Idea Book: Connecticut Wedding Group, ACE Finalist, Catering Over $2 Million

The Achievement in Catering & Events (ACE) awards honor those who have worked tirelessly to keep their clients thrilled and their companies on the cutting edge. Each year, caterers and event planners from around the globe submit their best work from the past year in hopes of being recognized as the best in the industry. Catersource’s annual awards show, also including the ICA CATIE awards, took place in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace on February 19, 2018.

Each company submitted two events for ACE consideration. Here is a look at the two events that elevated Connecticut Wedding Group into the finalist category of over $2 million in revenue. Photos courtesy of the caterer.

ONE: “When Sparks Fly & Butterflies Flutter”

The 19th century dairy barn was decked out with gold, fabric and chandeliers, bring a glam factor into a space normally reserved for mason jars and hay bales

Before she toured The Barns at Wesleyan Hills, to-be-wed Christen said she was still looking for that moment when sparks flew in her mind and butterflies fluttered in her heart. As she walked into the venue, she knew it was just right for her wedding.  

Coming from New York, the couple were hoping to provide their guests with “something different.” They did not want their wedding to feel like they were in New York City; meaning no ballrooms, no industrial warehouses, and no style or venue any of their friends or family had done before. The Barns, a historic dairy barn built in 1872, was the blank space that YouTube Vloggers Christen, and her bride Heather, they were looking for, in order to transform into a chic NYC-style wedding.

Christen and Heather have a large digital following, which made planning and producing their wedding difficult for Connecticut Wedding Group. “With so much attention surrounding this couple, and knowing that they would be publicizing their entire planning process and wedding day, everything needed to be perfect,” said Mary-Beth McDowell, Director of Wedding Planning. “The bar was set high for their wedding—not only for friends and family, but also for their entire social media following. If there were difficulties or problems during the planning and on their wedding day, the world would know about it. No pressure, right?!”

The couple was also extremely nervous that fans would crash their wedding. Fans knew when and where the wedding was taking place, so police officers were hired to check guests in and patrol the area. Family, friends, and staff were also asked not to post anything on social media during the wedding. All of the pre-cautionary steps were taken, but of course there were wedding crashers.

“Fans of the couple had been following the engagement, the planning, and the menu tasting all on social media, and now needed to see the end result,” said McDowell. “Service needed to be stopped with the interruption of fans, crashers asked to leave, and the sequence of events needed to be modified, making for one eventful evening no one will soon forget!”

BUT CWG would do it all over again because, “they were an amazing couple with the most incredible style.”

There is nothing quite like autumn harvest time in New England, so the menu merged the flavors of autumn with the inspiration of a fine dining experience. Guests dined on freshly made butternut squash ravioli, salad designed around locally grown apples eight hour braised ribs, local apple and aged cheddar stuffed chicken, and locally caught cod with Brussels sprouts and sweet potato hash

Courses were paired with wine, but spiced rum punch made with local apple cider was also made available

Half of the all-female wedding party, rocking a tuxedo with Louboutin stilettos. The other half of the party wore gold dresses

The happy couple

Interested in submitting an entry for the 2019 awards season? Stay tuned for details on the 2019 award program, opening in Q3. Click here for the latest information on the 2019 conference & tradeshow.

TWO: “Let Love Brew”

Christine met Thomas at a coffee shop, and they wanted their wedding to tell the story of how they met, fell in love, and ultimately got engaged—all in that same coffee shop. “Their wedding was truly representative of their relationship,” said Mary-Beth McDowell, Director of Wedding Planning, “adding coffee accents throughout the entire evening, including in their centerpieces, dessert, favors, and even their own signature cocktail named Not a Coffee Drink!”

Dessert, for example, was a true Italian affogato station centered around espresso and ice cream, and paired with lattes, cappuccinos, and Americanos. But coffee didn’t start and stop with dessert. The caffeinated elements that Christine and Thomas added to their wedding were beautifully peppered throughout the venue. The centerpieces were a collection of different bottles Christine had gathered throughout her planning, accented by twinkling lights above. Each table was named after a favorite coffee drink: espresso, cappuccino, caramel macchiato, etc.

Finally, the favors for the evening were definitely a special part of the night. The couple had coffee from “their” coffee shop delivered in personalized tins for guests to enjoy at home.

The couple loved their Italian affogato station

After multiple menu tastings, the couple chose a summertime menu of braised short ribs with local peach and poblano pepper ifused BBQ sauce, caprese chicken with local tomatoes and fresh basil, and grilled salmon with corn and local Swiss Chard farro.

The beautiful pines and lake reminded the bride of a happy time in her life

Nuptial favors

Each table was named after a favorite coffee drink, the same beverages guests could enjoy with their dessert

Click here for information about Catersource and the Art of Catering Food 2019.

Kathleen Stoehr

Kathleen Stoehr is the Director of Community & Content Strategy for Catersource, which includes print and digital content, as well as live education at both Catersource, the Art of Catering Food, and Leading Caterers of America Executive Summit.