Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market Wedding

We had the pleasure of catering a Wedding at the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market in mid-August. While the weather leading up to the big day was chilly, the sun came out and gave us PERFECT weather for the al fresco dining. The rustic canopy of the market rooftop gave the perfect covering, while it’s open walls offered 360 views of quirky Kerrytown.

The menu consisted of an assortment of gourmet platters, including antipasto, brie and fresh berries, thinly sliced beef, and a 4 cheese macaroni bake. The desserts were an assortment of small portioned cake shooters, allowing guests to sample multiple cakes. During events like this, it almost doesn’t even seem like work!

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Events Galore

 

 

We’ve had a busy (but fun) Summer, and it’s not even over yet. Rather than go into detail about each of the beautiful Wedding Ceremonies, University Banquets, Company Picnics, Unique Client Tastings,  Anniversaries, and Fun Plate Ups we’ve been a part of over the past few weeks, we decided to just show you what we’ve been up to.

 

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Woods Reception

 

Sweet Endings: Wedding Cake Vs. Dessert Table

Your guests have arrived. They had the honor of witnessing your beautiful union. They’ve enjoyed the delicious food you selected for the reception. They’re ready for something sweet.

Traditionally large multitiered cakes have been served at Weddings, but a new trend has been popping up in recent nuptial celebrations: Desert Tables. Over the years we’ve been able to see it all (or at least most of it), and we have to admit–we love both. Here are reasons for both types of desserts for your big day.

Dessert Table

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  • It’s a new and interesting concept, and in some cases your guests won’t have been to a wedding that isn’t featuring a big Wedding Cake
  • A table full of desserts offers more variety, so if you have gluten intolerance or just a picky guest, there is more room for accommodation
  • Some Wedding Cakes can be bland, as the focus is on how it looks and not always on how it tastes.
  • Since you have multiple assets going on your table, there is  opportunity to create a more profound presentation
  • Just because you don’t have the cake doesn’t mean you don’t get the cutting ceremony: sub cup cakes or just a small 1 tired cake, you can still smash the pieces into each others faces
  • While the going price of Wedding Cakes can be roughly $5-$7 per slice, you can make that money stretch further with other types of dessert or candy
  • You can theme the desserts to your wedding (Michigan-based, tropical, vegan, color scheme, etc)
  • Things that can go on a dessert table: Candy (and get fun with it: retro candy, single/dual color candy, all chocolate…), Cupcakes, Dessert Shooters, Flavored Drinks, All Chocolate Theme (cakes, cookies, brownies, dark chocolate tasting, hot chocolate…), Pies, and more!

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  • Wedding Cakes are the more traditional route, offering great (and fun) photo opportunities
  • Cakes are easier to serve in a sit-down style meal as they are uniform
  • Just because you have one dessert doest mean you can’t get creative. There are many ways to dress up a cake on the outside, utilizing colors, graphic elements, and non-traditional decor (flowers, toys)
  • You can save it (frozen) for over a year
  • Cakes are less complicated to orchestrate on the day-of, so that’s one less thing you have to worry about
  • You can select to have different flavors on different tiers, allowing more versatility for your guests’ tastes
  • Another cool way to bring more flavor is to opt for Bride and Groom’s cake (with different flavors for each)

Spring Weddings: Color and Flower Pairings

 

 

The Spring Wedding season has begun and we’re ready for the new colors and decor themes! Here are a few of our favorite pairings for the new (rainy) season of matrimony:

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RomanceInterested in more color and flower pairings? Contact any of our Event Planners at (734) 930.4270 for more inspiration

Spotlight: The Brides Project

On March 12 we had the honor to visit The Brides Project, located on Plymouth Rd in Ann Arbor. It is a Bridal Shop specializing in selling high-quality donated gowns, whose proceeds benefit the Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor. Their business survives on many donated items (such as amenities, marketing materials, etc) so all of the proceeds from retail sales go directly to the Cancer Support Community.  While there, we asked Jacquie Willis, Special Projects Coordinator for The Brides Project a few questions about the business:
LogoWhat are some brands that you frequently see?  

We currently have 450+ gowns in stock by designers such as Casablanca, Pronovias, Casablanca, Mori Lee, Demetrios and Moonlight just to name a few!

 

What if you receive a donated dress that is dirty or really outdated?  

The Brides Project has a dedicated committee of volunteers who work to clean gowns that come in and are not quite showroom ready. The volunteers take the gowns home and often spend numerous hours working to clean the gowns by hand or washing them in front loading wash machines whenever possible.  For our most exquisite gowns we rely on our partnership with Janet Davis Cleaners based in Royal Oak to return a couture gowns as close as possible to their  original condition.  Janet Davis Cleaners generously donates their services to The Brides Project.  The Brides Project never says no to any dress! However not all dresses end up being featured in our shop for resale.  Vintage gowns are often purchased by crafters, or stores specializing in such clothing, while some other gowns are reserved for marketing purposes such as window displays, or worn by volunteers and volunteer organizations who will wear the gowns at community based events.

The Bride's Project

A fabric bouquet created by a local artist from some of the more out-dated dresses donated to the shop, available for sale

Since opening in September 2011, we have raised nearly $100,000 through the sale of gowns and accessories.

The Toronto Brides Project graciously allowed us to open our shop using their time-tested model and guidance.  We are independent from one another but strive for the same goals.  We are very grateful to Helen Sweet for allowing us to do what we do here.  If Brides find themselves in the TO area we encourage them to visit them.  They are amazing!

A special story behind one of the shop’s most expensive dresses, a Vera Wang, which we were lucky enough to see in person while we were there:
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This Vera Wang is a Light Ivory, strapless, elegant gown with lace organza overlay.  Waistline includes a ribbon sash with a flower detailing on the front.  It has a slim A-line skirt a is layered in beautiful lace and does not have a train but does have simple buttons down the back.  The Vera Wang originally retailed for $13,000.00 and was donated to The Brides Project by a lovely bride from the greater Chicago area who heard about The Brides Project while undergoing cancer treatments at U of M.  The gown was promptly shipped to The Bride’s after the wedding in the fall of 2011 and was carefully cleaned at no charge by Janet Davis Cleaners.  The gown was returned to the project and prominently featured in December of 2011.  A local bride came into the shop in March of 2012 and immediately fell in love with the gown.  That bride was married in August of 2012.  She looked absolutely amazing in the gown and kindly shared numerous pictures with The Brides Project.  By mid fall the gown was lovingly returned to The Brides Project and immediately sent out to Janet Davis Cleaners who once again donated their amazing services and returned the gown back to us so that it may dance yet ANOTHER day!  The gown is currently on hold with a deposit for a lovely bride who was thrilled beyond belief to find such an amazing gown at our shop that will make her day one to truly remember! Furthermore the bride and her family are extremely proud knowing that the proceeds will be going back to The Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor to help people whose lives have been touched by a diagnosis of Cancer.

Other Notable Items at The Brides Project:

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Amsal Kenneth Polle Dress
Purchase Price: $4500 Bride’s Project Price: $1125

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David’s Bridal Dress
Purchase Price: $350 Bride’s Project Price: $175

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Maggie Potter Dress
Purchase Price: $800 Bride’s Project Price: $375

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We are very lucky to have such a great business in our community. Brides-To-Be: this is a wonderful way to get ready for your big day, while supporting a great cause. Past-Brides: This is a great way to clear up some closet space and donate to a great cause.
For more information about The Brides Project, visit their website here, and their Facebook page here.

Wedding Food Trends

Jon Curtis, our Operations Manager, had the honor of speaking at a recent National Association for Catering and Events (NACE-Greater Detroit Chapter) meeting on February 20, 2013. The monthly meeting featured wedding trends from industry professionals. Jon spoke about Wedding Food Trends. Other speakers included representatives from Parsonage Events, Top That! Event, Mike Staff Productions, Buttercream Bakeshop, Studio Bridesmaid, and The White Dress. Here are some of his insights for planning out your menu for your big day.
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DIY Weddings
  • What is a DIY Wedding? The Bride and Groom are budget conscious, and are still able to have their dream weddings. While a little more work and elbow grease will go into certain aspects of the weddings (creating your own centerpieces, recruiting bridal party/family/friends to put in some extra work), that dream wedding is still attainable on their budget. What it means for their reception is having no servers or catering attendants for their food.
  • What will the food look like? From a menu aspect, it means working with a planner or consultant and getting input on the menu planning (when preparing, it’s always important to ask the professionals, they know things like how long certain foods can stay out, what will be crowd-pleasing, how much of each you will need, where to get a bartender, etc), once the menu is set the food will be delivered/dropped off at the reception site, and set up in a visually appealing manner. From there, it is up to the Bride and Groom how they would their guests to be served. This style of service has become increasingly more and more popular.
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Food Trends
  • Michigan Made. Products made or grown locally in the state of Michigan–or the state where the ceremony will take place–have been very sought after. Not only does this show support for the local economy, it makes the destination of the wedding more personal. These items range from beer to tomatoes to bread, and have an emphasis on seasonal availability.
  • Diverse Menus. There are many special dietary needs that must be taken into account when planning a meal for 10s-100s of people, from vegan to gluten free to nut allergies, and everything in between. While you are inviting guests to your Wedding, you don’t want to make them feel as though they are being needy. After all, it’s a party, and you want everyone to feel welcomed and at home. If you know ahead of time someone will be needing a special menu, make it easy for them to have that option, almost all caterers will be able to provide that with no problem.
  • Going Green. We mean this in two ways: leafy greens and eco-friendly. Iceburg lettuce is no longer the center of salad plates anymore. Many are looking to other greens for their nutritional benefits as of late–kale, collards, spinach, arugula, swiss chard–so why not feature them in your menu? It’s also a fun way to break out of the norm, especially when many guests have a Summer full of weddings to attend. It’s also important to limit your carbon footprint when possible, and almost all vendors have eco-friendly products for your big day that can help with that. The easiest step you can take is making sure you have a compost pile and recycling bins near all the trash cans to sort the food, plastic, bottles, and real trash.

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Desserts

  • Dark and Savory. Have you ever had a bacon-maple cupcake?? We’ll just leave it at that…
  • Dessert and Candy Stations. Rather than having one HUGE cake to serve your guests, you can set up a fun table full of a variety of items to satisfy any sweet tooth. Cupcakes, pies, cakes, candy, and more can all be offered in this Serve-Yourself-style of dessert. When setting up a candy table, why not set out some small bags for your guests to fill up and take home as a souvenir (those are always a big hit with the kids).
  • Small Bites and Shooters. Often guests will be quite full at the end of the meal and ready to dance. Offering smaller bites of desserts in “shooter” form (in small containers resembling shot glasses) allows them to indulge, and even try a variety of items, while still staying light on their feet.