DIY Beach Wedding Ideas
By Diane Ambrogio, on August 2nd, 2015
Many of our brides these days do at least some of their wedding details DIY, or do it yourself. It’s a great way to save a little money when costs can add up quick. It can also give your wedding details a personal touch and sentimental value for you and your partner. I have recently discovered a new and amazing craft product, Japanese Washi Tape. This amazing invention can be used for so many things. If you haven’t heard of it before, get ready for your obsession to begin! The best way to describe washi tape is that it feels like masking tape — very, very pretty masking tape. It’s made of paper, but is not as delicate as you would expect. Plus, it comes in patterns and designs that will make even the most dedicated crafters swoon and varying widths to allow you to create some fun and intricate washi tape designs.Here are a few cute projects using Washi tape for a DIY Beach Wedding.
Check out these easy to make washi tape centerpieces.
Spice up your wedding favors with a bit a Washi tape.
You can use Washi tape to add some color and design to your invitations.
Have your guests use washi tape to put notes or photos in your guest book.
Use washi tape on your escort cards.
50 Shades of Chicken Recipes
By Diane Ambrogio, on July 29th, 2015
This book contains 50 delicious chicken recipes, each one more seductive than the last. It will make every meal a turn-on. Is is a very clever (and delicious) play on the popular 50 Shades of Grey novels.
The story follows the adventures of Miss Chicken, a young free-range, from raw innocence to golden brown ecstasy. Like Anastasia Steele, Miss Chicken finds herself at the mercy of a dominating man, in this case, a wealthy, sexy, and very talented chef.
And before long, from slow drizzling to trussing, Miss Chicken discovers the sheer thrill of becoming the main course. A parody in three acts—“The Novice Bird” (easy recipes for roasters), “Falling to Pieces” (parts perfect for weeknight meals), and “Advanced Techniques” (the climax of cooking)—Fifty Shades of Chicken is a cookbook of fifty irresistible, repertoire-boosting chicken dishes that will leave you hungry for more.
With memorable tips and revealing photographs, Fifty Shades of Chicken will have you dominating dinner.
One of my favorite recipes in the book to give you a taste:
“The way his apron hangs from his hips already has me all wobbly. But as he coats my thighs with sticky liquid I can hardly contain myself. Is it the wine, or is my aroma starting to drive him crazy, too? He heats me up fast, and it won’t take much to finish me off now. His lips quirk up into a smile. My own juices are mixing with the coating and running all over the place. I get the strangest, sweetest, most hedonistic feeling up and down. Its epicureanism run wild! He spreads my thighs on a plate. Sticky hands and at least five wet napkins. What will the house keeper think? Who cares?”
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, patted dry with paper towels
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon plus a pinch of coarse kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. In a large bowl, toss together the chicken, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and the pepper.
- In a small saucepan, simmer together the onion, wine, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, and a pinch of salt until most of the liquid has evaporated, 15 to 20 minutes. Mix in the honey and butter.
- Spoon the mixture over the chicken and toss well. Spread the thighs, onion mixture, and any juices onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the chicken is no longer pink and the onions are meltingly tender and caramelized, about 25 minutes. Serves 2 to 4
Check out the website where you can purchase the book and find out more…
Tastings with Caribbean Catering
By Diane Ambrogio, on July 21st, 2015
For many clients one of the best parts of planning your event is a tasting! Of course it is an important step in the process to make sure that the food you will be serving is in line with your tastes. It usually doesn’t take too much convincing on our part, since our chef does such a good job! Below are some things to consider when coming in to visit us for a tasting.
For the tasting, we ask that our couples select up to 6 appetizers, 1 salad, 2 entrees and 2 sides. A tasting is meant to give you an idea of the quality of our food and the presentation style. We ask you to narrow down some choices so that you will have the opportunity to taste items that you are interested in serving at your event. At your tasting, we will usually make most of the final decisions on your menu. So be honest and tell us what you like and be sure to come hungry! You will be served full sized portions.
We are available for tastings Mon-Fri between 10 AM and 2 PM. We don’t usually have time to do tastings on the weekends since we are likely doing other events. We can sometimes make acceptions but be sure to contact us in advance. We would prefer at least a weeks notice to so we have everything prepared and scheduled with the chef. Tastings are held in our main kitchen and meeting space located at:
80925 Overseas Highway
Islamorada, FL 33036
Caribbean Catering is happy to offer tastings to all of our clients. Once you have booked your date a tasting is complimentary for the wedding couple. You are welcome to do a tasting before booking however we do charge $100.00. If you are bringing additional guests they are all welcome to taste the dishes with you but you will be served portions for two.
When you sit with us for your tasting it is also a great opportunity to look at our available rentals and make some decisions about your design as well. We will discuss the specifics of your entire event during your tasting, including the timeline. Even if final decisions are not made at the tasting it will give us a good idea of what outstanding items to discuss with you and decide upon in the future.
No one wants to turn down the opportunity to taste some delicious food! So come on down to Islamorada and see us.
New Wedding Venue!
By Diane Ambrogio, on July 15th, 2015
This new Wedding venue has popped up on our radar and it is a great spot for an outdoor keys wedding. The property is located in Key Largo making it a bit easier of a journey from the airport for guests who may be traveling from out of town. It is waterfront and very spacious. The property itself has been in the same family for 6 generations and it one of the oldest examples of 1920’s Florida Keys architecture. The homes on the property are full of character and hold vintage surprised around every corner. Here is the low down on the property’s history.
This unique property is an unforgettable slice of 1920’s Key Largo. Because of its size and location, Historic Shadow Point is very popular for weddings, family gatherings, and other special events. They have catered to guests from all over the world, and many come back year after year. The vintage Cottages are situated on a secluded, shady peninsula surrounded by water on three sides, with clear views of mangrove islands and abundant wildlife. Built in the 1900s by a sailing ship’s captain, each house represents early Keys architecture from the pioneering times of Florida. The property was acquired by the same family who still owns it to this day. They have worked very hard over the generations to keep the houses as original as possible. The homes are decorated with pieces reflecting the years of being connected to the local waters. Their ancestor, Marvin D. Adams, is responsible for constructing the canal that bisects Key Largo. Known as The Cut to locals, The Marvin D. Adams Waterway allows boaters to travel conveniently from the Atlantic Ocean side to the Gulf of Mexico in minutes. The structures on the property are likely the oldest original residential homes still intact and in use on all of Key Largo.
Guests who rent Historic Shadow Point will enjoy many extras, including the use of paddle boards, kayaks, floating tubes, life jackets and snorkel equipment located on-site. Shadow Point has a private sandy beach for swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing, and launching kayaks into the beautiful waters of Largo Sound. Also available for use are a gas barbeque grill and equipment. There are several shady spots to have evening dinners outside or fun picnics under the Gumbo Limbos. There are two fully stocked kitchens, one in each house. There is even a full laundry facility in the Cottage.
Please visit Historic Shadow Point’s Website for more detailed information on the property and booking. Watch this space, the team at Caribbean Catering is always sniffing out new venues!
Our Fave Wedding Details 2015 Part 2
By Diane Ambrogio, on July 10th, 2015
Continuing from Tuesday’s post, these are a few more of our favorite wedding details so far in 2015…
These flowers are just so romantic. Show me some garden roses and peonies, and I’ll melt. Not to mention the matte rose gold sequin table runners. Rose gold is a definite up and coming trend in color.
The natural coral pieces are a great addition to this tablescape. Each one is unique and truly adds a Keys touch in an elegant way. Also a great way to add natural beauty without the expense of floral arrangements.
This is our Antipasti station. Appetizer stations in addition to passed hor derves makes for satisfied guests. At a destination wedding, most guests have been in town for a few days indulging with friends and family and will be hungry by the time cocktail hour arrives. Also a great focal point in your cocktail area, not to mention tasty.
This groom’s cake got lots of sports media attention after twitter leaks from the groom’s buddies. This couple are both avid football fans of their opposing alma maters. The bride had a little trick up her sleeve. Inside the Alabama cake, she had the baker make the cake inside in gators colors! The groom was shocked and word spread fast.
Another popular trend this wedding season has been the natural runner. An absolute must for a rustic and whimsically styled wedding.
This new signature drink recipe we used recently was an awesome twist on an old classic. The Black Pepper Kumquat Margarita was an absolute showstopper! Delicious, refreshing and boozy it was a big hit.
Year to date these have been some of our favorite wedding details so far. Watch this space and Caribbean Catering’s social media outlets for more of our work to come this year.
Get the Groom Involved
By Diane Ambrogio, on June 30th, 2015
With so much focus being on the bride on the wedding day and in the planning process a groom can sometimes feel steamrolled and completely left out. Unlike the ladies who have probably been envisioning their wedding day since birth most grooms have probably not given it much thought. It is a good idea to come up with some ways to include him on the planning process and give him some time in the spotlight on the big day as well. After all it is the groom’s day just as much as it is the bride’s. The goal should be to make this a shared experience. Here are a few tips to get the groom involved in his wedding day!
The Planning Process
Let him choose the suits him and his groomsmen will wear. It’s his day and it’s probably just as important to him that he and his besties are looking dapper as it is to you. After all he will probably be in more photos on this day than a swimwear model in Sports Illustrated. If you can’t quiet your inner control freak give him a few thoughts on what you had in mind before you let him loose. Hey, maybe he loves a bargain and he can get you a great deal on buying them in bulk!
The Guest List
This one is pretty much a must. You will need his input on this topic. I’m sure he has just as many people he is hoping to invite as you do. Work together to keep the list in check, while still including all of the people that mean the most to each of you. Think of it as a little training for married life!
Your groom may not get as excited by gravy boats and a new set of guest towels as you do. Consider adding a registry on amazon.com or at target where there will be more options of things he may want for your new life together. He may surprise and come up with something more useful than crystal stemware.
The Wedding Day
This tradition offers a great opportunity to give the groom a special moment at the wedding day. After the cutting the traditional cake give him his 15 minutes of wedding fame while he and his groomsmen cut the grooms cake. You can get a super cool cake to show off his style, like this mahi cake.
Let your man represent you at the wedding. There will be many people to thank after the long planning process and wedding day. Stand by your man while he get up to thank all of your guests and family.
Not everyone writes their own vows. It is a part of the wedding where focus will be on both of you and it will give both of you a chance to shine. You probably be happily surprised by how touching his vows are.
It can be fun for anyone to look back on their wedding photos. make sure your groom and his groomsmen get some alone time with the photographer to take some fun photos together with just the boys. His groomsmen mean a lot to him and he will be happy to share the memories.
Planning a wedding can be a trying time for a relationship. So make it easier and work together on this one. Happy Planning!
Anatomy of a Wedding Day
By Diane Ambrogio, on June 3rd, 2015
One of the most important things on your wedding day or any event really is the timeline, and a realistic one at that. This is one of the things your planner should draft for you based on the activities you have planned for your day. There are so many things that need to be squeezed in! It is important to budget your time wisely and have your day of coordinator there to ensure that the timeline is followed accurately to be sure you can fit everything in. It is very easy to get caught up in conversation, drink in hand and lose track of time. It is one of the main reasons I always recommend to at least have a day of coordinator even if you haven’t hired a planner. Your timeline should really include all aspects of the day including the rehearsal, set up, hair and make-up and transportation. Today we will take a close look at some of the things to consider for your ceremony timing and choosing the traditions you will include in your wedding day as it relates to creating you timeline.
The ceremony timing has its own set of parameters when looking at timing that will vary depending on your ceremony style. If you are having an outdoor or beach ceremony you will want to consider the lighting and time of day. Will the sun be beating down on your guests for an hour long mass? Are you dreaming of a sunset ceremony?
If you are planning to have a beach ceremony down her in the Florida Keys you may want to start later in the day when it will not be so hot. If everyone is siting in the blaring sun for they duration they will be sweaty and uncomfortable. So consider starting later or be sure to provide shade and programs that double as fans for you guests.
If you would like to have a sunset ceremony you should consider choosing a date in the winter, when the sun sets earlier in the day. This will allow plenty of time for your reception festivities afterwards. Alternatively if you are getting married in the summer when the sun sets later, consider holding your cocktail hour before the ceremony. This will allow you to have your sunset ceremony and have enough time to party after. The pre-cocktail hour will not only save you precious party time but it will account for lateness. In addition it will also give your guests a chance to mingle and greet each other as they arrive in a relaxed atmosphere rather than feeling rushed directly to the ceremony.
If you are having your ceremony at a separate location from your reception make sure you consider travel time for your guests to arrive at the new location. Arranging transportation for all is ideal, but it can be pricey. If all of your guests are providing their own transportation it may be a bit of a lengthier process. Consider driving time and traffic, as well as quick stops along the way and chatting at the church before hitting to road.
There is a very long list of traditions that happen at a wedding:
cutting the cake
mother / son dance
bouquet toss / garter toss
This is just a basic list of traditions that many people include in their wedding reception. Each culture has it’s own wedding traditions that they include so the list can start to become daunting. I always recommend couples take the time to think about the experience they want in a wedding day when choosing which of these they want to include in their reception. Some want them all and some want none. A wedding, in general, lasts about 5-6 hours so the more structured activities you have planned the less time you will have to mingle and spend time with your guests. It’s great to do it all, but I must say I have done so many weddings where they have everything possible included and the bride and groom never seem to have the opportunity to enjoy! Take a minute to think about what is important to you on this day before trying to do it all.
Make sure you have wisely budgeted your precious time on your wedding day. This post includes the parts of your timeline that will have the most effect on your experience of your wedding day. Our goal is for your wedding day to be an amazing and memorable experience! That is why we want you to know the facts when it comes to the anatomy of a wedding day. Contact Caribbean Catering for more advice on making your time work for you.
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!
Market lights or bistro lights are great for illuminating dance floors and dinning areas. They can illuminate a large area and create a charming warm ambiance that can be admired by night.
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!