How to Choose the Right Menu

Image Credit:  Bloglovin.com

Image Credit: Bloglovin.com

One of the biggest financial decisions for your wedding day is the food and menu. Aside from picking from a variety of delicious appetizers, entrees and desserts, it’s important to decide how to present and serve the food to your guests, all while keeping your budget in mind!

If you want a more casual way of serving food, having a buffet at your wedding is a great choice! With a buffet, guests will be able to have the freedom of getting whichever food they desire, and you are able to have a wider variety of food available. Having a buffet may be a little pricey due to ordering vast amount of food to feed everyone, especially if people would want seconds!

Image Credit:  The Perfect Palette

Image Credit: The Perfect Palette

To opt for a more formal dining option, having a plated, sit-down dinner at your reception is the way to go! Guests will typically be served a three-course meal (appetizer, entrée, and dessert), where there will be 2-3 options for food choices. Having a plated dinner is more organized since everyone will be seated and eating at the same time. After getting a head count for your wedding, having a sit-down dinner is budget friendly since you can order the exact amount of food you need.

 

 

 

 

Image Credit:  Joyful Health Yeats

Image Credit: Joyful Health Yeats

Having a cocktail-style reception is a great way to provide food for your guests if you want to avoid a long sit-down meal as well as larger portions of food. Hors d’oeuvres are usually served, giving guests plenty of options of smaller foods. Cocktail style receptions are also perfect to have your guests mingle and meet each other! Having a variety of smaller portioned foods is a good way to save money on your big day!

 

How are You Spending Your Valentine's Day?

The most lovable day of the year is quickly approaching: Valentine’s Day! Whether you want to put on your favorite heels and go out on the town, or slide into your comfiest slippers and enjoy a cozy night in, we have fun ideas for both date nights for you and your loved one!


Time to strap on those heels and get fabulous! Although cliché, going out to a romantic dinner for two is a great way to celebrate this day of love. Add a festive pop of color to your look with some deep red lipstick shades and a bright red statement skirt. Split a bottle of wine and end the night with some delicious dessert! If you want to stray away from the typical dinner date, slip into something cute but more comfortable. While still adding some color to your outfit, try a deeper shade of red skirt matched with a long sleeve shirt to keep that flirty look! Sign up for a cooking class and create a meal together or attend a paint bar night, where you can enjoy that bottle of wine all while making masterpieces together.


Don’t feel like making reservations or spending much money? No problem! Celebrate Valentine’s Day in the comfort of your own home. Instead of taking that cooking class, try making a meal at home together. Keep it festive with a pizza in the shape of a heart or learn something new by making your own sushi rolls! Kick your feet up and enjoy each other’s company in something cozy yet chic, such as leggings and an oversized cardigan matched with some natural, softer makeup tones. End your night watching some of your favorite films together while snacking on some yummy homemade desserts like chocolate covered strawberries!  


Pondering what to make for your date night in? We have got you covered! Spicy Clams with Spaghetti.

  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 8 ounces spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 18 littleneck clams (about 1 1/2 pounds), scrubbed
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, plus 1 tablespoon thinly sliced stems

1. Bring a medium pot of generously salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water; drain.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and red-pepper flakes and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add wine and bring to a simmer. Increase heat to medium-high and add clams. Cover and cook just until clams open, 4 to 5 minutes. Discard unopened clams.

3. Stir in butter and parsley leaves and stems. Add pasta and toss to coat, adding reserved pasta water 1 tablespoon at a time, until sauce is loose and creamy. Season with salt and pepper.

Recipe Source: Martha Stewart

Pantone Color of the Year 2017:Greenery

With the announcement that Greenery will be the 2017 Pantone Color of the Year. we have all gone green crazy.

This "zesty yellow green" is so versatile and can be added to any color scheme a bride and groom are working with! So add that greenery to your bouquet, ceremony, tables and so much more. Best part of greenery? Helps keep the floral cost down! High style, low budget is what we live for.

We have pulled our favorite greenery inspiration to help jump start your designing process.


Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate and revitalize, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose. This is the color of hopefulness, and of our connection to nature... Every spring we enter a new cycle and new shoots come from the ground. It is something life-affirming to look forward to.
— Pantone's executive director, Leatrice Eiseman

New Year's Eve Party Inspiration

New Year's Eve is a night of celebrations. Whether you decide to have your wedding, have a dinner party or throw a count down, here are our favorite New Year's Eve designs. Wishing you loads of confetti and champagne this New Year's Eve.

Designer + Planner: Kelly McLeskey-Dolata,  A Savvy Event  / Photographer:  Scott Clark Photography  

Designer + Planner: Kelly McLeskey-Dolata, A Savvy Event / Photographer: Scott Clark Photography 

A wedding is a party, but a wedding on New Year's Eve is a big party! If you choose to have a New Year's Eve wedding you want to find a balance between your wedding details and the traditional New Year's Eve elements. You don't want to have one overwhelm the other.  We loved this inspiration from A Savy Event. Mixing silver and gold design elements showcases the glamour of the evening but also is an elegant wedding color palette!

 


Now this is a party! We love this rich and moody color palette designed by Beijos Events. Think geometric shapes, a bar cart filled with bubbly and confetti.  The richness of this look is accomplished by mixing deep jewel tones including pink, green and blue. Don't forget to add elements of gold to round out the look.

Photographer: Megan Welker / Design & Styling: Beijos Events


This look designed by Gray Harper Maker is everything you want for a beautiful and festive New Year's Eve dinner party. Ring in the New Year surrounded by a white and black tablescape, softened by pink and gold accents. Love this look? Be sure to check out our shopping list below!


Want to throw a bash for your besties? Sounds fabulous! We loved this girly, gilded and spunky design from Francine Ribeau Events. To capture this fun look layer different patterns, go for stripes and chevron. Use black accents as your base and glitter the room with golds and pinks!

Photography: Melissa Biador Photography | planning + design: Danielle from Francine Ribeau Events

Loving these looks? Us, too! We wanted to share our shopping list with you so you can design your own sophisticated New Year's Eve gathering. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Happy New Year!

Holiday Libations

It's that time of year to bust out the bar cart and start mixing up some festive libations to celebrate the season! (Be sure to check out our Barcart Central post for tips on how to build your barcart!) This season is filled with time spent with friends and family cozyed up inside by the fire and surrounded by holiday cheer. Here are top picks for holiday sips! Cheers!

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup agave nectar
  • 1 cup pear juice
  • 1 bunch fresh rosemary
  • 2 pears, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • Prosecco

 

 

 


Ingredients

  • Sugared Cranberries
  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • Big Batch Margaritas
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) silver tequila
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) cranberry juice (not cranberry cocktail)
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) orange juice
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) orange liquor
  • 3/4 cups fresh lime juice
  • 2-4 tablespoons sugar or to taste (OPTIONAL)* or use sugared cranberries
  • salt, for the rim
  • sparkling water, to top the drinks with (OPTIONAL)
  • lime + orange slices, for serving
  • To make just ONE drink
  • 1 1/2 - 2 ounces silver tequila
  • 2 1/2 ounces cranberry juice (not cranberry cocktail)
  • 1/2 ounce orange juice
  • 1/2 ounce orange liquor
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/2-1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste (OPTIONAL)* or use sugared cranberries
  • sparkling water, to top the drink with (OPTIONAL)

Photo Source:  Plum and Oak

Photo Source: Plum and Oak

 

 

Ingredients:

  • Malahat Spiced Rum
  • Fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • Cinnamon simple syrup
  • Garnish with orange zest

 


Source:  Freutcake

Source: Freutcake

 

 

Ingredients:

  • Handful of fresh mint (or fresh peppermint)
  • 2 oz vodka
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 6 oz ginger beer (more or less to taste)
  • Crushed candy cane- for garnish
  • Whole candy cane- for garnish
  • Crushed ice

Source:  Beijos Events

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • Vanilla Vodka
  • Cranberry Pomegranate Juice
  • Champagne

 

Holiday Decor Inspiration

Decorating for the holidays can be tricky, finding the right balance and aesthetic and the pieces to tie it all together. Today, we’re going to breakdown a holiday set up so that you can replicate it at home! We love how these built-ins are styled: a mix of classic and whimsy!

The best part? We’ve found most of these pieces, or something similar, at great prices that are perfect for the everyday budget! Happy decorating!


Holiday DIY Gift Guide

Photo Source:  Extra Petite

Photo Source: Extra Petite

The holidays are just around the corner! Have you started your shopping? If you are looking to gift something more personal, we have rounded up our favorite DIY holiday gift ideas. From the hostess to your bestie we have the perfect idea for you. Cheers to a weekend of DIYing and hot chocolate!


Photo by Christopher Baker, Source Real Simple

Photo by Christopher Baker, Source Real Simple

Gold-Leaf Bud-Vase Trio

What You Need

  • 3 glass bud vases of different shapes
  • gold-leaf kit
  • scissors
  • 2 small, soft paintbrushes

What to Do

1. Dip a paintbrush in the adhesive (from the gold-leaf kit) and paint loose, slightly irregular upward strokes to cover the outer rims of the vases. Set aside for an hour while the adhesive becomes tacky (it will turn clear).

2. Cut sheets of gold leaf into 1- to 2-inch strips. Press the gold leaf onto the adhesive.     Peel off the paper backing. Dust away any excess gold leaf with the clean      paintbrush

                                                                                    3. Apply the sealer and let dry for 30 minutes.

 

Holiday Stovetop Simmer

Ingredients

  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh pine and/or fir
  • 2-3 sticks of cinnamon
  • 1 mandarin, whole
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • Small window tin-tie bags
  • Small rectangle text labels
  • Large oval hang tags
  • Sprigs of fir for garnishing your gift bags

Full instructions can be found here.

 

Personalized Bracelets

Supplies:
-flat leather (10mm x 2mm) or oval leather (10mm x 6mm)
-letter sliders (I love this font in either 10mm x 2mm or 10mm x 6mm, and they sell hashtags too!)
-magnetic clasp (10mm x 2mm or 10mm x 6mm)
-jewelry glue

Full instructions can be found here.

 
Source: BBC Good Food

Source: BBC Good Food

Chocolate Brownie Mix

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 95 g plain flour
  • 35 g cocoa
  • 75 g plain flour
  • 135 g brown sugar
  • 150 g sugar
  • 100 g chocolate chips
  • 100g white chocolate chips
  • 50 g walnuts or pecans (optional)

How to Choose a Wedding Cake with Peter Gray

So many decisions need to be made while planning your wedding but few of those decisions are as fun and delicious as choosing the cake for your big day! A meeting that requires you to eat cake and frosting? Yes, please! Before you start running to your local baker, we wanted to take some time to talk all things cake, design and planning with Peter Gray of Pete's Sweets


PI: Pete! Thank you so much for sitting down with us today! We have been privileged to see you create in-person and you are truly confectionery genius! Where do you get your inspiration?

PGWhat we feel makes weddings special are the little details that tie back to the couple, so adding things like hidden interests (like superheros, sports teams, or hobbies) onto the back of the cake. This is a great way to add a personal touch without having to make a special groom's cake. As far as other items of inspiration, here at Pete's Sweets we draw inspiration from every detail of your wedding from lace on wedding dresses to custom scroll-work on invitations. It is wise to bring as many inspiration photos to help your bakery get a real feel for what you are looking for. While you know your wedding very well the bakery can only play off what they are given.  

PI: A common frustration that we hear from our audience is that they fall in love with an inspiration cake but when they finally sit down with their baker they realize that it doesn't fit their budget. Do you have any tips or suggestions on how to stay on budget but still capture the style they want?

PGNothing is more frustrating than falling in love with a cake and being crushed when it is priced out. Now being a wedding cake bakery, we have had our fair share of having to break the bad news to customers, however we suggest that you try to keep an open mind and not get hung up on super fine details or one particular cake (exactly as it is in the photo). Sometimes simply changing a few elements like reducing the amount of rolled fondant icing, sugar flowers, and edible ribbons can slash cake prices by the hundreds. Sometimes offering to provide items like fresh flowers, burlap or satin ribbons, or cake toppers can drastically reduce the cake's overall cost. 

PI: What are your favorite cake trends from 2016? Any predictions for what might trend in 2017?

PGPete's Sweets favorite in 2016 was textured cakes, 2/3 of our wedding cakes were some sort of texture (anything from a pedal texture to a drag texture). We loved the rustic yet elegant look that it achieved {and without any added costs}. As far as foreseeing trends for 2017, we have been getting a lot of interest in "Drip Cakes", meaning a ganache or caramel sauce being dripped over the edges. Another 2017 prediction is "Metallic," meaning gold, silver, or rose gold accents like toppers or ornate cake stands are on the upraise. And lastly, we have been getting a lot of requests for "Dessert Tables," meaning small cutting cakes, cupcakes, cookies, pastries, and candies are on 2017 brides mind to replace the classic wedding cake.

 

Our Top Picks for Yummy Inspiration


 

About Peter 

Screen Shot 2016-11-22 at 11.56.19 AM.png

Peter Gray is a graduate of New England Culinary Institute, he went on TLC's Next Great Baker (hosted by Buddy Valastro AKA: The Cake Boss) where he competed against 12 other incredible bakers. After being on the show he was offered an opportunity of a lifetime to open Pete's Sweets in East Longmeadow, where we have grown time and time again. We have a full time staff that bakes all the classic home-style treats you remember from your childhood. We now host classes and birthday parties so we can pass along the art of baking.  
 

 

Holiday Gift Guide

Happy Black Friday! The holiday rush is upon us! We know, we can’t believe it either. Are you stressing over finding the perfect gift for that special someone? Here is our 2016 Holiday Guide. From parents to kids to your better half, you don’t have to worry, we've got you covered.

Hostess Gift Guide

Via Style Me Pretty |  Photography:   Ruth Eileen Photography

Via Style Me Pretty | Photography:Ruth Eileen Photography

The holiday season is here and it's time to start gifting! Not hosting Thanksgiving this year? You know how much work goes into hosting a big dinner, so why not make something special for your host or hostess to say thank you. We have rounded up our favorite ideas for each type of host you might encounter. These small gestures are what this holiday is about, how to give thanks and be thankful for the people around you. On your mark, get set, start crafting!


For the Green Thumb Host or Hostess

Who doesn't love fresh flowers? Bringing fresh flowers is a great way to say thank you to your host or hostess. When you are hosting, final details like flowers always fall to the wayside. So bring an arrangement that can be added to the tablescape, bar or dessert table. It's a great way to help add decor but then it's something that they can enjoy all week along. Looking for a great DIY, check out our pumpkin floral arrangement


For the Culinary Host or Hostess

Does your host or hostess love to cook and whip up fresh recipes? Then why not bring them the thing they use in all their recipes? Herbs! So many great ways to customize the container based on their home's esthetic. Here are our top four container ideas, just click on an image and get to planting!


For the Baker Host or Hostess

Want to bring something sweet? We love the mason filled mixes. There are so many recipes and so many ways to decorate them, that you can truly customize it for your host, hostess and their family. We loved this recipe featured on Capturing-Joy blog. Perfect to give as a thank you gift this season!

 

 

Spread the love this holiday season!

 

What's on Your Thanksgiving Table?

Last weekend of prep is upon us! Don't panic! You take care of the menu and we have got you covered when it comes to your tablescape. We were so excited to see lots of amazing inspiration out there but we narrowed it down to our top 3 picks. And to make your life easier we included shopping lists for each. So on your mark, get set, design!


Warm & Cozy

Our inspiration came straight out of the November issue Country Living Magazine! We fell in love with all the warm and personal touches brought to this table. Adding old family photos to each place setting is a great way to reminisce or remember the loved ones that can't be at your table this holiday season. All the different layers, patterns and colors make this tablescape perfect for the host and hostess that want to make their guests feel at home.


Country Metallics

Design by Rooms for Rent.  See full concept here .

Design by Rooms for Rent. See full concept here.

Yes, yes and yes! Everything about this look screams style! The tablescape is simple but keeps it's richness by combining hues of gold, silver and rose gold. A simple tea leaf garland and some pumpkins are all you need to complete this setup. Best part? This color palette is a great base for any occasion you need to set for. We love multiple uses!


Modern Happiness

Design by  Casa de Perrin

Design by Casa de Perrin

Who says you need to stick with traditional oranges, reds and browns for your holiday gathering? We certainly don't! We are head over heals for this Casa de Perrin design.  Both modern and eclectic this tablescape is a great way to shake things up and have your guests surprised! The best part is that you can have the family help paint the pumpkins and keep your kitchen free of chaos!

Turkey Day Signature Drink

Thanksgiving is next week if you can believe it! As you finalize your decorations, guest lists and holiday menu, we are here to help! Our yummy (and we mean yummy!) Sparkling Apple Cider is the perfect addition to your holiday festivities. Easy to make and can be enjoyed by the whole family. Looks like you will need a cider bar at your holiday gathering!

 

Shopping List

Instructions

  1. In a beverage dispenser (we love these dispensers!) combine mix 4 cups of apple cider, 1 cup white grape juice, 2 cups sparkling cider & 3 cups cranberry lime seltzer.
  2. In small bowl combine 3 tablespoons sugar, 1.4 teaspoon all spice,  1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, & a pinch of crushed clove. Once well mixed add directly to the beverage dispenser and give it a good stir.
  3. We like to add some diced apples to the beverage dispenser to make it look pretty!
  4. We serve each drink in a pretty glass and dress it with an apple slice and cinnamon stick.

 

Here is our Fall Drink bar from the Night at the Registry Event with Pottery Barn in October. Photo Credit:  Melanie Zacek Photography  

Here is our Fall Drink bar from the Night at the Registry Event with Pottery Barn in October. Photo Credit: Melanie Zacek Photography 

Enjoy!

Viren Entertainment

We sat down with Shawn Santanello from Viren Entertainment, one of our Night at the Registry vendors. We asked him to share a little about his business, and himself.

Since starting this business on my own in 2012, it has been amazing to see
what you can create with passion and drive for something you love. My whole life
has been centered around music and how it moves and touches people. Music is a
unique human experience. It can transport you to different times and places, it can
play on every known emotion that a person can feel. That is my goal every time I
work with a client. I want them to tap into those feelings, those memories, and
simultaneously create new ones. It’s my job to guide them down that path.
Getting to know people, finding out who they are and where they come from,
helps ensure the philosophy that what I do should never be about me. I am simply a
medium to help my clients achieve their visions. Too often I hear about
DJ’s/entertainers who take more of a “center of attention” kind of approach. While
its true that as a professional you need to take charge of an event to make sure
everything runs smoothly, that should never overshadow the fact that the event is a
celebration of the client, not the entertainment.

What's the newest trend in wedding music that you are loving right now?
The ability to beat mix songs is also a huge subconscious element to
keeping a dance floor packed. If people are subjected to subsequent songs
that are all over the map as far as tempo goes, they’ll stop dancing. Mixing
3,4,5 songs together that have a similar beat/feel to them is essential to keep a
dance floor going, despite what genre of music it is .


What advice do you have for couple's that want to pack the dance floor?
I would tell couples if they want to pack the dance floor, make sure you
choose a DJ who is right for you. Make sure they understand your tastes but
also know that a wedding is comprised of many different factions of people.
You have to be able to play music that appeases all and alienates none.

Lastly...dance, lol. Your guests are there to celebrate you. If you aren’t
dancing there is less of a likelihood that everyone will be out there all night
long.

Come see Shawn, and all of our other amazing vendors at Night at the Registry, October 12th. He'll be providing live music and a state of the art photo-booth. First of it's kind, in the region! Register and find out more here.

4th of July signature drink

Looking for something special to take your traditional Fourth of July BBQ to the next level? We have just the thing: our Fourth of July sangria! Add some festive fun to your table with this bright and fruity crowd pleaser.

1 bottle of your favorite white wine

½ cup of Triple Sec

Your Favorite Red, White, and Blue Fruits: Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Raspberries, Pineapple, etc.

For added flavor, throw in ¼ cup of berry flavored vodka or a ¼ cup of lemon juice

 

Combine everything in a large pitcher and let chill before serving. Keep it cool by adding some fruit ice cubes!

Bar Cart Central

Essentials for a flawless bar cart – a perfect statement that adds a fun and inviting flare to any space!

Image courtesy of:  Apartment Therapy

Image courtesy of: Apartment Therapy

1. A Statement Piece: Think of your statement piece as the eye catcher for the cart. You can get creative as you want!  A funky painting, an interesting sculpture, some old books, a decorative clock – anything! Try to pick something that will add a cohesive color pallet to base your other essentials off of.

2. Flowers/Greenery: Any type of arrangement can add life and freshness to your cart, and connect all the elements of the cart as one. Think outside the box!

3 Fresh Fruit: Lemons, limes, and oranges work perfectly to add brightness – plus you can slice it up for a colorful and easy garnish.

4. Glassware: You can choose from all different types of glassware. Stemware works best with wines and champagne, while tall and rock glasses work better with hard liquor or beer.

Image courtesy of:  Divine Caroline

Image courtesy of: Divine Caroline

5. Wine, Beer or Champagne

Pick what looks most appealing to you! Your choice of alcohol can add a personal touch. Going for a chic, upscale look? Go with champagne! Or is this bar cart for the man cave? Load it up with his favorite beer instead.

6. Hard Liquor

If the bottle the liquor comes in doesn’t match your aesthetic, pour it into a decanter that does!

Need some inspiration?

 
 

Enjoy and drink responsibly!