10 Foods You Might Want to Cut Out the Week Before Your Wedding

 Food & Drink, Wellness  Comments Off on 10 Foods You Might Want to Cut Out the Week Before Your Wedding
Nov 082016
 
10 foods you should avoid before the wedding.

Photo: Getty Images

We're all about eating healthfully. But it turns out, what you don't put into your body in the weeks before your wedding is just as important as what you do. According to our experts, here are 10 foods you should avoid before the big day.

1. Your Olivia Pope-sized glass of wine (or any other alcoholic beverage).
According to health coach and founder of Brideance Emma-Louise Parkes, a glass of wine might seem like the perfect way to unwind after wedding planning. But while that glass (or two) will calm your nerves, it could also keep you up at night. "Good sleep equals cell repair and lower cortisol levels," which give you beautiful skin and control your stress levels, respectively, "so switch out that vino for a non-alcoholic drink," Parkes recommends.

2. Your sushi, with a side of soy sauce.
Sushi and perhaps more importantly, the soy sauce we dip it into, is "incredibly bloating," according to celebrity chef and weight-loss coach Devin Alexander. If you can give up those little rolls of heaven and say no to soy sauce, "you can lose a bit of tummy poof and possibly even under eye puffiness," she says. Tuna is another fishy no-no. It has enough sodium to make you seriously bloat, too, so you'll want to skip it in the days before the wedding.

3. Your morning cup of coffee.
According to Jennifer Dene, celebrity personal trainer and founder of Mind Body Bride, "caffeine is a stimulant that adds fuel to the fire on frazzled bridal nerves. It increases the amount of stress hormone cortisol in the body, and actually elevates your perception of stress, so all those last minute tasks become even more stressful." Of course, caffeine is found in more than coffee — you'll find it in tea, soda, and even chocolate — so you'll need to skip more than your morning cup of Joe if you want to go completely caffeine-free. "For most brides, consuming some caffeine is OK, but if they're experiencing a lot of stress, they might consider cutting back," says Dene.

4. Your go-to morning cereal.
There's no doubt that a bowl of Cheerios is the easiest breakfast around, especially for a busy bride. But, says Parkes, "cereal just isn't efficient at keeping you full until lunchtime. The high carbohydrate content means your body will release insulin to pull all that extra sugar from your blood, and a few hours later you'll experience that sugar crash that sends you rushing for a mid-morning snack." Instead, reach for high-protein foods that will keep you fuller for longer, such as eggs or Greek yogurt.

See More: Eat and Drink Your Way to Glowing Wedding-Day Skin

5. Your pre-packaged deli-meat.
Deli meats, such as turkey, chicken, and roast beef, "are insanely high in sodium — even the low sodium varieties," says Alexander. That doesn't mean you can't pack a sandwich for a quick and easy lunch. But Alexander recommends sticking to deli meats that are sliced from freshly-cooked and un-brined meats. In other words, she says, "cook a turkey breast roast or grill a London broil yourself, then slice it down to use as deli meat."

6. Your afternoon snack of raw carrots.
It seems counterintuitive to tell you to stop eating something that's so healthy. Dene knows it. "This suggestion may be a little surprising, but the reality is that the body has to work really hard to break down and digest raw vegetables, which is putting her body under even more stress," she explains. "The fiber in raw veggies can also cause a bloated belly in anyone with a weak digestive system. The exception here is water-based vegetables, such as zucchini, cucumbers, lettuce and tomato." So swap out your raw veggies for steamed or baked varieties of greens, carrots, and beets.

7. Your post-gym smoothie.
After a workout, who doesn't like a refreshing fruit smoothie (hopefully packed with a little protein). But while smoothies and fruit juices seem like a healthy choice when compared with soda, they're lacking the essential fiber your body needs to digest, as Parkes explains. "Consisting of pure sugar, you're getting all the calories without any substance to tell your brain 'I'm full,' which means you're much more likely to over-eat later in the day," she sys. Switch to plain ol' water, and your body will thank you.

8. Your side of broccoli.
Broccoli is in the family of cruciferous vegetables. (So are cauliflower, cabbage, and onions.) And they're all "wonderful foods to eat," Dene says, "but just not in the days before the wedding. Cruciferous veggies contain chemical compounds that can cause bloating, flatulence, and stomach cramps. And poorly digested food of any kind can also lead to bad breath, so it's just best to leave them out." Instead, you can opt for vegetables that have high-water content, such as zucchini, lettuce, and asparagus.

9. Your whole-wheat spaghetti.
Yes, you're making a good choice by eating whole grains. But, Parkes says, "wheat is the cause of the famous post-pasta belly, wheat is hard to digest even for those who aren't intolerant or sensitive to it." Why? As she explains, "the way high-carb foods such as wheat are digested causes the body to retain more water than eating protein or fat does, meaning potential puffiness everywhere from your face to your ankles in addition to that tummy bloat." And you don't want that in the weeks leading up to your wedding. So, she says, "substitute pasta, pizza and bread with extra helpings of fresh vegetables. Brides can see almost immediate results from this simple switch."

10. Your sauce and salad dressing.
According to Dene, "Most supermarket and restaurant sauces and salad dressings are made with lots of sugar and salt — that's what makes them tasty. But these hidden ingredients can lead to bloating, water retention, dehydration, and pack a lot of extra calories into an otherwise healthy meal." If you've made a sauce or dressing yourself, it's probably safe to eat. Otherwise, use olive oil, sliced tomatoes, or even lemon to flavor your pastas and salads.

10 Foods You Might Want to Cut Out the Week Before Your Wedding

 Food & Drink, Wellness  Comments Off on 10 Foods You Might Want to Cut Out the Week Before Your Wedding
Nov 082016
 
10 foods you should avoid before the wedding.

Photo: Getty Images

We're all about eating healthfully. But it turns out, what you don't put into your body in the weeks before your wedding is just as important as what you do. According to our experts, here are 10 foods you should avoid before the big day.

1. Your Olivia Pope-sized glass of wine (or any other alcoholic beverage).
According to health coach and founder of Brideance Emma-Louise Parkes, a glass of wine might seem like the perfect way to unwind after wedding planning. But while that glass (or two) will calm your nerves, it could also keep you up at night. "Good sleep equals cell repair and lower cortisol levels," which give you beautiful skin and control your stress levels, respectively, "so switch out that vino for a non-alcoholic drink," Parkes recommends.

2. Your sushi, with a side of soy sauce.
Sushi and perhaps more importantly, the soy sauce we dip it into, is "incredibly bloating," according to celebrity chef and weight-loss coach Devin Alexander. If you can give up those little rolls of heaven and say no to soy sauce, "you can lose a bit of tummy poof and possibly even under eye puffiness," she says. Tuna is another fishy no-no. It has enough sodium to make you seriously bloat, too, so you'll want to skip it in the days before the wedding.

3. Your morning cup of coffee.
According to Jennifer Dene, celebrity personal trainer and founder of Mind Body Bride, "caffeine is a stimulant that adds fuel to the fire on frazzled bridal nerves. It increases the amount of stress hormone cortisol in the body, and actually elevates your perception of stress, so all those last minute tasks become even more stressful." Of course, caffeine is found in more than coffee — you'll find it in tea, soda, and even chocolate — so you'll need to skip more than your morning cup of Joe if you want to go completely caffeine-free. "For most brides, consuming some caffeine is OK, but if they're experiencing a lot of stress, they might consider cutting back," says Dene.

4. Your go-to morning cereal.
There's no doubt that a bowl of Cheerios is the easiest breakfast around, especially for a busy bride. But, says Parkes, "cereal just isn't efficient at keeping you full until lunchtime. The high carbohydrate content means your body will release insulin to pull all that extra sugar from your blood, and a few hours later you'll experience that sugar crash that sends you rushing for a mid-morning snack." Instead, reach for high-protein foods that will keep you fuller for longer, such as eggs or Greek yogurt.

See More: Eat and Drink Your Way to Glowing Wedding-Day Skin

5. Your pre-packaged deli-meat.
Deli meats, such as turkey, chicken, and roast beef, "are insanely high in sodium — even the low sodium varieties," says Alexander. That doesn't mean you can't pack a sandwich for a quick and easy lunch. But Alexander recommends sticking to deli meats that are sliced from freshly-cooked and un-brined meats. In other words, she says, "cook a turkey breast roast or grill a London broil yourself, then slice it down to use as deli meat."

6. Your afternoon snack of raw carrots.
It seems counterintuitive to tell you to stop eating something that's so healthy. Dene knows it. "This suggestion may be a little surprising, but the reality is that the body has to work really hard to break down and digest raw vegetables, which is putting her body under even more stress," she explains. "The fiber in raw veggies can also cause a bloated belly in anyone with a weak digestive system. The exception here is water-based vegetables, such as zucchini, cucumbers, lettuce and tomato." So swap out your raw veggies for steamed or baked varieties of greens, carrots, and beets.

7. Your post-gym smoothie.
After a workout, who doesn't like a refreshing fruit smoothie (hopefully packed with a little protein). But while smoothies and fruit juices seem like a healthy choice when compared with soda, they're lacking the essential fiber your body needs to digest, as Parkes explains. "Consisting of pure sugar, you're getting all the calories without any substance to tell your brain 'I'm full,' which means you're much more likely to over-eat later in the day," she sys. Switch to plain ol' water, and your body will thank you.

8. Your side of broccoli.
Broccoli is in the family of cruciferous vegetables. (So are cauliflower, cabbage, and onions.) And they're all "wonderful foods to eat," Dene says, "but just not in the days before the wedding. Cruciferous veggies contain chemical compounds that can cause bloating, flatulence, and stomach cramps. And poorly digested food of any kind can also lead to bad breath, so it's just best to leave them out." Instead, you can opt for vegetables that have high-water content, such as zucchini, lettuce, and asparagus.

9. Your whole-wheat spaghetti.
Yes, you're making a good choice by eating whole grains. But, Parkes says, "wheat is the cause of the famous post-pasta belly, wheat is hard to digest even for those who aren't intolerant or sensitive to it." Why? As she explains, "the way high-carb foods such as wheat are digested causes the body to retain more water than eating protein or fat does, meaning potential puffiness everywhere from your face to your ankles in addition to that tummy bloat." And you don't want that in the weeks leading up to your wedding. So, she says, "substitute pasta, pizza and bread with extra helpings of fresh vegetables. Brides can see almost immediate results from this simple switch."

10. Your sauce and salad dressing.
According to Dene, "Most supermarket and restaurant sauces and salad dressings are made with lots of sugar and salt — that's what makes them tasty. But these hidden ingredients can lead to bloating, water retention, dehydration, and pack a lot of extra calories into an otherwise healthy meal." If you've made a sauce or dressing yourself, it's probably safe to eat. Otherwise, use olive oil, sliced tomatoes, or even lemon to flavor your pastas and salads.

BRIDES Chicago: Quintessential Late-Night Snacks for a Chicago Wedding

 Chicago, Food & Drink, Illinois, Local, Wedding Catering  Comments Off on BRIDES Chicago: Quintessential Late-Night Snacks for a Chicago Wedding
Nov 082016
 

Not into serving Windy City favorites like deep-dish pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs at your reception? The late-night snack serves as your chance to show off your — and your city's — foodie side. Trust us: No matter how delicious dinner was, guests will pounce on the snacks after they've been tearing up the dance floor. Here are five of our favorite options that capture the city's most famous fare.

Garrett Popcorn Shops
If you're like us, Garrett's delicious popcorn fumes are tough to resist, hence why tourists routinely swing by the airport's Garrett Popcorn Shop on their way home. Save your out-of-town guests a trip and treat everyone to the classic Chicago treat by setting up a popcorn bar just off the dance floor. Garrett's will provide an old-fashioned popcorn tin, scoopers, and to-go bags. Sweet tooths will love the CarmelCrisp, while savory fans will dive into CheeseCorn. But for the ultimate snack, go for The Chicago Mix, a genius combination of the two. Read real brides' reviews here!

Lou Malnati's
Once the smell of pizza fills the air, the dance floor will clear. (Don't worry — guests will be back and ready to keep dancing once they refuel.) The legendary Chicago pizza joint serves mini slices of their famous deep dish so guests can enjoy them in two bites rather than a fork-and-knife ordeal. Everyone's dressed to the nines, after all. Read real brides' reviews here!

Big Star
On sunny weekends, Chicagoans flock to the Wicker Park taco mecca just as wedding guests will flock to Big Star's 'Little Mule' food truck when it rolls into your reception. Might we suggest serving a mix of tacos — pastor, pescado, and hongas — to satisfy carnivores, fish lovers, and vegetarians alike. Read real brides' reviews here!

Stan's Donuts & Coffee
Stan's may trace its roots back to Los Angeles, but since the donut shop opened in Chicago two years ago, we've adopted it as our own. Now with four locations around the city, chances are you and your fiancé have fallen for Stan's as well. Though your traditional great aunt might be confused by the idea of eating donuts at 10 p.m. rather than 10 a.m., one bite of a mini pistachio-glazed donut is all it'll take to win her over.

See More: Dance Off All That Food to the Music of These Top Chicago Wedding Bands

Buddy's Special Events
If there's one delicacy Chicago's most famous for, it's the Chicago-style hot dog. And the Windy City staple makes a light-hearted and playful addition to your big day, putting your hometown pride front and center. Buddy's Special Events serves authentic Vienna beef hot dogs straight from a hot dog cart. All the fixings are available too, but stay true to the Chicago theme and keep ketchup far away. Read real brides' reviews here!

The Slide Ride
When The Slide Ride drives up to your reception, it's pretty much a given that no guest will go home hungry. From brown sugar bacon-topped sliders to a spicy PB&J, out-of-the-ordinary — but no less tasty — combinations are packed into each small sandwich. Not to mention, all the deliciousness is served straight from a cute, retro food truck.

For more Chicago wedding catering options, be sure to browse our local vendors page!

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BRIDES Chicago: Quintessential Late-Night Snacks for a Chicago Wedding

 Chicago, Food & Drink, Illinois, Local, Wedding Catering  Comments Off on BRIDES Chicago: Quintessential Late-Night Snacks for a Chicago Wedding
Nov 082016
 

Not into serving Windy City favorites like deep-dish pizza and Chicago-style hot dogs at your reception? The late-night snack serves as your chance to show off your — and your city's — foodie side. Trust us: No matter how delicious dinner was, guests will pounce on the snacks after they've been tearing up the dance floor. Here are five of our favorite options that capture the city's most famous fare.

Garrett Popcorn Shops
If you're like us, Garrett's delicious popcorn fumes are tough to resist, hence why tourists routinely swing by the airport's Garrett Popcorn Shop on their way home. Save your out-of-town guests a trip and treat everyone to the classic Chicago treat by setting up a popcorn bar just off the dance floor. Garrett's will provide an old-fashioned popcorn tin, scoopers, and to-go bags. Sweet tooths will love the CarmelCrisp, while savory fans will dive into CheeseCorn. But for the ultimate snack, go for The Chicago Mix, a genius combination of the two. Read real brides' reviews here!

Lou Malnati's
Once the smell of pizza fills the air, the dance floor will clear. (Don't worry — guests will be back and ready to keep dancing once they refuel.) The legendary Chicago pizza joint serves mini slices of their famous deep dish so guests can enjoy them in two bites rather than a fork-and-knife ordeal. Everyone's dressed to the nines, after all. Read real brides' reviews here!

Big Star
On sunny weekends, Chicagoans flock to the Wicker Park taco mecca just as wedding guests will flock to Big Star's 'Little Mule' food truck when it rolls into your reception. Might we suggest serving a mix of tacos — pastor, pescado, and hongas — to satisfy carnivores, fish lovers, and vegetarians alike. Read real brides' reviews here!

Stan's Donuts & Coffee
Stan's may trace its roots back to Los Angeles, but since the donut shop opened in Chicago two years ago, we've adopted it as our own. Now with four locations around the city, chances are you and your fiancé have fallen for Stan's as well. Though your traditional great aunt might be confused by the idea of eating donuts at 10 p.m. rather than 10 a.m., one bite of a mini pistachio-glazed donut is all it'll take to win her over.

See More: Dance Off All That Food to the Music of These Top Chicago Wedding Bands

Buddy's Special Events
If there's one delicacy Chicago's most famous for, it's the Chicago-style hot dog. And the Windy City staple makes a light-hearted and playful addition to your big day, putting your hometown pride front and center. Buddy's Special Events serves authentic Vienna beef hot dogs straight from a hot dog cart. All the fixings are available too, but stay true to the Chicago theme and keep ketchup far away. Read real brides' reviews here!

The Slide Ride
When The Slide Ride drives up to your reception, it's pretty much a given that no guest will go home hungry. From brown sugar bacon-topped sliders to a spicy PB&J, out-of-the-ordinary — but no less tasty — combinations are packed into each small sandwich. Not to mention, all the deliciousness is served straight from a cute, retro food truck.

For more Chicago wedding catering options, be sure to browse our local vendors page!

UPDATED Find Local Vendors Button


BRIDES Northern California: Iconic San Francisco Foods to Serve at Your Reception

 California, Food & Drink, Local, San Francisco, Wedding Catering  Comments Off on BRIDES Northern California: Iconic San Francisco Foods to Serve at Your Reception
Nov 072016
 

San Francisco has always been a culinary melting pot. Italian and Chinese immigrants, fisherman, bakers, and chefs have left delicious legacies that tell the story of the city though iconic dishes. To incorporate a little local flavor in your wedding reception, consider serving one — or a few — of these iconic San Francisco foods.

Cioppino
Cioppino was created by Italian immigrants in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood way back in the late 1800s. Originally a dish thrown together using the day's catch while out at sea, it later became popular in the neighborhood restaurants. Similar to seafood stews served in Italy but with a San Francisco twist, it's typically filled with local Dungeness crab, shrimp, scallops, squid, and mussels tossed together with tomatoes and wine, and served with local sourdough bread. Serve it as a buffet item or as a hearty seafood option.

Sourdough
And speaking of sourdough, the city's famous bread was created thousands of years before the settlement of California, but when Basque immigrants began making sourdough bread during the Gold Rush, it became the unofficial bread of the growing city. Perhaps the most famous purveyor is Boudin Bakery, which has been making sourdough in San Francisco since 1849 and continues to do so using a portion of the original starter. Serve sourdough in each table's bread basket, or go all out with individual bread bowls filled with clam chowder or a seafood bisque.

Irish Coffee
The original Irish Coffee was born in Shannon, Ireland, but it was San Francisco's Buena Vista Café that brought it across the pond to America in 1952. Café owner Jack Koeppler was so determined to recreate the concoction that he even went back to its birthplace at the Shannon Airport and eventually figured out the secret recipe (it involves aging the cream for 48 hours and frothing it to the perfect consistency). More than 60 years later, the café still serves its signature drink, though you can serve your own version with coffee, whisky, and whipped cream to keep guests caffeinated and dancing all night long.

See More: Finish Off the Night with a Wedding Cake From One of These Local Bakeries

Fortune Cookies
Despite their association with Chinese food, fortune cookies were not created in China. Though their origin is disputed by some, a federal judge of the Court of Historical Review has deemed that they were created in the heart of San Francisco's Chinatown, at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company. The cookies sell for $5 per bag of traditional or chocolate fortune cookies, so they're an inexpensive — and delicious — way to add some local flavor to your reception meal.

IT's-IT Ice Cream Sandwich
Born in 1928, IT's-IT ice cream sandwiches may be the city's most beloved dessert. The sweet treat is deceptively simple: a scoop of vanilla ice cream between two large old-fashioned oatmeal cookies, which is then dipped into fine dark chocolate. Serve the original — or try flavors like chocolate, mint, strawberry, cappuccino, or pumpkin — for a decadent late-night treat.

For more food ideas and expert wedding caterers, head to our local vendors page here!

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Should We Have an Open Bar at Our After Party?

 Etiquette, Food & Drink  Comments Off on Should We Have an Open Bar at Our After Party?
Nov 062016
 

After the party is the after party, whether it's a dance party at your favorite club or a few reserved tables at the local bar. If you're planning to keep your wedding festivities going all night, some more celebratory drinks will be in order. Do the hosts have to pay for them, or can you ask guests to pay for their late-night drinks themselves? Here's what our experts have to say.

Just as with your wedding reception, there's no hard-and-fast rule requiring that you pay for everyone's drinks through the after party. If you are inviting your guests to an official continuation of your wedding reception, here are a few different ways to address the drinks situation:

If you want to offer a partial open bar, you could choose a few options (say, your favorite beer and your favorite mixed drink), then let guests know that anything other than those beverages won't be covered. So if they're craving a gin and tonic instead of your signature Moscow Mule, they're on their own.

You could also set a cash limit on your tab, covering all of guests drinks up to a certain dollar amount, then switching over to a cash bar. This might only be enough to cover the first round, but after an evening of hosting, no one will blame you!

Don't want to spring for booze? If you're also going to serve late-night snacks at your after party, you could offer hosted food (and maybe add on non-alcoholic drinks like soda) and have all alcohol be served at a cash bar.

And of course, it could just be a trip to the bar in your wedding finery, with nothing paid for by the two of you except your own drinks — if anyone will let you buy yourself a glass of wine while you're wearing a wedding dress, that is!

See more: Do We Have to Go to Our Own After-Party?

Convenient Meal Prep Tips to Stay on Track with Pre-Wedding Nutrition

 Food & Drink, Planning Tips, Wellness  Comments Off on Convenient Meal Prep Tips to Stay on Track with Pre-Wedding Nutrition
Nov 052016
 
Meal Prep Tips Pre-Wedding Nutrition

Photo: Getty Images

With late nights, early mornings, and hectic schedules — meeting your pre-wedding nutrition goals is not an easy task. Who has time to cook fresh and healthy meals every single day? Nobody. It's time to think smarter, not harder brides-to-be! We rounded up four of our favorite tips to help with meal prep while wedding planning.

Get in a Routine
During a time that seems hectic and crazy, it's important to get your healthy eating to be as routine as possible. To begin, set aside a day of the week where you have the most free-time (we love meal prepping on Sundays!) and devote a period of time to shopping for and preparing your meals and snacks for the week. By having designated meal prep time, you'll be certain to feel less stressed and rushed and will feel accomplished and ready to tackle the week.

Plan Ahead
You're already planning a wedding — what's one more thing to plan? By planning ahead — we recommend outlining meals one week at a time — you'll be planning to succeed, instead of failing to plan. Now that you have a designated day, create a written or digital "week at a glance" where your recipes, needed ingredients, and nutritional information is balanced and clear. Be sure to keep in mind any late nights, appointments, work events, etc. that may interfere with your typical daily routine. Set your week, and then hit the kitchen!

See More: 6 Foods That Will Help You De-Stress While Wedding Planning

Simplify the Process
As your wedding is fast approaching, time is more valuable than ever. Thankfully, we live in a world of online ordering, subscription services, and next day deliveries! With grocery delivery services including Fresh Direct, ShopRite at Home, Peapod by Stop and Shop, Amazon Fresh, and more you can save yourself a time-consuming trip to the grocery store by ordering online. Doing so will save you time, help you stick to your grocery budget, provide and at-a-glance shopping cart to ensure you don't miss out on any crucial ingredients, AND help you keep impulse junk food grabs at bay. For even more convenience, explore services including Blue Apron and Hello Fresh which provide all the ingredients for specifically planned healthy meals.

Use the Right Tools
Having the right meal prep tools and storage containers is key for seamless cooking, storing and of course — eating! Microwavable, dishwasher safe and BPA free are all key words that are important to look out for when selecting which products to buy for food storage. The easier they are to heat and clean, the better. Many meal-prepping mavens prefer bento style lunch boxes with lids, with separate compartments to store veggies, lean proteins, and starches. They also help keep portions in check. The right (fashionable yet practical, of course) lunch tote, insulated thermoses, reusable cooling packs and water bottles are essential, too.

These Fall Wedding Cocktail Ideas Are Perfect for Pumpkin Spice Latte Lovers

 Food & Drink, Wedding Ideas  Comments Off on These Fall Wedding Cocktail Ideas Are Perfect for Pumpkin Spice Latte Lovers
Oct 292016
 
pumpkin spice wedding cocktails

Photo: Arielle Vey for Barçon

Nothing announces the arrival of fall like Pumpkin Spice Everything. From lattes and lip balm to vodka and cream cheese, the blend of seasonal spices has touched pretty much everything. And if the PSL is your favorite coffee order this time of year, why not infuse a little spice into your wedding, too? Yes, we're talking about signature cocktails for your fall wedding. Just think: Nutmeg, spiced rum, cider, cinnamon... all together in a cocktail your guests will totally rave about! We asked two fantastic mixologists from Liquid Lab NYC and Barçon in San Diego to give us their very best seasonal cocktails, perfect to warm you up as the weather cools down.

Harvest Wood
This bourbon-based cocktail [above] is all about warmth. "The combination of traditional pressed apple cider and smokey bourbon brings to mind the changing of the seasons and the falling of temperatures," says Eric Constein, bar manager of Barçon. "The nose evokes cool nights on the farm, while the sweetness of the cider and the bite of the bourbon creates a sense of being in the woods, playing in the leaves. The aromatic bitters and carbonated water allow all of those flavors to really pop."

Ingredients:
1.5 oz. Woodford Bourbon
1 oz. apple cider
Club Soda
1 Sugar Cube
Bitters

Muddle sugar and bitters in an Old Fashioned glass. Add ice, Woodford Bourbon and apple cider. Stir and top with soda.

pumpkin spice wedding cocktails

Photo: Courtesy of Liquid Lab NYC

The Parkside Pumpkin
"This simple yet delicious cocktail tastes exactly like a slice of boozy pumpkin pie," says Parker Boase, co-founder of Liquid Lab NYC. "It's great for Halloween and Thanksgiving get-togethers, and it's quite easy for most home bartenders to assemble." Perfect for the bar at your fall or winter wedding!

Ingredients:
2 oz. Spiced Rum
1 oz. Pumpkin Spice Syrup (recipe below)
1 oz Pineapple Juice
.5 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
Thyme & Nutmeg, for garnish

Shake all ingredients vigorously with ice. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with thyme and a dusting of nutmeg.

Pumpkin Spice Syrup:
Add equal parts sugar and water and 1 tablespoon of ground Pumpkin Spice seasoning per quart. Boil until pumpkin spice is dissolved, chill and use.

pumpkin spice wedding cocktails

Photo: Arielle Vey for Barçon

The Rumstick
Rum isn't just for the summer! "Spiced rum evokes a winter wonderland spent fireside," says Constein. "Orange from the Cointreau brings out the robust flavors of the rum, while a splash of lemon perks the palate and makes way for the robust cinnamon flavor." Add a cinnamon-sugar rim for a little extra sweetness and spice!

Ingredients:
1.5 oz. Spiced Rum
.5 oz. Cointreau
.5 oz. Lemon Juice
.5 oz. Simple Syrup
Cinnamon Sugar (for garnish)
Cinnamon Stick (for garnish)

Rim a Double Old Fashioned glass with cinnamon sugar. Dry shake (with no ice!) the rum, Cointreau, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Add fresh ice to the glass, then strain the drink over ice. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Oct 232016
 

Newsflash, brides-to-be: Gone are the days of just chicken or fish. "A wedding meal should be a narrative of you as a couple and the foods you love," says Hugh Acheson, the James Beard Award winning chef at Atlanta's Empire State South. So get hungry, brides, because no idea is off-limits when it comes to your reception food!

Obsessed with brunch? Surprise guests with breakfast for dinner. Was grilled cheese your favorite childhood snack? Serve a gourmet version as an appetizer. Now is the time to experiment. "The beauty of weddings is that guests are happy but hungry, so they're willing to try something new," says Acheson. "The reaction you want is 'Wow, this isn't typical wedding food.'"

Need a bit(e) of guidance? The first rule in menu planning: It's about you. "Start by choosing two entrees, using the proteins you and your groom love most," suggests Chris Huerta, executive chef at North Carolina's Old Edward's Inn. "If he wants beef, there's no reason you can't choose fish or poultry to accompany it." And don't feel like you have to change your entire menu or offer individual dishes to suit a handful of guests with food allergies (like those with gluten intolerance) or dietary restrictions (vegans and vegetarians). Rather, provide a variety of dishes to choose from, which is much easier to handle than many custom plates.

But what are the ultimate dos and don'ts of personalizing your wedding menu? Read on to find out.

DO Offer simply prepared dishes ideal for large groups, like stewed meats with grains and veggies or cured-meat and cheese boards. They can be total wedding budget savers.

DON'T There's no need to overdo it with labor-intensive (and expensive) entrees like individually temperatured beef tenderloin.

DO Set up interactive stations where dishes are made to order by a chef. Plan on one station for every 50 guests.

DON'T Ditch the fried foods, like french fries, which get soggy quickly. (You can always make a pre-honeymoon pitstop at In-N-Out!)

DO Go for fresh salads chock-full of local, seasonal veggies, like burrata with tomato, corn, and basil in summer.

See More: 3 Things Not to Do at Your Wedding Menu Tasting

DON'T Avoid choosing out-of-season produce. "Research seasonality in your area and ask the caterer to devise a menu using those ingredients," says Stephany Wilder of the Ace Hotel Palm Springs in California. "You'll save money and support local businesses."

DO Consider a vegetable gratin. "They can be pre-assembled, are cooked at the last minute, and are cheesy and beautiful," says Acheson. Don't offer risotto, which is hard to execute and tastes gummy if it sits too long.

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BRIDES New York: Best NYC Food Trucks For Your Wedding Reception

 Food & Drink, Local, New York, New York City, NY, NJ and CT, Wedding Catering  Comments Off on BRIDES New York: Best NYC Food Trucks For Your Wedding Reception
Oct 232016
 
Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream

Photo: Courtesy of Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream

Nowadays, finding some of New York's most delicious and one-of-a-kind dishes is often found on the rolling wheels of a Manhattan food truck. Whether you're sticking to strictly desserts or looking for a gourmet alternative for NYC catering, these unique food trucks will add a fun way to enjoy some food during your wedding reception.

Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream (Above)
Recognized by its buttery yellow exterior, this artisanal ice cream truck has set out to restore the classic American tradition of ice cream making using only all natural ingredients. Using a handful of elements, the creators behind this sustainable ice cream company credit each flavor as a celebration to some of the worlds best artisan farmers. With over 8 years of experience and 100 vegan and classic flavors, this scooped sensation is the perfect substitute to the classic wedding sweet treat.

Food Truck Catering
This online resource for all things food trucks is the perfect place to compare cuisines, convenience, and variety through the endless selection of some of New York's most popular food truck caterers. Made-to-order dishes created fresh from local ingredients provide the foundation for this extensive selection of unforgettable food experiences. Whether you're looking to satisfy your Asian fusion, fish and chips, falafel, or pie cravings, this mecca of food truck varieties is the perfect one-stop-shop for all of your gourmet needs.

Flavor Please
From Kimchi Taco to Melt Bakery, this extensive variety of one-of-a-kind food trucks is the perfect location to find your next catering venture. Whether your taste buds find interest in Italian cuisine, Mexican delicacies, or authentic desserts, there's no limit to the creativity used to make some of New York's most delectable dishes. The ability to book online makes finding a food truck ensured with a triple threat of quality ingredients, excellent service, and bold flavor accessible to any Manhattan bride.

See More: Still Need a Wedding Cake? Browse NYC Cakeries to Find Your Dream Wedding Cake!

Wafels & Dinges
What started as homage to a Brussels tradition of selling waffles from a horse-drawn carriage has quickly turned into one of New York City's most popular food truck attractions. After being crowned ZAGAT's "Best Food Truck" in NYC, it was no surprise that Manhattan locals started transitioning this kitchen on wheels into a full-blown catering service. Offering guests an immense choice list of delectable toppings such as fresh blueberries, walnut crumble, and Belgian chocolate fudge, it's no doubt that your guests will have a limitless number of creations to enjoy.

Carpe Donut
Credited for making some of the Big Apple's best hot and fresh made-to-order doughnuts, this high quality, organic food truck staple uses only locally-sourced ingredients to produce their sweet treats. Whether it's one of their famous fall "Apple Cider" doughnuts or their latest summer creation, the "FroDo," there's always a uniquely delicious flavor catered for any taste buds.

Looking for a different type of caterer? Find the right bites for your wedding on our New York City catering page!

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