Top 3 Affordable and Luxurious Venues in Scottsdale, AZ

Congratulations on your engagement! I am sure there is a lot of planning to do and perhaps you are still not sure where to host your wedding. If that’s the case, I can suggest the perfect city: Scottsdale, Arizona. The perfect blend of scenery, warmth and entertainment. Located in the grand Phoenix area, Scottsdale is […]

Top 3 Affordable and Luxurious Venues in Scottsdale, AZ was first seen on: Venues and Vows


New Orleans – The Perfect Place to Have Your Bachelorette Weekend

 Welcome to New Orleans (NOLA)! This is one of the most sought after US cities, with its crazy nightlife, tantalizing cuisine, distinguished culture, vibrant architecture and amazing music on every corner. You and your guests will have an endless list of fun things to do! We’ve provided a guide to the best neighborhoods, restaurants, and […]

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My Backyard Wedding – Dinner Reception: Menu or Buffet or…?

There isn’t just *one* way to do dinner for your wedding. In fact, you may not have an evening celebration at all. I was just at reception that was a brunch! The bride and groom decided they wanted a quick ceremony and to have a day-long celebration so they started with a brunch complete with […]

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My Backyard Wedding – Bachelorette Party

Tradition says before the romantic day there should be one last ride for the bride – and groom, of course. Bachelorette parties are not mandatory but they sure are a great excuse to gather your best friends for some adventure that will generate fun memories for a lifetime. Maybe you are not a big party […]

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My Backyard Wedding – Choosing the Dress

For many brides, the wedding dress can be a crucial decision. For me, choosing the right dress was really important because it’s that *one* day you really get to shine for your fiancée and loved ones.  It’s understandable that we want to look stunning, right?? Just like the other decisions I had to make, this […]

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My Backyard Wedding: Three Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing your Wedding Venue

My Backyard Wedding: Three Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing your Wedding Venue was first published to: Venues and Vows Blog

Stevie's parents backyard was just the perfect size and location for our ceremony.
Stevie’s parents backyard was just the perfect size and location for our ceremony.

Honestly, before getting engaged I never gave much thought about how I wanted my wedding to be. At first, we thought of having the wedding in Brazil but with time we just figured it would make more sense to do it in the US, so we started planning.

Whenever you start searching for a wedding venue, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What is important to us?

First, remember to always take your future spouse’s opinion under consideration. You may not agree on everything, but you two always need to talk and try to reach a common decision. Remember, this day will be for the both of you. If it weren’t for your partner you wouldn’t be getting married, right?

That being said, you two should sit together and write a small list of things you have in common: places that are special for your relationship, where your favorite date was, where you had your best memories… It may sound weird but trust me, usually that’s where the idea for your venue choice will come from. For example, maybe you two met at a country concert and you both love country music. A great idea and a place that highlights this would be to get married in a barn.

Country inspired property in Austin, TX. Can host up to 175 people, available at our website.
Country inspired property in Austin, TX. Can host up to 175 people, available at our website.
  1. Who needs to be there?

It’s important to be honest with yourself when you start planning. If you feel like it’s important to have all your childhood friends, distant family members and co-workers there, invite them and be sure to look for a place that can accommodate all of you. Perhaps a large ranch or a private estate with open space would work best. Or, if you are thinking of only having your close family and friends in a more intimate ceremony, consider a house with a small patio and a killer view for a romantic, cozy celebration. Making a guest list and prioritizing who you want to attend is essential to determining the size of your wedding venue.

dallas mansion
Amazing open space for a big wedding ceremony in Dallas, TX. Available to book now!

And the biggest one:

  1. Will this matter a year from now?

You’ll probably be surprised with your answers once you give some thought. You are going to realize that having a four-tier cake may not be the best way to spend your money because chances are you won’t even remember the flavor in 5 years. Right now, as you plan the big day, it may feel like the most consequential component is to have your wedding at a specific resort that will cost you at least $20,000 (for just one room!). But close your eyes and think of your future self, will that make any difference in 365 days? Maybe saving your money and looking for a cool house in a fun destination for a couple of days will give you something more to remember.

Tired of the cold and would love a few sunny days? Why not getting married in Pebble Beach, CA with this amazing view:
Tired of the cold and would love a few sunny days? Why not getting married in Pebble Beach, CA with this amazing view!?

What made Stevie and I decide on having our back yard ceremony was we knew we didn’t want anything too big, so we made a list with about 100 guests, perfect for the backyard’s size. As far as the reception, we had it in a cute Italian restaurant, owned by a family friend. The place was beautiful and just big enough to comfortably accommodate us all during dinner and the party, but if we wanted, the backyard alone would have been fine for both ceremony and reception.

So, before you start shopping and end up regretting your decision in the future with some overpriced wedding venue, sit down and answer these questions. You won’t believe how much easier your work will be from there.



My Backyard Wedding

My Backyard Wedding is available on: Venues and Vows Wedding Venues

wedding ceremony
My dream wedding venue – The Backyard

Just three weeks ago, my husband and I got married during a small, heartfelt ceremony at our very own wedding venue: his parent’s backyard. From the day we decided we wanted to host our ceremony there until the day itself we lived quite a journey. From choosing colors, flowers, dresses, a place to host the reception, writing our vows and finding every single vendor for the smallest things… let’s just say it was a lot of work! You are probably now asking yourself: was it worth it? My answer is: YES!

Not only we saved thousands of dollars compared to most wedding, we also had a unique and personal ceremony + reception, that left everyone is tears – the ceremony almost looked like a funeral at one point, no one could keep it together. I am still receiving messages from all our guests telling us that was the best wedding they’ve ever been.

outdoor wedding
Everyone crying.

Why am I bragging about it? Because I want to help you to have the same thing! You don’t need to get married at one of those traditional wedding venues, like a resort. What makes a venue special is what it means to you and your spouse. And that’s why I’m starting this series of posts to share everything about my special day, including all the steps and struggles it took us to get there.

First things first: Who am I?

My name is Luisa de Sousa Cullinan and I live in beautiful, sunny Scottsdale – Arizona. I am originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where I grew up and have lived most of my life. How did I end up here? Well, the answer is Stevie Cullinan.

Back in December 2013, when I was still in college, my friends and I decided

future bride and groom
Our first picture together! January, 2014.

to work abroad for three months and the destination chosen was Aspen, CO. While I was there I met Stevie, who was also working at the same resort… the rest is history. We started dating and things got so serious he decided to follow me down to Rio de Janeiro and lived there with me and my roommates for 5 months. After a lot of going back and forth, months apart, sleepless nights and many Visa Form application’s we got engaged and set our special date: December 27th, 2016.


Now that you know a little more about my story I hope you tag along to find helpful tips about this long and – sometimes – scary looking process. Trust me, I understand. And talking as someone who never thought much of weddings, I’ll tell you something: that day will be the most special day of your life.

So sit back and enjoy a new post about my journey every Wednesday and Friday!