The NotWedding Comes to Chicago

 

The NotWedding Charleston - Lime Green Photography

Photos by Elle Golden Photgraphy, Hike Photography, and Lime Green Photography

There’s often a disconnect between the bridal show and the wedding ceremony: couples are bombarded by different cakes and catering companies but, until the big day arrives, they have no idea how these vendors will translate to the wedding itself. That’s exactly the problem Callie Murray wanted to address when she founded The NotWedding, a fake, large-scale wedding that gives couples an edgy alternative to the traditional show. Continue reading →

Haute Hors D’Oeuvres

Start the party off right with a stylish — and tasty! — cocktail hour

FollowspotMedia_EntertainingCompany-2

“The hors d’oeuvres hour is a prelude to the main meal. It should set the tone but not duplicate the flavors.” That’s Wendy Pashman’s take on wedding cocktail hours. Pashman, who runs catering firm Entertaining Company in Chicago, has provided delicious food for thousands of elegant weddings for more than 20 years.

To make the cocktail hour hors d’oeuvres unforgettable, Pashman suggests serving a wide selection of foods that incorporate tastes and smells from around the world. “It is the absolute best time to be adventurous,” she says. “A small cocktail Indian samosa, for example, is small enough for trying and testing without committing to a whole entrée-size portion.” Pashman also encourages serving small custom cocktails that will entice guests to try new foods without overwhelming their palates.

And as with any element at a wedding, the presentation of the bites is key. Pashman and her colleagues at Entertaining Company always match their serving pieces to each wedding’s overall style, such as mirrored trays for glamorous fetes and simple white ceramics for minimalist parties. Pashman even fashions roasted vegetables into serving vessels for more organic weddings. One thing she says they won’t do? Use hors d’oeuvres from the freezer. “A company has to be committed to taking the slow, more delicious route,” she says.

Food + Drink:
Respectfully Delicious

Wedding food doesn’t have to be bland. Take it from Contemporary Catering: your food should be as telling as any other day-of detail.

Contemporary Catering offers a variety of food for the big day, such as this delicious plate of sea bass with roasted tomatoes, carrots, and kale. photo by Amy Squires.

Contemporary Catering offers a variety of food for the big day, such as this delicious plate of sea bass with roasted tomatoes, carrots, and kale.
photo by Amy Squires.

Wedding food traditionally has gotten a bad rap, but with so many innovative things happening with food right now, what are some ideas for couples who are looking to keep their wedding fare fresh and interesting?

They should try to bring out authentic foods from their backgrounds. People love regional cuisine that highlights the bride and groom’s heritage. Every dish served should be tied to the story of the couple and
their traditions.

What are some recent industry trends?

We’re finding that guests really like live stations, where the food is cooked to serve per their request. Some interesting stations we’ve done include a raw bar, wood-fired pizza station, panini station, burrata bar, dim-sum cart, and slider bar.

Where should couples draw the line when planning a menu while still considering dietary restrictions and preferences?

It’s important to translate any dietary restrictions into a beautiful menu, but couples should draw the line when the menu starts to pull too far away from the celebratory vision. Food, like anything on their wedding day, should represent the bride and groom. We make sure to carefully guide the bride and groom on a “style” of dining that can serve their preferences without forcing guests to eat something too unfamiliar.

photo by Caroline Tran.

photo by Caroline Tran.

How do couples get a specialty menu that works for their budget without breaking the bank? 

We always recommend sitting down and engaging with your caterer. More often than not, the caterer can design a menu that is more cost effective than a couple’s initial selection.

Food + Drink:
Heavy Metal

These high-shine cakes in gold, silver, and other metallics pack a punch of pretty, high-wattage cool. Frosting your fête just got a little fiercer.

Cake Design: Nine Cakes Photo: Heather Waraksa

Cake Design: Nine Cakes
Photo: Heather Waraksa

Cake Design: Yummy Cupcakes & Cakes

Cake Design: Yummy Cupcakes & Cakes

Cake Design: Sharon Wee Creations

Cake Design: Sharon Wee Creations

Cake Design: Erica O'Brien Cake Design Photo: Brooke Allison Photography

Cake Design: Erica O’Brien Cake Design
Photo: Brooke Allison Photography

Food + Drink:
A Taste for Every Type

It’s time to get creative with cocktails. Not every couple wants to present the same old sip at their wedding. We’re here to shake things up a bit and pour something new into the mix- here’s eight drinks that will have guests begging for more beverages throughout the night. 

 

For The :: Artsy Affair

Sip On The :: Strawberry Basil Fizz  

StrawberryBasil2

 Ingredients:

3 oz Crispin Original or Brut Cider

1.5 oz Ginger Ale or Ginger Beer 

1 oz Light white Rum

1 Large Strawberry Quartered 

2 Wedges of Lime

2 Large Basil Leaves, torn into pieces

1/2 tsp Sugar (plus extra to rim glass)

Directions:

Using a slice of lime, rim the serving glass and dip into a small dish of  sugar.

In a mixing glass- squeeze and drop the lime slices, add basil, sugar, and   strawberry segments.

Muddle the ingredients together until they are broken up a bit.

Fill a shaker glass with ice, add in the rum & cider, top with a shaker tin.

Give the drink a couple firm shakes and pour into rimmed glass.

Garnish with a little lime, basil, and strawberry.

Cocktail created by Crispin Cider 

 

For The :: City Soirée 

Sip On The :: Crystal Blue 

crystal-blue

 Ingredients: 

1.5 oz Casa Noble Crystal Tequila

1 dash Aztec Chocolate Bitters

1 barspoon Pepper Jazz 

1/2 oz Lemon Juice 

1/2 oz Caramel Syrup 

1 1/2 oz Blueberry Juice 

Directions: 

Build all ingredients in a shaker tin with ice. Shake.

Strain over fresh ice into into a glass with a dehydrated blueberry rim.

Garnish with mint and blueberry skewer and serve.

Cocktail created by Green City Market Cocktails 

 

For The :: Wedding Out West 

Sip On The :: Watermelon Jalapeño Margarita 

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 Ingredients: 

4 oz Watermelon Juice

4 oz Tequila

1 oz Lime Juice

1 oz Triple Sec

1 tsp Jalapeño Juice

1 Cup Ice

1 tbsp Coarse Salt 

Cocktail created by Two-Tarts 

 

For The :: Feminine Fête

Sip On The :: Champagne-Pomegranate Punch

New-Years-Eve-Pomegranate-Champagne-Cocktail

 Ingredients:

1 tsp fresh Pomegranate Arils

4 oz Champagne

1/2 tsp Pomegranate Juice

1 tsp Cassis

Directions:

Place fresh pomegranate arils into a Champagne flute.

Pour Champagne into flute, add pomegranate juice & cassis.

 

For The :: Rustic Barn Affair

Sip On The :: Aviation Lemon-Lavender Fizz

Lavender-Cocktail

 Ingredients: 

2 oz Aviation American Gin

1 1/2 Lavender Simple Syrup

3/4 oz Lemon Juice

Dash of Club Soda

1 Cup Granulated Sugar

1 Cup Water

1 1/2 tbsp Dried Lavender Buds

Directions: 

Pour gin, simple syrup, and lemon into a shaker and shake with flair.

Strain into a martini glass.Top with Club Soda.

Garnish with lemon or lavender sprig, and serve.

Cocktail Created by Aviation American Gin

 

For The :: Bride on the Beach 

Sip On The :: Brazilian Caipirinhi 

Caipirinha

 Ingredients: 

1 2/3 oz Cachaca

1/2 Lime, cut into 4 wedges 

2 tsp Crystal or Refined Sugar 

Directions: 

Place lime and sugar into an old-fashioned glass and muddle ingredients together.

Fill glass with crushed ice and add the Cachaca.

 

 For The :: Wine Aficionado 

Sip On The :: Sangria Flora

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 Ingredients: 

1 bottle Sauvignon Blanc or Dry White Wine 

1 Cup St-Germain

2 Fresh Peaches

5-6 Strawberries

6 Fresh Raspberries

1 Bunch of Fresh Grapes

Directions: 

Stir ingredients in a pitcher or carafe. Soak for approximately 15 minutes.

Serve in an ice-filled glass.

Cocktail created by Epicurious 

For The :: Classy Soirée 

Sip On The :: Dirty Martini 

dirty-martini1

Ingredients:

2 1/2 Shots Gin 

1/2 Shot of Brine from Cocktail Olives

1/8 Extra-Dry Vermouth

Directions:

Shake ingredients with ice in Cocktail Shaker and strain.

Serve chilled.

Cocktail created by The Food Network 

Event :: More from New York City’s The NotWedding, part two

Last week, we showcased the best event photos from The NotWedding, and now we’re bringing you part two of our series. Take a closer look at the décor from the vendors that made the New York City’s version of The NotWedding shine. 

 

All guests at The NotWedding had the chance to see creative invites by stationary designers displayed around the venue.

(Wedding invitations provided by And Here We Are and Buzzy Craftery

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Photo Credit: Jean Spencer Photography 

 

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Photo Credit: Jean Spencer Photography 

 

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Photo Credit: Authentic Photo

 

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Photo Credit: Authentic Photo

 

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Photo Credit: Authentic Photo

 

 

Liddabits Bridal brought along tiny tokens like their custom banners and drink flags that added to the fun and festive décor.

(Event design courtesy of Tinsel and TwineField & FeatherRuffles & Tweed ; Paper flags and banners provided by Liddabits Bridal)

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Photo Credit: Jean Spencer Photography 

 

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Photo Credit: Authentic Photo

 

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Photo Credit: Jean Spencer Photography 

 

 

Designers at the event switched up table numbers by mixing and matching the design of the text- they used letters, numerals, or even both to create a few different looks.

 

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Photo Credit: Jean Spencer Photography 

 

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Photo Credit: Jean Spencer Photography  

 

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Photo Credit: Jean Spencer Photography 

 

 

Good things come in small packages…or vases. Floral design companies showed off what they could do with a few different flowers and a little green vase.

(Floral design courtesy of Tinsel & Twine)

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Photo Credit: Jean Spencer Photography 

 

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Photo Credit: Jean Spencer Photography 

 

 

Modern bud vases like these made tabletops pop with red and white peonies sprouted from the centerpiece of each table. Emerald colored plates made for an eye-catching combo.

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Photo Credit: Jean Spencer Photography  

 

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Photo Credit: Jessica Oh Photography 

 

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Photo Credit: Jean Spencer Photography

 

 

Guests sipped on Ferrari Wine with a golden color scheme at the bar.

(Event design by Field & Feather

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Photo Credit: Jean Spencer Photography 

 

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Photo Credit: Jean Spencer Photography 

 

 

Chromatic Gallerie cleverly displayed its shoes throughout the venue for all to see, from sparkly indigo pumps to a wedding perfect pink patent leather.

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Photo Credit: Authentic Photo 

 

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Photo Credit: Authentic Photo 

 

 

Guests munched on a savory hor d’oeuvres provided by Soulfully Good Catering.

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Photo Credit: Jean Spencer Photography  

 

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Photo Credit: Jean Spencer Photography  

 

Photos by Jessica Oh PhotographyJean Spencer Photography, and Authentic Photo each captured the faux bride and groom throughout the mock wedding, including these adorable images in the park and with the wedding party.

(Floral design done by Tinsel & Twine; Dresses, Bride and bridesmaids accessories by The White Gown and Hushed Commotion ; Women’s shoes by Chromatic Gallerie ; Makeup and Hair by Makeup by Dana Marie ; Groom and groomsmen accessories by French Knot Studios

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Photo Credit: Jessica Oh Photography

 

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Photo Credit: Jessica Oh Photography  

 

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Photo Credit: Jessica Oh Photography  

 

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Photo Credit: Jessica Oh Photography

 

Photography

Authentic Photo

Jean Spencer Photography

Jessica Oh Photography

Venue

Bathhouse Studios

Event

The NotWedding

Stationary 

And Here We Are

Buzzy Craftery

Paper Flags and Banners

Liddabits Bridal

Floral and Event Design

Field & Feather

Ruffles & Tweed

Tinsel & Twine

Lindsay Rae Design

Dresses

The White Gown

Bride and Bridesmaids Accessories

Hushed Commotion

Women’s Shoes

Chromatic Gallerie

Makeup and Hair

Makeup by Dana Marie

Groom and Groomsmen Accessories

French Knot Studios

Catering

Soulfully Good

Wine

Ferrari

 

 

 

Event :: The NotWedding takes New York, part one

What better way to figure out which vendors to use in your wedding than by witnessing their work in action? Modern Weddings goes behind-the-scenes at The NotWedding, an untraditional bridal event that goes beyond booths and flyers.

 

notwedding_jspencer_0341

Credit: Jean Spencer Photography

 

From the ceremony to the I Do’s, bridal event founder Callie Murray has created a way for both brides and bridal professionals to get an idea of what a wedding day will be like thanks to The NotWedding. She created this untraditional bridal event as a way to gather top industry vendors—including florists, décor companies, planners, photographers, and more—together to create and celebrate a mock wedding, fake bride and groom included. And the guests attending the pretend nuptials? They are brides looking for the perfect vendor team to plan their own big day. “The NotWedding allows brides-to-be to get a feel for how wedding vendors would actually perform on their wedding day, and wedding vendors love being able to truly show off what they do and how they work,” Murray says.

Murray’s offbeat bridal event has taken place in a number of cities, including Atlanta, Charleston, San Diego, Nashville, and Cape Cod, but this was her first in New York City. The bash took place at Bath House Studios where inside the venue, “happy couple” Natasha and Jonathan said their vows as real brides looked on amidst the embellishments.

After the mock ceremony, guests moved into the reception area, where intricate design details filled every corner. They dined on bites provided by Soulfully Good while the band Mixtape: A Cover Band For Hipsters rocked out in the background.

Take a look at the gorgeously detailed event photos during part one of our two-part series.

 

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Credit: Jean Spencer Photography

 

_9F5cEw58D7LYSA4FwK2YslB01WJCpnIDSlrxpSxNWsCredit: Jean Spencer Photography

 

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Credit: Jessica Oh Photography

 

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Credit: Jean Spencer Photography

 

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Credit: Jean Spencer Photography

 

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Credit: Jean Spencer Photography

 

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Credit: Jean Spencer Photography

 

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Credit: Jean Spencer Photography

 

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Credit: Jean Spencer Photography

 

 

Inspiration Shoot :: Cali Cool Meets Taco Truck Chic

If hotel ballrooms and three course meals aren’t your style, then check out this inspiration shoot courtesy of Katie Jayne Sprenkle of Jayne Weddings. Here she tells us how to recreate her California cool style, complete with sandals, succulents, and (hopefully) hot sauce.

Lily Red Studio, Chicago Wedding Photography & Design

 

MW: We love the idea of the food truck instead of catering, how did you get the idea of this?

Katie Jayne Sprenkle: I actually had an ice cream truck at my own wedding. Ever since, I have been obsessed. Its a big trend in Cali, so I figured it HAD to be a part of the shoot! Food trucks are so fun at weddings, they get people outside, give people something to do and are so memorable!

MW: There are so many creative options and ideas out there couples can use to personalize their weddings. But is it ever too much? How do you advise a bride on where to draw the line?

KJS: Get off of Pinterest. I use it, too and I love it. But as a newly engaged bride, going on Pinterest can be really overwhelming, they pin and pin and pin and end up with a wedding that they think is “what a wedding is suppose to look like.” My favorite weddings are when we step away from Pinterest; I talk to the couple, find out what drew them to each other, whats important to them, what they dream of feeling when they walk into the reception hall. Once we come up with a theme/decor track, then we go on Pinterest and other blogs to research whats being done, what works, and what doesn’t and such. This is a much more manageable way to create a wedding that is not only fun and funky but also a totally original reflection of the couple.

MW: Planning a wedding can be hectic and stressful. Do you have a go-to tip for brides on how to stay calm?

KJS: Simple is best. Jayne Weddings and Events does decor that sometimes is over-the-top and obnoxiously in your face, but there is a line. It’s still a wedding. You have to know when to push and when to pull back. And if your struggling, make it simple.

MW: What is the best advice you give to brides-to-be?

KJS: Keep true to yourself. Its hard when you have aunties and friends pushing you to do certain things, but in the end, you will be happiest if you stick with their gut.

MW: What was your favorite thing about the California themed wedding?

KJS: The venue, Big Star, is where I go when I am feeling home-sick for Cali. It’s airy, open, I love the concrete and wood touches and they pump killer music. A wedding here would be so cool, even without all the decor and fun add-ons. I love spaces like that. If a venue has good bones, you don’t need much else.

 

Lily Red Studio, Chicago Wedding Photography & Design

 

 

Lily Red Studio, Chicago Wedding Photography & Design

 

Lily Red Studio, Chicago Wedding Photography & Design

 

Lily Red Studio, Chicago Wedding Photography & Design

 

Lily Red Studio, Chicago Wedding Photography & Design

 

Lily Red Studio, Chicago Wedding Photography & Design

 

Lily Red Studio, Chicago Wedding Photography & Design

 

Lily Red Studio, Chicago Wedding Photography & Design

 

Lily Red Studio, Chicago Wedding Photography & Design

Photography and Invitation Design: Lily Red Studio

Photo Shoot Venue: Big Star in Chicago, Illinois

Event Styling: Jayne Weddings

Floral Design: Forget Me Knodt

Table Top Rental: Aged Vintal Rentals

Wardrobe: Mignonnette Bridal

Hair and Necklace Design: Debbie Petrielli

Make Up: Carol of Nika Vaugh, Make Up Artist

 

Event :: A Night at Brides, Bubbles and Bliss

Brides, Bubbles and Bliss co-producers Cara and Scott Nava of Carasco Photography held the 4th annual over-the-top affair at Bridgeport Art Center’s airy Skyline Loft

Like a magazine brought to life, the event included beautiful floral and tablescape designed by Revel Decor, Soiree Weddings & Events, Ashland Addison Floral and Event Decor and Sugar Chic Designs. Veuve Clicquot kept kept the guest’s champagne flutes brimming, while Jewell Events Catering provided small bites full of savory enjoyment.

A few additions to this year’s avant garde event included a beauty bar by Jouer Cosmetics and a U.S. runway debut of Ersa Atelier couture gowns, courtesy of Dimitra’s Bridal. See more from the blissful event below!

Images courtesy of Carasco Photography

 

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Delectable Dinner Design

If you have a guest list full of finicky palates, try making your wedding menu stand out by emphasizing a bold design theme instead of exotic flavors. “Themes are a way to give a meal a sense of design and cohesion,” says event planner Kelven Book of Canard, Inc. “They can make the event all your own.” So how can you translate your design details into food? Book suggests the following:

Canard Antiques ShowDIY TIP: Garment finishes, such as buttons and ribbons, can inspire food plating, too. “A row of round satin buttons can be echoed in a row of stunning scallops served as the entrée,” Book says.

Canard magazine Shoot Childhood favorites can be turned into stylish passed appetizers and desserts

5 Asparagus Tuille SaladLook to fabrics for textures and patterns that can be turned into food. “The lace of a veil can be mimicked into a parmesan tuille crisp,” Book says. 

3 Savory Ice Cream copyExperiment with flavors. Replace typical vanilla and chocolate desserts with savory tastes like rosemary and thyme

6 Rose Gimlet 2 copyEdible florals nicely complement floral decor elements. “A hibiscus pattern can be recreated as an edible hibiscus flower in a campaign cocktail or rose petals in a rose gimlet.” 

Haute Hors D’oeuvres

IvyRoom728x90

 

Start the party off right with a stylish -and tasty!- cocktail hour 

“The hors d’oeuvres hour is a prelude to the main meal. It should set the tone but not duplicate the flavors.” That’s Wendy Pashman’s take on wedding cocktail hours. Pashman, who runs catering firm Entertaining Company in Chicago, has provided delicious food for thousands of elegant weddings for more than 20 years.

To make the cocktail hour hor d’oeuvres unforgettable, Pashman suggests serving a wide selection of foods that incorporate tastes and smells from around the world. “It is the absolute best time to be adventurous,” she says. “A small cocktail Indian samosa, for example, is small enough for trying and testing without committing to a whole entrée-size portion.” Pashman also encourages serving small custom cocktails that will entice guests to try new foods without overwhelming their palates.

And as any element at a wedding, the presentation of the bites is key. Pashman and her colleagues at Entertaining Company always match their serving pieces to each wedding’s overall style, such as mirrored trays for glamorous fetes and simple white ceramics for minimalist parties. Pashman even fashions roasted vegetables into serving vessels for more organic weddings. One thing she says they won’t do? Use hors d’oeuvres from the freezer. “A company has to be committed to taking the slow, more delicious route,” she says.

FollowspotMedia_EntertainingCompany-5Pashman recommends coordinating your hors d’oeuvres with your main course menu for a seamless culinary experience

FollowspotMedia_EntertainingCompany-13Pashman says to get adventurous with the bites during cocktail hour. Sushi and other foods from around the wold will give guests a chance to experience other cultures

FollowspotMedia_EntertainingCompany-3Guests will love indulging in a small taste of decadent comfort foods, but without the calories (or guilt) of a full-size portion 

Eat, Drink, and be Merry All Day Long

MDE Banner_Design Bureau copy

 

Food is an essential element in any celebration, and weddings are no exception. “Food is really important, and the more you can factor it in, the better,” says Chicago event planner Michelle Durpetti. Here, she shares five smart suggestions for making your wedding food truly memorable.

MDE_7  Jeremy Lawson Photography

  • Serve guests a little something before the ceremony. “Consider having butler-passed light fare and refreshments prior to the ceremony,” Durpetti says.
  • Keep your cocktail hour to true cocktails and delicious hors d’oeuvres. “A cocktail hour should be exactly what it claims to be, an hour of cocktails,” Durpetti says.MDE_1 Carasco Photography
  • Don’t let dietart restrictions hold back your dinner course creativity. “We worked with a couple who had some food allergies but really didn’t want to skimp,” Durpetti says. “We partnered with Pure Kitchen anad created a menu that featured gluten-free short ribs and other delectable meals that fit their needs.”MDE_4 Carasco Photography
  • Artful tables featuring candy, pie, or a couple’s favorite local treat add a sweet twist to wedding dessert. “Couture sweets are very in right now, and no one does it better in Chicago than Amy DiTo-masso at Sugar Chic Designs,” Durpetti says.MDE_2 George Street Photography
  • Consider giving guests a “foodie tour map” so they can enjoy their meals outside of the big day, too. “Not only will they get to taste the culinary options of your wedding’s location, they will also get to know it, too,” Durpetti says.

 

Food & Drink :: Love Blooms

Many brides are opting to serve drinks with a personalized touch. This aptly named bubbly cocktail will have your guests lining up at the bar for more

Love-BloomsIn a shaker combine:

1.5 parts American Harvest Organic Spirit

.75 parts Lillet Rose Aperitif

.75 parts Grapefruit Syrup

 

Shake well with ice, strain into a champagne flute,

top with champagne. Garnish with an edible flower such as a pansy.

 

To make the grapefruit syrup, mix equal parts sugar and fresh squeezed and strained grapefruit juice in a sealed container and shake until dissolved. Keep in the refrigerator, it will last a week.

 

Cocktail created by Todd Richman, Corporate Mixologist for Sidney Frank Importing Co., Inc.

Food & Drink :: Cake Walk

These design-minded confections are seriously tasteful post-ceremony centerpieces

FoodDrink

CHERRY BLOSSOM BEAUTY

DESIGN: Ron Ben-Israel Cakes
INSPIRATION: Soft Spring buds LOCATION: New York
MORE INFO: weddingcakes.com
PHOTO: Courtesy Ron Ben-Israel Cakes

 

 

 

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LADYLIKE FASHIONS

Left to right:

DESIGN: Chanel Pearl by Maisie Fantaisie
INSPIRATION: Edwardian England’s romantic golden age

DESIGN: Textile Panels and Satin
by Maisie Fantaisie
INSPIRATION: Bride’s bodice

LOCATION: London
MORE INFO: maisiefantaisie.co.uk
PHOTOS: Courtesy Maisie Fantaisie

 

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PASTRY PERFECTION

DESIGN: Green Tea Mousse Cake by Lady M
INSPIRATION: Japanese pastries
LOCATION: New York
MORE INFO: ladym.com
PHOTO: Lester Echem

 

 

 

 

 

 

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PERFECT PASTELS

LOCATION: Washington, D.C.
MORE INFO: maggieaustincake.com
PHOTOS: Courtesy Maggie Austin Cake

Left to right:

DESIGN: Tiffany Pond Lily
by Maggie Austin
INSPIRATION: Tiffany Pond
Lily Globe

DESIGN: Gradient Frill
by Maggie Austin
INSPIRATION: Ombre fades

 

Vera

FLORAL ABSTRACTION

DESIGN: Vera cake by Yummy Cakes
INSPIRATION: Vera Wang bridal couture

LOCATION: Sydney
MORE INFO: yummycupcakes.com.au
PHOTOS: Courtesy Yummy Cakes

 

 

 

 

 

 

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DELICATE PLUMES

DESIGN: Woodland cake by Nicki’s Cakes
INSPIRATION: Forest flora and fauna
LOCATION: Wilmington, NC
MORE INFO: nickiscakes.com
PHOTO: Millie Holloman Photography

Ladies Who Lunch

Celebrate the bride-to-be with a dainty midday fete
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A well-designed bridal luncheon is an extra special affair. “Bridal luncheons are about celebrating the bride, so don’t be afraid to play up the girliness,” says wedding planner Laura Helm. Helm, who runs Ashton Events, likes to build luncheons using ladylike themes. She recently played off the feminine retro styles found in the movie The Help to create the perfect setting for a lunch. “We wanted to highlight the bridge games that happen throughout the movie,” she says. “We were inspired by the rose print we used for the table runner and chairs, as well as the vintage rose playing cards. The whole look was very classy but lighthearted.” Helm carried the rose throughout the party’s invitations, place cards, and centerpieces, and kept the color palette to sherbet tones to keep the style whimsical without overdoing it.

Worried you won’t be able to pull of a theme without looking corny? Helm says don’t be. “Don’t let having a theme be a stumbling block. Base the day around the bride, incorporate her favorite things, and you can’t go wrong!”