food together!

What are 3 tips you can give someone that is looking to book their event at Heaven Event Venue?

1) When you are creating your floor plan, think about the flow of the food and beverage lines with the location of guest tables to make sure everyone has enough room!

2) When choosing lighting and color of lights think of how it will affect the look of the food on the guest’s plate.

3)  With Central Florida’s weather being so unpredictable always have a rain backup plan if you are doing anything outside.

With so many special products that are included, what is your personal favorite and why?

A Garlic Crostini topped with Boursin Cheese, BBQ Salmon and fresh julienned Cucumber. Drizzled with Honey.[2]

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We have so many fantastic menu items but some of our favorites are:

BBQ Salmon Crostini: A Garlic Crostini topped with Boursin Cheese, BBQ Salmon and fresh julienned Cucumber. Drizzled with Honey.

Beef & Blue Skewers: Tender chunks of Beef wrapped in Bacon and served on a bed of Bleu Cheese Dressing

As Heaven is a blank slate, what is one outrageous themed event you would love to see in this space? 

A futuristic theme would be really fun to create, I’m picturing all Metallic Silver and Gold Décor!

What inspires you to do what you love to do?

Here at Big City Catering we not only LOVE good food, but we love sharing good food with good people even more. When you prepare great food, it allows people to come together and experience a time together – no matter the day, year, or craziness of the world outside! We love creating these moments and memories for people and couldn’t ask for a better job in the world!

Practicing Gratitude Increases Our Happiness

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“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust

This is the time of year when we reflect on our accomplishments and celebrate our successes, both as individuals and as professionals. From corporate events and tradeshows to birthdays, weddings, and receptions, it takes a team of experts to transform our blank canvas into the event venue of your dreams. Being one of Orlando’s top party venues is no small feat and we couldn’t have done it without the assistance of our preferred professionals! We would like to take this time to show them how grateful we are to have them as part of Heaven Event Venue’s family. Without further ado and in no specific order, a HUGE thank you to:

Get Married on a Tuesday

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and, other unique ways to stretch your budget.

The reality is weddings can be really expensive and once Pinterest hit the market forget about it. So, the number one questions our clients struggle with is what to cut. . . or cut back on. Here at Heaven we will do our best to show you how a few simple pointers of shifting some expenses around!

Heaven Event Venue’s blank canvas gives you endless opportunities to create the wedding of your dreams that is within your budget!

Why do the weekends get all the love when it comes to wedding planning?

You could say that it is so those who work or need to travel to make it to your special day, but anyone who is interested in attending your wedding will make the time to be a part of such an important life event. By choosing an alternate day like a Tuesday or Thursday, many venues will work with couples at a reduced rate.

Mix it up a bit:

Nix all the high centerpieces and custom florals and try a few variations of height. This will not only save you money, it will create pleasing sight lines and dimension to your room.

Focus your lights to shine on the points that matter.

Spotlight the important showpieces like your cake and sweetheart table. Also, seek out package specials with your venue or DJ, Heaven has a state of the art lighting system, so already you are head of the game.

Design with a purpose, first work with what your venue already provides.

Special chairs in the lobby? Basic linen that simply needs a napkin upgrade? Utilize what is included before you blow your budget on items that aren’t necessary.

Think timeless not trendy.

When designing a wedding, keep it classic. One should not be able to tell in what decade the event has taken place. Remember those 80s dresses with the poof sleeves? (Point made) Plus timeless pieces can be more affordable.

Edit your list.

Focus on guests that mean the most to you and send out the invites in separate batches; immediate family and close family friends in one group, neighbors, parents’ guest list and acquainted friends in another and then your local bartender, new co- workers and so on.

Elope and have a stellar party when you get back.

Heaven is the perfect venue for everything to the wedding and reception itself, to an intimate celebration to gather together those near and dear to you, should you decide to elope and still want a night to remember.

DIY does not always equal savings but a professional wedding planner does!

Planners fees can range from $500 day of to $10,000+ based on your guest list, venue, time of year and location. These powerhouses plan events every day, they know who to go to, what to spend money on and which details matter most. They will save you time and energy, while being a neutral shoulder to cry on when you are getting pulled in several different directions. If you take anything from this article, hire a professional.

When you are ready to start planning your next event! Let the team at Heaven Event Venue guide you through the process!

Schedule your tour today. Site tours are available by appointment only, Monday through Friday between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM, with occasional weekend availability depending on our event schedule.

Kristen Weaver Photography and Heaven Event Venue

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Award winning, International wedding photographer, educator and fashion junkie – Kristen Weaver specializes in a style she classifies as ‘Comfortable luxury’. Since opening her photography business in 2009, she has photographed couples all over the world as they’ve said their ‘I Do’s’ and celebrate with their friends and family. Now expanding her business, she has an industrial style studio in Orlando, FL and has developed a strong associate and internship program to continue the KWP Brand. Kristen commissions a limited number of weddings each year along with working on number advertising campaigns, model and editorial shoots.

Why is Kristen Weaver Photography and Heaven Event Venue are the perfect combo?

We love blank spaces! My job as a photographer is to infuse my shooting style with your personal style! So using a venue like Heaven will allow you to create a space that is all about you!

What are some trends you are seeing in wedding photography for 2017?

I am absolutely loving the focus on gowns and floral design! Those were 2 of my top priorities when I planned my own wedding 2 years ago, so I’m super happy that it’s becoming more and more popular! I love loose, organic feeling bouquets with unique flowers and greenery.

What is one tip that you would give a bride planning a photography session in Central Florida?

Think about sunset times and light! If you love those beautifully lit portraits, be sure to consider time outside before sunset to achieve that look. I can’t tell you how many brides fall in love with bright and airy images, and then tell me their ceremony is at sunset and they’re not seeing each other before the wedding (meaning, pitch blackness for any photos).

Fill in the blank: From a photographer’s perspective – A Heavenly Event is when:

You’re able to really tell your personal stories through your wedding day!

With so many special products and features that are included at Heaven Event Venue, what is your personal favorite and why? I just love the blank space and the way it can be transformed in to anyone’s dream event!

As Heaven is a blank slate, what are some stunning photography opportunities?

One of my favorite things to shoot while I’m there is a fully realized reception space with lots of great uplighting, florals and linens!

What inspires you to do what you love to do?

My couples inspire me the most! Being in the wedding industry can be very stressful, and I definitely wouldn’t do it if I didn’t have these amazing couples by my side every step of the way! They’re more than clients – many become close friends and we connect in a way that allows me to photograph them and show off their relationship in a way that many people don’t get a chance to see!

If you could have one event there.. any theme.. what would it be?

I would do a New York loft-style ceremony with a simple altar and art-gallery style decor!

What are 3 things every couple should know/think about when searching for a photographer?

1) Connect with their style! Do you like more organic, natural posing? Or more traditional posing? We all work differently, so that’s a big part of hiring your photographer!

2) Understand their capabilities and trust them 100%. I can’t work with a couple who doesn’t have trust in me, and so I’d rather they find that photographer who they can really vibe with. The ultimate goal is for their day to be perfect and all the vendors work together to achieve that for them! (And if you have to show them Pinterest photos to recreate… you don’t trust their own artistic skills! Just something to keep in mind.

3) Don’t be afraid to talk money. We believe in mutual respect – our clients respect our prices and we respect their budgets! That said, any photographer will have ideas on how to make it work! We have associate photographers that can work with different budgets, or can offer great suggestions on timing to make less hours work. Sometimes, there isn’t much we can do – but we also have great friends in the industry and are happy to offer referrals!

Kristen Weaver Photography

Creations Catering and Events

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Creations Catering and Events is a chef-owned and operated company that has been serving up delicious creations in and around the Central Florida Area for nearly 13 years. We are a full-service catering company and specialize in everything from corporate lunch drop-offs, luxury galas, corporate receptions, beautiful weddings, in-home parties and more. If you can dream it, we can create it!

Whether you have your own Event Coordinator in mind or would like us to take the reins, Creations Catering and Events will work with you to make your special occasion a once-in-a-lifetime affair. Get ready to relax, because our team will make sure every detail is considered beforehand and meticulously carried out during the event so that you can enjoy it. Our Catering & Event Creativity is driven by the client’s vision and our attention to detail has made Creations one of Orlando’s finest catering companies.

Creations Catering and Events has been recognized by The Knot and Wedding Wire for excellence in the field of wedding catering, and we continue to earn rave reviews, glowing testimonials and repeat business from all of private event and corporate catering clients. No matter what the occasion, we continue to impress our guests with our dedication to delivering personalized, friendly service and our commitment to serving delicious, high quality food.

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Why Creations Catering and Events and Heaven Event Venue is the perfect combo:

We understand the Venue’s layout and can suggest details to a bride to ensure the wedding is flawless.

Unique Food Combinations:

Stuffed chicken breast with smoked gouda & spinach with a lemon beurre blanc. This Entrée is served well with onion & garlic mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus.  We would suggest pairing with a sauvignon blanc or a citrus IPA.

Tip to give a bride:

First off, Client testimonials are a great way to get a true feel of the reputation of the caterer.  We suggest to make sure they are licensed and insured.  A reputable catering company sets high standards to ensure every aspect of your special day goes as planned.

When planning a menu, simple and elegant is the best way to please your guests.  Ask the caterer what their most popular dishes are.

Trends:

Rustic décor has been very popular lately.  Many brides enjoy bringing natural elements indoors.  Lighting, burlap, wood and chalkboards can add a lot of character to the design.

From a catering perspective, a Heavenly event is when you have:

  1. Delicious food
  2. Beautiful venue and décor
  3. Seeing the satisfaction on your guests faces.

3 Tips on booking Heaven Event Venue:

  1. Heaven is a blank canvas that can be transformed into any vision you may have.
  2. It can accommodate a large guest count.
  3. The kitchen is great for a plated affair or there is plenty of space for a grand buffet.

Favorite product included:

The Glow Bar is a great addition to the venue!
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Outrageous themed event:

With Halloween being one of our favorite celebrated holidays, we would love to see a Halloween Ball filled with costumes, décor and a haunted house!

What inspires you to do what you love to do:

When an event is executed perfectly and we see the bride smiling, we know we achieved what was set out to do.  This industry is always topping the charts with the newest décor, food and trends to make any event a success.

Smells Like Heaven

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Last week the team of Heaven was able to sit down and chat with one of our beloved partners Jason Kang of Florida Flowers and Orchids. Jason started career growing orchids and now love getting to create bouquets and flower arrangements. We just love his creative work, and were able to ask him a few questions in our vendor feature “Smells like Heaven!”

Why Heaven Event Venue?

The best part about having a wedding at Heaven is telling people where it is- who doesn’t want to get married in Heaven?

What makes Heaven Event Venue so very special?

It’s an all-in-one venue that’s truly a blank space couples can make their own with chic options to create a memorable event.

What was your favorite event you produced here at Heaven Event Venue?

It was an event of white orchids, lilies with each vase full of fresh limes. It was something different.

What is one tip that you would give a bride seeking a venue space in Central Florida?

Make sure to keep in mind the weather- not only for yourself but your guests as well. If they’re not comfortable all your hard work for a perfect wedding is for nothing. An outside ceremony can be beautiful but always always ALWAYS have a backup in case of unpredictable weather changes.

What floral trends are you seeing for 2017?

Mixed metals and the use of geometric shapes incorporated into centerpieces and more Earthy elements like succulents and moss in terrariums and lanterns.

What is one tip you can give a bride on her floral selection?

Be aware of what’s in season! Find out what blooms will be available on your day and THEN start looking for design ideas. It’s very hard to tell a bride the March bouquet she’s in love with isn’t possible for her November wedding.

With so many special products that are included when you rent out Heaven Event Venue, what is your personal favorite and why?

The lighting can take an event from pretty to amazing. Especially having the ability to change it over the course of an evening. just as music sets the mood for a wedding the lighting sets the feel and tone.

As Heaven is a blank slate, what is one outrageous themed event you would love to see in this space?

Full complete Madea-style wedding with suspended live cherubs and angels down the aisle and over the altar- hey, it is Heaven!

What inspires you to do what you love to do?

Every time brides love their bouquets and start smiling and crying… that makes me work harder and harder!!

 

Why is Heaven your Choice?

Every wedding couples want to get married place like Heaven!

It was such a pleasure speaking with you Jason! Make sure you check out Florida Floral and Orchid and remember it is partner’s like this that make it @AHeavenlyEvent!

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When you are ready to book your next event contact us at Events@HeavenEventVenue.com