Event Planning, Weddings

The Value of a Wedding Planner

September 7, 2016

We Work So You Don’t Have To!

A wedding is a joyous event but such a momentous occasion requires a lot of decisions to be made by the bride and the groom. We know that couples put so much thought into the details of their wedding and we want to make your wedding as enjoyable as possible, not stressful! That’s why we are here to help you out. Excellence is what you can expect when you choose ViVA Catering!

Our event planning consultants will help you customize your special occasion and guide you through an effortless planning process. Here are the top reasons why we are your best partner!

#1: Save Time

We understand that planning a wedding takes an enormous amount of time. It is not surprising to see couples spend over 200 hours planning their special day. We are here to save you time and energy by advising you on some of the wonderful vendors available, taking care of many details, and coming up with various creative ideas to make your wedding absolutely stunning!


Have time to do all the things YOU want to do!

#2: Save Money

Most of you have been dreaming of your wedding day your entire life and we feel that you should be able to have everything that your heart desires on your big day! It is no secret that weddings can be extremely expensive, however, our fully customizable wedding packages can help you save a great deal of money. We proudly partner with several vendors and we will definitely try to get you the best deals for your best day ever! Our planning consultants are also well-versed at helping couples stick to their catering budget.

We are thrilled to share some vendors who have been partnering with us to create countless wonderful events!



Katie and Corey’s Bridal Party with Flowers from The Nosegay Florist



Flawless Wedding Cake from The Well Dressed Cake



Katie & Corey’s Winter Reception courtesy of Life Story Photography


Katie & Corey’s Winter Reception courtesy of Life Story Photography









#3: Ensure It Will Be A Special Day

You deserve to have everything perfect on your special day! We are here to work with you and ensure that all your desires are met (and often surpassed!). When you choose us to be a part of your day, we ensure your dreams are made realities!


Christin and Amanda’s Halloween Themed Candy Bar at The Barn at Flying Hills



Katie and Corey’s Winter Wonderland at the Green Valley Chateau

#4: Great Advice

Our amazing team has successfully planned hundreds of weddings and events; we have great experience and know what will work best for any event! We are also knowledgeable on wedding etiquette and we are able to recommend competent and reliable vendors. We are sure to never disappoint!


Come to us with all your wedding questions!

#5: Day-of Time Line

We know that there are so many things leading up to your big day! That gives us another reason to be there and create an organized schedule for you. We ensure that different wedding vendors and professionals work together seamlessly and make sure everything happens on time. We are also responsible for professionally handling all unforeseen circumstances that may come up. Our team will coordinate the complexities of a time line while you focus on getting ready for your special day!


Let us take care of the details!

#6: Minimize Stress & Maximize Fun

Having us by your side ensures that you will have a worry-free and stress-free day. Your wedding experience should be as enjoyable as possible, not stressful! We are here to make the entire process enjoyable and fun. We will take care of stressful details on your behalf; we stress so you don’t have to! Your wedding will be the most unforgettable moment in your entire life. It is the happiest day ever and you should enjoy it to the fullest!


A fun moment captured by Jamie Tyre Photography

Kind Words from Real Couples

To us, every couple should be 100% present for their wedding day. So why not invest in someone who can take care of major responsibilities that allow you to enjoy every moment on your special day? The greatest joy that we have experienced from our work is when we see our couples and all of their family members and their guests living in every moment of their wedding day!

We can’t say “THANK YOU!” enough for all of the kind words that we received from our previous beloved customers:

“Our wedding catered by ViVA was better than I had imagined it could be. Seraphina took care of all the details from putting our centerpieces and table decorations out to asking me about things that I would have overlooked. I worked in catering a lot but I never had to plan a wedding before and ViVA made it so easy. I would highly recommend them to anyone. And if you aren’t planning a wedding, just stop there to eat. The restaurant is one of my favorites too!”

~ Rebecca Bealer

“Rachael, thank you so much for everything you did. We bragged about you to all of our friends about how you were so on top of everything and easily handled any questions or requests that we had. I can honestly say that we would not have been as comfortable going into our wedding on Saturday with anyone else. So thank you – you were great.”

~ The New Mr. & Mrs. Mark Iannelli

“We had an absolutely amazing time on Saturday and things could not have gone any better. Everyone from the ViVA staff was very professional, friendly, and helpful. We cannot express enough how pleased we are with everyone’s help through the entire process. I heard from so many guests how much they LOVED the food!!! Steve and I agree. The food was outstanding. Zach also did an outstanding job! Thank you again to Crystal, Sera, and all of the ViVA staff who made our wedding reception absolutely perfect. We will highly recommend you to anyone who asks!”

~ Andrea Vinanskie




Event Planning, Weddings

Eat, Drink, and Be Married

July 19, 2016

Signature Cocktails Shake Up Your Wedding

We know that couples already put so much thought into the details of their weddings – suits and dresses, venues and caterers, flowers and decorations, their vows – and we don’t want the bar to become a stressful afterthought! Every couple wants to add a personal touch to their wedding day and truly make it their own. A great way to customize your wedding is to serve a Signature Cocktail and we are here to help! Our newly furnished Cocktail Deck at The Reading Country Club has stunning views of our 18-hole golf course. It’s a new and unique place for your Cocktail Hour!

But enough about that. Let’s talk about drinks! Here are some Signature Cocktail tips and recipes, with seasonal flavors, that may be the personal touch you’re looking for on your special day!

Summer Watermelon Refresher


Photo credit: Style Me Pretty

If you are going to host summer nuptials, why don’t you use a seasonal fruit like watermelon in your cocktail? Refresh everyone at your party withgh a glass of strawberry and watermelon and, of course, a healthy splash of vodka! You’ll notice hints of basil, ginger and lime too! Very refreshing and very seasonal! It will take you just 15 minutes to prepare this tasty treat! (Via Style Me Pretty)


  • 1½ ounces Hangar One vodka
  • 3 ounces watermelon-strawberry juice*
  • ½ ounce basil-ginger syrup*
  • ¼ ounce lime juice


  1. *For the watermelon-strawberry juice, blend equal amounts (by weight) of watermelon and strawberries. Strain the juice through a fine-mesh strainer into a pitcher or large measuring cup and refrigerate until needed.
  2. *For the Basil-Ginger Simple Syrup, you’ll need 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, 1 two-inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced, Handful of fresh basil.
  3. In a medium saucepan, heat the water and sugar over medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the ginger and basil, and immediately remove from heat, allowing it to steep until cool. Strain the syrup into a jar through a fine-mesh strainer and refrigerate. Yields approximately one cup of syrup, and will keep refrigerated for two to three weeks.
  4. Add all ingredients to an ice filled shaker glass.
  5. Shake and strain over fresh ice in a festive glass.
  6. Garnish with a specialty straw and serve!

The Extra Touch… Drink Tags


Photo credit: Wedding Chicks


Don’t hesitate to do more DIY projects on your big day so you can create something unique and customized that your guests can take home with them! When you’ve chosen your Signature Drink, bottle it up, create a small vintage tag, and serve it as little gifts for your guests. We are sure they will love it! (Via Wedding Chicks).

Here are some pretty cool printable name tag ideas for your next Cocktail Party! Check it out!

A Classic Combo… Champagne and Fruit


Champagne and Strawberries


Champagne and Blackberries











We agree that sometimes a Signature Cocktail is more about the presentation, rather than the booze! We can help you create something elegant, like the photos above, for your special day. How about cocktails (personalized glassware is an added touch) with a slice of soaked pear, strawberry, or the seasonal fruit of your choice? Gorgeous isn’t it? (Via We Tie The Knots)

Another DIY Idea: Personalized Glasses


We think it is a great idea to give your guests something personal from you. Whatever Signature Drink you choose, (Fizzy Gin Lemonade with Blackberries and Rosemary for example), serve it in a glass with the guests’ names on it as their favor! The gifts are now very unique, like the drink itself and your wedding too!

Fizzy Gin Lemonade with Blackberries and Rosemary:

Serves 2

  • 3 ounces gin
  • 6 ounces lemonade
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • Splash of lemon-lime soda or sparkling water

Add the blackberries to a small bowl and use the back of a spoon to lightly mash them. Fill the glasses 2/3 of the way full with ice cubes. Divide the gin and lemonade evenly between the two glasses. Spoon the blackberries into each glass and top with a splash of lemon-lime soda or sparking water. Use one rosemary sprig as garnish for each.

Let’s serve a signature wedding reception cocktail that reflects your party style! We are here to help you out!

A special THANK YOU! to the following websites for their awesome cocktails to serve at weddings. Don’t hesitate to check them out for detailed recipes and more delicious ideas. Cheers!

26 Signature Cocktails To Serve At Your Wedding

Your Ultimate Signature Cocktail Finder

Event Planning, Food, Weddings

The Romantic Appeal of a Winter Wedding

June 23, 2016

Congratulations to Katie and Corey on Their Big Day!

Is there really a more perfect color combination than grey and white? It seems that no matter the time of year a couple weds, this color duet always looks magnificent, especially in the winter at The Green Valley Chateau! Using the holidays (naturally!) to create an unique reception atmosphere, Katie and Corey’s beautiful winter wedding was nothing short of magical. The sun was shining brightly and the weather was absolutely perfect for their winter affair. We want to congratulate Katie and Corey again on their wonderful winter wedding with us and we can’t say “thank you” enough for choosing ViVA Catering!

We are so thrilled to share Katie and Corey’s beautiful photos of their special day in our Chateau!



Katie and Corey


The Bridal Party








The happy couple enjoyed taking photos of the best moment of their lives outside under the bright and beautiful sunshine. Later on, Katie made an enchanting entrance at the start of her candlelit ceremony, walking to her groom through rows of rose petals. Following their vows, Katie and Corey shared their first kiss as husband and wife and then the newly-wed couple joined their guests with tons of joy and happiness.

4 3







The Chateau’s Grand Ballroom created a unique reception space for the bride and groom with chalkboard snowflake signs announcing them as the very new Mr. and Mrs.! Classic lighting hung overhead and throughout the entire Ballroom to add more touches of warmth along with beautiful holiday wreaths. Tables were dressed with dark blue linens, pink napkins, candles, and winter decorations. Champagne was poured, great food was served, and Katie and Corey were glowing with bright smiles all day long!

5 6





A buffet can be a convenient and affordable way to serve a meal at a wedding reception. With care and consideration, Katie and Corey’s buffet reception was just as elegant and delicious as any seated meal. Check it out!

Cocktail Hour

Butlered Hors d’Oeuvres

Crispy Ricotta Ravioli with Marinara Dipping Sauce

Spinach & Artichoke Stuffed Mushroom Caps

Mini-Meatballs with Fra Diavolo Sauce

Sumptuous Tasting Stations

Angus Sirloin Beef, Pulled Pork and Herb Grilled Chicken on Brioche Rolls

Balsamic BBQ Sauce, Balsamic Red Onion Reduction with Gorgonzola, Roasted Peppers, Bacon, Ketchup, & Lemon Aioli Toppings

The Warm-Up

Lobster Bisque with Sweet Corn (Served Table-Side)

Salad Selections

Tomato & Mozzarella Caprese Salad

Chopped Garden Fresh Salad with Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette

Pasta Perfection

House-Made 4-Cheese Lasagna

The Main Event

Main Entreés

Herb-Encrusted Chicken Over Wilted Spinach & Tomatoes with Alfredo

Filet Medallions Oscar with Asparagus & Hollandaise Sauce

Complimentary Vegan Meals

Starches and Vegetables

Pecan-Encrusted Caramel Mashed Sweet Potatos

House-Made Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Sauteed Asparagus with Brown Sugar Butter & Parmesan

A Sweet Ending

Wedding Cake & French Vanilla Ice Cream

Dessert Display

Peanut Butter Caramel Cheesecake

French Vanilla Crème Brûlée


Cookies (Host Provided)

As stunning as Katie looked to her groom, the happiness that showed on the faces of all guests made the reception look even better! We were so glad that Katie, Corey, and their guests had a great experience and wonderful time in The Chateau last winter.

10 9







Keep scrolling down to see more lovely photos of Katie and Corey on their very special day!

11 12






Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can’t have a fabulous winter wedding inside! Katie and Corey’s wedding was awesome, just like them!

We can’t say “thank you” enough to the wonderful vendors who helped us to create such a beautiful event for Katie and Corey last winter!

Life Story Photography

Nosegay Florist

The Well Dressed Cake

DJ Steel Thunder

Sculpted Ice Works



Food, Weddings

Up-and-Coming Food Trends for Your 2016 Wedding

May 26, 2016

Ultra-Personalized Menus

Right now, couples are looking to produce unique menus for their big day based off of their personal preferences and experiences. At ViVA Catering, we try to create a menu based on the couple’s travel experiences and any memories they have built together. Getting the couples involved in the catering process makes them feel like it is more special and personalized! With a simple question like: “Is there anything special or unique you two enjoy for brunch together on the weekends?” we may find out about something we can use as an appetizer!


ViVA Crab Cakes with Lemon Aioli Credit: ViVA Catering


How about cultural dishes? Wedding couples may draw from their cultural backgrounds and family-favorite dishes to produce a very personal wedding menu. Our chefs are always willing to try new ideas from different cultural backgrounds!

Diet-Friendly Menu

Fresh and healthy is now a trend! People are rapidly going gluten- and dairy-free and a wedding menu to suit these requirements is sure to please!  A fresh and healthy yet classic wedding favorite, shrimp cocktail will surely leave guests feeling refreshed. Garden-fresh salads are the perfect balance to other tasty dishes. It is not surprising to see that fresh and healthy dishes are now a priority for wedding menus! We also know that some who choose gluten-free don’t have a choice, so we always offer complimentary dishes to accommodate vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free needs.


Chilled Shrimp Cocktail Credit: ViVA Catering


Out-of-the-Box Options

Wedding couples are trying to create unexpected experiences for themselves and their guests on their big day and we are eager to “wow” everyone with our specialties. For every wedding, we try to design some customized menu items to help the wedding couples and their beloved guests experience the ViVA difference!


Bacon Wrapped Scallops with Horseradish Aioli Credit: ViVA Catering

Signature Drinks & Stations

Besides the traditional and craft beer and wine, how about having a designated drinks station to offer your specialty cocktails? A little bar is designed for you to make any spirit or signature drink of your choice! Drink stations are created as something movable and active to stir up the guests’ interest. The bartenders can mix or shake the martinis to each guest’s preference or serve the extra special beer or wine the couple has chosen. The drinks are now very unique and customized, just like the wedding itself!


Credit: Theo Milo Photography

Let’s Have a Snack!

Wedding couples are showing interest in incorporating their favorite late night snack into their wedding menu so guests can dance the night away with something to nibble on! We can always facilitate all kinds of fun snacks for an event, from chips and popcorn to heart-shaped pretzels from Philly Pretzel Factory. Don’t hesitate to check this cool idea out!



Dessert Station with Cannolis and Vanilla Crème Brûlée Credit: ViVA Catering

Event Planning, Weddings

An Artistic Affair: An Elegant Museum Wedding

April 8, 2016

Elegant museum weddings in big cities are all the rage recently. However, the price attached to these weddings isn’t always the most affordable. Here in the heart of Berks County you can have both an affordable and breathtaking museum wedding. For history and art lovers: If you want a wedding that is fun, modern and creative than the Reading Public Museum is the perfect space for an artistic vibe. The rooms available to rent are the Stone Terrace Tent, Ground Floor Atrium, First Floor of The Museum, Second Floor of The Museum, Second Floor Founders’ Gallery, The Arboretum, and of course the Neag Planetarium. You’ll have exhibits as your backdrop, which are not only jaw-dropping but the perfect conversation starter for your guests!


Second Floor Art Gallery Ceremony


Auditorium Wedding Brunch Reception









Dr. Levi Mengel was the founder and first director of the Reading Public Museum which was originally located in the third floor of the Reading School District’s administration building. The Museum, now located in West Reading, was selected and donated to the Reading School District by Ferdinand Thun, Henry Janssen, and Gustav Oberlaender, three Wyomissing textile magnates and friends of Dr. Mengel, breaking ground in 1925. It welcomed its first visitors in 1929 at its present location thanks to the Reading School District. Art objects of importance have come to the Reading Museum from all over the world. Having a wedding or special event at a venue of such importance could not be any easier with the help of The Museum’s Director of Event and Exhibition Rentals, Stephanie Hafer-Shaak, and Event Rental Coordinator, Laura Oswald.


Masterpiece Events Premiere Party in the Second Floor Art Galleries


Masterpiece Events Premiere Party in the Second Floor Art Galleries









Stephanie Hafer-Shaak, a Berks county native, joined the Reading Public Museum in March 2011.  As the Director of Event and Exhibition Rentals, she oversees The Museum’s Event Rental Department in addition to coordinating The Museum’s touring exhibition program.  Prior to her work at The Museum, Ms. Shaak served as the Special Events Coordinator for the Greater New Jersey Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association in Princeton, New Jersey.  She holds a BA in History and a BA in German from Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, PA.  Ms. Shaak is heavily involved in the community, volunteering with the Junior League of Reading, the Penn Corridor Initiative, and many committees within her church.  She is also an alumni ambassador for Gettysburg College and composes a column for the institution’s quarterly alumni magazine.

Laura Oswald joined the team at The Museum as the Event Rental and Planetarium Assistant in June 2014.  She took on the role of Event Rental Coordinator in October of last year and has truly embraced the new position.  Within this role, she oversees the booking, planning and execution of all external events such as weddings, children’s birthday parties, holiday parties, and baby showers.  Before finding her passion for event planning, Ms. Oswald, born and raised in Reading, was in education and child care at the Albright Early Learning Center.  She holds a BA in Art Education from Albright College in Reading, PA.  In her free time, Ms. Oswald enjoys spending time with her two dachshunds, Hershey and Buddy, and her one-year old nephew, Kerrigan.

Another interesting little tidbit that Stephanie shared is that whenever she is giving a tour to a potential client she always notes that they should not fall in love with a specific painting in the room their event will be taking place. This is because there is a good chance that that painting will not be there on the day of their event. Since they are a working Museum it is important for them to constantly rotate their artwork to increase foot traffic. This is just another amazing advantage to having your wedding at a museum. You can almost guarantee that someone else’s wedding photos will not have the same backdrop as yours!


Planetarium bar set up


The beautiful Museum Atrium









The Museum also features the Neag Planetarium, a unique venue like none other in Berks County. Treat your guests to an enchanting celebration under the stars with the planetarium’s state-of-the-art audio and visual technologies. Who wouldn’t want to get married under a beautiful star dome? Another perk to that is that you don’t have to worry about the weather when planning for any contingencies. With a choice of dining or dancing under the stars, The Planetarium can accommodate up to 250 guests. This is by far the most popular room to rent for all of The Museum’s events, which is why it is also the second most expensive at $2,000.


Planetarium reception area


Front of Neag Planetarium


The Reading Public Museum should definitely be on the top of your list of wedding venues to visit as they also offer a Stone Terrace Tent and two gardens for outdoor ceremonies. The spacious Tent is a whopping 3,200 square feet and a fairly new addition that can seat up to 200 guests with space for a dance floor. You can rent this beautiful tent for just $3,500. The terrace has a breath taking view of The Museum’s botanical garden. The garden is the perfect backdrop for an outdoor ceremony!


Arboretum wedding ceremony


Stone Terrace Tent wedding reception








As mentioned above, museum weddings in big cities are quite expensive. To show just how expensive, let’s compare some museums in the City of Brotherly Love! The Philadelphia Museum of Art starts at $190 per person for their seated wedding packages and this price does not include the facilities rental fee either! Anybody else’s mind blown by this number? We certainly were. The Penn Museum also comes in with a high price tag starting at $150 per person.

Masterpiece Events is the highly preferred caterer for The Museum. Whether you’re planning your dream wedding reception, special occasion, or corporate event or meeting we consider your celebration a work of art! We take great pride in offering Masterpiece Events’ fine quality traditional and contemporary cuisines exclusively at the Reading Public Museum. Masterpiece Events’ planners will help you with your food and beverage selection and you’ll receive service from our well-trained in-house special event staff. Make it memorable. Make it a Masterpiece!

Event Planning, Weddings

Cheap and Chic: Affordable Wedding Tips

March 9, 2016


It’s no secret that weddings can get pretty expensive. We feel that it is one of the most important days of your life so you should be able to have whatever your heart desires without breaking the bank. Of course, there are some things that you just have to go all the way with, such as the food and beverages, in order to have an amazing wedding day!  We’ve come up with a few ideas that we think will be super helpful and hopefully save you some money!

Double-duty dessert bar: I don’t know about you guys but when I attend a wedding the dessert is the only thing on my mind; okay… this may be after a few drinks but that’s beside the point. Since the dessert is typically at the end of the reception it is likely the last thing your guests will remember. Bet you never thought of that before, right? Wedding favors can get quite pricey so making the desserts a “double-duty station” will save some money! This way not only can guests get their sweet tooth on but they can also take some home in a really cute personalized favor bag or box.


Christin and Amanda’s Halloween themed Candy Bar at the Barn at Flying Hills

Free printables: Yes, most venues provide table numbers at no extra charge for you but they can be pretty generic. If you are a bride who likes to add special touches to everything, here are some free printable table numbers that your guests are sure to be impressed by. Another way to save some bucks is on the invitations. These can get pretty pricey too, so here are a whole bunch of very elegant printable invitations! Something you may have not even considered that can definitely add up is the “save the date” cards. These are the first thing about your wedding that your guests will see and will set the tone for the actual day. Therefore, you definitely might want to print your own on some thick stationary.

If you do choose to have a company print them for you choose a basic black ink for your invitations and other stationery. Prices go up if you choose colored inks or a deluxe foil-stamp process. Also, colored paper and unconventional shapes tend to be more expensive than white, ecru, or the standard square or rectangle. 


Andrea and Steve’s Cookie Favor from their 2015 summer wedding at the Green Valley Chateau and Tent

Choosing a unique venue: Venues like castles, private estates, and even museums can help you save because you don’t have to go overboard on décor. A unique venue sets the tone all on its own. It’s the “meat” in the wedding sandwich, if you will.


Reading Public Museum Art Galleries


Reading Country Club (Castle Style Venue)








Hold your reception and ceremony in the same place: Lately, there has been a noticeable rise in a certain trend within the wedding industry and that is holding the ceremony and the reception at the same venue. Couples are finding that it’s easier and more cost effective for everybody involved, from the bridal party to the guests, if everything is held within one central location. This is especially easy on guests who are travelling from either out of town or interstate. They can find accommodations close to the venue or at the venue, and they won’t have to try and navigate two separate locations. Cost and convenience are two important factors that you need to consider when you’re planning one of the most expensive and stressful days of your life.


Reading Country Club Ceremony on the Patio


Reading Public Museum Ceremony in the garden








Ask for wedding help instead of wedding gifts: Asking family and friends to offer help or services that align with their talents in lieu of a gift is a great way to keep your wedding on a budget. We are seeing this a lot now-a-days with our couples. Sometimes you can get lucky and have a family member or friend with some musical talent or an amateur photographer that has a pretty decent camera.

Reception flowers: The flowers can sometimes be the most expensive part of a wedding. Andrea Vinanskie, one our brides from August 2015 who was married in our Green Valley Chateau and Tent, had excellent advice for us:

“We did not use any flowers at the church for decoration because our church is beautiful inside and I wanted to focus on the reception and spend my money there instead.  We belong to Sam’s Club and they have a wonderful selection of bulk bouquets and bulk flowers online that you cannot purchase in-store.  (They also have bridal party bouquets but I did not purchase any of those.)  The cost for the bulk flowers was incredible!!  We had 12 guest tables and got all of the flowers for those tables for $209.84.  I chose the mixed bouquet that also included beautiful large daisies.  They were so bright and colorful.  I ordered 2 sets; each set had 10 bouquets.  They were shipped from Ecuador and arrived in absolute perfect condition.  In the 20 bouquets I received, there was only 1 flower we did not use. They were so gorgeous!  Flowers can cost so much money and buying bulk from Sam’s Club was an amazing deal.”


A close up of Andrea’s beautiful flowers

Searching for that perfect dress: Most brides believe that the only dress they are going to find that they will like is going to be super expensive. This is just not the case though as Andrea explained to us:

“I got my wedding dress at David’s Bridal for $99!  I went in January when they were having one of their special $99 sales.  I had decided ahead of time that I was not spending a fortune on my wedding dress.  I looked online before my appointment and picked out 3 dresses from the $99 price that I really liked.  I specifically picked out dresses that had no train.  When I got to the store they told me that they didn’t have any of them in stock. (Those big blowout sales are limited to what’s left in each store’s inventory.) I was disappointed.  I tried on a dress similar to the one I liked the best to see if that’s really the style I wanted; it definitely was so they checked the inventory of that dress at other stores and found a store in New York that still had the dress in my size.  I was able to pay for the dress right then and the New York store shipped it to my house.  It arrived a few days later:  I was absolutely in love with it!!!  They did tell me that if I got the dress and did not like it that I could return it to the store I originally went to and they would give me credit towards another dress since they didn’t have the one I wanted in stock.  I never had to worry about that because the dress was perfect for me! I did have alterations done, which is normal.  Not everyone would want to pick out there dress from a picture, but that worked for me and I have always loved the way the dress looked.  I bought the guava colored sash separately, as it did not come with the dress.”


Andrea’s gorgeous wedding dress in front of Green Valley Chateau

And finally…plan, plan, plan: When you’re trying to have a wedding on a budget, it’s important to plan ahead. List everything you can think of and walk through these items step by step.

The earlier you get started, and the more things you think about early on, the less “last-minute stress” you’ll have, and the more time you’ll have to find sales and discounts and research other good ideas. When you are looking for venues and caterers, hopefully you’ll also receive a wedding planner, like you do with us! Our wedding planners help our clients from day one. If you have a planner ask them for their opinions and don’t forget to update them with your latest details! Learn more about our amazing team!


Crystal Powell – Sales Director


Rachael Romig – Marketing Director


Sera Chabinec – Wedding Manager








Larry Byrd

Larry Byrd – Special Events Planner


A special THANK YOU! to the following websites for their awesome and affordable wedding ideas:
Invitations by Dawn
Event Planning, Weddings

2016 Wedding Trends

February 26, 2016

Happy National Wedding Month! Besides the cold weather, it’s the best month of the year right? With that being said, even though it’s off season, February is a busy month for wedding planners! We are constantly researching the newest and best ideas and it’s going to be a great year for weddings. As brides and grooms plan for their 2016 and 2017 weddings, there are new ideas, trends, and color schemes that will be taking over bride-to-be Instagram feeds. Thanks to our friends at POPSUGAR here are 14 Ways Weddings Will Be Different in 2016. We’ve come up with a few categories ourselves that we feel are the most important for our Berks County brides to be up to date about:

The Dress: You know we’re all about that dress; bout that dress! This season’s dress is all about lace and plunging necklines but with a modern twist, meeting that happy medium between fashion forward and traditional. “For at least the last two to three years, brides have been looking for wedding gowns with lace, and many want some sort of sleeve or strap.  The illusion neck and low illusion back are added features of many of these lace gowns.  A bride can certainly find these details on any gown, but it seems that the fitted styles have been the most popular in recent seasons. And while it doesn’t seem as though this vintage look is going to go away anytime soon, I have a feeling that the ball gown, with all its beaded glory, is beginning to make a comeback. Brides aren’t quite saying “the bigger the better” just yet, but I definitely see a shift away from the smooth lines of the mermaid and trumpet to the full skirt. Although you’ll see the bird-cage veil going down the runways in London and New York, the truth is here in Berks County, most brides still wear a traditional veil. Some brides want a blusher on their veil but most brides don’t use one.” stated one of our local vendors, Elizabeth Kemp from Sweetheart’s Bridal and Formalwear. Follow them on Facebook to stay up to date on trends!

The Dress

Courtesy of Sweetheart’s Bridal and Formalwear

The Dress 2

Courtesy of M.I.O Photography

















Décor: Recent years have seen brides rush to recreate their version of a royal wedding or something straight off a Pinterest board. But as we greet 2016, it’s clear that brides are much more interested in going down the aisle their own way. Brides are caring more about their guests having a good time than having a picture perfect wedding. Floral arrangements can be tricky with some brides overdoing it while others just don’t have enough. The right mix of style and simplicity will be the cornerstone of fabulous wedding floral arrangements in 2016. Having candles in just about every aspect of the wedding, including the ceremony, is also becoming a popular trend.


Katie & Corey’s Winter Wonderland at the Green Valley Chateau


Marci & Tim’s jewel-toned wedding at the Green Valley Chateau






















The Photography Report: A picture really is worth a thousand words.  Creating a wedding #hashtag for guests to use to upload photos to Instagram and Twitter can help you experience your wedding through their eyes. Apps, like Artifact Uprising, are also allowing smartphone users to then upload those photos from Instagram and create actual printed hardcover books (not to mention calendars and postcards) of their instant artworks. If you want a view of your wedding from every angle imaginable then try this trend: Some photographers are getting in on the action by using drones to capture aerial shots, like the view of your ceremony from overhead and the amazing scenery. Check out the aerial view of our venue, the Green Valley Chateau and Tent. 

The Cake: We almost feel guilty slicing into the cake because they just look too pretty to eat but that won’t stop us! No doubt couples have a more sophisticated palate these days; a vanilla cake just won’t cut it anymore. A “naked” cake is another interesting and upcoming trend. Sure, there aren’t any fondant decals or buttercream ruffles, but you’ll be surprised just how many style options you have to choose from when it comes to this beautiful bare cake trend. Dessert bars are very much in style as well. It is very trendy to include multiple cakes to accommodate your guests that request vegan, gluten-free and sugar free options. Even whoopie pies are very much in vogue as well as an assortment of cookies, bars, and other favorite desserts.

Cake 2

A whoopie pic cake at Sara and David’s wedding at Reading Art Works


A naked cake from Christine & Dylan’s wedding at Reading Art Works

















We realize that staying on top of these trends can be a full time job and the possibilities are endless. This is where having an event planner can come in handy. We stress so that you don’t have to!

Event Planning

The Reading Country Club

July 31, 2015

ViVÁ Catering’s Newest Venue

The Reading Country Club

Have you heard the news? As of September 1, 2015, ViVÁ Catering is the operator of and exclusive caterer to the Reading Country Club! With our newest acquisition, we will continue to provide the same delicious food and excellent service that has already distinguished the Green Valley Chateau and Chateau Tent from other event venues in Berks County.

The Reading Country Club, with its English Tudor-style clubhouse, is full of “Old World” charm. The castle-style venue features a Grand Ballroom accommodating wedding receptions and other special events with seating for up to 250 guests and cocktail party service for up to 300 guests. Additional regally-appointed rooms are available for 60-80 guests and feature vaulted ceilings with exposed wooden beams, original hardwood floors, a wood-burning fireplace, and elegant balconies. Spacious outdoor patios that overlook the beautiful golf course grounds are also available for cocktails, food service, and wedding ceremonies.

The Grand Ballroom

Don’t forget the public golf course! Measuring 6,162 yards from the tips, the 18-hole course is the perfect way to entertain your clients or enjoy some downtime with colleagues and friends. We offer special golf outing packages that are sure to please your guests and turn any outing into an event!


The public golf course

As always, ViVÁ Catering will pamper you and your guests with modern and affordable food and bar packages. Enjoy a magnificent wedding reception at the Reading Country Club with a fun and trendy Station-Style Reception, an elegant full-service meal, or a sumptuous buffet dinner. Impress your clients and colleagues with a full-service lunch or dinner or a buffet banquet meeting package. Don’t forget to throw a cocktail party for out-of-town guests!

There are some amazing photo opportunities at the Reading Country Club!

The Grand Ballroom










Excellence is what you can expect when you choose the Reading Country Club catered exclusively by ViVÁ. We provide complimentary use of our “state-of-the-art” audio visual equipment and every package comes complete with an event planner. Your special event planning consultant will help you personalize your occasion and guide you through an effortless process so you can actually sit back, relax, and have fun at your party. Our dedicated and experienced team of hospitality professionals is passionately committed to exceeding your expectations. Here’s to a stress-free and perfect day in every way!


Planning a Wedding

May 27, 2015

A Very Personalized Day

We met through mutual friends, who we both knew from growing up.  At their February 2009 wedding, sparks flew (we were both in the bridal party)! At the time, I was living in California and Dave was living in the Philadelphia area.  We communicated long distance via email for months and finally decided we should meet up.  We spent a super fun weekend in Las Vegas and decided that we could make the long distance thing work!  We were 3000 miles apart for a year and a half and used this time to get to know one another in a real and deep way through lots of conversation.  In 2010, I decided to move back to the Philadelphia area to allow our relationship to grow.  On December 28, 2013, Dave completely shocked me when he proposed in Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia. In my mind, we were headed to dinner with friends!  He had a different plan.  The best part by far was that he arranged for all of our family and closest friends to be waiting at a local restaurant.  As soon as I said “yes!” we were greeted at the restaurant by lots of love, congrats, and champagne.  It was a magical evening.  Our wedding day was such a fabulous start to our life together, as so many people we love were in one space.  We’re so excited for the future—to continue to build our home and family and love for one another.

We knew we wanted something modern, eclectic, and not super traditional.  When we visited Reading Art Works, we fell in love!  We loved the unique feel and the ability to personalize and make the space our own.  The loft space is just amazing- the light! The wood floors! The open feel! We really wanted a space that could house everything, so that all our guests needed to worry about was having a great time. Reading Art Works worked really well, as we had our ceremony upstairs, cocktail hour in the gallery, and the reception back upstairs. I will never forget the moment of walking down the aisle, with all of our friends and family in the space, the sunlight gleaming in the windows, the lights at the altar twinkling, and Dave there smiling and waiting.  It truly was a beautiful moment in a breathtaking space.


A beautiful wedding at RAW

ViVA Catering was wonderful, especially our coordinator Rachael.  Working with her was like a dream come true.  She was incredibly organized and really listened to what we wanted and helped make it happen.  I love check-lists and every little detail spelled out, which Rachael made happen seamlessly. The food was so tasty (we got tons of compliments!) and the service was top-notch.  Rachael was my ally in making sure all of the moving parts came together.  I came to trust her so much and was so happy that she was actually there for our wedding day.  We had a very positive experience with VIVA Catering and would recommend them to any engaged couple.

We were pretty much obsessed with making our wedding a reflection of us.  We wanted lots of joy and laughter and fun.  For our ceremony: we had a close friend marry us and designed our ceremony from scratch.  We wrote our own vows and incorporated the music we liked into our ceremony.  We invited a friend to read a poem and friends to give us marriage advice.  We also served a pre-ceremony cocktail, which was really fun! Karen from Reading Art Works created as awesome altar installation made of fabric and ribbon that was the perfect back drop for our “I do’s!” In terms of attire: I had my girls choose their own styles and I gifted them with accessories that I thought each girl would like.  For our guys, we wanted suits and shirts that they could use again and loved the idea of each choosing a bow tie or regular tie.  For my dress, I wanted something traditionally styled, but modern.  When I found the striped ballgown—I knew it was the one.  In terms of our reception:  I tried to incorporate lots of patterns (love to pattern mix!) and lots of sophisticated gold.  Our centerpieces were collections of antique bottles, which my father has been collecting since he was a teenager, on top of table runners, which my aunt sewed by hand.  Our top priority was an amazing band that would keep the party going all night, which we found in The Edge.  Everything came together in the most amazing and beautiful way.  We were unapologetic in being true to ourselves and our style and it totally paid off.


David & Sara (and her striped ballgown!)


Color-coordinated cocktails







Early on, we listed our top priorities and non-negotiables.  There are SO many ideas and not all fit our event. I kept a private Pinterest board (gotta keep some surprises for the big day! 🙂 and shared with my bridesmaids. For any idea, I considered if it fit with the overall vision of the day (sophisticated, fun, mint+jade green+gold) and either incorporated or ditched.  I loved the idea of mixing round tables with banquet tables, which we incorporated into our reception.  Gold is also having a ‘moment’ right now and I totally jumped on board.  I tried to not get overwhelmed with everything we could do, and just stuck with our priorities.  For example, we ended up not having a photo booth (could have been fun!), but in the end, no one really noticed or cared.  We did have props for the dance floor and they got quite the use!  In the end, we tried not to let the details stress us out (because they totally will if you let them!) One piece of advice we got was to have a videographer.  We teetered as to if we really wanted/ needed one and in the end, I’m so glad we went with it!  Our videographer, Darla Fox Events, captured so many beautiful moments that we didn’t even realize happened.

Do what feels right for you two and be true to who you are.  It was important to us that our wedding be the reflection of us and our personalities.  As the wedding planning starts, so many opinions will pop up and people will name what you should do. Go with what will make you happy and don’t be scared of something because it’s different or non-traditional.  Our guests still talk to us all the time about little elements and details from our big day.


Coventry Corners

May 27, 2015

Where Trends Meet Tradition

Coventry Corners has been enthusiastically serving our guests for over thirty years since our opening in 1982! We have transformed ourselves from a country gift shop into an enticing gift boutique. Our tag lines, which have seemed to evolve with the decade, began as “The Shop That Makes A House A Home”, then “Mom’s Favorite Shop,” then “A Beautiful Boutique for You & Your Home” and now “Where Trends Meet Tradition.”
A locally owned and operated family business, Coventry Corners has happily served the Pottstown and Reading areas with our knowledgeable and friendly associates who thoroughly enjoy assisting you in celebrating life’s special moments. We offer wonderful gift ideas for brides, bridal parties, soon-to-be in-laws, and everyone else on your list!


Coventry Corners


At both of our locations, in the Coventry and Berkshire Malls, we are proud to be a PANDORA Shop-in-Shop, a Vera Bradley Gold Dealer, an UGG Australia Concept Shop, and a Brighton Store-within-a-Store. We also offer Endless Jewelry, Alex and Ani Jewelry, Savannah Bee Company Food and Bath Items, Lilly Pulitzer, Jack Rogers, plus Jewelry and Metal Monogramming options and so much more! We delight in scouring markets around the country to bring you, our loyal guests, the very best merchandise at affordable prices.

We offer complimentary gift wrap, a wish list service, & gift cards. We truly love and welcome interaction with our customers and strive to provide a fun and informative experience.

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Chris & Stacey at an Endless event


Coventry Corners staff after a PANDISNEY event


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