I often get asked about that extra little something to make for a distinctive wedding reception. Today’s blog isn’t about money saving tips and tricks as much as that added special touch when you have some room left in your budget. Below are some ideas to inspire you!
- Starters and Cocktail Hour
I see a lot of couples skip hors d’oeuvres during cocktail hour as a way to save a little bit here and there. If you are looking for a great flow for your reception, I recommend not forgoing something to snack on at the start of your party. Whether it is passed bites or appetizing displays, this helps pass the time and keeps your guests mingling while awaiting your grand entrance. Guests that have just been to the ceremony and are getting hungry appreciate a small bite before dinner.
Bonus Tip: The important thing here is keeping guests occupied during cocktail hour while you take pictures and refresh. So not only nibbles, but drinks can also give them something to do. Creating a signature drink or having staff pass champagne or red and white wine at the door can give an elegant touch while making guests feel important and get them in the mood to begin the celebration.
When looking to add something unique to dinner feel free to think outside the box. A plated dinner doesn’t have to be just two courses. Having two starter courses, for example, an Ahi Tuna Tartar, Apple Smoked Bacon wrapped Scallops, or a Wild Mushroom & Bleu Cheese Risotto Cake dish, before the salad comes out can make it a stand out affair!
Bonus Tip: Another idea is adding a dessert course to a plated dinner, or even a dessert station. I often see guests get excited about dessert options other than the wedding cake. An interactive dessert station, for example, ice cream cookie sandwiches or homemade ice cream made on-site, gives guests something extra to remember. Another option is offering bite size dessert displays, as attendees often tend to go towards smaller easy to grab options over a whole slice of cake.
If you are looking for your guests to get down and dance, dine and really celebrate, having an open bar is a must. Adding a couple signature drinks is also a great idea. A cute sign by the bar listing some unique specialty drink options will make things easier for your guests allowing them to go up to the bar and place their drink orders without having to give it much thought. Signature drinks are great because guests will always remember the delicious tasting beverage they experienced exclusively at your wedding.
- Late night
A passed snack later in the evening after everyone has been dancing and burning some calories can be really fun. This can be something unique to your style, your favorite things, or your wedding vibe/theme. Think passed milk and cookies, quesadillas, pizza bites, sliders, milkshake shots, or truffle lollipops. Late night bites are great because they are unique yet loved by everyone, think about it, all great nights usually end with your favorite foods.
So there you have it, it’s not often that I talk about extra things to add to your budget rather than things you can do without but these are definitely some great alternatives. All of these options add to the feel of your reception and give your guests a little something extra to remember your special day by. It’s almost always the little things that separate your event from all of the others. Add one or more of these ideas to your wedding plans and make your event one that stands out from all the rest. Happy wedding planning!
Are you looking for a unique way to jazz up your reception without spending any extra cash? A great way to add a personal touch without adding to your bill is a signature drink! There are many wedding bar options, if you are unsure of them, take a look at this Wedding Bar 101 post which breaks down the positives and negatives of all you wedding bar choices in order to ensure you choose the right fit for you! No matter which option you choose, a signature drink can always be incorporated and makes things fun. Below are a few cocktail ideas for the upcoming Spring 2017 wedding season!
- Pink Grapefruit Ginger– This cocktail includes selections that are popular on the cocktail scene at the moment – Gin, Pink Grapefruit, Ginger Ale, Lemon
- Blood Orange Mimosa– It doesn’t have to be brunch for a mimosa on a refreshing spring day – Sparkling Wine, Fresh blood orange juice
- Blueberry Orange Smash– A twist of fresh fruit in a bourbon cocktail – Blueberries, Bourbon, Orange Bitters, Vanilla
These are just a few options to get the ideas flowing. You could also incorporate your theme into the signature drinks or even your wedding colors. When it comes to cocktails, the possibilities are endless!
Bonus tip: if you have already decided on having an open bar during your reception a signature cocktail can be created and incorporated into your event for no extra charge at all! Alcohol is no cheap commodity, so if you decided to splurge on the open bar, you might as well make the most of it! Most caterers will create special cocktails unique to your event without charging you extra for this service because the liquor is already part of your bar package. Now that’s a win-win!
Happy Wedding Planning!
In 2016 we are going to be seeing more weddings that are inspired by a theme. Theme inspired weddings give couples a way to express their unique style and personalities while also making the wedding more intimate and personal for them.
There will soon be a lot of blogs about décor for your theme popping up, but the food and beverages are often overlooked. Complimenting your wedding inspiration with food and beverages that fit your theme will set you apart from the rest. It is no secret everyone loves to share pictures of their amazing meals and treats, the unique and delicious themed bites and sips at your wedding are sure to be talked about and shared! Below are some ideas to get the ball rolling and get you thinking.
- The Vintage Carnival, Circus or Retro Styles – This is for the casual, fun and quirky couple. You don’t have to pick an outdoor venue to pull off this vibe. You can turn any open spaced reception venue into a playful space as long as it is versatile. Any little nooks can be turned into a kissing booth or game area. You can hire a magician, stilt walker or entertainer to get this feel. Hire a caterer that will customize some menu items for you. This theme is especially good for appetizers and late night snacks such as a Snow Cone Bar, Mini Corn Dogs, Cotton Candy Bar, Popcorn Bar, Candy Apples, Funnel Cakes, Homemade Graham Crackers, Buckets of peanuts in the shell on tables, Homemade Pretzels, or Roasted Peanuts or Caramel Corn in cones.
- Farmer’s Market, Fresh or Foodie Themes – With everyone gradually leaning towards healthier lifestyles, it’s no surprise more requests for local and fresh ingredients are being made by many couples. Foodies are starting to incorporate their love of food into their weddings. Spring and summer weddings can be very charming with beautiful fruit and vegetable displays alone. Some more ideas to compliment this are homemade breads and jams or meat and cheese stations. The right caterer can customize some of these things for you. You can even go so far as to set up stations as “booths” like an actual Farmer’s Market. More ideas include olive oil tasting stations, summer pasta salads with fresh herbs, and baked pies and goods.
- Travel Theme – We have all seen the weddings decked out completely in a love for Paris. The updated and more modern idea would be an around the world theme. This is for those with a passion for travel or foodies that want to offer food from all different cultures to throw a stand out event. Stations can be from Italy, Argentina, Cuba, Vietnam, and the Caribbean to name a few. This is a way to showcase really great menu items if you have a love of food. From unique and unheard of to favorites such as a risotto station, rustic pizza station, mini Cuban sandwiches for hors d’oeuvres or Caribbean skewers and bites. Don’t forget the bar on this one! This theme can be paired with refreshing spring and summer cocktails such as a Mojito bar, Caribbean rum drinks, or endless signature drink ideas.
- Old Hollywood, 20’s, and Gatsby Themes – Classy, Timeless, Gorgeous and Glam. This can be in a ballroom or your rich friend’s mansion. The attire and décor are very much a part of this wedding theme, but to stand apart from the rest, this can be a really cool theme as far as food and beverages as well. While food is important, this event deserves lots of attention turned towards the bar. Champagne, champagne, champagne. Did I mention champagne? Have your guests be greeted at the door with it, toast with it, keep it flowing all night. Sugar rimmed glasses, a rock candy or strawberry garnish also add a little something. Other drink ideas could be a Gin fizz, Mint Julep, Moonshine, Aviation or French 75. Popular bites to fit the time include oysters, deviled eggs, shrimp cocktails, and olive and nuts bars. These all make great hors d’oeuvres and add-ons. Main courses are flexible. You can have a sit-down dinner with this type of event or stations and snacks to keep people up and moving.
If you decide to have a themed wedding, the most important thing to keep in mind is choosing something that inspires you or personally speaks to you. Once you get that idea the rest falls into place. Happy 2016 wedding planning!