Do I Go Now? The Order of the Ceremony Processional

I have coordinated wedding ceremony processionals that weren’t necessarily “the norm”. There have been men on the “ladies’ side” and vice versa. There have been moms and brothers and sisters stepping in for the father to walk the bride down the aisle. There have been some that did not involve parents at all, or that have involved multiple sets of parents. Sometimes the groomsmen escort the ladies down the aisle, and sometimes they are all standing at the “altar” with the groom. I’ve even had dogs as ring bearers! Anyone that the couple wants can be included in the processional.

heller0622 heller0628

But, those who want a more traditional wedding ceremony processional sometimes aren’t sure of the proper order. Here is a guide to help.

Grandparents of the Groom
Grandparents of the Bride
Officiant, Groom, Best Man (and Groomsmen if desired)
Parents of the Groom
Mother of the Bride (typically escorted by an Uncle, Brother, or other male family member)
Bridesmaids
Maid of Honor
Flower Girl and Ring Bearer (if included)
Bride and Father

heller0663

This, of course, isn’t going to fit every ceremony processional, but it will at least send you in the right direction. Just remember, it is YOUR wedding and you can do it any way you’d like!

How Do I Know What to Budget?

“But I’ve never planned a wedding before. How do I know what to budget for everything?”

This is a question we hear often. The fact of the matter is, for most, this is the first time planning an event of this complexity. Most people don’t know what each service costs. We did a little research and it looks like, on average, couples in the Durham, CT area are spending about $50,144 on their wedding. Here is a breakdown by service. As you will see, catering and/or the wedding venue is just about half of the budget.

Note: This chart is based on the spending of other couples getting married, not wedding vendor prices.

budget

If you’re experiencing sticker shock, don’t worry, you’re not the first one to do so. Weddings are not cheap, but we can use this guide to figure out the dollar amount you are likely to spend on your wedding based on your budget:

Attire & Accessories – 5%
Beauty & Spa – 1%
Entertainment – 8%
Flowers & Decorations – 5%
Gifts & Favors – 2%
Invitations – 2%
Jewelry – 13%
Photography & Video – 12%
Planner/Consultant – 5%
Venue/Catering/Rentals – 47%

If you don’t have a $50,000 wedding budget, take the number that you do have and use these percentages to create a spreadsheet for yourself. This will at least give you some idea about the dollar amount you should expect to pay for each service. This is just a guide, and of course, not an exact science. You may want to modify it a bit for your priorities. For example, if you have your heart set on the best wedding DJ, maybe increase that percentage a bit and take some off for, say flowers.

If you’re still unsure, call us! Our wedding planner will help you figure out how to get the best “bang for your buck” and can even save you some money along the way.

Happy planning!

5 Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Menu

I receive so many inquiries weekly saying something along the lines of the following:

“Hi! We are having around 100 guests at our wedding and we are in need of a caterer. Please send me pricing and menus.”

What’s wrong with this email?
#1: There is no date, time or venue listed.
#2: It is lacking details as far as what kind of food the client would like, if they need bar service, linens, dessert, etc.

I think people have gotten so caught up in the catering “packages” and that is just what they are used to. The problem with that is – that’s not Spice Catering Group. We don’t want to box our clients in to a pre-packaged menu for an event that is one of the most important days of your life. Just because one client wants a seated filet mignon dinner does not mean the next client wants the same thing. We pride ourselves on truly customizing each couples’ wedding menu.

So, where does one start in that process if we don’t have packages from which to choose?

  1. What time of year is your wedding taking place? Season plays a big role in your wedding13647130_10155047950538662_934730769_o menu. Spring and summer weddings are usually filled with lighter fare, lots of fresh vegetables and color! Think fresh arugula and watermelon salads, corn chowder shooters, and a beautifully garnished flank steak platter. People don’t want to be eating anything too heavy when it’s hot outside. On the other hand, for fall or winter weddings, comfort foods are wildly popular. Items like butternut squash risotto, lobster mac and cheese and stuffed chicken breast are in high demand.

salmon2. Where is your wedding reception going to be held? The type of venue that you book for your reception is a key part in choosing your menu. We have been doing lots of BBQs at rustic venues like farms and barns. Items like BBQ pulled pork sliders and bourbon spiked brisket have been fan favorites at these venues. Going for more formal affair? Our pomegranate glazed salmon and filet mignon with a red wine demi glaze will serve perfectly.

3. Which service style do you prefer? Are you going for a plated dinner or buffet? Family style or stations? These decisions can also effect your menu. Items like a chicken roulade or HPIM0588braised beef ribs are best for plated dinners, as they are more presentView More: http://daphneanddean.pass.us/amanda-joeation-focused. Buffet items are foods that will keep well under heat such as a chicken dish with a sauce, or cold or room temp sides.

 

4. What time of day is your wedding taking place? Time of day plays an important part in your menu because people are used to eating at a certain time. If your wedding is at peak dinner time, your guests are expecting to be fed well. Late afternoon weddings can be a little more relaxed. A Sunday wedding from about 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm, for instance, would be a great time to have cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. It is assumed guests would have had lunch and will have dinner after the reception. Do you love breakfast foods? Don’t rule out a breakfast brunch!

5. Are there certain cultures from you or your fiancee that you want to incorporate into your menu? One of the things we pride ourselves on the most is our ability to create a truly custom menu for your wedding day. If you don’t want the traditional meat and potatoes, we can do that! We actually really love working with clients who aren’t afraid to get a little eclectic with their menu. Our chef is so experienced that he can create just about anything you’d like. Although that special family dish may not be exactly like grandma used to make, he can come pretty close. In fact, we just catered a wedding where we recreated a samosas recipe. At the tasting, the bride commented on how it was the closest to how her family makes them that she has ever had.

Contact us today to talk about what is best for your wedding day! We can’t wait to create the menu of your dreams!

 

Our First Ever Pop Up Wedding

We were asked by Heidi of Always & Forever Weddings to participate in a “Pop Up Wedding” in June. We had no idea what this was, but we are always open to try new things, so we jumped on board!

The premise was that 3 couples would have their intimate wedding ceremony at different times of the day at the Lyman Homestead. They would go somewhere else for a little while, then they all gathered back at the Homestead with their families for a dessert and cocktail party, which is where we came in.

The menu consisted of:
Assorted Petite Fors
Mini Fruit Tarts
House Made Chocolate Truffles
Mini French Macarons
A Dessert Station of Glazed, Apple Cider and Chocolate Donut Holes Flambéed with Spiced Rum and Liquors, Served with Raspberry Jam and Vanilla Mascarpone
Freshly Brewed Coffees and Teas

We also had a cash bar and staff to pass champagne. It was a fun time for all! Thank you to Heidi Hansen Photography for the photos from the event!
food (1 of 1) food (2 of 1) food (3 of 1) food (4 of 1) food (5 of 1) food (6 of 1) food (7 of 1) food (8 of 1) copy food (11 of 1)

Samantha & Jay’s DIY Backyard Wedding

Samantha and Jay planned their June backyard wedding in Farmington, CT all the way from Arizona! Samantha contacted Dan over a year ago, and thus, the planning began. There were a lot of emails back and forth, but in the end, everything turned out wonderfully.

As the wedding day became closer, Samantha realized it might be a good idea to hire our day of coordinator to do the setup, coordinate the ceremony, and help with the timing and logistics of the day. As you can see from the photos below by C&W Productions Wedding Photos + Film, everything looked perfect.  I will let the photos speak for themselves.

View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding
Awesome “naked” cake by Silver City Cakes.
View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding
Awesome “naked” cake by Silver City Cakes.

View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding View More: http://marietonyphotography.pass.us/samjaywedding

6 Things To Ask Yourself Before Booking Your Wedding Venue

You just got engaged – CONGRATULATIONS! Once all the important people have been informed (your 2,000 + friends on Facebook and Instagram via a ring pic, #ISaidYes), now it’s time to plan this thing.Buonocore-339

First thing’s first. Choosing the perfect venue.

There are so many Pinterest-worthy wedding venues in Connecticut, it’s hard to choose. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to get started:CoreyEricWED-329
1. How many guests do we want to invite? Some venues have a minimum guest count on certain peak days and dates, particularly banquet facilities with their own catering, because you are paying per person. Other venues who do not offer on-site catering just charge a flat rate for the rental of the venue. Either way, you will want to have an approximate guest count when you start researching venues because some will only allow or fit a certain amount of people.

2. What time of year do we want to get married? Some venues are perfect for the summer (think beaches), but you wouldn’t want to look at one of these venues if you will be planning your wedding for winter. Some of these venues aren’t even open for operation during the winter months. Get your time of year sorted out first, then start the search.heller0602
3. Do we want to have our ceremony and reception at the same location? While the venue you chose for your reception is perfect, does it offer a space to have your ceremony? Or, alternatively, does the site you want to have your ceremony work logistically in relation to the reception venue?

038 ct wedding barns wesleyan hills chapel

4. What is our theme? The venue will really set the stage for your wedding. Have you always dreamed of a rustic wedding? Then start looking at the local farms and barns. Want to get married seaside and barefoot in the sand? Connecticut is filled with beach venues. Elegant and sophisticated more your style? There are plenty of formal wedding venues out there as well. The key is once you choose a venue, play into the scenery and colors, but add your own special touches.

6

5. Does the venue have a “plan b” in case of inclement weather? You may have dreamt of getting married outside, but Mother Nature sometimes likes to throw a wrench in our outdoor plans. Make sure your venue has a backup location…”just in case”.

Nicole & Ian - 6-22-2012-31
6. What is our budget?
If you choose a reception hall as your venue, there usually isn’t a separate rental charge. They work the cost into the per person package. If you choose a venue that needs everything brought in (tables, chairs, catering, linens, plates, etc.), then you will have the rental fee PLUS those other costs. And don’t forget about staff costs. Make sure you have the budget for all of this before signing on the dotted line.

It may seem so overwhelming right now, but once that first big item is crossed off the “to do” list, you will feel so much better.

As always, we are happy to sit down with you if you are still unsure of the direction you want to go in with your wedding venue.

Click here for our preferred venues. It may help in getting you started!

Happy planning!

A Mid Summers Night Themed Wedding

Heidi and her mom, Jan, were referred to us last year, and contacted Dan to inquire about Heidi & Tommy’s June 25, 2016 wedding. Of course, we were happy to oblige. They began to tell us their plans: it was going to be a backyard wedding at the house Heidi grew up in. Now, we’ve catered backyard weddings before, but this property was much bigger than what one would consider a “backyard”. It was acres and acres of land, with a pond, gazebo, a bridge and extensive landscaping. The theme of the wedding was a Mid Summer’s Night. Perfect location for such a theme.

We started the evening with a cocktail hour, consisting of both passed and stationed hors d’oeuvres. Stuffed mushrooms with sausage, bread crumbs, cheese, miniature vegetable spring rolls with duck sauce, BBQ pulled pork sliders, just to name a few.

Dinner began with a fresh kale salad with pear tomatoes, diced watermelon, feta cheese and our house made balsamic vinaigrette. The entrees were plated choices of our Tuscan Chicken with artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, white wine and fresh herbs, Filet Mignon with mushrooms and a red wine demi,  and Pecan Crusted Salmon with a pomegranate glaze.

13647130_10155047950538662_934730769_o

13482910_10154965520728662_1728456985465094742_o 13490624_10154965520593662_3685546762610717287_o 13495492_10154965521678662_6375934797204611157_o 13497708_10154965520238662_4442222824651567655_o 13497752_10154965523723662_6026066718380229294_o 13497861_10154965520858662_8812996006148795725_o

We wish we could take credit for the insanely beautiful way this tent was decorated. But we can’t. The bride’s mother spent the 4 days leading up to the wedding decorating it just so. Isn’t it gorgeous?

13502646_10154965521153662_4860755031209851791_o13528073_10154965521173662_3978257205219387962_o13528340_10154965522113662_5447536193259298991_o 13528541_10154965521858662_2331553489938950817_o 13558764_10154965523728662_3155952510746462158_o13559122_10154965521558662_7672898072845581351_o 13559139_10154965524023662_3742650372283879850_o

Jan also spent what I can only assume as countless hours baking and decorating these adorable cupcakes.

13568943_10154965523083662_7451152143116378028_o13568975_10154965523483662_4933703676336962959_o 13568998_10154965523098662_3139269485466172469_o

13528183_10154965524128662_5899639857784631422_o

All images courtesy of Heather Prescott Photography. Thank you, Heather!

Have You Considered the Lyman Farm for Your Event?

In 2016, the Lyman Family celebrates 275 years of farming the land in Middlefield, CT. Recognized as the 12th oldest family-run business in the US, Lyman Orchards is a wonderful destination to bring the whole family…AND to host a party!

There are 3 venues you can choose:

The Homestead
imageThis is the perfect space for an intimate wedding or bridal shower. They even host corporate events during the week. The piano room can serve as your main dining room, while a buffet, photo booth, or various other elements can be setup in any of the beautiful rooms in the lower level of the house.

The Apple Nine Golf Center
Clubhouse-over-Short-Game-AreaThis is a nice, fun venue with a covered pavilion right on the Apple Nine. This patio seats up to 72 guests on a flagstone terrace with a vaulted ceiling.

 

 

 


The Tent at the Apple Barrel
This is a relaxeWinterfest_tent2d venue with picnic tables and lawn games. Perfect for family reunions, BBQ’s, casual weddings, corporate events and other laid back affairs. You can even host an after-wedding reception here.

 

For a tour of any of the venues, contact Tracy at 860-349-6029 or trobinson@lymanorchards.com.

For menu information, contact Carisa at 860-316-2759 x102 or carisal@spicecateringgroup.com.

Do I Need to Hire A Day-Of Wedding Coordinator?

We know that some of you are torn about whether or not to hire a wedding coordinator.

Take this short quiz and see how many of these questions can you answer with confidence:

  1. Who will make sure that the wedding programs and other ceremony decor are in their propSB8A4725er places? And make sure that these items make it to the reception?
  2. Who will ensure that the favors, table centerpieces, special toasting flutes, cake server set, guest book (and 2 pens!) are all in their proper place at the reception
  3. Who will help the groomsmen with their boutonnieres? The mother’s with their corsages?
  4. Who will create a detailed timeline for the entire day and make sure all vendors receive a copy and are on the same page?
  5. Who will make sure that the wedding starts on time and everyone is in place for the processional?
  6. Who will check on the photographer to make sure all the pictures you asked for are being taken and that everyone down to the flower girl is smiling in the family shots?
  7. What will you do if the DJ, caterer, etc. is late, gets violently ill, or just doesn’t show up?2H8A7256
  8. Who will manage the wedding reception to make sure everything goes smoothly and all of the announcements, introductions, toasts, special dances, cake cutting, bouquet toss or dedication, all happen on time?
  9. Who will make sure that all of the vendors are paid the day of the wedding?
  10. Who will make sure that your limo or transportation is waiting for you at the end of the reception?
  11. Who will collect all personal items are the end of the night (decor, gifts, leftover food, etc.)? 2H8A7616
  12. Who will ensure that you’re able to breathe with confidence and enjoy your special day?

If you cannot answer most of these questions with certainty, why not call us today for a free consultation? We can go over any of your questions or concerns and show you that we are here to help you make your wedding day memorable!

Contact Carisa at carisal@spicecateringgroup.com or 860-316-2759 x102

Pros & Cons of Different Meal Styles

Based on our experiences with couples recently, it seems that plated wedding dinners have gone by the wayside. Stations are all the craze! We are even working on a station-specific menu to accommodate this market. So let’s discuss the pros and cons of each type of wedding dinner service:

Elaborate Cocktail Hoursliders
What is your favorite part of a wedding? Most people say the cocktail hour with delicious hors d’oeuvres. So, why not elaborate on that and make your entire reception an expansion of the cocktail hour. If your wedding is during dinner time, definitely go heavier on the food choices to ensure your guests have enough to eat. Think passed pulled pork sliders, paired with a miniature craft beer, a make-your-own taco bar with all the fixin’s, and a bruschetta station with fresh tomato and parmesan cheese.

Pros:
– Everyone loves cocktail foods!
– It will keep your guests up and mingling
– Variety!

Cons:
– Lacks tradition
– Guests may struggle with holding a drink and getting food

stationStations
Stations are all the craze these days, whether it is chef-attended or your guests serve themselves.

Pros:
– Variety!
– Gets your guests up and mingling
– Great alternative to a standard buffet

Cons:
– Non-traditional
– Staff costs can go up if the stations need a chef
– You won’t know what will be eaten most, so the caterer needs to prepare enough of everything, which may increase your cost

lambPlated Dinner
This is the most traditional form of a wedding dinner. The couple pre-selects 2-3 entrees with the caterer and sends the choices to their guests in the invitation. When the guests send back their RSVPs, they send their meal choice with it.

Pros:
– Controlled portions – guests get one entree and that’s it
– Controlled costs for the client
– Presentation could be nicer than other styles

Cons:
– Limits guests to what they can eat (pre-determined meal choice prior to wedding)
– Guests will be seated for a long time while the course are being served
– Requires more staff to serve everyone in a timely manner

MA-wedding-familyFamily Style
This is when each table gets served its own large platters of food to share. They help themselves to the food that they like, just like eating at home with your family!

Pros:

– Fun and interactive for your guests
– Guests can enjoy as much of the food as they would like
– Timing is more efficient since all tables can be served and begin eating at once

Cons:
– Rentals for service platters can become costly (instead of 1 or 2 platters to be placed on a buffet table, now EACH guest table needs platters and serving utensils)
– Takes up a lot of space on guest tables
– Food costs may increase due to the caterer having to make more food to ensure that they do not run out

What is your dinner style choice for your wedding? Tell us in the comments below!