Posts filed under ‘Vendors’

We can’t do it alone

Source: We’re also Star Wars kind of people.
Mr Pretzel and I are very “We can do” kind of people.  Our wedding planning has been very “we can do it” centered. Together we have planned, crafted, and toiled.  Outsiders look at he work and think its a burden but to us it is just more time we get to spend together strengthening the foundations of our relationship.

Through this time we’ve learned how to be creative together, to work through disagreements, and what the other looks like when the have mentally and physically hit a wall.  We also learned that it is good to lean on your support system, just like in marriage.  We’ve learned to invite people in to our planning and share some of the fun.  As the weeks have gotten shorter, we’ve been steadily checking things off our list and making memories along the way. But the time for us to be working on wedding details and projects is coming to a close.  Soon it will be that day, the one we’ve been working towards. Last year when we first started planning, Mr Pretzel in his ifinate wisdom made  a decree:

I wasn’t about to argue with him on this point.  I needed a day of coordinator… else I be a Pretzel knot of stress on our wedding day.

I’m not going to expound on our search or the pros and cons of a DOC.  The fact is, Bobbi Roth of  Bobbi Roth Wedding Design stood out immediately.  She was well recommended on the Seattle Weddingbee board and she instantly had enthusiasm about our wedding when we spoke.   Some of our ideas are a little kooky but Bobbi couldn’t wait to see them all come together.  We signed a contract and Mr Pretzel and my hearts were set at ease.
Bobbi Roth: Source
As our date has drew closer Bobbi has kept in contact with me.  She was the DOC  for my Weddingbee pal, TPHoliday.  Mr Pretzel and I got to see Bobbi in action at her wedding and we were impressed.  Even at that time, our wedding seemed so far away.  About a month ago Bobbi emailed me and asked me to start sending her photos and descriptions of all my DIY projects so she could start to prepare for our wedding.

ACK!  You mean I actually have to let go?! I was not so good about getting all the details together for Bobbi.  I had everything in my brain… but putting it on paper was daunting.    Not gonna lie, letting go has been hard.  Thankfully she has been patient with me.  I started to learn to cc her on my emails to my vendors, sending her photos of projects as we complete them, work with her on a timeline.  She is wonderful to work with, but I am fighting my inner battle with feelings with letting go of our DIY details.

But I am doing it.  A week and some change out from the wedding and I am starting to let go.  We have a great DOC and she’s going to take care of all the details we planned.  We did a walk-through of our church with Bobbi and Amore Studios.  We met at our venue with Bobbi and our catering company.  She had the right questions to ask and the right attention to detail.  Slowly I’m letting go of our wedding details and freeing my mind up for more important things. Thanks Bobbi!

If you are a super DIY-er/planner did you use a DOC?  Was it hard to let go of the details?

July 1, 2010 at 2:29 pm Leave a comment

Mapmaker Mapmaker, Make Me a Map…

…cause my map attempt at a map was a little sad.  I studied the tutorials here on the Bee and diligently created myself a wedding map.  I was proud of my little map… for a time.

When it was go time, I couldn’t figure out how to work it into the invitation suite- it looked out of place…  a little amateur.  I tried not to focus on it because Mr Pretzel and I had never discussed having a map made for us and we certainly hadn’t budgeted for it.

Then I saw PChip’s invitation suite, designed by the talented Miss Snapdragon.  I love the suite so much I sent the post to Mr P.  Out of the blue he replied with “We need a map like that” (love that man!)  We discussed the expense and agreed to go for it. I shot off an email to Snappy titled “Mr Pretzel loves your maps”.  It was short notice, but after a couple of weeks Snappy came through with the most fabulous Pretzel map.

Map by Pantomime Papers

Both Mr P and I brainstormed locations and icons in Seattle that meant something to us.  From the top of the map the icons are as follows:
Airplane: The airplane represents Boeing, which is not only where we both work, but where we met each other.

Bonfire with Crab and Clam: Golden Gardens Park in Ballard is famous for sunsets and bonfires (and our rehearsal dinner location)

The Fremont Troll: This public art piece lives under the Aurora Bridge in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle and is clutching an actual Volkswagen Beetle. It is derived from Scandinavian story Three Billy Goats Gruff.

Nest: Our townhouse purchased last year.

Celtic Cross: St Brendan’s Church not only our Ceremony location but is also our home parish. Saint Brendan was an Irish Saint renowned for his legendary quest to the “Isle of the Blessed.”

Mac ‘N’ Jacks Brewery: We love beer, especially local favorite Mac ‘N’ Jacks African Amber.  The bottle depicted is a half gallon growler- a common method for purchasing small quantities of micro-brew beers.

Jimi Hendrix: The legendary Jimi Hendrix was a Seattle area native.  On a street corner in Capital Hill you will find life-size bronze statue of Hendrix.

Rachel the Pig and Pike Place Market: Pike Place market is the oldest continually operated public farmers’ market in the US. Rachel is the market’s unofficial mascot. Rachel is a 550 lb piggy bank which collects $6,000-$9,000 annually by the Market foundation to fund the Market’s social services for low income individuals.

Safeco Field: Home of the Seattle Mariners!  Mr P loves baseball and Miss P loves to knit at baseball games.
Did you know that Nintendo of America owns the Mariners? You can actually order food and drinks from you Nintendo DS during Mariner Games.

The Engine Room: Once the engine room of the pre-prohibition era Seattle Malting and Brewing Company and the makers of Rainier Beer, the Engine Room is now used for events such as our reception. The whole brewing complex is featured in a ink drawing on our invitations.  The drawing was done specially for Mr and Miss Pretzel by Miss P’s sister-in-law’s sister-in-law.

Miss & Mr Pretzel: ’nuff said!

Starbucks: Even though Miss P is a die hard Dunkin’ Donuts coffee drinker, Starbucks reigns supreme in Washington. If you are visiting, you won’t find a DD’s in the whole state but there is a Starbucks on every street corner.

Oxbow Park: Located in same the quirky Georgetown neighborhood as the Engine Room, Oxbow park pays tribute to Seattle’s sense of humor.  The park contains two structures, a giant cowboy hat and a giant cowboy boot, which had previous lives buildings at the Premium Tex gas station.

Even though it wasn’t planned, the map is one of our favorite elements of the invites.  We plan to have a larger scale version printed to hang in our home soon.  I know it isn’t in everyone’s budget, but Snappy has converted two die hard DIY-ers to leaving some things to the professionals.  We have some tips if you are thinking of having custom maps made.

  • Get your SO involved You might be surprised by the ideas that working together generates.  Mr P and I are advocates of involved fiances but even if your fiance hasn’t been very hands on with wedding planning this is an opportunity to partner together on a fun project.
  • Come to the table with some ideas It helped that Snappy and I had met before, but remember a lot of times the designer won’t know you or your personality.  Tell them stories about you as a couple or why certain locations are important to you.  Describe activities that you like to do together.  If you think of something after your initial consultation email it- little bits of information can be incorporated as the design is taking shape.
  • If you aren’t feeling something, speak up! Mr P and I initially had Microsoft on our list of locations.  As the map was taking shape we realized we don’t really have any connection to Microsoft and it wasn’t “doing much for us”.

Did you create your own map, outsource the design, or forgo maps all together?  If you could do it again, would you do it differently? Why or Why not?

June 3, 2010 at 4:36 pm Leave a comment

More Than a Taste

Mr Pretzel and I love to eat.  Catering tastings? Sign us up!  We had such a great time tasting all the yummy food for our reception I can’t figure out how we let a tasting with our rehearsal dinner catering slip our minds. We booked Lake Street Catering months ago, but it wasn’t until last week that I remembered that they had offered to do a tasting dinner for us.

That’s right “tasting dinner”, and not just for us- Lynn suggested that we invite friends over. SWEET!  When I called last week to schedule something Lynn had an even better idea.  “Is your mom local?” she asked, immediately followed by, “do you have plans for Mothers day?”  Yes and No.  Lynn and Craig offered to do a miniature seafood boil for myself, Mr Pretzel, Momma Pretzel and two of our dearest friends.

I invited Bridesmaid H and her fiance T over.  Momma Pretzel thinks of Bridesmaid H as a second daughter so it was special for them to celebrate with us.  Lynn and Craig brought everything- the seafood boil, salad, dessert, plates and utensils- we just relaxed as they prepared what they told us was the smallest seafood boil they have ever done.

H and T chill while the food cooks

Pretzel Kitty Cassanova comes running once the seafood gets cookin!

Love how they dump the food on the table to serve it!

And then we NOM!

and Nom some more. Happy Mother’s Day Mom!

In my mind this was the best way to do a tasting.  I’m glad we could do this special for Mothers Day.

We’ve finally met Lynn and Craig, we’ve tasted the food.  We know for sure that booking blind was a safe bet in this situation. Can’t wait for our rehearsal dinner now. July can’t come fast enough!

Did your catering company go above and beyond the traditional tasting?

May 11, 2010 at 5:31 pm Leave a comment

We Won The Lottery!

Ok, ok,  it’s only the Seattle Parks Department reservation lottery, but hey, it’s pretty important to making Mr Pretzel’s rehearsal dinner dreams come true!

Mad Microsoft clip art skills I tell you!

With a recommendation from Mrs Joey we settled the first part of Mr Pretzels vision- a pacific northwest menu– but the second part, location outdoors on Puget Sound was yet to be determined so we started to look at different Seattle Parks located on the Sound.  We found the perfect location, which I will tell you more about in a second, but we also learned that Seattle Parks have an annual lottery to reserve shelters at their parks.  Since Seattle only enjoys on average 71 sunny days a year you can imagine that there is a lot of competition to reserve park facilities during the summer (the sunny season).  To be fair, Seattle Parks has an application date in February for the following summer.  The application allows you to specify your top three shelter choices and the date/time for reservation.  In March applications are drawn at random and bookings are penciled in.  I have no idea where we landed in the lottery but I was ecstatic when Lynn emailed me to tell me we had “won” our first choice location.

Whoo Hoo!

There was no plan B so I am not sure what we would have done if we hadn’t gotten the park reservation.  In all I think it cost us $160 to book a shelter in the park. In addition to the covered shelter area, Lake Street Catering will also provide covered areas in case the weather doesn’t cooperate.

So,without further ado meet our rehearsal dinner location:

Golden Gardens Park

Source

*Little confession I has actually ever been to Golden Gardens park – although Mr Pretzel had- I was booking this whole rehearsal dinner thing site unseen.

You know you are busy when you can’t drive 20 minutes to check out a location before pulling the trigger on making reservations. *Pretzel looks guilty* Because I personally had  not visited this park, I was sure to talk with everyone I could about the park, especially Seattle natives.  I also turned online to learn more.

“Golden Gardens is a little park on Shilshole Bay that screams everything about what makes Seattle Seattle: water, boats, mountains, seashore and humanity in all its colorful manifestations. It has been loved by generations of thumping-music cruisers, disc flippers, kite fliers, soccer players, dog walkers, beach strollers, picnickers, volleyball spikers, sunbathers, teen queens and pickup kings.” writes Greg Johnston

Uniquely Seattle? Yes please!

I think I read every review of the park, and looked at hundreds of photos.  With confidence I can tell you that the sunsets at the park are amazing. I did a little searching and found out that sunset on our rehearsal date is at 9:00.  We may or may not have actually planned our rehearsal dinner time around that little factoid.

Source

One thing that makes Golden Gardens unique is that the beach has fire pits for bonfires.   After hearing about Miss Trail Mix’s plans for a bonfire I put bonfire on my list of “gosh I would love to have one if it worked out” list and tucked the idea away.  I was happy to find out that the pits are available on a first come first serve basis but I am really hoping we can gather around the fire after filling our bellies with yummy seafood. I’ve already added “purchase firewood” to the list of wedding week tasks.

Source

photo by Erika Schultz

photo by Erika Schultz

The only downside to this location is that we won’t be able to serve alcohol.  For a beer themed wedding that felt pretty lame at first, but in reality we are sure that our guests will enjoy themselves without liquid lubrication. Its not like the rest of the week isn’t going to be filled with yummy hoppy goodness.

With luck on our side we secured a killer location for our rehearsal dinner.  Mr P and I are feeling pretty good.  Coming up next, we actually get a taste of what’s to come.

Did you leave any of your wedding arrangements up to the luck of the draw?

May 10, 2010 at 5:01 pm Leave a comment

Booking Blind

Source

Mr Pretzel and I booked our rehearsal dinner catering company with only a phone call conversation and without having taste their food.  It might sound crazy, but that’s how we roll.  Let’s rewind a bit to early on in the planning process.  Like many couples we had the “financial” discussion with our parents.  Regarding the rehearsal dinner which is customarily thrown by the Grooms parents, Mr Pretzel and I offered to host this part of the wedding.  Our wedding is 2,000 miles from Mr Pretzels parents and we felt that it would be an unnecessary hassle to ask his parents to plan this event.  Plus we are having a home town reception just a few miles from his parents house, we really need their assistance in pulling that party together. So we tossed the traditional Grooms Parents hosted rehearsal dinner aside and took on the task ourselves.

We discussed the guest list, and because our wedding is a destination wedding for a large portion of our family and friends we agreed to invite all of our out of town guests in addition to the customary rehearsal dinner guests.  I’m estimating 50-70 people. *GULP*  Instantly I started to think about fun, but budget friendly ideas for a rehearsal dinner. I suggested a BBQ (pork… nom, nom, nom) or a large cookout.  Mr Pretzel nixed both ideas. It became apparent that he had a vision in mind and when I asked him to share his vision he told me “Pacific Northwest food served outside on the shore of Puget Sound.”  ACK!  My dreams of keeping the budget reasonable melted away.  All I heard is “Seafood” and “expensive beach-side venue”

Source: my mad Microsoft clip art skills

I was not sold.  I had normal fears of the weather not cooperating and thought for sure that Mr Pretzels vision would end up costing a lost of green but I decided to roll go with it and start my research.

I must say, I love Weddingbee.  Before I became a Miss Pretzel, I followed fellow Seattle-ite Mrs Joey’s wedding.  I recalled being blown away by her awesome rehearsal dinner catering company.  If you’re not familiar, she found them on Craigs list, they found her an awesome house to host it at (on Lake Washington, with a pool, and its own dock!) and provided fabulous food.   Mrs Joey raves about Lake Street Catering in her posts, and  on the Seattle Boards.  After meeting Mrs Joey for the first time I realized that she and Mr Joey’s tastes are very similar to Mr Pretzel’s and mine.  On that alone, I decided to give Lynn  a call and see what they could do for the Pretzels.  I told Lynn “seafood”, “on the water” and “on a budget”.  I also told her that we wanted it to be casual and comfortable.  The last thing we wanted was a formal affair.

She suggested a New Orleans style seafood boil and I countered with “how about a Pacific Northwest style seafood boil” using local fish, clams and crab.  For location she suggested using one of the many beautiful Seattle Parks.  She could even handle the park application and permit process for us. I waited in expectation of the final quote and was pleasantly surprised when it came in under budget! Whoohoo!

Mr P was ecstatic to see his vision come into reality. We booked them, without tasting their food or meeting them in person and we were totally comfortable. We actually forgot that we hadn’t done a tasting until we were at Mrs Joey’s housewarming earlier this month. It was catered by Lake Street and I commented that it was the first time we had tasted their food.  The food was delish!

So what is this Seafood Boil going to look like?  Check out these photos from a recent rehearsal dinner catered by Lake Street Catering.  These amazing images are all courtesy of Amber French Photography.

I am hoooongry just writing this post!  Next up in the Rehearsal Dinner planning: competing with other Seattle residents for the perfect park location!

Did you book any vendors blind?  What results did you have?

May 10, 2010 at 9:34 am Leave a comment

You’re making me hoongry!

Last Sunday night I ate a lamb sandwich that wasn’t prepared quite right.  Needless to say I spent the next two days sick, sick sick.  I couldn’t eat much except J-E-L-L-O, tea, and Pedia-pops on Monday.  *insert sad face*  Tuesday I graduated to plain rice, applesauce, and more Jello. By Wednesday night I was ready for my first “real meal” and devoured some Yakisoba chicken.


Source: Chris Tessmer

After the “Bad Lamb” incident, you would think that the last thing I would want to talk about is food. WRONG!  I was so hungry this whole week and everything sounded wonderful.  While I was dreaming of Pad Thai, Pho, Pizza, and oysters it dawned on me that I hadn’t shared our menu selections or gratuitous food p0rn from our tasting with City Catering. Close your eyes and let me set the stage…

Ok, Ok, your eyes need to be open to see all the yummy food. Here we go….

Its around 5 PM and you’ve had a leisurely meander through Seattle on your way from the Pretzel Ceremony to the Reception venue.  You enter the brick building. The room is flooded with light and soaked with the sounds of  Motown songs .  The room is peppered with tables of different sizes and heights.

Source: Della Chen

You shimmy up to the bar and are met with the choice of three great craft beers, wine, or a signature cocktail called Wedded Bliss.   Marvin Gaye croons.  You spy two sofas and a coffee table in the corner of the room.  You sip carefully on a pint of Many’s Pale Ale and make your way to a small pub table.  Chatting with your husband you are soon joined by a mutual friend.   A waitstaff comes by and offers you Salt and Vinegar Chips. They are crisp with just the right touch of tang and salt.

*All photos by Miss Pretzel unless otherwise noted

You spy another couple you know so you invite them to join you in the lounge area. One gal is nom nom nomming on a Miniature Bratwursts on Fresh Potato Rolls that look delish so when the waitstaff comes by you quickly take one to try.  You lick your fingers as you finish the last bit of brawt.  You remember that you haven’t signed the Pretzel’s guest book so you excuse yourself and make your way to the front room. Out of the corner of your eye you see Pretzel Knots with creamy cheese dip and you chuckle, “How appropriate Miss Pretzel!”

The room has filled up and Mr and Mrs Pretzel have arrived.  They each grab a brew and a small plate.  A tapas style buffet has appeared and you move in to check out the dishes.  Grabbing a little at a time you sample:

Grilled Salmon with a corn and avocado relish

Sliced Hanger Steak Platter on potato rolls with horseradish and mustard

Chicken Souvlaki Skewers with tziki sauce

Quinoa Salad with asparagus, red & yellow pepper and white balsamic vinaigrette

Heirloom Tomato Salad with fresh mozzarella and basil

Black Bean, Jicama & Corn Salad.

The food reminds you of a summer afternoon and the atmosphere is relaxed and festive. You get to talk with a lot of people as you move around the room, grabbing bites to eat and refilling your beer along the way.  You glance at Miss Pretzel and she is shamelessly stuffing her face with amazing food. She looks at you and grins from ear to ear.  *Sigh*

At least that is what we are shooting for.

Mr Pretzel and I stuffed our faces at our menu tasting and we fully plan to do so at our reception.  For us, the style of food and the way in which it is served is important to setting the right atmosphere for our reception. I think City Catering has nailed the vision that we have in our head.

As a side note, if you haven’t had Quinoa you are seriously missing out. It’s a super grain (i.e. high in protien, minerals, fiber, and gluten-free)  and is easier to cook than rice.  You can usually find it in the bulk food area of a natural food store and it is surprisingly not expensive. Wanna give it a try? Here is a recipe for Herbed Quinoa . Easy-Peasy!

What kind of vibe is the food setting for your wedding?

January 28, 2010 at 6:28 pm Leave a comment

Two Pretzels walk into…

a beer tasting… and walk out with a catering contact for a wedding they haven’t started planning yet . Easy-peasy-done.  Sometimes it seems too easy- but really that was the extent of our search for a caterer.

Source

One of our ushers invested in a local micro-brewery, Two Beers– complete shocker- I know!  Around May of last year he invited us to a beer tasting.  We arrived at the location, which happened to be the City Catering Company’s Little City space.  The tasting was part of a series where City Catering teams up with a local micro-brewery and pairs  the brewery’s beer with complimentary food.

They had us at “pairs the brewery’s beer with complimentary food.”  The food, all small plate items passed by waitstaff, was amazing.  We NOM NOM NOM-ed on finger lickin’ pulled pork sliders, garlic fries, and other goodies.  Later, we remarked that this was the type of food meant to be served with great beer, the type of food we wanted at our wedding. *light bulb illuminates over Miss Pretzel’s head*

Source

I tucked away City Catering’s business card and decided that when we got engaged, we would talk to them.  Yeah, ummm I didn’t last that long. I got a little excited around late June / early July and sent a rambling e-mail that introduced Mr Pretzel and I to them.  I am glad that I did. It was the City Catering event planner, Rebecca, who saved the day in our venue search a couple of weeks later.

At our initial meeting we shared our inspiration board and tossed around a few ideas of what we were looking for.

  • a creative twist on pub fare
  • breezy summer picnic
  • Lounge Seating
  • No head table/sweetheart table
  • Mingling- organic movement of guests through the space
  • German Polish heritage
  • Food must go well with beer
  • Serve something distinctly “Seattle”

Rebecca  left our full of ideas to incorporate into a proposal and we walked away hooongry- dying to schedule our tasting. We never looked at any other catering companies. Easy-Peasy-Done.

Did you book any vendors without looking at others?  What sort of inspiration did you give your catering company to work with?

P.S. As a treat for those who like to cook, Cooking Light featured two City Catering recipes in an April 2009 feature on farm to table cooking. Enjoy the recipes for Halibut with Citrus Fennel Relish and Soy-Sesame Kale republished on City Catering’s website.

December 25, 2009 at 4:07 pm Leave a comment

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