• Wedding Pros

    Wedding Planner: Rachael Johnson of Rachael’s Custom Events

    A few years ago Derek and I were attending a WeddingWire conference in Los Angeles. During the lunch break between sessions we were fortunate to sit at the same table with wedding planner Rachael and her husband Tim. Over the last couple of years we’ve been seeing them at conferences, communicating with and social following Rachael Custom Events. I thought they would be an awesome addition to our Wedding Pro’s Interviews.

    Rachael and Tim of Rachael Custom Events.

    TSF: Tell us about yourself.

    My husband and I have been married for almost 36 years and we love weddings. I previously worked in the corporate world and my husband, Tim, has been a professional musician and audio technician.  From the time I was a teenager, my dream was to plan weddings.  Our children are grown, so now after setting them off on their life journeys, I get to live my dream as a wedding planner.

    TSF: Tell us about Rachael’s Custom Events.

    Rachael’s Custom Events provides full-service wedding and event planning. We are a family business.

    TSF: What’s your artistic approach to weddings?

    We get our inspiration from our clients. Whether they want “shabby -chic” or “traditional” or whatever, we help them create their look. Our job is keep it clean, crisp, and smart, (we love Gordon Ramsay) – highly efficient and professional. Our motto is “Your Day, Your Way, Our Talent”

    TSF: What’s been your favorite part of being a wedding planner?

    The best part of our job has been making a difference in someone’s life by being a part of their day and helping create lasting memories.

    TSF: What best piece of advice would you give couples planning their wedding?

    Hire a wedding planner FIRST. If that is not possible, hire a wedding planner ASAP. Our specialty is “calm under fire”. Most crises can be handled easily when your wedding planner is a calming influence.

    TSF: What is the most unique destination wedding you’ve planned?

    We had a wedding on a mountaintop (8500 ft.) in Utah that included 7 events over four days.

    TSF: What inspires you professionally?

    I am inspired by open-minded, cooperative clients. It is so much easier to do a great job for people who want to enjoy the journey, not control it.

    TSF: Give us 3 questions all couples should ask before hiring.

    1. “How many meetings can we have?” (correct answer is unlimited)
    2. “Do you mark up services from your preferred vendors?” (correct answer is no)
    3. “Do you stay for my entire event?” (correct answer is yes)

    TSF: How about 3 questions every couple should ask their wedding planner after hiring.

    1. “What do you think?”
    2. “Is this possible within our budget?”
    3. “What is plan B?”

    TSF: What is your biggest pet peeve as a wedding planner with modern technology?

    Pinterest. Couples should understand that Pinterest is great for inspiration but not for duplication. Second biggest pet peeve – bad sound.

    TSF: Weddings can be stressful.  As a busy wedding planner how do you keep yourself relaxed and energized?

    To stay relaxed and energized – Jack Daniels – no, seriously – The most important thing is being rested and nourished and HYDRATED in front of an event. The relaxed part is easy – it is a part of who we are and how we operate.

    TSF: What one wedding planner superpower would you want?

    Our most wanted superpower would be CLONING. If we could clone ourselves, we wouldn’t have to say no if we are already contracted.

    TSF: Tell us about your core values.

    • i. Be Inclusive
    • ii. Over Deliver
    • iii. Always Be Courteous
    • iv. Think Out Of The Box
    • v. No Cookie-Cutter Anything
    1. We will travel for events. Many of our weddings are outside Nevada (CA, CO, UT, AZ)
    2. We have a lot of decor items available – some we provide at no cost, some we will rent for a reasonable fee – which is another aspect of how we work to save money for our couples.

    Rachael and Tim work hard and are committed to excellence. Derek and I believe in showcasing talent, not just for talent sake, but also for the quality of service, professionalism and kindness. If you want to know more about Rachael’s Custom Events we’ve included links to their website, WeddingWire and Knot reviews below. Take a moment to Like and Share them as well.

    We always love hearing from you so let us know what you think in the comments below. Thank you Rachael and Tim.

    Rachael’s Custom Events Website

    www.rachaelscustomevents.com
    Full service wedding planner and event designer. Serving the western United States – based in Las Vegas, NV. Licensed and insured. Wedding Wire Rated 2018-19 and The Knot Best Of 2019-19.

    Rachael and Tim took the worry out of what is often a hectic day for a Mother of The Bride. They truly are the best at what they do! – Suzi Hummer – 5 Stars! Read The Full Review

    Follow, Like and Share

    Instagram @rachaelscustomevents
    Twitter @rjcustomevents
    Facebook. Rachael’s Custom Events
    Pinterest pinterest.com/rachael7020

  • Wedding Pros

    Wedding Planner: Maria Bartolome, Owner of By Your Side Events

    Wedding planners are amazing. They are on the front line and I love the absolute creativity and style that the best planners bring to each wedding. I’ve been following Maria at By Your Side Events on Instagram for a while. I love her work. I think you will too. Based in Napa, California, she also travels to wherever her couples are planning their destination weddings. Here’s our interview with Maria at By Your Side Events:

    TSF: Tell us a little about you.

    Hey everyone! So, this is my first blog post…EVER, I’m excited and a little nervous, but that’s usually the way all great adventures begin, right? I’m so excited that I get to share my thoughts and ideas with you and to hear what you think! I already have so much I want to talk to you about, but let’s start from the beginning.

    I am so lucky that I started my journey with a feeling. I didn’t set out to be a wedding planner in the beginning, in fact I thought I wanted to be a teacher. In 2006 I moved from my hometown of Ann Arbor Michigan to Santa Rosa California, I needed a break from the snow, and I guess I was looking for a new adventure. That “break” turned into a permanent residency, and 13 years later, here we are! My passion for events came from a seemingly unlikely source…lesson planning. IT turns out that teaching really wasn’t my thing but planning for my lessons and activities and scheduling out the day made my heart race. I didn’t know what do to with that feeling but I wanted to feel it more, so I kept finding things to do that made my heart happy, (or did they find me?). Lesson planning turned into BEO’s for winery events, which turned into Day Of Timelines which is where we are now. That feeling that I got from planning has now taken on a life of its own, when I get to work with someone on their most special event, and to see their faces on that day it fuels me. It fills my tank and gets me excited to do more.

    TSF: What’s Been Your Favorite part of being a Wedding Planner?

    I have been asked a few times over the years what my favorite part of the job is, and I can’t say that I do have a favorite part exactly, in fact, I have two. There is something so magical about watching a bride float down the aisle. After I give her dress one last fluff and whisper, “go ahead” she is off; all of the months of planning, phone calls, emails, texts, facetimes, schematics, laughs, sometimes tears and hugs is all happening, it is so cool to see it all come to life!

    Also, you know how they say to brides and grooms all the time that your wedding day will go by so quickly, don’t forget to enjoy it? I always tell them don’t forget to EAT and enjoy it, but it is true, and it’s also true for me and my team, just before the ceremony begins it is show time and it all fly’s by in a blink, thankfully we have photographers to help us remember how it all looked and the way we felt on that special day. When I get the pictures back from my couples’ events it’s almost like I get to experience the same feeling that I had with them on their wedding day all over again! I love being able to revisit everything – the getting ready shots, photos during cocktail hour, the first dance and all of the amazing faces that people make during toasts (those are some of my favorites 😊).

    TSF: Best piece of advice to give couples planning their wedding.

    Ok, well this is going to sound a bit bias and I really don’t mean it to be but hire a planner! I don’t necessarily mean your best friend’s sister or your co-workers friend’s daughter (unless they really are planners) but an actual licensed, educated, professional planner. Here’s why: chances are you have never done this before; planning a wedding is different than planning a birthday party or dinner party. This is the biggest dinner party you are ever going to throw; all of your family and friends are going to be there to celebrate with you and the last thing that you need or want is for something unknowingly preventable to go wrong. We didn’t order enough glasses – your planner would have warned you that you will need extra glasses if your venue doesn’t provide them. Our guests were running to their cars for jackets they were so cold – your planner would have reminded you that your cocktail hour would be outside after the sun set in March and would have added heaters to your rental order for you (and probably saved you 10% – 25% with your rental company because they are a preferred vendor). Our DJ was horrible and just talked the whole time and didn’t play any of the songs on our “play” list – your planner would have made sure that you were matched with the right DJ for your style they would have made sure that your DJ was playing what you wanted to listen to, not what they want to play.

    TSF: What is By Your Side Events specialty?

    We specialize in planning, coordinating and executing successful, magical events, while having fun along the way! I mean it when I say we will be by your side, we are going to be your wedding planning bestie, not just for the brides but the grooms too.

    TSF: Weddings can be stressful. How do you keep yourself relaxed & energized?

    My calendar reminders are my lifeline in staying organized, the second I schedule an appointment with someone – boom – it goes on the calendar. If I need a reminder to reach out to someone at a specific time – boom – it goes on the calendar, and most importantly, when I book an event! Boom – It goes on the calendar. I am super blessed that I get to live in such a beautiful area of California and I realize that I take it for granted sometimes, but driving up and down the Silverado Trail or HWY 29 through the vineyards and the hot air balloon parade in the mornings is one of the most relaxing things I never knew I needed! Then when I’m really feeling adventurous, I get to see the Golden Gate Bridge or the cliffs on the 1 after an hour in the car, or even snow after a few hours. Also, wine and just some good old fashion wine and girl talk do the trick too.

    TSF: What inspires you professionally?

    My couples do, every one of them is different and I have a special bond and unique experience with all of them to where no two events are the same. That means that I get to create or discover something new all the time! Making new discoveries, creating and learning is so inspiring and motivating and fun! It’s really cool to be a part of my couple’s ideas, and it is super interesting to see what is important to people and what their interest are.

    TSF: Biggest pet peeve with modern technology in wedding planning?

    Just when I feel like I am getting the hang of something, a different something will come up that is the newest, latest and greatest and I have to start all over again. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for evolving, just give me a minute to catch up please!

    TSF: What one superpower would you want for your work?

    Cloning. I want to be everywhere all the time, there are never enough hours in the day right? On a personal note though, I’ve always been jealous of Snow White, I would love to have conversations with animals!

    I do have some other favorite things that fill my tank. When I am not planning weddings or events you will find me in my other happy place, Disneyland (I’m a complete Disney Dork and I don’t care who knows it!) with my daughter, singing wherever I can, going on adventures or being crafty on the couch. Of course, living in Napa, I never pass up a chance to go wine tasting, R and D right?

    I can’t wait to share more of my thoughts about all things weddings, events, parties, life, and more with you and to hear some of your adventures too! Talk soon,

    -M

    By Your Side Events
    By Your Side Events

    There is no single route to finding the best planner for your wedding.  Both WeddingWire and The Knot have great lists of suggested questions.  If you have a question you’d like to ask Maria about her wedding planning business, or her opinion on anything wedding related, please ask it in the comments below or send us an email.

  • Weddings & Receptions

    The Wedding Registry: Exciting Places To Register For The Big Day

    Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

    If you’ve recently become engaged, congratulations! Check out our wedding registry guide below of exciting places for you to navigate and register for gifts, making gifting easy—for you and your guests. Don’t be shy, your friends and family want to give you whatever will make you smile. Keep checking back too, this list is continually updated with new and exciting places to register.

  • Wedding Pros

    What’s In (and What’s Out) when it comes to Working with Wedding Professionals

     

    David and I do not believe that you need to have any particular thing / ritual / color or song for your wedding.  We do believe that whatever you do decide to include and however you decide to express yourselves through your wedding and reception, you ought to be able to do it with class, with style, with confidence and within budget!  Your wedding day ought to be FUN!  Everyone you hire should be focused on making your wedding day uniquely yours & the best day it can be.

    I get upset when I come across wedding industry pros who willingly take advantage of a newly engaged couple’s lack of experience in planning a wedding to push their own agenda. A recent article written for a well-known publication provided wedding style comments from various wedding professionals, dismissing some wedding trends and elevating others.  It pushed me to think about how we each can identify & hire passionate, competent, and trustworthy wedding pros.  And in the spirit of the article that drove my motivation to write this, I’ve used their same “what’s out” and “what’s in” approach.

    What’s OUT:   Wedding professionals who sermonize about “tired” trends — to be swept away with last year’s brides and grooms — in order to make way for a fresh crop of this year’s recruits who arrive flush with cash.  These pros take advantage of a couple’s inexperience and some insecurity, and sell “the latest trends” because “on-trend” drives compliments and new business – for them.

    What’s IN:  Wedding professionals who listen to their clients, provide guidance and advice without preaching, and believe that earning their client’s trust by putting the couple’s interest & vision first is their priority.  These pros are both confident and modest.

    What does “a trending wedding professional” look like in practice?  Here’s my list of the top 10 characteristics in trending wedding pros you absolutely will love working with…


    TOP 10 Wedding Pro Characteristics

    10.  Pros are careful to not take more clients than they can serve confidently, providing their highest level of service to every couple;

    9.  Pros NEVER assume they know “what is best” for a particular couple – they listen more than they talk;

    8.  Pros treat all couples, gay and straight, with equal respect — and back up “their talk” with gender neutral sales materials and contracts;

    7.  Pros do not gossip;

    6.  Pros are happy to share their success;

    5.  Pros never allow anyone to feel as though they just asked a stupid question;

    4.  Pros have no fear of having you shop around;

    3.  Pros sometimes say no, knowing that they are not the best fit for every couple;

    2.  Pros admit that sometimes they don’t have all the answers, but will always go find the answer if they don’t know.  Eagerness to continue learning is key;

    1.  Pros still have A BLAST doing what they are doing – and it shows.

    That’s how you’ll spot a real wedding professional.

  • Weddings & Receptions

    10 perfect appetizers for your fall wedding reception

    1. Brown Sugar-Glazed Turkey Meatballs

    Because – meatballs and brown sugar. Perfect little mouthfuls of Brown Sugar-Glazed Turkey Meatballs! If you decide not to have these at your reception, save the recipe and serve them up at the next game event because Football season is coming – I think.

    Get The Recipe

    brown-sugar-meatballs
    Image: Diethood

    2. Mini Quiche Florentine

    Everyone [almost] will fall for these Mini Quiche Florentines. Filled with spinach and cheese   – Instant hit!  Who says real men don’t eat quiche!

    Get The Recipe

    63473db1c796005e4696ad485723fb9f
    Image: Sam Anderson @ HGTV

    3. Grilled Corn Salsa

    This dish would be a perfect side dish to the mini tacos below. Serve with tortilla chips and you’ve got a southwest theme in the making. Screen ‘Blazing Saddles’ in the background of the dance floor and you’ll have the most talked about wedding in town – along with the Grilled Corn Salsa.

    “Hello, handsome. Is that a 10-gallon hat, or are you just enjoying the show?” – Madeline Kahn

    cq5dam-web-616-462
    Image: Cooking Channel

    4. Maple Chili Popcorn

    Feeling a little chili? – Warm things up with this perfect fall appetizer, or favor, at your reception. Food Network’s Jeff Mauro’s Maple Chili Popcorn is perfect for filling cellophane favor bags that guests can enjoy later or have on the tables for guests to grab and munch between spicy dance moves.

    Get The Recipe

    cooking-channel-maple-nut-popcorn-recipe_s4x3-jpg-rend-hgtvcom-1280-960
    Image: HGTV.com

    5. Ropa Vieja Mini Tacos

    First of all, these Ropa Vieja Mini Tacos are the cutest little appetizer out there – I mean, COME ON! With two types of chiles, these junior spicy mouthfuls are sure to keep the guests warmed up for the dance floor.

    Get The Recipe

    original_camille-styles-fiesta-party-ropa-vieja-tacos_h-jpg-rend-hgtvcom-616-462
    Image: HGTV.com

    6. Bruschetta With Caramelized Dates, Walnuts and Goat Cheese

    Whipping yourself up a Bruschetta With Caramelized Dates, Walnuts and Goat Cheese appetizers is a snap. Just toast a fresh baguette, then top the slices with a soft cheese — like chèvre — plus any combination of savory ingredients — like caramelized dates — and finely chopped pistachios or delicious crumbled bacon. See, it’s a snap. SNAP!

    Get The Recipe

    original_potluck-parties-bruschetta_s3x4-jpg-rend-hgtvcom-1280-1707
    Image: HGTV.com

    ————

    7. Taleggio Crostini With Apple, Thyme and Honey

    These Taleggio Crostini With Apple, Thyme and Honey can be prepared with only a few simple ingredients and thyme – see what I did there? Spread cheese on toasted baguette slices, top with 1 or 2 apple slices, drizzle with a little honey and done!

    Get The Recipe

    cooking-channel-taleggio-crostini-apple-thyme-honey-recipe_s4x3-jpg-rend-hgtvcom-1280-960
    Image: Andrea Albin, CookingChannelTV.com

    8. Sausage and Stuffing Balls with Cranberry Dipping Sauce

    I found this one on I should be mopping the floor. These Sausage and Stuffing Balls with Cranberry Dipping Sauce are an awesome autumn appetizer –  say that 10 times fast – and a perfect departure form the norm!  Perfect for Thanksgiving too!

    Get The Recipe

    sausage-and-cranberry
    Image: I Should Be Mopping The Floor

    9. Autumn Leaf Wreath Cheese Platter

    I love this one! How easy right? Cookie cutters and cheese and viola you look like a wedding catering DIY genius – I mean really, cookie cutters and cheese, WHO KNEW!

    This Autumn Leaf Wreath Cheese Platter would be a fun one for the kids to be involved too.  Layer in some pretzel crackers and your favorite sweet-tart relish and fall has arrived.

    Get The Recipe

    716
    Image: The Yummy Life

    10. Creamy Tomato Soup Shooters with Grilled Cheese Sticks

    I love tomato soup! And, I love grilled cheese. Well, you might as well mix the two, right?

    Our caterer, The Hitching Post, served Tomato Soup Shooters and they were a huge hit. Especially with the kids.

    Get The Recipe

    tomato-soup-grilled-cheese-i-howsweeteats-com-8
    Image: How Sweet It is

     

  • Weddings & Receptions

    “Touch Me” it Said

    gifyyy
    gifyyy machine ready for action


    I have just received my impersonal-yet-irritating “happy one-month anniversary” reminder email from WeddingWire, requesting feedback on everything wedding.  And though I am not acting on their request, it did serve as a reminder that our thank-you notes are still not done. It also got me thinking about what stands out — after 30 days — as the best “unscripted moments” from our wedding day.

    The GIF Photo Booth is a HUGE one – first on the list of happy surprises.  BTW – we get nothing from gifyyy.com for sharing any of this — nada.

    When our photographer, Jeff Newsom, offered to set up his new GIF machine at our reception, we said yes not knowing anything about it. It sounded like it might be fun.  We already had decided not to have a photo booth, an idea that did not excite us and an expense we could do without.  The gifyyy, however, sounded like a fresh, social media-ready upgrade of the photo booth idea.  Why not.

    It was a hit, with kids and adults alike.  Not only are the images hilarious, people had fun just watching other people interact with the device, take their GIF and then play it back.  Think of it as an ice-breaker exercise you don’t have to organize or push people to do.

     

    img150img204img218img213

    Good stuff to know:  Gifyyy’s website provides a good overview, though it is more oriented to wedding professionals who might buy the equipment rather than end users, but you’ll get the idea.

    Five points worth emphasizing:

    1.  The equipment takes up very little space – it really is just that tripod. The design is attractive & neutral enough for any setting, and the circle of lights on the perimeter naturally encourages guests to come check it out.  The iPad screen invites you in with a “Touch Me”.  Once touched, there is a slight delay and then 1-2 seconds later the GIF is created and immediately displayed.  Key in a phone number and the GIF is sent.  Ready for the next GIF, just like that.

    2.   What it does require is plenty of space in front of it so that small and large groups can create their gif, and so that others can watch.  How much space?  We had a 10’ semi-circle available in front and that worked well.

    3.  No need for a backdrop or props.  Guess you could, but you don’t need to.  Put the faux mustaches away.

    4.  It does require a wifi or cell connection.  If your reception location has poor signal strength, you’ll need to figure out an alternative, because a big part of the fun is being able to share your gif on social media – immediate gratification.

    5.  It is battery powered and self contained — no wires or cables to trip over or cover up.

    And best of all, when your party is over you have a collection of all the GIF’s created for you to keep.

    We haven’t decided what we’ll do with all of ours, but we are thinking that when our one-year anniversary arrives – we might just be sending out “anniversary reminders” of our own!

  • Weddings & Receptions

    Wedding Planning Tips

    Three Wedding Planning Lessons from the Other Side of I Do


    We did it.  After lots of searching, appointments, joint decision making, and check writing, we are most certainly, legally, undeniably married.  What did we learn?

    1. Hiring a wedding planner really is worth the cost – really.

    I am a recovering control freak and proud spendthrift [sounds much better than ‘cheap’], and thought we could do without a planner.  As the date approached I began to feel overwhelmed, so with about 90 days to go we found someone who would actively manage the last few week’s “crunch” time, especially the few days leading up to our wedding and the clean-up after.  Her suggestions with our timeline were invaluable, she managed the wedding & reception set-ups perfectly, and having her there as the go-to person for the other professionals was, I am sure, more helpful than we know.  It was not cheap, but worth it.

    What we learned:  Having the first dance early in the evening, our planner’s suggestion, was a nice change-up and got the evening off to a great start.  Thank you Jazmyn Strickland at Love Always Weddings!

    Our Do-over: Hire a planner from the start (it doesn’t cost much more than bringing someone in toward the end) and off-load more responsibilities, like managing contracts & deadlines, progress payments to vendors, running a list of “to-do’s”, and keeping the two of us on a schedule.

    2.  Don’t leave as much time as the experts tell you for guests to RSVP

    I did what we all do when faced with an unfamiliar topic – I googled it.  My question about lead time for mailing invitations and the RSVP generated an overwhelming number of responses.  Most read something like the advice from from the Knot, “make your RSVP deadline 2-3 weeks before your wedding date”.

    What we learned Do NOT follow this advice.

    Why send out invitations 90 days or more in advance — as is often recommended — and then give people two months or more before responding?  For us, anxiety set in and we sent follow-up emails to our non-responders about one month before our date.  Almost all of the replies at that point were “no”.

    Most people know if they are going to attend your wedding from the moment they get the invite. More time to decide does not generate more “yes” responses, just more creative “no’s”. Might a shortened RSVP deadline mean a couple more last minute cancellations?  Maybe, but those are beyond your control regardless.

    Our experience — despite sending save-the-date announcements 6 months in advance, invites 90 days in advance, and allowing people to RSVP up to 2 1/2 weeks before our wedding, we still had a table’s worth of guests cancel during the last week.  Shit happens.

    Our Do-over:  Still send save-the-dates at least 6 months out and invites no more than 90 days out, but give people only a short window to RSVP.  Then, if you have that “B-list”, you can actually use it.

    3.  Spend your time (and money) finding your photographer

    Then spend the extra money to have an engagement session even though you really don’t want to (and as a groom, I can’t emphasize enough how much I really didn’t want to).  Why?  The time you spend with your photographer during the engagement session is invaluable in building a relationship that will make your wedding photography more fun, natural and successful.  We knew we found our photographer from the first meeting (and he did not disappoint!).  Despite that immediate connection we felt, we were much less comfortable during our engagement session than during the wedding and its seemed to us that he felt that way too.

    We had a blast with our photographer at our wedding, loved our engagement photos and can not wait for our wedding day shots.

    What we learned:  There are many wedding photographers, but there will be one that will BOTH meet your requirements AND feel right to both of you. Spend the time to find that one. We are so glad to have found Jeff.   Thank you Jeff Newsom.

    Our Do-over:  None.


    We are proud of what we accomplished and are really happy with the day.  We made our wedding our own – a goal we share with many couples.  It takes time and energy.   We hope our experience helps you manage your time so you have the energy for creating your wedding day…and some extra left for the dance floor.


  • Weddings & Receptions

    A Party Without Cake is Just A Meeting

    poodleskirts the cakery
    poodle skirts | thecakery.com | san luis obispo, ca

    It is time, with 3 months to go before the big day, to make yet another one of “those” nearly irreversible decisions.  This one concerns our  wedding cake.  And though I freely admit to a mild case of wedding-decision weariness, it seems the wedding industry, which thrives on creating ever more  [costly] options from which brides and grooms must select, has been working overtime in the wedding cake arena.

    Most alarmingly, the wedding cake decision now includes both the decision of whether to have a cake at all as well as whether to have not one, but two cakes — a more traditional “bride’s cake” as well as a more theme oriented “fun” groom’s cake.  Really?

    There is no bride and having two groom’s cakes seems redundant, so we’re going to pass on that idea.

    Our guide to getting to yes…


     

    “The Traditional”

    whimsical swirls the cakery
    whimsical swirls | thecakery.com | san luis obispo, ca

    COST:  Pricing generally is quoted per slice.  If you go the custom cake route, per slice cost starts at $5.00 and moves up from there.  It can easily top $10.00/slice for more complicated detailing, so buyer beware.

    OPTIONS:

    Naked/buttercream vs Fondant:  Not a hard decision for us.  A less formal and less fussy design suits us better.  Naked it is, with buttercream filling as a maybe.  However, buttercream and whip cream are not summer-temperature friendly, so be careful if your event is outside in the heat.

    Tiered vs Deconstructed:  A tiered cake generally is [much] more expensive, and probably too “wedding-y” a look for our tastes.  The deconstructed option could allow for a smaller symbolic wedding cake while your guests are served from single layer versions.

    Warning here – there is an additional “option-within-an-option” to consider.  An increasing number of couples are opting to have a mini-cake for each guest table.

    The rationale is that the cake serves as a centerpiece substitute — reducing your florist bill.  True enough, but price out the cost of individual cakes before you happily bank your savings.  Cake bakers spend much more time decorating many small cakes than one larger cake – and will charge 3 to 4 times more as a result — easily tripling your cost per slice.  Depending on your guest count, those flower table-top centerpieces my start to look like a bargain.

    Square vs Shaped:  I’ve spent considerable time reviewing wedding cake images from the world wide web and the more I viewed, the less I liked the over-the-top uniquely shaped designs.  Shaped cakes also are budget busters of the first degree.  Square is a more efficient shape to cut – serving more guests. This decision becomes much less of a concern if you decide on having only a small ceremonial cake and is a much bigger concern if you decide to have one wedding cake per table.

    Standard Flavors vs Exotic: I say, go with what you know.  I’m a dark chocolate addict, and I’ve successfully converted my partner over to the dark side.  Our son, however is a vanilla hold out, we’ll figure something out.

    Piped Detailing versus ribbons/berries/flowers:  We’ve all seen how intricate detailing can create a visual masterpiece.  Our view, a cake is to be consumed, not curated.  I want it to be appetizing visually and delicious, but mostly delicious.

    “Cupcake Alternative”

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    COST:  Less than traditional cake, but guests may eat more than one.

    By now, tiered cupcake holders, cupcake carts and designer cupcakes have become part of the normal wedding reception discussion.  Cupcakes offer a chance to provide a more varied selection, but often are more of a self-serve type dessert.  Many couples have paired a mini-wedding cake with cupcakes as an alternative to the deconstructed sheet cake thing.

    “NO-cake Alternative”

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    Doughnuts, cookies, mini-cheesecakes, rustic-pies, fruit tarts, brownies, cinnamon rolls and ‘candy-bars’ all have supporters.  And for those with the budget to handle it, creating a dessert station with any number of these treats so that guests can choose their sugar-fix can be an awesome option.  Many of these options also are delivered to guests via a food cart for added fun and atmosphere.  I’ve not listed costs here, because quotes seem to be all over the board, which gets to another concern I have with some of these alternatives.  I very much value being able to make this decision and not feel as though I need to then worry about whether my artisan-mini-fruit-pie person is going to go out of business between now and wedding day.   These one-of-a-kind desserts are often prepared and supplied by fantastically talented – and over-worked – sole proprietors.

    Our Decision

    As it turns out, we easily agreed on a cake / sheet cake combo.  The ceremonial cake will lean toward “naked,” and it will not be tricked out – too much.  And it will be chocolate – dark.  We’ll be sure to post a picture.  Next up – play list…

  • Weddings & Receptions

    Tin is in.

    What once was old is new again. Tin. Using chalk, add a personal message. Add jute rope for a more rustic feel. Works with a modern decor, wine country wedding or a garden event. It’s tin! Let your imagination run wild.

    Tin Box With Aged Finish & Blackboard Panel Display
    Tin Box With Aged Finish & Blackboard Panel Display

    Laser Cut Self Standing Metal Table Number Set (Package of 6)
    Laser Cut Self Standing Metal Table Number Set (Package of 6)

    Oval Tin Tags With Jute Hangers (set of 8)
    Oval Tin Tags With Jute Hangers (set of 8)

    Tin Box With Aged Finish & Blackboard Panel Display
    Laser Cut Self Standing Metal Table Number Set (Package of 6)
    Oval Tin Tags With Jute Hangers (set of 8)