Tasting the Menu

November 14, 2010

Oh, poor neglected wedding blog…

While there have been wedding things happening, I have not been very good at updating about them. We’re still on the hunt for a DJ and an officiant. I am desperately seeking shoes. And we still need to make a decision about which of our engagement photos to use for our ‘Save the Date’ cards.

But we did check one thing off our list. Last night we took the train up to Beacon for a tasting at our venue. We’re still 11 months away, but I wanted to make sure we got to taste everything in season. One of the things we liked about our location was that they use local, in season fruits and vegetables. Combine that with a Culinary Institute chef and owner.. Well, needless to say, I wasn’t worried about the food!

The tasting actually took place while a wedding was going on, so we were able to taste the food as they were made in bulk. There were plenty of appetizer options. I think the most appealing thing for me was that there were a bunch of options that I don’t think I’d seen at other weddings. Obviously, there were deviled eggs and bruschetta. But we also had a chicken empanada that was delicious, some cheese puffs, an aioli tart thing. One of my big things for the appetizers is that I want to make sure that anything that’s not kosher is obviously not kosher. So, nothing will have pork or shrimp mixed in, unless it obviously looks like a shrimp or prosciutto. I just want to make it as easy as possible for my Jewish family and friends, so they don’t have to worry and ask about everything they eat.

The pasta appetizer that we had was probably the most delicious thing the whole night. It was a wild mushroom tortellini like pasta in a cream sauce that was to die for. And we all liked the salad as well. Rather than a plain old salad with greens and dressing, this had craisins and walnuts, which added a different dimension to the course.

We were able to try four different options for the main course, which seemed like a lot to me! The beef dish was very tender and cooked to a nice pink center, which was exciting, because usually, at weddings, caterers err on the side of over-cooked. The chicken was good, though I wished the sauce was a little bit more seasoned. I didn’t try the pork, but we won’t be serving pork as a main dish anyway. And Paul liked the bass. I’m not a huge fish fan, so I didn’t really care either way.

We definitely have decisions to make in the next few months to nail down our menu, but it was great to get an opportunity to see and taste everything ahead of time.


Two Big Items Checked Off!

August 18, 2010

Boy, have I been slacking here. Still about 14 months out from the wedding, but another two big items checked off the list.

A few weeks ago, we trekked up to Scarsdale, NY to meet with Kelly Vasami to photograph the wedding. On the way there, Paul and I were discussing the meeting and he said, “So, this shouldn’t take that long, right?” Two hours later… I think both of us are so excited to work with Kelly. The meeting lasted two hours, though a good fifteen minutes were spent playing with her adorable puppy, and we talked about everything. Every time I mentioned something I’d seen in wedding photography that I didn’t like, Kelly said, “I know!” I think we’re definitely on the same page in terms of what we’re looking for and I’m so excited to have her as part of our day.

There are two main reasons that Kelly’s work stood out to me so much. First was the way she captured color. I love bold colors. And one of the reasons we’re getting married in the fall is because I love all the colors of Autumn. I want to see those reflected in our wedding photography. The other thing I love about her work is the way she captures emotions. It’s not just about what happened when. It’s about how we were feeling during those moments and those are truly reflected in Kelly’s photographs.

We’re going to do an engagement session this fall in Prospect Park and I can’t wait.

The other big check mark is for my wedding dress! I bought my dress last week! And of course, by bought I mean I swiped my credit card for half the purchase price. Give it a few months for the dress to come in and I’ll pay off the dress and then it’s mine!

We went back to the same salon I had visited last, Birnbaum and Bullock. I worked with designer Robert Bullock again to narrow it down between two dresses. This time my mother, my sister, Julie, and maid of honor, Kelly, came along. This was my mom’s first time seeing me in a wedding dress.

To be perfectly honest, I already knew which dress I was going with. I had spent the last month or so thinking about one of the two dresses, but I wanted to see what Mom had to say. I tried on the one I was less enthusiastic about first. It got a good response, but when I put on the other one, there was no question about which dress was mine. The decision was immediate and unanimous. Everyone loved the second dress. I loved the second dress. And soon it shall be mine!

I think what I love most about it, besides the way it looks on, is that it’s visually stimulating. I think people will look at this dress twice and for a good reason. That’s all I’m going to write about it though. Paul knows where the wedding blog is!

I’m very excited though. Only 417 days to go! And no, I’m not counting. Wedding Wire does that for me!

This past Wednesday I ventured over to the New York magazine Wedding Event with my wonderful Maid of Honor, Kelly. It was my first foray into the world of bridal shows and it was definitely an interesting experience.

First and foremost, boy was it packed! We arrived at around 5:45, nearly 45 minutes into the event and we could hardly move!

There was definitely a variety throughout the event. There were lots of photographers, bakeries, invitation companies, florists, local venues and of course, bridal fashion retailers. Because I’m so early in my planning, I was mostly scoping out good ideas and find inspiration.

At the entrance there were dozens of dresses on display from designers and salons scattered around the floor. This was the first time I’d really gotten a chance to see wedding dresses up close and the sheer weight of the details was pretty astounding. I did notice from the start and as I was going through, the style I’m looking for in my dress is apparently not as popular right now. Many of the dresses on display were  pleated with lots of tulle ruffles. I’m definitely going for a more romantic, lacey vibe.

It was also really nice to get a chance to see some examples of veils, headpieces and jewelry. The Brideshead Revisited booth has a really lovely selection of combs and pins. I have no clue what I want to do with my hair, so I’ll definitely stop by their store in Manhattan for some ideas. Monvieve was also showing off some absolute stunning veils with amazing lacework from Milan, Italy. The veils were so delicate the booth attendants were wearing  white gloves to touch them! I don’t see myself in a floor length cathedral veil though. And I doubt one of those is anywhere near my meager veil budget.

One thing I was a little disappointed with was that there were so few bridesmaid dresses booths. The only three booths I saw were 57 Grand, TwoBirds Bridesmaid and J.Crew. (The participant list said Lela Rose was there as well, but while I saw the booth, I didn’t see any bridesmaid dresses on display.) I have been looking up a lot of different bridesmaid dress companies and was really hoping to get to see more of the dresses in person. I am definitely leaning more towards J.Crew though and not just because of the swag I got from them. More on that later.

Like I said, there were a lot of photographers showing off their work and it was interesting to see certain trends in wedding photography. Photojournalism and editorial photography are both really popular these days, so all the pictures you’d see were action or behind-the-scenes shots. Most of the photographers I spoke with are working entirely with digital these days, which showed in a lot of the photos. It’s much easier to manipulate the color in digital images, making for more dramatic pictures by fiddling with contrast.

Two other photo trends I saw, but wasn’t a big fan of were photos taken at a skewed angle and over use of sun or light flares. When you’re trying to capture an image in a different way, it’s great to get low and shoot up or shoot down, but actually tilting the camera and having the actual plane on an angle doesn’t really do it for me. And while light flares can create really interesting and sometimes magical photos, it’s an effect that definitely overused.

Looking over the work of so many photography did help me realize how important it is to me to find a photographer who can capture the atmostphere of the room. So many pictures had images of the dance floor that were obviously taken with flash and you really lose a sense of the space.

Most of the other booths were fun and interesting to look at, but I didn’t have much actual use for what they were selling. I’ve looked up a couple of the stationers that were at the event and their invitations are incredibly expensive. Add envelopes, RSVP cards, thank you notes and I could spend half my budget just on pieces of paper!

I don’t need a venue, caterer or cake, but boy was it fun tasting all that food! I will admit to having two to three mini cupcakes, but if I’m being honest, it very well could have been more.

And I have to say, while I do still need a DJ/band, I found very little appealing about the options on display on Wednesday.

There were a few booths that I actually really enjoyed seeing and may end up purchasing a few items from in the future. At the top of that list is definitely Annie’s Blue Ribbon General Store. Most of the stuff on display is fun little trinkets that would be great favors or welcome bag gifts, but the cutest was probably the Bridesmaid’s Survival Kit. It’s $20 for everything you might need to survive a wedding day as a bridesmaid. A great and affordable bridesmaid gift idea. And for all in one welcome baskets, there Sara’s Gracious Goodies NYC. Having a Long Island wedding? She’ll put together bags with local goodies for your guests.

Practically, I didn’t get too much out of the event. I won’t be using most of the services I saw or booking any of the vendors. Was it worth it though? Absolutely!

First of all, every booth had a raffle of some sort. Most of the photographers were raffling off free engagement sessions. Some of the spas were raffling off free massages and spa treatments. There were gift certificates for dinners at fancy restaurants. One of the bridesmaid booths was giving away a free dress, another jewelry booth was giving away free monogrammed necklaces. So far I haven’t won anything, but I entered a lot of them, so here’s hoping!

The other reason to go? Oh, the swag. I registered ahead of time, which entitled me to a gift bag from New York magazine. Along with information from many of the vendors, the bag was filled with chocolates, a bottle of perfume from the Body Shop, some lip stuff from Fresh, a small bottle of vodka (yes! vodka!), wedding tea and more goodies. There were also gift certificates for a free facial and a free pair of earrings, coupons for money off at bridal salons and spas. And wandering around, most of the booths were giving out fun little goodies. Chocolates were big, but I also got a cute ‘Bride’ button from someone, a small junk drive, some taffy and a bunch of other stuff. And the swag from J.Crew? A necklace! Really cute and very pretty. I didn’t see it on the website, so I’m not sure if it’s available for retail, but most of their jewelry is pretty pricey.

So, all in all, a very good experience. I will definitely be attending again next year and I definitely recommend it for any brides-to-be in the New York metro area. It was a lot of fun and totally worth the price of the ticket, which was $50 for two. Leave the fiance at home though. Trust me, he doesn’t want to be there for this.