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.

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Awesome “naked” cake by Silver City Cakes.
View More:
Awesome “naked” cake by Silver City Cakes.

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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.


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.


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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?

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

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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

For menu information, contact Carisa at 860-316-2759 x102 or

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 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.

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

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

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

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

– 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.

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

– 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!


– 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

– 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!



We’re Exclusive at Lyman Orchards!


We have been working with Lyman Orchards for a while now and have established a great partnership with them. As a result, we now have the exclusive catering contract at 3 of their properties:

The Homestead

imageOverlooking scenic meadows and golf courses, and nestled within the beauty of the surrounding orchards, the historic Lyman Homestead provides an ideal venue for weddings, celebrations, social occasions, and corporate events.

The Pavilion at the Golf Center

golf center landscapeThis patio seats up to 72 guests on a flagstone terrace with a vaulted ceiling.

The Apple Barrel


This is a relaxed venue with picnic tables and lawn games. Perfect for family reunions, BBQ’s, casual weddings, corporate events and other laid back affairs.

For a tour of any of the properties, contact Tracy at 860-349-6029 or

For menu information, contact Carisa at 860-316-2759 x102 or

4 Things to Consider When Hiring an Off Premise Caterer

So you booked that farm (backyard, mansion, vineyard, etc.) venue for your wedding – CONGRATULATIONS! Now all you need to do is hire a caterer to come in with some food. Should be easy enough. You want something really laid back and fun. How much can it really cost? We’ll do a BBQ! That will save us some money!

Or will it….???

If this is your first time planning an event on such a large scale, there may be some costs that you are not considering. My job as a wedding and event planner is to guide and educate you on the things that are needed to create a flawless event, and to make sure that there are no surprises. So, here are 4 things to consider when hiring an off premise caterer:

Our first and foremost priority is delicious food! We can create just about any menu you can imagine. We try not to fall into that “package” type of catering because we truly believe that each couple is unique, and their wedding menu should reflect that. But…have you ever bought dinner for 100+ people? Probably not. Just think about what you and your fiancee spend when you go out to a nice restaurant for dinner. Now multiply that by 100.


That big open field with the farm style tables, specialty linens, and lighted tent that you are envisioning sounds beautiful – and it WILL be! Just know that each and every table, linen and light, along with plates, glassware, forks, knives, salt & pepper shakers, etc. will now need to be brought to your wedding.

Congratulations on being non-traditional! If you are showing an interest in Spice Catering, that means you have NOT chosen a traditional banquet facility for your wedding and now need food. That also means that the venue you have chosen most likely does NOT come equipped with staff. Lucky for you, we have many experienced catering professionals on our team! But as much as they love their job, they don’t do it for free. Be sure to factor in staff costs to your wedding budget.

Wedding Coordinator0288-JB06252011
You might be that DIY bride who can’t wait to make all her own centerpieces and cupcakes. That’s awesome! How fun! Grab your ‘maids and get to craftin’. But there comes a time to sit back and just be the bride. Even if that time is a month before the wedding. Let our experienced wedding coordinator take all that you have planned and flawlessly implement it on the big day. Trust me, you don’t want to be worrying about how you are going to decorate and setup for your reception while you are getting your hair and makeup done. So just sit back, and enjoy the day that you have so meticulously planned, but let someone else make it happen for you.

Your Venues Event Coordinator vs. Our Wedding Planner

Jen & John - Ceremony-1046Many of the venues where we cater have an “Event Coordinator”. This person will typically give you a tour of the venue, develop your contract when you decide to book there, maybe give you a few names from their preferred vendor list. But then what? Will this person seamlessly arrange your ceremony processional? Setup special items in your reception space? Make sure that dad is in the room when the father/daughter dance is being announced?

0288-JB06252011This is why we have our own wedding planner and coordinator on staff. Carisa personalizes every wedding experience for each couple, whether you are just looking for rehearsal and day of coordination or full planning of the entire wedding. She takes the time to really get to know each couple and how they envision their most important day. Even if she is not involved in the entire wedding planning, Carisa takes the time to gather all information needed to do her job effectively (i.e.: collect vendor contracts and confirm0075
services and meet with the couple for a final detail meeting).

This type of service is particularly helpful at a venue like those we recommend, such as the mansions, farms and vineyards. Since we have worked at these locations numerous times, we know the logistics and can worry about the details so you don’t have to. 11193225_10153306175639322_2480503500050471143_n

So if you’re considering booking your wedding at this type of venue, you may also want to consider one of our wedding planning packages. See which one best fits your needs or customize your own package with Carisa today!



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How to Prepare for a Bridal Show

Bridal shows can be a great way to get information about potential wedding vendors. You can even win some fantastic prizes! But they can also be a tad overwhelming for the couple. So much information in one room! Here is some good advice on how to prepare for them. The more you prepare before hand, the less stressed you’ll be at the show and after. Don’t forget to have fun!

Before the show:
• Do your research
• Get a list of the vendors who will be at the show and visit their websites
• What packages do they offer? Where are they located? etc.
• Have a list of questions you’d like to ask…
• Caterers, DJ’s, Photographers, Venues, etc.
• Pre-print labels with your name, address, email and phone number
• Almost every vendor will have giveaways which require you to fill out a form with your information
• Having these labels printed out already will give you more time to connect with the vendor and visit every table
• Bring a small planner/notebook
• After the show, all of the vendors will seem to blend together
• Take small notes or circle dates which are important
• Dress for comfort!
• You’ll be on your feet for a while
• Wear comfortable shoes
• You may also want to have a quick snack before the show (if there is none being served)

During the show:
• Manage your time wisely
• Allocate a certain amount of time to visit each vendor
• Don’t spend too much time talking to one
• Sample questions to ask:
• Have you worked at my venue before?
• How many weddings do you do per year?
• Would I need any special permits?
• Who will I personally be working with?
• Can you accommodate dietary restrictions?
• Do I need to book you now?
• May I have your contact information? (if you’re interested)
• Take notes!
• Use the notepad and calendar you brought to write down things that interest you or deter you from a certain vendor
• Keep an open mind

After the show:
• Give yourself time to process all the information you just obtained
• Later go back over your notes
• Review pamphlets/brochures and contact information
• Narrow down vendors who caught your eye
• Follow up with an email to the vendors who interest you (the sooner the better)
• Organize each vendor on your list to make it easier to refer back to
• Their contact info, things you liked about them, prices, etc.
• Share this information with your event planner, fiancee, family, etc. to get their opinion
• Maybe they have a question that you haven’t thought of yet to ask
• They may have experience with a vendor

Happy planning!