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Appetizers and hors d’oeuvres have undergone a little change in the last fifteen years. Can’t say I’m sorry, either as it’s been a time of creativity that has brought catering out from the shadows of party planning and into the light. No longer regarded as just a necessity, food service is now widely considered a crucial design element in the success of the whole event. As we all see every day on TV, people are passionate about food and want to experience it in clever ways. Their expectations are higher than ever before and they’re always looking for something new and different. Particularly when they’re planning an event where they want their guests to mingle and meet.
Grilled Peach and Pancetta Hors D’oeuvres by Peter Callahan Catering | Photo: John Armich
It used to be hors d’oeuvres were items served before a main meal. But just a couple, like three or four, and nothing too complicated, as they were not meant to serve as your main course. Really, they were just a couple bites to take the edge off of the guests’ hunger as they arrived to the wedding. Perhaps after 45 minutes to an hour, guests would be invited to sit down for a served multi-course meal where they would remain for hours with the same group of dinner companions.
Wild Mushroom, Leek and Gorgonzola Tart with Pomegranate and Herb Salad by Peter Callahan Catering Photo: Mel Barlow
Today, while many weddings still follow this traditional format with beautiful results, appetizers are now being artfully designed into interactive food stations, specialized mini buffets, roaming gourmet displays and passed tasting plates. Guests may never be offered a seat at a formal dinner table. Rather, they’re invited to perch on a bar stool at an open kitchen station, or grab a tasting plate as it’s butler-passed around the room, or rest on an ottoman while they graze on a micro mini display placed on a table before them. Or, if seated more traditionally at a dinner table, they might enjoy selecting a mini cheese plate from cheese carts rolling through the party tent. Make one course a decadent forty foot long sushi station revealed as a surprise during the meal.
Traditional Cheese Cart on Elegant Mahogany and Carrera Marble Rolling Carts by Peter Callahan Catering
Maybe, like the parties I produce, they’re mixing all of the above into the party timeline. Why not? Keep to the classic seated dinner service but keep it fresh by adding in other food concepts throughout the celebration for variety. Use it for momentum, for mood enhancement and for entertainment unto itself.
Peter Callahan | Photo: Melanie Acevedo
For more information on Peter Callahan, we invite you to visit his Creative Partner profile.