Catering at your Wedding Reception

When planning for a wedding, choosing the right caterer for your reception dinner is essential. Too many horror stories can be found online from brides who have been disappointed or even disgusted by their unfortunate wedding food experiences. It is important do some solid research before you book with any particular catering company, to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible on your wedding day.

We spoke with the team at Art of Catering, corporate caterers from Brisbane who also specialise in catering for large events and functions such as weddings. They offered us some tips on choosing the right caterers for your special day.

CateringTableFirstly, you should determine whether you have any special requirements for your meals. If you or many of your guests are coeliac, lactose intolerant, or vegan etc., you may be able to find a catering company in your home town which specialises in that kind of cuisine. This could save you a lot of issues down the track if a catering company who generally doesn’t deal with those sorts of meals has to go out of their way to prepare something they’re not accustomed to.

Talk with your friends and acquaintances who have recently been married, and reflect upon the weddings you have recently attended to find out local companies who have impressed. Get in contact with these companies and discuss your specific requirement and needs. Often it is much easier to get an understanding of a company by talking with one of their staff, so by ringing around and speaking with multiple caterers who have all served up commendably in the past, you should be able to narrow the field down and find the perfect company.

If, for whatever reason, you do not know of any wedding catering companies who service the area in which you are getting married, ringing around for a chat with staff from local companies can only help when making your selection.

You can often find reviews of companies online as well. Take a look at Google’s reviews (if any) and often people will leave feedback on social media pages as well, so be sure to check Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus to get a gauge of how competent your potential catering company may be.

Once you have decided on the perfect candidate, and have discussed your menu options with them, arrange to meet them in person and have a taste test of the meals. Many wedding, event and corporate caterers will be happy to let you try their meals before serving them up to ensure they are of your expected standard. This is not a common requests but for special events such as a wedding, the best catering companies understand and will be willing to let you try the food before signing them up for this very important job.

If you don’t want to have to organize every single detail of your wedding, or just have too much other more important preparations to work on, you may wish to consider hiring a wedding planner to organize things for you. Often wedding planner will have experience with caterers in your area so will be able to select the right one for you depending on your food preferences. If you don’t wish to use a planner or you just can’t afford the additional cost, often the venues you hire will have contract caterers who work with them for corporate events and functions such as wedding, so you may just decide to utilize their services. It’s always best to check the standard of their food first though to ensure you, and your guests, won’t be left disappointed on the night!

 

 

Picking the Right Wedding Photographers

Yes my dear readers, it is that time of year again when a lot of young and old couples make the decision to tie the knot. There is something so beautiful and elegant about throwing a wedding when the Winter snow begins to vanish, and all the Spring flowers begin to blossom and bloom all around us. It is one of the most popular times of the year to get married, and rightfully so. If you or someone you know, is planning to have a wedding during this season, one of the most critical components is hiring a professional wedding photographer. No, we are not talking about any old camera person that you can find. This is your special day, one of the best ways to preserve it for all of eternity is to make sure you have high-quality images of the special event. The kind of photos that accurately illustrate the love you share with your significant other, and those who are attending your wedding to support your union. You want to capture the essence of your love, as you are surrounded by all the people you care about.

Maryland Wedding GirlsThere is no better way to capture the heart and soul of a couple than to hire the best possible wedding photographer you can find. After all, the wedding day is quite possibly one of the most memorable and important days for a lot of people, and each portion of that day will contain a great degree of significance to all the people who are involved. It is not just about the bride and groom, it is also about their family and friends. It feels like eternity when you are planning your special day, but once it arrives it moves pretty rapidly and it is crucial that you make sure the photographer knows exactly how to capture each fleeting moment that takes place throughout the event.

It is likely that you have quite a few photographers that live in your local area, which can make it difficult to determine which one is capable of meeting your expectations. It really comes down to what style of wedding you plan to have, and what you want out of your photos. Once you narrow down your needs, you can then begin your search. You should really try to find a photographer who specializes in shooting weddings. For example, if you live in the New England area, there is a phenomenal company that provides high-quality photography for all weddings. All you have to do is search for wedding photographers Maryland, and you can use this company as a guideline for the style of imagery you should look for.

Once you have pinpointed your expectations and needs from your potential photographer, it is then recommended that you meet with each one individually to get a feel for his or her style to determine whether or not they are capable of delivering what it is your need. Please note, that there are numerous tasks involved when capturing a wedding. It is more than just taking photos of the bride walking down the aisle. You must also consider the type of images you want taken at your reception, or of the bridesmaids and groomsmen. It involves candid shots, and staged shots. That is why you should do the appropriate amount of research and find someone who knows what they are doing. For example, a dynamic and professional photographer who is multidimensional when it comes to taking photos.

Picking Flowers for your Wedding Day

One of the biggest days of your life is approaching and you naturally want everything to look just right. Flowers are an important part of a wedding ceremony from the general decorations to the boutonniere and the bride’s bouquet. The visual impact and the aroma can go a long way towards making the event special and memorable for all who attend. In some cultures, the bride and groom exchange garlands that act as an acceptance of the relationship between the two families about to be joined.

flower1

For overall continuity, the flowers will need to be the same for the bridesmaids, best men and the couple and if there are special guests among the attendants, they may receive a blossom as well. The first consideration should be budget; how much do you have to work with? Obviously if you’re in the realm of television show brides this won’t be a challenge (at least not to you personally, the lucky person with the credit card might be spending a few sleepless nights over it). For the rest of us you need to look at where you’re located for ideas. Are you in a climate with traditionally four seasons or fewer that are overall conducive to flower growth and variety? You’ll have an advantage of being able to get flowers of many varieties without the extra costs of importing. If you happen to be in a naturally beautiful location like the tropics or Hawaii, you’re in good luck for access to all of the native flora that can be used to great effect. Now for everyone else that doesn’t live on the set for Hawaii Five-O, there are still many options you can make use of. Many couples choose to get married in the Spring or Summer but what about Fall? You have colour choices such as yellows, dark reds and burgundies to plan the theme and appearance around.

Popular choices for Fall bouquets include orange carnations, teddy bear sunflowers, dark orange Asiatic lilies, mums and the traditional rose. Another advantage is prices can be lower due to the ‘off-season’ vs. the traditional Spring/Summer times. Should you feel particularly daring or different, October weddings can give you yet another color palette to work with. Remember to purchase your flowers in season to keep costs down. Particular options you’ll have include Daylilies, Globe Thistle, Chinese Lanterns, Aster and Chrysanthemums – although you should avoid those if you have any traditional Italian guests attending as Chrysanthemums are associated with funerals.

One suggestion is when you go to choose your flower colours, bring a swatch of the dress fabric to find a good match for the color. Some flowers you can consider for this theme would include Iris, Larkspur, Phlox, Gardenia, Amaryllis, roses & Carnations.

Depending on whether you’re using a wedding planner or the entire event will be DIY, you should have a good florist to work with that can suggest the best blooms for the season and produce arrangements that will complement the event for the bride and groom. If possible talk to 2-3 florists to get an idea of what options and prices ranges are available. It’s best to start planning about 7 months before and make sure you have a signed contract to protect both parties.

Using variety or traditional themes are just some of the many options you can use when planning your wedding and using the incredible variety of colors and kinds of flowers around the country for your wedding day.

Vintage Hair Styles For Your Wedding Day

If your worried about looking the same as usual on your big day, here is five vintage hairdos you could try to break up the monotonous look. We went to Brisbane hair salon specialist Ashley Kemp to watch her work her magic, whipping up this wedding season’s retro inspired styles that you’ll want to wear everyday (counterproductive- we know).

The 60′s Wedding Hair Look

desperately seeking something fun to do with your hair? it’s as easy as reinventing a classic. “This is the urban version of the classic bardot ponytail,” says Ashley. “instead of stressing about it being sleek and perfect, the solution to keeping it sexy is texture.” To get the look, prep your hair with a volumising shampoo and conditioner, and blow-dry hair upside down for extra lift. You can create even more height at the crown by gently backcombing roots. Then, using your fingers, pull the hair back and push it forward a little into a quiff and pin. Grab the side parts, roughly smoothing them back and secure all your hair into a ponytail with a hair tie, leaving a small section to wrap around and hide the hair tie. Using a curler, curl big chunks of hair spritzing with hairspray for strength as you go. Once cool, rake through with your fingers, then follow this up with a soft bristle brush and gently backcomb the curls for a big, fluffy, flyaway finish.

Greek Goddess Braid1

The Ancient Goddess Look

It’s hard to know exactly what hairstyles women were flaunting back in ancient times, but if we were there, you can be sure we’d be wearing it like this. “It’s the new take on the Grecian goddess braids, which completely hides unwanted frizz and beats humidity or the wind in winter,” says Ashley. Sounds like the perfect wedding hair do if you’re going to go with the bohemian theme we mentioned.

Work some volumising mousse into damp hair, before drying, to give it some extra texture. Start braiding from the base of your neck, working upwards and around one side of your head in a horseshoe shape, picking up pieces as you go. Keep braiding as you cross over the crown of the head, then pin and start braiding on the other side, carefully tightening the ends to hold. Once all your hair is in place, very lightly ruffle your hairline with fingertips to soften the tightness of the braids and to leave a sexy goddess like finish.

Try working these spectacular looks into your weekly rotation to see if they suit your style (and draw some attention from your friends) and if they do, you might have found the winning wedding hair style for your big day!

 

Gypsy Weddings & Bohemian Lifestyles

Weddings are one of the most treasured moments in a young couple’s life, so it is no surprise that countless hours are spent selecting locations, organising menus, choosing flowers and practicing speeches. But the hardest and most crucial part of your big day can be made or broken by your wedding theme. Deciding on a wedding theme is often the starting point for most brides and also the most difficult as you haven’t had a chance to get your creative juices flowing. To help with this process the team here at Flower Opera took a vote and came up with our favourite theme and what you need to do it just right. The winner? Bohemian Chic.

There is something precious about the innocence of the gypsy styled flower child dressed in a simple, yet elegant white lace gypsy dress flowing gracefully in the sea breeze. Her hair styled in a messy but charming bees nest, intertwined with wild flowers.

evie-white-front

Bohemian Dress by Amilita

Combining vintage boho textiles, rustic florals, earthy jewels and eclectic gypsy clothing items featuring unique fabrics like lace and tulle creates a distinctive theme that is sure to translate into a beautiful ceremony, and stunning photos. When picking your bridesmaid’s dresses look towards soft pinks, champagnes, ivory and grey colours with olive, or earthy accessories to keep the atmosphere unassumingly beautiful. There are a plethora of boho dresses to choose from, look towards labels like Goddess of Bablylon, Arnhem Clothing, and Spell Designs for inspiration as they offer the latest trends in boho style in Australia.

To achieve the bohemian atmosphere, consider adding some vintage furniture to the reception such as candle holders, cowhides, or some traditonal patterned glassware. Some other nice additions would be vintage books and a typewriter for your guests to leave messages in, or even some black and white wedding portraits from your parents and grandparents to give that personal touch.

If you are having the ceremony on the beach, driftwood combined with succulent plants, interjected with colourful wildflowers would be a fabulous way to decorate the wedding arch to complement the ocean in the background. The light at sunset will be kind to the neutral selection of colours in the bridesmaid’s dresses, washing the wedding party in a warming orange hue.

If you tend to enjoy the simple pleasures in life and love being in nature then chances are a bohemian wedding may be the right choice for you. Our most important tip for brides to be who are unsure of where to start when planning their wedding is choose your colours first. Have a look through you wardrobe and see what colours are most consistent. What type of dresses are you wearing? Do you rock the gypsy look on the regular? Or are you more commonly looking like a bohemian queen? Pick a few options and sleep on it for a few days. we guarantee that the ideas will soon start flowing in.

 

Honeymoon Getaway – Mauritius

Before settling on any old location for your honeymoon, add Mauritius to your list of possibilities. This tiny island nation around 2000 kilometres off the south east coast of Africa was recently voted the top honeymoon destination in the world at the 2013 World Travel Awards. With postcard beaches, lush rainforests, and splashes of French, African, and Indian culture, it is easy to see why the home of the dodo is quickly gaining popularity.Beach Club Med Mauritius

Some of the best luxury accommodation on offer is the Albion Villas. After 60 years of bringing all-inclusive holiday happiness to the world, Club Med has introduced five star luxury with its sparkling villas ensconced in 12 acres next to the La Plantation d’Albion Resort, Mauritius. Although privately owned, the villas can be rented by couples or families who enjoy the Club Med experience but would like to holiday together under the one roof. Designers Marc Hertrich and Nicolas Adnet have created a cool contemporary tropical escape in the villa’s interior spaces with the judicious use of the colourful multicultural influences in the region. A touch of Africa here, a nod to Asia there; a smattering of Indian panache, a dollop of French style and a strong Mauritian spirit of joyous island charm all combine to deliver a honeymoon atmosphere of cultured relaxation.

Port LouisWhen you do decide to leave the bedroom, try exploring the markets and chaotic streets of the busy capital Port Louis and discover the heart of this vibrant island nation. Hire a car and drive around the island to discover the many and varied sides of island life from the beautiful white sands of Flic en Flac Beach to the cosmopolitan village of Grand Baie and the wild and dramatic landscape of the Black River Gorges. If you do decide to stay at Club Med, don’t miss the boat excursion to the four-trident La Pointe Aux Canonniers Resort near Grand Baie where you can enjoy a day of white sand beaches, clear blue waters and a myriad of water sports.

The island has a temperature between 22 to 34 degrees depending on the season and the locals tend to speak French and English which may give you the opportunity to put those French lessons to use. You will find that most major credit cards are accepted in all hotels and banks but if you do decide to get cash the Mauritian rupee or US dollar are most common.

Rehearsal Dinner- Setting for Success

Weddings tend to have a habit of expanding into grand family reunions that can sometimes take the focus of you and your fiancé. To counteract this, setting the precedent of what is to follow in the coming days at the rehearsal dinner is key to keeping everyone on track. This isn’t limited to your guests either. Making sure your dinner table etiquette is up to scratch will play well as you play the balancing act between host and bride to be.

If you’re having the rehearsal dinner locally, remember that as hostess, it’s your job as caterer to make sure everybody is happy, well fed and most importantly; entertained. First off, because we’re being a bit pretentious, mind your manners. Serve your guests before serving yourself. Sit up straight with elbows off the table. Eat at a relaxed pace, and when each course is finished, place your knife and fork together on the plate. When clearing dishes between courses, don’t scrape the plates at the table. Instead, wait until you are in the kitchen to dispose of all the scraps.

table setting

Keep the conversation going, and interesting. Prepare as much as possible beforehand so you’re not popping off to the kitchen every few minutes to check the next course. This means you can steer the talk if it gets a bit dark or boring. Also make sure your centrepiece is below eye level. Although that impressive floral arrangement you picked up from Melbourne’s flower market looks impressive, you don’t want your guests stretching their necks to see each other.

Try adding place cards to your table setting. This should be standard as it is the rehearsal dinner, but don’t be afraid to mix up the order of seating so people are able to enjoy conversation from a few different groups and to keep the chatter high at the reception. This is also your opportunity to get crafty and pretty up the table, and it is one more little detail that reminds your guests of the effort you have put in for this occasion.  Split up couples, balance out the loudmouths and nervous Nellys, and try to mix up the lads and ladies a bit. Keep an eye on guests who are shy or have come alone and group together some people with similar interests to ensure they have something to talk about. Swapping seats or a change of locations for coffee and dessert can also work to spice up the chatter.

Perfect Centre piece with champagne catered for!

Perfect Centre piece with champagne catered for!

Lastly, remember to enjoy yourself. It is your wedding rehearsal after all. We would all love to go out and have someone else take care of the little things like catering, but if you are at the end of your wedding budget then a beautiful night in with your closest friends will be just as valuable as an extravagant feast. Don’t stress if things don’t go exactly to plan (it’s wedding rehearsal after all), the best hostess’ is the one who makes it seem like a breeze- even if it’s the exact opposite.

5 gifts every newlywed couple needs!

Now although I’m not married, I’ve been jovially celebrating wedding days for the better part of a decade. One thing I’ve gotten quite good at in this time is picking wedding gifts that every newlywed desires, and sometimes leaves of the registry. Now I know what you’re thinking, if it’s not on the registry put it back on the shelf, no one wants a slushy making machine! But you would be surprised of the beautiful items you can pick up that will find that perfect balance between things to be sold at the next garage sale and things to be cherished for a lifetime. All it takes is a little creativity.

After chatting with some of recent brides about what they received there was a common element that seemed to ring true for gifts that weren’t on the registry which was highly personalised or useful gifts. If you think you can nail both of these (or at least one) chances are you’re onto a winner.

Now heed my warning, I assume you are invited to the wedding as you know the couple well. If not, stick to the list. It’s quite important to have an idea of the styles and tastes that the wedding couple has. Now without further ado, here are our top selections to get you in the good books at your next wedding, hopefully making up for anything embarrassing you did on the day (like puking in the flowers!).

1. A Mortar & Pestle mortarpestle

These weighty granite, marble or even rarer materials like zirconia and agate kitchen essentials are sure to impress. Although primitive, they’re perfect for crushing spices of all kinds, making chili paste or even serving snacks. 150mm wide tends to be the most practical size.

2. Bed Linen 

Everyone loves the feeling of fresh sheets against your skin when crawling into bed on a cooling night and wedding couples are forever requesting them. Now these ones might be on the registry, but if not, they’re a sure fire winner. There’s something intriguing about starting married life with brand new bed linen, especially Egyptian cotton with the super high thread count. Just stay away from prints (flowers and the likes are a no go).

3. Monogrammed Bathrobes

Towels are cool, but fluffy bathrobes are badass. This is not as expensive as you might think and is practical as well as different. Saves the newlyweds from an unwelcome police visit for nicking the hotel’s robes!

4. Luggage 

Tote bags, weekend bags, shared toiletries bags. Whatever you want to call them, these handy little numbers are perfectly sized to hold all those things you would normally have double of. And not long after they receive their gift it will be put to use on their honeymoon. Keeping you in the back of their minds as they do honeymoon stuff.

4. Cookware 

A staple on most lists but you need to overlook the fancy electronic gadgets and go for the day to day. A high quality set of frying pans or some heavy duty cast iron pots will last a lifetime and viciously fought over if they ever split.

5. Cash 

Be honest. Cash makes the world spin and is far and away the best non registry gift the couple can get. It’s not super creative and long lasting like the others but at the end of the day, it might be just what they need.