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101 ON WEDDING CATERING CONTRACTS

Toast Events Industrial Wedding Ottawa Zibbi

There are so many things to consider when signing on that dotted line. But if you've never thrown an event before how are you supposed to know what to looks for or even understand what this contract is actually saying. To help put things into perspective I'm answering my top 6 most asked questions.

 

MINIMUM GUARANTEED DINNER GUESTS 

When you request a catering quote likely you'll provide a potential number of expected dinner, let's say 130 dinner guests. In your contract you may see a statement like " Minimum guaranteed dinner guests of 120." This means that your responsible in paying for that number of guests regardless of what your ultimate number is. Keep in mind that also means 120 adults and does not include children!!! Ultimately if your end up having 115 guests you're still paying for 130ppl. What I like to do is calculate what the cost difference is between 120 and 130 guests and ask if you can use that dollar amount in upgrading your meal or adding a course- that way you're not "loosing" money!

 

RESERVES THE RIGHT TO DETERMINE WHAT (IF ANY) FOOD IS SUITABLE FOR TAKE HOME

This is a health issue. Once food is out in the open and in an unregulated temperature food can spoil quicker then you expect. Most venues and caterers wont allow you to bring ANY food home. But if they add a clause like this- you're very lucky! 

 

GraTUITY POST EVENT

This means there is not gratuity included in your current bill. If you don't consider this while your comparing notes on various quotes, in the end it can end up in thousands of extra dollars you didn't factor in. Typically %15 grat is standard- for restaurants only. For caterers you're looking at %18 and for luxury hotels it can be upwards of %20+. 

 

CALCULATING COSTS

If you're trying to do your own math here is the formula you should use. Subtotal all the food and beverage. Now add your grat onto that. Subtotal again and then add your taxes. That's right! You read that right, your grat is taxed. Another sneaky way if your numbers don't add up when you get a real revised quote from a caterer.

 

PLANNING & COORDINATION FEE

But you might already have a wedding planner- so why should you pay for a coordination fee to a caterer? Well, it's because there's so much paperwork and time required to ensure your food & beverage team are prepared and ready to perform for your wedding. This includes the following:

  • In person appointments
  • Multiple emails throughout a 1- 2 year period
  • Meetings with culinary team to map out custom menues
  • Research for specialty requests
  • Tasting
  • Food & Beverage timeline prepration for behind the scenes
  • Organizing staffing
  • Inventory & renatls lists 
  • Food requisitions
  • Ordering food & beverage 
  • Working with your planner on the elements of the day 

And this is just the tip of the iceberg, because a good catering company does so much more! 

 

FOOD & BEVERAGE COST INCREASES

We never really know what the economic climate will be like in the next year or two. For example there could be a Beef shortage and so the price in 2019 vs. 2018 has risen. Typically you can ask your caterer to lock in a max increase of %10. On a side note- this happened in the floral world a few years ago when there was a volcano erupt in Asia. This stopped air traffic and importers were unable to bring in orchid varieties for 2 weeks. So crazy right! This is also a huge reason why you should hire a planner. So we can impart this type of information onto our clients. They type of information that just isn't out there to find for yourself! A great planner will make it their business to know the inner workings of all these things you might never in your life think to consider!

 

And there you have it. Some of the most sneak hidden costs that can seriously break your budget! 

xox

Elise

 

 

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H+S WEDDING AT HORTICULTURE BUILDING W/ KYMBERLIE DOZOIS

ieHOLLY + SHAWN

What a dream client to work with. Holly's cool and chill vibe lasted from planning right through to her wedding day. Unlike any other venue in Ottawa, The Horticulture Buildings' unique industrial look and feel is always an opportunity to design something out-of-the-box that truly reflected Holly and Shawn on their wedding day. Simple, unfussy details with just the right amount of intrigue. There was an understated elegance about the day that Kymberlie Dozois captured so beautifully.

Toast Events Wedding Horticulture Building
Toast Events Wedding Horticulture Building
Toast Events Wedding Horticulture Building
Toast Events Wedding Horticulture Building
Toast Events Wedding Horticulture Building
Toast Events Wedding Horticulture Building
Toast Events Wedding Horticulture Building
Toast Events Wedding Horticulture Building
Toast Events Wedding Horticulture Building
Toast Events Wedding Horticulture Building
Toast Events Wedding Horticulture Building
Toast Events Wedding Horticulture Building
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Toast Events Wedding Horticulture Building
Toast Events Wedding Horticulture Building
Toast Events Wedding Horticulture Building
Toast Events Wedding Horticulture Building
Toast Events Wedding Horticulture Building
Toast Events Wedding Horticulture Building
Toast Events Wedding Horticulture Building
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Toast Events Wedding Horticulture Building
Toast Events Wedding Horticulture Building
Toast Events Wedding Horticulture Building
Toast Events Wedding Horticulture Building
Toast Events Wedding Horticulture Building
Toast Events Wedding Horticulture Building
Toast Events Wedding Horticulture Building
Toast Events Wedding Horticulture Building
Toast Events Wedding Horticulture Building
Toast Events Wedding Horticulture Building
Toast Events Wedding Horticulture Building
Toast Events Wedding Horticulture Building

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BEFORE & AFTER

Converted Church ottawa Toast Events Planner
Converted Ottawa church
 

I first met with Samantha and Amin back in the summer of 2013 at small coffee shop in New Edinburg. Little did I know this client was about to give me carte blanche for what would be the most amazing concept to creation a planner could have ever dreamed of in a super exclusive venue. 

I first walked into this reclaimed church for a preliminary site visit I could immediately see the space transforming infront of my eyes. I've been asked about my creative process, and it's something I can't quite put into words. It's kind of like walking into the picture on the right, closing your eyes, and opening them and literally seeing the picture on the left. Vision and potential. And this space checked every box in my creative soul.

The space had been gutted with no immediate plans for any renovations or improvements. Patchy paint, green stained parliamentary looking carpets, 60 scattered unhinged pews, no washrooms or running water. The church in day-light looked weathered. But at night it emanated character of an age gone by and an old world ambiance almost as if you were in transported to little Italy. 

The opportunities this converted church provided were endless and by the time we walked out of the space I knew exactly every design element and the vendors needed to make this an absolutely gorgeous wedding.

 

CURRATED STYLE FILE

Before we delve into the before and after pictures here is the Style File we created for Samantha & Amin in 2014. This is a great glimpse into how our initial style boards come translate to "the day of". 

I will confess! I do have a very specific formula of how I plan and design a wedding. The very first thing I do is establish concept and priorities, solidify venue, then move into design, choose a photographer who will document the wedding according to the clients overall design and style, and lastly secure reputable vendors to ensure a strong cohesive look and feel based on intention and fore-thought can be brought to life. Not rocket science by any means...but that's just the beginning. 

Toast Events Ottawa Wedding

Toast Events Ottawa Wedding

Toast Events Ottawa Wedding

Toast Events Ottawa Wedding
Toast Events Ottawa Wedding

Toast Events Ottawa Wedding

DESIGN ELEMENTS

CHURCH PEWS

Since the "church" was now desacralized everything was fair game. This meant we could use the space however we wanted. During our meeting Samantha said something that really resonated with me which unintentionally became the driving force behind our design. She said, her grandmother always wanted her to have a church wedding, but that she herself wasn't did not want a traditional "churchy" wedding. It was almost like a light bulb when off inside my head.......no nuptials inside the church.....we're going to bring all the pews outside on the lawn and your going to get married on the steps leadings up to the church....she died! Little did I know the groom was a New Yorker and HATED BUGS.... good thing I'm a great convincer!

Reclaimed ottawa church wedding planning Toast Events

BANNERS

I tend to pride myself in incorporating a unique design element which I like to call the "Piece de Resistance" that will leave a lasting impression with guests. Something slightly extravagant and unlike anything else you've seen at a generic wedding.

Ugly purple banners turned suspended florals and hanging candles. Bringing the outside, inside. A gorgeous floating element that would not only enhance the space but transform. 

Toast Events Ottawa Wedding Planner Old Church
Reclaimed ottawa church Toast Events Weddings

SUBTLE GRAND ENTRANCE

As our official altar and entrance to the venue we created a floral climbing vine to soften and accentuate the doorway. It was so perfectly designed, guests thought it was part of the landscape.

Reclaimed church Ottawa Wedding Planner Toast Events
Toast Events Wedding Ottawa

LAST MINUTE 

Two weeks before the wedding the groom straight out of left field said "Hey! Let's have some sort or entertainment.. like maybe some fire dancers..."

My reaction.... "Ummm what?!. lol let me ponder on that for a bit!". 

My thought process thereafter: fire + old church divided by insurance =....not gonna happen.... interpretive dancers in glow in the dark costumes- was that even a thing?.... houla-hoop body morphing performance-negative......hmmmm..aerial silks performance?! Mic drop.

This generated a new problem; space was tight and I needed to find a creative way to incorporate a 20ft structure into the venue without it looking like an eye-soar. It also had to be dismantled before the night was over with guests still milling about. One thing you need to know about me is I hate moving things while guests are using the same space. It just looks bad. This structure was a couple hundred pounds and took 45 mins to set up and would equally take as long to be taken down. If you look closely you will see the acro structure at the back of the venue right in front of the main doors. I took a huge risk in its ultimate placement but I also felt like a genius when every guest walked into the space underneath this structure but only noticed it's presence until show time.

Then guests would move inside for the reception, dinner and dancing. Since Samantha & Amin wanted it to be more of a celebration all our entertainment came from Montreal. Marco Ferri Entertainment provided us with two of their best DJ's and Mc's paired with special Areal Silk performance which literally knocked our socks off.

In the left hand picture you can see all the pews we had to either use or carefully and cleverly store. We used 26 pews outside for the ceremony and integrated 16 inside at guests reception tables. Another unique detail I just had to incorporate. 

Reclaimed ottawa Church Toast Events Wedding Planner
Reclaimed ottawa Church Toast Events Wedding Planner
Reclaimed ottawa Church Toast Events Wedding Planner
Reclaimed ottawa Church Toast Events Wedding Planner

OLD WORD DETAILS

It was important to me to keep the space uncluttered, simple with just the right amount of european styling. 

Reclaimed Ottawa Church Wedding Toast Events Wedding Planner
Reclaimed Ottawa Church Wedding Toast Events Wedding Planner
Reclaimed Ottawa Church Wedding Toast Events Wedding Planner
Reclaimed Ottawa Church Wedding Toast Events Wedding Planner
Reclaimed Ottawa Church Wedding Toast Events Wedding Planner
Reclaimed Ottawa Church Wedding Toast Events Wedding Planner
Reclaimed Ottawa Church Wedding Toast Events Wedding Planner
Old world design + reclaimed church = Joel & Justyna from Joel Bedford Photography

DOCUMENTED

With their 1950's Vogue vibe I couldn't have asked for a better photography duo. Old world design + reclaimed church = Joel & Justyna from Joel Bedford Photography.

Reclaimed Ottawa Church Wedding Toast Events Wedding Planner
Old world design + reclaimed church = Joel & Justyna from Joel Bedford Photography
Old world design + reclaimed church = Joel & Justyna from Joel Bedford Photography
Toast Events Ottawa Wedding Planner
Toast Events Ottawa Wedding
Toast Events Ottawa Wedding
Toast Events Ottawa Wedding
Toast Events Ottawa Wedding
Toast Events Ottawa Wedding
Toast Events Ottawa Wedding
A better view of the structure located just at the front doors of the church

A better view of the structure located just at the front doors of the church

Toast Events Ottawa Wedding

WEDDING PLANNER: Toast Events, Elise Schmitz, Madison Kelly, Victoria Denofrio, Allie Darwin

CONCEPT & DESIGN: Elise Schmitz Toast Events 

DECORATOR & FLORIST: Wedecor

PHOTOGRAPHER: Joel Bedford Photography

CATERER: Tulips & Maple

OFFICIANT: Exceptional Ceremonies

LIMOUSINE: East Coast Limos

INVITATION: Minted

TABLE STATIONARY: Wedecor

CAKE: Thimbles Cakes

MAKEUP: Natalie Peachy

DJ: Marco Ferri Entertainment

AERIAL SILKS: Quality Entertainment (Montreal Acrobats)

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WEDDING DETAILS YOUR GUESTS WILL NOTICE

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I always say it's all in the details, but there are those who decorate like a fabric bomb literally exploded in the reception room. Don't shake your head like you don't know what I'm talking about. It's almost like they have a mathematical equation that goes something like this:

Chair covers + Chair Bands + Crystal Broach + Satin linen + Sheer Lace Overlay + Satin Table Runner. And that's just the basic foundation. Then they add.... Gold Charger Plate, Bow-tie Napkin with a Crystal Napkin Ring +  Personal Table Menue + Place Card + Bonbonierre + a bedazzled mirror with a cylinder vase with glue gunned crystals........ and in that vase there are water beads and a tinny little florescent light glowing from within............ Then the ceiling swag fairy came and went to town.....

Layers upon layers of decor which will overwhelm your guest into a blur. The biggest and most costly mistake you can make is definitely within your decor budget, because it can start to look tacky reeeaaallllll fast.

My number one piece of advice, "Don't waste your money on trying to have everything while cheaping out along the way. Sacrifice, re-evaluate your priorities and shift the dollars you would have spent on mediocrity towards a larger element that will leave your guests with a lasting impression." 

I'll give you a few examples, and if your a client reading this, you might have already heard this story. Back in the day when ghost chairs were only coming out of Toronto with a  price tag of $20 per chair, I had a client who just simply had to have them, but couldn't make it work within her budget. So I said "No problem, we'll trick them!". We ordered 1/3 ghost chairs and 2/3 white flip chairs. We used the ghost chairs at square tables and the flips at round tables and strategically laid out our floor plan accordingly. A few months later I heard back from my newlyweds and they said every single guest thought that they were sitting on ghost chairs... they raved about it endlessly. Keep in mind we're talking 2010 when the thought of mixing table types weren't even a design thought in anyone's mind. - I'm actually pretty proud that I hit that before the curve :) 

That's just one example of how I design to be budget conscious with intention. In case your curious, here is where we think you should spend your money.

 

OUR 5 PICKS

Linen-less tables and chairs

Personal dinner menus 

Over-sized organic bouquets

Embellished wedding dresses

Handwritten calligraphy invites

 

 

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