Category Archives: Cuisine

A Pippin Hill Wedding with Sara and Matt

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Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyard
Sara Payne and Matt Barber were married on June 18th at Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyards in North Garden, Virginia. These Boulder, Colorado residents decided to make it back home to Virginia for a gorgeous, farm-to-table celebration with family and friends. Avid outdoors lovers, Sara and Matt wanted to weave elements of the local and the organic into the night from start to finish. After walking down the aisle towards a picturesque Blue Ridge Mountain panorama, the couple invited guests inside to a lush, natural reception in Pippin’s main hall. A few large trees (installed just for the occasion) were strung with lanterns and lit with candles, throwing an earthy and joyous warmth over the diners below. Rustic farm tables were spread with potted plants, cacti, mosses, and more glowing lanterns, and set off with warm, azure earthenware. Later, guests were invited back outside for fresh donuts from the Carpe Donut food cart and DIY s’more fixings next to a roaring fire.

We especially loved the Sara & Matt personalized labels on the wine bottles, the handmade groomsmen’s ties, and the delicious, Southern comfort food!

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Ceremony and Reception Venue: Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyard// Catering: Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyard// Rentals:Festive Fare// Printed Materials: Rock Paper Scissors //  Hair and Makeup: Moxie// Band: Attraction // Wedding Cake: Maliha Creations// Florals: Pat’s Floral Design//  Photography: Holland Photo Arts// Videographer:Exist N Motion Films//  Lighting and AV: Blue Ridge Light Forms// Late Night Snack: Carpe Donut 

Forget Me Not Friday: All About The Wedding Cake

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Easton Events

The wedding cake is a wonderful way to celebrate, and is a quintessential part of the wedding rituals.  Whether you choose to have a small cake just to cut or you decide to have a five-tiered embellished display, the wedding cake is more than just a dessert. As Sylvia Weinstock said, “ a cake, it turns out, is more than just dessert- and serves many purposes at a party. It’s decoration, a conversation starter, a backdrop for photos, a keepsake.”

When thinking about your cake, maybe the most important choice is going to be in the icing—the cake has to taste amazing, of course, but it has look just as good! The two most common icing types are fondant and buttercream, and both have their own characteristics and flavor. If you’re looking for that smooth, porcelain texture, fondant should be your first choice. Kneaded from sugar, corn syrup, and gelatin until it’s impossibly silky and pliable, fondant has that picture-perfect look, and in any color you can think of! Sheets of fondant are carefully leveled with a rolling pin and then draped over the cake before the final smoothing.

Fondant can be a finicky choice, however: fondant is hard to rework and any mistake or flaw the baker makes can be impossible to fix, so everything has to go perfectly. The extra time and care that goes into making each tier in one-shot is partially responsible for fondant’s extra cost—fondant can be up to three times more expensive than buttercream (think three to 10 dollars a slice!). Of course, neither icing is going to hold up too well, so it’s important that your cake stays fresh (and, really, you’d want that anyway).

Always make sure you’re aware of the cake’s delivery time and the logistics of the backroom storage so your cake is as fresh as possible. Ensuring icing and cake freshness takes coordination plus time and space for assembly. With fondant, the problem becomes its tendency to dry or peal. With buttercream, the icing may start to melt or it may gain condensation under refrigeration. Many bakers address the dryness of fondant by adding a layer of buttercream underneath the fondant layer—basically, a little thought and preparation goes a long way!

As far as taste goes, popular opinion says that buttercream is tops (like its name suggests, buttercream is an irresistible blend of butter, confectioners sugar, milk, and flavoring); however, new flavors of fondants, like marshmallow and white chocolate, are giving buttercream a run for it’s money. And even though the buttercream may taste better, it is harder to get that porcelain look. But don’t let that stop you! A good baker is able make buttercream as smooth as fondant. And, of course, if you don’t like the porcelain sheen to begin with, go for buttercream! Buttercream can be piped, swirled, set in waves, or piled up for rustic, organic perfection.

Of course, icing isn’t the only factor in the cost of your cake: behind all the icing, there’s a lot of labor and love that comes with it’s own dues. If you’re trying to cut costs, think about how ornate you want your cake to be: sugared flowers are beautiful (and edible!), but real flowers have their own distinct integrity and style…at a better cost. And who is forming those handmade flowers? A celebrity chef is going to be more expensive than your local (and equally as talented!) baker.

When should you start making the cake-styling decisions? Later, not sooner. As you start planning your wedding, you could get caught up with the cake before you even know the theme and tone of the event! The cake is often in direct conversation with your décor, your color scheme, or even your dress; it’s important to wait until you know the bigger details. Go ahead and decide on your baker, the kind of cake or filling…but leave the outer layer until last. Having a cake at your wedding is as much about eating it and the theme of celebration, as it is about having all those final ta-da’s that make your wedding the real deal. Some couples even decide to have a small, display cake (the one they cut and eat before friends, family, and photographer) and a less-expensive sheet cake (kept in the back) for the masses to enjoy! The real cake, small or big, should be out and on display–not carted out from the back–like the focal point it is!

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Maggie Austin created sugar flowers on this tiered wedding cake.

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Displaying the wedding cake on a beautiful linen and in a visible area allows your guests to enjoy the cake before it is cut and served.

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Kathy, from Favorite Cakes, recreated the motif used on the printed materials to the wedding cake!

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Anita from Maliha Creations used fresh flowers on this couples wedding cake. Ask your florist if they will provide flowers for your wedding cake, and make sure they have not sprayed the flowers with pesticides!

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One of our brides loved the lace detailing in her wedding dress and she wished to have this pattern translated onto her wedding cake. Sylvia Weinstock’s creative design helped bring all of the details together!

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Maggie Austin incorporated colors into her cake that were used in the decor of the wedding. Tones of orange and red were interspersed throughout the event in the form of pillows, draping, and even lighting.

Image 1 courtesy of Jen Fariello and cake by The Clifton Inn, Image 2 and 3 courtesy of Eric Kelley and cake by Maggie Austin, Image 4 and 5 courtesy of Patrica Lyons and cake by Sylvia Weinstock, Image 6 and 7 courtesy of Paul Morse and cake by Favorite Cakes,Image 8 and 9 courtesy of Patricia Lyons and cake by Maliha Creations, Image 10 and 11 courtesy of Patrica Lyons and cake by Maggie Austin, Image 12 and 13 courtesy of Patrica Lyons and cake by Sylvia Weinstock.

Forget Me Not Friday: Selecting Your Hors D’oeuvres

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Easton Events

Hors d’oeuvres are often the most memorable food element of a wedding! Not only are they the first thing you taste, but these bite size treats set the tone for the rest of the wedding feast. We recommend serving five options that vary in style, temperature, and cuisine. For example, if you are serving beef coins make sure to offer a vegetarian option such as bruschetta or gazpacho shooters. Also, be mindful of the size. Hors d’oeuvres should be consumed in one to two bites. Flatware should not be used unless it is an edible element or part of the display. How about a pastry spoon cradling caviar and creme fraiche?

Here at Easton, we have been finding inspiration through Peter Callahan’s new book, Bite by Bite. His hors d’oeuvres and small plates are fanciful and inventive. Callahan writes, “in an incredibly super sized world, I shrunk the ordinary, and in doing so made it fabulous, chic, and above all delicious.”  From mini vegetable lasagnas to spicy chicken fortune cookies Callahan has made hors d’oeuvres an art form. We recommend taking a peak at his new book for inspiration!

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All images courtesy of Bite by Bite.

Real Wedding: Erin and Jeffrey

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Easton Events

Real Wedding Wednesday became Real Wedding Thursday this week as we were away on a corporate event!

Erin and Jeffrey were married in Grace Episcopal Church and celebrated their marriage at Keswick Hall. Their wedding was the full package: stunning bride, dashing groom, lovely bridal party, adorable dog, show stopping gold ceiling drape, and the glow of a full moon. The tent was truly stunning. The three different tones of golden yellow tablecloths topped with lush florals beautifully contrast the dramatic warmth of the tent ceiling. The printed suite was a collection of stunning calligraphy throughout the invitation, the program, and the menu. Check out Erin’s floral applique veil… isn’t it spectacular? Patricia Lyons beautifully captured the sheer joy of the couple!

Easton Events Easton Events Keswick Hall Easton Events Easton Events Skyline Tents Easton Events Keswick Hall Keswick Hall Easton Events Easton Events Easton Events Ceremony Venue: Grace Episcopal// Reception Venue: Keswick Hall// Catering: Keswick Hall// Rentals: Festive Fare and Nuage Designs// Printed Materials: Rock Paper Scissors // Hair and Makeup: Mango Salon// Band: Eturnity Band// Wedding Cake: Desserterie// Florals: Beehive Events//  Photography: Patricia Lyons// Videographer: Sprack Media// Vintage Car: Albemarle Limousine// Lighting: Blue Ridge Light Forms// Tent: Virginia Tent Rentals

Forget Me Not Friday: Choosing a Specialty Cocktail

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Recently we have seen an increase in couples having signature cocktails at their wedding! Similar to favors, escort card tables, and guest books, signature cocktails are an opportunity for couples to be creative and add a personal touch to their wedding day. We are even seeing couples offering a Bride’s cocktail and a Groom’s cocktail. For example the Bride may love champagne while the Groom is a huge bourbon fan. Together couples create fun names for their special drinks, and often design a sign or drink flag to describe them. Couples also get crafty in how they display their drinks. From silver and wooden trays to pretty carafes or dispensers, specialty cocktails are always a signature touch!

One of our favorite specialty cocktails is a spiked lemonade. By taking this simple recipe couples can rename the drink to make it more personal for them! How about calling it the “Lover’s Lemonade!”

Recipe yields 1 drink:

1 1/2 ounces Jack Daniels

1/2 ounce Sweet and Sour Mix

4-6 ounces Fresca or other citrus soda

1 Maraschino cherry to garnish

Splash of Grenadine.

Mix the first three ingredients. Garnish with cherry and top with grenadine.

Tip of the trade: If you are having a function that is only serving wine and beer, offering one signature cocktail is a great way to provide one liquor beverage without the cost of a full bar!

Cockails Easton Events Easton Events Easton Events Easton Events Image 1, 7, and 8 courtesy of Lynne Brubaker, Image 3 and 4 courtesy of Dominique Attaway, Image 4 and 6 courtesy of Jen Fariello, Image 5 courtesy of Holland Photo Arts.

Real Wedding Wednesday: Margaret and Chip

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Easton Events Today’s real wedding showcases Margaret and Chip’s summer wedding. Being born and raised in Lynchburg, Virginia, Margaret always knew she would be married in her hometown! The family and bridal party enjoyed the wedding day getting ready at Margaret’s childhood home. It was the perfect backdrop for all of the pre-ceremony photos including their gorgeous first look by the pool. The wedding ceremony was held at the Andrew’s church, St, Johns Episcopal Church, and the party continued at the Boonsboro Country Club! Despite the threats of Hurricane Irene, the celebration was a success all around!

The wedding was designed around a fresh green and white palette accented by the family’s love of lanterns! Wanting to put a little twist on things, they introduced the first Sperry Tent to Boonsboro’s front lawn! Pat’s Floral Design filled the tent with gorgeous candle-lit trees, Blue Ridge Light Forms suspended twinkling lanterns throughout the ballroom, and Rod Meek designed floral elements and lush hanging baskets that hit the perfect note for the late August wedding. Rock Paper Scissors helped the bride develop her wedding lantern logo that we carried from the invitations to the “Just Married” sign!
This wedding is extra special since we have struck a wonderful and lasting relationship with the family. Lynn and Dean just wrapped a wonderful trip to San Miguel de Allende and spent several evenings visiting with the Andrews during their stay.

Many thanks to all of the vendors and especially Anne & Bill of Holland Photo Arts for beautifully capturing Margaret & Chip’s special day!

Easton Events

Easton Events Easton Events Easton Events Easton Events Easton Events Easton Events Easton Events Easton Events Easton Events Easton Events Easton Events Easton Events Wedding Venue: Boonsboro Country Club// Catering: Boonsboro Country Club// Rentals: Festive Fare//Printed Materials: Rock Paper Scissors // Makeup: Telitha & Co.// Hair: Anthony & Co.//Band: Liquid Pleasure// Cocktail Music: Ivy Creek Strings//Cake: Cooks Alley//Farm Tables and Trees: Pat’s Floral Design//Florals: Rod Meek and Company//  Photography: Holland Photo Arts// Lighting and Lanterns: Blue Ridge Light Forms// Tent: Skyline Tent Company

Real Wedding Wednesday: Matt & Chris in D.C.

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Matt and Chris are one of our all-time favorite couples. Lynn first “merried” them a few years ago in Charlottesville at a fabulous event at Keswick Hall and last year they were officially married in front of the United States Capitol at dusk. Not only are Matt and Chris wonderful clients, but they have become dear, dear friends to Lynn and Easton Events. With exceptionally refined taste and a warming presence, their wedding couldn’t have been a happier experience. We think of Matt and Chris often as they have inspired our team with their business credo: Work Hard, Have Fun, Fight Nice, and Hire Well! 

The schedule of the evening was a twist on tradition. Cocktails and dinner were held on the 7th floor. After rounds of toasts guests were invited up to the 8th floor roof terrace and handed fur blankets for the intimate ceremony.  Immediately following, DJ Ray pumped the tunes of Tina Turner luring the guests onto the dance floor.

Now to the dinner… the room was purely illuminated by candlelight. Four hundred votives flickered down the table reflecting and bouncing off the mirrors and acrylic chairs (last used at one of Obama’s state dinners!) We covered the tables with fifty-two mirrors made of 4 x 4 squares onto which our calligrapher wrote the guest’s names to indicate their place setting. To continue with the icy modern look, we printed the menu on clear velum and served the amuse in an ice bowl. To complete the room, the tables were flooded with white orchids of varying heights. Truly a night to remember!


Wedding Venue and Ceremony Site: Newseum// Catering: Wolfgang Puck Catering// Rentals: A Vista Events and Festive Fare, Capital Party Rentals, DC Rental, and Be Our Guest// Calligraphy: Ginny Rogan// Mirrors: Fairfax Mirrors// DJ: Ray Jarrell// Cake: Maggie Austin// Florals: Floral Images// Photography: Patricia Lyons// Lighting: Blue Ridge Light Forms

Real Virginia Wedding: Marjorie and Ryan

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Charlottesville, va wedding planner

Today’s real wedding incorporates just about everything that we as event planners love: a beautiful gown, sweet families, gorgeous white blooms accented with soft greens, picturesque views of the Virginia countryside, and overwhelming joy from the bride and groom.  Farmington Country Club was the perfect backdrop for Marjorie and Ryan to celebrate their love.  Once the band began playing, everyone continued to celebrate on the dancefloor until late into the evening when the party finally ended with a glittering sparkler departure.

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Ceremony and Event Venue: Farmington Country Club //Officiant: Dave Johnson and Senator Mark Warner // Lighting and AV: Blue Ridge Light Forms // Ceremony Music: Encore Strings // Rentals: Festive Fare // Flowers: Floral Images // Photography: Patricia Lyons // Video: Ian’s Creations // Cake: Maliha  // Hair/Makeup: Moxie // Tent: Skyline // Printed Materials: The Printery  // Band: Attraction

Forget Me Not Friday: Catering Considerations

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wedding catering

Selecting a caterer and a menu are among the most important decisions made during the wedding planning process.  With countless culinary options and dishes to delight any palate, we have a few tips on how to navigate your catering choices.

Most wedding venues will have in-house catering services, so be sure to review the venue’s menus before booking to determine that their pricing and cuisine fit your taste and budget.  If your venue does not have in-house options, ask the staff for recommendations.  When you contact caterers, ask if you can have a tasting without signing a contract.  Typically there will be a fee for a tasting if you select an alternative caterer.  Ask them if you can chat with one of their former brides to compare their experience with your expectations.

You’ll also need to think about the style of dining you prefer: a seated 3-course dinner, passed hors d’oeuvres, a variety of stations?  Ask the caterer what are the most popular cuisine choices and ask your venue what style of service they feel works best at their site. At your tasting, take notes and don’t be afraid to suggest changes!  Snap a photo of all the food served, so you won’t have any problem remembering later.

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Other considerations:

1. Gratuity.  Gratuity is normally between 18-20% of the bill and tax is 9%.  It really adds up so be certain you include these items in your budget.

2. Utensils.  If you are having a stationed event, ask your caterer to serve foods that can be consumed with a fork only as your guests typically will not be seated.

3. Toasts.  If you are including toasts during a plated dinner, it is always best to schedule them at the end of the meal so they don’t disrupt service.

4. Attire.  Always ask what your servers will be wearing.  If your event is black tie, you will want the wait staff to be dressed appropriately.

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All images taken at an Easton event, courtesy of Jen Fariello