How to Plan a Magical Wedding in Northern Virginia

We could describe all the steps it takes for a great caterer to create the perfect wedding, but while we’ve done it more times than we can count, the reality is that like creating great food, there is a special alchemy that happens when the special couple connects with their special caterer.

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What follows is the true story of a wedding that began in the Spring of 2018, and culminated in a glorious Fall wedding at a scenic winery in the quaint Northern Virginia town of Lovettsville, between Washington, D.C., and Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.

Meet Colleen & Chandler

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Colleen and Chandler were both in their late 20’s, both working in their professional careers, when they decided to get married, and they wanted their wedding to be a special and joyous celebration to share with their families and friends.

Colleen took the lead to find the perfect wedding caterer and called Sus at Maison Culinaire.  The conversation began when Colleen asked simply, “do you do weddings?”

Gathering Details for Wedding Catering

Aside from the enthusiastic “yes,” Sus went into the impressive history of Maison Culinaire’s wedding catering experience, of working with couples to plan and deliver affairs that delight with exquisite food, atmosphere, and service.  Number of guests, special cuisine choices, table service and buffet options, sumptuous desserts, and beverages are just some of the things to be considered.

The Extra Step – A Little Personal Attention

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The bride-to-be and her mother Eileen were invited to come to Maison Culinaire’s kitchen to learn more about the couple, their families, and what they were looking for.  And while there, to see some of the options available and get ideas from our extensive gallery of pictures of beautiful weddings and testimonials from former clients.

Colleen, her mother Eileen, and Sus, went over a range of details from china and serving dishes, to linens and napkin colors, salt and pepper shakers, to types of cuisine they loved and options for service.  Most importantly, as Eileen and Colleen were working together with Sus, she learned about a very special vacation Colleen and Chandler had taken. That ultimately would influence the way Colleen, her mother and Sus began to imagine the food and atmosphere she knew would make this wedding every bit as special as everyone wanted it to be.

Choosing Service Options

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Service options ranging from buffet or passed hors d’oeuvres, to buffet or table-service entrees also got significant consideration.  The team wanted to provide a range of delicious options and accommodate the different phases of the event including arrival cocktails, the wedding ceremony itself, dinner seating, dancing, desert and more dancing.  All those factors went into selecting passed hors d’oeuvres and buffet dinner service.

Add In Your Own Ideas

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The bride had unique ideas about serving pie for dessert instead of traditional cake.  Everyone loves pie, but it can be difficult to serve to a large number of people efficiently – especially when there are multiple flavors to choose from.  Sus came up with the idea of offering 4 delicious types of torts and allowing guests to choose and get their own favorite “personal pie.”

After the food choices were narrowed down, the bride and groom, and the bride’s parents, came back to Maison Culinaire for a tasting.  They were told to come in after a long day at work so they’d be good and hungry – there was a lot to taste! The Maison Culinaire team presented all the preliminary choices in the same order that they might be served at the live event. 

Final food decisions were made and Sus was able to present a projected budget for food and service based on their final food decisions.

Selecting a Venue & Making Final Decisions

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Meanwhile, Colleen and Chandler had selected a venue – a favorite vineyard of theirs in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains.  In addition to the magnificent Fall foliage background it would provide, the winery was able to provide chairs, tables, linens, and of course, the wine. 

While the wine was taken care of by the vineyard, Colleen’s father Steve, a beer connoisseur, brought his input on that front, selecting the brews and how many kegs might be needed.  While kegs sounded appealing, Maison Culinaire knows that a keg takes a day to settle after being trucked to a site.  Don’t let it rest and you end up pouring a lot of foam.  On Sus’ recommendation, they switched to using bottle service, and went through projecting how much of each brew was likely to be needed.

Finally… The Big Day with a Happy Ending!

Getting all the people, tables, bar setups, linens, china, silverware, and chairs arranged and  rearranged, as the festivities proceed can be a real challenge. Especially when the vineyard was providing some of the elements, and the caterer providing the food and service.  And did we mention that a local ordinance prohibits outdoor music after 10pm, so dancing that started outdoor had to migrate indoors at the height of the festivities?

That is why Maison Culinaire has a logistics manager involved with all facets of the event so that it came out looking easy to serve 150 people delicious and unique food, beer, and wine, in comfort and high style.  Meanwhile, a captain is there to manage the service to the guests, while the chef is in the kitchen insuring the food is perfect.

The outcome was an exquisite wedding affair, loved and thoroughly enjoyed by the guests and the hosts alike.

Topics: wedding catering, northern virginia wedding

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Written by Maison Culinaire

A luxury catering firm for weddings, special events and corporate events, in Northern Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Montgomery County, Maryland.

Categories: Catering|