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June 1, 2022

10 Tips for How to Make Any Space a Wedding Venue

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forest kiss, outdoor wedding, bride in the forest, Utah outdoor wedding, unique wedding venues, Culinary Crafts wedding, trees, gorgeous wedding photo, picturesque wedding, ivy covered trees As traditional wedding venues book up, many couples are converting ordinary spaces into exciting, unique places to get married. We’re seeing beautiful weddings staged beside a forest stream, in a rustic horse stable, or on top of a mountain! If you like the idea of doing something original, here are 10 tips for how to make practically any space into a magical, one-of-a-kind wedding venue.

1. Think Big

A museum or art gallery. The beach. An aquarium, aviary, or greenhouse. Any place that has special meaning to you as a couple may be a fantastic stage for a celebration that’s both personal and poignant. A favorite camp site or national park. A nightclub, ski resort, or skating rink. Even the gym where you met. Or maybe what represents you best is a Beatles-like concert on a rooftop or skeet shooting at your favorite hunting club. What we’re saying is, free your imagination. mountain wedding rocky mountain bride, lake, secluded, luxury, picturesque wedding, high end unique, waterfall, photos, pristine, outdoor wedding, unique Utah wedding destinations

2. Be Practical

As you dream big, bear in mind that when you create your own wedding venue, you’ll need to supply everything that a traditional venue would generally provide. That includes water, electricity, restrooms, transportation, parking, accessibility, permits…the list is longer than you think. But if you’re willing to work with your planner and address each aspect of the event thoughtfully, creating your own wedding venue can be pure magic! Salt Flat light, wedding on Utah Salt Flats, microwedding, micro-wedding, Utah outdoor wedding, wedding party on Salt Flats, white lights, night, draped lights, curtain of lights, special catering, catering events in Utah, outstanding events in Utah, picturesque wedding, Utah catered events

3. Prioritize

Assuming that you and your chosen one have agreed on your wedding priorities and budget (you have had that talk, right?), think about how well those priorities line up with the venue you have in mind. Are stunning photos at the top of your list of must-haves? Is your priority to make sure the whole clan can be there? To treat your guests to an amazing sit-down dinner and then party and dance the night away? Whatever your top priorities are, make sure the space you’ve chosen lends itself to those things. You may not be able to afford everything you dream, but you’ll get what’s most important to you if you prioritize. flower swing, the Hallows, wedding venue at Sundance Utah, couple in swing, swing of flowers, wedding in forest, bride on groom's lap, Culinary Crafts wedding, specialty wedding, unique wedding venue, married in the forest, trees, Utah outdoor weddings

4. Size Matters

If the space you’re considering is huge (like, say, a horse pasture, or the Bonneville Salt Flats), there are tricks to make a venue feel smaller and more intimate. However, if a space is too small to handle your guest count, there’s no way to fix that except to trim your list.

As a rough rule of thumb, for a seated dinner you’ll need about 12-14 square feet per guest, or 8-9 feet if you’re serving cocktail style with some people sitting and some standing. Add another 4-5 feet per guest if you want dancing. You’ll also need room for your caterer, a head table, cake table, bar, gift table, etc., but the measurements really depend on the particular venue. That’s why the eye of an experienced planner is crucial. Do a walkthrough together and make sure your space can handle everything you have in mind. forest table, wedding in the woods, forest wedding in Utah, table setting in forest, outdoors wedding venue in Utah, Utah County catered wedding, beautiful outdoor wedding, intimate outdoor event, candles, plates, glasses, trees, chairs, canopy, forest canopy

5. Amenities

At a minimum, you’ll need to provide the basics: food, water, electricity, and restrooms. (Nothing can turn a dream wedding into a nightmare faster than a problem with restrooms.) If the space you’ve chosen doesn’t already have restroom access—and enough access to avoid long lines—it’s worth hiring professionals. Electricity can be supplied by a generator, but remember that ordinary generators are way too loud; you’ll need a whisper generator or two. If your site doesn’t have clean water, you’ll have to pack in enough for drinking, washing, and on-site food prep. Consult your caterer about water, food, and beverage issues. grilling outdoors, flames at night, catering event in Utah, Utah outdoor wedding, Culinary Crafts chefs, cooking over open flame, bbq, barbeque cooking, firing a grill, wedding catering in Utah

6. Protect Your Guests from the Elements

If some of the festivities will be outside, you’ll need to protect your guests from too much sun, wind, rain, or other inclement weather—not to mention bugs. A tent, kata, yurt, or marquee are all good options, but make sure you know how they’ll be transported to the site, set up, and taken down.

In hot months, start dinner around 7:30 to avoid the heat of the day. But if you’re going to be in the mountains, move that start time up to around 4:30. Trees will provide enough shade, and the sun sets much sooner in the mountains, so temperatures drop quickly. couches, tent, lounge in the woods, sofas in the forest, comfortable wedding guests, wedding venues, outside wedding, forest wedding, children's tent, play camping, play campfire, relax at wedding, relaxing outdoor weddings, wedding guests relax, Culinary Crafts, catered weddings in Utah

7. View the Space Through Your Guests' Eyes

This is where creating your own wedding venue really starts to get fun!

Think of the celebration as distinct stages that move your guests from one event to the next throughout the night. What do you want them to feel and experience in each stage? Maybe as they arrive and mingle during cocktail hour, you want them to feel welcomed and relaxed. If so, what elements of your venue can contribute to that experience? A lounge vignette with comfortable sofas and a murmuring brook in the background? A fun display of memorabilia that shares your personal connection to the place? Whatever it is that you love about your chosen venue, find ways to weave it into your guests’ experience.

For each stage of the celebration, you want to provide your guests with at least one “WOW!” factor. A breathtaking view of a waterfall. The divine smells of a gorgeous floral setting. Mouthwatering BBQ. The heart-pumping beats of your favorite band. Engage all the senses! fairy lights, event tent, gauze tent, outdoor wedding in Utah, catering event tables, view of Utah mountains, outdoors wedding, unique wedding venue, beautiful outdoor wedding, outdoor catering in Utah

8. Lighting

There’s no better way to add beauty and mood to your venue than with the creative use of lighting. Uplights placed near walls or drapery can create a muted, open feel that makes a space seem larger. On the other hand, a canopy of bistro lights can make a space feel more intimate and enclosed. Candlelight is a sure-fire way to heighten the romantic mood, while fairy lights incorporated into your tablescape add a playful whimsy. Inexpensive and easy to transport, lights are a great way to create the right mood. dancing smile, wedding dancing, antlers chandelier, bride and groom dance, first dance, blue night sky, fairy lights, bistro lights, wedding in Utah, outdoor wedding venue in Utah, Wasatch Front wedding, catered wedding in Utah

9. Permits, Licenses, and Insurance

Before you finalize plans, ask yourself, “Do I need a permit for my wedding venue?” Depending on where you want to create your venue, there may be parking permits, fire permits, fireworks permits, or noise ordinances to deal with. A fire marshal may even need to do a walk-through prior to the event. Some cities require a special use permit for a wedding, and state parks generally do too. (Those park permits take time, so get started early!) If you’re planning to set up a tent or other temporary structure, some municipalities require a temporary building permit. An alcohol license may also be required if you’ll be serving any kind of alcohol.

Contact the city or county where you’re planning to host your event and find out what legal hoops you’ll have to jump through. It may also be worth looking into insurance for your event, especially if you are holding it in a museum or some other setting with a threat of significant property damage. outdoor wedding in Utah, Utah summer wedding, married outdoors, wedding by a river, trees, river, mountains, Utah mountain wedding, white sky, bride and groom walking by a river, hand in hand, love, picturesque, beautiful wedding moment, Utah catered events, bridal gown outdoors, bride in dress in Nature

10. Work with a Planner and Vendors

Creating a wedding venue of your own opens up all kinds of beautiful possibilities, but also lots of challenges. You probably don’t want to deal with every one of those issues on your own, so look at your budget and decide which worries are worth passing off to the pros. Here are a few vendors we recommend in the Wasatch Front area:

Our main advice here is that you work with an experienced wedding planner. A planner’s expertise can save you time, money, and trouble. Plus, your planner may have recommendation of local vendors who can greatly reduce the headaches of converting any space into a wedding venue.

May 12, 2022

Culinary Crafts Works with Renowned Chef Wolfgang Puck

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Culinary Crafts recently had the honor of co-catering an event alongside world-famous chef Wolfgang Puck and his amazing team.  The occasion was a retirement celebration for one of Utah’s movers and shakers, Todd Pederson, Founder and CEO of Vivent. With 600 guests, it wasn’t the biggest event we’ve done, but it certainly was one of the most memorable.

retirement party, Catered event in Utah, guests, catering in Utah County, Todd Pederson retirement, party, gala, special event, Nike shoe display, hors d'oeuvres, candles, candlelight, hurricane glass, Days before the gala, Chef Puck’s team joined us in our Pleasant Grove kitchen and bakery, and preparations began. What a joy to collaborate with these consummate professionals who are not only masters of their craft but are so gracious, down-to-earth, and easy to work with! group photos, Culinary Crafts, Wolfgang Puck, chefs, scullery, bakers, culinary production team, collaboration, Todd Pederson retirement party, 2021, Mary Crafts, iron chef, Utah catering, event staff, catered events, 5 star catering With our reduced staff (due to Covid), we had to scramble to find 75 team members to handle service. UVU’s Culinary Arts Program kindly recommended two dozen of their students, and they did a fantastic job. Culinary Crafts, catered events, catering in Utah, Chef Wolfgang Puck, famous chef, banana cream pie, dessert, champagne, wine, plated dinner, top catering in utah, best caterer, food services, dessert The incredible evening began with butler-passed hors d’oeuvres. The highlights of the world-class menu were Japanese and U.S. wagyu beef, served side by side, followed by the most delicious banana cream pie you’ve ever tasted! A surprise concert from pop star Justin Bieber topped off the fabulous evening. Justin Bieber, pop star, surprise performance, catered event in Utah, Wolfgang Puck, Culinary Crafts, 2021, Provo, Utah, singing, hoodie, dark glasses, disguise, microphone, retirement party, gala, catered events in Utah Since the event, our relationship with Chef Wolfgang Puck and his amazing team has continued. Four of our chefs and bakers were asked to help him cater Super Bowl LVI, and we look forward to other future collaborations. Wolfgang Puck, chef, Kaleb Crafts, Culinary Crafts, back of house, mask, Todd Pederson, retirement party, Utah catered events, culinary director, collaboration, iron chef, chefs, Utah County events

May 4, 2022

May Recipe of the Month: Perfect Pizza

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Applewood fired oven pizza

A few months ago, Culinary Crafts had the privilege of co-hosting an event with renowned chef Wolfgang Puck and his amazing crew. For our May recipe of the month, we’re going to share one of the appetizers we served at that party, our perfect pizza. When we do pizza for big events, we make it in big applewood fired ovens, but when we bake it in our own ovens at home, this is the recipe we use.

The key to perfect pizza (besides using delicious, fresh ingredients) is the dough. If you prepare and bake the dough correctly, it’s going to taste delicious no matter which of your favorite toppings you put on top. Dough in hands For perfect pizza—with a light, chewy inside and crispy outside—you’ll want to prepare your dough the day before so it has time to proof overnight.

Dough Ingredients (makes enough for three 12-inch pizzas)

  • ¼ oz yeast (one packet)
  • ¼ oz sugar
  • 2 ⅔ cups water
  • ¼ oz salt
  • 1 pound of flour (half all-purpose flour and half bread flour)
  • ⅓ cup olive oil

Instructions

      1. In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast, and sugar. Let them sit while you measure out the other ingredients.
      2. Add the salt, flour, and olive oil to your bowl. Mix slowly for 3 minutes. (If you’re using a KitchenAid, use the speed setting of 4.) Adjust the dough’s consistency as needed by adding a little more water or flour. Then increase the speed and mix for another 4-5 minutes.
      3. Dust your hands lightly with flour before you handle the dough. Divide your dough into three even portions. (Or, if you prefer to make two larger pizzas, simply divide the dough in half.)
      4. Roll the dough portions into round balls and place each of them into an airtight container. You can use regular bowls if you cover them with plastic wrap, pressing it down over the dough. Eliminating air will keep the dough from drying out.
      5. Place the dough in your fridge overnight.
      Pizza Preparation
      1. Approximately 15 minutes before you’re ready to work your dough, remove it from the fridge. Turn on your oven to 500 degrees or as high as it will go. Place a pizza stone or metal baking sheet into the oven to pre-heat. Use more than one stone/sheet if you’ll need more surface area to hold your pizzas.
      2. As your oven is heating, dust your hands with seminola, cornmeal, or regular flour. Dust a flat counter surface where you’ll work your dough. Also give each of your dough balls a light dusting.
      3. Work the dough balls using the technique shown in the first three minutes of this video.

      Pro Tip: When our chefs are making pizza at an event, they don’t always have a convenient surface to work on, so they stretch the dough in the air. The technique is similar except that you let the dough hang from your thumbs as you turn it, using gravity to help stretch it. Use whatever technique works for you, but don’t use a rolling pin—if you squash the dough flat, it will lose all that wonderful airiness that it gained by proofing overnight!

      1. When your oven is heated, remove the hot pizza stone/cooking sheet and give it a light dusting.

      Pro Tip: If you’re using a baking sheet, flip it over and use the bottom side to cook your pizza. That way, when the pizza is done, it will slide off the hot sheet easily.

      1. Place your stretched dough onto your stone or cooking sheet. Use a pizza docker or a fork to score the surface of the dough. Don’t make holes all the way through the dough; just lightly indent it to prevent large air pockets from forming when it cooks. Air pockets will cause bubbles that tend to burn.
      Margherita Pizza
      1. Top the pizza with your favorite ingredients. Be careful not to overdo the sauce! Too much sauce will prevent the pizza from cooking properly, and you’ll end up with a soggy underside. If you’re using fresh herbs like basil or spinach, we recommend leaving those off until the last few minutes of cooking. Otherwise they’ll overcook and wilt.

      Pro Tip: If you like lots of sauce, consider baking your perfect pizza “Detroit style” by placing your cheese and other ingredients directly onto the dough. Then you can add the sauce on top of the other ingredients so that it doesn’t touch the dough. Or you can even wait until the pizza has finished baking before topping it with all the sauce your heart desires!

      1. Place your pizzas in the oven and keep a close eye on them as they bake. You may have to rotate the pizzas after a few minutes to give them an even bake. Once your crust is bubbling and forms a dark, golden brown, you know it’s done.
      Eat well!

April 14, 2022

April Recipe of the Month: Arugula Salad with Asparagus

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Arugula salad with asparagus, snap peas, and parmesan

Spring is the time to celebrate all things fresh! Our April recipe of the month, arugula salad with asparagus, snap peas, and parmesan, is one of our favorite ways to feature delicious veggies that are in season right now.

Ingredients (serves 4-6)

Salad

  • ½ pound of arugula, washed and dried
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas, deveined, blanched, and cut on a bias
  • 1 cup avocado, diced
  • 5-10 spears of asparagus, blanched and shaved with potato peeler
  • 1 cup shaved parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup pistachios, coarsely chopped

Dressing

  • 2 ½ tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tbsp mayonnaise
  • ½ tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1⁄6 – ¼ tbsp sugar
  • ¼ lemon zest
  • 7 ½ tbsp canola blend oil

Directions

  1. Combine all of dressing ingredients except oil in a blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. While blender is running, slowly add oil until emulsified.
  3. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  4. In a large bowl, toss arugula with dressing.
  5. Plate the arugula (approx. 5 servings).
  6. Top with peas, pistachios, avocado, asparagus, and cheese.

Enjoy!

Pro tips:

Blanching the veggies takes off their bitter edge and makes them a bright vibrant green color.

When zesting citrus, only zest the outer layer. If you get to the white fibrous part of the citrus (called the pith) you've gone too far. The pith is very bitter.

If your greens and produce start to look limp and wilted, you can give them new life by submerging them in ice water for a few seconds. They’ll perk right up!

April 5, 2022

Culinary Crafts Hosts Team USA Olympic Party

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Team USA sign at Kimball Terrace Park City When China banned foreign spectators from attending the 2022 Winter Olympics events, Team USA swung into action. They set up Olympic houses in major cities all over the US where team members’ families, donors, and other important guests could gather to watch and cheer for our Olympians. For their flagship event, Team USA staged an extravagant party in Park City, and they asked Culinary Crafts to host. Team USA balloons We loved entertaining this extraordinary gathering at our Kimball Terrace facility on Park City’s historic Main Street. We converted part of our indoor area into watch spaces and dining areas. The rest became a temporary store featuring Team USA merchandise. Team USA store in Kimball Terrace Team USA dining area Our outdoor terrace made a perfect place for us to set up a huge hospitality tent with a gorgeous view of the slopes. Culinary Crafts tent   view from tent Park City graciously gave us special permission to construct the hospitality tent. They also helped us by blocking off Heber Avenue for an afternoon while we set up. We had to bring in a crane to lift the huge components into place. These were unusual concessions from the city, but when Team USA comes to town, exceptions are made! Kimball Terrace Team USA logos on door Tomatoes craft soda gelato float Roast beef flowers Olympic rings display A huge “Thank You” to Team USA for asking Culinary Crafts to host this fabulous event, and to Park City for helping make it happen!

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