Creating Your Food Wedding Budget without Breaking the Bank

Everyone dreams of the perfect wedding. We all want our guest to enjoy themselves and rant and rave about how it was the best wedding ever! We generally have dreams of magnificent ice sculptures, unlimited food and alcohol. Then the bill comes and we snap back into reality. Don’t worry, the wedding of your dreams can and will come to life all while respecting your budget. There are many ways to be frugal, especially in the food and drinks department. Don’t shy away from your creative side.

The last wedding I attended had heavy self serve appetizers instead of the hefty cost for plates of filet Mignon per person. They displayed a variety of things such as salads, meat and mini tacos. They even had pepper steak and rice in the cutest Chinese cartons.(They even came with chopsticks.) It was fun, creative and guests loved it.

Instead of doing an open bar for 5 hours, why not consider shortening it down to 3 hours. Serve a few wine options, beer options and well liquor. This will allow your guests to still enjoy cocktails and you save a few dollars. Of course you must have dessert. Cupcake Towers are more popular then ever! You can do traditional yellow cake, chocolate cake or red velvet. This way you can mix up flavors, they even have chicken and waffle cupcakes! (If your into that.)

So for creative ways of entertaining your guests in the food department you may want to check out:
http://www.mirassou.com/education/wedding/tips/wedding-tips-from-aida.asp

The Modern Day San Diego- A Desert Blist

As I make my way to the Amtrak station in Los Angeles, California, given that I only have 2 days off before my next job.  I figured why not visit our amazing celebrity Chef Rodney LoveJones in San Diego.  What could it hurt?  The train ride, round trip, was only a meager $74.00 U.S dollars.  

As I made my way to my seat, with my one suitcase, with what I deemed necessary for the short visit.  The conductor quickly helped me with my luggage. I was happy to see there were plugs so that I can charge my electronic devices that I most definitely can’t do without.  To my pleasant surprise it had free WIFI, so double bingo for me.  The ride was approximately three hours each way.  It would give me the opportunity to catch up on some notes and gather my thoughts.

The seats were quite spacious and comfortable, it would be Business class on an aircraft if I were on a plane.  It was fully equipped with a snack car should I became in need of some refreshments.  So I was all set.

To my pleasant surprise the station was absolutely magnificent, prestine.  The streets were equally clean and quite lovely.  Chef LoveJones, being the gentlemen that he is greeted me with flowers and an embrace.  At that exact moment I knew this journey would be everything I could imagine.

He showed me the downtown area of San Diego-Old Town.  The local businesses, the hotels, the restaurants just beautiful.  After getting a brief tour of the area he took me to his kitchen and began to whip me something in his kitchen.  The food was divine, pasta and vegetables served with white wine, in less then 30 minutes. After enjoying this enchanted moment, I fell asleep in total satisfaction and excited about what tomorrow already promised to bring.

For breakfast  we drove to his establishment where he is the General Manager, 2Good2B, Gluten Free bakery that promises to awaken your taste buds.  The teas, the muffins, the quiches, all freshly made right on the premises. They cater weddings and also do wedding cakes, desserts and appetizers that would definitely suit your wedding needs.  

As an accomplished Chef, Rodney LoveJones, has fed the likes of Presidents, celebrities, models and now me.  So to plan a wedding menu for him is effortless.

He later continued my tour of San Diego by showing me the parks, the art district, and the San Diego beaches, at night I might add.  The view was breath taking.  The tree lined streets, the shopping, art, architecture was definitely an experience for me.  The shops in what may come to be my favorite spot in San Diego, Solo- Salana Beach was like heaven for me as a book lover. Great gifts for your guests and wedding party.

The next day a friend called and met me for lunch and took me to experience one of the towns quaint restaurant, Thyme. The food was also divine.  The setting cozy and comfortable like visiting my mothers home.  Across the street lays The Inn At Ranch Santa Fe. This historical property sits in the heart of the small town.

If you are a lover of small quaint, artsy and chic.  Santa Fe may be the spot for you.  From The Rancho Santa Fe Golf Course, Live Music, I guarantee you will not be disappointed.  You will be in honeymoon bliss.  Should you decide to actually host your wedding in the small town of wonderful historical sights you and your guests will sure to have many memorable moments.

For more information on the great things to do in San Diego, please visit: http://www.sandiego.org.  Bon Voyage.

The Business Of Hospitality- Dubai Ramada Plaza Visit

“You can’t please everyone.” We’ve all heard these words since childhood. As adults we need to believe them to survive the harsh competition and to find success in our field.

While pleasing everyone may not be my ultimate goal, for a hotel franchise as large as Ramada the very theory can and will destroy a business while simultaneously killing an economy if ignored.

In this new age of technology the options for travel are endless. With over a hundred sites to help you buy tickets and reserve hotel rooms from cheap stays to the royal treatment, you are bound to craft a journey specific to you and businesses will need to cater to your needs.

We caught up with the managing director of Ramada Plaza Jumeirah Beach Residence, JBR, Terak Hayder, who shared with us the three formulas of building a successful hotel stay for your guests.

THE FIRST IMPRESSION

The red carpet treatment upon arrival was an understatement. From the moment we arrived our every needs were met. The location is conveniently located within a five-minute walk to the beach and easily connects to a private pool on property. The streets nearby are nothing short of a restaurant mecca. And the hotel itself is equipped with a wig spa, three restaurants and a bar that provided entertainment, both live and stemming from a jukebox that contained variety of tunes.

WINING AND DINING

The hotel is armed with the capability to host not only meetings or luncheons but entire weddings. Guests can choose to enjoy the magnificent city view from a private, intimate setting of 30 all the way up to parties of 160.

The selling point of the restaurant lies within its renowned executive chef whom I promise will not disappoint. This French born food artist is not only charming and pleasing to the eyes ladies, he also has that appetizing French accent that will definitely make an impression in the beginning of your experience for your occasion. The wait staff of women is equally as beautiful and accommodating.

CUSTOMER SERVICE

As always, I am a stickler for manners and customer service. With the exception of the shortage of front desk help that made check-in a bit slow, the offering of refreshments and acknowledgement of your presence makes it tolerable. But I guess when your hotel is at full capacity that may be not such a bad problem to have.

I don’t remember ever pressing a button once we were on the elevator. Security personnel on each main elevator were there to assist me the entire time and I was definitely spoiled.

The hotel staff serves complementary breakfast, snacks, and happy hour beverages to preferred customers leaving nothing to complain about. Except for maybe gaining too much weight after the constant eating you will be doing. Hunger calls at 4am? There is someone in the kitchen ready to serve you. Bon Appetit!

The hotel room itself and the view more then made up for any discomfort experienced at check-in. The property provides parking and a concierge desk for all your needs. There is even a shop for souvenirs and small needs.

So maybe you can please just about everyone. Or come darn close to it.

Victorian Style, But Jamaican Hospitality


Through the years, we have suggested some of the most amazing places for brides to host various events while planning their nuptials.   From grand spaces such as the Plaza Hotel, The May Fair Hotel in London, to Bedford Stuyvesant Brooklyn New York ,The Victorian.

We had the honor of sharing a meal with the owner Claudia Moran, and the one and only Marc Baptiste joined us as we toured this amazing space.  It felt just right.  The energy, the home away from home feeling that your grandmother made you feel as you sat down in her kitchen as she cooked your favorite dish. 

It was warm watching the legendary Marc Baptiste converse with this elegant lady of style.  Claudia Moran, shared with the wonderful history of this 120 year old mansion that she took on with love.  This old Victorian decorated  mansion was fully furnished with furniture from her antique boutique that she once owned, filled with treasures of everyone’s great grandmothers soulful spirit.

As we awaited her company a guest rang the bell to book this lovely space to celebrate life, love and great company.  Love is definitely in the air of this amazing space.

Eat and Be Marry

Weddings, holiday, any form of celebration often involves food and spirits.  Food seems to be the universal language for celebration.   

For a wedding celebration how does one go about selecting their menu.  What do you base your choices on, your personal preference or that of your guests.  We suggest you do keep your guests in mind its the hospitable thing to do.   

Usually a caterer will offer tastings for you to sample by appointments for a small fee.  It is then you should ask all your questions.   Budget? Setup? Delivery? Cleanup?

We went to some great resturantes in the New York City area, Thai Restaurant in the Williamsburg Brooklyn area.  When dinning for any reason these are the opportunities you should take to think about your wedding menu.

We went to the book release of one of our favorite caterers Nadege Fleurimond.  This Haitian soul cooks to feed the soul.  From the rich spicy island of the Caribbean your mouth is sure to water as you can’t but devour the delicious dishes prepared for you.  This lovely person comes from a family that loves to feed the human spirit.  Haitian culturally believe in feed the soul to reach the heart.   Go to any Haitian home and the first thing they want to do is feed you.  It is no wonder that Nadege became a chef.  Now this renown Haitian  chef shares her story of love of food and family with you and draws you into her world of food.  Bon Appetite!

Breafast Inn Bed

Edible Flower Breakfasts
by Vivian Perez
 
        Many bed and breakfast innkeepers/chefs create edible flower breakfast signature dishes by experimentation.These specialty recipes are uniquely made with edible flowers such as cherry blossoms, marigolds, calendula, sunflowers, and chive blossoms. Innkeepers have a desire to create a new recipe that is different than other inn recipes and the ingredients will vary from dish to dish.The AppleBlossom Inn in Ahwahnee, California has a beautiful apple orchard with 90 apple trees. Once the apples fall from the trees, Candy Apple Arthur gathers them and proceeds to make the apple recipes throughout the year. When Candy serves the Apple Blossom Pancakes with bacon bits. Customers say,”Candy, this is the best meal of my entire life.” Candy said “Everyone, especially the children love the flower shaped pancakes.” Apple blossoms have a floral flavor and aroma with a touch of sweetness plus they are rich in antioxidants. 
     When Candice Anne Arthur bought the Apple Blossom Inn, she wanted to set herself apart from the other inns by serving a unique breakfast featuring the inn’s name and theme. It was a natural progression for Candy to experiment with many recipes before creating the best ones. The most popular breakfasts served at the Apple Blossom Inn are the Apple Blossom Pancakes, Candy Apple French Toast, Banana Blossom Waffles, and Candy Apple French Toast Bake. Candy finds the simple pleasures of life when she introduces a new breakfast recipe. As a child, Candy didn’t want an Easy Bake Oven, she wanted real cooking utensils instead. She loved the Betty Crocker books which gave Candy her start in the kitchen. The Apple Blossom Inn guest rooms are called the Blossom Room, Granny Smith Room, and the Red Delicious Room Suite is located in the Carriage House. The Carriage House has two bedrooms, a VCR and television, and full beds and it can accomodate small families.
 
 
       During the spring time, the orange blossoms begin to bloom in the State of Virginia displaying a spectacular beauty.  
 Eating breakfast at the L’Auberge Provencale Bed and Breakfast Country Inn and Restaurant is a delicious experience. Executive Chef Alain Borel prepares a wonderful Orange Blossom Waffles with mangos and nutmeg cream recipe. Guests think it is a true delight to taste the orange blossoms. The Orange Blossom Waffles are made with real orange blossom water. Customers say,”This is an unbelievable breakfast. It is full of flavor!” Celeste Borel is the innkeeper at the L’Auberge Provencale Bed and Breakfast who sees to the guests and the operation of the inn. “We also grow hyssop at theinn for our hyssop sorbet.”says Celeste Borel. Hyssop is a herb with a minty taste used in culinary purposes and it is known as the holy herb used in ancient times. A few benefits to eating hyssop is it helps regulate blood pressure and it reduces indigestion too. The 11 rooms at the inn have special theme names in French with a English translation. For instance, the La Suite Enchanteuse (The Enchanting Suite) is a charming French Country style room and the La Chambre Accueillante (The Welcoming Suite) is decorated with a bright soothing color displaying the natural hues of spring. 
 
 

Venue Fit for a Queen

WBM and May Fair RepIMG_2681

Private Casino RoomAmazingIMG_2654IMG_2672

IMG_2657Beauty Spa StaffIMG_2655

Location, location, location.  When planning your wedding it may not be easy to find the space, let alone the perfect space, that may be even more challenging.

But it doesn’t necessarily have to be if you take some of the following things into consideration:

Personality of both you and your beloved

The amount of guests expected

The theme of the wedding

Then of course budget

Due to the economy one might find it more practical to find a space that can accommodate everything, wedding ceremony and reception.  We went a step further and found a space that not only set the tone for some of the worlds most royal personalities but can be the most amazing quarters for your traveling guests.  The May Fair Hotel, Stratton Street, London, W1J 8LT, United Kingdom.

It was during our visit to the UK to cover Fashion Week, our director of events recommended we host our International launch party to the European market.   We decided to visit this amazing structure of a place, which is not only breath taking from the lobby up, the ambiance is magnificent, the staff charming and the executives “Amazing”.  Hospitality, great customer service is “Priceless”.  Regardless of what direction the economy is going  no one should compromise courtesy, and proper etiquette.

Mayfair is an up-market, yet discreet location, in the heart of London’s West End. Often referred to as ‘London’s luxury quarter’, The May Fair 5 star luxury Hotel is moments from London’s chicest shopping areas, Bond Street, and just a few minutes’ walk from the equally famous Regent Street. Some of London’s most beautiful green spaces are also on your doorstep, with Green Park a two minute walk from the luxury hotel and Hyde Park, no more than a ten minute stroll.

As we shuffled down London’s tube to get to the May Fair Hotel from our modest hotel which was also charming in its own rights.  The lobby was breath taking as we walked into the modernly decorated sleek space.  The guests were just as beautiful as the space itself.   The mixed cultured staff were brilliant.  The decor breathtaking.  The art work fit for a museum. From their Crystal Ball Room, Casino, Spa, and “AMAZING” Bar Restaurant you won’t go wrong. The food, there are no words that can describe how we salivated over the menu, the table service was unbelievable. Drinks monumental -Mojito , mojito ahhhhh.  I guarantee it.

For brides living in the UK area it is imperative that the May Fair Hotel is on the top of your list of venues to consider.  With the various space that the Hotel has you won’t go wrong.

For further information and other May Fair property please visit www.themayfairhotel.co.uk/home.