What to Serve at Your Wedding

What to Serve at Your Wedding

Do you want a meal or finger foods?

 

There are many things to take into consideration when choosing the menu for your wedding! Hors d’oeuvres can be a great choice for you if you just want to encourage movement and mingling at your event or if there is not enough seating for all. If your event is during lunch or dinner a meal may be a better option for you. Here are a few things to consider when deciding the best options for your special day:

1. What is the size of your plate?

People tend to adjust the amount of food they take according to the size of their plate! If you are planning for finger foods a cocktail size plate will work perfectly. If your plates are larger it may be a better option to plan for a buffet style or a plated meal.

 

2. What is the style and time of your event?

Hors d’oevuvres can be a great option with a more casual style of event. There is no need for forks or spoons so your guests can pick up snacks as they socialize and move around with other guests. If your style is more formal you may want to consider Hors d’oeuvres during your cocktail hour or before your plated meal, action station, or buffet. If your event is during lunch or dinner it is a good chance that your guests will eat more. If your event is at a common meal time, you’re guests will more than likely expect more of a full meal. If your event falls in between common eating times, you may not have to provide such a full meal, depending on other factors, of course!

 

3. Other Factors can affect the amount of food you will need at your event:

a. Location of Ceremony and Reception- Guests tend to leave earlier when they have long distances to travel after an event.

b. Will there be entertainment or alcohol?- We find that people tend to eat more when alcohol is being served and tend to stick around longer when an event has entertainment.

 

4. Your budget.

While many customers assume that Hors D’oeuvres will be less expensive than a buffet dinner, that is not always the case. It is important to remember the time it takes staff to produce a larger number of varying small treats vs a larger quantity of a dish. Whatever your budget, it is important to discuss details with your caterer so they can help you find the best options for your special day!

 

Speaking with your caterer about your vision for your special day will help both of you come up with the best menu for you. Of course we are happy to show you multiple options that include hors d’oeuvres, plated dinners, buffet style, etc.  and we can help you choose what is best for your special event!

 

 

Catering Consult Essentials

Catering Consult Essentials

It can be easy to get overwhelmed when planning for an event. We’ve heard from a lot of our clients that they’ve never ever had to order catering before. So how do you know where to start? One of our favorite parts of the planning process starts at the consultation. When our guests come in for a consult, it gives us the opportunity to get to know you and help us create the perfect menu for your unique event! We’ve outlined a few things to keep in mind when you’re getting ready to come in for a consultation to help you be prepared for what to expect.

Is My Date Available?

This is arguably the most important question that you can ask (usually when you’re setting up the consultation). You don’t want to have your heart set on a vendor and then realize that they aren’t even available on your date! For example, Vibrant Occasions Catering is able to cater several events in one day, but we also have to ensure that everyone gets our best, so we are conscious to not over-extend our staff on any given day.

What Are Your Priorities? 

It’s not a bad idea to figure out what your top priorities are for your event. If you LOVE food, then it may be a top priority for you. If having your favorite band play is your dream, then that may be your top priority. Having an idea of what is important to you will help with the next step!

What Is Your Budget?

Once you have your priorities in order, then you can plug them in to your budget. We understand that it’s hard to know how much certain things cost, but at least you can have a general idea of what you’d like to spend overall, and what you feel is the most important things to spend your money on. We understand that just because you are getting married, doesn’t mean your daily life gets put on hold. You definitely want to make sure you’re paying attention to this along the way!

What Kind of Food?

Yes, there are endless options for food! You definitely don’t have to know exactly what you want. We are here to help you figure out the best menu specifically for you! It is always a good idea to have a clue of something that you love (or even hate!) as a starting point.

Steak Diane

Steak Diane

Yesterday, one of our clients ordered Steak Diane for lunch.  This is not something that we make very regularly but it sounded so good that I asked the Chefs to make extra for us to have for lunch.  It was so good that I decided to share the recipe with you.

  • 1 lbs. New York strip steak (2 steaks)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbls. butter
  • 1 Tbls. olive oil
  • 4 Tbls. diced shallots
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 cup sliced button mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 2 tsp. spicy brown mustard
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup beef stock
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. Louisiana Hot Sauce
  • 1/2 lbs. egg noodles, cooked according to package directions
  • 1 tsp. minced parsley for garnish

Season both sides of the steaks with the salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil and butter in a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Sear both side of the steaks until it forms a brown crust, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the steaks from the pan and keep warm. Add the diced shallots, garlic and mushrooms to the pan and saute until the mushrooms are cooked and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Carefully pour the brandy over the mushroom mixture and, while tipping the pan away from your face, light the brandy on fire with a long-handled lighter. Allow the brandy to burn until it extinguishes itself. Reduce the heat and add the mustard, cream, beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, and Louisiana Hot Sauce to the pan. Continue to cook and stir, being sure not the bring the sauce to a boil, until sauce is reduced by 1/3. Return the steaks to the sauce. For medium, leave the steaks in the sauce for 5 minutes until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Allow it to cook longer if you want your steak to be more done. To serve, remove the steak from the sauce and slice it across the bias. Spoon the sauce over hot, cooked egg noodles and top with the sliced steak. Garnish with chopped parsley. NOTE:  I totally forgot the parsley in the picture because I was so excited to eat!

Catering Myths Debunked

Catering Myths Debunked

Leah Seale, our Event Producer, wanted to take some time to outline common catering myths and explain some of the attributes that make Vibrant Occasions a little different than most. There are quite a few aspects of what we do that make us stand out, and I want to make sure you know where to turn when you’re looking to make your celebration, whatever kind it may be, perfect for you!

Catering Myth #1: 

YOUR BILL IS 90% FOOD

Food is a very important part of your catering budget, however, a caterer’s bill may include many other components depending on certain goods and services you choose. Labor charges can be a significant expense and will often be listed separately. Labor amounts can depend on the number of guests, the style of service you choose (plated meal, passed hors d’oeuvres, self-service buffet, etc), your menu selection as well as the duration of the event. Another aspect of labor that your caterer may be responsible for would be the bartending. They may be providing the complete alcoholic beverage service with glassware, ice and napkins as well.

Caterers can often be responsible for the tabletops, too. They can handle the china, stainless and glassware you require, along with many other rentals from tables, chairs, dance floors and tents.  

If you are not working with an event planner, it’s even possible for your caterer to handle the details such as floral centerpieces, decor and props, too!

Don’t hesitate to discuss details with your caterer. They should be able to walk you through this process and make sure every little detail is taken of.

Catering Myth #2: 

CATERERS ALWAYS SERVE “RUBBER” CHICKEN

Let’s be honest. A lot of people have a preconceived notion of what a caterer’s chicken is going to be. We all have had those frozen Chicken Cordon Bleu dishes at banquets, and that gives us all a bad wrap! You can always taste a difference in a chicken entree that is made from scratch by a professional chef, and one “prepared” by folks simply opening a frozen product. You want to be confident that your caterer is preparing the food for your event just for you, and the quality of the food itself is top-notch.

It’s ok to ask your caterers about how they prepare your food. You should be confident that the quality is going to match the vision you have for your event.

Catering Myth #3: 

HORS D’OEUVRES ARE ALWAYS CHEAPER THAN A MEAL

“We have a tight budget, so we’ll just stick to hors d’oeuvres for the meal.” We hear this often. Trust us when we say that caterers understand budgets and the limit that they can put on your event. Something that a lot of catering clients assume is that a buffet meal is always going to be more expensive, but they neglect to consider certain factors that can change the cost. A lot of the hors d’oeuvres require more preparation and labor time than menu items on a buffet. If you do choose to go with all appetizers, you do have to provide a wide variety of options and fillers. The time of day, size of plates and the amount of alcohol being served are all factors to consider as well.

Your caterer should be able to look at the details of your specific event and help you decide what are the best menu options to satisfy your guests while maintaining  your budget.

Catering Myth #4: 

SET UP TIME ONLY TAKES AN HOUR

This statement is very rarely true for most events. Remember, your celebration is uniquely you. Your caterer should be able to estimate the time needed, but it shouldn’t be compared to any other event. Many factors go into the preparation and setup time, including unloading equipment, checking the tables and chairs, setting tables, distributing our supplies to the proper places, prep and finalize menu items, etc.

The caterers want to be as prepared as possible to tackle any last minute issues that may arise during your event, and proper set up time assures that they can handle any curveball thrown their way.

Catering Myth #5: 

PRICING IS ALWAYS COMPARED TO A MEAL AT A RESTAURANT

When you go out to dinner, do you stop to think about the little details like the stemware, table linens and place settings? Experienced caterers essentially are bringing a restaurant to you. They tote around a restaurants worth of equipment to mostly bare venues that often have many logistical challenges. Most caterers will have to prepare, or at least finish food on site, so that requires extra equipment, too. While catering isn’t always as inexpensive as going to a restaurant, you are able to enjoy delicious, handcrafted food while enjoying a unique setting for your celebration. You get to decide what you want, and the caterers just make it happen!

Vibrant Occasions would love to be a part of planning your next celebration. We hope these myths helped you understand what to expect when using a caterer. Never hesitate to ask questions and make sure you’re getting exactly what you expect.

Changing Lives With Chocolate

Changing Lives With Chocolate

We all have a cause that is dear to our hearts, The Call, an adoption agency here in Benton, Arkansas, has made it their mission to find homes for children in the foster care system. On April 20th Vibrant Occasions did a fundraiser catering for The Call, assisted by Natalie Scott Events.  This was a spectacular event that people will remember for years to come, Changing Lives with Chocolate!

Our owners, Mary and Serge Krikorian, carefully crafted recipes that specifically tailored to this fundraiser catering. Meant to evoke feelings of family and home, the menu focused on comfort foods.  Fresh-baked Italian bread with a rosemary olive oil adorned the tables along with beautiful centerpieces set up by Natalie Scott Events.  But the middle of the Benton Events Center is where the action really took place!  Featuring individual small plates of an array of foods including Cajun Shrimp & Cheesy Grits with a Sweet Corn Relish, Salisbury Steak with Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes, and Grown Up Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with a Creamy Tomato Bisque were served to the guests from a chef-manned action station! Sizzling skillets and bubbling soups brought a sparkle to each food lovers eye!

Along the back walls was the largest spread of chocolate delights you have ever seen! So many chocolatiers and bakers from the surrounding area brought goodies and treats for all 400+ guests. It’s safe to say that our savory display of savory treats was a nice balance with the sweetness of the chocolates.

As if that wasn’t enough, we had one more trick up our sleeves for this fundraiser catering….we brought out a Chicken and Waffle Action Station half way through the evening! Yes, you heard that right, crispy battered chicken and fluffy waffles topped with toasted pecans, bourbon butter sauce, maple syrup and a strawberry on top! DELICIOUS. Guests may have been full but they all hurried back to the line once the smells of fried chicken and sweet maple syrup hit the air!

Through all of this The Call was able to raise money through a silent auction and generous donations and Vibrant Occasions was honored to be a part of this fundraiser catering. The community coming together to eat yummy chocolate and savory delicious treats had a greater meaning:  we were able to show children in the foster care system that they matter, they are loved and we care!!

We all have a cause that is dear to our hearts, The Call, an adoption agency here in Benton, Arkansas, has made it their mission to find homes for children in the foster care system. On April 20th Vibrant Occasions did a fundraiser catering for The Call, assisted by Natalie Scott Events.  This was a spectacular event that people will remember for years to come, Changing Lives with Chocolate!

Our owners, Mary and Serge Krikorian, carefully crafted recipes that specifically tailored to this fundraiser catering. Meant to evoke feelings of family and home, the menu focused on comfort foods.  Fresh-baked Italian bread with a rosemary olive oil adorned the tables along with beautiful centerpieces set up by Natalie Scott Events.  But the middle of the Benton Events Center is where the action really took place!  Featuring individual small plates of an array of foods including Cajun Shrimp & Cheesy Grits with a Sweet Corn Relish, Salisbury Steak with Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes, and Grown Up Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with a Creamy Tomato Bisque were served to the guests from a chef-manned action station! Sizzling skillets and bubbling soups brought a sparkle to each food lovers eye!

Along the back walls was the largest spread of chocolate delights you have ever seen! So many chocolatiers and bakers from the surrounding area brought goodies and treats for all 400+ guests. It’s safe to say that our savory display of savory treats was a nice balance with the sweetness of the chocolates.

As if that wasn’t enough, we had one more trick up our sleeves for this fundraiser catering….we brought out a Chicken and Waffle Action Station half way through the evening! Yes, you heard that right, crispy battered chicken and fluffy waffles topped with toasted pecans, bourbon butter sauce, maple syrup and a strawberry on top! DELICIOUS. Guests may have been full but they all hurried back to the line once the smells of fried chicken and sweet maple syrup hit the air!

Through all of this The Call was able to raise money through a silent auction and generous donations and Vibrant Occasions was honored to be a part of this fundraiser catering. The community coming together to eat yummy chocolate and savory delicious treats had a greater meaning:  we were able to show children in the foster care system that they matter, they are loved and we care!!

Sparks Fly at Power Outage Wedding!

Sparks Fly at Power Outage Wedding!

A wedding is an event that most people spend months planning for and dreaming about. The dress, the flowers, the catering, the music and so much more.  But who would ever think to plan for the unthinkable…a power outage?

Last November at the beautiful venue of Alda’s Magnolia Hill in Little Rock, Arkansas, bride, Ashleigh, and groom, Shankar, were preparing to walk down the aisle to say I do. The bridesmaids were dressed in their gorgeous gowns, the wedding guests were taking their seats and the cold, windy November weather was out in full swing. The Vibrant Occasions Catering staff were fast at work setting up the delicious food that was soon to be served at the farmhouse down the hill. With a menu of Tomato Bisque Soup, a Grown-Up Grilled Cheese Action Station, a bacon bar (with six different types of bacon!!!), an extensive array of desserts and a gourmet hot cocoa station were waiting for the cold, hungry guests.

The vows had been exchanged and the crowd cheered for the newly wed couple! The reception was set to start at 4:30 and right around 4:10pm, the evening took an unexpected twist. The power went out! How was the Vibrant Occasions Catering staff supposed to heat up hot chocolate and make coffee to warm the guests? How would warm meals be served without the luxury of electricity? Thankfully in times like these creativity and experience come in handy. Chef/Owner Serge Krikorian came up with the idea to boil water in a chafer to use for the hot chocolate. Luckily this idea worked out perfect, and as the guest entered the candle lit barn the hot cocoa was ready to go.

Little did the wedding guests or the bride and groom know that Mary was already in route to Alda’s with a generator! What fun could a wedding be without a DJ to play dance music?! When Mary arrived to Alda’s with the generator the staff quickly went to work setting it up, and within a matter of minutes of guests were entering the farmhouse with the lights back on and the music playing. The day was saved and the bride and groom enjoyed their first dance under twinkling lights and a love song for the ages!

Even though behind the scenes there was a hustle and bustle to make sure everything went smoothly, to the wedding party and the guests the night went seamlessly. The generator was able to keep the music going, the coffee boiling and the food steaming! Vibrant Occasions Catering makes every event special, not only is the food a top priority for us but the entire experience. Who knew something as random as a generator could be the missing piece for this cold November wedding filled with romance and candlelight?

Grilled Greek Chicken Kebabs

Grilled Greek Chicken Kebabs

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed into 1″ pieces
  • 2 Tbls. olive oil
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1.5 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1.5 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients, except chicken, in a large bowl. Add the cubed chicken and stir to completely coat the chicken. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.
  2. Meanwhile, soak the bamboo skewers in water. When the chicken is ready, skewer the chicken on the skewers.
  3. Heat your grill. Cook the Grilled Greek Chicken Kebab skewers on the grill, turning frequently, until chicken is cooked through and internal temperature reaches 170 degrees.
Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken

Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken

Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken with Mushroom Cream Sauce

For the Chicken

  • 4 6 oz. Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • Salt and Ground White Pepper, to taste
  • 4 oz. Goat Cheese
  • 1 tsp. Fresh Tarragon, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Fresh Parsley, chopped
  • 1 oz. Baby Spinach
  • 1/5 cup Flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbls. Water
  • 1/2 cup Italian Bread Crumbs
  • 2 Tbls. Grape Seed Oil

Place each piece of chicken between two pieces of plastic film. Using a meat mallot, flatten the chicken to 1/4″, being careful not to tear the chicken.

Season the chicken with salt and white pepper.

Combine goat cheese with tarragon and parsley. Divide the cheese mixture evenly among the chicken pieces. Top the cheese mixture with the baby spinach. Starting on the short side of the chicken, roll the chicken around the cheese mixture.

Put the flour in a shallow dish. In a separate shallow dish, beat together the egg and the water. In a third dish, put the bread crumbs. Roll each chicken piece in the flour to coat well, dip in the egg and then roll in the bread crumbs, being sure to coat each piece well. Place each piece of chicken on a clean piece of plastic film and roll the chicken in the film, making a tight roll. Twist the ends of the plastic to form a tight jellyroll.

Place the pieces of chicken in the freezer for at least 1 hour.  This allows the bread crumbs to settle into all the nooks and crannies so that when you cook your chicken the stuffing doesn’t fall out.

When ready to cook your Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken, heat the grape seed oil in a heavy skillet. Remove the chicken from the plastic film and brown all sides of the chicken. Transfer chicken to a baking sheet. Finish cooking chicken in a pre-heated 350 degree oven until internal temperature reaches 170 degrees, about 20 minutes.

While your Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken is cooking, prepare the Mushroom Cream Sauce.

For the sauce

  • 1 Shallot, finely diced
  • 6 oz. Button Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 Tbls. Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 cup White Wine
  • 1 cup Chicken Stock
  • 1 sprig Fresh Tarragon
  • Salt and Ground White Pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream

Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauce until mushrooms are tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add the shallot and continue to cook until shallot is softened. Deglaze the pan with the wine and reduce by half. Add the chicken stock and fresh tarragon and reduce heat to simmer 10 minutes. Season with salt and white pepper to taste and stir in heavy cream. Continue to simmer until cream is heated through.

To serve, slice the Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken rolls on a diagonal into 3 equal pieces. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve warm.

Pan-Seared Ribeye Steak

Pan-Seared Ribeye Steak

Pan-Seared Ribeye

Our executive chef and owner, Serge Krikorian, is a regular guest chef on KATV on their afternoon show.  In case you cannot watch him during the day, we want to make sure you have the tools to make the recipe we share on the show a success in your kitchen.

  • 1 10-12 oz. Beef Ribeye Steak, boneless
  • 4 Tbls. Unsalted Butter, divided
  • 2 Tbls. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
  • 3 Cloves Fresh Garlic

1. For each steak, add 2 tbls. olive oil to a cast iron skillet and increase the heat to high.  Season the ribeye on both sides with salt and pepper.

2. When the pan is screaming hot, carefully place the steak in the pan.

3 .Add a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary and a couple of cloves of fresh garlic.

4. Add 2 tbls. of butter for each steak. If the garlic or the rosemary starts to burn, place it on top of the steak and continue to cook.  You want to cook the steak until you get a beautiful, brown crust on the outside.

5. After you turn the steak over, add another 2 tbls. butter to the pan and begin to spoon the butter, garlic and rosemary over the top of the steak over and over again until the steak reaches the desired doneness.

I suggest medium rare to medium

6. Remove the steak from the pan and set aside to rest for about 5 minutes before serving.

7. I like to serve it with the cooking butter with the rosemary and garlic spooned over the top

Designing a Wedding

Designing a Wedding

As everyone knows, your wedding day should be one of the most important days of your life. Everything has to be JUST right. With a vision, Vibrant Occasions Catering Catering can help bring your dreams to life and not just provide you with award-winning food and service.

Let’s Get Started…

A great place to start your planning process is to think about your “theme.” Your theme may be dependent on a vast number of things: venue, season, indoor/outdoor, food, and wedding colors.

In this case, we had a meeting with our bride to finalize her menu, colors, and venue. You want your wedding day to represent you and your significant other as a couple.

Our bride landed on white, gold, and Navy blue for her colors. Since her venue was outside, we decided to go with a “rustic outdoors” type of theme. Perfect for Autumn!

Once your guest list is confirmed and you know how many tables you’ll need for seating, the fun begins! (Note: You may need additional tables for the cake and presents.) Here at Vibrant Occasions Catering, we think about all of these details for you. We help you decide exactly what you need to serve everyone efficiently.

With this particular wedding, we knew we would need to decorate 26 tables for dining and an additional table for the bridal cake. This allowed us to have a variety of decorations throughout the entire space. One way to incorporate your style is the table linens. These can be a great opportunity to use your accent colors in your arrangement.

We used the Bride’s guidance to help accent the tables and provide the right style for her day. Navy blue can be a heavy color. We didn’t want to wash out our centerpieces with too deep of a color, but we also didn’t want to end up with plain white. The final verdict: white cloths with gold, satin runners on the main tables and Navy with gold ties on our smaller pub tables.

Center Pieces…

Your centerpiece is the main focus of your theme. Being outdoors in the fall, surrounded by the beauty of Arkansas, we really wanted to use this as our inspiration. Our bride-to-be really enjoyed the idea of using small pumpkins and that fit perfectly. We had an open line of communication with our Bride throughout the entire process to make sure we were meeting her standards for the entire day.

We were also working with a good amount of tables. This gave us the option to use a variety of centerpieces and really follow our theme down different paths. We ended up using three different centerpiece arrangements: floral, rustic wooden, and a lantern and pumpkin. Painted leaves and candles were a fast an easy way to tie in the color scheme.

We were also making sure that not only did the decor fit what the Bride was expecting, but it fit the venue as well.

We were able to tie in the colors the Bride wanted by using the flowers, vases, and candles. This is always a fun way to showcase your style as a couple.We were using white flowers and gold runners for the table, so gold vases would blend famously. This provided an opportunity to use blue vases to add color. We also used these vases to place a floating candle to bring in some light.

We loved being able to be a part of this process. We love getting to show off our creative side and be a bigger part of someone’s special day!

Last, But Not Least…

Our lantern pieces were still missing something, though. We needed something to really bring our theme of rustic and woodsy together. With our extra vases that hadn’t yet been painted, we were able to put together a floating candle motif.

We know that planning a wedding can be a daunting task. We understand that sometimes it’s better for you to let someone else help you through the process. We have an extensive warehouse of items that we can pull from to decorate for events. We love to make each event we’re a part of unique. Just like we custom design your menu for your reception, we can custom design your decor as well!

We can create a unique texture, style, and theme for your event that won’t be like anyone else’s. Don’t just think of us as solely a catering company. Feel free to ask about what we can do to help decorate for one of the most special days in your life!

We absolutely loved getting to be a part of Brooke’s big day! Not only did she trust us to make sure the food was high quality, she trusted us to make sure the entire day was exactly what she had hoped.