Re-run: DIY Weddings–Catering

July 28th, 2014

Ready for more on DIY?  Here you go!

Of all the things you might want to do yourself for your wedding, the one I would recommend against without hesitation is catering your wedding reception yourself.  You might think this would be obvious, but I have talked to people who thought they could do it.

Did I mention that presentation is a professional catering skill?  Photo courtesy of Artisan Events.

Did I mention that presentation is a professional catering skill? Photo courtesy of Artisan Events.

I have actually heard of self-catered weddings that were pulled off with a lot of help from friends and family.  I know it can be done, especially if there are people with special skills involved.  So, I won’t say you should never, ever do it.  I’m just going to give you a lot of reasons not to.

Caterers do a lot more than cook in quantity.  They also manage the kitchen; order and return rental items; keep the food (and so your reception) on schedule; hire and manage serving and bar staff; set up tables, chairs, and linens; set the tables; and clean up and take the garbage out.  Caterers also have food sanitation licenses, meaning there is a low probability of spoiled food or food poisoning from their kitchens.  They know how much ice to buy and bring.  Some of them own serving equipment that they provide at no charge.   And that is just the minimum of what a professional caterer has to offer.

On your wedding day, you are going to be very much occupied with, first, getting married.  Second, you will want to spend as much time as possible greeting your guests.  You’ll probably also want to have your photograph taken with many of your friends and family, not to mention with your spouse.  These things will take up most of your day, leaving you no time to be the caterer at your own wedding.

I would say that unless you are able to provide everything a caterer brings to the table, and unless you can also delegate all the catering on the wedding day to a trusted party, hire a professional and save cooking for a crowd for another day.

Another Backyard Wedding

July 21st, 2014

Remember when I said that backyard weddings seem to be a trend?  Well, here are photos of one I coordinated recently.  The amazing thing about this wedding was how much of it was put together by people close to the bride and groom.  While it was a very personal wedding day, there was nothing about it that was anything but classy and well done.

The bride's bouquet and the bouquets for the mothers are ready for the processional.

The bride's bouquet and the bouquets for the mothers are ready for the processional.

The garden was exquisitely prepared for the ceremony.

The garden was exquisitely prepared for the ceremony.

Here's a side view of the area for the ceremony.

Here's a side view of the area for the ceremony.

A talented friend of the family created flower displays for the yard, including this one along the walkway.

A talented friend of the family created flower displays for the yard, including this one along the walkway.

These flowers adorned the back steps leading to the yard.

These flowers adorned the back steps leading to the yard.

After the ceremony, there was a toast and time for the guests to mingle before heading off to the reception.

After the ceremony, there was a toast and time for the guests to mingle before heading off to the reception.

The reception proper was at SPACE in Evanston, a perfect place for a dance party reception.

Re-run: DIY Weddings–Music

July 14th, 2014

Here’s another post on DIY weddings from a couple of years ago.  Enjoy!

After decor (which I’ll talk about in a few weeks), the most frequent kind of DIY I see at weddings is in the music.  I have coordinated many weddings where all the music was provided by a laptop or MP3 player.  At the risk of alienating my musician and DJ friends, I have to say that this is one area where you can get away with doing it yourself.  But there are definitely things to be aware of if this is your plan.

The important thing is that everyone is having a good time.  Photo by Magical Moments Photography.

The important thing is that everyone is having a good time. Photo by Magical Moments Photography.

A professional DJ or band brings to your wedding two very large advantages:  a sound system and a Master of Ceremonies.  These things can be arranged for otherwise, but by paying professionals you are also obtaining these two important things.

Sound systems can be rented (for a price), but you also need someone to set up and run the sound system.  You will have to put in a good bit of time in advance making play lists.  And someone needs to press “play” on the MP3 player.  The biggest drawback of DIY music is that the play lists are all made in advance and they can’t respond to the mood on the dance floor the way a DJ can.  They also can’t get dancers on the floor and get the party going if that is what is needed.

You might have a friend who is an appropriate choice for MC.  You will need someone to make announcements at your wedding.  Typical announcements include:  introducing the bridal party; announcing the cake cutting; introducing those who are making toasts; announcing the bouquet and garter tosses; and any other important events that happen at the reception.  If you have a friend act as MC, it might be important to impress upon her or him the necessity of remaining fairly sober until all the announcements have been made.

DIY music is definitely a viable option for your wedding reception.  (And don’t overlook another way to do it yourself:  If you have musician friends, ask if they can play for the ceremony or the reception.)  As with any kind of DIY project, it requires forethought and planning and some extra time to make it happen.

Forest Preserve Wedding

July 7th, 2014

I had a fun one recently:  a wedding in the forest preserve–and a big, old rainstorm.  Fortunately, it all turned out well.

The welcome table at the ceremony set the tone: hand-made, offbeat, colorful, and fun.

The welcome table at the ceremony set the tone: hand-made, offbeat, colorful, and fun.

The bride had made about a hundred pom-poms on sticks to line the driveway to the picnic shelter.

The bride had made about a hundred pom-poms on sticks to line the driveway to the picnic shelter.

Home-made banner garland hung on the backs of the vintage chairs.

Home-made banner garland hung on the backs of the vintage chairs.

Inside the picnic shelter, there were more colorful decorations.

Inside the picnic shelter, there were more colorful decorations.

And more garland hung from the roof.

And more garland hung from the roof.

Here's the cake table, with photos of the couple hanging behind it.

Here's the cake table, with photos of the couple hanging behind it.

Here's a close-up of the flowers on the cake table.

Here's a close-up of the flowers on the cake table.

On the patio, there was more vintage furniture.

On the patio, there was more vintage furniture, creating a pleasant lounge area.

There were also games on the patio.

There were also games on the patio.

Inside the tent, the picnic tables were set up for eating, once the food trucks arrived.

Inside the tent, the picnic tables were set up for eating, once the food trucks arrived.

Everything was going wonderfully:  There was beautiful sunshine for the ceremony; the food trucks (tacos and gelato) kept everyone fed; the cake had been cut; and the guests were starting to trickle out.  And then….

The skies opened up!

The skies opened up!

It rained and blew for about 40 minutes.

It rained and blew for about 40 minutes.

After about two inches of rain had come down, the sky cleared.  The rest of the guests were able to leave, and everyone agreed it had been an exciting day.