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How do we choose a caterer?

Marriage equality is finally here! My sister just walked down the aisle with her partner of 27 years. Although long overdue, the sense of joy and meaning will be forever cherished by all of us who shared in their very special day. Every couple deserves a very personal and inspired wedding celebration that reflects their love and tells their unique story. The processes, the planning, the research and the expenses can be daunting at first, but if you take a deep breath and break down the process into digestible segments, you will be just fine. Couples have been successfully planning their weddings for hundreds of years, now it’s your turn.

Hiring the right caterer for your special day is one of the most important aspects of your planning process. After all, the venue, food, drink, service staff and table settings will consume the largest portion of your wedding budget. Your first step is to determine what you want out of a catered meal and what you want your guests to experience – level of formality; plated, buffet or stations; type of menu and food; and level of creativity and innovation. Once you have determined what you want out of the catering program, the next step is to determine your budget.

Budgeting can be one of the most challenging aspects of planning a wedding. Decide how much you’re willing to spend upfront and clearly communicate this when vetting potential caterers. It is important to understand that there are many other aspects beyond the food that contribute to a successful catering experience, and it is important to have a handle on what services and items are integral but not necessarily included in a caterer’s price. Don’t waste your time looking at pricey caterers who are clearly outside of your budget range. Be certain to have a clear understanding of what the quoted price covers to ensure you are comparing apples to apples. If you have to add the cost of cake-cutting and coffee service or set up and breakdown to the least expensive caterer’s quote, it may end up being comparable in price to the most expensive! This can feel overwhelming. Look for a caterer who will assist you early in the education process.  Potential costs should be laid out upfront.

In order to avoid costly surprises, find out exactly what is included; for example,

  • Tables, chairs, tableware and linens
  • Service and culinary staff and bartenders
  • Cutting and serving the cake
  • Pouring champagne for the toast
  • Providing coffee service
  • Set up and breakdown of reception
  • Transportation, trucking and equipment
  • Liability insurance

Do your research! Look at their menus and their photo galleries. Check out their Facebook page, where professional photographers may have tagged them in photos. Read their reviews – WeddingWire, The Knot and even Yelp are great resources to find out what other couples have shared about their experience with the caterer.

The most important questions are those you ask before you select your caterer. Make sure they are not only gay-friendly but sensitive to the needs of the LGBT community. Some qualities to look for and questions to ask:

  • Flexibility with menu and presentation requests
  • Ability to accommodate special diets and needs such as      vegetarian, vegan and children’s menu options
  • Dessert and wedding cake options
  • How and where the food is prepared – ideally on location so     it is fresh and maintains the highest standard of quality
  • Staff-to-guest ratio
  • Ability to assist with other aspects of the wedding like     providing wedding cakes, floral arrangements and décor or a   photographer. Is their wait staff able to help with some of the    day-of details like setting out place cards and party favors?
  • Good communication, organization and response time
  • Longevity and reputation

Check to see if the caterer offers a tasting experience. A tasting will allow you to fully experience the quality, style and presentation of their food.  Caterers usually require a small fee to cover a tasting that occurs in the discovery phase, but they should give you a credit towards the total cost of your event catering should you book their services for your wedding.

Expect a lot from your caterer. Remember, this is your wedding day so do not hesitate to ask lots of questions! A good caterer should understand your overall vision for the day and listen to your ideas. They should be able to use their wealth of experience and talent and build upon your ideas to go above and beyond your expectations for your special day. So do your research, communicate your budget and your vision and your particular needs, and most importantly, have fun in the process! Happy planning!

Eggwhites Special Event Catering
305-892-2066
EggWhitesCatering.com

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Do We Need Entertainment?

Do we need an event planner?

What would you like to achieve with your wedding? The answer should be to entertain my guest and ensure they have an awesome experience. Most importantly, a wedding or event planner will allow the couple to enjoy the planning process without the “headaches.”

All events, whether a wedding, birthday, anniversary, corporate function, bar-mitzvah – the  goal  is to make sure your guest feel taken care of,  special and entertained. You can provide your guests with spectacular menu items, while offering them elements of surprise that keep them visually excited. All of these can occur with or without music and entertainment – but music no matter how subtle, makes the difference. An enchanting string quartet can enhance the flavor of the mood and add so much. A mime can place a smile on your guests face. A live band guarantees that your guests have just attended the best event ever.

We need to save money on our wedding – why not cut the entertainment?

Absolutely not. Your wedding won’t be the way you have dreamed it would be. An experienced DJ can take care of making sure everyone has a good time. It is essential that there is music. Your guests need to be engaged with you and your wedding. If they were entertained -your event will be talked about for a lifetime. You will have unforgettable pictures, one of a kind memories and ensure smiles that speak for themselves and show everyone’s joy.

Choosing the right entertainment for each event is crucial. Asking the right questions to make sure that a Drag Diva is for you or A Spanish Flamenco dancer will take your dinner guest on an international journey, is where the professional planner’s experience comes into play. Creating the right package and matching it to the right guests sets the tone of your special day.

This is your day and a lot of planning and detail goes into making it flawless. Leave it to the professional to achieve what you have dreamed of.

UME Productions
954-243-3751
UniversalMusicEvents.com

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POP IT OR DROP IT? That is the question!

Five Considerations Before You Propose

Marriage equality is fast becoming a reality for all Americans across the country. Before you “pop the question” or answer it, engage with your partner and explore these five areas that can contribute to the start of a long, healthy and happy relationship.

1. OH,  BY  THE  WAY…MOM’S  STAYING  FOR  A  FEW  MONTHS.

Life Priority Issues

Are you willing to fully welcome your partner into your life and make them a priority? What are your current life priorities in addition to your relationship? We all juggle many different priorities including work, family, friends and social life, volunteering, etc. How does committing to and nurturing your relationship with your partner rank in your priorities? This is a critical consideration, especially for couples who may have existing children and/or other family responsibilities. Write down your top 5 priorities in your life and make time to have a serious discussion to explore and examine how the dynamics of your priorities will impact your decision making as a couple.

2. AN APPLE A DAY WON’T REPLACE MY VIAGRA.

Health and Wellness Issues

What are you and your partner’s current health concerns – physical, psychological and emotional? Full disclosure of what is going on for you and your partner is an essential step in starting off on a successful relationship. How might health and wellness concerns impact your relationship in terms of work, family, friends, social interaction and intimacy? Have a full, open discussion so there are no surprises.

3. WE’RE GOING ON SIX MONTHS WITH THAT “HEADACHE”!

Intimacy and Sex Issues

While you think you might already have this covered, we’ve all known couples who say “the magic is gone” far too soon for one or both of the partners. What is the distinction between intimacy and sex for you?

How important is sex and intimacy to both of you? Does one partner have a higher sex drive? Examine and discuss how will you keep your passion alive on a daily basis including date nights, sexual roles and preferences and when it’s ok to say not tonight.

4. WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON’T WATCH ‘SCANDAL’???

Living and Lifestyle Issues

How will you define your current living situations? Will you keep separate residences or combine? Can both of your style preferences be honored in the combined space? Does someone snore? There could be life changes down the road that you should both be aware of (having a child or a surviving parent move in). Keep track of areas of concern from who really puts the control in the remote to who hogs the blanket.

5. MONEY CHANGES EVERYTHING

Financial and Economic Issues

Money may not be able to buy happiness but it can destroy it in a heartbeat. How will you define your economic and financial well-being as a couple? What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours? Split everything 50/50? This doesn’t have to be a “one size fits all” policy.  In fact, it’s healthy to decide how you will balance, barter, and bargain your way to a better budget!

While there are many other considerations that need to be explored and examined, these five areas are a good starting point to establish a solid foundation of understanding and mutual respect in core relationship areas. So grab your pad and pencil and start engaging before the engagement!

Doug Cureton is the Founder and Lead Consultant for CreativiTEAM, Inc. in Fort Lauderdale, FL. He designs and presents interactive workshops and seminars in many areas including this new workshop  ‘POP IT OR DROP IT?’ Visit his website at CreativiTEAM.com.

Love is in the Air

It’s no secret that destination weddings offer you a way to combine your love for one another with your love of travel. Destination Weddings allow you to have a family and friend reunion as well as a more affordable grand event* (compared to the average hometown wedding).

If you are interested in a cruise or resort-style wedding, you’ll want to ensure all your needs, traditions, and wishes are honored. You want to make sure that your special day is handled by people who are knowledgeable in the LGBT industry as well as knowledgeable in emerging wedding trends.  It’s your special day, and planning it should be a breeze for you.

As you push full steam ahead on your wedding plans, make sure the specifics are being handled such as legal marriage license details, venue location, wedding meals, design, photography, favors and more. Plus you’ll need an experienced travel advisor to help you find the perfect venue and location as well as your transportation and accommodations – you can fly or sail.

Finally, the big day! Make sure all pre-event planning and day-of-event-coordination is handled by a professionally trained and certified wedding experts.

  • You want your special day to be stress-free.
  • If family and friends have to travel, why   not travel to a beautiful destination? Work   with your travel advisor to find the perfect   location for your special event.
  • Combining a wedding and a honeymoon is cost-effective. On average, a destination wedding currently costs $20,890 vs. over $30,000 for a traditional wedding.

Whether it’s an intimate celebration for just two or a grand ceremony and reception for 150 guests, together there is a perfect destination for your event.  Whether you desire a sandy beach in the Caribbean, a glacier in Alaska, or a castle in Ireland, a destination wedding offers you the opportunity to do something extraordinary while saving money, escaping stress, and enjoying a vacation with family and friends. Don’t forget about vow renewals, birthdays, anniversaries, and more for destination events!

Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, partners with Imagine Weddings and Events to provide the “Sea of Love” destination weddings program, a full service program designed to be a one stop shop for you with featured exotic and picturesque venues worldwide – all in either legal or LGBT friendly symbolic locations.

Contact your Cruise Planners Travel Professional today to get started. We look forward to serving all of your destination wedding needs.

Cruise Planners
888-535-4074
MyCPVacations.com

Kayla & Katherine