Eco-Friendly Ideas on Food and Catering

June 24th, 2013
Mmm:  An organic, local cheese tray.  Photo by Magical Moments Photography.

Mmm: An organic, local cheese tray. Photo by Magical Moments Photography.

Your food choices every day have an environmental impact, but they have an even larger one when you entertain guests. Here are a few ideas for how to green your special event’s food and beverages.

The most environmentally friendly choice is to serve food and drink from local sources. It is also important to serve organic food and drink, where it is available. Meat, dairy products, and eggs have more adverse environmental consequences than fruits and vegetables.

A truly sustainable meal is an organic, local, vegan meal, but that is not the only choice! Opting for organic, local food, including meat or fish, will provide your guests with a tasty meal that has a lesser environmental impact than a meal that is trucked in from distant conventional farms.  Choosing either organic or local is also a way to make your celebration more sustainable.

Whatever you serve, arrange to have the leftovers picked up by the local food bank instead of going into the trash. Check your local ordinances first, though.  Not every municipality permits re-serving of prepared food.

Greening your meal is easiest if you can choose a caterer who will make environmentally friendly choices. If the caterer composts food waste and recycles as much as possible, that will have a positive effect. Also, consider renting dishes instead of using disposables and finding a rental company close to your event location to minimize trucking time. If you must use disposables, use compostable disposables and be sure that they are composted afterwards. And you can reduce waste and save money at the same time by serving beer in returnable kegs instead of in bottles or cans.

Who Decides?

June 17th, 2013
How many decisions were made to end up here?  Photo by Magical Moments Photography.

How many decisions were made to end up here? Photo by Magical Moments Photography.

Planning a wedding means  making a lot of decisions.  Where will the wedding be? When? Who will be invited? Who will officiate? Will it be a religious wedding? And on and on, down to the color of the dinner napkins.

Planning a wedding also means that a lot of people will be interested in the decisions that you make.  Outside of the bride and groom, families–and sometimes friends–have an interest in what you decide.  Some of them will encourage or pressure you to make the decision that they want, even if it is not what you want.

Weddings are also very emotional times and those same friends and family members who wish you well can sometimes let their feelings run away with them.  What is the best way to handle this situation?

The question I like to ask is this:  Is it more important to get what you want?  Or is it more important to preserve relationships?  Sometimes you have to choose.  I think it is usually more important to preserve relationships.  But in each situation, you will have to decide.  Is this person more important than having things my way?  Is there a compromise that can do both?

Planning a wedding can be full of emotional traps.  It’s always good to be prepared.

Vendors I Know: Traveling Photo Booth

June 10th, 2013
Here are some guests enjoying themselves in the Traveling Photo Booth.  Photo by Light on Life Images.

Here are some guests enjoying themselves in the Traveling Photo Booth. Photo by Light on Life Images.

Photo booths are all the rage at weddings these days.  People seem to love them!  At a recent wedding, I worked with the nice folks from Traveling Photo Booth.

The things I think are important in a vendor such as a photo booth are actually pretty simple:  Is their equipment right for the job?  Do they show up on time?  Is their staff friendly, knowledgeable, and polite?

On all three counts, this company scored 100%.  They arrived when they said they would and unloaded quickly.  They got extra points for that, as there was very limited loading space.  They set up and were ready to go when they were needed.  The equipment was clean and high tech.  They kept the crowd happy with their photos all evening.  The staff was very accommodating.  And they loaded out and left without a fuss. I would definitely recommend them again.

Why Should I Hire a Day-Of Wedding Coordinator?

June 3rd, 2013

I am asked sometimes why anyone should hire a wedding planner.

Beautiful wedding day.  Photo by Magical Moments Photography.

Beautiful wedding day. Photo by Magical Moments Photography.

After all, you can probably do all the planning yourself. With some time, a few organizational skills, and the ability to see the project through, you can plan your wedding by yourself. Of course, it is a large job that takes a lot of time and attention. Most people find the process momentarily frustrating. At the same time, it can be very rewarding. You might even find that it is a lot of fun.

On the other hand, when it comes to day-of wedding coordination, almost everyone needs someone to do the job. In the past when brides were typically younger, the mother of the bride often took care of the coordinating. Sometimes the Maid of Honor does all the work.  These days, though, most couples want to allow their families and friends to enjoy the wedding day and not have to deal with the details.

Even if your wedding is simple and straightforward, if you hire a day-of coordinator, you are also hiring a professional consultant who can help you with the planning. When I am working with a couple, I tell them that once they hire me, they can call me or send me an e-mail any time if they need guidance or a vendor referral or just someone to bounce an idea off of. My function is to make sure that the wedding goes smoothly, and that means that I start working toward that goal as soon as I am hired. If I can prevent costly mistakes or solve a problem months in advance, then I am doing my job as day-of coordinator.

Also, I have resources that you might not have.  Especially if your wedding is non-traditional or if you want to make sure it is environmentally friendly, I have access to vendors and other resources that you might not know about.

Maybe you have been to a wedding and thought it all went so smoothly that there was no need for a coordinator. That is actually the highest compliment you can pay to a day-of wedding coordinator. From the point of view of the guests, it should all look effortless, and that means that someone has put all the details together into a beautiful wedding day.