The Culinary Architect: Planning an at-home wedding, part II

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Now that you have chosen the wedding basics, you need to take care of the following:

WEDDING ESSENTIALS

Invitations * Calligraphy

Ceremony

Flowers

Photographer  * Videographer

Party Favors

Reception * Food * Beverages

Rentals

Labor

Music

Seating

Valet Parking

Wedding cake

INVITATIONS come in many shapes and sizes, from the most simple imprinted invitation to an engraved glass delivered by a chauffeured limousine.

It all depends on your taste, style and budget.

Remember to order the invitations early as most companies require at least six weeks to print or engrave custom invitations.

Most invitations are sent eight weeks prior to the wedding.

Over order no matter how many invitations you plan to use, since you will always need more.

Unless your handwriting is spectacular, consider hiring a calligrapher.

EVITES: Although in this 21st century people send Evites, they are NOT appropriate for a wedding.

CALLIGRAPHY, handwritten with ink and a nib, is an elegant touch to any invitation.

Most calligraphers charge by the line and will address the inner and outer envelopes, as well as the seating cards for the reception.

Many stationers offer computerized calligraphy at a substantial savings.

Peel and stick labels are NOT acceptable.

WEDDING CEREMONY: Decide where it will take place and engage the proper officiant, be it a priest, minister, rabbi, justice of the peace or captain of the ship.

A dear friend or relative can be ordained online or at the appropriate City Hall for the day.

(Check with local municipalities for the rules and regulations.)

FLOWERS are perhaps the most important decorative element to the wedding.

If you are getting married in the middle of winter, you can have summer flowers if you give your florist six months notice to “force” the flowers.

The flowers you choose all depend on your style and budget.

Fred Falconer of Falconer’s Florist of Port Washington highly recommends selecting flowers that will complement the atmosphere you are trying to create.

Whether the wedding is very formal or comfortably casual, the type of flowers and the style of the bouquets and arrangements should help to set the mood.

When ordering bouquets, Falconer also suggests to be sure they complement the style of dress as well as the wearer, to create a total picture of beauty.

PHOTOGRAPHER: Often people feel that guests phones and digital cameras can capture their special day.

However, a professional is needed.

Ronald J. Krowne of Ronald J. Krowne Photography tells clients to chose a full-time, full-service photographer to be assured of reliability, “hopefully one who participates in professional organizations and studies the latest in the industry and carries liability insurance,” he says. “It is important to MEET the photographer, see their work and feel comfortable with them. Having a professionally made album will bring you the greatest joy as the years pass.”

VIDEOGRAPHER: Hiring a videographer is optional.

If you would like to capture your special day on tape, it is often best to ask your photographer who they recommend as you want the two services to compliment each other not compete.

PARTY FAVORS: Optional, they should reflect the couples style and budget.

Searching the web can give you lot’s of ideas.

At Culinary Architect Catering, we often suggest that people use small frames as seating cards and the frame becomes the gift.

RECEPTIONS can range from a breakfast to a midnight soiree.

The time of day will dictate what type of reception you have.

Discuss your favorite foods with your caterer.

Choose a menu that can satisfy “all the guests at the same time.”

If you have many vegetarian guests, offer a selection of vegetables but do not forget that other people may prefer poultry, fish or meat.

Every dish will not appeal to everyone, but if you have a selection, there will be enough to satisfy everyone.

BEVERAGES: Are you going to have a champagne reception or offer a full bar?

Many caterers suggest that the client purchase the liquor for savings and liquor liability (check to see if you need a rider on your insurance policy for the event).

Other caterers prefer to supply the alcohol.

Be sure to include liquor, mixers and ice in your budget.

RENTALS today offer a large range of table appointments.

From the most simple glass plate to Royal Doulton china, from stainless steel to silver, from glass to crystal, anything and everything is available to adorn your reception table and make all the appointments appear as if they belong to the household.

Your wedding coordinator or caterer can show you what is available or you can find your own rentals on line under “party rental” and investigate all your options.

LABOR: Most caterers charge a labor cost for the people who set up and serve you during the reception.

Be sure to ask when the caterer quotes prices if service is included.

Also ask if there is a mandatory gratuity and what it is.

Ask to see photographs of the staff.

Are they well groomed, uniformed and neat?

MUSIC, good or bad, can make or break the party.

(I was a guest at a tent wedding where it poured rain, the food was abominable, but the music was great — everyone had a terrific time.)

Music for the ceremony can range from organ to cello to harp to trios to whatever — it all depends on your style and taste.

Music for the reception tends to be more au courant — from bands and DJs to couples making their own playlist.

Either go and hear the groups play or search the web for sample music.

No matter what, be sure the music will be enjoyed by everyone.

SEATING: If you are having a sit-down (or even a buffet) meal, be sure that everyone has a seat.

Assigned seating often makes your guests more comfortable and at ease because people know where to put themselves.

VALET: If parking is a problem, consider hiring a valet company.

Be sure the company is properly insured and drivers presentable.

WEDDING CAKE: Although most caterers can supply some type of wedding cake, there are people who specialize solely in baking wedding cakes.

Costs generally range from $5 to $25 per guest per slice.

(If you want to have a first anniversary party, be sure to have the baker prepare an extra top layer.)

Alexandra Troy is owner of Culinary Architect Catering, a 35-year-old, Greenvale-based company, specializing in weddings, private, corporate and promotional parties.  

Please share your At Home Wedding photographs at party@culinaryarchitect.com.

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