A wedding is the most important voluntary rite of passage in our lives.

Statistics show that people are marrying later in life, often planning the wedding as a couple, resulting in the wedding celebration taking on a more intimate character.

The joy of having the wedding ceremony and/or the reception at the home where you grew up, or at the home of a dear friend or relative, or perhaps at a rented mansion that can double as one’s home for the day, has replaced the standard impersonal hotel or hall affair, making each couple’s wedding an intimate special event.

Whether your wedding reception takes place on a palatial estate, in an apartment or in your backyard, an at-home wedding is possible with careful planning.



Guest List/Number of Guests




Wedding Coordinator and/

or Caterer


Planning or coordinating a wedding requires lots of time, knowledge, patience and diplomacy.

Because of the demanding social and business schedules of many couples and their parents, some people turn to a wedding coordinator who will coordinate everything from the ceremony to the cake cutting.

Wedding coordinators have access to the various services you will need. If you decide to hire a wedding coordinator, be sure you both feel comfortable with him/her and that they do not impose their tastes on you.

It is customary for wedding consultants to charge either a flat fee and/or a percentage of all services provided.

However, many experienced caterers are able to provide the same services.

Whether you choose to hire a wedding coordinator, use a caterer to coordinate your event or do it yourself, the following information is meant to help you and make the wedding as wonderful as possible.

Start by buying a bride’s magazine and a notebook or download a wedding planning app. Surf the internet for a wealth of ideas. Popular websites include The Knot, Pintrest and the Wedding Channel to name a few.

You may also create your own wedding website that friends and relatives may visit.

Check out weddingdetails.com, weddingxone.net and nywedding.com, to name a few.

An iPhone, iPad or notebook can be used to record all the information that you receive concerning the event. (No matter if you choose to track all of your info electronically or manually, keep it ALL in ONE place! Organization is paramount.)

The “Wedding Basics” must be decided upon as soon as possible

DATE:  When do you plan to have the wedding? What type of weather will prevail? Do you have enough time to plan your special day without being stressed?

GUEST LIST/NUMBER OF GUESTS: How many relatives are going to be invited? How many friends? Are you going to invite single people plus one? Because weddings are expensive, most people only include a plus one if they know the plus one. Remember, never invite people because you know they will not attend. People always make an effort to attend a wedding!

LOCATION: Where will the ceremony take place? Is there enough room inside or do you need a tent? Is the yard large enough to accommodate a tent? Is there ample parking? Do you need to hire a valet parking service?

STYLE: Do you envision a very formal black tie sit-down dinner or are you more comfortable with an informal lunch? The style of your wedding depends on you and reflects your likes and dislikes. It can range from a Texas-style bar-b-que to a chic hors d’oeuvres “grazing” party. Often style is dictated by budget; an hors d’oeuvres and wedding cake reception will be less expensive than a Saturday night, black tie, sit-down dinner.

BUDGET: Every fantasy has a price and perhaps the hardest thing to do is to arrive at a budget. Once you decide on the amount of money you would like to spend, it is simple to see what is available and if your expectations are realistic. When deciding on a budget, remember there are several other “hidden expenses,” such as dresses for attendants (optional), gifts for attendants, hotel accommodations for out-of-town guests (optional), bachelor and/or bachelorette festivities, morning after brunch, gratuities, the honeymoon and so on.

REFERENCES: If you have not previously experienced the work of the people you have hired, ask for references. Competent and successful vendors are more than happy to furnish you with a list of satisfied client.

Next week, read all about “Wedding Essentials” and “Wedding Incidentals.”

Alexandra Troy is owner of Culinary Architect Catering, a 35 year-old Greenvale-based company, specializing in weddings, private, corporate and promotional parties. She lives in Manhasset with her husband and son. If you make these recipes, please email photos to [email protected]

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