We’re closing out the week with a visit to one of my favorite places in the Lowcountry, the one-and-only, Kiawah Island. Kiawah is a quaint, upscale coastal town only 30 minutes from Downtown Charleston, and it’s surely worth the short drive. This beauty takes place at Cassique and comes to us from a crew of talented Charleston wedding vendors. Bride Jennifer dazzled in a gorgeous strapless gown while her hair was pure perfection in an effortless half-up do. Her bridesmaids looked chic in black Jessica McClintock gowns that were accompanied fabulous orchid bouquets…and boy, do I mean fabulous! The couple said their ‘I do’s’ in a swanky, outdoor ceremony before celebrating the night away with family and friends! Thanks to Fia Forever Photography for capturing all the details…
It’s no secret that I daydream about Charleston weddings. Whether it’s a breathtaking Lowcountry plantation, a jaw-dropping bouquet or a stunning Southern bride, I love all of it. Every last single drop! Lucky for me, I know you ladies share in my obsession. I couldn’t be more excited to share this swoon-worthy bridal session at one of my favorite Charleston wedding venues, Lowndes Grove. This little slice of Lowcountry heaven played host to the beautiful Miss Coley as she suited up in her bridal attire for her timeless bridal portraits from our friend, Jennings King Photography.
Hopefully, you caught Dodeline Design’s early guest post about a stationer’s role in your seated dinner extravaganza. If not, feel free to check it out here! Sticking with the served dinner topic for your Lowcountry wedding reception, we’ve asked another talented Charleston wedding vendor to discuss the catering end of things. So, please welcome the crew from Duvall Events as they teach you everything you need to know when planning your plated dinner reception…
A served and seated dinner provides an entirely different event experience and aesthetic than a stations or buffet style reception. It can be a wonderfully intimate way to celebrate your new marriage with your closest friends and family all seated around a table, getting to know each other. There are a few basic things all brides and grooms should know when deciding on a served dinner.
1. Served dinners are more expensive. When having a served dinner, you need a seat for every guest attending the reception, this drives your rental cost up- more tables, more linens, more centerpieces, more glassware. Consider mix and matching floral centerpieces with candle or lantern centerpieces to save on your floral budget. If everyone’s being served at the same time, catering companies need more staff to execute dinner service- more chefs and more servers- this inevitably increases your bottom line budget. Lastly, even if you have an open bar, if you want wine service with dinner, most catering companies will charge a per-bottle fee in addition to your open bar price. Consider having guests get up to go to the bar for a refresher or ask the servers to offer refreshments if they’re free. If you insist on wine service with dinner, consider closing the bar during the dinner hour to save on your bar cost.
2. Served dinners require more planning. If you’re planning on offering multiple options, you must pre-plan and coordinate your invitations so you can have a proper entree count to provide your caterer. We typically ask for these final entree counts at least 2 weeks prior to the wedding. Additionally, it is important that your catering company know about any allergies so they can accommodate any guests that may need a special entree. During dinner service, we typically ask that the place cards somehow denote what entree the guest requested on the response card. If this is not done, often times people forget what they ordered and guests end up with entrees they do not want.
3. Served dinners take time. An average served dinner will typically take about an hour and a half, with getting guests seated prior and up and onto the dancefloor after. If you’re dreaming about a wedding full of people buzzing about and hitting the dancefloor all evening, know that a served dinner takes time to execute and will typically take up ⅓ of your reception.
4. Details matter. When planning a served dinner, talk with your caterer about customizing the china, glassware and flatware you use. Mix vintage patterns to create fun decor. Incorporate a metallic charger to make a statement or mix and match water glasses to create an eclectic feel. The table settings will be a focal point so pay attention to every detail- what napkin fold do you want? How do you want the place card? Will there be a menu card at each setting? Does the chair match the aesthetic? When making all of these decisions, be sure all of these details coordinate with the centerpieces you have chosen. Get creative with your table scapes and chairs and your tables are sure to catch the eye! Lastly- candles, candles, candles! Candleligt is the best way to create budget friendly ambiance at your wedding. Ask your caterer if they provide votives to sprinkle on the tables. If not, purchase a box and have your caterer place a few on each table. It will make a world of difference!
All images via Duvall Events
Looking for a Lowcountry caterer who can knock your socks off!?!
The Lowcountry is swarming with uber-talented wedding vendors, so it’s no wondering that I LOVE when I get to share their expertise with you! Well, today you’re getting a healthy dose of educational tips from two of our favorite Charleston wedding vendors. We’ve asked Dodeline Design and Duvall Events to give us some pointers to keep in mind when planning your Seated Dinner reception. First up, we’ve got the lovely Mrs. Sarah Reed of Dodeline Design to provide us with some insight on why it is imperative to include your stationer in your seated dinner wedding plans. Trust me, bookmark it, pin it, facebook it…do what you gotta do, but keeping these tips with you throughout your wedding planning process is a must! Make sure to check back this afternoon to hear the caterers perspective from Duvall Events.
The Seated Dinner: Stationery
I often find that it surprises couples when I ask questions in our initial meetings such as, “What type of meal service are you providing?” They sweetly and blankly stare back, and I know they’re thinking, “What on earth does that have to do with paper?”
Actually, it has quite a lot to do with stationery. If you are planning on having a seated dinner, here are a few things to consider when ordering your paper…
The RSVP Card
More than likely, you have several entrée possibilities, so your caterer will need to know ahead of time how many of each selection to prepare. So, on the RSVP card, it’s very important to include an entrée selection area, such as we’ve done here…
Having guests initial instead of check a box is a good way to know who wants what, which you’ll want to know for the next step.
Secondly, confirm with your caterer the deadline for informing them of these meal selections. It can vary greatly depending on the company you’re using, so to avoid any unnecessary expense, make sure you check with them before setting your reply by date.
Seating Charts + Escort Cards
Because you have a seated dinner, you will pretty much have to have a seating system of some kind to enable your caterer to serve the right meals to the right people. The first step in getting guests to the correct seat is to go the traditional route – escort cards – or alternatively, to do a fun seating chart poster of some kind. The possibilities for these pieces are endless. Don’t forget that an important piece of the seating system is having table numbers / labels too, for which there are also a lot of great ideas out there.
Once you’ve gotten your guests safely to their table, you’ll need to direct them to their seat at that table. We do this with placecards, which are often tented similarly to the escort cards above. However, we can get creative with them too, such as the example below.
Your caterer may also request that the meal selection is printed on the place card. Write that down as another question to ask the caterer and tell your stationer!
Image via Leigh Webber
So with all these little details, make sure you stay organized with your guest’s responses and selections. The best way to do this both organizationally and for ease of printing is with an Excel spreadsheet. Add a column on the end for Table Number + Meal Selection and it will greatly help your stationer print everything for you.
Katie + Adam’s laid back, coastal engagement session from Whimsey Photography by Cana is what every Charleston bride hopes for. With the picturesque Lowcountry as the backdrop, the adorable couple was relaxed and in their element. The duo kicked things off with a casual walk along Folly Beach before taking a stroll downtown through White Point Gardens.
A group of talented Charleston wedding vendors recently teamed up for a chic, plum inspired shoot overlooking the Cooper River Bridge, and the images from Reese Moore Photography will leave you weak-in-the-knees! The purple perfection took place at one of our favorite Charleston wedding venues, Harborside East, and allowed for a picturesque, backdrop of the Charleston Harbor. The ladies of Fabulous Fete were the masterminds behind the whole design. They dreamed up a plum evening with ombre touches complete with a modern cake from The Cake Stand, sleek sequined pillows in varying shades of purple and orchids, lots of dreamy orchids!