Thursday, April 21, 2005

Wedding Receptioning

No this is not a how-to to cater your own wedding. I may like to cook, but I am not a masochist. I thought it might be fun to relive the wonderful catering experience J and I had with our wedding. I'll tell you this much, DC can be a damn expensive place to get married. Because there seems to be a large population of rich folks, it's hard to find a space that seats over 80 for less than $5000 and a caterer that will feed and serve people for a reasonable price. On the first point, a really good resource is the book Unique Places to Have Your Wedding in DC. It breaks down the list of places by how many people will fit in them and lets you know things like, whether they have their own tables and chairs, will allow outside caterers and what the ambiance is like. We ended up having our reception at the Great Falls Grange, a former meeting space for farmers in Fairfax. It has a relatively big space for the dinner and dancing (45 feet by 35 feet), a good soundsystem, a stage for our swing band (who were a steal because I volunteered for them) and a downstairs area for food. They also had a few sets of tables and chairs, which meant we didn't have to spend as much money on rentals. While the space charged an initial $500 for four hours rental, we needed the space for a good 14 hours for set up and break down so we ended up spending $1200 altogether. We also rented place settings, tablecloths and napkins, glasses, and chafing dishes. That was a major part of our reception budget. Though the reception site people did proclaim our wedding to be the most beautiful event ever staged at their site, they were the stingiest, uptightiest people about their space. No candles, no free extra hours to set up (like anyone will use the space at 11:00 am on a Saturday) and nitpicky about our faboo decorations. They were faboo. We had a whole crew dedicated to the Christmas light swag. Our friends rock. Truly, truly rock.

Anyway, onto the food. J and I were fairly firm that we wanted to incorporate both of our cultures (Texas and Vietnam) into the menu. Most true blue caterers were totally out of our price range. And quite frankly, one of our criteria was to have the caterer cook the food better than we could. A fairly tall order considering our enthusiasm for cooking. We racked out brains for months to figure out this wedding reception Gordian knot. We wanted to have food brought in from Rocklands BBQ because not only is their meat delicious, the sides rock as well. Finally, we were hanging out with Tim and Rob and ordered food from Cafe Asia in Clarendon. It was good. REALLY GOOD. Better than we could have made. I called and talked with Joey the manager and she said doing half the food as well as providing staff to serve, bartend, and clean up was doable. So we picked a draft menu and noodled around with it for a while. And then, we went with Olivia to their Clarendon location to for a tasting. Never did I feel more like a bride than when Joey ushered us to a table and gave us free food. WHEW!!!!! We were originally going to have their curry as a dish but while delicious, it what spicy. Nicely spicy for my tongue of iron and fiery for the whitey palette. In the end the reception went amazingly well. The setup ended ON TIME. Noone had to stay late to clean and the staff rolled with all the punches. For the $2200 we spent on Cafe Asia we got food for 75, a staff of 2 servers and 1 bartender, and the true insurance of a good reception, two managers to supervise. It was great service and made it be exactly the reception we wanted. For those interested here's was our menu:

Southern BBQ:
Corn Pudding
Baked Beans
Caesar Salad
Sliced BBQ Pork
BBQed chicken

Vietnamese Spring Rolls
Vegetable Pad Thai
Pangang Tofu (the sweet soy sauce that adorns this dish is to die for!)
Indonesian Fried Rice


Jon said...

The expense of putting on a wedding in DC was so depressing for us when we got married a couple months ago. Instead, we trekked to Western, PA.! where the same amount of money here gets you fifty times better there. I feel your pain, but it sounds like it worked out for you. Found you through DCFoodies.

Chalicechick said...

My husband and i had the reception in the church basement and had it cated by a place called Geppettos.

Food was great and cheap.


Anonymous said...

I find this blog very interesting and I will come back often.
In the meantime I can recommend wedding candle decoration
This is a directory of all You need to find out about wedding candle decoration.
So please, don´t miss this opportunity to find out all You need to know in one place.
wedding candle decoration

mojito recipes said...

Hello Blogger,

One of the sections in my article directory is recipes ... while looking for blogs on key lime pie recipes, I discovered Wedding Receptioning .

Most people believe the best content on the internet is created by bloggers ... original content, experiences and opinions. Nothing to sell and no hidden agendas!

As someone who appears to be interested in key lime pie recipes, I am sure you will find our recipes section to be interesting. I am continually searching for bloggers to submit articles and assist me to expand the directory to all our benefit. By contributing, you not only get the recognition of being an author, but also knowing your submission will be seen by many hundreds of internet surfers. The pride and satisfaction of seeing your article published in a prestige directory is hard to beat.

Not all of us are born with the talent to write to high standards of literacy ... as a consequence, a lot of bloggers don't try to have their articles published.

I like an informal style of writing that matches your personality and fits in with your article content. I welcome articles that are uniquely based on your personal knowledge, experiences and opinions. All I request is that your content does not contain vulgar language, incite hatred or generally offensive.

Without any commitments ... please pop over and browse my blog articles directory for yourself.

Kind Regards


Kim said...

Hey, I really like the quality of your blog. Very interesting indeed!

I own a submit tax tip article related site. It is mostly about submit tax tip article information.

Come to see us when you get time.

Kim said...

Hi there, It never ceases to amaze me of the quality of blogs that can be found. Yours is very interesting indeed!

I have a geriatric nursing article
website pertaining to geriatric nursing article

Check us out sometimes. :)

peterpascoe25 said...

Try going to

Caterers in Indore said...

I feel water in my mouth after watching this blog really delicious blog.

Annie83 said...

I really enjoyed the famous food of New York Wedding Venues. It is one of my favorite restaurants in that place. Here you get indoor as well as outdoors seating with “hot n serve” food services!!