Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Find: Uplighting!

On Monday night The Center's staff stopped by Vincent Lighting and found something we are now obsessing over! In case you hadn't noticed from all of our event photos, uplighting is the most popular option we see in The Center for décor. Bringing in a few boxes of LED lights to place along the walls in our ballroom really transform of our space. Just take a look...





So our Friday Find? It's the battery operated Freedom Par LED uplighting now available through Vincent Lighting. Why do we love this particular option? Vincent Lighting has the white option available, which blends in with our natural décor allowing a seamless look for your special event!


Interested in renting these lights? Contact Vincent Lighting today at (859) 525-2000.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Come on; Ask Away!

Now that we’ve shown you how you can utilize The Center as both your ceremony and reception venue, we’re here to advise what types of questions you should ask us! Deciding on a venue is one of the first wedding steps that’s going to set the tone for the rest of your planning and décor.  If you decide on a space that has flower-patterned carpet and pink walls, chances are you’re going to have to find decorations that match with this venue’s color scheme. Or if your venue has blank walls and hardwood floors, you can let your imagination run wild and choose the décor that best represents you and your groom as a couple (hint, hint).



With the venue being such an important decision (in our eyes, anyways), we decided to let you in on a couple questions you should ask that often get overlooked! We are basing these questions off of The Knot’s “Complete Guide to Weddings.” This is a 434-page book that lets you in on everything you need to know about weddings and a book we eat, sleep, and live by.
  • While this first question is a bit more obvious, it's one of the most important ones to ask: is your date available? If you have one date in mind that you absolutely HAVE to get married on then you need to first ask if that date is open.
  • One major question, that is important to us, is asking about the insurance policy. We require a Certificate of Insurance from every outside vendor working on our space. This acts as additional protection towards the bride and groom. While  insurance and legal structure isn't typically on the mind of every bride, it is something one should address!
 
  • Always be sure to ask your ceremony venue about setting a time for your rehearsal. Often times, this wedding event gets overlooked and leaves the bride and groom in a panic when just weeks before their wedding they realize they haven't set a rehearsal time with their venue.
  • The Knot also suggests asking the venue if there is a private room where the bride and groom can get away from all the hustle and bustle of their reception. With the entire spotlight on you all day, it's nice to have a place to go to and relax, even if it's for just a few minutes!
 
  • Where can guests park? The Center is in the heart of Downtown Cincinnati, which many may think could cause parking problems. Don't fret! We have a number of guest-friendly suggestions for parking and we would be more than happy to recommend them to you!
  • Are you able to hang décor from the walls/ceilings? While looking for your venue, you might not take into consideration the physical requirements of the décor you've been dreaming of.  Always be sure to ask us about any décor you would like in the space.
 
  • You should also ask what is included in the rental fee. Make sure you have a clear understanding, prior to booking your venue, of what the venue provides and what you will need to rent from other vendors. Along with this question, you should ask how set up and tear down time works. This is often a confusing matter and we want to make sure everyone, including outside vendors you are working with, are all on the same page!
  • One question that is crucial to making a reception happen is how is the alcohol going to be provided? All alcohol must be purchased through The Center on a per bottle charge. This often cuts down your alcohol cost since you do not include those who won't drink in the guest count!
Want The Center to provide detailed answers for these questions? Call us at 513-824-7274 or email us info@mcacenterllc.com. We would love to have you in for a tour!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Find: The Knot Dream Wedding 2014

We aren't sure about you but we have really enjoyed watching The Knot Dream Wedding unfold over the last few weeks. This year The Knot selected Rebekah Gregory and Pete DiMartino as their 2014 Dream Wedding couple. These two truly deserved the wedding of their dreams after all the obstacles they have overcome, including being injured during the Boston Marathon bombing. Their love story is amazing!

 
Aren't they just the cutest?! Over a period of seven weeks the theme and details of Rebekah and Pete's wedding were revealed to them. All details were voted on by the public using The Knots website. We loved seeing what choices won each week! See all the details here.
 
Go ahead and grab your tissues. Their wedding highlight video by Tweed Weddings + Lee Brice's song "I Don't Dance" will definitely cause you to shed a tear!
 
 

 
If you're like us and just can't get enough, click here to see some of the photos from their wedding. Gorgeous!

 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

It's All About the Invites

We've talked venues, guests lists, wedding dates and more! Now it's time to invite your family and friends to take part in this celebration! We sat down with Dirty Helen Paper Company to get all the details on save-the-dates and wedding invitations. Check out what they had to say!



The Center: Tell us a little bit about Dirty Helen Paper Company.

DHP: DHP is a custom stationery house that specializes in wedding. We create invitations, programs, thank yous, etc. all to fit your personality and your day. Imagination is the only limit! Every custom piece is designed and produced in-house using digital printing, foil, letterpress, or embossing, so the budget is customizable as well.

The Center: As more and more wedding planning is taking place online, have you seen an increase in brides asking for electronic versions of their save-the-dates or invitations to send out via email?

DHP: So far this has been uncommon in our experience. There is still something celebratory, formal, and exciting about sending paper goods through the mail. (Think about the emotion of receiving a card or invite in the mailbox - it's fun, pleasant, and heartwarming!) We do see lots of other parties or events, like showers or rehearsal dinners, with digital invitations, but brides are still choosing to invest in paper goods to welcome guests to their wedding day.

The Center: What should a bride include with her save-the-dates and invitations?

DHP: Save-the-Dates have very few standardized requirements. They are a great opportunity for expressing the personality of the couple in a fun or meaningful way. The purpose of a Save-the-Date is to give guests advanced awareness of your upcoming event so that they can plan vacation, travel, and general availability, so be sure to include the wedding date and location. Often brides include the URL to their wedding website for more information. For wedding invitations, there are formal etiquette traditions, but the rigidity has relaxed significantly over the last 10 years. It is now totally appropriate to be casual, goofy, witty, or formal and traditional in the invitation wording and style, but the basic information remains the same. Include who is inviting guests to the celebration, the date, time, and location, and instructions for how guests are asked to RSVP. Some brides include parking, accommodations, wedding website, and reception information. It still is not considered polite to include information about registries or gifts in the invitation, but that information can be placed on the wedding website.

The Center: What advice do you have for brides when creating/sending out their save-the-dates and invitations?

DHP: Before you meet with your vendor, take some time to research what you love. Check Pinterest or your favorite blogs to get an idea of what attracts you, and be sure to share that inspiration with your vendor. At your vendor meetings, bring only the people with you who will either contribute to your decision or support what you want - don't bring the whole wedding party. Also, proofread very carefully. At DHP we provide final proofs before production and use that time to be sure everything is perfect!



The Center: You briefly touched on etiquette for wedding invitations and save-the-dates, but do you have further invitation etiquette to share with brides?

DHP: Yes! No zip codes, spell out times and numbers, attire suggestions...and many more. We most often see brides get tripped up with the etiquette of addressing the envelopes. Don't be overwhelmed; we'll help you with that!

What is the most popular font type/paper choice brides are choosing these days?

DHP: Handwritten or calligraphy-style fonts are very popular. We see a lot of brides utilizing letterpress and sticking with a very simple, elegant, typography based design. Theme weddings are also on the rise, which we love! This year we've designed for a steampunk wedding, a katamari wedding, an Alice in Wonderland wedding, and more. A theme is a great way to express yourself and give inspiration to all the wedding choices you make (from décor to food, venue, and of course, printed goods!)

The Center: Thanks! Any final tips you'd like our readers to know about Dirty Helen Paper Co. or save-the-dates/invitations?

DHP: Stay as relaxed as possible during your planning season - it's a special and unique time! If you can identify specific stressors, cut them out. At DHP we want you to receive an excellent product as well as a happy experience!

Learn more about Dirty Helen Paper Company by contacting them at info@dirtyhelenpaper.com or (513) 330-6481.

Pictures provided by Dirty Helen Paper Company.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Reds Opening Day!

Happy (two days after) Red's Opening Day! While the Cincinnati Reds kicked off another season, we kicked off an Opening Day Viewing Party for business executives and professionals. Everywhere you turned in The Center you could find baseballs, turf and of course, the color red! With help from some amazing vendors, we were able to hit a homerun with this event! Take a look at some of our décor, food, and flowers for a little baseball-loving wedding inspiration, along with learning about the different services each of our contributing vendors donated!


McHale's Events and Catering



McHale's provided a delicious ballpark meal! Including the ever-so-famous coney dogs, meatballs, sandwiches, veggies and fruit! This type of food really gave off a ballpark atmosphere.

Entertainment Unlimited Events


Entertainment Unlimited provided the spandex backdrop. If you are having a smaller reception and are feeling a bit overwhelmed with how to decorate our large, blank canvas space, this type of backdrop really catches guests' eyes and easily fills our space.


All Occasions Event Rental


 
All Occasions provided the red/chevron linens and white Milano chairs and bar stools. By ordering a larger linen with a table runner, you are able to create a unique cocktail table arrangement. The chevron pattern also makes a great décor statement for those quirky brides.


A Day to Remember Wedding and Event Rental



This red leather couch and white side tables belong to A Day to Remember. Along with the red couch, this wedding and events rental company also contributed the white lounge furniture, which we spread throughout the ballroom, and the wooden bar. Completed with our dome light turned red, The Center had the perfect Opening Day touch.

The Flowerman



Taking a closer look at the center pieces, you can see The Flowerman's personal touches. What is so great about The Flowerman is that the bride and the bridal party can walk into the warehouse and create their own bouquets and flower arrangements for their big day. We think these pieces rounded out the Cincinnati Reds theme perfectly!

Tres Belle Cakes




Along with McHale's, Tres Belle Cakes provided these delicious desserts! What better way to celebrate baseball than with cupcakes, cake pops, and cookies?!



While this is not décor, flowers, or food, take a look at our view from our window! It was the perfect spot to watch the parade go by!
 
We would like to thank these vendors, along with Simply Events  and Pottinger Photography for helping us make this event a success. We could not have done it without the team of these great vendors!
 
Pictures provided by Pottinger Photography. Check out their blog post to see more pictures from this Opening Day Event.
 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Find; ISES March Event

Today, our "Friday Find" comes from this month's ISES meeting, which we attended last Tuesday, March 18. The International Special Events Society is a networking association for event vendors and professionals. To learn more about this organization, catch up on our previous blog post, "Introducing ISES"! ISES holds a meeting on the third Tuesday of every month and this month we attended a not-so-normal event venue; Ferguson Bath, Kitchen, and Lighting Gallery. This is number one on our Friday Find list!

 
Ferguson's is a showroom displaying bathroom and kitchen fixtures by some of the leading manufacturers in the business. However, this isn't your typical fixture warehouse; instead, customers are able to see these fixtures displayed in some of the most gorgeous bathroom/kitchen set-ups. Take for example, the picture shown above (and my personal favorite kitchen design). This suggests that Ferguson's isn't only a retail store, but a great place to go for décor and style inspiration. After taking a tour of this facility, we sat down in one of the biggest kitchen set-ups for a cooking demo and tasting by Village Pantry Catering. Which brings us to our next Friday Find.

 
 

How have we not heard about this dessert before?! Village Pantry's Pastry Chef, Sarah Bepler, gave us the scoop on how to make this seriously delicious treat and we're here to share the secret!
  • Take a sheet of puffed pastry and cut it in half
  • Dust each half with granulated sugar
  • Fold 2 inches from both ends inwards and then fold both ends again (the sheet will be folded in fourths lengthwise)
  • Dust again with granulated sugar
  • Cut each half sheet into 6, 1-inch sections of the puff pastry and then lay on a cookie sheet lined with parchment
  • Bake at 350 for 5 to 6 minutes (until they start to brown)
  • Then flip them over and bake an additional 4 to 5 minutes on the other side (when they're done, they will puff up like little hearts.)
Once you have your pastry baked, you then dip the ends into melted dark chocolate and set them on a sheet of parchment until the chocolate cools. Now, you start working on the vanilla whipped cream.
  • Take 1 quart of heavy whipping cream, 1 cup powdered sugar and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • Whip these ingredients with an electric mixer until it starts to form stiff peaks
Then using a piping bag with a pastry tip, Village Pantry informs us to pipe the whipped cream on the underside of each palmier and sandwich it together with another palmier. This should make a total of six sandwiches. At the end, you can dust with powdered sugar. Thanks for the recipe, Village Pantry!

This dessert isn't the only thing Village Pantry showed us how to make, which brings us to the next item on our list!
  • There's more pasta sauces available than marinara and alfredo

 



Chef Larry of Village Pantry Catering performed a cooking demo of, what they call, the three "mother sauces." Starting off by creating a roux with flour, butter, and cream, he created a basic white sauce, which can then be turned into some secondary sauces. These secondary sauces included pesto cream, Cajun cream,  and alfredo, which let me tell you, were delicious!

He then demonstrated a basic brown sauce, by again making a roux of flour and butter. But this time he added shallots and allowed it to cook longer than the white sauce (creating the brown color). To finalize the brown sauce, he added beef stock and voilà! The secondary sauces of Swedish sauce and marsala were created!

We were impressed with how easy these sauces were to create! To learn more about how to make these incredible sauces visit Village Pantry's blog!

Along with Village Pantry, Epitome Bartending also made an appearance at this month's ISES event.
  • Epitome Bartending's Martinez
 
 
Now this drink is no stranger to us, as Epitome Bartending provided the recipe for it in our January "Drinks for Thought" post. However, we had never tried this drink before, until now! This classic version of a martini was the perfect blend of sweet and savory. With 2 parts of Sweet Vermouth, 1 part London Dry Gin, 1/4 part Maraschino Liqueur and then a dash or two of orange bitters, this drink was not your normal martini! See for yourself by checking out our previous blog post to learn more on how to make this dangerously good drink.

A special thanks to Pottinger Photography for the great pictures!

Want to take part in these ISES meetings? Take a look at the ISES website to find out how to become a member.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Food for Thought; Elegant Fare

Every Friday, we have decided to post a "Food for Thought' segment, where we introduce a local caterer or baker asking them to share their story and some wedding insights to our readers. This week we are taking readers on an Elegant escape as they read about one of the classiest catering companies in town, Elegant Fare.

We call this catering company “classy” because they have catered to a number of higher-end, upper-class celebrities and heads of states, including Elton John, the Dahli Lama, and US Presidents and Vice Presidents. We feel honored to have even interviewed this catering team! Let us introduce you to Nigel Chalkley, Chief Operating Officer of Elegant Fare.

Nigel explained that Elegant Fare started off as a company offering frozen dinners to businesses over 30 years ago. Today, Elegant Fare has grown into a business which caters one of the largest sporting events in the state of Ohio, the Western & Southern US Open Tennis Tournament. In 2013, this event had 185,000 attendees.

Working large sporting events isn’t the only service Elegant Fare has to offer. This company also caters towards brides’ food and planning needs. “Elegant Fare offers so much more than just the catering & services, we walk the bride through the whole process from initial contact, menu development, a tasting at our commissary with tour of kitchen and culinary departments if requested,” Nigel explained. “We have strong relationships with many of the finest events specialists and vendors in the industry from florists to limo services. We are always available to spend time with our brides to discuss their options all the way through to their event. Our knowledgeable sales associate from conception to execution of the event will be there to make sure every detail goes as planned so we can always exceed the client’s expectations.”

That’s not all! What also makes this company so unique is the fact that all staff members are hired and trained by in-house management to ensure quality. That’s right; they don’t use a temp agency for their staff!

After winning multiple awards over the years, including Best Caterer and Best Service, it’s no surprise that Elegant Fare treats its brides like queens.
 

However, every queen needs some advice every now and then and Nigel is here to offer it! “Go with what makes YOU happy,” he suggested while discussing reception food. “Select the food around your ethnicity, your theme or your personal tastes. Don’t worry too much about every other individual guest, they are there because they love you and will always have a great time and [will] enjoy what you selected for them.”

Want your guests to rave about your reception food for years to come? Contact Elegant Fare at 513-552-1340 or stop by and visit them at 2575 Commerce Blvd. in Cincinnati.

Pictures provided by Elegant Fare's Facebook.