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Get Your Man (Involved with Wedding Planning!)

wedding planning by fOtOdOjO.

More often than not, almost every bride at some point complains that her groom isn’t doing “enough” to assist with the wedding planning.  Depending on her scale of sanity, these expectations can be range from realistic to insane.  For those ladies who have been “blessed” with a Groomzilla, this isn’t for you.  It could be that he doesn’t know how to help or where to begin, or he recognizes your infinite wisdom and believes you have it all under control.

Remember, this is a totally new territory for your guy.  Your dad, God bless him, has a slight edge in that he’s already done this.  He’s experience it from a different vantage point, but he can recall everything involved.  Your man, however, has been thrust into a world filled with lace, glossy bridal magazines, linen samples, and other bridal atrocities that make me want to go off to the deep end.  Long gone are the days shooting pool with the guys or reading his kindle.  His life is now consumed with wedding planning, and he really wants a bailout. 

Honey, I’ve been married for ten years and I will tell you three things that a man will always be interested in:  food, fashion and fun.  These vary on the scale of importance to each man, but you know your guy…where does his interests lie?  No matter the case for what can appear as his lack of enthusiasm, we’ll help you get through it:

Food:  The old adage says the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.  Very true.  If your guy is a health nut, foodie, or just loves to veg overall, let him take the steering wheel with the food.  Don’t worry, he won’t make any bad decisions (he’s got you, after all, right?), but in the very off chance he seems to be deviating from the course, gently guide him back or offer him one of his outstanding ideas he hasn’t thought of yet (i.e., make him think he came up with it).  For example, if your guy says at the catering consult that he just wants burgers and fries (trust me, it happens)—tell him that’s a fantastic idea and come up with some gourmet sliders and fresh cut fried potatoes for the cocktail hour or as a snack at your after party.  What ever his likes are, find a way to incorporate them.

Fashion:  While some guys are perfectly fine with a pair of shorts or old jeans and flip flops, your guy is meticulous about his looks right down to the  hair on his head.  Call around to tuxedo retailers and get catalogs for you to give to him.  Listen as he gives his thoughts.  Look through ads and shows of his favorite designers.  What are some of his signature styles?  Does he always wear a scarf or argyle socks?  Make that mesh with the wedding look!  Let him take the lead and watch him get completely enthralled with planning.

Fun:  What does he like to do for fun?  What do you two enjoy doing together?  Is there any way that can be scaled up or down and integrated into your wedding?  Let him handle the band or DJ—including the musical selections, setup, etc.  Inspire other great ideas like a miniature golf set up if yours is a casual fun affair or even an interactive Wii station as the night goes on.  Whether it’s music, games, lighting or a combo of the three—he’ll be game.

 

Happy Planning

 

:: Photo by fOtOdOjO

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!

 

Enjoy!

 

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!

Event Vision: Coney Island-Carnival Wedding Cocktail Hour

vintage coney island carnival wedding ideas

I just lurv a Coney Island/Carnival inspired party.  There is something that is so nostalgic and fun about these types of parties and weddings that make it turn into an experience instead of just a party.  That’s why I’m not just going to give you eye candy, I am going to tell you the story behind this event vision.  Even if you are not 100% sold on doing an entire wedding based on this theme—it can be great for a cocktail hour or final hour of your wedding—or even an after party!

Food

Carnival food should be part of the food pyramid.  Pretty much convinced of that—but since it’s not, here is a fun way to bring back your favorites in a glammed up version  for your wedding guests.

cotton candy martha stewart wedding favor food funnelcake-dineanddishnetgrp_edr_mini_franks_sz2-yum sugar

Cotton candy, funnel cake and hot dogs make great treats to pass around as your party winds up or winds down.  The cotton candy from Martha Stewart, is colorful but packs much flavor.  Mini funnel cakes or even a funnel cake bar with various toppings (whipped cream, ice cream, fruit and gourmet sugar toppings) can be fun and cure any sweet tooth ailment (or cause one!).  These mini hot dogs from Yum Sugar can be paired with gourmet sauces like chipotle ketchup or honey dijon mustard.

french fry shooter hors d'oeuvres bridescafe french fries in holder with newspaper

What’s a carnival with out french fries? A travesty!  The first picture from The Bride’s Cafe is an upscale display of french fry shooters, which I adore.  Nevertheless, I am still captivated by this vintage version I found over at The Cinderella Project.  The only thing that would top it would be to personalize the paper that comes with the fries—shoot for making your own personalized newspaper with your names and life events for a realistic, personal touch.

Popcorn Bar at Wedding

Ever since I spoke at the Eventology conference this year, I have become obsessed with Garrett’s Popcorn (Thank YOU, Katasha!).  And nothing could soothe your soul more, end world hunger and solve the health care reform debate than a popcorn bar with Garrett’s.  There are other companies that provide a myriad of flavors and seasonings, but if you want to stay true to your carnival theme, opt for caramel and butter only served troughs—I mean decorative vases and containers.

Snow cones by Fresher than Fresh

Another favorite?  Snow Cones.  But not just your run-of-the-mill snow cones, I’m talking about Fresher Than Fresh snow cones.  Made with natural flavors and fruits, they are sure to be a hit.  Featured above are clementine, blackberry lavender, agave hibiscus, lemon prickly pear, and ginger rose!

Drinks

Drinks can be made just as much fun as the food!  In addition to your regular bar, add some fun like these mini root beer floats found on the San Diego Food Stuff blog :

Mini root beer float shooters

Of course, what would this party be without a signature drink?

caramel apple martini-thegoodlifeinthecity

Check out these caramel apple martinis by Good Life in the City.  Perfect mix of tart and sweet, as well as reminiscent of the all-time carnival favorite.  FYI, traditional candy apple mix makes a great candy apple martini as well.  Here is the recipe for the caramel apple martini:

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add ½oz vodka, ½oz Sourz apple liqueur and ½oz butter ripple schnapps. Shake and strain into a Martini glass rimmed with caramel syrup.

Okay, luxelings—we’ve talked food and drink;  stay tuned as we start incorporating other fun details!

We Likey: Tyler Florence

image

Fabulous chef, Tyler Florence’s website is ridiculously fabulous.  It is an experience within itself.  If you are looking for something new to infuse into your reception menu, his blog will not hesitate to impress and inspire.  You can also keep up with him on Twitter and Facebook, as well as buy things from his online store.

Bon Appetit!

Planning a Modern Southern Wedding

Scarlett O'Hara at her wedding in Gone With the Wind

The quintessential Southern wedding—Gone With the Wind via Boxwish

Being in transplanted in the South, especially in Coastal Georgia, it is so nice to see the different traditions in place for weddings. Even those who are not from our area and come for destination weddings still want to include a southern tradition into their wedding ceremony or reception.  With great locations like plantation houses, low country mansions or the regal playgrounds of the rich, like the Jekyll Club, there are so many places that can lend themselves to create a nostalgic event experience.  Moreover, you could allow them to continue to influence the flow and concept of the rest of the event. Get inspired by the grounds, decor colors, etc. and tie them in with your invitations, linens and other parts of your wedding

 

But what if you want to kick it up a notch? What if you want glitz and tradition, or contemporary design and classic heritage?  Let’s look at a few well-known traditions and see how we can have “you” written all over it.

 

 

Video Game System 360 Grooms  Cake

Groom’s Cake—This was once only a southern tradition but has spread across the country as another way to include the groom and his personality (like the one above).  Any excuse for more cake works for me. Southern brides would “gift” their grooms with a single layer cake at the wedding.  The grooms cake is typically chocolate or frosted chocolate, but as you can see, it has gone into a work of art itself.  While the wedding cake has been for the bride (in an unspoken understanding), the groom has an opportunity to represent during the wedding.  It is not restricted to being chocolate either—designs vary from different cake flavors to cupcakes and even fondant covered rice krispy treats!  Surprise him by making it something that reflects his interests and present it at the rehearsal dinner or at a scheduled time during the  wedding.   See the Top 5 Groomscakes of 2008 at Pink Cake Box

Liquid Refreshment—Sweet Iced Tea (seen here from Southern Living)  is a staple here in Georgia. It makes it appearance at every meal,so be sure to include it in your wedding, along with other Southern fail safes:  lemonade, mint juleps, bourbon and whiskey.  We previously talked about Southern Cocktails and Signature Drinks and making them more modern.  What other things can you add?  Try changing up the way you present them: opt for lucite trays, oddly shaped glasses or even mason jars,  as well as “props”.  For example, add a magnolia or gardenia bloom to the trays of passed drinks.  If you want to go for a non-alcoholic bar for your southern wedding, offer sweet tea, lemonade, Arnold Palmers (a mixture of the two) and dress them up—rim the glasses for your drinks with colored sugar.  Or really spice things up by adding different flavors like mango, strawberry or blueberry.  Peach is a hit in Georgia (go figure!).  Include lots of fresh fruit as garnish.

 

 

 

butternut squash casserole

All in the family—Believe it or not, it was once tradition for members of the family to bring a “covered dish” to the wedding.  While you don’t want to necessarily go pot luck for your wedding, you can add an interesting twist.  Prior to your wedding, ask all bridal shower guests to send in or bring their favorite recipes and a picture of themselves.  Have a family member compile them all and put them in a photobook from places like Blurb or PhotoWorks, as a gift to you and your new husband.  This family cookbook will be a great heirloom filled with the loving memories and aromas of kitchens past.  If you or your fiance have a special dish that your parents, grandparents or other family members make, give it to your caterer!  See how they can create a more modern version with killer presentation.

 

When in Rome… Another great way to tie in your Southern location is to share the experience with your guests.  A great way to do this is through your favors. If you are opting for a candy bar, check out southern favorites like pralines, toffees, caramels, brittles, etc.  Don’t forget to add your pecans and peanuts if you’d like to add a twist.  Southern Candymakers is a great resource!  Another idea for favors is to incorporate your Southern wedding location.  For example, if you are having your wedding in Georgia, offer personalized peach preserves (like those featured above from Dewey’s) as a favor or personalized hot sauce for Louisiana weddings and painted Valencia oranges for those in Florida. 

 

 

 

Southern Weddings Blog 

 

Other great modern resources for your wedding in the South are Southern Weddings—the blog is full  of inspirational pictures and ideas of weddings in the South.  Also check out the queen of weddings in the South as well:  Tara Guerard, and her book, Southern Weddings: New Looks from the Old South.  Remember, two of the greatest Southern wedding traditions are grace and family.  Be a good hostess for your guests and work creatively and fervently to bring your two families together.

Wine Pairings for Dummies

Are you just not that keen on the types of wines that should go with food for your next cocktail or dinner party?

Have no fear! The Amazing Food Wine Company is about to make life a whole lot simpler.

It can’t get any easier than finding a bottle of wine with a big picture of its complementary food on it.

What makes it even better is that it has the cutest names like “Wine that Loves Chicken” or “Wine that Loves Tomato Sauce”. Others include “Wine that Loves Grilled Steak” or “Wine that Loves Pizza”.

Wine That Loves, $12.99, available from http://winethatloves.com

{AP Photo/Larry Crowe}