Since I first started coordinating weddings in San Diego, there has been one particular space that I have loved more than any other; The Coronado Community Center, which I may like to add, has recently opened the doors to their Club House and gifted us with the privilege of being the first vendor within this much desirable space. Both of these venue selections are each doubly desirable to myself and to prospective couples.
The Club boasts picturesque views of the water and downtown skyline, flexibility for guests that reserve their rooms, & a fabulous kitchen that allows you to create just about any Menu you could dream of. And let us not forget one of the most picture perfect ceremony sites that San Diego has to offer!
To commemorate our 15th year and 3rd as #1 Wedding Caterer in San Diego. The Abbey Catering is offering a special for all couples that reserve our services at the Coronado Community Center. Anyone that secures full service Catering from November 1st 2013 to June 1st 2014, can take advantage of 100 complimentary Wooden Folding Chairs for their ceremony or reception. It’s just our little way to say thank you to the Community Center and the City of Coronado, and to all of our lovely couples that we will be working with for the upcoming 2014 Season. Upgrades are available, see one of our consultants today to discuss your day.
So, happy planning everybody-& Ill see you on the aisle:)
Love at first sight… some of us get to experience it once in our lifetimes. We fall in love, we plan our future, and of course we plan our wedding. The San Diego Museum of Art is one of the few venues you will look at and have you falling in love at first sight from the moment you step in through the door, if you have been searching for a venue rich with culture, with a splash of elegance, that does not inhibit you from adding your own personal touch; then search no more! The San Diego Museum of Art has both beautiful indoor and outdoor spaces, incredible architecture, and makes for a truly unique and memorable setting for a wedding. Your guests will relish in having the opportunity to see the outstanding art galleries that are the pride of balboa. The Museum’s architecture also makes for some amazing photos for you and your guests to add to your own collections! The San Diego Museum of Art has a location for every type of event for your wedding in it’s different rooms and open spaces; that will be sure to leave you and your guest breathless!
Things to remember when having a wedding where there will be different locations for the ceremony, dinner, and reception:
• Make sure that you adequately staff your event, there are so many factors involved with insuring we create your vision accurately. With so much ground to cover comes a lot of physical and time consuming demands; every member of our catering staff is a vital part of our team, and we all share 1 simple goal, to make your special day your Dream come true. Adding an additional server or two might not seem necessary but the difference an additional set of hands can make is night and day!
• Guest count will make all the difference on how many staff members you will need. You want to make sure that your guests are well taken care of.
• Take advantage of the natural beauty of the grounds and its surroundings. Sometimes less is more, however don’t be afraid to ask your coordinator to help you brainstorm on creative ways to add to the evening.
• Always depend on your coordinator and trust them indefinitely. To ensure a successful evening always ask your coordinator for their advice. They are there not solely for their creativity with planning and decor, but also for their vast experience gained from executing hundreds of amazing events. They want your special day, to be perfect just as badly as you do!
With every bride and groom I meet, there is a constant high level of demand to execute the perfect San Diego wedding.The demand comes certainly from vision, ideal investment, and availability. One new trend I’m enjoying currently is creating my clients complete reception from scratch which includes picking the perfect backdrop, the San Diego skyline.
I recently had a beautiful wedding that needed to be designed and executed within 6 weeks. Short notice can easily complicate things and can certainly create unique challenges that you normally wouldn’t have in a longer time frame. Challenges like finding the right space, understanding whom to retrieve proper permits from and what you need to attain them, and how to execute within the parameters of said permit can be daunting.
So the first step after considering a space is to get a full proposal based on your rentals needs. Based on the time of year, you may want a tent which will be the biggest investment. Tents range from $1400 for under 100 guests to several thousand. Then there are the basics like tables and chairs, dancefloor, lighting, generators etc. Electricity for lighting & music can be complex, make sure you arrange your needs with a specialist. Other weather considerations are elements like heaters or umbrellas. So , while the permit itself may feel like peanuts, expect to spend the same as a standard reception venue.
Then you need to focus on guest experience. Obviously when you’re planning your wedding , the day is about you. But every invited guest is on that list for a reason. They all impacted your lives in some way making you the perfect person for each other when you met. To ensure guests are happy, check into accessibility for older or handicapped guests, make parking arrangements, and consider proximity to hotels.
Recently, one of my friends got married at a beautiful barn in Julian. From the ceremony to the food to the décor, the wedding was absolutely amazing and the venue fit all the items she was looking for: unique, rustic, and not in metro San Diego. As a matter of fact, her wedding was only the second one that had been held there. Like many other brides, finding “a hidden jewel” of a venue like she did is highly desirable, but can bring interesting challenges you should be prepared for that most traditional venues may not face. Here are some of things to expect when you’re securing a unique, but remote venue:
• At a remote venue like a barn, ample sources of power may be an issue, so it’s important to determine all of your power needs, including those of your vendors (i.e. caterer, DJ, etc.). If your venue does not have enough power, then you may need to invest in a generator.
• If your venue is like the one I went to in Julian, you may need to research and invest in portable restrooms. Be sure to rent enough to handle your guest count, because long lines at the restroom make for crabby people.
• Generally, remote or rustic venues are landscaped with grass, dirt, and loose gravel, so warn the ladies in heels and either provide or have them bring heel protectors. The ladies may even want to bring some flats to wear towards the end of the night, particularly for dancing.
• Most likely, your venue may not have an established kitchen facility, so be sure your caterer is prepared to bring in all the items and equipment they need to create a mobile kitchen on site.
• One venue I’ve worked with was not searchable on Google maps, so if that’s the case for your wedding, then provide easy driving directions for your guests. If you want to go the extra mile, then put up signs along the route directing your guests toward the venue.
• Don’t forget to give your guests a list of local hotels and transportation options, especially if they’re not familiar with the area.
One of the strongest trends in weddings for 2014 are the use of the four elements, water, earth, wind, & fire. Aside from the spiritual use of these aesthetics, they offer a unique way of customizing your day. A lot of couples bring aspects of their first meeting or date into their wedding day using these concepts. Just keep in mind through the planning you need to consider the venues rules and regulations pertaining to your projected vision.
Water- This is a great ways to spruce up your day, add a mobile free standing waterfall or fountain. They’re easy to find or fabricate and a nice way to add some interest to your day. Both movement and the soothing sound can make a great centerpiece or back drop for images.
Earth- Use of dirt or clay may seem a little messy or on the rustic side of things but I’ve designed weddings that can easily incorporate this element and maintain an elegant flare. Line clear vessels with dirt, colored clay, or rock to give dimension to centerpieces. Use of planter boxes is also popular right now filled with dirt , rock and a variety of plants. They can be used as centerpieces or in longer planter boxes to create space, section areas ect. There are copious amounts of ways to spread your roots in fertile ground!
Wind- I know what you might be thinking: Using industrial fans to blow your guests away? In reality, spots all around San Diego have nice and breezy venues. These spots are amazing for guests that are not acclimated to the San Diegan heat in the summers, and gentle winds are more kinder on the hair than you think ladies! Fresh ocean air breezing through your reception, really adds a substantial value to your day!
Fire- This is going to be the most tricky one to include and is a very venue-based decision. Small fire pits or fireplaces can be bought or rented. Of course candles are an easy way to get the heat going and even torches. One of my favorite examples was one of my clients first met at a bon fire so they incorporated candles and outdoor brazers on their special day. You can always go faux torch or candles if live flame is out of the question.
These are just a few ways to add elements to your day. Call me if you’re looking for any other ideas or concepts- They sky is the limit!
Earlier this month, we had the distinct pleasure of catering the first private event at a new venue in Coronado called The Coronado Club Room, for the wedding of a lovely and beautiful couple, Arran and Lucy. After guests walked to the venue from the beach ceremony in Coronado, guests enjoyed gourmet hors d’oeuvres and a full bar with a specialty cocktail of blood orange and champagne.
The menu included delectable items like spicy shrimp gazpacho shooters, mini filet wellingtons with a horseradish crème fraiche, and goat cheese and chorizo quesadillas with a chipotle aioli. Pow Wow Vintage Rentals provided beautiful wooden tables and chairs with décor to add an intimate and heavenly element to the wedding. Guests were entertained by the classic rock styling of Ron’s Garage Band.
The architectural and modern space has gorgeous views of the Coronado Bay and Bridge and perfect for a party of 75 people or less. It includes some basic equipment rentals, likes tables and chairs, provided via the Coronado Community Center. The venue is located at 1985 Strand Way, and events can only be booked on Saturdays until 3pm or all day on Sundays. For more information, don’t hesitate to call one of The Abbey Catering’s event consultants at (888) 238-0949.
Two strong factors can present obstacles for selecting that perfect garden venue for your wedding reception. The first being inflexibility on dates & availability. The other being that most of San Diego’s wedding venues book 12-14 months prior to the wedding date. With other brides gunning for your perfect venue, if you don’t plan ahead, it becomes a very stressful endeavor. So if your time line doesn’t enable you to book your outdoor venue, here are some great ways to bring the outdoors inside!
1. It seems pretty simple but your centerpieces-wildflowers or even roses to can create a garden theme. Over sized centerpieces are a great way to add all those outdoor colors to your table side.
2. Succulents-Very popular last year and still going strong. There are a variety of colors & shapes of this very hearty plant and they make great arrangements and can be used as accents. The great thing is your guests can take them home regardless of a lack of a green thumb, would be hard-pressed to kill them.
3. Live Plants & Trees- Renting or buying potted plants or trees , even hedges can really spruce up your ceremony & reception. You can use them to create spaces while still looking dynamic. If you rent them you don’t have the hassle of lugging them back & forth but if purchased, you can recycle them or gift them to your guests.
4. Moss or Grass Installations-Moss can be used as an accompaniment to arrangements or in border boxes to the room or on auxiliary tables. Grass can boxed in cubes and used to create intricate designs on the floor of your hall or ballroom or even on your ceremony isle.
5. Edible Floral- Bring your garden theme to your food & beverage. Any noteworthy San Diego caterer can give you tons of options for integrating edible floral into appetizers, entrees, or craft cocktails.
Finding the right elements to add to your San Diego wedding or private event can be tricky, since it can be a constant battle between selecting something that is unique, fits your vision, and doesn’t break the bank. Here are some ideas that may be silly and even a little flamboyant, but are sure to wow your guests:
• Instead of a DJ or band, hire a choir or chorus to provide some entertainment for your wedding. What could be more grand or campy than that? They could provide music for everything from the pre-ceremony to your first dance. Here’s a visual: think of Stanford and Anthony’s wedding in the movie, “Sex & The City 2″.
• At a wedding, the sound of glasses clinking is always the cue for the newlyweds to kiss. Why not even the playing field a bit by calling out other married couples throughout the dinner to kiss in front of everyone as well?
• When you’re sending out your wedding invitations, ask guests to write a song that will get them out of their seat to dance. At the right time, play those songs and make the guests get on the dance floor and break out their best moves.
• Station a search light outside your venue to bring attention to the wedding or private event, like a big Hollywood movie premiere. That will definitely bring attention to your event and have passersby wondering, “What’s going on there and why wasn’t I invited?”
• Although it may be more appropriate during a cocktail party, organize a scavenger hunt at a rehearsal dinner or corporate function to provide an interactive element and encourage guests to mingle. Some of the items on the scavenger hunt should encourage people to talk to one another, like having to find three people with the same initial as your first name or revealing people’s special or odd talents. Get creative and have with it!
• Finding the perfect wedding favor may seem impossible, but what do you get those VIP wedding guests, like your best man or maid of honor? Depending on their taste, consider gifting them a monthly subscription to a book, beer, or wine club, or go with a subscription with companies like Birchbox (http://www.birchbox.com). With every monthly Birchbox, your friend will receive a selection of beauty, grooming, and lifestyle-related samples from various companies. As a Birchbox member myself, I always look forward to what my box is going to contain each month. This month, I received everything from lip balm to a canvas grilling apron.
CNN did an amazing exert on wedding etiquette questions and asked them to some famous wedding planners. Here are some of the best questions asked:
CNN: When it comes to weddings, it seems like everyone has an opinion, from mothers to mothers-in-law to friends and sisters. Unfortunately, those “brilliant” ideas often do not fit in with the type of celebration that the bride and groom envision. How do you suggest that couples politely decline well-meaning suggestions about what they “must do” or “must have” to make their wedding perfect?
Steven Petrow: Make sure both members of the couple are on the same page. It’s called “the power of two” and makes it much easier for a bride to say to her mother, “James and I had another idea for the centerpieces.” It can also be helpful to assign specific tasks especially to a mother-in-law and mother-of-the-bride to help them feel a part of the planning and yet keep their focus narrow.
Remember, very few brides will get away without accepting some well-meaning suggestions. It’s the art of compromise, and it will get you off to a good start with your new family.
Interestingly, for same-sex couples this is much less of a problem since a large majority (86% according to a recent Advocate survey) of gay couples plan and pay for their own nuptials. Family members are also less likely to be as involved in the wedding as a result. That’s one way to tame a Bridezilla MOB to be.
Southern Weddings: Smile sweetly, and thank them graciously. Perhaps try this line: “Well, bless your heart — thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. We’ll definitely take that into consideration.”
CNN:Managing the guest list is typically one of the most challenging aspects of wedding planning. What is the best way to inform guests that they are not welcome to bring a plus-one or their children to your reception?
Lizzie Post: If you don’t speak up, you run the risk of upsetting others who did follow the rules. When you get the RSVP, call them and say, “Jane, there might have been some confusion — the invitation was for you and Bob only. We chose to have this be an adults only reception; I hope this doesn’t cause too much inconvenience.”
Think ahead of time about the people you are inviting. Should you have a babysitter at the wedding for guests with young children so their parents can travel with them? It is really important for guests to respect that “no kids” means no kids, not even infants.
If guests are unsure about whether it is OK to bring their baby, they can call and say that they are not yet comfortable traveling without the baby. That gives the host a chance to either say that it is OK to bring the baby or to say “We understand; we will miss you at the wedding.
Randy Fenoli: It should be clearly stated on the invitation: This invite is for one guest only and we love children, but we have decided to have a grown-ups only wedding. You should always be polite, but firm.
CNN:What advice do you give to a couple whose relatives do not support their union — whether it is a same-sex union, a matter of religious differences or some other issue?
Randy Fenoli: Every family situation is different and should be approached accordingly. For me, if someone didn’t support me, or the partner I choose to be with, why would I want him or her at my wedding? Invite people who genuinely love and support you. It’s far better to have an intimate wedding than a huge wedding filled with people who aren’t supportive.
Steven Petrow: Because weddings are about new beginnings I generally urge gay couples to take the high road and invite family members, even if they don’t support your relationship because you’re a same-sex couple.
One of the most effective things is to talk directly with any disapproving relatives, as a couple, about your love for each other, the commitment you’re making and your ceremony plans. Take the time to explain why marriage matters to you: because it makes for stronger families, that you’ll become eligible for federal and/or state benefits or that you want to affirm your relationship before your loved ones.
It takes an awfully cold-hearted person to sit through a wedding ceremony and not be moved — if not to tears, at least to acceptance. Consider this a unique opportunity to change some hearts and minds.
CNN: One of the most commonly asked wedding etiquette questions is: “How can we politely request cash gifts?” What’s your advice to the couple who already has all the toasters they could ever need?
Southern Weddings: It’s never considered in good taste for the couple themselves to offer gift preferences, unless asked directly, so make sure your closest friends and family know your wishes. Guests are more willing to give cash when they know what it’s going toward, as in: “Emily and John are saving for a down payment on a house, and would be so grateful to have your help.”
Steven Petrow: “High manners” still generally frowns on the notion of “pay for play” weddings, even though it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for and receive a cash gift in some communities and ethnic groups. Still, plenty of workarounds exist to avoid getting an excess of toasters.
Feel free to tell those in your wedding party or other close relatives that you prefer dollars to doilies and that, if asked, they should relay your wishes. There are also honeymoon registries, which make it possible for guests to contribute to a fund; their gift might be one night at the hotel or an adventure outing (sea kayaking, anyone?)
Many same-sex couples, marrying after many years together and with too much stuff, are forgoing gifts altogether and politely suggesting to their guests that donations be made to a marriage equality organization, like Freedom to Marry.
CNN: Who should get the most say in which wedding gown to buy — the bride or her mother? And does that change depending on which one of them is paying for the dress?
Randy Fenoli: I work for the bride, so when this problem arises, I ask the mother, “Who picked out your wedding dress?” If she did, then I tell her it’s time to let her daughter pick out hers. If her mother did, I ask her how she felt about that.
If this doesn’t work, I ask her who is choosing her mother of the bride gown, or how would she feel wearing a garment she didn’t like on the most important day of her life.
If all these tactics fail, I simply turn to the mother with a smile on my face and say, “I’m sure like any parent, all you truly want is for your daughter to be happy.”
Lizzie Post: It is a discussion you need to have before you go shopping. If your ideas are too far apart, thank you mother for her offer to pay for the dress, and then say that you have decided to take care of it yourself. You may still wish to invite her to come shopping for the wedding gown with you.
CNN: What is your best advice for couples about choosing the people who will stand up with them at their wedding?
Lizzie Post: Take everything into account. Who is really important to you? Look at family first. Also reach across the aisle to the family you are going to be joining; you may wish to invite your future sisters-in-law to be bridesmaids.
Do not get carried away choosing your bridal party; keep it simple and remember that you can always find other special jobs and other ways to include friends who are not bridesmaids. Sometimes it is best to limit your bridal party to just family to keep the size reasonable. It is also OK not to have attendants at all.
Southern Weddings: Think about your past, present and future. It’s tempting to choose your childhood friends for sentimental reasons, even if you’re not close to them anymore, but a newer friend might be a more meaningful choice if you can see them standing beside you long into the future.
For any tips or advice ask us at The Abbey Catering & Event Design!