Tag Archives: inexpensive wedding ideas

How to Throw a Wedding with Very Little Space or Cash

spice up cocktails and sparkling wine
One of my favorite Huppahs.com stories is about the couple who rented one of our huppahs for a wedding in their tiny apartment. They raised the huppah on the balcony and threw the reception inside. Slate’s latest party planning video, How to Entertain with Very Little Space or Cash, reminded me of that story. You might want to plan a wedding with a few more frills than the party in Slate’s video, but if you’re ready to get married, and you’re working with a small apartment and a small amount of cash, this quick video can show you how to make the party happen. And we’ve got your huppah.

[Image: Screenshot of Slate.com]

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The New King of Spain Is Going to Show Us How to Throw a Frugal Reception

Felipe and Letizia
When Spain’s Crown Prince Felipe ascends to the throne tonight at midnight, the celebration is going to be low key and low cost. With Spain’s unemployment rate now at 26 percent, the current king taking heat over an expensive safari vacation, and public calls to abolish the monarchy altogether because of the cost, Felipe and his wife, Letizia, apparently decided that this season frugal=smart.

There will be no lavish parade, no fireworks, and no state dinner. The AP reports:

By royal standards, it’s humble: reception guests will be served hot and cold tapas-style nibbles, which they will eat while standing. There will be no champagne, just sparkling cava wine from Spain’s Catalonia region.

This could be the beginning of a tasty tapas reception trend. Everyone keep an eye out for the menu. If we find it, maybe we’ll try a kosher-fied version, like we did with Will and Kate‘s wedding morning reception.

And as a wedding planning blog, we still want to bring you the video of Felipe and Letizia’s 2004 wedding. Enjoy:

(Photo: Princess Letizia and Prince Felipe in 2003 by 20 Minutos newspaper via Wikimedia Commons | Video: Royal Wedding, Madrid 2004. Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of Spain. May 22, La Almudena, via YouTube)

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Planning a Restaurant Wedding? A Hand-held Huppah Is a Flexible Space Saver

East River Bar Brooklyn New York NY

This season at Huppahs.com we’re shipping an unprecedented number of wedding huppah rentals directly to restaurants. For couples planning small weddings, restaurants make great wedding venues. Decorating needs are minimal, and the caterer is already on site.

But space can be limited. If you’re using a huppah, you don’t want one that takes up valuable dance floor space and you don’t want to hold up the party while a crew dismantles it.

As I wrote recently on Twitter, for a small venue like a restaurant a hand-held huppah makes the perfect solution. It can be moved in and out of the ceremony space quickly and easily. Having people hold the huppah poles enhances the sense of intimacy of a small wedding. And for especially intimate spaces, Huppahs.com offers the option of short, 7-foot poles, which are a great alternative to generally taller, stand-alone huppahs.

Visit Huppahs.com’s website to check huppah availability for your wedding date.

Hat tip to Joe and Alanna for sharing the photo of their wedding reception at the East River Bar in Brooklyn, New York.

(Photo: Jacob Arthur)

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New! Wedding Huppah Canopies Now Available to Rent Without Poles

Simple elegant huppah
Well, this is big news! Huppahs.com now makes two of its popular wedding huppah canopies available to rent without poles. Perfect if you already have poles and are looking for a beautiful, high-quality canopy.

The Simplicity Canopy, pictured above, is fashioned from a high-quality bridal satin. The fabric’s subtle sheen and substantial hand create a simply elegant canopy that works wonderfully in any wedding venue.

Rent Ivory Silk Huppah CanopyThe Ivory Silk Canopy, shown in detail at the right, has the refined texture characteristic of 100% dupioni silk. The light ivory color cultivates a warm sophistication.

Get more details and find out if these canopies are available for your wedding date at Huppahs.com.

(Photo: Jason Weil for Huppahs.com. Location: Woodend Nature Sanctuary, Audubon Naturalist Society; Chevy Chase, Maryland)

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If They’re Special Enough to Make Your Small Wedding Guest List, They Deserve an Awesome Dessert

flourless chocolate cake
A slice of flourless chocolate cake. And yeah, it was really good.

Having a small guest list means that the people who made the cut must be pretty special. It also enables you to be adventurous with your wedding menu. Flourless chocolate cake is a non-traditional but certain-to-be-appreciated wedding cake. Bonappetit.com serves up a recipe for this bête noire topped with chocolate ganache. It’s not only sophisticated and decadently delicious, but if you’re catering the wedding yourself, it’s one of the easiest cakes to make.

The only fiddly part of the preparation is covering the outside of the baking pan with three layers of foil. The first time I tried the recipe, I managed to put small, unseen tears in all three layers, apparently, because water seeped into the batter during baking. Not good. Here’s a tip that solved the problem on my second try: Handle the foil as little as possible to avoid tearing it. The recipe…

And take a look at our previous post: 10 Scrumptious Wedding Cake Dessert Pairings

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10 Scrumptious Wedding Cake Dessert Pairings

Small weddings don’t need big dessert buffets. Simple can be celebratory. Start by choosing a wedding cake with personality. Then add a second, complimentary dessert to the plate. Think seasonal fruits, home made ice-creams, sherbert, refined cookies, and the many manifestations of chocolate.

Consider these wedding dessert matches made in heaven:

  1. Coconut Chiffon Cake & Sour Cherry Compote
  2. Chocolate chili cupcakes

    Chocolate cupcakes with chili chocolate frosting.

    Chili Chocolate Cupcakes & Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
  3. Croquembouche & Honey Lavender Ice Cream
  4. Hazelnut Cake & Chocolate Mousse (Both parve)
  5. Flourless Chocolate Cake with Fresh Whipped Cream & Fresh Raspberries
  6. Angel Food Cake & Spring Berry Compote (Both parve)
  7. Vanilla Pound Cake & Ginger and Lemon Sherbert
  8. Orange Almond Cake & Chocolate Almond Truffles
  9. Ricotta Cake & Broiled Honey-Glazed Spiced Figs
  10. Lilikoi Layer Cake with Fresh Passionfruit & Ginger-Macadamia Nut Snowballs

Thinking of another great pairing? Share it in the comment section!

And you might want to take a look at these:

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Martha Stewart Endorses Jello Shots for Weddings

Margarita shots. Source: Martha Stewart Weddings on The Huffington Post

Source: Martha Stewart Weddings on The Huffington Post

It feels like the earth just shifted. Martha Stewart has endorsed jello shots for weddings. Either Martha Stewart Omnimedia is finally starting to run out of content, or this could be a signal that we as an industry are outgrowing the candy buffet. Either possibility would be a shame.

Still, we’re not talking about the jello shots you’re probably used to seeing. These shots are very Martha Stewart. Very Pinterest. In fact, they look like they could have been created by sushi master Jiro Ono.

David Tutera might not be on board yet, but if I was planning a small cocktail or hors d’oeuvres reception, I’d consider serving one of these jello shots, especially if the flavor matched the sophisticated visual punch. But I wouldn’t serve more than one kind.

Yes, I lifted the photo from the article at The Huffington Post, because there’s no way to tell the story without a visual. Will trade traffic for image. You really should take a look.

Walk-in ice bar at Damenti's Restaurant, Mountain Top, Pennsylvania

Walk-in ice bar at Damenti’s Restaurant, Mountain Top, Pennsylvania. Photo: Bill Bywater.


More: Oh, Martha Stewart, THIS is an ice bar:

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Recipe: Chili Chocolate Cupcakes to Spice up Your Dessert Buffet

Chocolate chili cupcakes

Chocolate cupcakes with chili chocolate frosting.

Guest blogger: Agnes Goldrich, Age 14.

As the resident baker in the Bywater family, I recommend these chili chocolate cupcakes for a wedding cupcake buffet (or a great dessert for your Mom’s birthday). Also, I’m told they go well with champagne.

(What was the best cupcake flavor you ever had? Share it in the comment section!)

For the chili chocolate cupcakes, start with Devil’s food chocolate cupcakes from a mix, then add this chili chocolate icing:

Chili Chocolate Frosting Ingredients

  • 4 sticks butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Baking tip: When baking the cupcakes, fill the cupcake pan liners a little more than 2/3 full. You’ll only get 20 cupcakes instead of 24, but the cupcakes will be a nicer size.

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy.
  2. Add powdered sugar, milk, cinnamon, chili powder, vanilla, and cayenne pepper. Beat until fluffy.
  3. Add bittersweet chocolate and beat until blended.

parve dessert hors d'ouevresALSO VISIT:

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Wedding Huppah Rentals “as Easy as Zappos.com”

Lace wedding huppah

Lace Wedding Huppah

We love all the positive reviews we get for Huppahs.com, and one of my favorites said we “make it as easy as Zappos.com to receive and return your chuppah.” Zappos is a company that we thought of as we designed our services. We try to make it as easy to rent and return a wedding huppah as it is to buy and return shoes for Zappos.

Here’s how we do it:

  • We ship the huppah by FedEx to arrive by the Wednesday before the wedding so you can be confident you’ll have it when you need it.
  • We provide simple instructions for attaching the huppah canopy to the poles. It takes about three minutes.
  • When it’s time to return the huppah, use the box the huppah arrives in and the pre-paid FedEx return shipping label we send. You can drop it off at a FedEx location or call for FedEx to pick it up, which ever is easier for you.

For more info: Huppahs.com | Check huppah availability for your wedding date

Is there a way we could make huppah rentals even more convenient for you? Send us an email.

RELATED:
Real Jewish Wedding: Natalie + Richard Wed Under an Ivory Silk Huppah in a New York City Park
Real Life Jewish Wedding: Under an Organza Huppah at Brooklyn, New York’s Prospect Boat House
Free printable templates: Do a favor for your guests and a good cause: Give a charitable donation instead of wedding favors

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Recipe: Blueberry Sauce (Parve, Vegetarian, Non-Dairy)

This gorgeous, sweet sauce can be made with fresh blueberries in the summer and frozen berries year round.

wedding dessert recipeWe post this sauce to accompany our baked pears for an autumn or winter celebration, but can’t you imagine it with something lemony? Let us know how you use it.

The recipe comes from one of my go-to cookbooks, Marlene Sorosky’s Fast & Festive Meals for the Jewish Holidays. Not all of the recipes in the book are kosher, but sticking to the kosher recipes, I’ve found them to be not only delicious, but fast and foolproof.

Ingredients for Blueberry Sauce

Maked 5 cups of sauce

  • 1 quart (4 cups) fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup water

Instructions for Blueberry Sauce

In a medium saucepan, stir all ingredients together. Bring to a boil over moderate heat and cook, stirring often, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until sauce thickens slightly and sugar is dissolved. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.

Make-Ahead Option

Sauce can be refrigerated, covered, up to 2 weeks.

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Recipe: Baked Pears for an Autumn or Early Winter Wedding (Parve or Dairy, Vegetarian)

wedding dessert recipeThese pears work for both elegant and rustic menus. Add homemade berry sauce and serve them as an accompaniment to a slice of light wedding cake or as a side dish for a wedding brunch.

Today my daughters and I packed a brunch and brought it to my parents’ house to celebrate their wedding anniversary. The planned menu included poached pears, but last night, when I should have started the poaching, I hung out with a bunch of brothers and sisters and in-laws instead, talking about, among other things, Bill’s latest ice sculptures. So this morning, my daughters and I prepared the pears by baking them. The prep for baked pears is less fussy and less time-consuming than than for poaching, which makes them an appealing dish not just for easy-going family weekends, but for small self-catered weddings, too.

Serve these baked pear halves with a slice of light wedding cake and homemade berry sauce for a complete wedding dessert, or include them as a side dish for an autumn or early winter wedding brunch. We’ll make the berry sauce recipe our next post.

Menorah Ice Carving Hanukkiah

Menorah Ice Carving Hanukkiah

BTW, here’s a pic of the Hanukkiah ice sculpture Bill carved today during a demonstration at Yeshiva Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch in Manhattan.

Ingredients for Baked Pears

Serves 24

  • 12 Bosc or Anjou pears
  • Cooking oil spray
  • ½ cup butter, melted (or for a pareve version to serve with a meat meal, use non-dairy margarine)
  • 6 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

Instructions for Baked Pears

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF (190ºC).
  2. Lightly spray the bottom of two 9″x13″ baking pans with cooking oil.
  3. Cut pears in half, cut out the core, and peel the pears.
  4. How to bake pears

    Make 4 slices in each pear half, stopping about a quarter inch from the narrow end of the pear.

    Optional: Make four slices in each pear half, stopping about ¼” from the small end. This will enable you to fan out the slices on the plate when you serve it. Or leave the halves unsliced for a more rustic presentation.
  5. Place the pears flat side down in the baking pans.
  6. Mix the melted butter, honey and spices. Drizzle the mixture over the pears.
  7. Cover the pans and bake for 40 minutes or until the pears are tender.

The pears can be stored overnight, covered, in the refrigerator.

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Croquembouche and Dragees, Traditional French Wedding Details – And Endangered Species?

Yesterday the BBC reported that French couples increasingly are abandoning traditional French wedding customs and adopting American and British-style wedding details. I find this alarming.

As a champion of small weddings, I like to know there are pockets of the world holding out against the big, bridezilla-inducing wedding machine. Traditional French weddings are intimate and elegant. Until recently, French couples typically have forgone bridesmaids, groomsmen, and the budget-straining trimmings that have become customary for American and British celebrations. That the French in particular, who generally are known for taking pride in their national culture, would now abandon their long-standing allegiance to elegant simplicity seems a fair reason for concern.

The BBC credits last year’s wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton for making the first significant cracks in the cultural defenses of France’s brides. When those blushing mariées saw Kate’s wedding dress of English lace, they deserted their silk dresses. Since then, French couples have been waving wildly in welcome as save-the-date cards, personalized wedding favors, and tiered cakes veritably march in victory along the Champs-Élysées.

Surely, this development is a net positive for France’s wedding vendors and the British vendors who are marching on Paris to take advantage of the trend. But couples around the world who want a small, elegant wedding are losing a style ally.

This was going to be the paragraph where I compared the traditional French wedding to an endangered species and made the case for the importance of preserving biodiversity in our wedding planning ecosystem. But at this point, I think we all want to move on to the pretty pictures.

So, like scientists who gather and protect species in danger of extinction, let us preserve here the details of a traditional French wedding, so they can be enjoyed by future generations — even if not in their native habitat.

Traditional French Wedding Details:

Silk Wedding Dress, Alexandra King Bristol, England, United KingdomWedding Dress: Silk.
(Source: Alexandra King on Etsy, Bristol, England, United Kingdom.)
Le Vin d’Honneur: A mini reception directly following the ceremony. Many of the ceremony guests, such as work colleagues and friends of the couples’ parents, attend this vin d’honneur but not the main reception. The expected beverage: Kir Royale.
Drinks: Champagne, coffee. Croquembouche French Wedding CakeDessert: Croquembouche
(Source: Fancy That Wedding Cake. Oxfordshire, England, UK)
Flowers: Roses Sugared Almonds Wedding FavorsFavors: Dragées (sugared almonds).
(Source: Milena Bertarelli, MilenaSupplies on Etsy)

Bridesmaids/Groomsmen/Save-the-Date-Cards: No/No/No.

Related: Our 100 Favorite Backyard Wedding Themes

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Now Trending for 2012 Weddings: Organza Dresses, Accessories, Decor…and Huppahs!

jewish hand-held wedding chuppah huppa organza

jewish hand-held wedding chuppah huppa organza It’s only March, but I’m calling Huppah.com’s top huppah of 2012: the Organza Huppah. Organza always places among the top wedding fabrics, but this year it’s pulling away from the rest of the pack early. Organza’s light weave lets light diffuse through, creating a soft, romantic aura. The fabric has more drape than tulle and more body than chiffon, making it a great choice for dress overlays, fabric flowers and huppah canopies. Huppahs.com’s Organza Huppah features a thin ribbon scrolling across the fabric, to add texture and play gently with the light that filters down to the ceremony below.

In celebration of organza, I’ve gathered these organza wedding dresses, accessories, and decorations from some of my favorite Etsy designers:

Organza Tea Length Wedding Dress
“Acacia”, vintage-inspired tea length bridal gown from Ellana Couture.

organza bridal headpiece wedding
“Floressa” organza flower bridal hairpin by PowderBlueBijoux.

organza wedding favor pouches
Silver organza favor pouches with navy and white scalloped circle thank you tags by WeddingsBySusan.

Pink organza flower girls dress toddler girl
Pale pink satin, organza flower girl dress with cascading vertical ruffles. For babies, toddlers, and girls, from Daisies + Damsels.

Organza chair sashes for weddings
Organza chair sashes, custom made in a rainbow of colors by GiftsForHer26.

organza bridal headband rhinestonesWhimsical organza bridal headband with rhinestone accents by TKDesignsetc.

ivory organza sash bride bridesmaid dress
“The Lucille”, Ivory organza bridal or bridesmaid satin sash or belt by Ted Zeppelynn’s Fine Wedding Accessories.

East River Bar Brooklyn New York NYRELATED: Real Life Wedding: Alanna + Joe Share their Favorite Hangouts in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

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Winter Wedding Hors d’Oeuvres Recipe: Latkes for a Crowd

Latkes are great dish to serve for a winter wedding, not just weddings at Hanukkah, because they are so satisfying on a cold day. You can serve them as an appetizer or with the entree as a tasty, creative alternative to baked potato or rice.

One year I had the pleasure of making latkes for a large group of American military service members. It was during Hanukkah in one of the four years I lived in Kuwait. This was between the Gulf Wars. My husband was the U.S. Defense Department’s designated lay leader for the Jewish service people who cycled through the country, which means that I was responsible for making holiday meals and parties for the Jewish service people in my home. It was a great time, we met a lot of really great people, and I hope they’re all now safe at home enjoying the country they’ve served.

On this particular Hanukkah evening, I was rushing to get ready for a crowd of service people who were coming for a party. I was in the middle of preparing the latke batter when they called on their way over to say that instead of the seven people that were expected, they were 16 people. I would need more latkes.

I started throwing all kinds of things into the bowl to bulk up the latke mix: more potatoes, more onions, more eggs, a couple boxes of dried latke mix that family had sent from the States, ricotta cheese, sour cream, and I’m not sure what else, maybe even some cream cheese. Of course, they were amazing, but because I didn’t keep track of exactly what went in them, I would never know how to reproduce them.

It’s OK that I don’t remember, because I want to give you a non-dairy latke that you can serve with any wedding meal, including meals that include meat. And I want to give you a version that is easy to prepare and can be made a day or two before the wedding. The recipe below is adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks for a Crowd: Recipes with a Vegetarian Emphasis for 24 or More, a book that I relied on heavily when serving large crowds in Kuwait. I raised the flavor profile a bit to create a more refined, wedding-worthy dish by adding sautéed leeks and a non-dairy sour cream with chives to serve on the side. Yum.

Recipe: Latkes for a Crowd (Parve)

Serves 24 (2 latkes per person)

Latke Ingredients

  • 4 ½ lbs. potatoes
  • 4 lbs. onions
  • 2 cups chopped leeks
  • 24 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 ½ cups bread crumbs or matza meal
  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp vegetable oil

“Sour Cream” with Chives Ingredients

  • 2 pints (4 cups) non-dairy sour cream
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh chives

Latke Instructions

  1. Chop the leeks and sautée over medium heat for 3 minutes until just translucent. Remove them from the heat and put them aside.
  2. Grate the potatoes coarsely with a food processor or hand-held grater.
  3. Put the potatoes into a colander and squeeze them to eliminate excess water.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350º.
  5. Grate the onions and drain them in a colander. Squeeze out the excess water.
  6. In a large bowl, beat the eggs.
  7. Add the potatoes, onions, leeks, salt, pepper, and bread crumbs or matzo meal. Mix well.
  8. Pour ¼ cup of oil into the bottom of four half-size insert pans (12½” x 10¼” x 2″) and place them in the hot oven for 5 minutes.
  9. Pour the batter into the hot pans. Spread the oil smoothly across the top of the batter with a spatula.
  10. Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes, or until crusty and golden.
  11. While still hot, cut each pan into 12 latke squares.

“Sour Cream” with Chives Instructions

Make the sour cream the same day you intend to serve it. In a medium bowl mix the chopped chives into the non-dairy sour cream.

To Serve

  • If your serve the latkes pre-plated, put two latkes on each plate and two tablespoons of “sour cream” next to the latkes.
  • If you are using a buffet, serve the “sour cream” in a bowl next to the latkes.

Make Ahead Options

You can make the latkes a day before the wedding. Cover them with foil and keep refrigerated. Reheat in 350º oven for 10-12 minutes.

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Wedding Music Budget Advice: A Little Live Music Makes a Big Impact

Are you weighing the pros and cons of live music versus a DJ for your wedding? Are you considering a custom iPod music mix for the cocktail hour or dance party, like I wrote about in my previous post? Recorded music can really stretch your music budget, but few details elevate the atmosphere of an event more than live music, so if you don’t have live music for the dinner reception and dancing, try to find room in the budget to add an element of live music during the ceremony, and the cocktail hour, too, if you can swing it.

If you’re planning a Jewish wedding with a bride’s reception or you’re planning to sign the ketubah in front of all your guests, consider having live music during those events also. For my own wedding, we hired musicians to play klezmer music while escorting the groom from the ketubah signing to the bride’s reception for the veiling. It was a lot of fun and really ramped up the party’s energy as we prepared for the ceremony under the huppah.

You could go with a small trio or quartet, but even a single instrument playing during your procession can heighten the emotional intensity of the moment, taking your breath away and tugging at your guests’ tears.

Find musicians on wedding planning websites, the music departments of a local college, or through friends’ recommendations.

The musical world offers so many instruments, you are sure to find one that matches and enhances the feel of your wedding. Here are some options:

  • Cello
  • Harp
  • Flute
  • Guitar
  • Piano

Am I missing your favorite?

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Super Small Wedding Music Budget? Consider the iPod Option

Washington DC wedding DJDo you have a nano-size wedding music budget? Consider using your iPod to crank out the tunes. I recently talked to Patrick, owner of the Washington, DC-area Ipod Mix, which creates custom music mixes for weddings and other events. Patrick has been an event DJ for twenty years, and he now also offers iPod mixes through his internet-based service. The cost savings over live music or a DJ are amazing: as little as $100 gets you music for your cocktail reception and dinner/dance reception.

“For music and songs, we leave it completely up to the client to tell us what their style and tastes are, then we customize their mix to fit this,” Patrick says. “We try to make each mix as different as possible so it has a unique feel for their wedding day.”

But he brings his DJ experience to the custom mixes, adding what Patrick calls “dance floor packers”. “You want people to enjoy themselves and have fun, and these types of songs help people loosen up.” Still, it’s all based on the clients’ tastes. Ipod Mix has done mixes with all country music, rock oriented mixes, and mixes with a more vintage feel.

For amplification, you can connect your iPod or other MP3 player to your venue’s in-house amplification system, which sometimes requires a rental fee, or equipment rented from an entertainment company. Fees vary, but you can expect sound equipment rental to run in the neighborhood of $200. If you are renting your tables, chairs, or a tent, Patrick recommends asking the same vendor about including sound equipment in a package deal.

For couples considering the iPod option, Patrick recommends two points to consider. First, there’s no getting around the fact that the atmosphere will not be the same as at as when you have a live DJ. I would recommend thinking about the crowd you’re inviting and the space you’ll be in and considering whether they’ll help make up the energy that a DJ would otherwise bring to the cocktail hour or dance floor.

Second, and what Patrick says is “the absolute biggest thing to keep in mind”, is that not everyone at your wedding will share your musical tastes. Speaking from his twenty years of DJ experience, Patrick says, “If you limit too much the type of mix we create for you, most likely you will find people are not going to have a good time. The best, most successful and entertaining weddings are ones where all the musical styles are included, so everyone will be dancing and enjoying themselves all night long.”

Ipod Mix’s website and Facebook page.

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5 Tips for Creating an Inviting Wedding Pie Dessert Buffet

rustic mountain wedding pie buffet

Photographer: Jessica Watson | Source: Ruffled®

Are you considering a pie dessert buffet for your wedding? Follow these tips to create a mouthwatering display:

  1. Choose rustic/country or pretty/elegant: Does the feel of your wedding lend itself more to a rustic/country feel or a pretty/elegant feel? If it’s the former, choose traditional fruit pies. If it’s the latter, think custards, meringues and fruit tarts.
  2. Vary the pie toppings: For visual interest and to whet your guests’ appetites, choose pies with a variety of tops: crumble, lattice crust, full crust top cut with slits.
  3. Display the pies at various heights: Instead of putting all the pies directly on the table, raise some up on raised cake/pie plates or props such as upturned baskets or stacks of old books.
  4. Add tall decorative elements: Especially if your buffet doesn’t include a tall wedding cake, add tall decorative elements such as flowers in vases, flowering branches, or sheaves of wheat.
  5. Add generous displays of fresh produce: Display fresh produce of the kind used in the pies. The fruits can be stacked on plate tiers or heaped in pretty bowls or baskets. The produce will add color and freshness.


Looking for pie recipes?
Take a look at our recipes (they’re all parve, so they can fit into a kosher meat or dairy meal):

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Recipe: Parve Pie Crust (Non-Dairy)

With all the fruit pie recipes we’ve posted during the past couple of weeks, I’ve received a few requests for a parve pie crust recipe. Here it is. The dough uses vegetable oil instead of butter, and soy milk instead of milk. As a result of using oil, the dough mixes up more wet than a butter or lard based dough. The finished product also won’t be quite as flaky as a butter-based dough, but it holds up well, and the crust won’t preclude you from eating your pie at the end of a meal that includes meat. (And if you haven’t seen the pie recipes, here they are: Peach Lattice Pie, Ginger Pear Pie, Perfect Plum Pie, Fresh Raspberry Pie.)

Ingredients for Parve Pie Crust

Makes one 9-inch double pie crust

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar (Optional. Recommended for sweet fillings, not recommended for savory fillings.)
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions for Parve Pie Crust

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine the oil and soy milk. Add sugar, and mix to dissolve.
  3. In a mixing bowl, mix the flour, salt, and sugar. Add the oil mixture without stirring. Mix with a spatula.
  4. Refrigerate 20 minutes.
  5. Place half of the dough between two pieces of waxed paper. (Put a small amount of water between the work surface and the wax paper to help keep the dough from sliding as you roll.)
  6. Roll the dough into a round about 1/8-inch thick. Gently remove the top waxed paper, and carefully flip the dough into the pan. Peel off the remaining wax paper.
  7. Bake at 400 degrees until brown.
  8. Use the remaining dough for the top of the pie, or use it to line a second pie tin.

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Recipe: Fresh Raspberry Pie

Meg Bywater Agnes Goldrich Clara Goldrich picking raspberries
Another late summer fruit pie inspired by our fruit picking trip and the popularity of pie dessert buffets for weddings: Raspberry Pie. This recipe comes from canida at Instructables.com.

Ingredients for Fresh Raspberry Pie

  • 5-6 cups fresh berries
  • 1 pie crust (homemade or store-bought) [parve pie crust recipe]
  • 1/4-1/2 cup sugar (for tart berries, use the larger amount)
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • Dash allspice (optional)

Instructions for Raspberry Pie

Visit Instructables.com for canida’s photos of the steps.

  1. Sort and gently wash berries. Set them aside to dry on a towel or in a colander.
  2. Meanwhile, make or buy your pie crust, then bake it. Use the package directions for baking a store-bought pie crust, or just bake at 350 until lightly golden-brown, 10-15 minutes depending on the recipe you’ve chosen. Homemade pie crusts may require weights to toast evenly without slipping down the sides (line with foil and add dry beans for weight if you don’t have pie-specific tools), but this isn’t absolutely necessary if aesthetics aren’t your thing.
  3. When pie crust is cool, fill with raspberries (reserve 1/4 cup berries for the glaze). Spread evenly, and mound them a bit in the center as shown below.
  4. Place in a small pot the reserved 1/4 cup raspberries, water, sugar, cornstarch, and salt.
  5. Cook and stir with a wire whisk over low heat until the sugar has dissolved and the berries have turned to mush. When sauce begins to thicken, add lemon juice and allspice (if using). Stir until glaze becomes thick, and remove from heat.
  6. Pour the glaze over your berries, spreading gently to cover the entire top surface. Allow the pie to set up for at least 30 minutes in a cool room or in the refrigerator.
  7. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Make-Ahead Options

Raspberry pie can be stored covered in the refrigerator for two days.

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Recipe: Perfect Plum Pie

Picking plums at Lawrence Farms OrchardsWe’re continuing our collection of pie recipes featuring late summer fruits, inspired by a trip to Lawrence Farms Orchards in Newburgh, New York, and the growing popularity of pie dessert buffets at weddings.

Today’s Perfect Plum Pie recipe earns a 5-star rating from reviewers on Food.com. Thank you, Pugly Duckling.

Ingredients for Perfect Plum Pie

Plums at Lawrence Farms Orchards

  • 4 cups sliced plums
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch deep dish pie pastry [parve pie crust recipe]

Topping

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons cold margarine

Directions for Perfect Plum Pie

Eating plum at Lawrence Farms Orchards

  1. In bowl, combine first 6 ingredients; pour into pastry shell.
  2. For topping, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  3. Cut in margarine until coarse.
  4. Sprinkle over plums.
  5. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 60 minutes or until golden brown. (May need to cover crust edges with foil during baking to prevent burning.)

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Hors d’Oeurve Recipe: Clinton Kelly’s Tapenade Three Ways

The last errand my daughters and I ran on Friday while preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Irene in DC was the library, where we stocked up on books in anticipation of the possible loss of electricity and a three-day reading holiday. As things worked out, we didn’t get much more than the equivalent of a strong summer rain storm, although folks to the east and west of us dealt with some nasty stuff.

Our reading holiday was cut short, but we did make it through a lot of books. Aside from all the curl-up-in-a-chair-and-read-alone books, there was one book, which one of my daughters had picked up, that we read together: Freakin’ Fabulous: How to Dress, Speak, Behave, Eat, Drink, Entertain, Decorate, and Generally Be Better than Everyone Else, by Clinton Kelly. For those of you who don’t fritter away a lot of hours watching The Learning Channel, Clinton Kelly is the male counterpart to Stacy London on TLC’s What Not to Wear.

My favorite section of the book was “Entertain”. I haven’t found so many simple, tasty, impressive looking hors d’oeuvre recipes together in one book in a long time. I’m going to share with you Clinton’s three recipes for tapenade: black olive, green olive, and sun-dried tomato. Because tapenade is parve, it makes a great opening bite in a meat-inclusive meal. Clinton recommends serving all three alongside each other on a slice of crostini, but you can use just one.

Clinton calls this collection “Tapenade Threeway”, but I’m calling it Tapenade Three Ways. Still fabulous. You can make them a couple of days ahead, which, for a home catered event, makes them freakin’ fabulous.

Ingredients for Black Olive Tapenade

½ pound good-quality black olives, pitted and drained
4 anchovy fillets
1 clove garlic, peeled
4 Tablespoons olive oil

Ingredients for Green Olive Tapenade

½ pound good-quality green olives, pitted and drained
2 Tablespoons papers, drained
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
4 Tablespoons olive oil

Ingredients for Sun-Dried Tomato Tapenade

½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained
2 cloves garlic, peeled
¼ teaspoon salt
6 leaves basil, chopped
3 Tablespoons olive oil

Instructions for Making the Tapenades

Follow these instructions for all three tapenades:

Put all of the ingredients, except olive oil, into a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine, then add the oil tablespoon by tablespoon until a slightly chunk consistency is achieved.

Make Ahead Options

The tapenades can be made a couple of days in advance. Store covered in the fridge.

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