Friday, July 29, 2011

Catering Trend Alert!

Food trucks are getting more popular nowadays, there are even festivals in the Bay Area dedicated to them and street food. As a surprise for wedding guests, how about hiring a food truck to come by during dancing time and serve up some late-night snacks? Food trucks here offer a variety of delectables, it's not just your traditional tacos anymore, there are Korean tacos, Thai tacos, Vietnamese tacos, it's fusion cuisine, fancy some lemongrass chicken tacos or vegetarian tofu tacos? There are even sweet treats such as ice cream, cupcakes, creme brulee etc. It's amazing how vast the variety is. Do you know there's even a food truck offering organic dim sum?

As a foodie myself, I never pass up an opportunity to try what a food truck has to offer. One of my favorite food trucks is Sam's ChowderMobile, their lobster rolls are to die for!

Eat Real Festival 2010 in Oakland
Another of my favorite food trucks is RoliRoti, it is a gourmet rotisserie food truck and I can never pass up on their porchetta sandwiches, traditional Italian roasted pork served on a bread roll with greens, yum! They can actually cater your entire meal, from starters to desserts.
Roasted pork in action

The famous porchetta sandwich
Another famous food truck is Nom Nom, they originated from the Los Angeles area, offer Vietnamese cuisine and recently expanded to the Bay Area. They were also featured on the Food Networks' series "The Great Food Truck Race".

Nom Nom food truck at a corporate event in the Bay Area
A good place to try out different types of food trucks is to go to a food trucks gathering, there is one called Edgewood Eats in Palo Alto on Monday evenings (moving to Tuesday evenings starting October). They usually have 9 to 10 food trucks there so you can get to taste a variety of food.

Whether you want something rustic, gourmet, or organic, I am sure you will be able to find a food truck that satisfy your needs. Brides and grooms, you should also check with your wedding site to make sure they allow food trucks and if the space and terrain is suitable for the trucks.

Hope you find this information useful in your wedding planning!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My first hilltop-turned-warehouse wedding

Where do I even begin to describe what I've been busy with for the past couple of months, only to have the plans come to fruition in a completely different way than I expected...

A couple of months ago, I met with a couple from Central California who was looking to have their wedding at a family-owned property here in the Bay Area. They had a clear vision of what they want their wedding to be like; a celebration with family and friends lasting from the afternoon till the wee hours of the morning, with elements of surprise here and there. Ok, so here we have a site, which is just mainly land on a hilltop; we will have to bring in generators, lighting, tents, water, portable restrooms and all the rentals among the more than twenty vendors we have to secure (think mariachi band, Spanish guitarist and DJ for musical entertainment, Pinkberry and taco cart for late-night snacks, babysitters and magician for the kids, a photo booth and cigar roller for other activities), plus make it all happen in about two months? Why not, I love a challenge as much as anyone else!

Transportation was also a major issue as we needed to shuttle guests up the hill via a dirt road for the wedding and down the hill at the end of it. So, after much time and effort spent on finding, coordinating and planning details with about twenty four vendors, we were supposed to have an outdoor ceremony, tented reception and an outdoor cocktail hour and lounge area. Lo and behold, the June 4th weekend was the first rainy weekend we had in weeks and that threw a MAJOR kink in our plans.

The dirt road got really wet, muddy and slippery, making it difficult for non-4 wheel drive vehicles to get up the hill. The vendors were the first to arrive at the site and one of their vans got stuck! The property owner had to tow it up with his bulldozer, that is not a good sign. As the rain poured on, a decision has to be made as to whether the wedding was still going to be held on the hilltop or moved to a different location, and if so, where can we move it to in such short notice?

To make a long story short, a relative of the couple offered his warehouse for their wedding so the caterer, lighting designer, floral designer, my assistant and I scrambled to have everything set up in about three hours. Picture a Costco-style warehouse, with aisles of products on one end and large loading/unloading docks on the other. Natti and her staff, our lighting designer from North American Theatre Technology, Inc., added as much pipe and drape as possible to make the open space as attractive as possible.

Even though the schedule was delayed, we still had the ceremony and the reception still lasted till 2am. In the end, the bride and groom were happy with the way things turned out, they still had a great time celebrating with their family and friends and even though the view was not what they had in mind, it turned out to be an unforgettable wedding for them after all.

That is thanks in part to all the vendors who banded together to make it happen. Personally, I'm grateful for the team of vendors we assembled for this wedding, they showed professionalism in their service that day, especially Stuart Rental, Catered Too!, North American Theatre Technology, Inc. and Chic Designs.

To all you brides and grooms out there, the lesson to take away from this is make sure you hire quality vendors; all vendors can do a good job under normal circumstances, it's what they can do in extreme circumstances that separates the good from the great. How do you go about hiring quality vendors, well, start off by hiring a wedding planner! They will be able to help you distinguish the great ones. Stay tuned for more photos in a future blog!