The Inside Scoop

Three important wedding details not to overlook.

Katherine Sparks

(Molly & Jordan, photo by Katherine Sparks Photography, Williamsburg)

Yes, you can work with your dream vendor. You follow them on social media, and you’re a fan. They’re the vendor with impeccable style, but their prices may be out of your range. Before you rule them out, know that many top vendors are willing to work with you—if you know how to broach the subject, that is.

(Julie & Josh, photo by Kaytlin Lane Photography, Christiansburg)

Communicate your admiration.

Everyone loves a sincere compliment, so whether you admire a florist’s eye for design, a baker’s imaginative cakes, or a band’s ability to light up the dance floor—share what you love about them.

Have an open mind.

Chances are the wedding pro will be able to offer cost-effective alternatives. “Being open to artistic interpretations of your inspiration is a great way to get a unique design that the designer can create within your desired price point,” says Bron Hansboro, owner of The Flower Guy Bron in Richmond. Most likely, they can implement budget-friendly ideas. For example, Hansboro once had two weddings in one weekend, and the couples shared floral designs. It was a fabulous way to be sustainable while having two weddings bear the cost of one high-end florist.

Be honest about your budget.

“Be transparent about your investment upfront,” suggests Hansboro. Letting them know your budget allows them to choose whether to decline kindly or offer creative solutions. Everyone loves peonies, but using this spring flower for a December wedding means having to order blooms from afar. An experienced florist can make suggestions that give the same look without the high price tag.


(Madison & Harry, photo by Nikki Santerre Photography, Mechanicsville)

Choosing a Menu: How to get the best from your caterer

You’ve found a dress, booked the venue, and signed a photographer. Now it’s time for tastings with your caterer. The word from food insiders is this: you don’t have to settle for the pre-planned lineup of dishes. We asked Chef Jon Beattie, the owner and head chef of The Renaissance in Richmond, to share the latest food trends and offer advice on creating a personalized menu. The same rules apply to bakers and bartenders, too.

Think beyond chicken and beef.

Chefs enjoy showing off their skills, which means that branching off from the norm can yield delicious results. “Couples are looking to expand their guests’ experiences with curated dishes and layered flavors and offerings like never before,” says Beattie. Chefs are trying to wow couples with elaborate food tastings that engage all of the senses. Beattie notes that it’s not just about swapping meats, but about how you flavor them, too. “Salmon is always fun, but instead of a hot dish, explore a chilled option with a spicy dressing,” he suggests.

Go unexpected with the traditional.

Having chicken and beef is perfectly okay, but ask your catering team for suggestions on unique seasonings. Beattie advises, “Caterers—and for that matter, couples—need to stop thinking ‘safe’ and really experience the amazing dishes that an expert team can achieve.”

Opt for fresh, local ingredients.

Talk to your caterer about incorporating fresh, seasonal flavors from nearby farms and purveyors. “Couples should insist on the freshest of vegetables even if the chef has to handpick the vegetables and herbs the very day of the event,” suggests Beattie. Even simple dishes are quickly elevated if the ingredients are at their peak of freshness.

Spice up your dishes.

Modern couples are infusing more flavors into their receptions, which is refreshing for chefs like Beattie, who appreciate an opportunity to experiment with different flavor profiles. “There were times where every one of our couples would say ‘easy on the spices’,” he says. “Now we get to schedule a tasting and provide both options. The perfectly seasoned dish wins every time!”

Use heirloom recipes.

If you have a favorite family dish, include it on your wedding day. A quality caterer will be able to replicate the meal, especially when provided with a tried-and-true recipe. “It really adds little to no time or cost to create something that is a nice surprise if it’s an old family favorite,” states Beattie. “Elevate the experience past just the taste.”


Lilly Magnolia Photography LLC

(Mollie & Ryan Wedding, photo by Lizzie Jacobson-Lilly Magnolia Photography, Lynchburg)

Modern wedding band trends for grooms

Gold will always be classic, but men’s rings can also highlight substances like tungsten, titanium, steel, and wood.

Gemstones

It’s perfectly acceptable for men to feature gems on their wedding bands, including clear and colored stones.

One-of-a-Kind

Search estate jewelry stores for heirloom pieces, or have one custom designed within your price range.

Secondary Bands

An active guy will appreciate a second band (silicone is only around $20) to prevent wear and tear on their primary ring.


This article originally appeared in the February 2022 issue.

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