Sunday, December 27, 2009

News From A Newport Wedding Planner...If your thinking of getting married at Astors' Beechwood Mansion. ... Think again!

By Ted Hayes

=NEWPORT — A lawsuit recently settled in Newport County Superior Court may herald the sale of the Astors’ Beechwood mansion at 580 Bellevue Ave., one of the City By The Sea’s most noted summer cottages. The sale price? $10.5 million, much less than the $16 million sought when the mansion first went on the market two years ago.

Read the October settlement that could herald the sale of the Astors' Beechwood mansion.

The settlement was filed in mid-October. Coupled with a purchase and sale agreement signed on Sept. 28 — which has not yet been consummated — it resolves a lawsuit filed against Robert Milligan, principal of Historic Beechwood LLC, and associated entities including Historic Newport LP. The suit was filed last year by the Madison Group Trust, whose principals and attorney, Laura J. Bottaro, alleged that Mr. Milligan failed to repay them more than $1.54 million, now over $2 million with interest, that they won in a previous, unrelated Connecticut lawsuit settled in their favor in 2004.

The case file is more than a foot thick, and details Madison Group’s attempts to establish that the opulent estate was owned by Mr. Milligan, not his associated entities. From the beginning, said Ms. Bottaro, “he had held himself out to be the owner and operator of Beechwood for years.”

Therefore, she said, “our theory is that we’re entitled to the equity of the mansion.”

If the purchase and sale agreement is ultimately consummated, the Madison Group will be paid $625,000, much less than the money Ms. Bottaro said it’s owed. Nevertheless, she said Thursday, the firm sought to recoup the money by going after Mr. Milligan’s equity in the mansion. If it had sold for more, she said, the Madison Group would have received a larger settlement.

“The original judgment was over $2 million with interest,” Ms. Bottaro said. “But of course, this is a settlement. If the mansion hadn’t sold, there was nothing for us to collect on. Once there was a possibility of a sale, that’s what prompted the settlement.”

The majority of the sale price, $8.76 million, would go to the primary mortgage holder, the Patriot Group LLC, according to court records. Of the balance, Historic Beechwood, LLC, would receive $495,000; a $420,000 commission would go to real estate commissions; taxes and legal fees would account for the remaining $200,000.

Ms. Bottaro would not say who has contracted to purchase the estate, and Mr. Milligan’s attorney, Keith B. Kyle, also declined to comment on that aspect of the case.

What’s next?

The privately owned mansion derives much of its income from weddings, tours, parties and other events, including Christmas with the Astors, which is now ongoing. As part of the settlement, Mr. Milligan’s Historic Beechwood LLC will be allowed full access to the five-acre property through Jan. 2, 2010, to complete operations and conduct its Christmas pageant. Historic Beechwood will also be given limited access to the property from Jan. 2 through August 5, 2010, to conduct 26 previously scheduled weddings.

If the purchase and sale agreement is not consummated, the settlement will remain in effect. However, if the Madison Group is not paid within 18 months, the group has the right to re-open the case.

About Beechwood

The mansion was first laid out in 1852 for New York dry goods merchant Daniel Parish. In 1881, the estate was purchased by Caroline “Lina” and William Backhouse Astor Jr., who hired architect Richard Morris Hunt to redesign the mansion. It sits on five acres of oceanfront property and has 15 bedrooms and eight baths.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Your Flower Girl Will Love this Bag!

Your Flower girl and Jr. Brides Maids will love carrying the BFF 2-in-1 Friendship Bag. It's two bags, combined by a center zipper, that can be separated. Share one with a friend or trade halves to create a fun new look. Either way, they will look great toting this awesome accessory--it's embellished with hearts, rhinestone studs, and an iridescent overlay.
Perfect for Ages 5 and up

Monday, December 14, 2009

Panton's New Wedding Site

This is a blast you can;
So Much FUN!

2010 Wedding Trends

Estimated number of weddings: 2.16 to 2.18 million
Estimated number of guests: 135 to 145

Couples will want simple yet elegant events at a lower cost.

They will choose DIY (do it yourself) and thriftiness as a way to cut cost

DIY is bigger than ever and will continue to increase on items from Invitations to flowers

From the dress to shoes, vintage will be in big demand

June 2010 will be busier than normal.

Couples that put off their 2009 June wedding, because of the recession have booked for June 2010

Candy buffets will be very hot

Warm, bright, bold, and vibrate color tones are in for 2010

In vintage style, black and white photography shots will be in higher demand

While it hasn’t gone mainstream, video streamed live weddings will continue to gain interest

Tungsten is the hot metal for 2010, couples are looking for both engagement rings and wedding bands in tungsten

As with 2009, couples will continue to want package deals over a la carte

As with 2009, couples will continue to rely on family and friends to save money

As with 2009, we will continue to see smaller weddings with fewer guests

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Newport, RI Weddings found the perfect disposable place mats

Click on Photo to see a bit better
I met owner Denise Ortell today at a holiday party today.
She created this clever line of disposable place mats. A cost effective perfect solution for a casual, yet charming garden wedding.

Friday, December 4, 2009

A great Idea From a Newport Wedding Planner Faith Hope and A Star

Dana designed the Cross Stars as a way to celebrate her and her husband's faiths. It seemed only natural to Dana that their religious symbols be connected in this way. Not only for married couples but for anyone wanting to display their respect and understanding for another's faith.