How Do I Choose My Wedding Photographer?

img_1581I love photography, especially wedding photography. The detail shots, the fun bridal party shots, the gown shots, the ring shots, I love it all. There are so many different photography styles out there and there’s not many that I can say that I dislike. Everyone is different though, so be sure you go into the hiring process asking the right questions. Here are some to get you started:

Do you specialize in weddings? There’s a big difference between a “wedding photographer” and a “photographer who shoots weddings”. Make sure you hire someone who knows the flow of a wedding, how to handle large groups for portrait sessions, and who will be on his or her toes when it comes time for the first kiss, bouquet toss, or other moments that cannot get a “do-over”.
Do we receive an album with our package? Wedding albums have come a long way since your parent’s album. With digital photography, albums can be beautifully customized, flush-mounted and personalized. If you want an album, be sure to find out if one is included in the cost you are paying.
Is there a time limit for coverage on the day of the wedding? This is extremely important, especially if you want your photographer to capture those “getting ready” moments. If there is a time limit, be sure to schedule the times so that special moments at the reception can be captured. Some may take place towards the end of the evening. If you know your photographer is only scheduled until 9:00pm, be sure to do any special dances, cake cutting, and other significant events before then.
Do I get all of the images on a high resolution DVD with rights to them? In today’s day and age, this seems to be the norm, but there are still some photographers who do not want you to take their photos and have them printed at a discount store. Either way, make sure you understand what is offered and that it is in writing.

How many weddings have you photographed? Everyone has to start somewhere, so I’m not knocking newbie wedding photographers. However, if you have very high expectations for your wedding photographer, you may want to be sure you’ve hired someone with quite a bit of experience. While he or she may take beautiful scenery photos, weddings are a whole different ballgame.
Do you shoot candid/photojournalistic/posed? Each style can be beautiful when done the correct way, so just make sure your style meshes with the photographers and that you are clear about what you want.
Will my photos be available for online viewing? Again, with digital photography being what it is today, this is the norm with most photographers. There is usually a password that you will be assigned and you can share the link to your gallery with family and friends.
How long after the wedding will my photos be ready? Wedding photographers work many hours beyond the big day, editing away. Be patient, as you are not their only client. However, a guaranteed timeframe is usually written in the contract. If it is getting well beyond that time, you have the right to ask, but at least get through the end of that before you start badgering them. Many will also post “sneak peeks” on Facebook and Instagram very soon after the wedding.
Will YOU be my photographer on the big day? Oftentimes with larger companies, you may meet with one photographer, love his or her work, then be assigned another photographer on your wedding day. Make sure that it is clearly stated in your contract who will be shooting your wedding to avoid disappointment or even worse, lawsuits.
Will you have an assistant or a second shooter? Depending on your venue and what you want captured, some photographers offer a second shooter or assistant photographer for an additional cost. Be clear about what you want so they can plan accordingly, and then make sure what you discussed is in the contract.
Do you have a backup in case of illness, injury, etc.? Every professional in the wedding industry should have a backup plan, weather it be a close connection with other professionals or someone within their company. Don’t be afraid to ask this question. It’s important, and things happen.

Lastly, I will leave you with this. Make sure your wedding photographer is someone you can have fun with! This person is going to be with you for the majority of the biggest day of your life. If you can’t stand this person, you are not going to be happy.   ab_partytime-130

2016 – A Year in Review

We had a great 2016! So many happy occasions – weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, and so much more. Here is a quick photo review of our fantastic year and some of our favorite events.

Lauren & Jason’s August Wedding
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Joe & Amanda’s July Wedding
Angela & Brian’s August Wedding
Tamra & David’s October Wedding
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Samantha & Jay’s June Wedding
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Heidi & Tom’s June Wedding
Taz & Ty’s August Wedding
Bobbie & Pat’s 50th Wedding Anniversary Party
Jim & Adriana’s October Wedding
Erin & PJ’s September Wedding
Amina & Glen’s June Wedding

Thank you all for letting Spice Catering be a part of your special events. We loved working with all of you!

Can’t wait for all of the events we have coming up in 2017!

Lauren & Jason’s Backyard Summer Wedding

Lauren & Jason’s wedding took place this past August. It was another hot one, but it was a beautiful day. This wedding was particularly special because the groom is Dan’s nephew and the bride has worked events for Spice on many occasions. We wanted their day to be just perfect.

The ceremony took place at McCook’s Beach in Niantic, CT.

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The reception following was in Lauren’s parents’ beautiful back yard in East Lyme, CT.

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This is a sneak peak of their cocktail hour. We set up a locally farmed New England Tomato Bar including a variety of seasonal tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, burrata, flavored olive oils and vinegars, flavored sea salts, and fresh basil.
Also, a selection of charcuterie, assorted Italian meats, house pickled vegetables, focaccia, assorted breads and crackers.

Photo by Jordan Biagioni
Photo by Jordan Biagioni
Photo by Jordan Biagioni
Photo by Jordan Biagioni
Photo by Jordan Biagioni
Photo by Jordan Biagioni

Our “3 Little Pigs” station consisted of:
1) Slow roasted Bourbon & brown sugar glazed Pork Belly, house made coleslaw, house BBQ Sauce, and slider rolls
2) Pulled pork tacos, jicama slaw, mango cilantro salsa
3) Crispy bacon “lollipops”, dipped in dark chocolate


Dinner consisted of Jason’s linguini with clam and shrimp sauce, mixed green salad with sliced strawberries, English cucumbers, garlic croutons, raspberry vinaigrette, Tuscan chicken with mushrooms, artichoke hearts, white wine, fresh herbs, warm rice pilaf, boneless NY strip carving station with horseradish mayo, and herb marinated grilled vegetables with a Balsamic Glaze.

Lauren was starting to feel overwhelmed with the logistics of the day. Who would decorate the tent and tables? Who would pick up the cupcakes she ordered? Who would set up the chairs at the ceremony site? So she hired Carisa as a day-of wedding coordinator. Carisa and her assistant came to the reception site first to set up all of the decorations that Lauren had gotten. The tent and table setups looked beautiful!

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After the reception was all set up (the part that took the longest), Carisa and her assistant headed to McCook’s Beach for the ceremony setup and to get ready for the ceremony!

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Photo by
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What a gorgeous day this was! Congrats again to the happy couple! Thank you for choosing us to be a party of your special day!

Want a $100 Amazon Gift Card?

amazon-gift-cardWant a $100 Amazon Gift Card?



Here’s How It Works:

Engagement season is upon us. We all know someone who has gotten or will become engaged this holiday season. We want to help them plan the perfect wedding.

Step 1: Refer them to Spice Catering.
Step 2: They book us for their wedding catering.
Step 3: You get a $100 Amazon gift card emailed to you!

Simple, right?
Just make sure you tell us you sent them our way!

Minimum of 100 guests. Deposit and contract must be received prior to sending out gift card.

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A bride told me the other day that she enjoyed the planning of her wedding but now that its only a few months away she wants someone to deal with all of the logistics and take over. Luckily, that’s one of the services we offer! Let me explain the difference between a Wedding Coordinator vs. a Wedding Planner.

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Wedding Coordinator
This is just one of my titles. Don’t think that just because you did all the planning for your wedding that you have to continue to run things the day of. This is YOUR day and you should be able to relax and enjoy it with your friends and family. Let someone else run the show. That’s why I’m here! About 3-4 weeks before your wedding, I’ll meet with you for a detail meeting. This is when you’ll give me all of your vendor contracts so that I can confirm details and delivery/arrival times with them, we discuss an “inventory” list of anything that I have to set up for the ceremony and reception, the order and participants of your ceremony processional, a basic outline of timing for the day (I’ll create a thorough timeline after this), and anything else that is on your mind. I basically take what YOU have planned and implement it.

Some popular wedding venues have an on-site coordinator. They are great because they know the venue best, but they don’t do everything that we do. If your ceremony is not at the venue, who will run things there? Who will make sure that your belongings get returned to you after the ceremony (unity candle, extra programs, etc.)? That’s right. Me. And don’t forget the countless hours spent on walkthroughs, detail meetings and the rehearsal that we attend to make sure that everything goes perfectly on your wedding day.


Most of the time the on-site coordinator at the reception will handle the logistics of the facility like setting the tables, making sure the food comes out correctly and on time, etc. What I do is a bit different. I start at your ceremony to greet the groom and groomsmen and make sure they are where they are supposed to be and on time. I set up any decorations or special items here. When the bride arrives I greet her at the limo and instruct her and the bridesmaids to line up for the processional, then coordinate with any musicians for the processional as I guide everyone down the aisle. Immediately after the ceremony, I go to the reception site and greet the vendors to make sure everyone knows where they are supposed to be and set up any items that I need to there. Throughout the evening, I make sure that everyone is following the timeline I put together and distributed prior to the wedding day and work out any adjustments that need to be made along the way. It’s also my job to make sure that the bride and groom are happy and to handle any mishaps that may occur throughout the day, preferable without the bride’s knowledge of anything going wrong :)

Wedding Planner
I love being a coordinator, but being a planner is great too because it gives me more time to build a rapport with the couple and get to know family members and friends throughout the planning process. With this title, I work with the couple from “Yes!” to “I do!”. We’ll start by creating a budget and estimated guest list to narrow down venues to make it easier to set up tours. I’ll go with the couple on those tours, vendor meetings, periodic meetings to firm up details and keep the couple on track, etc. I will help to create a theme or color scheme and work it into different aspects of the wedding. Then I take on the role of wedding coordinator the day of the wedding to implement everything that we planned together.


Considering a wedding planner or wedding coordinator for your big day? Contact Carisa today at to discuss which is right for you!

Holiday Weddings – Good or Bad?

Are holiday weddings good or bad? Think you had the greatest idea ever by planning your wedding on a holiday/holiday weekend? Consider these pros and cons before signing on the dotted line.

– Out-of-state family and friends may already be in town.
– Family and friends can enjoy an extra day of relaxation after the wedding.
– Your venue may already be decorated accordingly, thus saving you money!
– This is a perfect way to gather friends and family that you don’t get to see too often.

– Some people already have plans for the holidays.
– Holiday season, particularly in December, can already be costly. A wedding will only add to that!
– Venues and vendors may charge more to work during a holiday.
– Mother Nature can have different plans for your wedding day. Snow can be a real downfall during the winter, and the heat and humidity can be brutal during the summer months in Connecticut.

If you do decide to have your wedding during a holiday weekend, be considerate of your guests.
– Send out save-the-dates as soon as you book the date to give your guests plenty of time to plan and save money.


– Find a hotel near your venue and block off a bunch of rooms at a discounted rate. Include this information in your save-the-date or your wedding website so they know this option is available to them.
– It would be nice to include a hotel “welcome” basket for your guests that include things to do in the area, light snacks, and maybe even a few toiletries that they may have forgotten. Include a handwritten note that expresses your gratitude for them being there for your wedding day.


No matter when you plan your wedding date, enjoy the process! It’s such a special time in your life that goes by so quickly. The most important people will make sure they are present no matter what the date is.

7 Reasons to Choose Spice Catering

With the wedding market full of caterers from all over the state, one is presented, and oftentimes overwhelmed, with the decision of who to hire. So let me give you a few reasons to choose us!

  1. We only cater one wedding a day. Many caterers book multiple weddings per day. With us, your wedding day is our one and ONLY focus that day. I know it sounds cliche, but it really does make a difference. YOU will get our best chef, YOU will get our best staff, and YOU will get all of our attention. We don’t like to sacrifice quality for quantity.“There aren’t enough words to describe how amazing Spice Catering was. Dan was absolutely wonderful. When we first met with him to talk, I knew right away we were going to have a great experience. He was extremely professional, he was easy to talk to, down to earth, and most important of all, he really cared about our needs and wants.”

    food (9 of 1)
    Photo by Heidi Hanson Photography

  2. Quality over quantity. Because we don’t like to sacrifice quality over quantity, our food is prepared with the freshest ingredients. We even use local farm fresh ingredients when we can. One of our favorites are the various mushrooms that we get from Chatfield Hollow Farm in Killingworth.“The food was spectacular and all of our guests raved about it. Dan was even able to incorporate food from the farm where we had our ceremony and reception, which grows its own mushrooms and other vegetables.”
  3. mushroomsIt’s a personal thing. We build relationships with our clients. You are not just another event to us. We take the time to learn about your likes, dislikes, food favorites, allergies and favorite homemade recipes.“They have been such a integral part of my life for the last year. They truly felt like and treated us like family!”
  4. Experience is priceless. Owner Dan Biagioni and Executive Chef, Jonathan Leff, have a combined experience of 40 years in the catering, restaurant and food preparation industry. While many other caterers can claim experience, the passion that Jonathan has for creating interesting and delicious food is evident in every meal.
  5. Presentation. Spice Catering has always been proud of it’s presentation style. With every event we cater, we strive to create not only attractive food presentation, but interesting displays that work with the theme of the event.

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    Photo by Heidi Hansen Photography
  6. We have our own Event Planner. We have our own in-house Wedding and Event Planner that can help with all aspects of your special event, from booking vendors, creating a timeline, setting up decor, and working with your vendors to make the day run smoothly.
    “Carisa the wedding Coordinator is awesome too. She helped me towards the end. She tied up all the loose ends. Set my wedding timeline and was my go to person for all my freak out moments. She also set up my tables, chairs, linens, centerpieces and other things for the day. “

    Photo by Mike Ross Photography
  7. We have our liquor license. When you hire Spice Catering, you don’t have to hire a separate bartending service. We have our liquor license and can customize your bar just like we can your menu.

    Photo by Wonderland Photography


Angela & Brian’s Wedding

Angela and Brian got married on probably the hottest day of the year this past August. When we arrived to start setting up, we thought for sure we would melt. Hazy, hot and humid doesn’t even begin to describe it. But the moment things started coming together, we forgot all about it (kind of).

Dan met the couple in late 2015, and they began to plan their menu, tent and rentals, linens, etc. Dan mentioned that since the wedding was going to take place in a backyard type of setting, they might want to consider talking to Carisa about day of coordination. Carisa met with them and immediately put Angela at ease about everything that needed to be setup that day (tables, chairs, linens, decor, flowers, ceremony logistics, etc.).

Carisa and her assistant arrived nice and early to begin on setting up. There were lots of fun details that made this wedding so great!

Photo by Wonderland Photography
Photo by Wonderland Photography
Photo by Wonderland Photography
Photo by Wonderland Photography
Photo by Wonderland Photography
Photo by Wonderland Photography
Photo by Wonderland Photography
Photo by Wonderland Photography
Photo by Jordan Biagioni

The ceremony was unique and beautiful, and took place on a lake near the groom’s family’s house. The bride was driven down to the site by a friends vintage car, which was awesome!

Photo by Wonderland Photography
Photo by Wonderland Photography
Photo by Wonderland Photography
Photo by Wonderland Photography
Photo by Wonderland Photography
Photo by Wonderland Photography

Photo by Wonderland Photography

Their cocktail hour consisted of a fun popcorn bar, tomato, hand whipped ricotta and fresh basil bruschetta, and chicken and vegetable skewers. The buffet included Southern style slow cooked pulled pork with house made coleslaw, “Nana’s” potato salad, herb-crusted flank steak, “adult” mac and cheese, honey and sour cream corn bread, slow cooked baked beans, a grilled summer vegetable platter, and a summer field green salad.

Photo by Wonderland Photography
Photo by Wonderland Photography
Photo by Wonderland Photography
Photo by Wonderland Photography
Photo by Wonderland Photography
Photo by Wonderland Photography
Photo by Jordan Biagioni
Photo by Jordan Biagioni


Photo by Jordan Biagioni
Photo by Wonderland Photography
Photo by Wonderland Photography
Photo by Wonderland Photography

Vendor Team:
Spice Catering Group – catering and day-of wedding coordination
Wonderland Photography – photography
Stylish Blooms – flowers
Sweet Maria’s Bakery – cake
Team Cares DJ/Jeremy Fedorchick – DJ

Small Business Holiday Party

SONY DSCSome businesses would like to host a holiday party for their employees, but they are too small to justify booking an entire facility for the night. Or sometimes a group of friends or family just want to get together for a holiday night out. Going out to a restaurant for something like this can get expensive, what with drinks, appetizers, and desserts. Well, we have the perfect solution for you!

Join us for our joint Small Business Holiday Party on

Friday December 16th
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM


The Lyman Homestead, Middlefield


Stationed Hors D’oeuvres
Holiday Themed Buffet
Non-alcoholic Beverages
Lyman’s Signature Pies, Coffee & Tea


$75 per person
Open Bar – $90 per person

 Space is limited so contact Dan to reserve your spot today at 860-316-2759 ext. 101 or!

Tamra & David’s Wedding

Betsey was introduced to Tamra and David by their fabulous event planner, Josh Chalmers – President and CEO of Earth2company. Both Tamra and David are Connecticut Police Canine Officers. They also own Guardians Farm, where they raise goats, chickens and pigs. They produce wonderful goat’s milk soaps and lotions and sell them at area Farmer’s markets and local shops.

They chose the very picturesque venue at Barberry Hill Farm in Madison CT, which could also accommodate their 230 guests! The ceremony was in the sheep’s meadow and the bride was brought in by the Farm’s tractor. Thank goodness the weather held out for them!

Their hors d’oeuvres menu consisted of Ripe Tomato and Goat Cheese Bruschetta, Grilled Cheese with Caramelized Apples, and Mini Cheeseburger Beef Sliders. Their family style dinner included Southern Style Pulled Pork, Citrus Marinated Chicken Beast with Herb Oil, Creamy Macaroni and Cheese, Roasted Vegetable Salad with Fresh Herbs, and a medley of Celery Root, Potatoes, Red Onion, Butternut Squash, Carrots.

Lot’s of friends made this day so special for them. One of the bride’s best friends made the wedding cake and cupcakes. Another friend did the bouquet and flower arrangements. They also had a donut truck for late a late night treat. It was a very special wedding for a wonderful bride and groom. Congratulations to Tamra and David Buck! Photos courtesy of Jeffery Herget at Studio 393.

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Thank you for allowing us to be a party of your special day! All the best to you both!