Most Important Questions to Ask Before Hiring your Caterer

Hey, love!

 

In all of my years as an event planner, I tend to get asked the same questions from couples who simply don’t know the proper questions to ask their vendors before hiring them. Now, yes, that is where I come in as your planner to make sure all the I’s are dotted and the T's are crossed, but I want you all to be better informed should you choose to plan your own wedding and hire a planner only for Wedding Day Management ( formerly known as Day Of Coordinator…. But more on that later!)

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to break down the most common questions you should ask your vendor prior to hiring them as well as the answers you should be prepared to give your planner or the vendor to ensure you are getting the best service possible!  

Today, we are looking at the caterer, which is one of the most important ( and expensive)  aspects of the wedding experience. Good food and drink can make or break your wedding, so the more informed you are, the less stress you will have in planning the menu!

questions to ask your caterer| Events With Ambiance- Chicago Wedding Planner

 

What to know before contacting Caterers

Before deciding what caterer you want to work with, you should sit down with your fiance and decide what type of food service you’d like:

  • Sit Down meal

  • Buffet

  • Afternoon Tea

  • Cocktail/ Appetizer Reception

  • Dessert Reception

 

Once you’ve narrowed this down, you can start to focus on more details:

 

  • An estimated budget for food and beverage ( how much do you want to spend per person?)

  • The estimated guest count ( including your vendors!)

  • The reception location. Make sure to make special note if your reception location doesn’t have kitchen access or if your reception will be outdoors.

  • The theme of the wedding. Your caterer can plan a personalized menu to give your wedding that special flare your guests will love!

  • The time of day your reception will be held

  • Your favorite foods

  • Any food restrictions for health, religious, or cultural reasons

  • Do you plan to host a pre-reception cocktail hour? If so, additional appetizers and beverages will need to be ordered

  • The number of courses you’d like

  • Will any children be attending? Special meals can be included specifically for the kids attending the wedding.

 

When it comes to your beverage service, this is also generally handling through your caterer. Most caterers do have a liquor license and can legally handle the bar set up and service.

A few questions you may want to think about are:

  • Do you plan to host a beer and wine only bar or full hosted bar?

  • Would you like the bartender to create a specialty cocktail for the reception? ( This should always be a YES! It is a great way to showcase your favorite drinks and brings another personal touch to your wedding!)

  • Would you like the cocktail hour to be beer and wine only, full bar or specialty cocktails only?

  • Do you want a champagne toast during dinner?

 

Whew! This looks like a lot of information, but not to worry. Take your time making these choices, the more information you can provide to your caterer, the better they can plan a menu for that fits your unique tastes!

Any questions you have that I didn’t list above? Post it in the comments below and I’ll make sure to get you a reply!

 

As always, share with a friend because like I say……. Friends Don’t Let Friends Plan Tacky Weddings!

 

Comment

amber sanders

My journey to becoming an Event Planner dates back to my childhood, assisting my mother with planning and executing parties at our home and for my dad’s fraternity. I was training to be a professional dancer at the time, so I never thought about being a “Party Planner”, it was just fun for me to help her. After a fabulous and exciting dance career that spanned 20 plus years, I began working as a dance instructor at Arthur Murray Dance Studio in downtown Chicago. Because of my excitement for our studio events and knack for organizing parties, I was soon promoted to Guest Director. This position allowed me to see that Marketing and Event Management was something I enjoyed, and it was then I realized this could be my next career move! I spent the next two years learning as much as I could about the Event Industry, including an internship with Desiree Moore Dent, Owner of Dejanae Events,as well as studying and becoming a Certified Wedding & Event Planner/Designer through Lovegevity’s Wedding Planning Institute. This is how I learned more about the business side of running your own business, which was invaluable information! During this time, I offered my services to family and friends for any event they may have been having to gain as much "real world" experience as possible. In May of 2013, I decided to get my business license and launch Events with Ambiance. It has truly been eye opening that I am now an entrepreneur, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I am grateful to have family and friends support me, my company has truly become a Family Business!! I am blessed to surround myself with people who are just as passionate about my business as I am; for me, Event Planning is about more than just throwing a great party, it's about creating an unforgettable experience for my clients and their guests!

Top 5 Tasteful Twists on Classic Wedding Traditions

Hey loves! 

If there is one thing I love, it's a wedding "tradition". I think there is something so beautiful about honoring a tradition that brides have shared for generations, even if you don't know where it started or why you want to do it! 

Instead of sharing the same classic wedding traditions we all know and love, I want to share some twists on wedding traditions that will give your wedding the AMBIANCE it needs! 

Events With Ambiance | Chicago Wedding Planner

 

1. Instead of wearing a classic white dress, wear a colorful dress or a bold two-piece outfit. 

Your wedding should be about your personal style, your sass, your fashionista flair! Since your special day is the one day that is all about you, why not show it off with bridal attire that is bold and shows your personality?! 

2. Instead of swaying for a classic first dance, take dance lessons and learn a choreographed ballroom dance! 

I was a ballroom dance instructor for Arthur Murray Dance Studios a few years before I transitioned into wedding planning, and I have to say, my favorite couples to work with were the ones who came in wanting to WOW their guests with their first dance! You can learn a sexy tango, an electric salsa, or a romantic rumba! Dance lessons are also a great way for you and your fiance to spend time together and decompress from all the wedding stress! 

3. Instead of having a bouquet toss or garter catch, just..... don't. 

One of the most cringe worthy moments of the weddings I've worked on is the bouquet toss and garter catch. Women are literally tackling each other for a flower and the men can't get out of he way fast enough to avoid catching the garter! Instead, why not do an anniversary dance and the longest married couple left? You can present the wife with your bouquet. The other option is to not do anything.... I guarantee your guests won't be upset! 

4. Instead of cutting the cake and feeding it to each other, have a dessert or candy bar.

I love cake as much as the next person, and wedding cake?! Sign me up! But you and your love may love several types of dessert, or there is a dessert that is special to your family or culture that your guests may not enjoy; so why not offer several treats for your guests? In addition, you can set up the dessert bar with takeout boxes so they double as wedding favors! WIN WIN!! 

5. Instead of having your bridesmaids wearing the same dress, allow them to choose their own dress in a similar color palette. 

Bridesmaids can spend upwards of $2,500 on their friends weddings between shower gifts, bachelorette parties, engagement gifts, hair and makeup, pre wedding attire and attire for the wedding day. Unless you are going to pay for all of your ladies dresses, a fantastic gesture would be to allow them to choose a silhouette they feel most comfortable in, you choose the color palette, length and fabric choices. What a way to let you show your #GirlSquad rocks!! 

 

Comment and Share this post if you see any tips you like or if you need help putting a twist on your own wedding tradition. 

Until Next Time, 

XOXO, Amber 

Comment

amber sanders

My journey to becoming an Event Planner dates back to my childhood, assisting my mother with planning and executing parties at our home and for my dad’s fraternity. I was training to be a professional dancer at the time, so I never thought about being a “Party Planner”, it was just fun for me to help her. After a fabulous and exciting dance career that spanned 20 plus years, I began working as a dance instructor at Arthur Murray Dance Studio in downtown Chicago. Because of my excitement for our studio events and knack for organizing parties, I was soon promoted to Guest Director. This position allowed me to see that Marketing and Event Management was something I enjoyed, and it was then I realized this could be my next career move! I spent the next two years learning as much as I could about the Event Industry, including an internship with Desiree Moore Dent, Owner of Dejanae Events,as well as studying and becoming a Certified Wedding & Event Planner/Designer through Lovegevity’s Wedding Planning Institute. This is how I learned more about the business side of running your own business, which was invaluable information! During this time, I offered my services to family and friends for any event they may have been having to gain as much "real world" experience as possible. In May of 2013, I decided to get my business license and launch Events with Ambiance. It has truly been eye opening that I am now an entrepreneur, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I am grateful to have family and friends support me, my company has truly become a Family Business!! I am blessed to surround myself with people who are just as passionate about my business as I am; for me, Event Planning is about more than just throwing a great party, it's about creating an unforgettable experience for my clients and their guests!

Top 10 Wedding Blogs

Happy Wedding Wednesday loves! 

I'm sure you've seen by now that planning a wedding can be overwhelming! So many choices to make, so much inspiration and not enough time to get through it all! When you're planning a wedding, you need all the help you can get, and that's why I am sharing some of my favorite wedding inspiration blogs with you. Now, there are 100's of fabulous wedding blogs out there, each with their own niche. These are the Top 10 wedding blogs I love! 

Amber Sanders of Events With Ambiance| Chicago Wedding Planner

Take a minute to check these out and let me know which one is your favorite! 

 

Find a blog you like? Comment below and tell which one. Make sure to like and share with family or friends looking for wedding inspiration! 

Until Next Time, 

xoxo, 

Amber 

 

  1. Munaluchi Bridal
  2. Style Me Pretty

  3. Burnett's Boards

  4. Borrowed and Blue

  5. Modern Luxury Weddings

  6. Chicago Style Weddings

  7. Aisle Perfect

  8. Artfully Wed

  9. Martha Stewart Weddings

  10. Grey Likes Weddings

Comment

amber sanders

My journey to becoming an Event Planner dates back to my childhood, assisting my mother with planning and executing parties at our home and for my dad’s fraternity. I was training to be a professional dancer at the time, so I never thought about being a “Party Planner”, it was just fun for me to help her. After a fabulous and exciting dance career that spanned 20 plus years, I began working as a dance instructor at Arthur Murray Dance Studio in downtown Chicago. Because of my excitement for our studio events and knack for organizing parties, I was soon promoted to Guest Director. This position allowed me to see that Marketing and Event Management was something I enjoyed, and it was then I realized this could be my next career move! I spent the next two years learning as much as I could about the Event Industry, including an internship with Desiree Moore Dent, Owner of Dejanae Events,as well as studying and becoming a Certified Wedding & Event Planner/Designer through Lovegevity’s Wedding Planning Institute. This is how I learned more about the business side of running your own business, which was invaluable information! During this time, I offered my services to family and friends for any event they may have been having to gain as much "real world" experience as possible. In May of 2013, I decided to get my business license and launch Events with Ambiance. It has truly been eye opening that I am now an entrepreneur, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I am grateful to have family and friends support me, my company has truly become a Family Business!! I am blessed to surround myself with people who are just as passionate about my business as I am; for me, Event Planning is about more than just throwing a great party, it's about creating an unforgettable experience for my clients and their guests!

This is not your mama's wedding......

Hey loves! I can't believe it's been so long since I wrote a post, but I have a great reason. I have recently gone through a re brand of my business and that meant taking time to update my website, get new marketing materials and creating new content that inspires you to host the wedding of your dreams! 

While we are on the subject, let's have a heart to heart about Wedding Planners and why hiring one is super important over allowing your friends and/or family to "handle it". 

Now, I'm sure your sister is a fantastic organizer and your aunt hosts the BEST family reunions.... but your wedding, the ONE day you choose to say I Do to the love of your life before all your loved ones, is NOT the time for them to try out their wedding planning skills! As much as they may have wonderfully heartfelt intentions, I have seen first hand that when you allow other people to insert their opinions, before you know it, your wedding looks NOTHING like you intended. 

Another reason you REALLY don't want to trust your wedding day to a non professional is: your family and friends don't want to spend your wedding day working! This is the one time you will probably be able to get your entire family in one room ( and meet your in laws for the first time). This isn't the day your cousin should be handling catering issues or have your sister running the day of logistics. 

Lastly, you should REALLY hire a professional to work for YOUR best interests; not your mom, your brother, ESPECIALLY not your jealous cousin who's mad you're getting married first because you made a  blood oath when you were five to have a double wedding, or your co workers  who probably weren't getting invited to the wedding anyway! 

I am here to work for you and your fiance, to create the wedding YOU dreamed of. To be objective, a compassionate ear and give you a day to remember! 

Are you planning a wedding and it looks like everyone has an opinion that doesn't match your vision? Contact Me today, and I'll help get you back on track! 

Until Next Week,

XOXO, Amber 

Comment

amber sanders

My journey to becoming an Event Planner dates back to my childhood, assisting my mother with planning and executing parties at our home and for my dad’s fraternity. I was training to be a professional dancer at the time, so I never thought about being a “Party Planner”, it was just fun for me to help her. After a fabulous and exciting dance career that spanned 20 plus years, I began working as a dance instructor at Arthur Murray Dance Studio in downtown Chicago. Because of my excitement for our studio events and knack for organizing parties, I was soon promoted to Guest Director. This position allowed me to see that Marketing and Event Management was something I enjoyed, and it was then I realized this could be my next career move! I spent the next two years learning as much as I could about the Event Industry, including an internship with Desiree Moore Dent, Owner of Dejanae Events,as well as studying and becoming a Certified Wedding & Event Planner/Designer through Lovegevity’s Wedding Planning Institute. This is how I learned more about the business side of running your own business, which was invaluable information! During this time, I offered my services to family and friends for any event they may have been having to gain as much "real world" experience as possible. In May of 2013, I decided to get my business license and launch Events with Ambiance. It has truly been eye opening that I am now an entrepreneur, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I am grateful to have family and friends support me, my company has truly become a Family Business!! I am blessed to surround myself with people who are just as passionate about my business as I am; for me, Event Planning is about more than just throwing a great party, it's about creating an unforgettable experience for my clients and their guests!

To Dance or Not to Dance...That is the Question!

Happy Wedding Wednesday! During the wedding planning process, you and your fiance' will have hundreds of decisions to make. One question that should always be answered YES is, "Should we take dance lessons for the wedding?"

weddingdance2
weddingdance2

As a former dance instructor, I always loved when I got to prepare an engaged couple for their first dance. Every couple I have ever taught will attest to the benefit of dance lessons. It was a time for the couple to come together, have fun and release the stress of the work day and wedding planning!

Now, whether you want to learn a basic box step or create an elaborate, choreographed multi song dance, it is beneficial to take at least a few dance lessons together.

There are several dance studios around Chicago that will work with you and your fiance on the type of wedding dance you envision, here are my top three:

Windy City Wedding Dance http://windycityweddingdance.com/wedding-couple-dance-lessons

Arthur Murray Dance Chicago http://chicagoarthurmurray.com/

Chicago Dance http://www.chicagodance.com/

I'm looking forward to seeing all of your wedding dances, HAPPY DANCING!!

Until next time.... XOXO,

Amber

Let's Get Married.... Under The Sea!

Hey there! In today's post, I'm continuing in my series of the Modern Girls Guide to a Disney wedding with a wedding inspired by THE LITTLE MERMAID!

littlemermaid

Now, this would obviously be a fantastic wedding to have on the beach, however, if you aren't a "beach bride", but love the theme, set your wedding at an aquarium! The Shedd Aquarium is a fantastic location for the bride looking for a beach/ Under the Sea theme without actually being at the beach!

These are the dresses I envision for the bride and bridal party:

mermaiddress

mermaiddress2

mermaidbrdesmaid

coralbridesmaiddress

The Cake:

mermaidcake

The Ceremony:

mermaidaisle

The Centerpieces:

mermaidflowers mermaidtable

mermaidtable1

For my next post, I'm taking a look at Snow White....

Until next time!

XOXO,

Amber

A Wedding fit for a Princess.... a Disney Princess!

I don't know about you, but I LOVE a good love story and there is no better love story than a Disney love story! For the next few posts, I'm taking a spin at modern weddings inspired by some of Disney's iconic love stories..... today, let's look at Cinderella.

cinderella

Alfred Angelo Bridal has created an entire line of wedding dresses inspired by Disney Princesses, this one is the Cinderella:

cinderella wedding dress

cinderella wedding shoes

When it comes to location and decor, a majestic ballroom, designed with a color theme of silver, blue and ivory are what I see for the ceremony and reception.

cinderella receptioncinderella ceremony

pumpkin ceterpieces

I love king's tables for a wedding reception, especially one that is royally themed! cinderella kings table

cinderella wedding favors

Next week, I'm looking at a modern wedding inspired by Ariel, The Little Mermaid!

XOXO,

Amber

First Dance Wedding Songs for the Modern Bride and Groom

Hey Loves,

So, we talked about First Dance Songs for the Classic Bride and Groom, and today to continue the How Do I Look- The Modern Couple series,  I'm giving my Modern Bride and Groom some great options!

I've chosen my favorite Top Ten songs, some are fast, some are slow, but all of them are amazing choices if you're looking for a First Dance song!

1. I Just Can't Stop Loving You by Michael Jackson

2. Faithfully by Journey

3. Crazy Love by Michael Buble

4. Can't Get Enough Of Your Love by Barry White

5. Ain't Nobody by Chaka Khan

6. My Girl by the Temptations

7. Let's Stay Together by Al Green

8. For Once In My Life by Stevie Wonder

9. Signed, Sealed, Delivered by Stevie Wonder

10. I Belong To You by Lenny Kravitz

Until Next Time....

XOXO,

Amber

Color me PURPLE!

Happy Wedding Wednesday! For the last of my Color My Wedding series, today I'm looking at the color PURPLE!

Purple often represents royalty, wealth, magic and mystery. With a range from lavender to eggplant, it is an great color to use any time to use anytime of the year!

 

 

I hope you found a little inspiration for your own wedding through this series! Contact Events with Ambiance today, and let us help you create the Wedding Day of your dreams!!

xoxo,

Amber