Love at First Bite
Written by Amanda Easter and Pat Chaudoin
Q: How can I create an Instagram-worthy cocktail?
A: Instagram is all about what you see, so make your cocktails pretty in addition to being tasty. “Using an embellished or engraved glass on top of a customized coaster can be really beautiful,” says Nicole Mower, owner of Nicole Mower Weddings and Events, Kittery, ME. “It’s all about the little details. For example, as more people choose to forego straws, you can find cool alternatives, like the Twizzlers one couple used.”
Rose Bryant, Senior Wedding Coordinator at Kitchen Chicks Catering, Kennebunk, ME, suggests other options. “Try using edible flowers frozen into ice cubes as a garnish for your cocktail, or serve herbs as stir sticks for an interesting way to introduce something edible into your cocktail.”
Q: How can I spice up a traditional dinner?
A: “You can take your standard Maine dish and incorporate a nontraditional flair, whether that be with spices or unusual flavors,” says Bryant. “We love creating deconstructed options of classic-style food as well. A lot of times we’ll do that with our hors d’oeuvres, where we’ll have a full lobster meal but turn in into one bite. Making something more modern is a cool way to add flair to a generally traditional meal.”
“I always ask the couple a lot of questions in order to incorporate personalized details into the meal,” shares Donna Ryan, Co-Owner of the The View at Pepperrell Cove. “Some questions we might ask to make the food more special are, ‘What makes you think of home?’ and ‘What food is important to you?’ This open conversation allows us to create a menu based off of what the couple loves. The menu can tell a story, your love story, through food. I had a couple that loved to travel, so we had dinner options that matched their favorite places.”
Q: How can edible flowers be incorporated?
A: “We mostly see them being used as garnishes, but they also can be incorporated into the salads or in cocktails” share Pat Cannon, owner and Lisa Greene, master designer of Beach Plum Flower Shop in Newburyport, MA. Bryant adds that edible flowers can be incorporated in even more creative ways. “They can be frozen into Popsicles, baked into cookies, or printed onto lollipops. They even can be used to dress up a cheese table by pressing flowers into the cheese. Something to consider when using edible flowers is the price—they can be expensive! Ask yourself if they are just there for aesthetics or are they contributing to the flavor?” Whatever your answer is will help your planner or caterer decide which flowers to use.
Q: What is important to consider when serving a family-style dinner?
A: It’s not just about the food, according to Mower. “Make sure to tell your florist so the centerpieces can logistically make sense with the platters that come out,” she says. “And keep in mind that your rentals are going to be more expensive overall. Instead of just renting glassware, flatware, and dishware for each guest, you now need to rent platters, tongs, and bowls for each guest table, because that’s how you’re serving the food. And that’s on top of everything else you would normally be renting.”
“You’re going to need bigger tables to fit everything, so you’re going to need a bigger tent or venue to fit everyone,” notes Bryant. “Those kinds of logistics need to be taken into consideration with family style. In terms of food, a super-hot option doesn’t keep as well with family style because of the nature of getting it to the table. By the time each platter makes its way around, the food generally ends up around room temperature.”
Q: What should I know about having a reception with stations or heavy appetizers?
A: “Understand that you are going to need more food than what is actually necessary,” explains Bryant. “You have to prepare for guests who want seconds or thirds from a particular station. And always cover your bases with options, so whether that’s vegetarian, meat, or seafood, you should have two kinds of proteins so everyone can find something appealing. I do love that stations are so versatile—they can kind of take on their own identity. One thing to remember is that you want to keep plenty of food offered throughout the duration of the event.”
Ryan adds, “This is great if you have guests with different food allergies or specialty diets. You can have an entire station dedicated to vegan and vegetarian food and another with gluten-free options, along with your other stations.”
Q: What is a fun way to include coffee at the reception?
A: “Everyone loves coffee, especially with dessert,” Bryant notes. “I lived in Australia for a year and was inspired by their obsession with coffee. When I came back to the States, I thought of different ways to include coffee in the dessert bar, and I thought of the Australians’ love for affogatos, which is a scoop of ice cream with hot coffee poured over the top of it. This is a really great option whatever the wedding season, because it is both hot and cold.”