Category Archives: Dining

Signature Sips

I love wine. Most love beer. Enough prefer liquor over both.

The first time I discovered the “signature drink” idea for weddings, I knew I wanted to incoporate this idea in the reception. And really, I can theme anything. I love themes. I think it’s the little Martha Stewart inside of me’s favorite thing to do. Plus, it can help with your budget {huge deal}, not to mention add a little oh-la-la  to your sips.

Let’s be honest, it’s sort of a treat when you discover there are actual drinks at a wedding – most often it’s just beer and wine. Which is fine, I’m not knocking anyone or anything.  However, actual drinks mean big bill and big bucks {which = breaking budget}. For me, anyway.

One way to get the best of both worlds is to use the sig. drink theme.  Guests get to walk around with cute-sy little colored drinks to match your wedding. They make for pretty rad pictures anyway. See below:


Aside from the cute factor however, you give your guests another option at the bar but keep costs under control by only offering one type of liquor. Which I suggest be vodka. Vodka is the most popular liquor and can be combined with a wider variety of mixers to achieve different flavors (not to mention, it can take on whatever color you want). Basically, you can’t go wrong with it.

Our drink consists of: 1 oz vodka; 0.5 blue curaco and soda water. If mixed correctly, it really tastes delicious and light, perfect for a hot summer night. The name of our sig. sip: TBD. Any ideas readers?

Not sure what to mix with what and how to get your signature color? Castle Brands Inc. has this wonderful little tool that allows you to search for cocktails based on color, complete with recipe and ingredient information. Too fun! If you don’t find what you’re looking for, resort to Google. It’s a no fail. And my best friend.

Once you find a recipe {or two} have a BM over for a taste test to figure out which one you like best. You have fun and get wedding stuff done at the same time. Now that’s killing two birds with one stone, for ya!

Anyway, since we are deciding to take  the three-drink-choice route {and our venue allows us to bring in our own alcohol}, we need to figure out exactly how much we need of what. Not easy. As I’ve mentioned before, Frugal McDougal’s Web site offers visitors a drink calculator.  You just enter in the number of people you think will be drinking, then the number of hours, and they do the math for you. Of course, the hard part is deciding who you think will actually gravitate towards which beverage for the night.

Tip: just estimate. Don’t drive yourself crazy trying to be exact. Like I did.

My friend and event planner Brandi, of All Events Planned, also suggested (in her experience) to assume that out of 100 people, 25 will drink beer, 25 will drink wine and 50 will drink the cocktail. It’s at least a starting point – the counting is really up to you.


Keg Beer – if you decide to do a keg, check out Jack-Son’s Sports Bar for prices and flavors available {they’re whom we are going through}.  They include a keg cooler and pumps for each type of keg you rent .  Here is another list of a few places in the area that may be worth comparison shopping for.

Bottled or Canned Beer –  Costco. It’s no surprise their prices are great and you can return any unopened packages.

Wine – Again, check Costco. However, you may be limited on the types of wine available. If this is the case, you can also price check at regular grocery stores in the area; I think most places will give you “event discounts” if you buy a certain number of bottles.

Liquor – The liquor store. It’s worth asking if they do discounts on multiples but I really don’t know on this. My grandpa picked our liquor up on his way down to Reno this spring for cheap. Thanks grandpa!

Liquor License

If your venue does allow you to bring in your own liquor, you have to show proof of a banquet permit {in order to serve the liquor} in the state of Washington. They only cost $10, so make sure you get one. Here is Washington’s permit guidelines and rules. Read ’em. Learn ’em. Use ’em.



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Filed under Alcohol, Dining, Food, Reception

The Paper Plate Debate

Yep, it’s okay – I cringed at those words too when they popped up in my “wedding sphere”, but before I go further, let me give you the down low on why this is even a subject of consideration for me right now . . .

Ok, so we haven’t officially chosen our caterer, but we’ve basically chosen our caterer.  Rhonda was a reference from friend, a lot of fun and offered tons of ideas for us to pick and choose from – she was an easy decision.  However, her on-the-side wedding catering is done with the resources from her current job – New Hope Missions.  Because of this, her prices are lower {the food is just as good!} but, so are the tableware options – as in one choice basically.  Described as “ugly” by the lady herself, Rhonda suggested if we decide not to go with those, to use paper plates instead to save on costs. 



Wedding + Paper Plates.


I, for the last month and a half now, have chosen to ignore this situation and let that problem slide right off my shoulders.  However, having recently phased into “wedding mode” again, this dilemma has been at the forefront of my mind.  Naturally, I took to Google.  I wanted to see what others were saying about this . . . surely I wasn’t the first one to approach the subject.

There were mixed reviews + opinions and plenty of them.  I was humbled however.  As one person pointed out {in a nutshell}, “it doesn’t matter what you eat off of, and you shouldn’t care what other people think. It’s your wedding, your budget, your day and a free meal for them”.  I’ve never been to a wedding with paper plates so I really don’t know what would cross my mind.  Anyway . . . I began researching rental companies (see YV Bride’s list here) and dishware/stemware/glassware prices.  If I guessed my #’s correctly, these rentals will be almost an extra $500 chunk from the budget PLUS our responsibility, not the caterer’s {unless she chooses to be the middle man}.  That’s a lot of money and a lot of dishes to wash. 




Innocently and curiously, I started checking out paper plates – this led me to some designer looking ones (if you will) and were getting pretty pricey.  However, I realized you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.  Wasn’t happy. Plus, that’s a lot of waste and paper/plastic plates do NOT biodegrade, spending years in landfills . . . not good.

This got me onto the green trail. Are biodegradable paper plates better than reusable plates? Are they even cheaper? This lovely little blog gave me great insight.  While the reusable plates are the better way to go {green speaking + if washed in the dishwasher ONLY}, there are some disposable alternatives right on their back.  Earthshell and Greenwave Paper Plates are both 100% biodegradable, eco-friendly + compostable options made from products such as potatoes, limestone, sugar cane and bamboo.  They’re not pricey – compared to their counterparts – either, you can get 240 plates for $35.99 and they promise “strong and sturdy”. 




Hmmm . . . I can jump on this train I think.

Maybe anyway.

I do feel better about this whole thing after thinking about my research more. Our wedding is going for the chic barbecue feel and I think paper plates might be okay {but I know that reusable ones will always be okay}. Plus, I decided to take an internship this month, which means a huge pay cut for me and we really need to figure out where we can/are willing to cut corners.  If we let our guests know we’re trying to be earth-friendly and set aside specific bins for compostable materials (i.e. food scraps and the plates) can we really go wrong? Can we be humble and not turn up our noses? I have no idea which way I’m gonna go . . .

The great paper plate debate continues.

Let me know what you think readers, I’d love to hear your take on it.



Filed under Catering, Dining, Food, green, Reception


I have a sweet tooth.  Big.  Huge.  Weak.  Sweeeeet sweet tooth. 

This weekend the guy and I are set up to meet with a caterer and will also do a little cake tasting/testing while there {bittersweet}.  It’s funny, when I first started doing my “nuptial research”, my eyes always gravitated toward the more elaborate, decorated cakes.  The more I think about it, the less I like them — not to say that the brides that do shouldn’t, just not me.  I got caught up in the fairytale, Disney princess wedding ideal there for awhile and have since, snapped out of it.  My taste and preferences have gravitated toward simplicity now {complex ideas – simple designs}.  I am very particluar and very much detailed oriented about every aspect of my wedding – wanting it to be juuuuust right – and the cake is no exception.  However, I do need to remember that IT’S JUST A CAKE! 🙂

Anyway, here are a few pieces worthy of a little spot-light attention on my pages . . . a little “cake-spiration” if you will 😉

textured cake for blog post

{love the texture}


something different I like about this one – maybe better for a Seaside wedding








{groom-approved cheesecake — how fantastic!}


{how terribly cute! A flavor for every sweet tooth :)}


{love the freshness & cleanliness of it}


{texture. color pop. cake stand. perfect

some cute little extra for the top?






SO CUTE – via Baumbirdy on Etsy


pretty bottoms?





oops getting off track — don’t need the accessories for cake testing 😉

Found this helpful Q&A with professional cake baker Erica Fill via All Events Planned and thought I’d share a few insights here — perfect timing for me!

 Q: What is the one thing a bride should splurge on when booking with you?

A: Delivery.  Nothing is more heartbreaking than to order a gorgeous cake, only to have it destroyed by the time it gets to the reception hall because someone else picked it up and delivered it.   Trust your baker to get your cake to your reception hall! 
Q: What is the worst story you have heard about a mistake someone in your industry has made, anyone, ever. Alternatively, what is the worst mistake a person in your industry can make?

A: One horrible mistake a baker could make is to not properly support the cake! Dowels do take up some space (minimal), but they are the difference between your cake staying upright or falling over! 

Q. What is something you wish all of your clients knew, or a certain thing you wish all of your clients would do to make working with them easier?
A: Always bring basic info to your consultations.  Reception info, phone numbers of contact people, color swatches, pictures, ideas that you’ve drawn up.  If you have an idea of what you want your cake to look like, then your consultation will not only run smoothly, but will be a fun experience.
For the full interveiw, click here!



Filed under cake, Catering, Dining, Food, Uncategorized

Deals Around the Valley #6

Deals Around the Valley #6: 5% off your wedding catering bill


I had a lot of responses to the Valley Deals run last week from vendors in the area and these generous folks just keep on giving!  So, I decided to run a few more deals this week for you all 🙂

Yakima’s brand new ::uptown chic:: Sage Restaurant|Wine Bar is offering a 5% discount off your wedding catering bill! With the “creative ability to tailor the menu to fit your event perfectly . . . the possibilities [with Sage] are limitless.” 

sage 1

Offering “impeccable

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, attentive, courteous service . . . and plenty of yummy food” Sage’s inclusive website features a few sample menus as starting points to help spark ideas for brides and grooms. 

sage 3

What I also found very helpful about their website is that they offered estimated price per person costs for the food! I know this sounds {simply silly} but I’m finding a lot of places won’t even give you pricing information unless you sit down with them first! I find this technique irritating.  I don’t know about anyone else but, being on a budget, I need to find someone in price range first, and then take the time to talk with them . . . not the other way around . . . so, thank you Sage for being upfront!

Quite the cute little site, Sage also hosts a What’s Haute? section in which they detail what they believe to be “haute” at the moment (all the way from decor to food).  In this section they suggest using Yakima’s abundant local ingredients to “provide your guests a taste of the best the Northwest has to offer” including plank salmon, crème brulee with local peaches and artisan cheese platters – yum!

{special note} Sage’s executive chef – Jeff Euteneier – gives the “inside scoop” on his own blog The Reluctant Chef!

I’m a blog addict, I had to check it out 🙂

For more information on catering with Sage, please contact event coordinator, Michelle Euteneier by email or call 853-1057 and mention this post!

 4000 west king street
yakima, wa 98909
(509) 853-1057

sage restaurant hours:

monday-thursday: 11 am – 9 pm
friday: 11 am – 11 pm
saturday brunch: 10 am – 2 pm
saturday dinner: 2 pm – 11 pm
sunday: closed

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Filed under Catering, Dining, Valley Deals