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Chef Heidi

Chef Heidi    |    Weddings

Unique Place Cards

Place cards and escort tables are one of the last design elements that you find yourself stressing over in the weeks leading up to the wedding. I happen to love designing this detail, and I am strong believer that it is intricate in the overall look of the wedding day. I always encourage my brides to veer away from the traditional tented place cards carefully laid out on an escort table. Remember to take all of the elements into account (venue…is it rustic or formal?, flowers…are they wildflower bouquets or classic white peonies and garden roses?, theme…finger licking BBQ or elegant wine pairing menu?). I could go on and on, but you get the general idea.

For a rustic barn wedding, I love the idea of taking an old door or fence, adding bouquets of wild flowers in the openings, and attaching basic price tags with guests names and table numbers on pieces of yarn. Another great idea for an outdoor wedding is to string yarn between two low lying trees, and tie taupe linen tags with different color ribbons to create a fun eclectic look. For a hot summer wedding, I often encourage my brides to have a signature cocktail station set up to greet guests. Have the cocktails served in mason jars or old milk bottles, and have each guests’ name and table number tied around the neck of the jar or bottle. You can also have a table set up with mini potted herbs, and double up your favor and place cards. Have a stick in the herb pot with a name flag attached.

More fun ideas would be to have vintage suitcases filled with baby’s breath, or some other kind of inexpensive filler, and have tented place cards placed on top of the flowers. For a fall wedding, have apples stamped with your initials and attach leaf shaped place cards to the stem of each apple. My final fun idea of the day, and one of my favorites, is to have a table lined with antique keys. Have a chalk board on the table with a “key to my heart” quote written on it. Attach a simple place card to each key, and you have a unique concept that your guests are sure not to forget.

As always, I leave you with some of my favorite images. Enjoy!

Happy Planning!

- Sarah

“When the apple is ripe, it will fall”

I recently had the immense pleasure of biting into Chef Heidi’s freshly baked apple crisp, and as expected, I was blown away by the perfect balance of tart to sweet, the buttery crusty crumbly top, and the soft apples that seemed to just melt in my mouth. I have not been able to think of any other dessert since then….hence my blog entry today. It is quite fitting, seeing as I am working on some of our fall weddings.

Apples can be used creatively in so many ways, both in the design of your menu, and the design of your decor. If you are going to use apples in some way, I say go all the way! Base your cocktail hour, guest favors, cake design, and centerpieces on this wonderful fruit that just happen to be in their prime come September and October.

Start out with your table scape, and incorporate apples in your floral centerpieces. Keep in subtle. The bright green or red from the apple will add a pop of color. Set up your place cards on your escort table, and have each guests name and table number tied to an apple with a piece of twine. Rather than your typical “Mr” and Mrs” chair sashes, have a string of apples hang at the back of yours and your grooms chairs with “Mr” and “Mrs” etched into the apples.

For dessert, rather than having a cake, think about a freshly baked pie, cobbler and crisp station. Nothing quite beats the comfort of a freshly baked apple pie on a cool fall night. I absolutely adore the idea of having a tiered mini pie display. Make sure to label each pie, and have a selection available for your guests. Pair any of these with ice cream or whipped cream, and you are sure to have a happy group. For a midnight snack, bring out a fresh apple cider station and have hollowed out apples serve as the glasses. Pair the cider with donuts, or even a candy apple bar. Candied apples can also make a great guest favor. Wrap each one in cellophane, and have them displayed on stacks of hay for your guests to take as they leave.

I could go on and on about my love for apples. They simply are the perfect fruit, and I encourage all your fall brides out there to think about them creatively as your work on the design of your big day.

Happy Planning!

- Sarah 

Color inspiration of the day- Eggplant and Sage

While summertime is on everyone’s mind these days, wedding planners are always thinking a few months ahead. Fall weddings are splashed all over my inspiration wall, and I am falling more and more in love with my bride’s color palettes. One that I especially can’t get enough of happens to be inspired by two of my favorite ingredients- eggplant and sage. There is just something about this deep purple and grayish green that scream fall. It is the perfect combination of rustic chic- a raging trend these days which in my opinion, isn’t going away any time soon.

Floral arrangements that incorporate fresh ingredients such as sage, rosemary, and even artichokes work very well in fall arrangements. Combine these with huge bunches of lavender, purple hydrangea or even the more formal eggplant calla lily, and you will have centerpieces or bouquets that are certain to impress. Keep bridesmaids bouquets simple, and have the lavender loosely tied with burlap. For your centerpieces, think of using multiple arrangements in varying heights to create some depth. I especially love using silver pieces such as cream and sugar tublr, teapots, and mint julep cups as vases.

If you like lavender, find ways to use it throughout the evening. One of my favorite signature cocktails happens to be my Lemon Lavender Fizz. Garnish this with a fresh sprig of lavender and a fresh mint leaf, and you will have a beautiful cocktail to greet your guests with. The recipe is quite simple:

2 oz. gin
1 1/2 oz. lavender simple syrup*
¾ oz. lemon juice
Dash of club soda
Garnish withlavender sprig and mint leaf

* Lavender Simple Syrup:

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 ½ tbsp dried lavender buds
Heat sugar and water in a small saucepan with lavender until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, then set to the side to cool. Strain out the lavender and refrigerate. Yields one cup.

For guest favors, place a handmade lavender drawer sachet at each of your guests seats. Another fun idea is to give out lavender infused macaroons. Mix these up with some green macaroons, and you will have a lovely little package of goodies for your guests.

Here is a selection of the photos that are on my inspiration board this week. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Happy Planning!

- Sarah


Rustic Chic

One thing I love about barn weddings is that they are often a blank slate in which a couple can really show off their personalities. They also tend to lend themselves to a rustic chic feel, which many of you may know is all the rage right now. Barn weddings have gone far passed the trend phase, and are now a staple venue for weddings, rehearsal dinners, Sunday brunches, showers, etc. I adore barn weddings because they allow me to be as inventive and creative as my bride and groom will allow. Whether the style is rustic/chic, or modern/vintage (often referred to as modage), my barn weddings always end up being a true expression of the couple. From a planner’s perspective, it doesn’t get much better than that!

One thing I always recommend to my barn brides, is to base their color palette on the natural colors that surround the venue. Take a look at the gardens and ask what will be in bloom on your day. Try to include these colors in your palette, and go from there. The first fabric that comes to my mind when thinking of barn weddings is burlap. Use this as a starting off point. Burlap runners, string being used to showcase family photos with clothes pins, burlap boxes filled with fresh strawberries for guest favors…whatever it may be. Another element I love to include is tree trunk slabs. These make a great base for centerpieces, dessert displays, cake stands, or even chargers. Barrels of wheat make for a beautiful and inexpensive display. They can add a nice element of height to dessert tables, guest book tables, or even as planters that line the sides of barn doors.

Another fabulous idea is to greet your guests with a lemonade stand. On a hot summers day, nothing beats a cold glass of lemonade before diving into cocktail hour. Rather than your traditional escort cards, lay out horse shoes with your guests name and table number tied to it with a piece of raffia. You can also display your escort cards with clothes pins that are hung on a piece of twine. If you are getting married in the fall, make sure to have a hot apple cider station for your guests towards the end of the night. Nothing screams fall quite as much as a mug of hot apple cider. If you are getting married in the summer, think of using strawberries as a starting off point for food choices. Rather than a traditional tiered wedding cake, have a display of tiered strawberry shortcakes in different sizes.

For guest favors, think of giving away something edible that is locally sourced, or better yet, from the farm itself. Display an array of potted herb plants in a wheel barrow, and have your guests take one as they leave. If you are getting married during prime strawberry season, have boxes of fresh strawberries labelled and ready to go for you guests. Homemade jams or mini pies are also a great guest favor for barn weddings. Remember to work with what is in season, and keep it as personal as you can.

I leave you with some pictures from my inspiration boards!

Happy Planning!

- Sarah

Color inspiration of the day- Burnt Orange and Turquoise

Those who know me know that my favorite color is turquoise. I am a Pisces who is happiest near the ocean, my birthstone is aquamarine, and my grandmother’s (and guardian angel) color of choice was always turquoise. There is just something about the color that screams serenity. Pair this with my second favorite color, burnt orange, and I have a match made in heaven! The combination of these colors just makes me happy, and it is not commonly used as a wedding color palette (which in my opinion is a very good thing…make your wedding as unique and fun as you!).

The key to this color palette is to not over do it…use bits of the colors here and there and always balance them with some neutral tones such as champagne, burlap and white. Introduce the color palette to your guests by welcoming them with an orange and champagne cocktail station. Display the champagne on a table featuring a pale turquoise overlay and topped with a burlap runner. Complete the station with flower arrangements filled with orange garden roses, orange berries, rosemary sprigs, and cascading ivy. Have your bridesmaids in neutral champagne cocktail dresses, and ask them to wear chunky turquoise jewelry of their choice. Instead of a flower boutonniere for the grooms men, have your bridesmaids assist you in making button boutonnieres made of burlap, orange berries, and fabric covered buttons featuring the color palette. That little pop of color against their blazer will make a huge impact. For your something blue,  find the cutest and brightest turquoise heels that will peek out from under your gown every once and a while throughout the night. Have your groom wear turquoise socks so you can take advantage of those adorable sock and shoe photo ops that are oh so popular these days.

For your table setting, remember to keep it simple. Top your neutral linens with burlap runners and burnt orange flower arrangements. Make some fun napkin rings similar to your boutonnieres to hold your  napkins. Scatter turquoise votive holders and bottles throughout the flower arrangements to give the table that additional pop of color. The warm glow of the candle against the turquoise glass will create a beautiful orange affect that will light up the table. Fill your turquoise bottles with sand and place taper candles in the bottle opening. It is always important to have a nice balance of high and low elements on your table setting.

Finally, treat your guests to one of Chef Heidi’s to-die-for custom designed cakes. Keep it clean and simple with a pale turquoise fondant icing, and top it with one giant orange flower. And finally, don’t forget to send your guests home with a memorable favor. I would recommend getting your friends together and making batches of homemade marmalade and apricot jam. Package the jam in individual jars, and tie with a turquoise striped ribbon. Complete the favor with a burlap colored “thank you” tag.

Just remember…the possibilities are endless!

Happy Planning!

- Sarah 

Food inspiration of the month- Corn on the Cob

Nothing screams summer to me quite as much as a freshly picked ear of corn, cooked and smothered in butter. Grill it, boil it, bake it….I just don’t care. It is a little piece of heaven. Most people think of corn on the cob as casual BBQ food, however, I am asking all of you summer brides and grooms out there to open your minds to this delicious food and see the possibilities.

Let me start off by saying that if you are having an outdoor or barn wedding this summer in our region, having some fresh local corn on the cob on your menu is a MUST. It quite simply completes any outdoor summer meal, and definitely lends itself to the rustic elegant feel that goes along with barn weddings. However, if you are throwing a more formal event, please do not shy away from incorporating corn on the cob into your menu. Instead of being served family style or presented on platters on a buffet, have it be your vegetable side for your main course. Your guests won’t mind using their fingers when it comes to sweet corn on the cob….trust me! You can also tie it all together, and use corn during your cocktail hour, dessert, as guest favors, or even as a color inspiration. Here are some of my favorite ideas…

Featuring a Sweet Corn Cocktail (YUM!) during your cocktail hour is a great way to start off the night. My favorite recipe is as follows:

  • 1/4 cup fresh corn kernels (muttled until kernels are mashed and a milky liquid forms)
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice (add the following ingredients and shake with ice)
  • 1/2 ounce demerara syrup
  • 1 1/2 ounce dark rum
  • 3-4 drops bitters
  • Ice (make sure to strain before pouring into glass. Garnish with skewered corn kernels)

You can also incorporate the look of corn on the cob in a cupcake display. Using white and yellow candies, surprise your guests with a cupcake display they will never forget!

If you are hosting a casual outdoor wedding, pack a “take away” snack for your guests as a favor. Fill some cute boxes with sandwiches, corn on the cob, and a mason jar filled with rice or pasta salad.

My last idea of the idea of the day (although I could go on for days), is to add some floral inspiration to your corn themed menu. Sunflowers!! They capture the deep vibrant yellow of corn, and also happen to scream summer better than most flowers out there. They are perfect for a barn wedding setting, and can also be incorporated beautifully into formal bouquets and centerpieces. As always, I leave you with some photos to inspire you!

Happy Planning!

- Sarah


Garden Party

Are you stumped on choosing a color palette for your wedding? With the plenitude of fantastic wedding blogs out there, it is hard to narrow down your favorite combination of colors and style. For some, their vision is crystal clear from the moment he places the engagement ring on their finger. For others, it may take months of flipping threw magazines and scrolling through pages of Style Me Pretty or Green Wedding Shoes before settling on a palette and style that represents them best. If you are the latter, no need to fret….my advice to you is don’t choose! Pick out linens, flowers, bridesmaid dresses, vintage bird baskets, vases and flower pots in a rainbow of colors. Who cares if there is no color palette? If you incorporate colors and elements that represent you and make you happy, it will all tie together in the end. Trust me! If you need a theme as a starting point, think shabby chic backyard garden party, and don’t get too caught up in the details.

A garden party themed wedding tends to lend itself to an early afternoon celebration…think of “tea time”, which in Britain is typically 3pm. Mixed and matched tea cups and saucers, tiered platters of scones and finger sandwiches in the center of every table, featured cocktails of Kir Royale and Mimosas, playful platters of macaroons in every color of the rainbow, and a sweet table filled to the brim with Chef Heidi’s Petit Fours. Dig into your mother’s, aunt’s, or grandmother’s china cabinet, and find an assortment of china, linens and tea pots. Perhaps there is a great grandmother’s punch bowl you would like to have on the bar? Use these special pieces as a starting point, and together with your vendors you will create something beautiful.

Centerpieces and bouquets are always a great way to tie in the rainbow of colors you have chosen for your invitations, programs, escort cards and tablescapes. A bouquet of freshly picked wild flowers tied with burlap is always gorgeous. If you plan accordingly, and are having the reception at a private residence, plant your flowers for your bouquet the year before. Instead of rose petals or candles lining the aisles, fill old wine barrels with your favorite flowers. Have your bridesmaid in different color dresses, and have them carry small delicate bouquets of greenery. For your centerpieces, fill wood planters with an assortment of flowers. Another fun idea for your centerpieces is to have a cluster of  glass bottles with single buds mixed with tea pots filled with flowers. Hang your escort cards using clothes pins on rope that is hung between two trees. And to keep with the homemade and classic feel of the afternoon, send your guests home with jars of homemade jam with a personalized recipe card attached.

Enjoy these fun and airy photos on this beautiful spring like day!

“Earth Laughs in Flower”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Happy Planning!


Thinking outside the rainbow

I will be the first one to admit that I am a fan of the classics. Feed me steak frites any night of the week, followed by vanilla cake topped off with vanilla buttercream icing. My cocktail of choice is always a glass of Cabernet (very original), and nothing makes me happier than a bouquet of white roses. So, for all you classic brides out there…don’t try to be something you are not! Be classic in every sense of the word. If you are true to yourself, the result is always beautiful.

Throughout my career, my classic side has managed to mesh quite well with my other side…the side that I would call my eclectic or funky side. When you are a wedding planner, you need to find numerous sources of inspiration. In order to find these sources and use them succesfully, you need to find out what inspires you. I would give the same advice to all of my brides. Dig deep…dig REALLY deep and find what excites you. Only then will you start to see magical things happen during your planning process. Nothing excites me more than a carefully thought out color palette. If you are trying to make your wedding stand out from the crowd, think COLOR! And this is where you brides, even the classic brides, need to think “outside the rainbow”.

The sky is the limit with color palettes, and today I am going to share with you two of my favorite unconventional color palettes. The first is lavender and red. This combination went down in my book as a favorite color palette after working with a couple who were trying to tie in the bride’s Chinese heritage with her favorite color, lavender. We managed to bring red and lavender together in a way that was so beautiful. Red sashes with homemade silk flowers were tied around bridesmaides lavender chiffon dresses, bouquets of purple hydrangea, red roses, lavender spray roses, and fresia were the center of attention at every table, personalized chocolate bar wedding favors were wrapped in lavender paper and tied with red string, and red velvet mini cupcakes were the stand out display at the sweet table.

My second favoirte unconventional color palette is turquoise and fuschia. Most commonly thought of as a beach wedding palette, this beautiful combination is certainly not limited to the beach. One of my favorite weddings that I worked on that incorporated this color palette was a June backyard wedding. Banners of fuschia flags hung over the bar and sweet table spelling out “how sweet it is”, pitchers of sangria were surrounded by turquoise stained glass tumblers, a beautiful white wedding cake was filled with fresh rasberries and cream and decorated ever so elegantly with turquoise fondant, and fuschia parasols doubled up as sun shades and wedding favors.

As always, I will leave you with some photos from my inspiration boards. Enjoy!

Happy Planning!



Spring into bloom!

As I look out my office window, I see a steady fall of sleet, ice and rain. Yes, it is a bleak and miserable day, and all I can say is…thank goodness I love what I do! Seriously. I am immersing myself in spring time decor and all I am thinking about is the luscious smell of lily of the valley, the simplistic beauty of a bouquet of pink tulips tied with grosgrain ribbon, and the elegance of clusters of terra cotta pots filled with white lilacs in the center of each table. Spring is a time of renewal, warmth and cleansing. The definition of the verb “spring” is to “move or jump suddenly upward or forward”. I feel as though this perfectly describes this magical season. Flowers bloom, rain showers cleanse the earth, and there is an overall feeling of hope. What better time of the year to get married and start your life as husband and wife?! Not to mention, the flowers…my favorite season for flowers. I am firm believer in keeping any spring flower arrangement simple, clean and elegant. Let the blooms speak for themselves, and always think outside the box!

For all you spring brides out there seeking some inspiration during this slushy mess of day, I have written down some of my favorite ways to use spring flowers in your decor. One of these ideas is to incorporate the beauty of the blooms in your guest favors. If your centerpieces are clustered terra cotta pots filled with spring blooms, have each of your guests take one home at the end of the night. Rather than a candy bar, have a flower bar! Arranged pre-packaged flowers in silver pots similar to a flower market, and make these the guest favors. Or have guests make their own bouquets to take home. Another element I love to incorporate are branch arrangements. Balance out bowls of peonies with tall cherry blossoms centerpieces. Another idea is to have a tall branch arrangements at the guest book table and rather than guests writing in a book, have them write a note on pieces of paper that have been laid out with strings attached. Have your guests hang their wishes and notes to you on branches. Rather than your typical escort card, use small pots of moss with the guests name and table number and have this double up as a guest favor.

As always, I am full of fun ideas and I more than happy to share the photos that excite me. Enjoy!

Happy planning!


A Pink Resolution

Well, New Years Day has come and gone. 2012 is here, and lists of New Years resolution are in the hearts and minds of many of you. I have never been one to make such a list, that is up until a few years ago. I write my list down and keep it in my bedside table to read every morning when I wake up. A great way to start the day! One of the items on my list is to embrace my inner child as I work on the design details of some of our weddings. I always encourage our brides and grooms to bring as many personal ideas to the table when we sit down for our planning and design meetings, and when they do, some very magical things begin to happen. I especially love when couples incorporate childhood memories. This can be as simple as a color palette, as touching as the fabric of a childhood dress being used as the material for a ring cushion, and as cute as a childhood red flyer wagon used as a carrier for parasols for a hot summer wedding. For me, it is very simply the color pink. For years I tried to fight my love of this energetic and passionate color because I thought it was too “girly”, but after years of being in the event industry, I quickly realized not only is the color hot and chic, there are endless possibilities of color combinations. I especially like it with combined with a simple color palette of taupe and white. It is truly a versatile color that can bring a pop to any event if used correctly.

As you can imagine, my inspiration board is currently an explosion of pink in every different shade. Here are some images that hopefully will tickle you pink, and please take note of my favorite…mini pink cupcake ice cream cones. I mean seriously, can it get any better than that?!

Happy planning!

- Sarah

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