Think seasonally for a nice price on flowers. Plus, many more useful planning tips from the pros.
Florists pick best bridal bouquets and wedding flowers in Delaware
If a bride wants a certain flower at a particular time of year, chances are there is a florist who can get it for her whether the flower is in season or not. But keeping in mind that flowers are generally least expensive during the season in which they bloom can help brides prevent costs from running wild.
Perhaps the only exception is the rose, a bridal bouquet staple, which is usually inexpensive because of the supply. “Roses are available all year long,” says Mona Kinnel, special events coordinator at Cook & Smith Florist in Dover.
Spring flower favorites include bulb plants such as tulips, hyacinths and irises. Summer standards include peonies, calla lilies and carnations. For autumn, florists gravitate toward chrysanthemums, lilies and Gerbera daisies in vibrant fall colors. Sunflowers are also popular for their color and size. Keep in mind that many flowers, such as mums, bloom across seasons.
Flowers for winter weddings could be considered to be the priciest because they have to be shipped in, says Dawn Geiger, owner of DiBiaso’s Florist in Wilmington. However, supply is being adjusted to meet demand as winter weddings become more common, so prices may not be as high as expected, she says. In addition, winter wedding arrangements are often accented with pine greenery, ivy and other hardy plants, which helps lower the cost, Geiger says.
A few blooms are pricey no matter what time of year.
One of the biggest budget busters may come as a surprise—the lily of the valley. This is because the flower “only blooms for three weeks out of the year, then it’s gone,” says Geiger. The lily of the valley is also very fragile and difficult to ship, she adds. Likewise, gardenias tend to bruise easily, so must be handled with great care.
Another way to stay in budget regardless of the season is to use a showy tropical flower, like bird of paradise, because the flowers are so dramatic you don’t need to use as many, Kinnel says. Just a few stems of a brightly colored tropical flower, accented with leaves, can be all you need. “You actually get more bang for your buck,” she notes. —Samantha Drake
Bridal boot camp: trainer Jay Raymond of GameShape in Wilmington, Delaware, shares exercise tips
Every bride wants to look good—make that great—on her wedding day, when all eyes will be on her.
More brides-to-be are booking time with fitness trainers for a “bridal boot camp” to get in shape for the big day and a skin-baring honeymoon.
With many couples going to tropical destinations for their honeymoon these days, it isn’t enough to tone up for the wedding dress. Brides are focused on how they will look in a bikini as well, says Jay Raymond, a trainer and owner at GameShape in Wilmington. At the very least, this means working the arms, abs, legs and glutes.
Raymond asks brides three key questions to help him design an exercise regimen: What is your diet like? How much rest do you get? And how much time do you have to commit to exercise?
He says the optimum answers indicate that the bride makes nutrition a priority, that she is getting at least eight hours of sleep a night, and that she can put in time at the gym three or four times a week, plus exercise on her own.
Fortunately, most brides are highly motivated. “For the most part, they want to look really good in that wedding gown,” Raymond says. He recommends that ideally, brides start working out an hour a day, five days a week, starting as soon as possible.
Raymond encourages the groom, the wedding party and the family to get involved in exercising so that the brides will make the healthy habits they learn a permanent part of their lives. “It’s a journey, it’s not a destination, he says.—S.D.
Maid of honor and best man duties: Wedding party responsibilities in Delaware
Next to you and your fiancé, the maid of honor and best man are the most important members of the wedding party. What are their responsibilities?
While some traditions hold, couples are increasingly defining the roles to suit their needs, says Leanne Silicato, owner/coordinator of Make My Day Event Planning in Rehoboth Beach.
The maid of honor and best man are still the bride and groom’s right-hand woman and man. The maid of honor assists the bride with choosing the wedding gown and the bridesmaids’ dresses, while the best man helps select the style of the tuxedos.
Both are also responsible for choosing a group gift for the bride and groom, as well as individual gifts for the fiancés. The maid of honor remains an integral part of the planning process.
These honored attendants are also responsible for planning pre- and post-wedding parties. Couples’ weekends are replacing bachelor/bachelorette parties, and both the maid of honor and best man collaborate in the planning, says Kameron McConnell, co-owner of Afflair Events & Design in Wilmington.
The maid of honor also plans the brunch for the day after the wedding, while the best man arranges the after-party following the reception.
On the big day, the mission of the maid of honor and best man is to get everyone dressed and to the ceremony on time. The maid of honor holds the bouquet and sometimes the groom’s ring. The best man carries the bride’s ring. Both act as witnesses to the marriage. —Christine Facciolo
Brunch buffets for the bridal shower: Delaware wedding experts share their best ideas
When planning a bridal shower, think beyond lunch or, rather, before lunch. “Brunch showers are getting more and more popular,” says Gloria Talbot, wedding specialist for Harry’s Savoy Ballroom in North Wilmington. “It makes the event a little more unique.”
Harry’s brunch buffet ($28.95) is an impressive spread ranging from fresh fruit and pastries to eggs Benedict to lump crabmeat and salmon cakes, finishing with petit fours. For an additional fee, add stations for international coffees, omelets, or pancakes and French toast. For drinks, think mimosas, rosebuds (champagne with cranberry juice to make it pink) and Bloody Marys, which can be butlered as guests arrive.
Talbot suggests Harry’s Patio Room, which opens onto a private courtyard with a New Orleans-style fountain.
Brantwyn Estate at the DuPont Country Club is an exquisite setting for a bridal shower. Located in the heart of the Brandywine Valley countryside, the former family home of Gov. Pete du Pont retains its early 20th century decor.
“It’s like you are having an event at someone’s lovely country estate,” says spokeswoman Carolyn Grubb.
The traditional brunch buffet ($36) consists of elegant cold and hot breakfast foods and an optional omelet station. The ultimate brunch also includes lunch-style entrées ($45). Both buffets are served at the DuPont Country Club and the Hotel du Pont as well.
If you like the idea of an elegant home setting, consider the University & Whist Club in Wilmington. The main portion of the club is a former home built in the 19th century. The brunch buffet there starts at $34.95.
In southern Delaware, have brunch with a waterfront view at Bluecoast Seafood Grill in North Bethany or Catch 54 in Fenwick Island. The catering menus include continental breakfast ($9), breakfast buffet ($14), plated breakfasts (from $12) and an optional omelet station, says Molly King of Plate Catering. —Theresa Gawlas Medoff
Fondant vs. buttercream on wedding cakes: Delaware experts weigh in
You plan to have your cake decorated in the colors and style of your wedding, but have you decided whether to ask for fondant or buttercream icing?
With rolled-out fondant, bakeries can achieve the perfectly smooth look seen on many television cake shows, yet it has a reputation for not tasting as good as buttercream.
“It tastes sweet, but some people don’t like the doughy texture,” says Jordan Serger, manager of Cake Bar in Lewes.
Buttercream has a more “rich and buttery flavor” than fondant, says Dana Herbert, owner of Desserts by Dana in New Castle and winner of TLC’s “Cake Boss: The Next Great Baker.”
Because so many guests prefer the taste of buttercream, the option of using a layer of both might be ideal. SugarBakers and Desserts by Dana both use a layer of buttercream under fondant to provide the taste and look. “Fifty percent of people eat the fondant and 50 percent peel it,” Herbert says.
Cakes from Cannon’s Custom Cakes in Newark are iced with buttercream, yet look just as “nice, smooth and rounded-off” as the more-expensive fondant, says Leah Cannon, the bakery’s founder.
Fondant can add $1.50 to $2 to the cake price per person. Even without using fondant, Cannon says, they can achieve “just about anything that a bride wishes,” creating fancy scroll work with buttercream and flowers with a sugar gum paste that dries hard and looks beautiful.
Herbert says fondant allows him to do 3-D sculpting (such as coral, shells and starfish for a beach wedding) that cannot be achieved using buttercream. Also, color can be painted only on fondant, so he can use metallics.
Brides with outdoor weddings or receptions without air conditioning might consider using fondant, which holds up better in the heat, according to Serger.
Look at photos (and displays, if possible) of a bakery’s fondant and buttercream-iced cakes. Serger advises doing a tasting, as well. With a little research, you can make sure your icing looks and tastes great. —T.G.M.
Toasting tips from Moore Brothers Wine Company in Wilmington and Deerfield Fine Wines in Newark
We asked for recommendations from local experts Eric Tuverson of Moore Brothers Wine Company in Wilmington and Dean Cesario of Deerfield Fine Wines in Newark. Prices listed are per bottle.
Tuverson: Bele Casel Prosecco, $16
“I can’t imagine someone not liking this Prosecco, and it goes with anything you put on the table.”
Cesario: Domaine Saint Vincente Brut, $13
“For the champagne drinker who is really just starting out. It is not as dry as a true champagne. It has a lot of fruit to it, but good mineral, too, and just a hint of white grapefruit. What makes it unique is that it’s from New Mexico.”
Tuverson: Gasnier Cravantine Brut, $22
This pink sparkling wine is of the Chinon appellation from France’s Loire Valley. “The wine has a beautiful aroma of wild strawberries and red currants. It’s very fragrant.”
Cesario: Heidsieck & Co. Monopole Blue Top, $30
A true French Champagne, it is 70 percent Pinot Noir, 20 percent Pinot Meunier and 10 percent Chardonnay. “A nice assortment of fruit with a little bit of dryness. This is the first Champagne to get a 91 percent from Wine Enthusiast.”
Tuverson: Diebolt-Vallois Blanc de Blancs, $45
This French Champagne is made with 100 percent Chardonnay grapes. “It was my house wine when I was at Le Bec-Fin. It is very elegant, beautiful, with a refreshing acidity.”
Cesario: Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut, $45
“This is a unique Champagne. You will taste a little honey, some vanilla and citrus, but not overpowering. Just a hint of each.—TGM
Edible wedding centerpieces in Delaware: Bachetti’s Catering in Wilmington and Celebrations Design Group in Claymont
Wedding centerpieces take on a whole new flavor when you dispense with the flowers and go edible instead.
The centerpiece can actually be part of the meal, presenting, for example, an appetizer of raw fruits, vegetables and dipping sauces artfully arranged in tiered trays. “You can decorate it with edible orchids, carrot flowers, tomato roses—the sky’s the limit for what you can do with veggies,” says Rich Helms, events coordinator at Bachetti’s Catering in Wilmington.
The same can be done with petits fours, cookies and other mini-desserts, which allows the centerpiece to stay intact until the end of the reception and gives guests noshing opportunities well after the meal has been cleared. Large glass jars of candy are an eye-catching option, and the candy colors (maybe custom M&Ms?) can coordinate with the wedding colors.
Why not make the wedding cake the center of everyone’s attention by having smaller, 8- to 10-serving cakes on every table? The bride and groom also get their own personal-sized cake to cut for photos.
“Smaller cakes make a really fun, edible centerpiece,” Helms says. After the bride and groom cut their cake, the servers hand out plates and pie servers to every table so the guests can serve themselves.
Whole fruits displayed in a tall glass vase provide a “fresh summer wedding palette,” suggests Tom Covello of Celebrations Design Group in Claymont. He’s done wedding centerpieces using Granny Smith apples or pears (a nod to the saying, “the perfect pair”), but other fruits—such as peaches or lemons and limes—work equally well.
An (inedible) option for fall, Covello says, is to fill glass jars with nuts, berries, mini-pumpkins and ornamental squashes. —T.G.M.
Disc jockeys for wedding receptions in Delaware
Nothing steals the spotlight from the happy couple like a disappointing disc jockey. And we’re not talking music here. Even if the DJ does remember the “Electric Slide,” the equipment, clothes, lights—even the attitude—can make or break a reception. Avoid a DJ disaster by doing your homework.
Get references. Coworkers, family and planners are good sources. So is the reception venue. “That’s huge,” says Dana McDonald, a professional DJ both on the radio and on the dance floor. “The venue wouldn’t recommend you if they didn’t like you.” If the venue didn’t recommend the DJ, ask if he or she previously worked there. Once you get names, visit the Web site, says Chuck Wortman of Elegant Events, a DJ and lighting company.
Pinpoint the particulars. There are DJs who work alone, DJs who are subcontracted by a company and company employees. Who exactly will do the job? That person’s name should be on the contract. What is the DJ’s experience level? If that DJ falls ill, who will come instead? Is the DJ insured?
See the DJ in action. Ask for a DVD. Yes, they only provide a slice of the performance, but it helps. It’s not always feasible to see the DJ live at a reception, Wortman says. It’s someone else’s big day, and you’re a wedding crasher.
Ask about the equipment. Some use CDs, some use computers and some use both. Any equipment should be top quality and in good shape. That includes the display.
Specify the attire. “I’ve seen DJs show up in god-awful clothes,” Wortman says. Don’t leave it to chance.
Get a contract. How many hours will you receive? What’s the policy if you run long? Don’t settle for cheap. “The difference between a few hundred dollars can be night and day,” McDonald says. “A cheap DJ can ruin a party.”—Pam George
Photo booths for wedding receptions in Delaware
For decades, photo booth pictures have been tucked inside diaries, glued in scrapbooks and slid into wallets. But the booths are no longer limited to boardwalks and carnival arcades. They’re now making appearances at wedding receptions.
“The first time we saw it at a wedding was about a year ago, although we’d heard people talking about it,” says Katherine Escudero of Escudero Photography in Clayton. “Everybody loved it.” The photos can serve as guest favors, Facebook fodder and colorful additions to guestbook comments.
Forget a dingy box with all the charm of a well-used phone booth. “Our booths have been at high-end events throughout the area, and we’ve never had a problem fitting in,” says Peter Marroni, owner of the Wilmington Photo Booth Company.
Escudero Photography’s custom-built, solid-black models have video screens that let guests outside the booth see what’s happening inside. Fabric sides accommodate groups.
“We’ve seen up to 10 people get inside ours,” Escudero says.
Photo booth access is usually available during the cocktail hour and after dinner, Marroni says. Escudero suggests that the DJ encourage guests to use the booth during his or her announcements.
- Is the company licensed and insured?
- How is the print quality?
- How fast is the printer? You don’t want guests waiting while an ink-jet slowly prints out images.
- What does the booth look like?
- Can you access photos after the event? Can you get the images on a flash drive?
- What’s the copyright policy?
- Are company personnel onsite?
- How does the company charge? Some charge by the hour, but the price may fluctuate depending on the package and the time of year.
Local products for weddings in Delaware
Consumers are buying from local providers, whether it’s because they want to support area businesses or they want the freshest product. Many couples are bringing that local touch to their wedding.
Some focus on the menu. “They want to have local rockfish or crab cakes because they’re in Delaware,” says Chrissy Sarro, catering director for the restaurant Nage in Rehoboth Beach. “They want peaches from Fifer Orchards and bison from area farms.” Many request only seasonal fruits and vegetables.
One forward-thinking beach bride canned beach plums and gave jam to guests. When Nage chef Hari Cameron got married at Lavender Fields in Milton, he used the farm’s lavender to make lavender mustard and white chocolate lavender for guests. Farm co-owner Sharon Harris has seen brides buy lavender to incorporate into their bouquet. Thrown for good luck, dried lavender makes a fragrant alternative to rice.
A dessert buffet gets a dusting of local flavor when you include saltwater taffy from Dolle’s on the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk or goodies from Govatos Chocolates in Wilmington, Neuchatel Swiss Chocolates in nearby Oxford, Pa., and Candy for All Occasions in Fairfax and in Lincoln University, Pa. —P.G.