Experience Santa Barbara Catering & Artistry for Yourself

On Choosing Your Preferred Caterer for Your Special Event

special event catererChoosing a caterer is perhaps the most important element of planning an event (after you’ve selected your venue), but can be a bit overwhelming.  And if  you’re planning an event in a world-renowned special event dream location like Santa Barbara, there are many choices.   We’ve found that carefully guiding clients through the process of good questions to ask helps make the planning process much smoother and even enjoyable.

Consider the following points when choosing your caterer:

A caterer’s core talent is the luscious food they create, but not all caterers are created equally.   Your favorite restaurant may cook your favorite food and do it to perfection and offer to “cater” your wedding;  but there is so much more to catering an intricate production such as a wedding, that their culinary skills in the restaurant may not shine – and in fact- may fail completely off site.  Choose a full-service caterer who has not only experience catering large events off site, but also knows all the rentals that will be needed for the satellite kitchen, guest dining and so much more.   Your event is a reflection of you as the host, so having not only an impeccable meal, but flawless service and all the equipment necessary to deliver it all is paramount. 

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The Evolution of the Wedding Dessert

Photo: Logan Cole

Since ancient Roman times, weddings were always celebrated with some sort of special sweet. According to history, Ancient Roman wedding ceremonies were finalized by breaking a cake of wheat or barley (mustaceum) over the bride’s head as a symbol of good fortune. The newlyweds then ate a few crumbs in a custom known as confarreatio, or,eating together”. Afterwards, the wedding guests gathered up the crumbs as tokens of good luck.

Sweets continued to be a part of wedding feasts for centuries, and in fact, were often

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How To Be a Guest At a Wedding or Private Event

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Photo: Landino Photo

While etiquette is more commonly known for being the Host/Hostess of a wedding or event,  there is often not a lot of information on how to be the perfect guest at a wedding or private event.  Here are some of the  most commonly-overlooked courtesies that , when practiced, will make your Host’s job much easier and make you a welcome guest every time.

  •  Always respond to an invitation.  “RSVP” means to let the Host or Hostess know either way if you are coming.  It is asking for a response. No matter what the event, the host spends  money on food, beverage and much more based on the guest count, so having the courtesy to let him/her know how to budget their spending plan is a basic thoughtfulness.
  • Do not invite a guest whose name was not on the invitation.  This includes calling to ask the Host/Hostess if you can bring someone.  The only exception is if you have a live-in partner, are engaged or married and your partner’s name was not listed on the invitation, it is appropriate to contact the Host to clarify.  Good etiquette on the Host’s part includes including live-in , engaged, or married partners of the invitee, but there may be a reason they were not included, so it is considered acceptable to call and ask if in doubt in that case.

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Why Pre-Event Communication to Guests Can Help Save the Day for Your Wedding

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Photo by Landino Photo

So much of the success of a wedding is determined by the success of the ability to stay on schedule.  And here’s why:  every vendor working the event has a service to provide, including a start and end time.  With many vendors – and in particular with food and beverage – if the event is running severely off schedule, the service or product provided may be ruined and not eligible for recovery, or in other cases, the vendor may have to charge the the client hefty overtime fees for running late.  In a worst-case scenario, the vendor may have another engagement and not even be able to stay late and may have to leave, if the event is too far off course.

One of the ways to avoid all of this is to empower your wedding guests with strong communication on the event’s logistics and possible challenges in advance.  The time that the invitation lists as the ceremony start time should not be the time guests start arriving.  Here are some of our top tips for helping ensure your guests’ arrival is on time, thus ensuring the rest of the event – and its services- shine and provide everything you hired them to do:

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Some Favorite Special Event Rental Items and Decor Inspiration

We are so privileged to work in a creative industry where the visual element is always dazzling the senses and innovation is always leading new and fresh ideas.  We work with so many talented event supply partners who are leaders in their service and our industry.  We wanted to share some highlights of a few of our favorite props, accessories and event items that have been inspiring us this year.

All photos are provided courtesy of the companies as  mentioned below:

imageAbove: (Top Photo) SPARK Creative Events provides a clear acrylic  structure great for chuppas and more with a solid frame top for securing fabric and florals | (Bottom Photo) They also rent this lovely Vintage Garden Gate (they have 6 total) that can be used to hang escort cards or simply provide a gorgeous entrance to a ceremony or reception where there is no formal “entry”

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Memorial Day Weekend Beverage Inspiration: Pomegranate Mock Mojito

Pomegranate Mock Mojito from The Healthy Mind cookbook

Pomegranate Mock Mojito from The Healthy Mind cookbook

This weekend kicks off the freeing and fun days of summer.  All over, barbecues will be fired up, fresh, sumptuous ingredients will be savored with delicious variations of beverages – both alcoholic and non-alcoholic – and with the longer days and more beautiful weather, health-awareness becomes center of almost all activity.

We absolutely love this Pomegranate Mock Mojito from Rebecca Katz’ cookbook The Healthy Mind Cookbook  –  which also has the double effect of also being considered “brain food” –  for any summer event- including a delicious brunch, or simply a healthy lifestyle!

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Preparing for El Nino & Inclement Weather: A Look at Event Tenting Inspiration

Tenting Inspiration with Swagged Fabric Around Poles from Ventura Rental Party Center

Tenting Inspiration with Swagged Fabric Around Poles from Ventura Rental Party Center

In Santa Barbara and its vicinity, many of the epic event locations are outdoors.  We can’t blame our clients for choosing these incredible locations because they are positively inspirational and provide a backdrop that their guests will be talking about for a very long time.  That said, when planning any event that includes any part of an outdoor space, one always has to have an inclement weather plan built into their spending plan (budget) and be prepared.  Here is what we recommend:

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Catering Connection’s “Personal Picks” on Favorite Menus

While our special event menus are available on our Website, we are frequently asked which ones are some of our favorites.  The answer is not simple, because we’re partial to all the deliciousness that happens in the Catering Connection kitchen studios.  That said, there are some menus, that when paired with other complementary foods are absolutely beyond amazing.  Below are some highlights from our menus of our “personal picks”:

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2016 Wedding Trend Predictions

Whimsical Rustic Woodland Wedding | Photo Credit: Chelsea Elizabeth

Whimsical Rustic Woodland Wedding | Photo Credit: Chelsea Elizabeth

Re-Post by Permission

“Trends” are always an interesting phenomenon.  One has to ask the question if they are created strictly for marketing purposes with an agenda, or if there is a science of a pattern or if perhaps a hybrid of “all of the above”. Regardless, we find them fascinating, in most cases true and in all cases, entertaining and always, always creative!

Below are the top 2016 trends that are sweeping the wedding industry.

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Top Tips for Eco-Chic Wedding Florals & Decor

Photo Credit: Rewind Photography | Florals: RowanOak Events

Photo Credit: Rewind Photography | Florals: RowanOak Events

There are many tips for enjoying an environmentally-friendly wedding and decor.  And no one knows florals better than the professional floral designers themselves.  We’ve gathered some of the top tips from our floral event supply partners on producing eco-chic wedding decor:

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