Tag Archives: Catering

Wedding Venue Cost Calculator

Found this helpful article and wonderful little tool, courtesy of Blue Orchid Design – felt the need to share, enjoy!


I’ve talked about the plus/plus rate and the hidden costs in wedding budgets on this wedding blog before, but in case you missed that post, plus/plus, in a nutshell, stands for plus tax, plus service charge. These figures are in addition to the cost your venue or caterer will quote you for your wedding.Wedding Venue Cost Calculator. The calculator is an excel spreadsheet that you can download for free. Don’t let the word spreadsheet intimidate you: all of the instructions (it’s pretty easy) are included.  The calculator also has space for you to compare the cost of three different venues so you can see at a glance which is the better deal.Download your free wedding venue cost calculator here.

In order to help you figure out what your real costs will be for your wedding location, I’ve created a

If you have any trouble downloading the calculator, try right clicking and selecting “save target as” and then opening after it’s saved.

I realize that talking money and calculators isn’t the most glamorous or inspirational part of wedding planning, but having a grasp on all the logistical details will help your day run smoothly.


1 Comment

Filed under Budget, Catering, finances, planning, tidbits, venue, {advice}, {budget resources}

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

menu inspiration

On Saturday, Kyle and I met with our first wedding caterer.  I have to admit, we went into the meeting a little ill-prepared.  We didn’t have a “food budget” set, a list of prepared questions was non-existent and menu options ranged from steak to salmon to burgers to pasta (aka not narrowed down).  To be honest, we didn’t really know what to expect.  The whole food/service/catering thing isn’t something I’m naturally interested in and I failed to do the research before the sit-down (oops!).  However, talking to them made me feel better and gave me more of an idea of what to expect and all of the components we need to consider and, really, it was something we hadn’t even thought about yet. 

Oh geez, a whole new list of things to stress + obsess over!

Anyway, to say the least, this little session sparked the whole “menu” conversation on the way home.  We know we want to stick to the casually chic approach, with a BBQ type fare for the reception, but I’m struggling with how to integrate that BBQ experience into the wedding in an elegant and modern way . . . is that an oxymoron?   

Oh well if it is. I’m determined to figure out how to make it work. Found this for some “menu inspiration” from the Over Cocktails blog this morning.  May be a little too casual, but I love the menu idea and hey, it’s a start!


Grilled peaches wrapped with prosciutto

Delicious cheese plate




BBQ chicken burgers on white or wheat buns


Ina’s Potato Salad with Bacon & Eggs

Mother-in-law’s coleslaw

Fruit salad



Or check out these mini sliders and steak skewers from Flights of Fancy. I think that’s pretty chic :).


{Love} the mini speared corn-on-the-cob idea:


Culinary Crafts

These steak and pepper skewers look delish . . .


Brides Magazine

Check out these adorable mini BBQ sauces from Beau Coup, perfect for adorning the guests’ tables. BONUS: they can be customized – how fun!


. . . and some fashionably inexpensive hors d’oeuvre ideas for some pre-ceremony munching courtesy of Love, Honor & Cherish:


{frozen grape skewers}


{antipasto sausage skewers}


{cornmeal bilini bites}


{grown up ham & cheese finger sandwiches}

I also found these additional BBQ wedding reception menu ideas from EzineArticles:

Menu Idea #1

* Barbecue Chicken
* Country-style Pork Spareribs
* Sweet & Smokey Baked Beans
* Corn on the Cob
* Traditional Coleslaw
* Watermelon, Honeydew & Cantaloupe Skewers
* Cornbread with Honey-Butter

Menu Idea #2

* Sliders! (Petite style Burgers)
* Apricot-Honey Glazed Chicken
* Red Skinned Potato Salad
* Watermelon and Fresh Strawberry Display
* Farmer’s Market Green Salad with homemade Dressings
* Biscuits & Honey

My take on them — not bad, pretty stylish, chic and casual . . . all wrapped into one. Bottom line: the balance is definitely doable :).

Colin Cowie, host of the Get Married television show, suggests “collect[ing] tear sheets of food and cocktail recipes that you love, as well as photographs of presentations that you find beautiful.  By having these tools handy, you will be able to articulate your vision and be sure that the chef will get it right . . . [come prepared] with a set list of options and opt for more simple dishes that don’t require perfect timing . . .”  If only I’d done this post before Saturday ;). . .

The Knot {a wedding planning website} also suggests a list of 17 Questions to Ask Your Wedding Caterer . . . check them out and print your own list here!

Don’t forget to check out Yakima Valley Bride’s {wonderfully complete} online catering directory to get an idea of what the Valley has to offer here.

Hope this helps 🙂




Filed under Catering, hors d'oeuvre

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

This slideshow could not be started. Try refreshing the page or viewing it in another browser.

, 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

Leave a comment

Filed under Catering, Dining, Valley Deals