Vendor Spotlight: Your Custom Catering & Events

Contact Person: Nate Turner

Email: info@yourcustomcatering.com

Services Provided: Catering and Event Management

Website: www.yourcustomcatering.com

 

How we met Nate and Chad

Okay, we’ll admit that food was ranked pretty high on our “Must not be an epic fail” list. So what did that mean? We stalked caterers for months. Yes, stalked. We checked Facebook pages, website photo galleries, Facebook page reviews, everything! Melinda’s stance was, “They need to prepare food that I cannot make at home.” My stance was, “If I’m going to pay for everyone to eat, it has to be food so good that it makes me want to slap Jazzy (just kidding PETA).”

We were like this… minus the pipe 

 

In one of Melinda’s searches, she came across Your Custom Catering and Events and sent me the link to their website. Their website was user-friendly, informative and professionally-designed (this matters). Next, we went to their Facebook page. We needed to see photos. However, the cardinal mistake we made was, we didn’t eat before perusing their photo galleries. The most appropriate and cute way to explain what resulted from that mistake is this…

 

 

After wiping the drool from our mouths, we submitted an online inquiry to schedule our initial consultation.

 

The Initial Consultation

For this consultation, we brought out the clipboard and a list of questions that could have been converted to a novel. But Chad answered each question with detail and ease. He and Nate were professionals. They knew their business and weren’t caught off guard by any of our questions.

 

We liked that.

We discussed every element of our vision- the food, the aesthetics, the venue, plating, etc. Outside of just catering-related information, Chad gave us suggestions and tips that we (well maybe just me) didn’t think about. Like, I knew we would need tables, and Melinda convinced me that table linens were a must-have, but who would have thought about how the table linens would lay on the tables? Glass or plastic wine glasses, yeah I totally didn’t think about that. But Your Custom Catering did and explained the pros and cons of each option.

 

The Food.

In all of our conversations with other caterers, the food options were limited but costly. We were getting a little nervous, because the trend was that one chicken entree, two vegetables, a garden salad and a cup of lemonade equaled $45,524 (okay, maybe not THAT much, but close enough). But things were different with Your Custom Catering. We were able to select menu items that were unique, elegant and fairly priced. And did we mention that they have a Krispy Kreme bread pudding made with… Krispy Kreme doughnuts?

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In case you couldn’t tell Ciara loves donuts, folks. 

The Food Tasting.

So the moment we all have been waiting for has finally arrived. It’s time to taste the food! And I, Ciara, have to be honest; I was a little nervous. Melinda could make an old man’s boot taste like a signature dish from a five-star restaurant. This is why I lost my two-pack after the first year of our relationship, but I digress. My ultimate fear was that we would be paying a premium for food that Melinda could make at home. But that fear dissolved as soon as I tasted our first hors-d’oeuvre. This food was like slap yourself kind of good. Don’t believe me? Check out the expressions on their faces…

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And this is just the first hors-d’oeuvre! There were two more to follow!

Every single dish on our menu was fantastic. The challenge, however, was upholding the correct etiquette when you really wanted to lick the plates. Here’s an example of how good this food was- there was one dish that came over a bed of lettuce. Andreana, Melinda’s sister and Maid-of-Honor, and I were on to the next dish only to find Melinda raving about the lettuce and how well it paired with the sauce. The lettuce, folks. Melinda, the culinary master, was impressed with every part of that dish- even the lettuce! Who can make lettuce taste magical? Your Custom Catering, that’s who.

Drum Roll… 

This may not be an effective drum roll, but the baby is cute.

The Krispy Kreme bread pudding. Ya’ll. No words will do it justice. I’ve basically concluded that I had an out-of-body experience while eating it. It was incredible! It tasted just like a hot, glazed Krispy Kreme doughnut! So, so, so good!

 

In Conclusion.

After we completed the food tasting, we started discussing our linen and centerpiece selections. Oh, you thought Your Custom Catering was just a catering company? These guys do it all! They are truly a one-stop shop for most of your wedding needs. We decided to use many of their services because we were impressed with their attention to detail and their dedication to quality work. We appreciated how attentive they were during the food tasting and found them to be incredibly helpful when it came to visualizing our decor. It didn’t take long to realize that we were dealing with professionals that we could trust.

As we were driving home from the food tasting, Melinda and I both took a sigh of relief. We knew, without a doubt, that we had made the right decision with Your Custom Catering. We were in good hands.

Vendor Spotlight: Carolina Cake Artistry

Contact Person: Dayna and Tim

Email: dayna@carolinacakeartistry.com

Services Provided: Baking goods, specifically cakes and cupcakes

Website: http://www.carolinacakeartistry.com/

 

How we met Dayna and Tim

We were first introduced to Carolina Cake Artistry at the Carolina Bridal Fair in Concord, NC. There were many bakeries represented at this fair, but few left a lasting impression. Carolina Cake Artistry was different. As we approached their booth, Dayna greeted us with a smile and took a genuine interest in learning more about our wedding cake vision.

And the best part was…

Everything we sampled was SO good! You just couldn’t try one thing, you had to try it all. Well, at least that’s what Ciara did. She tried every single sample and raved for weeks about how good it was. When she wasn’t raving about the cake bites, she was trying to convince me that we could have a pumpkin cake for a July wedding (Ciara here- Let it be known that a Thanksgiving-themed wedding in July would have been unique and… well… memorable)

Fast forward a few months…

And our close friend, Mara, mentions a local bakery that she’s worked with before. Guess who it was? Yep, Carolina Cake Artistry! Mara connects us with Dayna and immediately we remember meeting them at the Carolina Bridal Fair. After exchanging a few emails, we scheduled our cake tasting.

 

The Cake Tasting

We wrote about our cake tasting experience a few posts ago, as a refresher, check it out here.

Vendor Spotlight: Your Wellness Coach

Contact Person: Maureen Carlomagno

Email: maureen@your-wellness-coach.com

Services Provided: Health and Wellness Coaching

Website: http://www.your-wellness-coach.com

 

How we met Maureen

After reading about us in Creative Loafing, Maureen sent us an email to introduce herself and her company. She explained that she had recently developed a coaching package especially for couples who were planning their wedding and that she would love to work with us and extend her new service to us for free!

Yes, our favorite word, FREE!

I don’t think five minutes passed before we were responding to her email for more details. Throughout the day, we exchanged a few more emails and scheduled our first meeting.

 

Our First Meeting

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Melinda’s smile says it all. Our first meeting with Maureen was great! There are so many things we could appreciate about Maureen. But here are a few that really resonated with us: she was kind, very knowledgeable, attentive and genuine. She listened and we could tell that she sincerely cared to learn more about us. And as you would expect from any coach, she was organized, direct and very thorough.

How thorough?

So thorough that Melinda didn’t have any questions after we wrapped up our meeting!

And that never happens.

 

The Coaching Package- The Intuitive Bride

Some couples seek pre-marital counseling to prepare them for marriage while others just jump the broom with their fingers crossed. Melinda and I are taking a different approach. For 8-weeks, we will work one-on-one with Maureen to address different topics like: Health History, Personality and Life Values Assessments, Goal Setting and Health Action Plan, Health Risks and Personal Biometric Information, Nutrition and Healthy Eating, Exercise, Objective Self-Review, Time Management, Stress Management, Social Support, Staying Motivated, and Positive Mindset.

This coaching package will equip us with tools and resources that we can use throughout our marriage. It will give Melinda and I an opportunity to grow in our knowledge of each other, because it’s true, you can be with someone for many years and still learn something new about them every day.

During one of our most recent coaching sessions with Maureen, we learned about our personality types. And although our personality types were quite similar, there were a few differences that we were able to identify. We both walked away with a better understanding of how we can communicate more effectively with each other. Now we have new knowledge that we will be able to apply in our everyday interaction.

But What If You’re Not Getting Married Right Now?

You can still use Maureen’s services! She offers both individual and group coaching packages that you can read more about here. She also conducts various health and wellness seminars in and around Charlotte. In fact, if you’re in the Charlotte area this weekend, Maureen will be hosting a free “How To” Online Shopping Class at Harris Teeter. We’ve included the details below:

Seminar: Harris Teeter “How To” Online Shopping Class: Learn how to shop faster, smarter and healthier

Date: Saturday, February 28, 2015

Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Location: Davidson Harris Teeter, 431 Peninsula Drive, Davidson, NC 28036

Topics Covered In The Class: Learn how to shop from the comfort of your home or office, shop online in under 30 minutes, then pick up your order in 10 minutes or less, learn tips to stick to your grocery budget, save valuable time in your busy schedule, unlimited shopping available, convenient pick-up times, new tips and tricks on the Harris Teeter app and website and how to make eating healthier easier.

Register Here: http://goo.gl/forms/rhihP2lxSi

 

Vendor Spotlight: Celebration Sounds Entertainment

 

 

Celebration Sounds

 

 

Contact Person: Rick Hyburg

Email: Rick@CelebrationSoundsNC.com

Services Provided: Wedding and Special Event DJ Services

Website: http://www.celebrationsoundsnc.com

How we met Rick

For months we sought a DJ for our wedding and just couldn’t find the right fit for us. This all changed when our good friend, Mara, introduced us to Rick at Celebration Sounds Entertainment. After a few Facebook exchanges and a quick browse of his website and Facebook page, we eagerly scheduled a consultation with him.

The Consultation

When we first started our wedding planning journey, we both identified what elements of the wedding were most important to us. The number one thing on Melinda’s list was the DJ. So you can imagine how excited she was during this consultation. We were prepared. We even had a list of interview questions, as seen below, that we printed from our wedding planning binder.

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What really resonated with us about Rick was that he had a sincere desire to learn more about us, first. Before we discussed his services, we spent time learning about one another. He shared his professional experience, explained how this whole process would work and even gave examples of various success stories that developed our confidence in his DJing abilities. He was professional, engaged, funny and didn’t mind answering the 150,498, 239, 398 (okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration) questions Melinda had.

We knew we had found the right DJ

cabbage patch

This is our celebratory cabbage patch dance

On our special day, Celebration Sounds Entertainment, will handle the ceremony and reception music. We cannot share too much, because we want our guests to be surprised, but we’ll say this much… This will not be your Grandmother’s wedding ceremony and reception. And Celebration Sounds Entertainment is making it possible!

Vendor Spotlight: Six Cents Photography

6ix-cents-photography-logo

Contact Person: Michael Dickerson

Email: Mike@SixCentsPhotography.com

Services Provided: Photography- Wedding photography, portrait photography, landscape photography, fine art photography

Website: http://www.SixCentsPhotography.com

How we met Michael 

Last week, our event planner and amazing friend, Jameka Whitten, CEO of JSW Media Group, shared a message with us from Michael that read:

“I’m offering discounted wedding packages to all gay, lesbian and transgender couples who want to get married and have had to put up with this inequality bullshit for so long. I understand that I may lose some clients due to this, solely based upon their bigotry, but those are the exact clients I do not want or need. If you have a friend or family member interested, please send them my way. Thanks and please share. ‪#‎LoveIsLove‬

2.5 seconds later…

We were on Michael’s Facebook page asking ourselves, “Is this real?” To our surprise, Michael had posted another status that read:

“**UPDATE the first gay/lesbian/transgender couple wanting to get married who contacts me…I WILL SHOOT THEIR WEDDING FOR FREE. NO TRICKS. NO GIMMICKS. Share that. ‪#‎LoveIsLove‬

It was on… 

We immediately sent a Facebook message and email introducing ourselves. And it wasn’t long before Michael got back to us saying, “Hey Ciara, y’all win, congrats!!!  I will contact you tomorrow and find out some more details.”  

We won, we won, we fainted (not really, but we were close)… 

When we spoke with Michael, we knew he was a God-sent. He took a genuine interest in us and making sure that our special day was special. He was compassionate, professional, kind. Our entire conversation with Michael was a breath of fresh air. And the truth is, people like Michael restore our faith in humanity. They encourage us, strengthen us and give us the confidence we need to live authentically. And here’s the beautiful part, Michael’s act of kindness is completely selfless. In fact, when we mentioned how we would like to spotlight his company on our blog, Michael emphasized how he wasn’t looking to gain anything from this. He saw an opportunity to use his position in the world to make a difference, to take a stand.

On our special day, Six Cents Photography, will provide all of the photography for free. And if you take a look at his website, you know the photography will be beautiful. But beyond the free photography, Michael has given us a gift that will stick with us long after our wedding day. He has given us confirmation. His act of kindness confirmed that no matter how much hatred we encounter in the world, no matter what people say about us, love always wins. And God will send you people, like Michael, as a reminder when you need it the most.