Tag Archives: reception

Tablescape of Wine Bottle Candle Holders

wine bottle candle holder tablescape

A tablescape of wine bottle candle holders. Great for evening weddings in the approaching cooler seasons. Plenty of other folks seem to have been inspired by this image; I traced it back through more than a half-dozen blogs and websites to its origin on This Is Glamorous (http://citified.blogspot.com). The photo is by Tom Mannion.

Looking for more table decorating tips? Take a look at 7 Tips for Designing Stylish Long Tablescapes on a Budget.

1 Comment

Filed under Wedding Decor, Wedding DIY

Champagne Pomegranate Cocktails Recipe

Continuing yesterday’s post showcasing pomegranate wedding details, here is the recipe for Champagne pomegranate cocktails. The recipe comes from the archives of Cooking Light magazine.

Ingredients for Champagne Pomegranate Cocktails

champagne pomegranate cocktails

Photo: myrecipes.com

8 servings

  • 4 cups crushed ice
  • 2 cups pomegranate juice
  • ½ cup ginger ale
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • 1 (750-milliliter) bottle Champagne or sparkling wine
  • Pomegranate seeds (optional)

Instructions

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a pitcher. Pour about 1 cup of the Champagne mixture into each of 8 glasses. Garnish with seeds, if desired.

Leave a comment

Filed under Catering, Recipes, Wedding Reception

Stylish Long Tablescapes on a Budget #7: Roll Out a Table Runner

Long tables are increasingly popular, but the cost of filling them with decorations is not. You don’t need to fill the entire space along the middle of the table to create a stylish look. All this week I’ll be posting tips to create a stylish long tablescape on a budget.
rustic wedding long tablescape vineyardpurple wedding long table decor
pink wedding wildflowers long tablescapeLong table scape wedding green

Roll Out a Long Table Runner

A table runner rolled out along the length of the table unifies the scene and might provide all the table decoration you need. With a table runner, you might even get away with not using tablecloths, especially if you want to design a table with a rustic feel.

You can also combine a table runner with a tablecloth or place additional decorative elements like flowers or candles on top of it. The layers of color, pattern, and texture will create a lush tablescape with deep visual interest.

When selecting a table runner, consider how the fabric will contribute to the feeling you are trying to achieve. Think about not only the color scheme of your wedding, but also the type and texture of the fabric. Velvet is lush and deeply romantic. Cottons lend an informal feel. Linen can be refined and softly romantic, or iron it with starch to give your table a crisp, formal sensibility.

Table runners are a fun reception detail to play with and an easy way to personalize your wedding. Look out for tomorrow’s post: How to make a table runner for your wedding reception…

Read more recent posts…

Leave a comment

Filed under Wedding Decor, Wedding DIY, Wedding Reception

Stylish Long Tablescapes on a Budget #6: Alternate Moderately-Priced and Inexpensive Decorations

Long tables are increasingly popular, but the cost of filling them with decorations is not. You don’t need to fill the entire space along the middle of the table to create a stylish look. All this week I’ll be posting tips to create a stylish long tablescape on a budget.

Alternate moderately-priced flowers with inexpensive elements

turquoise and orange wedding decorations

Source: merrimentdesign.com

The key to making this approach visually interesting is to vary the heights of the different types of elements you use. For example, if you use small flower arrangements, make the other element tall, like candlesticks or bread sticks standing in tall containers. If the flower arrangements are tall or moderately-sized, alternate them with single blossoms or greens in low containers, small votive candles, or other small elements. The difference in height doesn’t need to be dramatic, but it should be notable.
Take a look at these examples of a turquoise and orange table setting, at left, and the light blue table scape below.
Light blue wedding long tablescape

4 Comments

Filed under Wedding Decor, Wedding DIY, Wedding Reception

Stylish Long Tablescapes on a Budget #4: Candles, Candles, Candles

orange candlestick wedding table decorLong tables are increasingly popular, but the cost of filling them with decorations is not. You don’t need to fill the entire space along the middle of the table to create a stylish look. All this week I’ll be posting tips to create a stylish long tablescape on a budget.

Display a Bounty of Borrowed Candlesticks

For an evening reception, borrow lots of candlesticks and fill them all with candles of the same color. Distribute them irregularly along the table.

1 Comment

Filed under Wedding Decor, Wedding DIY, Wedding Reception

Stylish Long Tablescapes on a Budget #2: Opt for Color and Pattern

Long tables are increasingly popular, but the cost of filling them with decorations is not. You don’t need to fill the entire space along the middle of the table to create a stylish look. All this week I’ll be posting tips to create a stylish long tablescape on a budget.

Choose color and pattern.

When selecting table linens, stemware, and even chairs, choose color. When a table isn’t piled high with decorations, colors and patterns can fill the visual field and go a long way toward setting your desired mood.

wedding table decor colored chairs

purple wedding decor stemware rentals

Source: Totally Tabletops, Seattle (http://totallytabletops.blogspot.com/)

black organza overlay table linen

Source: celebrationspartyrentals.com, California

bird fabric table cloth

purple and orange table decorations

Source: everybridesbestfriend.blogspot.com

Next: Stylish Long Tablescapes on a Budget #3: Create a Display of Pre-Set Food

1 Comment

Filed under Wedding Decor, Wedding DIY, Wedding Reception

Stylish Long Tablescapes on a Budget #1: Repeat Small Decorative Elements

Long tables are increasingly popular, but the cost of filling them with decorations is not. You don’t need to fill the entire space along the middle of the table to create a stylish look. All this week I’ll be posting tips to create a stylish long tablescape on a budget.

Repeat a small element at regular intervals along the table.

Natural elements work really well for this approach, but you can use any small object that builds on your theme or the feeling you want to create.

apple table decorations weddings

Photo: Kacy Photo | Source: the-wedding-information-site.com


small flower in glassDIY_Wedding_Flower_Buy
natural-wood-old-sports-carOrange Flower Wedding Decorsage leaves herb wedding table decor

Next: Stylish Long Tablescapes on a Budget #2: Opt for Color and Pattern

3 Comments

Filed under Wedding Decor, Wedding DIY, Wedding Reception

Tips for Designing Long Wedding Tablescapes


Long tables are very popular for wedding receptions at the moment, and they’re especially appropriate for small weddings. They engender an intimate atmosphere and promote conversation. Premiere Los Angeles florist Amy Child Marella, owner of The Hidden Garden Floral Studio, calls them “Feasting Tables”, and she offers some questions to think about when designing tablescapes for long tables (you might also want to take a look at our 7 Tips for Designing Stylish Long Tablescapes on a Budget):

1. What is the width of the table?
You want to make sure the table is wide enough to incorporate the dinner ware, glassware AND the flowers (or whatever your table centerpiece is) Most long tables come in 32 in widths, 40 inch widths or 48 inch widths. My personal preference is 40 inch wide. This gives the guests ample room for their service ware and the florist ample room for the arrangements without making the table seem too large. Keep it intimate…

2. How full do you want the table scape to be in the center?
This can come down to how many flowers/candles you would like in the center of the table. Should it be a consistent arrangement (as seen in photos below) or do you want a little more “space” between the designs? Are you serving family style so arrangements & food will be incorporated into the center – then your table scape needs to be a little less dense.

3. What is your budget?
Long table scapes can be much more costly than a traditional single piece for a round table. So be aware that there is more product put into filling the center of your 6 foot or 8 foot table. As you can see in our photos below this is a “lush” design of florals, candles and natural elements so our budget per table is rather high.

Take a look at our 7 Tips for Designing Stylish Long Tablescapes on a Budget

Leave a comment

Filed under Wedding Decor, Wedding Reception

Vintage Wedding Punch Recipe (Non-Alcoholic)

After I posted yesterday’s champagne punch recipe, I received several requests for a punch without alcohol. That’s a great idea. This refreshing citrus-y punch recipe is from The Kosher Gourmet Cookbook, by Mildred Miller and Bascha Snyder, now out of print. Like the champagne punch, this wedding punch is a wonderful white-glove vintage touch for your wedding reception, even without the white gloves.

The original recipe calls for floating scoops of vanilla ice-cream in the punch bowl, but I removed the ice-cream to keep the punch parve. Also, the thought of guests ladling bits of ice-cream into glasses along with the liquid punch brings to mind a picture of punch splashing onto your guests’ clothing, which might distract them from how wonderful you look. Of course, if the ice-cream floats work for your wedding, go for it!

If you put out a punch with alcohol as well as one without, label them with place cards or other appropriate notes.

Ingredients for Wedding Punch (No Alcohol)

  • 4 cups pineapple juice
  • 3 quarts lemonade
  • 3 orangeade
  • 1 can crushed pineapple
  • 2 quarts raspberry or cherry soda

Instructions for Wedding Punch (No Alcohol)

Combine the first four ingredients and mix well. When ready to serve, add the soda.

Make Ahead Option

You can mix the first four ingredients together the day before the wedding. Refrigerate the mixture. When you’re ready to serve, put the juice mixture into the punch bowl and add the soda.

3 Comments

Filed under Catering, Recipes, Wedding DIY, Wedding Reception

Vintage Champagne Wedding Punch Recipe

Champagne punch makes a great alternative to an open bar. It was once a popular party beverage among the white glove set. Set out a punch bowl at your cocktail reception to give your party a personal, vintage touch. White gloves optional.

You can also set out a punch bowl of no-alcohol vintage wedding punch alongside the champagne punch.

complete jewish cookbookThis recipe comes from The Complete American-Jewish Cookbook, by Anne London, a copy of which was given to me by my late mother-in-law.

The book’s 652 pages tell you how to prepare just about every item of food on the planet. It was within arm’s reach practically the whole time I lived in Tunisia. Every Tuesday and Thursday I could buy whatever fruits and vegetables were available in the market, all gloriously in season and picked that morning, and I knew that when I got home this book would tell me how to prepare them. Between the fresh-picked produce and the meat from Braham’s kosher butcher shop, we ate well that year.

That calls for a toast:

Recipe: Champagne Punch

Serves 25

Ingredients for Champagne Punch

  • 4 ounces brandy
  • 4 ounces maraschino
  • 4 ounces curacao
  • ½ pound fine grain sugar
  • 2 quarts champagne
  • 1 quart sparkling mineral water

Instructions for Champagne Punch

Stir the sugar with the brandy, maraschino, and curacao to dissolve sugar. Pour over a block of ice in a punch bowl. Add and gently stir in champagne and mineral water just before serving.

Make Ahead Option

Mix the first four ingredients together before guests arrive, and have the champagne and mineral water on hand near the punch bowl to add when you’re ready to serve.
You might also be interested in: No-Alcohol Vintage Wedding Punch
Read more recent posts…

8 Comments

Filed under Catering, Recipes, Wedding DIY, Wedding Reception

Wedding Recipe: Garlic-Herb Crusted Beef Roast for a Crowd (Meat)

Royal Beefeaters

Royal Beefeaters.

This dish is from the Buckingham Palace reception menu posted on December 13. I’ll be posting recipes from the menu all week, kosher-fied and with additional special touches, so that you can recreate the menu for your wedding.

Garlic-Herb Crusted Beef Roast

Satisfy the meat eaters: Garlic-herb crusted beef roast

Here is a dish to satisfy the meat eaters at your wedding feast. This oven-baked roast is simple to prepare and cook, and the rub of garlic and herbs showcases the taste of the beef. The dish can be served hot or cold, so it can be made conveniently the day before the wedding.

During four years in England, I don’t think I ever came across an English buffet that did not have a carvery station — someone standing behind a butcher block cutting slices meat for each guest. It’s a nice touch to a buffet service. If you have professional catering help, arranging for a carvery station will be simple. If you are catering your own casual wedding, ask a friend to do the honors.

Be sure to use a meat thermometer to ensure that the meat reaches the correct internal temperature. If you don’t have one, buy one; it’s worth the investment.

Recipe: Garlic-Herb Crusted Beef Roast

Serves 50

Ingredients

  • 6-8 boneless beef round rump roast or beef bottom round roast (3 to 4 lbs. each), 9 to 10 lbs. total.
  • Salt and ground black pepper

Rub:

  • 3 Tbls garlic-pepper seasoning
  • 3 Tbls dried basil leaves, crushed
  • 3 Tbls dried thyme leaves, crushed
  • 1 Tbls dried parsley leaves, crushed

Instructions

Given the large number of roasts, if you are using a conventional oven you will need to cook the roasts in two shifts.

  1. Heat oven to 325°F. Combine rub ingredients in a bowl. Divide it into 2 small bowls, and set one bowl aside to be used with the second set of roasts.
  2. Press the rub evenly onto all surfaces of beef roast.
  3. Place roast on rack in shallow roasting pan. Insert ovenproof meat thermometer so tip is centered in thickest part of beef, not resting in fat. Do not add water or cover. Roast in 325°F oven 1-1/2 to 2 hours for medium rare doneness.
  4. Remove roast when meat thermometer registers 135°F for medium rare. Transfer roast to carving board; tent loosely with aluminum foil. Let stand 15 to 20 minutes. (Temperature will continue to rise about 10°F to reach 145°F for medium rare.)
  5. Roast the remaining roasts the same way.
  6. To serve, carve roast into thin slices; season with salt and black pepper, as desired.

Make Ahead Option

The beef can be cooked the day before the wedding. Let it rest for the required 15 to 20 minutes after it comes out of the oven before refrigerating it.

TRY THIS: Recipe: Chocolate Mousse for 50 People (Parve/Non-Dairy)

1 Comment

Filed under Catering, Recipes

Vegan/Vegetarian Wedding Recipe: Spanikopita (Parve) – Serves 8

Prince Philip Buckingham Palace Reception

"I say, have you tried the spanikopita?"

This dish is from the Buckingham Palace reception menu posted on December 13. I’ll be posting recipes from the menu all week, kosher-fied and with additional special touches, so that you can recreate the menu for your wedding.

This entree is for your vegan/vegetarian guests. The Buckingham Palace reception menu calls for spinach-filled crepes, but crepes require milk, which wouldn’t fit into our kosher meat menu. We turn, then, to spanikopita, spinach pie, which uses parve phyllo dough. The tofu, walnuts, and nutritional yeast in the filling provide hunger-satisfying protein. Since The Queen’s husband, Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, was born The Prince of Greece and Denmark, I’m sure he’d appreciate the dish’s Greek roots.

The recipe comes from Vegan with a Vengeance : Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes That Rock. The author is Isa Chandra Moskowitz, a Jewish vegan tsunami. I picked up my copy of the cookbook several years ago in order to get protein into my meat-averse daughters. (One of my daughters was only five years old when she first yelled, “I’m a vegetarian and you don’t understand me!”)

The instructions are a bit fiddly, so if you’re catering your own wedding, making servings for all of your guests is going to take a lot of time — time that’s especially precious in the hours leading up to your wedding. Instead, prepare one of these pies, which provides 8 servings, and reserve the servings to the side for your vegan/vegetarian guests. (If all of your guests are vegetarian, then enlist extra hands to prepare enough servings for everyone.)

Prince Charles in synagogue

"Do you think they'll let me hold one of the huppah poles?"

Recipe: Spanikopita – Spinach Pie (Parve)

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • ¼ plus 2 Tbls. olive oil, plus extra oil for brushing the phyllo
  • 2 bunches fresh spinach, rinsed very well, long stems removed
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped dill
  • 2 lbs. firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • Dash of ground or freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¾ cup finely ground walnuts
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Several dashes fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 box frozen phyllo dough, thawed overnight

Instructions for Making the Spinach Filling

  1. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, warm 2 Tbls olive oil over medium heat for a minute, then add the scallions, spinach, scallions, garlic, and dill. Add the spinach in small batches if pot it too full.
  2. Satuè until completely wilted and soft and a good amount of liquid has sweated out of the greens. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  3. In a large bowl, mash the drained tofu (use your hands for more control) to a smooth but slightly grainy consistency.
  4. Take the cooled spinach mixture by small handfuls and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Discard the liquid.
  5. Add the squeezed spinach to the tofu. Add the lemon juice, oregano, nutmeg, ground walnuts, ¼ cup of the olive oil, and the nutritional yeast. Mix well with your hands, season with salt and pepper. Taste the mixture; it should be pleasantly salty and tangy.

Instructions for Making the Pie

  1. Preheat oven to 325º.
  2. Oil a 9”x12- to 13” baking dish.
  3. Prepare eight sheets of dough with olive oil in the following manner: Lay one sheet of dough in the pan, brush it generously with olive oil. Lay the second sheet on top and brush it generously with olive oil. Continue until you have eight layers of dough. If the sheets of dough go up the sides of the pan, that’s OK.

    Helpful Hint: Phyllo dough dries out very quickly. Keep the layers you’re not working with covered with a damp cloth or piece of plastic wrap. The first time you work with the dough it can seem like you don’t have enough hands to work and keep the layers covered, but once you get into a pattern it’s quite easy.

  4. Gently spread the spinach mixture on top of the dough.
  5. Prepare another eight layers of phyllo (or add a few more layers if you have leftover dough), put on top of spinach layer, and tuck into the sides of the pan any overhanging dough.
  6. Lightly score the top layer of dough into 8 rectangles of equal size (this will prevent the dough from crumbling too much when slicing after it’s baked.)
  7. Brush with lots of olive oil.
  8. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until golden brown, being careful not to let the phyllo burn.

See the full Wedding Menu Fit for Royalty (You!)
Read more recent posts…

2 Comments

Filed under Catering, Recipes

Recipe: Baked Chicken Breast with Mushrooms (Meat) – Serves 50

Prince Charles and Camilla at Royal Wedding

"One does hope they serve the baked chicken breast with mushrooms." "Quite."


This dish is from the Buckingham Palace reception menu posted on December 13. I’ll be posting recipes from the menu all week, kosher-fied and with additional special touches, so that you can recreate the menu for your wedding.

In this dish, chicken breasts are baked with a sauce of sautèed mushrooms and rosemary. This preparation is easier and less time consuming than the stuffed chicken breasts in the original menu.

Recipe: Baked Chicken Breast with Mushrooms

Serves 50

Ingredients

  • 25 whole boneless chicken breasts with skin (about 1 pound), halved
  • 2 Tbsp. paprika
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup flour
  • 6 cups (48 fl. oz.) chicken broth
  • 1½ cup good quality red wine (kosher)
  • 1 Tbsp. dried rosemary
  • Garnish: Sprigs of fresh rosemary (optional)

Instructions for Chicken Breasts with Mushrooms

  1. Preheat oven to 325º.
  2. Season chicken breasts with salt, pepper and paprika.
  3. In a large sauce pan heat 3 Tbsp oil to moderately high heat. Brown chicken breasts, about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer to shallow baking dish. (Use enough baking dishes for all the chicken to sit in one layer.)
  4. When all the chicken has been browned, lower saucepan heat to medium. Sautè mushrooms and garlic for 8 minutes. Pour off all but 2 Tbsp of the liquid that remains.
  5. Sprinkle flour over mushrooms and stir. Add chicken broth, stirring to pick up any browned particles that remain in sauce pan.
  6. Add red wine and rosemary. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Stir with a whisk until sauce is smooth. Pour over chicken.
  7. Cover pans tightly with foil and bake 35 to 40 minutes.

Make Ahead Option

Can be made in advance up until all the ingredients are in the baking pan. Refrigerate overnight, until ready to bake.

See the full Wedding Menu Fit for Royalty (You!)
Read more recent posts…

1 Comment

Filed under Catering, Recipes

Recipe: Roasted Rosemary Potatoes with Garlic for 50 (Parve)

The Queen Addresses Parliament

"We pronounce these potatoes scrumptious."

This side dish is from the Buckingham Palace reception menu I posted December 13. I’ll be posting recipes from the menu all week, kosher-fied and with additional special touches, so that you can recreate the menu for your wedding.

The Buckingham palace menu calls for scalloped potatoes, but I took the liberty of substituting roasted potatoes, which are less heavy and more appropriate for warm backyard wedding weather. They are also require a lot less kitchen prep time since you don’t have to cut the potatoes into thin slices as with scalloped potatoes. The rosemary makes them worthy of a special occasion.

The recipe comes from The Mediterranean Vegan Kitchen by Donna Klein, but I increased the quantities to serve 50 people.

Recipe: Roasted Rosemary Potatoes with Garlic (Parve)

Serves 50

Ingredients

  • 16 lbs. new red potatoes, left whole if small, halved or quartered if large
  • 48 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup dried rosemary
  • Kosher (coarse) salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  2. Divide the potatoes and garlic among 4 half-size insert pans.
  3. Drizzle each pan with ¼ cup oil and toss well to evenly coat.
  4. Sprinkle each pan with 2 Tbl rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss again.
  5. Roast, uncovered for 40-50 minutes, depending on size, turning halfway through cooking time, or until the potatoes are nicely browned and tender. Serve hot.

Make Ahead Option

These are best served soon after they are cooked. They can be cooked the day ahead, covered with foil and refrigerated overnight, and reheated the next day, but the texture will not be as creamy. When you reheat the potatoes, put a few tablespoons of water in the bottom of each pan to keep the potatoes from drying out.

See the full Wedding Menu Fit for Royalty (You!)
Read more recent posts…

1 Comment

Filed under Catering, Recipes

Recipe: Chocolate Mousse (Parve) – Wedding Dessert for 50 People

Prince William and Catherine Middleton Engagement Portrait

"I love you and Grandmum's parev chocolate mousse."

Chocolate mousse is the dessert in the Buckingham Palace reception menu I posted yesterday. I’ll be posting recipes from the menu all week, kosher-fied and with additional special touches, so that you can recreate the menu for your wedding.

This version of chocolate mousse comes from Evelyn Rose’s The New Complete International Jewish CookbookJewish wedding recipes, a book that I use a lot for entertaining. It’s often the first book I turn to when I want to add something new to my repertoire, because the recipes never disappoint.

The recipe is parve (meaning it doesn’t have any dairy or animal products), so you can serve it after a meat meal.

You can make this mousse up to three months ahead and freeze it, or keep it in the refrigerator up to four days, which makes it especially convenient for a small, self-catered wedding.

Chocolate Mousse Recipe (Parve)

Serves 50

Chocolate Mousse Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. plain (semi-sweet) chocolate
  • 30 eggs, separated
  • 4 level Tbsp instant coffee, dissolved in 6 Tbsp hot water
  • 6 fl oz (¾ cup) rum, Creme de Menthe, brandy, Cointreau or orange juice
  • 5 Tbsp caster (superfine) sugar
  • For the garnish: 8 oz. (2 cups) toasted almonds or chopped walnuts

Chocolate Mousse Instructions

  1. Break up the chocolate and stand in a basin over very hot (not boiling) water. Heat gently until melted, then remove from heat. (Or melt, uncovered, for 1½ minutes on 100 percent power in the microwave.)
  2. Immediately drop in the egg yolks and beat vigorously until the mixture begins to thicken.
  3. Stir in the coffee or the liqueur. Allow to go quite cold.
  4. Beat the egg whites until they just hold soft peaks, then beat in the caster sugar.
  5. Pour the chocolate mixture into the bowl containing the egg whites and blend together.
  6. Spoon into individual paper cases.

Make Ahead Options

Keeps four days in the refrigerator or three months in the freezer.

See the full Wedding Menu Fit for Royalty (You!)
Read more recent posts…

Leave a comment

Filed under Catering, Recipes

Wedding Menu Fit for Royalty (You!)

Prince William and Kate Middleton engagement photo

"What shall we serve at the wedding?"

This weekend, Prince William and Catherine Middleton released their official engagement photos. Mazel tov, William and Kate! In honor of the happy occasion, we’re posting a wedding menu based on the menu of an actual Buckingham Palace dinner reception. Throughout the week we’ll post recipes for all the dishes so you can serve them at your wedding, too.

The menu comes from a reception I attended at Buckingham Palace some years back. I can’t say it was an exclusive affair — there were more than 3,000 guests — but it was memorable. The night included cocktails, a meet and greet with the royal family, a buffet dinner, and dancing in the ballroom(!).

What I remember most, because it’s what I had been most looking forward to seeing, was what The Queen served for dinner. The event planning part of my brain, which takes over nearly all of my brain sometimes, knew that it had to be a menu that met some of the most complicated food service challenges an event planner can face. The menu had to provide something to satisfy most of the dietary restrictions the world has to offer. The preparation could not be complicated, and all the food had to hold up impressively on a buffet. Finally, because The Queen had to feed 3,000 people at a cost-conscious time, the ingredients had to provide good value for cost.

wedding in privy gardenGod bless The Queen (and her kitchen staff). The menu met all those criteria, and it serves as a great example for anyone who wants to create a no-worries special event dinner, even if the backyard in which you raise your huppah doesn’t feature a royal privy garden. Here’s the menu:

Wedding Buffet Menu Fit for Royalty (You!)

Dessert

Wedding Cake
The Queen didn’t serve wedding cake, but you’ll need one:

During the next week, we’re posting recipes for all the dishes on the menu, with quantities for serving an intimate wedding crowd of 50 people. We’ll add some special touches that are possible when you’re serving 50 rather than 3,000 people.

We’ll include make-ahead options where possible, especially for couples who plan to self-cater, or partially self-cater, their weddings. The menu will be kosher, of course.

We’ll start with dessert. Check back for tomorrow’s post: Chocolate Mousse for 50 (parve)…

(And Kate and Will, if you’re looking for a huppah, for your wedding I’d recommend a huppah of beautiful bridal lace.)

6 Comments

Filed under Catering, Wedding DIY, Wedding Reception

How Big of a Wedding Cake Do I Need?

wedding cakesThe size of cake you’ll need depends on how big a slice you want to give each guest. The standard piece of wedding cake is 1″x2″. That’s for a piece of cake 3-6″ high. This wedding industry standard assumes that your guests are going to get a token piece of wedding cake and that you’ll be serving other desserts.

But for a small wedding, the wedding cake is often more than symbolic; it’s the main dessert. If that’s the case for your wedding, you might want to increase the size of each slice to 1½”x2″, the standard “party size” slice of cake.

Sometimes, hosts feel the need to serve extra-large “generous” or “event” size slices that are 2″x2″. That’s a big piece of cake. Don’t feel that you need to give everyone a piece this size in order to be generous. Chances are, hardly anyone will eat a piece this big. In fact, chances are a good number of people won’t eat a whole wedding or party-sized piece. A better strategy is to serve wedding or party-size slices and have extra servings for the people who want seconds. (There’s something warm and homey about being able to give a guest a second helping of cake, something that’s a lot more likely at a small wedding than a large wedding.)

The chart below gives the number of servings you can expect to get from various sizes of round and square cakes, for both wedding and party-size slices. Select a size or a combination of cake layer sizes that will provide enough servings for your guests.

Remember, too, that you might want to set aside a small top layer or at least a couple of slices in the freezer to save for your first anniversary.

How to set your wedding tables: Stylish Long Tablescapes on a Budget #1: Repeat Small Decorative Elements

Wedding Cake Size and Servings Chart

Round cake diameter Wedding–size servings Party-size servings
5″ 10 4
6″ 12 6
7″ 19 10
8″ 24 15
9″ 32 22
10″ 38 30
12″ 56 50
14″ 76 60
Square cake Wedding–size servings Party-size servings
6″ 18 12
8″ 32 20
9″ 42 26
10″ 50 34
12″ 72 48

(Photo: Tom Harpel | Source: Wikemedia Commons)

4 Comments

Filed under Wedding Cakes

Something Borrowed: Gemachs Cut Wedding Costs

A gemach? What’s a gemach?

A gemach (sometimes written “g’mach”) is the Jewish community’s name for a special collection of items that can be borrowed at no cost or for a small fee for a short period of time. The term is an abbreviation of the words “gemilus chasadim”, acts of kindness.

Gemachs are usually started by one or a few people who see a need and get organized. A gemach might be in a private home, synagogue, or community center. You can find gemachs that focus on practically any type of items, like toys, wheelchairs, or clothing patterns. I just got an email announcing a GPS gemach. But the most popular kind of gemach by far is the kind that offers items for weddings.

The gemach is an idea that’s centuries old, but gemachs are being rediscovered by couples planning their weddings. Gemachs cut wedding costs – and they also serve the larger goal of cutting consumption.

Whether or not you borrow anything from a gemach for your celebration, consider donating items from your wedding to a gemach near you.

The kind of things you can often borrow from a gemach or that gemach organizers are looking for are:

  • Wedding dress
  • Veil
  • Clothes for the bridal party and mother of the bride
  • Folding tables
  • Folding chairs
  • Table linens
  • Centerpieces
  • Benchers (Prayerbooks with “Grace After Meals”)

Most gemachs won’t be found online. To find one in your area, contact a few local synagogues or a Jewish community center.

Ode to a Gemach
Something old,
Something new,
Something borrowed,
Colors subject to availability.

Leave a comment

Filed under Charity / Tzedakah, Green and Just Weddings, Jewish Wedding Ceremony, Wedding Reception

Beyond Green Weddings: Green and Just Weddings

Jews United for Justice Celebration Buying GuideJews United for Justice (JUFJ) in Washington, DC held its annual award dinner last week, which makes this a good time to give a shout out for JUFJ’s event planning guide, Green & Just Celebrations. The guide goes beyond the basic buy-local green wedding tips. JUFJ helps you dig deep, so that your once-in-a-lifetime wedding purchases can be as green and just as you can make them. Among the topics covered are buying rings and negotiating the venue contract.

Most of the vendors in the buying guide are local to the Washington, DC area, but some are national organizations that you can find online. And the ideas work where ever in the world you raise your huppah.

By the way, at the award dinner, JUFJ honored four Washington, DC and Maryland area activists:

  • David Cohen, co-founder of the Advocacy Institute.
  • Carla Furstenberg Cohen, civil rights activist and founder of the independent Washington, DC bookstore Politics and Prose. Carla passed away a couple of weeks before the award ceremony.
  • Gustavo Torres, founder of CASA de Maryland.
  • Elissa Froman, legislative associate for the National Council of Jewish Women. As a student at The George Washington University founded the GW Jewish Progressive Political Association.

See our list of unique Jewish wedding vendors in the Washington, DC / Silver Spring area.

You might also like:
green lavender wedding tzedakah placecard Free Printable Templates for Tzedakah (Charity) Favor Cards

Leave a comment

Filed under Charity / Tzedakah, Green and Just Weddings, Jewish Wedding Ceremony, Wedding Reception