Vendor Spotlight | Beth with St. Joseph’s Villa
Meet Beth Harper, Senior Executive Assistant with St. Joseph’s Villa! Founded in 1834, St. Joseph’s Villa is not only the longest continuously operating non-profit children’s organization in the nation, but also a truly breathtaking setting for hosting your wedding day. Read to find out more!
How did you get to where you are now?
Well, I’ve been working as a nonprofit Admin for probably about 18 years now. I originally trained as a music therapist, but couldn’t find a job, and that’s how I wound up in the nonprofit world.
I’ve been with St. Joseph’s Villa for 12 years now. I got into the weddings because there had been word that the church was available for weddings and I was tasked with trying to ramp that up. And it was about that time I got involved with Richmond Weddings™ and the wonderful wedding industry!
What makes you or your business stand out and why should a couple hire you?
Well, we are probably one of the few traditional churches available to anyone who wants to just do a wedding ceremony. We are non-denominational. Weddings can bring in their own officiants, and you’re not limited who you can bring. Ceremonies can be anything they want to do! We give them the space, with a few limitations, otherwise the slate is open!
All proceeds from the Church Rental fee benefit St. Joseph’s Villa, a nonprofit children’s organization.
So many churches today are more modern, and St. Joseph’s Villa looks like a traditional church. With gorgeous stained glass and a long aisle leading to the altar.
Since ceremonies are all that we do (no receptions), I make it my mission to give each couple a great experience with a ton of personal service. I meet individually with all the couples, and they have my contact info so they can come back!
We do have a list of venues that are close to us! We work with these venues so that couples can have their reception close by.
What’s your favorite thing about working in the wedding industry?
Seeing so many happy people. And that probably their wedding day is one of their most important days of their lives and I can have a little part in making it happen!
What’s a unique tip you tell your couples?
One tip – hire a coordinator just for your wedding day, at least. Let them worry about the church getting open and the lights on. Let them do all the details on the day of!
What’s your best piece of advice for couples planning a wedding?
I think the best pieces of advice is to go on a wedding site, like Richmond Weddings™, that gives you the advice the timelines, and helpful blogs. That way you can stay on track, and not get caught up towards the end. Do your research and go to the Richmond Weddings™ shows! Even though it seems very overwhelming, it’s going to still help you get everything done that you need to get done. That way you won’t forget about something super important like a marriage license!
What’s your favorite moment during a wedding?
When they come out of the church and everyone is they’re doing the bird seed and the bubbles, and the looks on everyone’s faces. It’s magical, you just see so much joy. I think that’s the moment that gets to me, all the smiles on the faces!
How do you de-stress?
I’m a runner, especially in these past couple weeks! I’ve done a couple half marathons and I’ve a few done 10k’s…I get out at least three times a week.
What’s your favorite food/dish/cuisine?
I love a good burger. Not a fast food burger, but one of my favorite places is called Marty’s in Mechanicsville. I also love good homemade BBQ like Buz and Ned’s or Capt. Rob’s Pigalicious Signature Barbecue Catering!
What would your perfect Saturday be like?
Wake up, go for a run, drive to Yorktown beach. I love the beach, but I don’t love so much the crowds or the waves. Yorktown you pretty much have the beach to yourself. You can just get out in the water and just float. Plus, you’re close enough to things! Afterwards, I would go back to Williamsburg and get a sandwich from the The Cheese Shop.
What’s the coolest thing you’re working on now?
Besides just working on the projects, I’m putting together a picture book of photos from weddings so that the couples coming in can see what the Villa looks like when it’s decorated with the flowers. It will give couples some examples of things you can do as far as decorating, pictures, etc. I’m also putting together a short photo presentation to take the place of the physical album!
What is your favorite season of the year and why?
I love the fall. I love the weather. I’m not a hot weather person, so I love the cooler temperatures. It’s my favorite season to run and I just love looking at the trees. I think the trees are just so beautiful! Plus all the pumpkins and mums, not to mention Christmas is right after the fall!