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.”

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    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!

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.

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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)
Maid of Honor
Flower Girl and Ring Bearer (if included)
Bride and Father


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.


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: 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!
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