By Eileen Majors


[media-credit name=”Cheeseboard Catering Co” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]Catering is one of the largest costs for many couples today.    Remember that options are endless for this part of the wedding. The Bridal Association of America reports that the average catering bill for a wedding with 150 guests, lands just under $12,250, which equates to about $82 per person. I have seen it done for about one tenth of that cost, but it will take a host of volunteers who know what they are doing to pull it off. I got lucky at my wedding as one of the best cooks in the whole family, my brother-in-law Chuck, jumped to the occasion of offering his services.  With about the same number of guests, he barbecued and sliced 12 tri tips, made 5 gallons of baked beans, fresh green salad and the most popular dish of the day was definitely large round trays with his garden-fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and mozzarella slices layered among a blend of oil and vinegar with Italian seasoning and parmesan cheese. Loaves of fresh baked bread lined the tables along with dishes of whipped butter, all for under $900.

Today’s brides are trying new things all the time.  It seems the more unique a wedding is, the more fun it will be for the bride and groom to put on. Traditions are kept indeed, in most cases, but a bit of the unexpected always make for a good time. One unexpected turn I saw at a wedding in our family was at the cutting of the cake. Everyone knew it was time for the bride and groom to smash a bit of cake in each other’s face. Nobody knew, however, that this bride and groom had made a secret pact not to do it. Instead they each hurled and unexpected piece of cake into the faces of the best man and made of honor, who were part of the cake cutting ceremony.

Often you will see the couple’s child or children taking part in the ceremony. Other times a darling niece or nephew will take the stage. If they are under the age of 7 there is a good chance they will have a hard time standing still for a long ceremony and they may go shy on you at the last minute.  Try a cute chair or standing by an uncle but be prepared for the chance they may exit the stage to go sit with Mom. Let the best man hold the ring and if the child is to be part of the ring ceremony, the best man can hand the ring over to the little one at just the last moment.

Maybe not everyone will know each other at your wedding. Some likely will. Put some time and thought into your seating arrangements to make the most of the party. If some of your guests won’t know anyone, put them in a fun group you think they will like.
When kids are on the guest list, consider some special wedding favors for the children. Pick up some toy cars and princess crowns to set next to their place cards. For older kids, candy in a keepsake tin is always appropriate. Also, kids love to help, so if you will need help passing out the wedding favors or any other small tasks, consider enlisting the children’s help. It will make them feel like a special part of your day.

Wedding favors can be expensive or simple. I have seen gorgeous glass wine stoppers given to every guest in a fancy white box, wrapped in tissue. I also have seen birdseed passed out in simple net fabric with a bow make a big splash when guests were invited to shower the bride and groom on their way into the reception hall. Candies are always nice, but do be sure if you wrap up chocolates, that they are not placed where they will eventually be sitting in the sun!

I absolutely loved my wedding and the beautiful Dorado Inn on Almanor’s east shore, where we chose to take our vows. My only advice would be to consider your guest list before choosing your venue. I located the resort where I wanted to have my ceremony and reception. I was told I could have about 120 people, which sounded just fine. After adding up the 53 members of my family who were coming and the people I work with every day, I realized I better get permission for more. As it turned out, the resort sold during my plans and the new owners were more than accommodating with extra guests. I sent out a few late invites; we all had a ball and I wouldn’t change a thing, but I think planning your guest list is a good place to start.