New Florida Keys Wedding Venue
By Diane Ambrogio, on August 13th, 2015
Always with an ear to the ground, we have discovered an amazing new Florida Keys wedding venue. This gated, 2.5 acre property boasts a beautiful sandy beach directly on the Gulf of Mexico. Which means, Sunsets!!! We love a sunset wedding and there are much fewer properties available on the bayside with a sunset view, making this a gem. The property is also nestled in beautiful palm tree and hardwood hammocks dotted with bougainvillea.
The estate has three residences on the property. The best part is that you can choose to rent out just one or all three. They are flexible and have a lot of different options available. From one day or one night rentals to three day or weekly rentals. Which is a huge benefit for a lot of our out of town brides who would prefer to not rent for a full week as many other rental properties require.
The property also has parking for up to 75 vehicles, which is a huge bonus many venues have the space for a large event but no parking to match.
A property representative is available 24/7 during your stay.
The option of booking a massage, yoga and even a Wedding Etiquette course during your stay is also a nice amenity.
For more information about this venue please visit their website or contact us at Caribbean Catering.
Spotlight: Local Wedding Venues
By Diane Ambrogio, on August 5th, 2015
There are so many great wedding venues available in the Florida Keys. This week I would like to spotlight a couple of our favorite venues in the Upper Keys. There are a lot of things to consider when choosing an appropriate venue for your wedding. Before we get to our Spotlight Local Wedding Venues here are some things to consider when choosing a venue:
1. Your Wedding Style: Do you dream in tuxedos and ballgowns? Then choose a venue that will reflect this style it will save you money in the long run since you won’t have to spend as much in transforming the space to suit you needs.
2. Size appropriate for you anticipated guest list: Expecting 300 people? Then be sure to check with your venue on their maximum capacity.
3. Ease of accessibility: When having a destination wedding you will want to take into consideration the proximity and availability of accommodations and goods and services for your guests.
One of our favorite locations here in the upper keys is Ocean Pointe Suites. It has 60 acres of property tucked away on the Oceanside in Tavernier. It is in close proximity to shopping and restaurants and boasts 170 spacious suites. This means that in most cases all of your guests will be able to stay on property. The pool will be one big family reunion! There is also a bar and restaurant on-site and boat dockage available.
The property also has a beautiful sandy beach perfect for a ceremony or even for the reception itself. There is also a covered space near the beach where many of the receptions are catered following a beach ceremony. The property has an affordable site fee and you get a lot for your money.
1. Covered space: A commodity down here for a beach wedding. Short of springing for a tent you won’t find this anywhere else.
2. Fans: This space has built in ceiling fans, so clutch on a hot day down here.
3. Lighting: Lighting is also built into this space so another way to save.
4. Tables & Chairs: Depending on how many guests you have they can accommodate dinner seating for up to 40 people.
5. They take care of the bar: For a reasonable price your full bar service is covered. No guessing if you will run out of booze or hauling it all with you.
With all of these great points for this local venue, there is still more. It has an absolutely lovely view and the staff is friendly, accommodating and a pleasure to work with.
Here are some images from recent events at Ocean Pointe Suites.
For more information about Ocean Pointe Suites contact us at Caribbean Catering 305.664.0004 or Adrian at Ocean Pointe 305 440 2365.
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!