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February 24, 2020

Guest writer Tonya Hoopes gives tips on catering for your big day.

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With engagement season upon us, we reached out to the best event and wedding planners in Utah to see what tips they had to make the catering at your big day the best it can be! Follow our 9 week series and see what they all had to say!

 

Tonya Hoopes from Hoopes Events


On any given day you will find Tonya looking through Wedding or Fashion Magazines from places such as Paris, New York, and Milan. Tonya has a passion for traveling the world, fine chocolate, amazing food, shoes, and handbags as well as planning and creating beautiful weddings and events that allow her clients to enjoy their event while she makes sure every detail is taken care of. Tonya has planned and executed well over 500 weddings and 100 corporate events for parties as small as 12 and as large as 2500. 


 

Share your whole vision.

It is important to communicate your vision to your caterer. The colors, theme, flow, and ambiance you are trying to create. Your caterer can help enhance your design. From customizing your menu to the platters they bring and rentals for your tables. It can cause dissonance in the ambiance you are creating if any of your vendors are left out of your vision.  

Ask questions about the service and presentation.

There are no wrong questions to ask your vendors. As your caterers are responsible for the bulk of your servers at your wedding here are some great questions to ask. 
  • How does service go, what are the steps throughout the evening?
  • How do you manage your servers?
  • What is the price of servers, and how many do you bring for each style of service?
  • How does your staff dress? Do you have presentation/grooming standards?
  • How will clean up go? What are you responsible for and how late do you stay? It is important to know if the caterer does or does not clean all the dishes and stemware from the tables throughout the event.
 



The authenticity of the food is important.

Many caterers are willing to make custom menus. However, don’t overlook the details of how those custom items are prepared. Make sure your caterer has the expertise and education to create any custom food items. Also, check-in about where their food is grown. Local food is the key to great food! Make sure your caterer is taking great care of your menu and the environment. During this conversation is also a great time to ask how items will be prepared onsite.

If you are going to cut for budget ask the experts where to cut.

Budget concerns are real stress while planning a wedding. When it comes down to cutting though make sure you ask your planner and caterer first where the cuts would be best as to not throw a wrench into the flow and ambiance of your wedding. Take their advice to heart. 

 

Trust your vendors.

Your vendors are your main support system as you create your wedding. All your vendors are looking to create your unique and unforgettable wedding.  Your vendors will have a plethora of experience and expertise. When they make suggestions, take them and trust what they have to say. Don’t let your expectations get in the way of your perfect day.

Don't forget to check in next week to see more tips!

February 18, 2020

Guest writer Shellie Ferrer gives tips on catering for your big day.

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With engagement season upon us, we reached out to the best event and wedding planners in Utah to see what tips they had to make the catering at your big day the best it can be! Follow our 9 week series and see what they all had to say!  

Shellie Ferrer From Shellie Ferrer Events

Born and raised in California, Shellie called Italy home for many years before returning to her American roots. Today, she is among the most sought-after coordinators in Utah, crafting events and weddings that draw upon Park City’s culture and setting, tucked in the basin of the Rocky Mountains’ Wasatch Range. With more than two decades of hospitality and event experience—including tenure at The Four Seasons—Shellie takes an approach that is equal parts organization and artistry, balancing high-level planning and day-of logistics with creative direction and multisensory details.    

Guests always eat with their eyes first.

Make sure your caterer can make your food as glamorous as the rest of your design. The caterers manage so much at your wedding all your food, bar service, room/table set up and tear down, rentals and many other things upon request. It is important to clarify with your caterers what the look of each item they manage. 

Create surprises in your menu.

Your caterers can create a custom menu for you! When you are designing your menu, think about what elements you can add that would create new levels of excitement at each turn. My favorite is late-night snacks. I will tease the guests as the dancing continues to “look forward to the late-night snacks” as I travel the room. Guests are enthralled to see what comes out next. 

Take the same care with your bar menu as you do with your food menu.

Often beverage is the first thing your guests are looking for when they arrive. Usually, it is the first thing that will touch their lips, and the first interaction they will have with staff, and your decor. So get creative with your bar decor and menu design. Let guests get excited about cocktails (they will drink with their eyes first too!) Feature local ingredients and local distilleries. Utah has lots of preconceptions about bar and alcohol, let your caterer quell any of those concerns and design something spectacular for you! 

Do a tasting.

Many brides skip this step. I think it is so important. So your expectations and visions are mismatched. It's good to see each dish and how it will be served and how your guests will feel after they have eaten the meal. Make sure it all pairs the way you had hoped. The tasting is a great time to make any detailed changes to a menu and style that you would like to see, not the day of. 

Choose the right caterer.

Your caterer will be the largest team onsite for your wedding. Make sure they are the right fit for you and jive with your vision and the day you are creating. Ask lots of questions to make sure they are who you are looking for. Your planner can be of great assistance here. Ask for example photos of what they are selling. Get a feel for what they are bringing to the table. Don't forget to check in next week to see more tips!

February 12, 2020

February Recipe of the Month: Salted Caramel Molten Lava Cake

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Celebrate Valentine's day this year with these ooey-gooey salted caramel lava cakes. They are sure to make the perfect end to any meal.

Salted Caramels

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 6 teaspoons water
  • ½ cup corn syrup
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon flaked Maldon salt

Tools:

  • 9x13 inch pan
  • Pot
  • Candy thermometer
  • Whisk

Yields:

20 caramels
  1. Grease pan on all sides and bottom. Add a piece of parchment to the bottom and grease as well
  2. Calibrate your candy thermometer
  3. Into large stock pot Add water, corn syrup, and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  4. Clip on candy thermometer and bring sugar mixture to 320 degrees F. The sugar will be slightly amber colored.
  5. Chop butter into small cubes.
  6. Once at 320 slowly add butter and cream (the pot will boil violently) add tsp of kosher salt.
  7. Once all incorporated bring caramel to 240 degrees F
  8. Pour caramel into prepared pan.
  9. Sprinkle maldon salt over the caramel
  10. Cool caramel overnight.

Molten Cakes

Ingredients:

  • 7 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1 ¼ sticks of butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ½ cup powder sugar
  • ½ cup flour

Tools:

  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Saucepan
  • 6 4 oz Ramekins

Yields:

6 cakes
  1. In small sauce pan over medium heat, Melt chocolate and butter together.
  2. Grease ramekins and set aside.
  3. In medium bowl, Whisk together eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla until foamy
  4. Sift powdered sugar to the egg mixture and whisk until completely incorporated
  5. Sift flour into mixture and whisk until completely incorporated
  6. Add slightly cooled chocolate to mixture and whisk until completely incorporated
  7. Put ¼ cup into the ramekins, insert a caramel directly in the center and cover the tops with the remaining batter
  8. Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes.
  9. Lava cakes should be set on the outside but still jiggly on top.
  10. Remove from the oven. And serve immediately.
  11. Serve with whipped cream or your favorite ice cream. You can even add our favorite caramel sauce, check out the recipe here https://www.culinarycrafts.com/make-soft-caramel/
ENJOY!

February 11, 2020

Guest writer Kristin Spear gives tips on catering for your big day.

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With engagement season upon us, we reached out to the best event and wedding planners in Utah to see what tips they had to make the catering at your big day the best it can be! Follow our 9 week series and see what they all had to say!

Kristin Spear from Soiree Events

Every year, Kristin's events with Soirée Productions are featured throughout local and national wedding magazines.  She has made several television and radio appearances as a 'wedding expert'. Her exquisite design ability, attention to detail, and unbridled work ethic allow her to create flawless and picturesque events.    

Don’t forget to tell your planner and caterer about any special items you are bringing.

Often on your big day, you had a favorite cookie growing up and you wanted your grandma to make them, or you have a bottle of wine for just the head table. Make sure you tell your caterer about those details so they can facilitate signage, platters, glasses and other equipment needed to serve your guests. 

Ask for assistance in fine-tuning your guest count.

Brides and Grooms tend to forget themselves in the guest count. You want to eat on your big day! Also don’t forget your vendors, the people assisting you in creating your magical day. Often photographers, bands, planners will include in their contract that vendor meals are to be provided for them and their assistants, second shooters, backstage hands. Ask each of your vendors how many meals they need and then convey that to your caterer. Vendor meals can also be time-sensitive so make sure to ask your vendor when they need to eat during your timeline and coordinate this with your caterers. 

Think about your day as a whole and plan food, snacks, and beverages accordingly.

Your caterer is usually there to provide food for the big moments of your wedding. The rehearsal dinner, the luncheon, the ceremony, the reception, etc. However, your day doesn’t start at “I do.” You have all your time getting ready, taking photos, the first look and more. It makes for a long day. While your caterer will arrive early to the party they won’t be ready to serve anything until the scheduled time. They won’t have beers for the groomsmen or snacks for the bridesmaids on hand. Make sure you plan snacks and meals for you and your whole party. 

Understand your china rental orders.

I often get clients who see a rental agreement and want to make adjustments to trim costs. They don’t understand why they need 220 salad forks for 100 guests. Before you cut things, ask the experts and understand where those extra forks will be used. Great idea to ask for photos so you can see the whole vision of your tables or buffet before you decide to cut things from your china order. 

Budget your time appropriately.

Make sure you ask the experts about how long each step will take. That is why your vendors are there to assist you with their wealth of knowledge. Ask how long it will take to pass the hors d'oeuvres, get all the guests a drink from the bar, plate a course or go through the buffet line. Then plan your timeline around their advice and style of service. Each step takes time. Remember it is not about how fast you can get through the day but enjoying each moment.  Don't forget to check in next week to see more tips!

February 4, 2020

Guest writer Meredith Parsons gives tips on catering for your big day.

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With engagement season upon us, we reached out to the best event and wedding planners in Utah to see what tips they had to make the catering at your big day the best it can be! Follow our 9 week series and see what they all had to say!    

Meredith Parsons from Bluebird Event Destination Management Meredith Parsons is the Owner and Creative Director of Bluebird Event Destination Management, a boutique event production firm specializing in bespoke events for destination weddings, corporations and social events. Celebrating 11 years with Bluebird, Meredith has cultivated an extraordinary team and a coveted list of vendors to deliver a seamless experience for guests that is at once personal, refined and timeless.

When you are planning your wedding reception, it is important to consider that you are curating the design of the entire event. 

Each detail including tablescape, catering rentals, food selections and style of service are paramount to the guest experience and aesthetic of the event. Collaborating with your caterer on the catering rentals for the tabletop and any other areas is critical to the success of your event.  Be certain to inquire about any pieces that may be needed for the tablescape in order to facilitate service, such as water liters, table stanchions, butter plates, bread baskets. These items may cause dissonance in the service to your guests and your design. I recommend keeping service elements like water liters and bread baskets to a minimum on the tabletop, if at all, and working with your caterer to ensure that service remains seamless in accordance with your vision.  This way you are able to enjoy the amazing floral and decor that you have arranged unencumbered.

Think of the menu from the point of view of your guests.

Your wedding is a great time to choose wisely food that has broad appeal.  Avoid things with supremely strong flavors that may be polarizing for some guests. For example, if you love bleu cheese on your salad, opt to serve it on the side instead of on the main salad. If you are allergic to onions, request a special meal for yourself and include the key component for the rest of your guests.

Be certain all vendors are on the same page for the timeline of the whole day.

The timeline is the organization of the flow of your event and the service. It is vital that you share that with your caterer and all other vendors. They may have suggestions that will facilitate a good flow and ensure food is hot and service is gracious. One key point is to plan for toasts carefully around the service of the entree. Most toasts should be done either right after the salad is served to all guests or after the entree has been serviced to all guests.  Caterers have a flow and precise timing to ensure fresh hot food is served to guests and that all the attention for toasts is focused on toasts when they are delivered.

When planning your timeline, use meals and food to help create a captivating audience.

The flow of food or lack of food will help direct your guest's attention. Great opportunities to use food to facilitate the timeline could be greeting your guests with a cocktail and hors d'oeuvre as servers direct them to the ceremony, planning a cessation of food service during toasts, and to have your caterer hold dessert until after cake cutting so all your guests don’t miss those special moments in your day.  

Select your style of catering service carefully.

There are many pros and cons to each style of service. Ask your caterer and planner for their thoughts and additional needs/costs to do a different style. Each event space can also limit you to the service style. The practicality of the style of service is an integral consideration for the success of your event. Don't forget to check in next week to see more tips!

20x winner Utah’s Best of State

16x Best of State Caterer

3x Best of the Best / Hospitality

1x Entrepreneur of the Year