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 CEREMONY & RECEPTIONS Midsummer Night’s Dream
Warm breezes, lush green grass, and longer days are just a few of the perks of a summertime wedding. It’s the perfect oppor- tunity to take advantage of the beauty of nature with an outdoor celebration at a botanical garden, on the greens of a presti- gious country club, or on the lawn of a historic mansion. Keep guests cool during your ceremony under the sun with colorful Asian-style parasols and folding fans. After- ward, lead guests to a tented cocktail hour with tall glasses of pink lemonade, cool mint juleps, chilled chardonnay, or frosty margaritas. Offer a spread of chilled hors d’oeuvres like gazpacho shooters, fresh fruits and vegetables, gourmet cheeses, and a raw bar complete with chilled shrimp, crab claws, and oysters on the half shell. Dinner should be a fresh affair as well with light offerings such as grilled chicken breast with mango chutney, fresh grilled salmon with strawberry cracked pepper relish, or tenderloin of beef kabobs with fresh grilled vegetables. Though summertime menus are usually light, feel free to give everyone a sugar rush with a decadent dessert. Moist slices of pound cake topped with strawberries and whipped cream puts a twist on the tra- ditional wedding cake. Or serve a spectacular tiered confection filled with fruit mousse or
lemon curd and topped with a smooth layer of buttercream in a basketweave pattern.
Spend the rest of your evening dancing beneath the stars to the cool sounds of jazz or big band music. And when the last dance has ended, share with the guests a token of your gratitude: personalized bottles of spring water, glassine bags bursting with ripe cherries, or a small bundle of sparklers for everyone to light as you make your getaway.
A Snow Ball
Though winter can be a headache with weather worries and chilly temps, winter can also provide cool inspiration for a warm and cozy celebration. Begin with the location: check out sites that boast rich woodwork and stone fireplaces. Historic mansions, prestigious country clubs, bed & breakfasts, or smaller boutique-style hotels are great places to get out of the cold and celebrate. Let Mother Nature help with the décor and use rustic pinecones, ever- green accents, hypericum berries, and hardy blooms like amaryllis to top the tables. Small votive candles in snow white and a flickering fire in the hearth will give the room a warm glow.
During the cocktail hour, serve traditional winter drinks like warm cocoa, coffee and
cordials, and hot buttered rum. It’s all about warming everyone up, so a hearty menu is perfect for a snowbound wedding. Think prime rib with braised root vegetables or herb encrusted pork loin with buttery garlic infused smashed potatoes. Dessert should be a rich reminder of the season: large slices of wedding cake with velvety filling and decorated with sugar snow- flakes, marzipan pinecones, and tiny gum paste evergreen trees. Serve flavored coffees, cappuccinos, and espressos with dessert to give everyone one last warm-up before heading out into the cold.
At a winter wedding, your getaway can be as memorable as the celebration itself if you keep your options open. Don a fabulous fur coat and hat and join your husband on a horse-drawn sleigh as you bid your guests farewell. If you’re the more adventurous type, strap on a pair of cross-country skis and glide away or hop into a large but luxu- rious SUV limo and take off. But don’t leave your guests out in the cold; give them a memorable good night with dark decadent truffles, lightly iced snowflake cookies, or cool peppermints in personalized tins.
Harvest Fest
Milder temperatures, changing leaves, and crop harvests signal the beginning of
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