First Taste

Tomorrow we are going to our first (and hopefully last) catering tasting! My fiance Derek and I are big foodies so naturally we want to serve the best wedding food on the planet. Derek took the lead on researching caters and has convinced me that Heirloom LA is the way to go. I am so looking forward to trying their signature Lasagna cupcakes.


Their tray passed appetizers look unreal.



Source:1 , 2 & 3

Stay tuned next week to hear how the tasting goes! Have you done your catering tastings yet? Any tips on what to look out for?


Deciding on Family Style

One of the first vendors we booked after securing our wedding venue, was our caterer. We knew that food would be a huge chunk out of the budget so we wanted to accomplish this early and have the chance to talk to and price multiple vendors. After speaking and receiving quotes from nine different caterers in the area we finally decided on our caterer. As you can imagine, lots of different suggestions were made and a large variety of menus were presented. My fiance and I have only been to weddings that had either a buffet or a plated dinner so we figured those would be our two options. Well much to our surprise, caterers started suggesting family style as a great balance between a buffet and plated dinner. Since many of them have been hired for weddings at our venue, they said it was one of their preferred ways to serve at our venue for logistical purposes. We were intrigued. After much consideration and speaking with people who have attended family style weddings, we decided to take a chance. We still haven't been to a wedding with service this way but we are excited to see it unfold on our big day.

Source: Pacific Harvest Catering

I found very few resources online on the benefits of family style versus plated or buffet so I thought I'd share a few pro and cons that were shared with me from the nine caterers we spoke to.


Family style dinners typically fall cost wise between plated and buffet

People eat at relatively the same time

It creates an atmosphere of sharing and friendliness

People can still choose what they'd like and how much of each


Pricier than the buffet option

Not always the chef's favorite way to plate

For guests with unique food restrictions, they still may need their own plate

Source: Pacific Harvest Catering

Source: Pacific Harvest Catering

Setting the Mood {with Food}

Hi E&Iers! I'm back after an amazing long weekend in Southern California at fellow blogger Taya's wedding (aka my future sister in law!). It was such a great weekend filled with laughs, dancing, friends, family, new friends and new family, in a gorgeous was everything a great wedding should be. I could go on and on, but I'll let Taya tell you herself when she gets back from her honeymoon. :-)

Onto my topic of the week - food! You might remember my post, here, on finding a caterer who would work with us in making everything affordable, while still including the elements we really wanted - quality, local food, family style dinner, etc. Well, we finally found them and it was worth the wait! My favorite thing about the caterers we found was that the owner, and lead lady of this husband-and-wife-owned catering company, really listened to what we wanted and figured out where to cut corners and where it made sense to splurge a little.


I am so relieved to have our catering booked! I believe food can really help set the mood of the day - the cuisine is just one more place to infuse your style as a couple. Loving how these weddings used food to help set the vibe of their wedding day.





My advice to fellow brides out there is that if you are not finding what you're looking for and you are getting a lot of 'nos' to what you believe is a reasonable request, keep looking and don't give up! Ask lots of questions and reach out to new vendors until you find someone who is ready to have a conversation and work with you. I think it's also good to know what things you absolutely know you want and what things you would be okay not having. For me, I knew I wanted family style dinner, but I was okay giving up the filet mignon.

If you are getting married in the Gorge and looking for a caterer, check out Boda's Kitchen. Ask for Sirota Johnston, the owner and boss laday. She's awesome.

Wedding Dinner :: To Family Style or Not

My fiance and I were up in Oregon a few weeks ago for our friends' wedding in the Portland area (such a fun wedding and entire extended weekend, by the way! Future post to come). Even with a full wedding schedule, we managed to fit in two meetings for our own wedding - we have really had to make the most of the time we are up in Oregon! And while our wedding is actually in the Hood River area (about an hour drive east of Portland), we quickly found that so many of the vendors are happy to make the drive for Hood River and Mount Hood weddings. So, while we were in the City of Roses, we met with a caterer and a photographer. For this post, I'll be talking FOOD! My fiance and I both love great food...I mean, who doesn't?! Spending as much time as we have in Oregon's Willamette Valley and the Bay Area, there's no shortage of amazing food; from all the fresh and local ingredients, to an array of restaurants to farmers markets. So, food was one of the first things we thought about when it came to our wedding. We both agreed we didn't necessarily want anything fancy or elaborate, we just wanted it to be good.

What we quickly realized is that there is more to wedding food than the actual food part. You have to also consider how you are serving it. I originally had my heart set on family style for a few reasons. It started with the images of the long tables, below, which are just so picturesque. I also love that family style, long table or not, lends to conversation among the guests and a feeling of community and family (hence the name). Here is some of my family style inspiration...


Source: left, middle, right




Source: all four

What I didn't consider were some drawbacks that came to my attention during our first caterer meeting. The main drawback was the price. The caterers need additional servers than they would with a buffet dinner, in order to bring around the different dishes and clear salad plates. And more servers equals more money. Another possible negative - the timing can be tough. You want people eating at generally the same time, especially if there are large tables involved. You don't want someone with no food sitting next to someone who has already been served. And the other issue can be the amounts of food served. The caterers need to be vigilant to make sure everyone is getting the right amount of food. Some people could take too much and others would be left with not enough.

The interesting thing is that the first catering company we met with a few months ago completely discouraged us from doing family style, saying each of these problems were extremely troublesome. The next catering company we met with a couple weeks ago was much more flexible. They made it seem like each of the issues could be somewhat easily overcome. They also broke out the pricing, while the first guys wanted to bundle everything and wouldn't show us how much each component costed. I don't like to be strong-armed into any decision, especially when it comes to such an important day! Also, we liked caterer #2's cuisine and personality much better, so whether we decide on family style or buffet, we definitely have a great lead on a place to work with.

Have you considered family style for your wedding? If so, did you run into the same hurdles as I have? How did you overcome them, or did you decide on another option (buffet, plated)?