Celebrity Weddings – Even The Rich and Famous Keep It Sweet and Simple

Lauren Conrad celebrates her husband's infamous name by adding red, ripe apples to her centerpieces. Easy and inexpensive!

Lauren Conrad celebrates her husband’s infamous name by adding red, ripe apples to her centerpieces. Use another favorite fruit to highlight the ‘Perfect Pair.’

A recent issue of Us Magazine features celebrity Lauren Conrad’s wedding photos. As hard as this is for me to admit, I don’t really know who Lauren Conrad is or why she is famous. I am over 40, you see. Barely over, but over. The only reason I saw the magazine was because I was getting a manicure; a manicure that included polish in a nice, subtle, tasteful shade of pale pink. The teen-woman next to me was getting blue glitter on every other nail. Betcha she knows all about Lauren Conrad.

Still, the piece on Conrad’s wedding caught my attention because it highlighted her small, sweet, personalized wedding. I’m a sucker for personalized anything. I take after my grandfather who, for reasons unknown but appreciated nonetheless, wrote his name (Norman Babor) on everything, including his (corded) phone.

Conrad was lucky because she married a man named William Tell; so personalizing with apples and arrows was obvious. (According to folklore, the original William Tell was a peasant who defied Austrian authority and was forced to shoot an apple from his son’s head in order to avoid being killed.) But even if you don’t marry William Tell – and you shouldn’t, because he’s taken – you can put your stamp on your own wedding or special event or telephone. Conrad made a freezer-full of apple pies for her wedding day. Over the (many) years, Epicurean has re-created signature dishes for brides and grooms; most recently a hand-tossed fig pizza as part of the cocktail hour eats. You know Larry DiPasquale must really believe in love if he is game for using another man’s pizza recipe.

Here is some celebrity inspiration that will make you shine like a star:

Lauren Conrad and William Tell sealing it with a kiss.

Lauren Conrad and William Tell sealing it with a kiss.

Amal Alamuddin had cufflinks custom made for husband-to-be George Clooney. His name was engraved in Arabic to reflect her her heritage.

Amal Alamuddin had cufflinks custom made for husband-to-be George Clooney. His name was engraved in Arabic to reflect her her heritage.

When Dawn O'Porter and Chris Dowd married in 2012, they put their names in lights. DIYers could pull this off in a weekend.

When Dawn O’Porter and Chris Dowd married in 2012, they put their names in lights. DIYers could pull this off in a weekend.

Katie Couric and John Molner’s  skipped the traditional white concoction for their favorite Lemon-Strawberry Cake

Katie Couric and John Molner skipped the traditional white concoction for their favorite Lemon-Strawberry Cake.

When Angelina married Brad, she had their children's artwork embroidered into her dress. Too colorful? Have children's artwork screen printed on a handkerchiefs for the bride, groom, and other special guests like grandparents. Sweet and sentimental.

When Angelina married Brad, she had their children’s artwork embroidered into her dress. Too colorful? Have children’s artwork screen printed on handkerchiefs for the bride, groom, and other special guests. Sweet and sentimental.

Speaking of dresses, Beyonce's mother made hers.

Speaking of dresses, Beyonce’s mother made hers. This is a big ask. This could make your mother into your “something blue” depending on her sewing skills…

Miranda Lambert wore her mother's wedding dress when she said 'I Do' to Blake Shelton.

Miranda Lambert wore her mother’s wedding dress when she said ‘I Do’ to Blake Shelton. She also shot the deer that was served at dinner. At Epicurean, we’ve done a lot of custom menus…but…wow.

Reese Witherspoon and Jim Toth included a s'mores station at the reception. This Epicurean specialty continues to be on the menu for many of 'our' couples.

Reese Witherspoon and Jim Toth included a s’mores station at the reception. This Epicurean specialty continues to be on the menu for many of ‘our’ couples.

Princess Diana's famous sapphire and diamond engagement ring was the same one Will used to propose to Kate.

Princess Diana’s famous sapphire and diamond engagement ring was the same one Will used to propose to Kate.



submitted by Stephanie Blackford

DIY Wedding Videos? I DO!


In the “olden days,” like five years ago, not everyone and their 80 year-old grandmother had a smartphone. Oh, how times have changed! You can now unlock your car, pay for dinner, find directions, figure out your heart rate, listen to Katy Perry and break up with a boyfriend all with one little accessory. America! What a country! If the smartphone came equipped with breath spray and built-in sunglasses, we wouldn’t even need the latest Michael Kors bag anymore. Which would make life easier, but much less attractive.

Wedit is the latest accessory for the soon-to-be-married crowd. This genius idea, (started in the olden days of 2008), allows wedding guests to record even the smallest moments of the big day, ship the footage to the folks at Wedit, and either have a video edited by the Wedit pros or receive the tools necessary to edit the footage themselves. At approximately $500, the Wedit video is significantly less expensive than hiring a crew; with the average cost of a wedding videographer hitting the $2200 mark, the savings is a gift in itself.

So – how, exactly, does Wedit work? The Tuesday before the wedding, the bride and groom receive five high-definition iPod touch cameras and designate their most kind, trustworthy, sober friends to record any and all parts of their wedding celebration (except maybe that nasty exchange with a little sister and the inter-workings of a spray tan). The iPod Touch allows for both video with sound and photography, a great option for those couples who are on a tight budget and want to use Wedit for both their video and photo needs.

Once everything has been recorded, the couple sends the cameras back to Wedit (by the Tuesday following their event) and the pros upload all of the footage. Then the couple can either edit the videos themselves or pay an additional fee for Wedit to do it for them.

Wedit then hosts the videos on their site for a year, allowing couples the chance to force friends and family to watch their wedding video an obscene amount of times which is all fair in love and weddings. After a year, Wedit takes the video off of their site, but the couple will have a copy for keeps. One-stop shopping for that once-in-a-lifetime day is fantastic. And the five hundred bucks is just icing on the wedding cake.

Weddings: It’s Personal

Personalized weddings? We'll drink to that. Then again, we'll drink to anything.

Personalized weddings? We’ll drink to that. Then again, we’ll drink to anything.


If weddings should be anything, they should be personal, right? After all, it’s the one day you are pronounced husband and wife. The only other times you are pronounced something it involves words like ‘guilty’ or ‘dead’  – and that’s not nearly as much fun.

With sites like Etsy and tools like Pinterest (what would life be without you, Pinterest?) and caterers like Epicurean, each and every wedding can – and should – be unique. If you are going to celebrate becoming part of a couple, you might as well splash your new coupled name over everything. This is your one shot to be the center of attention (besides the guilty and dead days mentioned earlier, of course).

I love monograms and nameplates and initial jewelry and business cards and Sharpies that leave a permanent mark on pretty much anything. It may be because my mother called me ‘Amy’ for the first three weeks of life, though my birth certificate and every subsequent document since clearly states ‘Stephanie.’ True story.

There are fancy ways to personalize a wedding, and there are simple ways. So if you can’t swing a skywriter, try these tricks instead:



A personalized send off.

Table numbers with personalized photos.

Table numbers with personalized photos.

Stir sticks from the newly married.

Stir sticks from the newly married.

A new twist on the guest book.

A new twist on the guest book.

Fun place cards!

Fun place cards!

Custom wine labels are savvy (and a sneaky way to serve less expensive wines).

Custom wine labels are savvy (and a sneaky way to serve less expensive wines).

Table runners with the couple's monogram is simple and sweet.

Table runners with the couple’s monogram is simple and sweet.

The traditional matchbook with a non-traditional look makes this keepsake more modern.

The traditional matchbook with a non-traditional look makes this keepsake more modern.


Your Wedding Day (and what could be the biggest mistake of your life).


My colorful career past includes a stint as a wedding coordinator at a private club. It was great fun, actually, and allowed me to learn the importance of interacting with a variety of personalities, including The Mother of the Bride and (and this is putting it kindly) The Difficult Chef. It also taught me that running up and down vintage parquet floors in pretty-but-unpractical shoes will come back to hurt me in the future. And it taught me to over-prepare for basically everything.

I checked and double checked with florists, bakers, photographers, and bands. I set a mock-table as an example for the servers. I reminded The Difficult Chef that The Mother of the Bride hated garlic almost as much as The Difficult Chef hated weddings. My one major mistake? Not checking the football schedule.

As a wedding planner, getting a call marked urgent from The Best Man causes a panic. Surely this means The Groom has really cold feet … or a really hot girlfriend. But, alas, no. The Best Man was calling to ask that the members only bar in the club be open so everyone could watch The Big Game. I, of course, said of course! I thought The Bride must be a Huge Football Fan or so blind with love for The Groom that she was willing to sacrifice the one day in her entire life that is totally and completely about her. So, I made the magic happen and had those bar doors flung open, votive candles lit, cocktails at the ready, and the big screen tuned in to the Tennessee game. When the guests arrived, they were like bees to honey. When The Mother of the Bride arrived, she looked like she could spit. Oops.

The Wall Street Journal recently ran a piece on this very topic and my memories of that wedding day mishap surfaced. I will say the bartenders were ecstatic, considering Tennessee won and the majority of over-served guests, including The Father of the Bride, were generously tipping. The WSJ suggests avoiding game day weddings all together, but there are only so many Saturdays for a girl to choose from.

At Epicurean, we embrace football season. After all, we are the premier catering partner at Sports Authority Field. Nice work if you can get it, right? And we got it. So when we are faced with an event that coincides with football – either pro or college – we offer our clients options. Want to pretend football isn’t happening on your big day? No problem! Want to weave it into your event? We’re ON it.

Some ideas for balancing The Big Game and The Big Day:

Provide Regular Updates:

Our servers have been asked (often) to keep tabs on football scores and report them frequently but discreetly to their assigned tables. This eliminates the need for guests to continue to check their cell phones or – worse – search for an out-of-the-way television.

Have a Halftime Huddle:

Epicurean designers oversee the timing of an event; and we often take into account the halftime break. Use this break in play for something major, like the first dance, dinner or a nice, gushy toast to The Mother of the Bride.

Offer “Tickets” to a Private Suite:

Set up a mini-suite at the wedding venue, complete with cozy couches, snacks, cocktails and live coverage of the game. Worried about guests coming and not going? Use place cards as a “suite ticket” – and once they use their ticket for a drink, it’s time to head back to the wedding celebration.

Be A Team Player:

Serve a signature cocktail, like Epicurean’s OrangeCrushCicle, or have cookies shaped liked footballs as a takeaway gift. Use the groom’s cake as a fun way to acknowledge a favorite team.

At the end of the day, hosting your wedding on game day doesn’t have to be a major fumble. Getting between The Mother of the Bride and The Difficult Chef? Leave that on the sidelines.

Hey Cookie – What’s Your Number?

cookie placecards

You should know by now that cookies are my favorite food. No, not my favorite dessert. My favorite FOOD. So when I saw this brilliant idea about using cookies as place cards, I had to share. Share the idea, that is, because I would never share a cookie. It’s a sin. Yes it is. It’s in the Bible sandwiched between the loaves and fishes and the Last Supper. Swear.

If you score an invite to a wedding where the bride and groom are stylish enough to employ this delicious idea, I suggest finding your cookie and eating it right away. Then, as the night goes on and the wine keeps flowing, use your Academy-Award-worthy acting skills to score yourself a few more cookies.

Try something like: Oh, what do you have there, Frank? Oh, your cookie? Well, how absolutely darling. Mmm – looks divine. I dropped mine in the conga line.  I know- such bad luck! Hey, Frank – I heard you were pre-diabetic. Want me to be a doll and take that little sliver of Satan off your hands?

Continue moving about the room during the course of the evening, hovering inconspicuously around the wedding cake. If you are a smart cookie, you could score yourself a pretty decent sugar high and some very sweet dreams.

Oh Boy! Cute Idea For The Littlest Wedding Attendant

ring bearer

So, by now you know I am not a fan of children attending weddings. I am not even a fan of children attending a grocery store outing, but I have my reasons and one of them includes a two-year-old. BUT – if you do, in fact, include tots in your big day, this idea is so sweet, even I could be persuaded to try it if I were getting married (I already did – hence the two year-old).

A little guy announcing the bride’s imminent stroll down the aisle not only ups the “awww” factor, but practically guarantees he doesn’t drop anything, since his only job is to walk in a straight line with something tied around his neck.

That came out wrong – but you get the general idea.

How To Fake the Cake – 10 Sweet Wedding Desserts

Dessert options

I recently had a bride casually ask me for an alternative to the traditional wedding cake. As if the question was mere chit chat.  I was horrified! I love wedding cake. And by love, I mean…well, LOVE. Half the time it is the only reason I attend a wedding. Yeah – I said it. The first wedding I attended with my now husband was almost our swan song. When the servers were coming by with a gorgeous tray of decadent wedding cake, he said (brace yourself) “No, thank you.” I almost choked on my champagne. He could have told me he snacks on Golden Retriever puppies and plays the harp with his eyelashes and I would have been less alarmed.

But, I’ve been in this business a long, long time and I know that many of you brides do not love cake in the way I think one should love cake. In fact, before the “bride cake” became popular in the late 19th century, traditional wedding celebrations included a pie. So, yes, as much as I hate to admit this, there are other options. This is hard for me, but I have a job to do so here goes:


It is actually a documented fact that every single person in the world loves donuts. Our food truck has been the guest of honor at many local weddings, and the hot Sicilian donuts are almost better than watching your ex-boyfriend slip on a wayward shrimp and be carried off the dance floor.

The Candy Bar

Showcase some favorite sweets (we like M&Ms, jelly beans, nuts, and white chocolate chips) in clear containers. Let guests help themselves by providing scoops and small white paper bags.

Mini-Milkshakes and Floats

Passing a tray of these mini masterpieces never fails to impress. Consider the traditional concoctions such as Root Beer floats and strawberry shakes, and add a fun garnish or a specialty liqueur.

Frozen Yogurt

I still can’t understand why frozen yogurt ever had to go away. It’s like the 90s disappeared and took away all the frozen yogurt in the world!? Good news – it’s back – and it’s cool again. We’ve partnered with a few select yogurt companies for various events. They bring the yogurt, guests add the toppings, and everyone is happy. For real – everyone.

Iced Cookies

Personalize this dessert by adding your new monogram to these delicious delights; any bakery worth their weight in buttercream icing should be able to pull this off.

Petite Pies

We served Petite Pies at Crooked Willow Farms last year. At least I think we did. They were gone so fast I didn’t even get to try one. Our guests were all pie in the sky over these cute little concoctions.


Chocolate, marshmallow, and graham crackers? That’s love, people. That is pure, sweet love. This station is always a fave.

Sundae Station

We recommend using the old-school glass ice cream dishes and then adding some innovative items to keep it fresh. Start with vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate ice cream. And obviously include candied sprinkles, bananas, and cherries. But consider chocolate covered coffee beans, macadamia nuts, maple syrup, and dried fruit. Want to really make a statement? Add bacon to the ice cream buffet. The salty, hot bacon combined with the sweet of the ice cream will make guests – um – squeal.


The DiPasquale family has cannolis at almost every celebration. And for good reason. These little hand-held honeys never fail to please. We recommend three different flavors, but keep the size small so guests can sample the trio. Twice.

The Cupcake

Okay, okay, technically this is a form of cake but let’s not get picky here. Cupcakes have been enjoying the limelight for quite some time, and we don’t see the trend slowing down anytime soon. Flavors range from the standard, such as red velvet, Dutch chocolate, and lemon, to the more modern, including jasmine, pistachio, chai, and lavender. But at the end of the day, it’s still a piece of cake with frosting on top and that is a marriage that will last.

Take A Deep (Baby’s) Breath Before Walking Down the Aisle

baby-breath-flower Babys breath wedding blog 3.13

Looking for a simple, sweet bouquet that actually means something simple and sweet? Consider Baby’s Breath. Often overlooked as a “filler” flower, this little bud is available year-round, extremely economical and long-lasting. Nestled together in a bouquet or centerpieces, baby’s breath adds an element of elegance without the pain of sticker shock.

The best news? The definition of Baby’s Breath is “innocence” and “pure of heart” – two good things to look for in a potential mate, yes? So keep these under-appreciated flowers close to your heart on your big day – and we can almost guarantee your happily-ever-after.

Hang Time

hanging cake 2
(Cake by Avalon Cakes)

Any way you slice it, it’s hip to hang.

The bride is – and always will be – the most important piece in any wedding. It’s a fact. For real. That’s why ugly bridesmaid dresses were created.

But an Epicurean guru who shall remain nameless (it was Wesley), was a guest at a recent wedding and snapped this picture of the wedding cake hanging from the ceiling. Now, I hate to say that those of us who work in the events industry are jaded so I will just say…ok, let’s face it, we’re jaded.

It takes a lot to wow us, but this idea was something new, even to us. Cake hanging from the ceiling is almost as good as money growing on trees. If we see THAT at an event, we’ll let you know.


Stephanie Blackford
Communications Director, Epicurean Culinary Group

Get Comfortable

NewYorker_Sweaters Needs Crop
The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article on – get ready for groundbreaking news here – cozy clothes for winter. Some designers have even taken it upon themselves to create sweaters that look like sweatshirts.  Making an overpriced cashmere sweater look like a beat-up sweatshirt takes some serious work. Sadly, some people just have really, really difficult jobs.

And while comfy and cozy never really go out of style, both seem to be appearing in new places all the time.  Even brides are cuddling up to this trend; cooing over anything that marries simple luxury and effortless indulgence.

Anne Hathaway and Blake Lively recently spent beaucoup dollars on this very concept for their own wedding(s). I mean SEPARATE weddings – they didn’t marry each other. (Sad.) How much fun would Anne and Blake’s wedding have been? The photos in People Magazine alone would be amazing. Can’t you just SEE IT?  I can, but I digress.

The point is, anyone can take this trend and snuggle in.  Farmhouse tables laden with organic dishes and twinkling votives, vintage décor, rustic linens (dishtowels from those most rustic Swedes at IKEA are my personal fave) and an abundant dessert table and who even needs a groom after that? So how does one achieve this high-end, no fuss, homegrown-but-still-super-savvy wedding reception on a non-celebrity budget? It’s easier than you think. Here are five simple tricks:

Vintage Photos
Vintage Photos

Got copies of your grandparents on their wedding day? Baby pictures of you and your betrothed? Copy significant photos onto card stock in a black and white format and string them over a buffet. Or add photos to menu cards on guests’ tables. If you are serving a signature family dish at your reception, this is a wonderful way to put a ‘face with a name’ – for example: Aunt Bertie’s Lemon Chicken is even more meaningful if a vintage photo of Aunt Bertie is literally staring guests in the face (not the real Aunt Bertie of course. That would be scary considering she died in 1997).

Twinkle lights

White Twinkle Lights

Seriously the easiest and least-expensive way to add sparkle and shine to virtually anything (even dead Aunt Bertie). White lights are readily available throughout the year – and strung amongst trees and shrubs, they make any outdoor wedding feel romantic and intimate.

  Family Style
Family-style Fare

This is such a hot trend right now – maybe because it’s delicious, simple, and sweet.  Tables can be topped with something as plain as brown butcher paper.  Then add some beautifully designed dishes such as fruit and cheese trays, pastas, whole beef tenderloin, or even cold shrimp and salads. Meals accompanied by bottles of custom-labeled wine put guests at ease and takes the pressure out of entering and exiting a buffet line.


One Signature Cocktail

Try Prosseco.  Never heard of it?  Prosseco is champagne’s hipper, younger, edgier and – I mean this in the nicest way – cheaper cousin. Add an old-school sugar cube and voila!

naturaltable top

Natural Décor

Wildflowers, gourds, apples, lemons, tree branches, pinecones, seashells, nuts, leaves – the list in endless. Fall and winter weddings lend themselves well to this trend and if you don’t want to do the heavy lifting (or cutting or trimming or picking); any florist worth their weight in pumpkins can make this vision your reality.

Whatever you decide, don’t forget to keep your celebration true to you. And don’t forget your sweater sweatshirt…it’s getting cold outside!