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St. Simons Wedding Planner :: Island Destination Weddings | catering
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Guest Blogger: Saying “I Do” with a Charitable Heart

Letterpress wedding favor card - Amazon Conservation Association - printed by Smock  by Smock Letterpress.

  • Your wedding day is one of the happiest days of your life. You’re surrounded by family, friends and, of course, love. Why not spread some of it around by incorporating a little charity into the occasion? Here are some ways for you to marry in style and with a giving heart.

  • Floral decor: Look to your florist to see if they donate any of their sales to charity. If you’re unable to find one or are short on time, visit The site donates 10% of each purchase to the charity of your choice and the beautiful floral arrangements (below) would make great centerpieces.
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  • Wedding Favors: Instead of the traditional wedding favors (i.e., chocolates, matches, a mix CD), many couples are making charitable donations in their guests’ name. Check with your charity of choice to see if they will provide you with favor donation cards, otherwise you can find chic options online!
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  • Hotels: When booking rooms for out-of-town guests, consider Kimpton Hotels. The company, which operates boutique hotels across the country, is a big supporter of both local and national nonprofit organizations. You can get in on the act by using a discount code that donates 10% of each night’s stay to various charities AND gives you $10-$15 off each night of your stay!
  • Hotel EPIC - Miami

  • Wedding Gifts: Do you really think that you’ll use that apple corer or crystal stemware set? Why not ask guests to make a donation in your name to your favorite charity? If you actually do want (or need) the gifts, there’s nothing wrong with that either! Head on over to the I Do Foundation‘s website and register your wedding gifts with one of the partner stores, including Target. Participating retailers will donate a percentage of your registry sales to the charity of your choice.
  • Catering: As nonprofits look to social enterprise to raise funds outside of donations, more and more organizations are starting business operations, including catering operations. NYC’s Housing Works, an organization fighting homelessness and AIDS in the city, operates The Works Catering as one of its many social enterprises. The Works Catering is operated by a four star chef and prepares seasonal cuisine for many events, including weddings.
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      Of course, the options don’t end here! There are many ways to incorporate charitable elements into your ceremony and reception. Ask your wedding planner if they know of any businesses or vendors who are involved in charitable organizations. If you’re really set on spreading the love, they will definitely make sure that happens!

      Karyn Brianne Watkins

    Cocktails and Details with Celebrity Chef Paul Griffith

    chef paul griffith, private celebrity chef



    I had an opportunity to see Chef Paul in action at the Barbados Festival on Amelia Island last month.  His demonstrations were so much fun and full of personality.  The guests that were fortunate enough to obtain front row seating were treated to a sample of the dishes that he designed and prepared during the festivities.  I loved his infectious personality and how creative he was with his dishes.  Naturally, I wanted to share him with you, luxelings as he gives tips to embracing the creative aspects of your wedding menu!




    c&d:  What suggestions do you have for couples who are looking to incorporate their personalities, travels and histories into their menus for their wedding?
    chef paul:  This is a good question. I think couples should explore all that is them in their wedding menus. Themed buffets and festive menus featuring items that they have tried on their travels should be included in the menu planning. Guests should be given the opportunity to learn who the bride and groom are by the type of food that is served at their wedding. Remember, guests are there to celebrate their union and should learn about you. One fun way would be to design a menu, buffet or plated, where each course represents a stage during the couples courting relationship. For example, the first course could be a dish from the time they first travelled together. This can be done all the way up to the dessert, where the dessert can represent the location of their engagement.

    c&d:  How can a couple include non-traditional or exotic choices into their menu without alienating their guests?
    chef paul:
      Weddings these days are anything but traditional in terms of menus. True, the decorum may still have traditional aspects but the food has completely changed. Hors D’oeuvres can provide the opportunity for couples to showcase exotic items. Guests love and I must stress the word love, new items to try. Couples can either have Hors D’oeuvres on a table or passed. I prefer passed, as it provides a more catered feeling to guests. Couples can have 6 different Hors D’oeuvres on an exotic menu, three (3) favorites from the bride and three (3) favorites from the groom. Name them as well, with unique and fun names that represent the couple. Guests will love this!!


    c&d:  What are some simple dishes that can be kicked up a notch for a memorable food experience at a wedding?
    chef paul: 
    I think salads have been looked over so much at weddings. Clients normally ask me for salads as just a side dish; however, when I create unique salads that can even represent an entrée, they love it. People are watching their weight these days, especially at weddings, and salads can be a dish that their guests can feel comfortable indulging in.  Salads with fresh spinach, grilled meats, roasted vegetables, hint of ginger, even blue berries or blackberries coupled with unique dressings like roasted shallot and mint blends, can make things pop at the table. Soups are making a big come back as well. Not your traditional thin soups like yesteryear, I speak of thick hearty soups that blend all of the world’s cuisines. For example, on my website and business cards, I have a picture of lobster bisque and potato leek duet soup topped with lobster and chive salsa. Clients ask for this all the time. We have even topped it with a shot of sherry. Talk about fun, a spoonful at a time.

    c&d:  More couples are opting for interactive bars at their receptions– mashed potato bars, grits bars, etc. What are some fun and different ways to have interaction at the wedding?
    chef paul:  I have done an interactive soup shot bar. Guest have slim tall shot glasses with various soups, then they top those soups with various items like Sambuca sautéed rock shrimp, lobster salsa, grilled and thinly sliced filet mignon, flaked salmon with orange peel or various roasted vegetables. Guests enjoy creating their own unique sipper soup combo and their friends always try to match it. You can even add in items like Grand Marnier and various Sakes in the soups to boost the fun factor.

    Let’s talk dessert, everyone’s favorite part of every dinning experience. Dessert can be taken to another level with the inclusion of fresh fruit bar toppings, various warm sauces and more. I get several proposals for cheesecake to be served and guests can be offered a cheesecake bar. Instead of the traditional wedge cheese cake slice, pieces of cake can be in rectangular shapes where guests can then top them with their chosen sauce, fruit, rum marmalades and even flavored caramels.


    chef paul griffith private celebrity chef 


    Chef Paul is hailed as one of the most exciting young culinary adventurers in South Florida. Over the past ten years, Chef Paul’s thrilling cuisine – which blends the lively elegance of his island upbringing in Barbados with flavors from around the world – has made its home on the tables of award winning actors and musicians such as Denzel Washington, Enrique Iglesias, Lenny Kravitz, Sean “Diddy” Combs,  socialites and many more.

    Intrigued?  Tantalized?  Visit Chef Paul and get captivated!