Friday, March 23, 2007

More dress shopping

David's was never going to be the end-all, be-all for the dress shopping. It is, however, a good place to look at several types of styles and materials and try things on so I know what types of dresses look good on me and what doesn't.

In that vein, Maggie and I are going tomorrow to look at Special Event Bridal Shoppe in Marlborough to see what they have. We have a 4:30 appointment. The hunt continues for both the wedding gown and the bridal party's dresses.

Rehearsal dinner

I think we're going to get our wish and have the rehearsal dinner at Bullfinchs in Sudbury. It's my favorite restaurant and I really think their exceptionally high level of food and service are just perfect.

I emailed them earlier this week and Peggy Richardson wrote me back and said the date (Friday, Aug. 31) is open and she'd send me more information when she got back early next week from a trip she was headed out on. Looking forward to knowing what they'll come up with!

Florist possibilities

The next big thing to research and decide on is florists. I'm saying this, of course, as I'm waiting for proposals from both Tastings and Currier and Chives. If we go with C&C, they have an in-house florist. So that may be a non-issue. Both Tastings and C&C do cheesecakes, BTW, so that's already a non-issue. We decided a while ago that we weren't going to go with either Joan and Ed's or Cheesecake Factory because then we'd have to worry about getting them transported and decorated.

So Joan at the Inn suggested Frugal Flower the other day when I was hanging out with her... So I looked at their site a bit and then shot Joan an email asking her if she's ever had them there for weddings before. She wrote me back just now saying she had a lot of times and they were great, but that she does flowers better. Good to know! So I told her what I had in mind for flowers and where I think we can get really creative and asked her to come up with a quote for me. I know Joan will be willing to talk about any possibilities and I love working with her already, so I think that would work out great, if she comes within our budget range for flowers.

So now it's a waiting game. For Tastings, for Currier and Chives, for Joan's flower quote.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

There IS a free dinner!

Going to two caterer meetings this week, it struck me that there's a wonderful scam hidden here: If you can pretend you're getting married and can make a few convincing phone calls to caterers, you can enjoy a delicious free dinner once a week for, oh, six or eight weeks!

Seriously, the spread at Currier & Chives yesterday was wonderful. If I hadn't had a scheduled dinner with my son that evening, I woulda chowed down and not needed dinner. The moo-shi duck and beef yakitori were appetizer highlights and the salmon baked in mustard and maple syrup was to die for. I could have seriously done another 1,000 calories.

But this isn't a scam, folks. We're seriously getting married. This is research.
(OW! Dana, don't hit me! It hurts!)

Every engaged couple needs a blog...

Or not. But we do bc we're social media types. Anyway, it's not only us. Check out UltimateWedding's list of wedding blogs, to which I've added this blog, of course.

Sites like this are actually very helpful to brides as they plan their weddings (and to grooms, too!).

I also found just today Free-Wedding-Articles, which has some good stuff. Some of it's sort of obvious, but I'm sure it'll be worth hunting through them for ideas or for advice.

Eddie and Oliver

I had a date this afternoon. With two boys. Oliver was very interested in kissing me, which I have to say I was into, but Eddie loves me in his own way. I can tell.

Eddie is Joan's Weimaraner and he's my buddy. Never far from me when I go visit the Arabian Horse Inn. Oliver is Joan's German Shepherd, who loves to give me kisses when I kneel down and pet him. They're GREAT dogs!

Joan and I laid out a timeline for Sept. 1 and talked about some details (the ones I have decided so far). Our next official meeting is Aug. 1, although I know Mom wants to go see the place when she's up in May, so we'll go then, too, if I can arrange it with Joan.

Currier & Chives

Yesterday afternoon, Paul and I had a good time meeting with Anne Wilkes of Currier & Chives. It's part of a corporation (a holdings company), pure and simple, but Anne was great. We had some chicken, some teriyaki steak on skewers, some mustard salmon, pear and gruyere tartlets, and some other goodies. We also tasted some cheesecakes. All in all, it was a good experience. She's putting together a proposal for us, as is Sue at Tastings. We'll compare the two caterers and see where we end up. We're leaning a certain way right now, but we'll see what we get as far as proposals.

We think the Tastings presentation was more creative (they had a few photo albums that she showed us), but Currier and Chives had very scrumptuous food. We think both Sue and Anne would really be wonderful. It's almost like we can't go wrong at this point.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Secret #1

You blog readers will know something the other guests won't until they get to the wedding on 9/1... stay tuned for more secrets revealed in this blog!

There will be a craft table for kids with games, prizes, and paint. We'll try to provide old t-shirts or something that don't mind being painted on (since when has a t-shirt minded being painted on!?) that the kids can wear for their craft time if they want to -- or if their parents do!

One activity: painting stained "glass" (really plastic, no worries) butterfly and assorted bug window ornaments that the kids can take home with them. We'll even provide suction cups so you don't have to.

Coloring books and such will also be provided at the craft table, as will other games and prizes and fun stuff.

I'm talking to the caterers about kid-specific food, since our guest list has almost 15 kids of assorted ages who won't necessarily go for the fancier "adult" food. Among these will be fruit juice pops for the little ones (I'm expecting the day to be pretty warm).

I'll continue to think up fun stuff for the kids to do. I probably won't post all of it here, as some secrets will only be revealed at the wedding (and on this blog after it).

Yes, it's true

I talked to my mom last night and she relayed that my brother Brett hadn't realized I made those Save the Date magnets... Yup. That was all me...with help from Paul! With some serious trial and error, I might add. Just a hint -- DON'T use Word for anything having do with overlaying text on a watermark. Use greeting card software (I love Microsoft Greetings -- been using it for years). What I took 6 1/2 hours to play with and mess up, and what took Paul 2 hours after that to play with and mess up, I got done in less than 10 minutes with Greetings.

At any rate, yes, I made them. :-)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Tastings Caterer

We sat down with Sue today of Tastings Caterers. What a delightful person! She really thinks up creative ideas with her husband and business partner, John. The pictures of past weddings and other events were just gorgeous. They've been in business for 25 years and really have the system down. We were impressed. Sue is going to get back to us with a proposal for the price range we put forth per person. She could even do something that sounded great for about $20 under what we were thinking... so this is going to be good!

We are still shopping around, but Tastings looks great. Some online reviews I found (that weren't on Tastings' site):

From Tony's blog:
John and Sue Zahner of Tastings Caterers are an absolute joy to work with! The food is amazing, and Sue’s French Almond Cream cake is what I think of when I think of Wedding Cake. They were the caterer for my wedding, and their food is what I judge all others’ against.

From Yahoo:
Tastings Catering catered our wedding for 200 at the Endicott Estate in Dedham. From the moment we had our first consultation we knew this was the caterer to choose. Sue and her entire staff are warm, friendly and really know their stuff and the food is absolutely delicious. And not just one or two things, I mean everything they create is amazingly good, from the salads to grilled steaks, chicken and seafood to the wedding cake and dessert buffet. A friend that attended our wedding was so impressed she chose Tastings to cater her wedding as well and boy, it was great to be invited as once again the food was delicious. This wedding was only 50 guests and the same care and attention to detail in the presentation of the food that was present at our reception was also present at this reception two weeks ago. For the rest of my life, whenever we plan a large or small gathering that is to be catered, we will undoubtedly choose Tastings Caterers!


I was lucky enough to be given the name of Tastings Caterers from a close friend of mine who has hired them for all of their events for the past 20 years.
It was beyond what I thought a caterer did... they took care of everything for us it seemed ( except our attire.).. the food was presented like a magazine layout.. and the desserts are still being talked about to this day (Event was in March).

They were not hard to get ahold of as long as you didn't call on Mondays which is their only day off... but they somehow treated us like their only event of the year and which made us feel very comfortable just calling with any questions at all... not like some other caterers that we heard about!!

My parents were so pleased with everything.. including their prices.. so much better than all others we checked out.. they go above and beyond.. and someday.. who knows.. we may end up as a treasured employee of theirs like some other past clients have !!

We were invited to attend a group "tasting" at the Pierce House in Lincoln.. and we met really nice people who were enjoying the late afternoon of grazing with us. We all agreed that the Wild Mushroom & Leek Strudel should be sold to the public somewhere and soon... it truly was outstanding..

I could go on and on about the food... and the staff was right there when you needed them.. and always with a smile.. which we all know must be hard at times with so many people to take care of. but they did a great job... and do they ever work hard! I never realized that they are pretty much building a restaurant for us and us alone.. and then breaking it all down and starting all over the next day! WOW I appreciated all that they did to help make our day the truly memorable event that it was.

Our guests were very pleased and so were all of our family members.. we would not hesitate to recommend Tastings... they care and they love what they do.. and it showed for us in a big way.

I hope to use them again and again and again!

To be fair, there were also two short negative comments on that page... Countered, of course, by all the rest of positive ones:

From Insider Pages:

I had a wonderful experience with this caterer. I helped plan a friends wedding and they did an incredible job!! The food was excellent and the service impecable. Everyone raved about the food. My friend was thrilled with the reasonable pricing. I would hire them again in a heartbeat! I saved a stack of their business cards so I would always have their information available to recommend them.


They were truly wonderful to work with. Both Sue and Barbara are sweethearts to deal with. They answered my endless questions and allowed me several in-person meetings. The food was good and the pricing was extremely reasonable no hidden costs and they didnt charge the typical 18% gratuity, 5% administrative fee. The stationary hors devours were ready to go when guests arrived a half hour early. Tastings also baked our 3 layered, 3 flavored cake for very little extra. We also got ALL of the leftover food to take home with us. Negatives were relatively scarce table service (see above water incident) and they were sometimes difficult to get a hold of. They ran out of potatoes at one of the food stations (not a very big deal though since we had so many other starches to choose from.)


Tastings Caterers catered my wedding last year and did a fabulous job. That day, I was very at ease and confident that their event coordinator had everything under control. People loved the food and especially the cake. I've been told by many guests that it was the best wedding cake they've ever had. This is because you can have multiple flavors and they are made with mousse or cheesecake fillings. Yum! Prior to the wedding day, working with them was very easy. They were very helpful when it came to selecting the menu items, and their pricing couldn't be beat. They were tough to get a hold of sometimes, but that didn't affect their performance on the wedding day.
Pros: Awesome cake, great food, great prices
Cons: Tough to get a hold of on the phone