Blog

Category

Modern Wedding Style, Hot Tips for Cool Brides

November 2, 2023

Culinary Crafts Joins Rocky Mountain Bride’s Venue Collective

By

We are delighted to announce that Rocky Mountain Bride magazine has invited Culinary Crafts to join its 2024 vendor collective.

Culinary Crafts, Utah wedding, snow, mountain, Rocky Mountain Bride, top of mountain, Park City, Utah, destination wedding

The collective is an exclusive guide to the best wedding vendors and venues in the U.S. and Canadian Rockies. We are honored to be featured among this amazing group of wedding professionals. The 2024 vendor collective will also feature our in-house bartending service, Bacchus Event Services. It will include the two wedding venues that Culinary Crafts operates, the Kimball Terrace in Park City and the Tasting Room in downtown Salt Lake City.

Night wedding, stars, milky way, utah destination wedding, starry night, kissing under stars, Rocky Mountain Bride and groom

We’re also delighted that Rocky Mountain Bride is highlighting Utah’s extraordinary wedding and hospitality industry. As the only state in the U.S. to be awarded three Michelin stars (designating it an “exceptional destination” and “worth a special journey in itself”), Utah is ideal for destination weddings. We’re glad that people are discovering that Utah is a beautiful place to live, work, and celebrate...and to get married!

Watch for photos of our gorgeous weddings and special catered events.

Rocky Mountain Bride Featured Vendor

July 18, 2023

Wedding Cake Catastrophes (and How to Avoid Them)

By

Let’s talk wedding cakes. Specifically, wedding cake catastrophes.

Over the last 35+ years that we’ve been catering weddings, we’ve seen all kinds of cakes, from small and simple to enormous, elaborate creations that belong in an art gallery. Whatever type you choose, your wedding cake will be an expression of your personality and style, as well as a special way of sharing your love and appreciation with your guests. No one wants to see your day ruined by something going wrong with your cake.

But, once in a while, that’s exactly what happens!

We talked to three experts about the horror stories they’ve seen and their advice for how to avoid wedding cake catastrophes. Ale Wortmann is the owner of cake by Alessandra and one of our very favorite cake vendors in Utah. Ryan Crafts is, of course, our COO and co-owner of Culinary Crafts. Cassidy Harrison is the owner of Flour & Flourish and the genius behind their real-as-life sugar flowers. Honestly, even up close, you’d swear those things are real! Check out these examples of her work:

sugar flowers, wedding cakes, flour and flourish, realistic flowers, cake flowers, Utah wedding, Utah caterer, Wedding cake vendor, Utah baker, round cakes, wedding cake with fondant, red, pink, orangs, yellow flowers, Cassidy Harrison

Here’s what the experts had to say.

1. The Sun Is Not Your Friend

Cassidy told us about one of her wedding cake nightmares. Once, she delivered a four-tier buttercream cake to the venue and noticed that the cake table had been set up in full sunlight. It was late in the evening, but there were still a couple of hours before sunset. Cassidy warned the planner that the cake table needed to be moved, but the bride was adamant that she wanted it under the gazebo. There was no way to change the bride’s mind, so Cassidy hurried home to dress for the wedding. (The bride was a family friend.)

When she returned 45 minutes later, the whole wedding party was in a panic. People mobbed Cassidy, apologizing over and over, "The cake! I'm so sorry! The cake!" Sure enough, it looked like a melted candle.

melted cake, wedding cake catastrophe, melting fondant, cake in sun, wedding cake fail, four and flourish, hot cake, Utah wedding cake, wedding cake disaster, outdoor wedding

“Ever since then,” Cassidy says, “I've been really stern about moving the cake table.” Her advice is “Listen to your cake artist about not putting the cake in the sun on a 96-degree day. We aren't being annoying for no reason. Nobody wants a melty cake at their wedding.”

2. Be Careful About Taking Your Cake Outside

“Outdoor pictures are amazing,” Ale says, “but don’t leave your cake outside very long. Even the shade is hot during our Utah summer months. These cakes are made with butter . Fondant also has buttercream underneath, and it will melt, bubble, and crack in the heat.” Leaving your cake outside on a hot day is probably going to ruin it, even if you avoid direct sunlight. Your best bet is to set up your cake indoors and keep it away from any heat sources. (Cakes have been known to melt indoors just from being placed too close to a sunny window.) But heat isn’t the only danger your cake can face in the great outdoors. Rain, wind, squirrels, ants, leaves, dust, dogs, and other outdoor factors can all lead to wedding cake catastrophes.

pepper nix photography, cake by alessandra, Utah wedding cakes, stained glass window cake, red rose cake, chrysanthemum cake.  three-tier cake, wedding cake

3. Don’t Move the Cake

“Transport is the hardest part,” Ryan says. “Most mishaps happen when someone is moving the cake.”

One of Culinary Crafts’ most harrowing cake-moving experiences was a few years ago when a groom insisted on having a 17-tier cake. That’s right; 17 tiers, and each one had to be a different flavor! It took four team members just to carry it, and we had to move it in pieces, four tiers at a time. Everything went well, but nerves were definitely wracked that day!

Our experts advised against trying to move the cake yourself, including delivering it to the venue. Many times, Ale has been horrified to see a client show up to take their cake in a car filled with balloons, kids, and dogs. (Yes, dogs!) “Please don’t,” she says. “The cake is structured to travel well; however, once it leaves our hands, we can’t be responsible anymore.”

Just pay the delivery fee; we promise, it’s worth every penny. Not only will your cake be handled by the experts who made it, but they will be there at delivery to set it up properly and to fix any issues that may have arisen during transport.

4. Keep It Level

Ale’s next piece of advice is “Make sure your cake table is leveled. Even a slight tip on the table can create a huge impact on tiered cakes, especially on tall ones.”

“One time we had this gorgeous five-tier cake,” Ale remembers. “We did all we could to make it level, but this one was quite tricky. I kept tabs on it all night long. I knew the chef at this restaurant, so I kept asking about the cake, and like I told the client about two hours in, the cake was a Leaning Tower of Pisa. No kidding…. I am just glad it never tipped!!!”

If, despite our experts’ advice, you’re going to have your cake outside for a significant length of time, it’s even more important that you check the table for levelness. Don’t just eyeball the table and assume that it’s “good enough.” Ryan will never forget the anguish of watching the legs of a cake table slowly sink into the soggy ground after a rainstorm. Save yourself a lot of stress and grief by putting your cake on a safe, solid, level surface to begin with.

Culinary Crafts, naked cakes, wedding cakes, Utah wedding cake vendor, blueberry cake, strawberry cake, layered cakes, cake display, frosting

5. Work With an Experienced Cake Vendor

The best way to protect against wedding cake catastrophes is to work with an expert. Ryan’s advice is, “Choose a cake vendor/baker who has been around for a while. A newcomer might be able to make a cake that’s just as beautiful and delicious, but will they be familiar with all the issues that can arise? Driving on Utah roads? Adjusting to Utah weather?”

A few years ago, Ryan worked with a bride whose mother insisted that she wanted to make her daughter’s wedding cake. She created a gorgeous four-tier cake covered with amazing sugar roses. On the day of the wedding, she wrapped every rose individually in tissue paper and drove the whole thing from St George up to the State Capitol.

They set up the cake at the top of the granite staircase, and it was stunning! Unfortunately, there were problems with the cake right away. The recipe she’d used for the buttercream was too soft, so even in the air-conditioned room, the cake started to sag. As the ballroom filled with guests, they heard a crash that sounded like a wine goblet being smashed on the staircase, then another and another. They looked up to see that the delicate sugar flowers that the bride’s mother had so carefully crafted were sliding off the cake and crashing to the floor. Then the whole cake buckled and started to lean.

How to Handle Wedding Cake Catastrophes

Ryan raced up the stairs and got to the cake at the same moment as the mom. Together, they caught the cake and held it up with their bare hands. The mom was in tears. She wanted to redo the cake, but Ryan said, “It doesn’t look like this cake is dowelled,” and when she responded, “I don’t know what that means,” he knew the cake was doomed.

“Here’s what we’re going to do,” he said. “We’ll walk this cake down the stairs and behind the curtain to our back of house. My team will take off the top tier, and when you’ve had a chance to redecorate it, we’ll bring that tier back up the stairs for display. My chefs will save the parts that can be salvaged, and we’ll serve those to your guests.”

So that’s what they did, and as heart-breaking as it was to see the mother’s work of love collapse, it didn’t ruin the evening. Would a more experienced cake-maker have known that they needed to reinforce the cake with dowels and dividing supports? Sure. And they probably would have used a different buttercream recipe, and the whole incident might have been avoided. But kudos to that mother for showing her daughter such love by (a) making a magnificent cake and (b) not letting the cake’s demise overshadow the wedding.

And that leads us to our final piece of advice….

Utah wedding cakes, cake by alessandra, Ale Wortmann, Culinary Crafts, wedding cakes in Utah, unique wedding cakes, rock cake. filigree cake, airbrushed cake, stone cake, realistic cake

6. Don’t Lose Perspective

You may do everything right—you may work with an experienced vendor who makes a structurally sound cake; you may keep it indoors and away from the heat; you may set it on a level surface and not move it—and something could still go wrong. The A/C could go out. An unattended child can start licking the frosting. A freak draft of wind could knock a decoration into your beautiful cake. Those unexpected things don’t happen very often, but if they do, it’s important to keep your perspective and not let the day be ruined.

Believe us, after nearly four decades of working in Utah’s catering industry, we’ve done a lot of weddings and seen a lot of surprises. We know how important it is to absorb setbacks, adapt on the fly, and make things work. Even if there’s not a problem with your cake, the flowers will arrive late, or the bride’s dress will snag, or Uncle Kenny will show up inebriated. Whatever goes wrong, keep your cool and don’t let your focus be taken from what really matters.

It might help to repeat this mantra to yourself: “The difference between a catastrophe and a great story is just a bit of time and a little perspective.”

Congratulations to all the couples preparing to cut their wedding cakes this summer. Bon chance! And eat well.

February 9, 2023

Top Tips for Shopping for Champagne

By

Champagne, Sparkling Wine, Shopping for Champagne, toast, glasses, amber wine, fizzy, celebration, party event, Utah catering, flutes, salut, bubbly

For many of us, Valentine’s Day is a great chance to share some bubbly with our special someone. But champagne can be pricey, so how can you know that you’re getting your money’s worth? At the end of this article, we’ll give you our picks for the best value champagnes and other sparkling wines. But first, if you really want to understand what you’re looking for when shopping for champagne, here’s what you need to know.

What’s the difference between Champagne and sparkling wine?

“Sparkling wine” refers to any kind of wine that contains a significant amount of carbon dioxide, the gas that gives us those characteristic bubbles. People often refer to sparkling wine as “champagne,” but that’s not strictly correct. Champagne is only one type of sparkling wine.

In fact, under European law, a wine cannot be labeled as “Champagne” unless it fits specific criteria. It must be (a) produced in the Champagne region of France, north-east of Paris, (b) using specific types of grapes, (c) which are picked and processed by hand, and (d) bottled using a specific technique called the “méthode champenoise” to give the wine its iconic fizz. If a sparkling wine does not fit those four criteria, it’s not Champagne.

wedding, utah wedding, champagne, toast, wedding party, Utah caterers, Culinary Crafts, toast, wedding celebration, drinks, sparkling wine

Why is Champagne so expensive?

The fact that Champagne can only be produced in the Champagne area of France is one reason that it’s typically expensive. The Champagne region has a limited growing area, which means it can produce only a limited supply of grapes. Economics tells you that when supply is low, prices are high.

A second factor that drives up the price of Champagne is the time-consuming way it’s made. As we said, Champagne grapes must be harvested by hand and bottled by the “méthode champenoise.” Traditionally, sparkling wines are made the same way as other wines except that there are a few extra steps. After the wine has fermented, the bottles are opened, and a small amount of tirage (a mixture of sugar and yeast) is added. Then the bottles are resealed and allowed to ferment a second time. As the yeast consumes the sugar in the tirage, it produces the carbon dioxide that forms the bubbles in sparkling wine. That traditional method is time-consuming, which is why some kinds of sparkling wine use newer methods which save time and lower the price. But remember, Champagne must use the traditional method, so that drives up the price.

A third reason for the relatively high price of Champagne is the simple fact that Champagne producers have done a great job of marketing their product. People know about Champagne, even if they don’t know about other types of sparkling wine. They assume that Champagne is a superior wine, so they’re willing to pay for it.

Is Champagne better than other sparkling wines?

Not necessarily.

The old adage “You get what you pay for” is not always true in the world of sparkling wines. Remember, when you’re shopping for Champagne, you’re going to pay a premium for that word on the label. The truth is, some very expensive bottles are not worth their price point. However, on the lower end of the price range, the adage generally is true: Don’t expect to find a good sparkling wine for $7.

Don’t get us wrong. Some Champagnes are worth every penny. But over the last century, wine producers from all over the world have begun producing some truly excellent sparkling wines, and compared to Champagne, some of those newer wines offer an even better buzz for your buck.

sparkling wine, champagne, shopping for champagne, Utah wine store, wine bottles, champagne bottles, sparkling wines, wine selection, wine racks, Utah catering, high end events, wine labels, utah event planners

What are the alternatives to Champagne?

Today, there is a wide range of sparkling wine options. They vary according to where they are made, what grapes they use, and what process is used to process them.

Sparkling wines that are made in any area of France other than Champagne are called Crémant or Mousseux. Crémant is made using the same “methode traditionelle” process as Champagne. (Some wines made in other parts of the world also call themselves Crémants, so don’t be confused if you see a California Crémant.) A Mousseux uses either the tank method (a.k.a the “charmant method”) or involves injecting the carbon dioxide into the wine, much like soda.

Prosecco (from Italy’s Veneto region) also uses the tank method, which makes it cheaper and one of the most popular alternatives to champagne in the world. Other Italian sparkling wines fall under the broader term of spumante.

Spain’s hugely popular sparkling wine is Cava. Although it is made with the same “methode traditionelle” as Champagne and often uses the same grapes, it is considerably less expensive. Spain has much more area to grow its grapes than the Champagne region has, so the grapes that go into Cava are generally less costly. Also, Spain has automated a lot of the process and shortened the aging time, all bringing down the overall cost. Cava is an excellent sparkling wine that tastes drier and less fruity than Prosecco.

Moscato d’Asti is a sweeter, semi-sparkling white dessert wine from northwestern Italy. It is made with the “tank method.”

Espumante, Portugal’s entry in the sparkling wine world, can be made by the traditional, charmat, or injection method, so you’ll need to check the label.

Other significant sparkling wines include Sparkling Shiraz from Australia, Cap Classique from South Africa, British Fizz from the UK, German Sekt, and several kinds of American sparkling wines.

utah wedding, bride and groom, pouring champagne, champagne tower, flower arch, wedding celebration, sparkling wine

How can I recognize a great sparkling wine?

The only reliable way to find a sparkling wine you will love is to try different types and see what suits your taste. That said, here are a few guiding principles to help you spot a quality sparkling wine.

Bubbles.

In general, when it’s poured into a glass, an excellent sparkling wine will release a steady stream of tiny bubbles that form a foamy head (the mousse) on the surface. Lower quality wines will have large or inconsistently-sized bubbles that will often cling to the sides of the glass. It’s not just a matter of visual aesthetics; these bubbles affect the way the wine tastes and feels in your mouth.

Bottling method.

Many wine critics swear by the traditional method used to make Champagne. It tends to produce sparkling wine that has softer, richer, and more nuanced flavors which is why several other types of sparkling wine such as Crémant and Cava use the same method. However, some wine enthusiasts prefer the taste of Prosecco or other wines made by the “tank method.” These wines—including German Sekt, Italian Moscato D’Asti, and California sparklers—tend to have more simple, tart, and fruity flavors. They are definitely worth trying since they are significantly less expensive and may be exactly what you’re looking for. (One word of advice, though: Because of their narrower flavor profile, tank method wines are often more difficult to pair with foods.)

Aging.

As sparkling wine undergoes its second fermentation—before the tirage is removed and the bottle is sealed for the final time—it is allowed to “age.” The longer the wine ages, the more complex flavors it will absorb from the tirage. Champagne is aged for a minimum of 15 months, while Cava is aged anywhere from 9 to 30 months. Check the label to see how long a bottle was aged.

Vintage.

The term “vintage” on the label is not a guarantee that a sparkling wine will be high quality, but it’s a good sign. To produce a vintage wine, the winemaker will use their highest quality of grapes grown that particular year. This is generally thought to produce superior wine, although an argument can be made in favor of non-vintage wines (which are designated by a “NV” on the label). Non-vintage wines allow the winemaker to combine grapes from different years, giving them more control in creating the flavor profile.

Reserve.

Winemakers put the term “reserve” on their label to indicate that some percentage of the wine used was held back from previous years. In general, a reserve wine is understood to be of a higher quality because it has aged longer. However, wine producers use the term inconsistently, so take the term “reserve” with a grain of salt.

champagne, flutes, sparkling wine, wine tray, serving wine, cranberries, bubbly, Wedding event, Utah wedding celebration, utah parties, catering, Wasatch Front

How dry of a wine do I want?

A crucial question to ask yourself when shopping for champagne or other sparkling wine is how sweet you want your wine to be.

Before sparkling wine is capped for the final time, a little bit of dosage (a mixture of wine and sugar) is added. Without that dosage, the finished wine would be tart and bitter. Obviously, the amount of sugar added determines how sweet the wine will be.

The most popular level of sweetness is called Brut, but there are several other variations to choose from.

In order from least to most sweet, here are your choices.

Brut Nature (also called Brut Zero): No sugar is added in the dosage, so the wine is completely dry. This level is a bit much for many drinkers, but it pairs well with salty or fried foods. Don’t try it with anything sweet or the food will make the Brute Zero taste terrible!

Extra Brut: With only 6 grams of sugar/liter, this wine is very dry. Again, it’s great for cutting oily or salty foods like French fries or crackers, and it goes well with oysters and raw seafood.

Brut: With 12 grams of sugar/liter, Brut is by far the most popular variety of sparkling wine. It is perfect for toasting and pairs well with a wide range of foods.

Extra Dry (Extra-Sec): Moderately dry with 17 grams of sugar and a tinge of sweetness. You never want your wine to be sweeter than your dessert, so Extra Dry works well with foods that aren’t overly sweet, including sushi, vegetables, salads, and soft or creamy cheeses.

Dry (Sec): With 32 grams of sugar/liter, now you’ll start to notice the sweetness. Balance out the sweetness by pairing it with savory or buttery foods.

Demi-Sec: A whopping 50 grams of sugar/liter makes demi-sec a dessert wine. Still, it pairs well with blue cheese, red fruits, cinnamon, or yellow and white fruits. Serving it slightly chilled will help cut the sweetness a bit.

Doux: A very sweet dessert wine with 60 grams of sugar/liter. It’s okay for sipping, but it really shines when paired with bold food like Indian, Thai, or Chinese dishes.

champagne, bottle, foil, black bottle, sparkling wine, wine bottle blue label, silver foil

What sparkling wine do you recommend in my price range?

When you’re shopping for champagne or other sparkling wines, the best buy is going to depend on your personal tastes, your price range, and your plans for the occasion. Here are some wines that are great deals for the price.

(Because the only way wines can be purchased legally here in Utah is through the state’s DABS website, the prices listed here are taken from that site. Utah prices include an automatic 88% markup.)

Bargain (under $15)

  • Segura Viudas Aria Estate Brut Cava $14

Low End ($15-20)

  • Zonin Prosecco Extra Dry $16
  • Domaine Ste Michelle Brut $16
  • Charles De Fère Reserve Brut $16.50
  • Lamarca Prosecca $20
  • Domaine Ansen Cremant D’Alsace $20.50

Mid-range ($20-40)

  • Mumm Napa Cuvée M $23
  • Decoy Brut Cuvée $26
  • Santa Margherita Prosecco Brut $28.50
  • Roederer Estate Brut $30

Upper End ($40-80)

  • Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs Brut $42
  • Schramsburg Blanc de Noirs $45
  • Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top $45

Premium (above $80)

  • Schramsberg Cremant Demisec $89
  • Krug Grande Cuvée $242
  • Pol Roger Cuvée W Churchill $345

Where can I find these sparkling wines?

As we said, the only place in Utah where you can purchase wine is at the state-run liquor stores. However, each store can vary widely from other stores in their inventory, so be sure to check the state’s DABS website or app for availability before you go. At times, some wines are not available anywhere in the state, so you may have to place a special order.

champagne flutes, Culinary Crafts, sparkling wine, shopping for champagne, pouring wine, pouring champagne, glasses, crystal, Waterford crystal

I’ve selected my sparkling wine. Is there a best way to serve it?

Yes!

It’s especially important that you chill sparkling wines before opening them, both to enhance their taste and to preserve their effervescence. And, unless you’re going for the theater of a dramatic pop and fizzy champagne spilling on the floor, there’s a better way to uncork your sparkling wine:

  1. Remove the foil from the wire cage that surrounds the cork.
  2. Hold down the cork with a cloth napkin or kitchen towel and twist the tab to loosen the wire cage.
  3. Tilt the bottle away from you at a 45° angle, and don’t point it at anyone. (If you do the uncorking correctly, you won’t have an explosion, but still, there’s no reason to take chances.)
  4. With the cloth still over the top of the bottle, hold the cork (and the loosened cage) in one hand. With your other hand, grasp the bottle and gently twist the bottle (not the cork) back and forth. You don’t need to pull out the cork; the pressure from the bottle will force it out for you. You should hear a soft pop as the cork comes out and the air is expelled.
  5. Pour the champagne slowly into glasses. Tall, thin Champagne flutes are great for prolonging the Champagne’s effervescence and highlighting the long, thin trail of bubbles as well as the mousse. Wide, shallow tulip glasses don’t show off the bubbles as well, but they do a fantastic job of maximizing the aroma and taste of the champagne. A third choice, the saucer-shaped coupe glass, is the type used in champagne towers. Any of these styles of glass will allow you to hold the drink by the stem so that your hand won’t accidentally warm the wine.

Salut!

June 1, 2022

10 Tips for How to Make Any Space a Wedding Venue

By

forest kiss, outdoor wedding, bride in the forest, Utah outdoor wedding, unique wedding venues, Culinary Crafts wedding, trees, gorgeous wedding photo, picturesque wedding, ivy covered trees As traditional wedding venues book up, many couples are converting ordinary spaces into exciting, unique places to get married. We’re seeing beautiful weddings staged beside a forest stream, in a rustic horse stable, or on top of a mountain! If you like the idea of doing something original, here are 10 tips for how to make practically any space into a magical, one-of-a-kind wedding venue.

1. Think Big

A museum or art gallery. The beach. An aquarium, aviary, or greenhouse. Any place that has special meaning to you as a couple may be a fantastic stage for a celebration that’s both personal and poignant. A favorite camp site or national park. A nightclub, ski resort, or skating rink. Even the gym where you met. Or maybe what represents you best is a Beatles-like concert on a rooftop or skeet shooting at your favorite hunting club. What we’re saying is, free your imagination. mountain wedding rocky mountain bride, lake, secluded, luxury, picturesque wedding, high end unique, waterfall, photos, pristine, outdoor wedding, unique Utah wedding destinations

2. Be Practical

As you dream big, bear in mind that when you create your own wedding venue, you’ll need to supply everything that a traditional venue would generally provide. That includes water, electricity, restrooms, transportation, parking, accessibility, permits…the list is longer than you think. But if you’re willing to work with your planner and address each aspect of the event thoughtfully, creating your own wedding venue can be pure magic! Salt Flat light, wedding on Utah Salt Flats, microwedding, micro-wedding, Utah outdoor wedding, wedding party on Salt Flats, white lights, night, draped lights, curtain of lights, special catering, catering events in Utah, outstanding events in Utah, picturesque wedding, Utah catered events

3. Prioritize

Assuming that you and your chosen one have agreed on your wedding priorities and budget (you have had that talk, right?), think about how well those priorities line up with the venue you have in mind. Are stunning photos at the top of your list of must-haves? Is your priority to make sure the whole clan can be there? To treat your guests to an amazing sit-down dinner and then party and dance the night away? Whatever your top priorities are, make sure the space you’ve chosen lends itself to those things. You may not be able to afford everything you dream, but you’ll get what’s most important to you if you prioritize. flower swing, the Hallows, wedding venue at Sundance Utah, couple in swing, swing of flowers, wedding in forest, bride on groom's lap, Culinary Crafts wedding, specialty wedding, unique wedding venue, married in the forest, trees, Utah outdoor weddings

4. Size Matters

If the space you’re considering is huge (like, say, a horse pasture, or the Bonneville Salt Flats), there are tricks to make a venue feel smaller and more intimate. However, if a space is too small to handle your guest count, there’s no way to fix that except to trim your list.

As a rough rule of thumb, for a seated dinner you’ll need about 12-14 square feet per guest, or 8-9 feet if you’re serving cocktail style with some people sitting and some standing. Add another 4-5 feet per guest if you want dancing. You’ll also need room for your caterer, a head table, cake table, bar, gift table, etc., but the measurements really depend on the particular venue. That’s why the eye of an experienced planner is crucial. Do a walkthrough together and make sure your space can handle everything you have in mind. forest table, wedding in the woods, forest wedding in Utah, table setting in forest, outdoors wedding venue in Utah, Utah County catered wedding, beautiful outdoor wedding, intimate outdoor event, candles, plates, glasses, trees, chairs, canopy, forest canopy

5. Amenities

At a minimum, you’ll need to provide the basics: food, water, electricity, and restrooms. (Nothing can turn a dream wedding into a nightmare faster than a problem with restrooms.) If the space you’ve chosen doesn’t already have restroom access—and enough access to avoid long lines—it’s worth hiring professionals. Electricity can be supplied by a generator, but remember that ordinary generators are way too loud; you’ll need a whisper generator or two. If your site doesn’t have clean water, you’ll have to pack in enough for drinking, washing, and on-site food prep. Consult your caterer about water, food, and beverage issues. grilling outdoors, flames at night, catering event in Utah, Utah outdoor wedding, Culinary Crafts chefs, cooking over open flame, bbq, barbeque cooking, firing a grill, wedding catering in Utah

6. Protect Your Guests from the Elements

If some of the festivities will be outside, you’ll need to protect your guests from too much sun, wind, rain, or other inclement weather—not to mention bugs. A tent, kata, yurt, or marquee are all good options, but make sure you know how they’ll be transported to the site, set up, and taken down.

In hot months, start dinner around 7:30 to avoid the heat of the day. But if you’re going to be in the mountains, move that start time up to around 4:30. Trees will provide enough shade, and the sun sets much sooner in the mountains, so temperatures drop quickly. couches, tent, lounge in the woods, sofas in the forest, comfortable wedding guests, wedding venues, outside wedding, forest wedding, children's tent, play camping, play campfire, relax at wedding, relaxing outdoor weddings, wedding guests relax, Culinary Crafts, catered weddings in Utah

7. View the Space Through Your Guests' Eyes

This is where creating your own wedding venue really starts to get fun!

Think of the celebration as distinct stages that move your guests from one event to the next throughout the night. What do you want them to feel and experience in each stage? Maybe as they arrive and mingle during cocktail hour, you want them to feel welcomed and relaxed. If so, what elements of your venue can contribute to that experience? A lounge vignette with comfortable sofas and a murmuring brook in the background? A fun display of memorabilia that shares your personal connection to the place? Whatever it is that you love about your chosen venue, find ways to weave it into your guests’ experience.

For each stage of the celebration, you want to provide your guests with at least one “WOW!” factor. A breathtaking view of a waterfall. The divine smells of a gorgeous floral setting. Mouthwatering BBQ. The heart-pumping beats of your favorite band. Engage all the senses! fairy lights, event tent, gauze tent, outdoor wedding in Utah, catering event tables, view of Utah mountains, outdoors wedding, unique wedding venue, beautiful outdoor wedding, outdoor catering in Utah

8. Lighting

There’s no better way to add beauty and mood to your venue than with the creative use of lighting. Uplights placed near walls or drapery can create a muted, open feel that makes a space seem larger. On the other hand, a canopy of bistro lights can make a space feel more intimate and enclosed. Candlelight is a sure-fire way to heighten the romantic mood, while fairy lights incorporated into your tablescape add a playful whimsy. Inexpensive and easy to transport, lights are a great way to create the right mood. dancing smile, wedding dancing, antlers chandelier, bride and groom dance, first dance, blue night sky, fairy lights, bistro lights, wedding in Utah, outdoor wedding venue in Utah, Wasatch Front wedding, catered wedding in Utah

9. Permits, Licenses, and Insurance

Before you finalize plans, ask yourself, “Do I need a permit for my wedding venue?” Depending on where you want to create your venue, there may be parking permits, fire permits, fireworks permits, or noise ordinances to deal with. A fire marshal may even need to do a walk-through prior to the event. Some cities require a special use permit for a wedding, and state parks generally do too. (Those park permits take time, so get started early!) If you’re planning to set up a tent or other temporary structure, some municipalities require a temporary building permit. An alcohol license may also be required if you’ll be serving any kind of alcohol.

Contact the city or county where you’re planning to host your event and find out what legal hoops you’ll have to jump through. It may also be worth looking into insurance for your event, especially if you are holding it in a museum or some other setting with a threat of significant property damage. outdoor wedding in Utah, Utah summer wedding, married outdoors, wedding by a river, trees, river, mountains, Utah mountain wedding, white sky, bride and groom walking by a river, hand in hand, love, picturesque, beautiful wedding moment, Utah catered events, bridal gown outdoors, bride in dress in Nature

10. Work with a Planner and Vendors

Creating a wedding venue of your own opens up all kinds of beautiful possibilities, but also lots of challenges. You probably don’t want to deal with every one of those issues on your own, so look at your budget and decide which worries are worth passing off to the pros. Here are a few vendors we recommend in the Wasatch Front area:

Our main advice here is that you work with an experienced wedding planner. A planner’s expertise can save you time, money, and trouble. Plus, your planner may have recommendation of local vendors who can greatly reduce the headaches of converting any space into a wedding venue.

January 20, 2022

Getting Married in the Middle of a Pandemic? Innovative Ways to Make Your 2022 Wedding Spectacular and Safe

By

Outdoor, micro-wedding, vows, safe and sensational wedding celebration Planning a wedding in the midst of a pandemic presents unique challenges but also incredible opportunities. If you hear wedding bells in the near future, here are some hints for how to create a safe and sensational celebration.

Think big by thinking small

outdoor, micro-wedding, white lights, create a safe wedding celebration.You may have to get innovative. Hot tip: Micro-weddings are the new posh. By trimming the guest list you can reduce crowding while relaxing your budget at the same time. Brides are starting to realize what mind-blowing experiences they can create for 20 guests instead of 200. In the last year we’ve seen small weddings in the middle of the Salt Flats and light tunnels created in the middle of a forest. We've served 10 course meals and even catered a dinner under a waterfall. With a smaller number of intimate friends and family, you’re free to open your imagination and entertain your most elusive dreams.  

Weigh and minimize risks in advance

Kimble Terrace, bubble, event, Culinary Drafts You owe it to your guests to identify risk factors and take reasonable precautions to minimize them.  If asking Grandma to fly in from out of state poses too much risk, consider setting up a Zoom or Google hangout for guests who can’t attend in person. For those who do come, think about ways to encourage social distancing and reduce traffic congestion. A lot of couples are finding incredible outdoor venues.  But if you need to be inside, implement a crowd-control design that prevents “clumping.” Consider providing private dining areas for your guests such as bubble tents, igloos, or simple separate table-spaces. Traditional self-service buffets can be replaced by safer options like boxed meals or a dessert drive-thru. Recently, a charcuterie served in pre-portioned bamboo cones was a huge hit.

Communicate expectations

pandemic, micro wedding, lesbian indian couple, lgbt, henna, brides Whatever safety plan you choose for your celebration, as the host it’s up to you to communicate your expectations to your guests. A classy insert with your invitation can let people know in advance whether they’ll need to do a temperature check on arrival, show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test, wear a mask, or whatever precautions you decide are appropriate. Don’t worry about pleasing everyone: you can’t. Everyone’s situation is different. If you communicate clearly and let people know what to expect, they’ll be able to make their own choices about how to celebrate your day with you.  

Customize

pandemic, public health, signage, wedding, customized, masks Invitations, favors, and place cards are all pretty standard for a wedding. But the pandemic blew open a door for creating new items to customize! Masks, sanitizer, soap, towels, water, or even social distancing/selfie sticks can be practical and personal. Our favorite customized gifts are fun “in sickness and health packages” which sometimes include a hangover kit.             

Get help

Caterer, event planner, River Bottoms Ranch, mask, Covid The best way to enjoy your big day while staying safe is to hire a social coordinator. Your event planner or day-of coordinator may be perfect for the job. Along with a trained catering team, your social coordinator will direct traffic, answer questions, and make sure that everyone has a safe and spectacular experience. Meanwhile, you'll be free to relax and enjoy the day you've planned and waited for so long.

March 2, 2018

Friday Instagram of the Week!

By

Today's Instagram of the Week comes from @nannetteyorkfloral who posted a peek of this STUNNING Sleepy Ridge wedding that we had the pleasure of being a part of!  One of my favorite parts of this spectacular day?  The Culinary Crafts signature Flaming Doughnuts station (seen here)!  Always a crowd favorite and SO delicious! Thank you for sharing, Nannette, and remember, for your chance to be picked next, tag us at @culinarycrafts or add the hashtag #culinarycrafts to your post and check back to see who's pic we choose!  Happy weekend, everyone! Check out more Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah County catering at www.culinarycrafts.com!

December 4, 2017

Instagram of the Week!

By

Today's Instagram of the Week comes from M + B Events, who posted this BEAUTIFUL detail shot of an inspiration shoot we were a part of this year!  We LOVE this photo and think its perfect for the season, plus, pomegranates and gold leafed pears as table decor?  Yes, please!  Thank you so much, M + B Events for sharing!  And remember, for your chance to be next week's pick tag us at @culinarycrafts or add the hashtag #culinarycrafts to your post and check back to see who gets picked next!  Happy Monday, everyone! Check out more Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah County catering at www.culinarycrafts.com!

November 3, 2017

Friday Instagram of the Week!

By

Today's Instagram of the Week comes from the fantastic M + B Events who we had the pleasure of working with on this stunning inspiration shoot that happens to be featured on Utah Valley Bride here!  We absolutely LOVE this shoot and it's such perfect inspiration for fall weddings and events!  Plus, who can resist a custom menu design and gorgeous florals?  I know I can't!  Thank you for sharing, M + B Events!  And remember, for your chance to be next week's pick, tag us at @culinarycrafts or add the hashtag #culinarycrafts to your posts and check back to see who gets selected next!  Happy weekend, everyone! Check out more Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah County catering at www.culinarycrafts.com!

September 22, 2017

Friday Instagram of the Week!

By

Today's Instagram of the Week comes from the fabulous Amber Shaw Photography who took this pic of a DELCIOUS vegan buffet we created for a recent wedding at Louland Falls!  We love this pic because not only is it mouth-wateringly yummy food (Buffalo Cauliflower?  Yes, please!), but it also showcases that Culinary Crafts can do any specialty menu you could think of and still make it AMAZING!  Thank you for sharing, Amber!  Remember, for your chance to be next week's pick, tag us at @culinarycrafts or add the hashtag #culinarycrafts to your posts and check back to see who gets chosen next!  Happy weekend, everyone! Check out more Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah County catering at www.culinarycrafts.com!

September 21, 2017

Simply Gorgeous Fall Red Cliff Ranch Wedding!

By

Everyone here at Culinary Crafts is getting excited for fall!  I mean, how could you not?  Believe me, we love summer, but there's always a welcome feeling for the change of season and we are loving it!  This gorgeous wedding is a perfect fall showstopper at one of our favorite venues, Red Cliff Ranch - and it happens to be the couple's wedding anniversary this weekend too!  Pretty perfect, right?  We also love this wedding because this bride was on a pretty tight budget, but it was still a STUNNING wedding with delicious Culinary Crafts food!  Now, check out this beautiful fall Red Cliff Ranch wedding! Oh, Red Cliff Ranch, even your entrance is beautiful.  And isn't that fall color amazing?! I love all of the horses on the property and they are so friendly!  It's such a great part of getting married at Red Cliff Ranch! How pretty is this bouquet?  Great inspiration for a beautiful bouquet that is perfect for a fall wedding without getting too crazy.  Simple and gorgeous! The beautiful bride and groom.  We love the bride's fun cowboy boots and the groom's snazzy vest was perfect for this fall fete! This meadow at Red Cliff Ranch is easily one of our FAVORITE ceremony spots.  The couple kept their casual, rustic vibe by having guests sit on hay bales and the addition of a simple wooden ceremony arch decorated with more pretty sunflowers was so beautiful! Who says simple can't be stunning?  The tablescape was so pretty, but kept the decor minimal.  We absolutely LOVED how it turned out! For cocktail hour we offered these beautiful Artisan Cheese Platters with local cheese and honey and a variety of fruits and crackers.  Such an easy way to add a special touch to cocktail hour! The guests loved this light snack that allowed them to mix and mingle.  Plus, how cute are those little Bamboo bowls! We made sure the guests had something fabulous to drink and we loved offering our infused waters in these rustic water vessels.  So fun! To keep with the rustic, laid back vibe of this wedding, we served a delicious buffet with all the fixin's to make yummy Pulled Pork Sandwiches!  Easily, one of my favorite low-key offerings! Of course, we made sure to add amazing sides to the buffet like our Roasted Vegetable Salad and our Coleslaw!  So good! The couple gave their guests these cute favors with a sweet treat and we loved how fun these little boxes were. Another gorgeous pic of this couple!  Love! For the reception party, we loved this lounge area and it was perfect for the style of the day! How fun are these Polaroids?  A perfect way to end this post for this amazing wedding day.  And happy anniversary to Ari and Derek!  We loved this wedding day and love how it can inspire any couple on any budget to make their wedding day amazingly gorgeous!  Happy planning, everyone! Check out more Salt Lake City, Park City, and Utah County catering at www.culinarycrafts.com! Photos by Trevor Hooper Photography

27x winner Utah’s Best of State

24x Best of State Caterer

3x Best of the Best / Hospitality

1x Entrepreneur of the Year