Location Spotlight: Costello's Old Mill Wedding Site and Reception Hall!

by Jenny Bryde 12. February 2011 05:25

We have such a treat in store for you today, dear readers!  One of our best Quad City wedding locations has become a part of our QCWeddings.com family and has given us some amazing pictures and info to let you know how they could be of service to you on your wedding day.

If you haven’t already booked your ceremony or reception location, you may want to lean in a little closer to your screen and read up on the breathtaking Costello’s Old Mill Wedding Site and Reception Hall located in Maquoketa, Iowa.  What you will experience at this fabulous location will be romantic views, charming nostalgia, and exceptional service for your wedding experience.  Allow my pun as I tell you that this location is not your run of the mill wedding experience. 

Tracy Costello Taylor, the owner and on-site wedding coordinator, is eager to have potential brides and grooms visit their site during the open season which runs from May to October each year.  With nearly five years of wedding experience, eleven years of event planning experience, and gregarious nature, Tracy leads a staff with capable hands eager to serve you on your wedding day. 

The property itself is starred by an 1867 limestone mill reminiscent of a day in the countryside, and speaking of countryside, take a look at the surrounding property.  Gorgeous wildlife views set Costello’s Old Mill Wedding Site and Reception Hall in a class of its own.  There just isn’t a bad view no matter where you look.  A wedding taking place here provides a sense of lovely escapism from a busy life in “the city” as your guests admire the five acres of park-like setting. 


One of the features of this location is that they have the ability to provide a location for your ceremony AND your reception which makes the transition so much easier for the wedding party and guests.  No need to leave your guests waiting or scrambling to find another location; they are right where they need to be.  I can just picture these trees as the backdrop for a private ceremony.  Would you even need to add any additional décor??


Another feature of Costello’s Old Mill Wedding Site and Reception Hall is that they allow you to bring in any catering service.  With so many talented and varied caterers around the QCA, your choices are endless as the staff here can work seamlessly with the caterer of your choice.  Whether it’s buffet style or a plated dinner, the professional staff at Costello’s Old Mill Wedding Site and Reception Hall can host up to 175 guests for a seated dinner. 


The name of the game here is service and natural beauty, so with a staff eager to serve and a naturally beautiful location, how could you want something more?  During the off season, you can contact Tracy via email at costellosoldmill@hotmail.com.  Stop by their website for even more info, and start planning now for your 2011 and 2012 weddings!


Thank you Tracy for giving us a sneak peek into such a beautiful place!  So lovely! 

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Jenny Bryde | Locations

Introducing the Newest Hot Spot for Weddings in the QCA: The Hotel Blackhawk!

by Jenny Bryde 28. July 2010 00:55

Oh, do I have a treat for you today, boys and girls.  I know that I often put teasing photos on my posts of places that only exist in our QCA imagination, but today, we have a bona fide luxury hotel property to show off that 1) IS in the Quad Cities, and 2) IS available for QCA brides!

Today on the blog, we are introducing the newly renovated Hotel Blackhawk which is simply a dreamy slice of posh sitting right smack dab in the middle of downtown Davenport.  Nestled right next to the River Center, the Hotel Blackhawk is in the neighborhood of places such as the Figge Art Museum, the Bucktown Center for the Arts, and the riverfront area. 


I recently had the priviledge to pick the brain of Tim Heim, the Director of Marketing and Sales for the Hotel Blackhawk who filled me in on just how this delightful place is going to be a much needed luxury property that will suit the needs of so many brides and grooms.  Check out all the juicy details in our interview below…


JB:  When a bride and groom decide to book their reception with the HB, who will they be working with (also the person they should contact if interested in booking or a tour)?

TH:  For the time being, the couples can contact me directly.  With the opening of several hotels and the execution of QCA bridal shows, I have had extensive direct experience in the QCA bridal market.  As the Director of Sales and Marketing, I can say that the Black Hawk Hotel is positioned really well.  Our staff understands the bridal market and we are offering high end services and amenities.   Our goal is to  create fairy tale weddings to our QC brides and grooms. 

We are soon bringing on an event coordinator who will be a great addition to our team.  This person has worked at luxury properties in major tier cities and is very familiar with high end services and amenities in the bridal market.  Together, we have over  fifteen years of bridal experience. 

JB:  It sounds like the staff of the HB knows their weddings!  How does the HB property tie in to the “fairy tale wedding”? 

TH:  You should come down and take a look!  The HB is truly going to be a luxury style boutique hotel with an old meets new type of feel:  high end furnishings and amenities.  Our sleeping rooms have a modern feel and our atmosphere is similar to high end hotels in larger markets.  The Hotel Blackhawk will be a very unique property to the QC area. 

JB:  With not all weddings being the same, what size of weddings can the HB accommodate? 

TH:   We can accommodate any size of party!  On the larger side, we can hold up to 300 people for a reception, and we even have space on site for the wedding ceremony.  We have a built in stage for a dance floor and a mezzanine area as an overflow area for cocktails and hand passed hors doeuvres.  If a couple is looking to have a smaller wedding or if they are looking for a smaller space for a rehearsal dinner or other gathering, we can do that too!  We have the Club Davenport room up on the 11th floor that can hold up to 60 people, and we have other break out rooms as well!  We even have an 8 lane bowling alley that can be used.

JB:  A bowling alley?  That is so unique!  I could see that being a really fun place for a bachelorette party!

TH:  Yes, or even if the couple wanted a place where children can  go hang out during the wedding. 

JB:  Great idea!  So many of our couples are looking for something different in their reception catering.  What kind of banquet is the HB equipped to host? 

TH:  We do all of our catering in house here at the HB.  We can do anything from a plated dinner, buffet, action stations, heavy hors d’oeuvres, cocktail receptions, brunches, gift openings, you name it!  If a couple would like to know more about our menu, they can send me an email, and I will send info along to them. 

JB:  It sounds like you guys can do anything!  Beyond food, what services are included in a reservation and what services can be added?

TH:  We have all the tables and chairs that a couple would require, and all of the tables will be covered in linens.  All the china and glassware are also included with their booking of the catering services.  We also include the cake cutting service in most of our bridal packages.  We also have some audio/visual equipment that the couples can rent. 

JB:  If there is a service that the HB doesn’t provide, for example a DJ, do you make recommendations for the couples?

TH:  Definitely!  I have worked extensively in the QCA bridal market over nearly a decade, and depending on what a bride and groom needs, I can definitely steer them in the right direction.  We have established relationships with many local vendors and will even help the bride and groom by making contact with the vendors when the wedding approaches to ensure that all details of the day are covered. 

JB:  What about services beyond a wedding?  What information should brides and grooms know about reserving a block of rooms for their guests? 

TH:  We like to make the wedding guests happy too!  A block of rooms can be reserved for a Friday or Saturday as needed.  All rooms include wireless internet, shuttle  service to the QC airport, and access to the pool and fitness room.  We have valet parking available as well as concierge service to help our guests feel at home in the QCA. 

JB:  Well it looks like you’ve got all angles covered!  If brides and grooms are reading this and are interested in more information on booking, how far in advance can they contact you?

TH:  The couples should call as early as they like to see which days we have open that can accommodate their needs.  We have our official opening this December, and we have already booked several wedding and events all the way through 2012!  We can also show brides and grooms some sample storyboards with swatches to help them visualize their wedding ideas.  We are still developing our website, but couples can have direct access to our services by calling me at 563.639.9124 or by accessing our Facebook page where we continually add information, pictures, and updates! 

JB:  Well what can I say?  The HB property is gorgeous, the service available is superb, and I’m definitely going to have to come down and try out that bowling alley!

TH:  Please do!  We are so pleased to be able to offer our QCA brides and grooms a high end luxury property that can accommodate any gathering with impeccable attention to details and service! 


Talking to Tim was such a delight, and I can tell you that whoever decides to book their event with the Hotel Blackhawk is going to find themselves in very capable and stylish hands.  Give Tim a call or stop in to the Hotel Blackhawk after its grand opening in December.  Remember that you can book today, and with a property this hot, the dates won’t stay open for long!  Happy Planning!  J

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Food and Drink | Jenny Bryde | Locations | Parties

Quad City Area Engagement Photo Shoot Locations

by Jenny Bryde 27. March 2010 08:43

Our lives are all about The To-Do Lists.  I have sticky notes, emails to myself, a bulging day planner, and a crack-berry, and while all these contraptions were designed to make life more organized and thus easier, I find that it makes my head spin eventually. 

On today's to-do list are two things.  The first job is to sand, prime, and paint all the trim in our house.  I am marrying into a very handy family.  My fiance can fix just about anything, and with the help of his mom and dad, they completely flipped the house that we currently live in from a shack o' disgusting shambles to a charming craftsman that we are proud to call home.  I'd like to say that I am handy too, though that would be a lie.  I'm really good at cleaning up after jobs, and if someone gives me a task that doesn't include the possibility of cutting my fingers off, I'm a good sport.  I tend to get bored, however, and sneak away when no one is looking.  Just ten minutes ago, I was cleaning the windows up after my fiance had come by with his sander, when he mentioned that I may want to wait to clean until all the dust had settled.  He started to tell me about other odd jobs that I could do in the meantime, when I pulled a road-runner and PING I was gone.  Now I am hiding in the bedroom typing this blog post.  :)  

The second agenda item on today's to-do list is to figure out where we want our engagement pictures to be taken.  We are kind of late on getting this whole ball rolling as we are getting married in September and have been engaged since August of 2008, but I want our engagement pictures back in time to incorporate into our wedding website and at the actual wedding.  Our photographer is Stephen from Giraffe Photography who is amazing not only in his craft but also in his creativity.  He's really fun and super flexible, and I know that our wedding and engagement photography is going to be off the hook!  

The good thing about having a flexible photographer is that they are totally open to ideas for things to do in pictures and where to take said pictures.  I told Stephen that we are pretty open to locations and whatever, but he and I have already talked about how cliche  pictures make me gag.  (They make Stephen gag, too!)  

The last thing I want is a picture with my hand on my fiance's chest and my head leaning in to him.  Here are just a spackling of the millions of pictures of engaged couples that I found on a Google search:



Do you see what I mean?  Girl's hand on chest to (artfully?) show of the engagement ring, head tilted, awkward smiles fixed.  No thank you.  I blurred out their poor, unfortunate heads as I mean no disrespect to the gazillions of people who have this shot in their wedding photography repertoire.  It's just that there are so many other options out there!  I rest my case. 

The REAL purpose of today's post is not to bash (classic?) photography, but rather to start a list of cool places that all of us engaged people can go to have our pictures taken.  I'm going to start the list, but if anyone wants to chime in on the message board, I'll add your ideas here and give you smarty-farties credit!

Quad City Places (in no particular order):


  • The Botanical Center
  • The Figge Museum
  • Vandaveer Rose Gardens, Ponds, Greenhouse
  • The Putnam
  • Niabi Zoo
  • Brady Street Stadium
  • on the Riverfront
  • Benbutterworth Parkway
  • Lagomarcino's
  • The Grand Stand
  • Modern Woodmen Park
  • on one of the bridges
  • at one of the golf courses
  • at one of our locally owned restaurants
  • at the Mississippi Valley Fair
  • at the Air Show
  • on the John Deere Commons
  • in a downtown abandoned building or old hotel (if you can sneak in)
  • at Scott County Park
  • at the iWireless Center
  • at one of our casinos 
  • at the Quad City Downs
  • on one of our riverboats
  • on the Wapsi River
  • John Deere Headquarters - submitted by hz80408 
  • District of Rock Island - submitted by srtrist
General Places:
  • a school
  • a library
  • on a rooftop
  • at a grocery store
  • in a boxing ring
  • in a corn field
  • at a farmer's market
  • at a movie theater
  • at the place where you went on your first date
  • at a radio/tv station
  • at a park
  • at a pool
  • in an antiques shop
  • at a picnic
  • at a pet store
  • at a bowling alley
  • playing pool
  • in a hot air balloon 
Look at these amazing ideas submitted on the message board by Donna from Studio D!  So many great ideas!!
  • Play air guitar
  • Pretend you are Lady GaGa
  • Be Marilyn Monroe
  • Be Brad Pitt
  • Laugh
  • Tickle
  • Whisper naughty things in your partner's ear
  • Have a watergun fight
  • Play with sidewalk chalk 
  • Silly String
  • Fly a Kite
  • Run a race
  • Play basketball
  • Play pool
  • go swimming
  • go rent costumes from Costumes By Patti Jo
  • Farmer's market
  • Street Photography
  • Share a drink with 2 straws
  • Bubbles........ fun stuff you can find at WalMarts
  • Have face painting done
  • Do some boy/girl romantic adult photography in the woods or in a hotel
  • Into gymnastics?
  • Love to read? Barnes and Noble might let you in if you are super respectful.....if not try Borders!!
Okay, that should get us started.  Remember, leave a comment on my blog post announcement on the message board, and I will add it to this list and tell the world that you came up with that brilliant idea!  

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Jenny Bryde | Locations | Photography

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About the Blog

Hi!  Welcome to the QCWeddings.com blog!  My name is Jenny, and I am a Quad Cities bride to be.  Our goal for this blog is to share information on all things wedding including local vendors, new trends, and amazing inspiration.  Let us know if there is something you'd like to see on here!  

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