7 Money Saving Wedding Tips
By Debbie, on May 6th, 2015
Money Saving Wedding Tips
When planning your wedding it really is staggering how quickly costs can add up. There are so many elements to consider for your wedding from the flowers to the dress, there are ways to save. I have some great money saving wedding tips. It is possible to have a beautiful wedding that your guests will always remember on a budget.
Sit down with your partner and decide on your top five priorities. It is so easy to get caught up in the details and your families expectations along the planning process but just remember that this is supposed to be about YOU! So if your favorite DJ is a must, you need to have peonies or if you already have that perfect designer dress in mind get that down first so you can decide where it is most important to spend your money.
The biggest money saver of all is keeping your guest list small. Most of your costs will be per person or per table and the more people the more money. The difference in cost of 100 to 150 is quite significant. Start by making three lists; the short short list: those people who must be in attendance, the short list: those people who you would like to attend and the dream list: the list of anyone you can possibly think of. Try keeping the number low by refraining from inviting children or coworkers. Only invite spouses and significant others not casual dates. Another great option for keeping your numbers down is, get out of town! If you are getting married where you were born and raised you may feel obligated to invite everyone and their brother. Consider doing a destination wedding so you won’t have to invite all the neighbors. A great rule of thumb is don’t invite more people than you can spend at least one minute with each. If you invite 300 people it would take 5 hours to spend one minute with each one! Also consider keeping your bridal party small. You’ll save on bridesmaids / groomsmen gifts and flowers. In addition it will save you a ton of precious time on your wedding day when comes to taking all your photos.
An important part of any celebration and in many cases one of the most expensive. There are a couple of options to save here. Consider doing a signature drink rather than a full open bar. We often do Vodka Key Lime Coolers or Tropical Rum Punch. Find a venue that will let you bring in your own booze, rather than paying per drink or per person for an open bar. Then find deals at your local liquor stores or bulk bargain stores like Costco or BJ’s. Another cost saver is skip the champagne toast, 50% of people who are served champagne for a toast don’t even touch it, 25% will have a sip just because it is there. People will already have their drink of choice in hand for the toast. Keep the bubbly at the bar and serve it only to those who ask for it.
Flowers can be a big cost for many brides between the centerpieces, accent arrangements, bouquets and boutonnieres it adds up fast. Stick with flowers that are in season and local at the time of your wedding. If you have a specific flower or fruit in mind that you want to use, do your research on seasons before picking your date. Consider using bud vases, not only are they beautiful they require a lot less stems than huge arrangements and can easily be assembled by your bridesmaids or coordinator, no florist necessary. Choose flowers with a large bloom, the bigger the flower the less stems needed for a large arrangement or bouquet. Use non-floral accent pieces like lanterns, driftwood, candles or vintage books and suitcases.
Huge tiered cakes with intricate and custom designs can break the budget. If you really still want the look of the fancy cake, get a small one just for cutting and serve your guests a regular sheet cake. Steer clear of sugar flowers. While they are beautiful it takes great skill and lots of time to make them. Use fresh flowers instead. Consider buying regular sheet cakes and stacking them yourself using baking dowels from your local craft store, then decorate with fresh flowers.
There are loads of websites out there now like tradsey.com, oncewed.com and preownedweddingdress.com where you can find great deals on pre-worn or sometimes even brand new designer dresses at a fraction of the cost. Consider selling your dress on one of these sites to recoup some of the cost. Also give out your details on designers websites for special sales and trunk shows.
Fly for free! Do your wedding spending on a card that will rack up airline miles so you and your new spouse can fly for free to your honeymoon. Do some research on airlinecreditcards.com. This day in age most couples getting married already have all their housewares. Rather than a registry at a home goods store ask your guests to contribute to your honeymoon with a site like honeyfund.com.
There are lots of money saving wedding tips! My last tip: hire a professional. With years of experience working with their bride’s budgets they will have lots of cost saving tips and ideas for you. They also have relationships with vendors and can help you save there too. Call us at Caribbean Catering for more information on your wedding and how we can help you stay in budget!
Lighting Is Everything
By Debbie, on March 31st, 2015
Lighting is a very important element to any event whether it be indoors or out. Your lighting will set the mood and has the ability to truly transform your event space. When it is done right it makes everything look better, even your guests! Use it to highlight details and define spaces. At an outdoor event they become even more critical because once it is dark out this will be your main light source not just for mood lighting but for being able to see what’s on your dinner plate!
Here is your chance to play with color. Led lights can easily be matched to any color in your pallet. They are also one of the most inexpensive ways to transform a space. When placed properly they can really take your design to the next level.
This lighting element can be used to highlight details, such as the cake or floral centerpieces.
Lanterns & Candle Light
There is an endless possibilities when it comes to lanterns and candles with so many styles to choose from. They add a soft warm glow to your tablescapes and create perfect mood for dinner conversation.
Hire a Professional
When thinking about lighting many of us think that we can take this on ourselves and save a few bucks. In the end it will be more than worth it to have a professional do the handle it for you. Not only will they have a creative eye to really use your event space well, they also have all the necessary tools and equipment to install everything properly. We have seen so many times people who have decided to do their own lighting and end up either blowing a fuse with no options of being able to replace it and therefore ending up with no light or they don’t have enough lights. You also don’t need any guests falling off a ladder trying to string up lights for you! Check our facebook for more ideas on lighting, or contact us at Caribbean Catering.
Talk About Full Service Catering!
By Debbie, on March 24th, 2015
When planning an Islamorada wedding or event there are so many decisions to make and the wedding industry down here is booming so there are more and more options popping up all over. The choices can be overwhelming at times. The first choices to make is finding your planner, venue, caterer and rentals. Our service at Caribbean Catering covers all of these aspects and more.
We have been doing Florida Keys weddings and events for nearly 15 years. This wealth of experience gives us the local knowledge and relationships to help you through the entire process of planning your special event. We have relationships with so many local vendors and knowledge of all the best wedding locations available in the upper keys. From the very early stages of planning we can help you find the perfect venue for you based on your guest count, style and budget. Working with in your budget we can use our local resources to recommend photographers, musicians, offciants, florists, planners, hair and make-up and specialty vendors like cigar rollers, photo booths, espresso bar or a food truck.
Caribbean Catering also has all of the rentals you will need for your event; tables, chairs, linens, decor items, glassware, silverware, dinner china, charger plates, napkin rings, cake stands ect. Our catering and rental packages always include all of the set up. Many rental vendors do not include set-up in their rental quote, only drop off. The last thing you need to worry about on your big day is getting your guests to set up tables and chairs in the heat! We are on site early in the morning to set up every detail exactly as we have discussed in planning. We also offer for our rentals a day early at no extra charge for clients who would like to do a rehearsal dinner with us.
In addition we have a professional staff that has been working with us for many years. They are familiar with the flow of a wedding and the layouts of the locations that we work with. Our staff is knowledgeable about our menus and familiar with beer, wine, liquor and cocktails. We expect our staff to always be on time and to be friendly and personable.
Our service will also include making sure that all trash and recycling is cleared before we leave at the end of the event. We arrive in the morning to clear any remaining trash from the after party and breakdown all of the rentals. We will also ensure any items you provided, like centerpieces are set aside for you to take home.
We would love to help you plan your wedding or event. Contact us for more information on our full service catering and get a free quote!
By Debbie, on March 19th, 2015
Your reception menu is set and the cake design is picked. It’s time to focus on drinks. Add a personal touch to your bar menu by choosing a signature cocktail. Pick a drink that stars your favorite liquor, matches your color scheme, or just sounds delicious. Signature Drinks are a a fun way to incorporate you and your grooms unique flavor into your bar. As a bonus, it is also a great way to save some money on your bar tab. You can consider doing a beer and wine bar with a signature drink rather than a full bar. At most venues this is and affordable option and even if you are supplying the booze yourself you will only need to supply one type of liquor. Passing signature drinks upon guests arrival or following the ceremony is a nice touch, especially on a bright sunny day. Which is often for our Islamorada weddings! Passing the signature drink and having them available self serve is also a great way to take pressure off the bar and keep the lines down.
Signature Drink Ideas
2 ounces vodka
1 ounce blended fresh blueberries
1/4 ounce aloe vera juice
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce ginger water
1/4 ounce agave nectar
Blueberries, for garnish
Place strawberry into a cocktail shaker and muddle. Add ice and remaining ingredients to shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into a tall glass filled with ice. Garnish with blueberries.
Coconut Castaway Cocktail
1 ounce vodka
1 ounce juice from a watermelon
1/2 ounce coconut water
1/2 ounce prickly pear puree
1/2 ounce lime juice
1/4 ounce agave nectar
Lemon peel, for garnish
Place ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain shaker contents into a flute. Top with the Champagne and garnish with a lemon peel.
1/2 cup sugar
1 large rosemary sprig
1 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 12 lemons)
3 cups London dry gin
1 cup orange juice
Orange slices, for garnish
Rosemary sprigs, for garnish
Bring sugar and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Add rosemary sprig and let steep for 2 hours; remove sprig. Refrigerate simple syrup up to 2 weeks.
Combine lemon juice, gin, orange juice, and simple syrup in a punch bowl. Garnish bowl and glasses with orange slices and rosemary sprigs, if desired. Add ice cubes as needed to keep chilled.
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 wide strips orange zest
12 ounces watermelon cubes (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3/4 cup white or silver tequila
In a small saucepan, bring sugar, water, and orange zest to a boil over high. Reduce to a simmer and cook until sugar dissolves, 3 minutes. Let syrup cool in a bowl. In a blender, puree watermelon cubes until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing on solids, into a pitcher (you should have about 1 cup juice). Stir in syrup, lime juice, and tequila. Fill salt-rimmed glasses with ice, then pour margarita mixture over top. Garnish with lime wedges.
2 1/4 cups freshly squeezed lime juice (or 1 1/2 ounces per shaker), plus more for rims
1 1/2 cups gin (or 2 ounces per shaker)
1/2 cup superfine sugar (or 2 teaspoons per shaker)
1 bottle brut Champagne or sparkling wine (or 4 ounces per shaker)
Fine sanding sugar, for rims
Mix lime juice, gin, and superfine sugar in a 2-quart pitcher; chill until ready to serve, several hours. To serve, dip rims of glasses in lime juice, then sanding sugar, to coat with 1-inch-wide band. Measure 4 ounces Champagne into cocktail shaker filled with ice. Add 3 1/2 ounces lime juice-and-gin mixture, and shake; strain into 2 glasses, and add 2 to 3 drops of grenadine to each. Repeat.
Lavender Whiskey Sour
2 ounces whiskey
1 tablespoon Lavender Sour Syrup
Fresh lavender sprig, for garnish
Fill an 8-ounce glass with ice; pour over whiskey. Fill with lavender sour syrup; stir to combine. Garnish with lavender sprig and serve immediately.
4 1/2 cups Cucumber Gin (or 2 oz.), how-to follows
2 1/4 cups fresh lime juice (or 1 oz.)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Mint Simple Syrup (or 1/2 oz.), how-to follows
Cucumber peels, for garnish
Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish
Steep 2 1/2 cups diced, peeled cucumber in 4 1/2 cups gin, covered and chilled, 8 hours to 4 days (or 1/2 cup cucumber in 1 cup gin). Strain; store indefinitely in the refrigerator.
MINT SIMPLE SYRUP
Heat 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water over medium-high heat, stirring until dissolved. Add 1 cup mint leaves; remove from heat. Cover; steep 30 minutes to 1 hour. Strain; discard mint. Refrigerate up to 2 months.
In a 2-quart pitcher, stir gin, lime juice, and syrup. Refrigerate. To serve, pour into a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake vigorously, and divide among ice-filled 10-ounce glasses. (For a single drink, mix in a cocktail shaker filled with ice, and shake.) Garnish each with cucumber peel and mint.
Grapefruit and Mint Mojito
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup packed fresh mint leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
1 ruby-red grapefruit
3/4 cup white rum
3 cups ice
1 cup seltzer
Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat, and add mint leaves. Let steep 10 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a small bowl, and discard mint. Let cool.
Using a vegetable peeler, remove zest from grapefruit in long, wide strips. Place in a large glass, and add rum. Cover, and let stand for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a large glass measure, and discard zest.
Cut away remaining pith from grapefruit. Cut between membranes to release segments. For each drink, place 2 to 3 segments in a glass. Top with 3/4 cup ice. Stir 3 tablespoons infused rum, 2 tablespoons mint syrup, and 1/4 cup seltzer in a glass measure, and pour over ice. Garnish with mint sprigs.
Consider doing a signature drink for your next event. Contact Caribbean Catering for more ideas for your party.
A Patterned Affair
By Debbie, on March 17th, 2015
The color of the bridesmaids dresses usually dictates the outfits for the groom and groomsmen. Suits are usually classic in color (navy, gray, and tan), the accessories is where you can match your color theme. Lets say you’ve chosen coral bridesmaids dresses, then matching solid coral ties that exactly match the dress would then be chosen for the groomsmen. This over matching has the tendency to create a “Dysney” look. Remember it is all about coordinating and not matching. Far better and more unique are patterned ties or bow ties that show complementing colors. Ties that complement in color but are different in pattern create a nice contrast without causing disconnect.
When styling your destination wedding or event don’t overlook patterned pieces and and textures in your fabric choices. They will add a touch of whimsical and pops of color to your pallet, and stear you clear of being overly matched. Bring in some added style with your groom and groomsmen accessories. As we know it always seems that for every choice in men’s fashion there are 500 for women. It took some real searching, but I discovered some really edgy brands to get that super cool patterned look for your groomsmen.
Patterned Brands We Love
Thomas Pink, a designer out of the United Kingdom, has a great selection of neckties, bow ties, pocket squares and dress shirts. They have several patterned styles that would be great for you groomsmen style. Here are some of my favorite styles.
Always a classic, and certainly a staple for an Islamorada wedding is Vinyard Vines. With a preppy feel, bold colors and tropical themed patterns the Vinyard Vines collection is a contender for style. A perfect line to shop to give your groomsmen a unique look.
The Tie Bar has a great selection of unique men’s accessories and their website has a ton of great features to help you style your men. The Wedding Shop is a great find with professionally styled accessory groupings for the groom and groomsmen in several color choices.
Not a new kid on the block, but still on their game when it comes to men’s fashion, Brooks Brothers has huge variety of colors and styles. It is great place to find the perfect accessories to deck out your men. In addition it is a big brand so it will be easy for the boys to coordinate their shopping.
This last company I found, General Knot & Co. really has some unique items. They use vintage fabrics and have a huge style impact. They also specialize in custom wedding styling! You choose your color pallet, style and fabric and they will custom make everything for you. Definitely check them out, how special will your groom feel with a custom designed tie for his wedding day!
When styling your men, be bold not boring! Think skinny ties, bow ties, suspenders, pocket squares, colors, textures, patterns!!
Watch this space for more ideas from Caribbean Catering!
Boho Chic Decor
By Debbie, on March 12th, 2015
I don’t know about you, but I am in love with everything house and home from Anthropologie. They have such a great style and uniqueness in all of their lines. If I could, I would decorate my whole house with their stuff! The last time I was wishful shopping their website I was thrilled to see they now have a wedding brand. They have put together an amazing collection of off-beat, vintage inspired decor items. They even have attire for everyone moms, guests and brides. The style they convey has influences of bohemian and hippie and the style is on the rise. It is very romantic and feminine at its heart and that’s why I love it for wedding decor. Even you don’t buy anything it is certainly a great place to find some inspiration.
It is a great place to find super cute odds and ends, like table numbers and cake toppers.
They have a great selection of ceremony accessories, from back drops to ring holders. I like this gilded seashell ring holder.
I am so loving the paper plate selection!
They also have a line of stationary that leaves nothing out. The place card selection is on point and there are cards for the mother and father of the groom on my wedding day. A very nice touch for your parents. Also super cute cards for your soon to be partner!
One thing that can slip your mind when planning all the details is gifts for your bridesmaids and mother. They have a great selection of gifts for bridesmaids, mothers and even for the couple. I think these Minimergency Kits make a super cute bridesmaid gift with out breaking the bank at only $18.00 each.
The range of dresses they carry is in word, dreamy. They also have a full line of bridal shoes and accessories as well as lingerie for the wedding night.
Visit Anthropologie’s new wedding brand’s webiste, BHLDN, for the full line of products, look book and inspiration boards. Contact us at Caribbean Catering for more ideas on styling a boho chic beach wedding.
Week Long Wedding
By Debbie, on March 5th, 2015
One of the reasons I love a destination wedding is that it gives you, your family and friends they opportunity to have a week long wedding. The wedding is going to be amazing and all the careful planning that you’ve been doing for a whole year is finally coming together. Your vision is coming to fruition. Before you know it, it will all be over in a matter of hours! A destination wedding in a place like Islamorada is a great way to take a page out of Hindu tradition and celebrate your union for several days!
You and your closest family and friends can rent a house for a week and split the cost, making it affordable for everyone. One of my favorite spots for your week long wedding here in the Keys is Southern Diversion Estates South.
This stunning beach front estate sleeps 20 people and has 5 1/2 bathrooms. It would come out to only $165 per night per couple! You and your closest friends and family can all stay for week in this amazing mansion, what could be better!?
Week Long Wedding – Activities
During your stay there are so many activities you can plan for you and your family to do leading up to the wedding. The Florida Keys is the fishing capital of the world so why not get all the guys together for a fishing trip or two?
Photo by Greg Poland Photography
Between relaxing at the pool and private paddle board yoga sessions consider taking a dip with the dolphins. A once in a lifetime experience for many and something your guests will never forget. Some good spots for a swim with the dolphins, Theater of the Sea and Dolphin Research Center.
Watersports and Eco tours are another amazing activity for you and your family. Take a lesson in one of the newest water sports in the keys and go Kite Surfing or wake skating. Take a guided paddle board, jet ski or kayak tour through the mangroves. Get a birds eye view of the keys and go parasailing!
A week long wedding celebration of fun in the sun will help bring you and your family closer together. It will also give you the time to relax and prepare for the big day, rather than coming into town the day before and trying to tie together all your loose ends in one day. When planning your wedding keep in mind the benefits of the week long wedding and spread the joy for a whole lot longer than one day. Contact us a Caribbean Catering for more information on locations such as the Southern Diversion Estates South and your options for planning you week long wedding!
Pantone Inspired Wedding Colors
By Debbie, on February 24th, 2015
Pantone is an institution when it comes to color. I always look to their color forecasting for the year to get some great ideas for design. It is a great source of inspiration when styling anything from your home to your wedding. Here are the 2015 pantone inspired wedding colors…..
These shades all have a very elegant and sophisticated feel. Perfect for creating that rustic vintage feel for an outdoor wedding. These are some weddings we have done recently that have used some of my favorite colors here.
Islamorada translates to Purple Isle, so I love pops of purple at our weddings down here. Our waters are sparking blues and purples so it really compliments the atmosphere here in the Keys.
This vibrant color makes for a deliciously bold statement color. It also has a great tropical feel to go with your palm trees and blue water.
This innocent and sweet tone of blush pink really completes that vintage chic theme. It is very romantic and sweet and will look great with lots of warm candle light.
This stunning and Caribbean blue is a classic tone for weddings here in the Florida Keys. It is the color of our beautiful waters so will always make a beautiful accent color for a beach wedding.
This lovely hue of pale yellow makes an excellent match with tones of gray. The cool grays with pops of sunny yellow make for an inviting yet elegant atmosphere.
This palette of pantone inspired wedding colors gives the nod to outdoor wedding, rustic and bohemian look and that are a huge style in the wedding industry right now. So how would you make use of these colors and how many colors should you use? Well it comes down to personal taste, however some I feel some are bold enough to ride solo, while others can be paired beautifully. What’s your opinion?
New Wedding Venue
By Debbie, on February 19th, 2015
We have recently scouted a new wedding venue here in the Keys. I am super excited about this new wedding venue and cannot wait to do some events here! Not only is this an idillic location for a florida keys wedding, with 5 bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms you and your close family or friends can enjoy this beautiful home and property for the whole week of your wedding!
Not only does this new wedding venue have a gorgeous beach with plenty of room for a tent, it also has an amazing lounge area and pool undercover of the house with plenty of space for covered dinning there as well.
Heres the specifics:
It is a brand new dream home, gated and set far back and elevated, acre plus private beach front, 2 hours from MIA AND 1-1/4 hours from Key West. A grass motor court leads to the stunning Coral stone-clad minimalist contemporary, with the glass entrance flanked by illuminated reflection pools with shooting water arcs. Designed to maximize beach and sunrise views, and oriented to catch prevailing ocean and bay breezes.
The spacious, luminous reception area, with walls of glass for breathtaking ocean and garden views, features a floating staircase and a wine room with glass doors. Downstairs guest quarters or bedroom suites with recreation/meditation room. Spacious terrace and fully equipped summer kitchen with a large island/bar featuring a raw-bar or chilling trough and mirrored back splash for ocean views. Heated spa and infinity edge pool with swim-in place feature. Indonesian ‘Bali’ tiki on beach.
Wake up to sunrise views from the upstairs master suie with walls of windows and glass doors open to the upstairs terrace, framed by the sea and sky. The fabulous bath and dressing suite includes 2 walk-in closets. Three additional upstairs bedroom suites hav eversatile folding walls for privacy or open plan. Large upstairs terrace floats above pool and overlooks beach.
Dramatic illumination and water features and limestone floors throughout, marble and granite custom designed sinks and countertops. Top of the line appliances. Two-car garage, laundry/utility area. 4-zone AC.
This new wedding venue trully has it all! Contact us at Caribbean Catering for more information on this and other locations.
Beachside Lounge Party
By Debbie, on February 17th, 2015
We created this fun Beachside Lounge for a milestone birthday party this weekend. Don’t you think it would work beautifully for a variety of other occasions? I’m thinking rehearsal dinners, engagement partys or weddings for starters! It’s hip and contemporary and is a great way to get your guests mingling and everyone talking. It works perfectly with a roving dinner of butler passed appetizers combined with action stations of tappas style entrees. Here’s how the look for our beachside lounge party came together…
Design Elements: Navy & Natural color pallet to accent our waterfront location, bamboo lanterns and bamboo chairs, tall brass lanterns, mixed seating styles including low tables and sofas, fire pit to create a midsummers beach party vibe and provide warm light.
We have all the lounge furniture rentals you need for a beachside lounge party. Get this look for your next event for under $1000.00!! Contact us at Caribbean Catering.