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Blog #6–Finding a caterer

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

How much does it cost to serve 150 guests dinner? Typically this is the first question a couple will ask.
Caterers usually have a few set budget packages, but 95% of bridal couples want to serve serve a menu that will be memorable and special for them. There are many details that need to be discussed before a price can be reached. So when you talk to a caterer be prepared with information that will help them develop a menu and a pricepoint that is within your budget.

1)Share with the caterer your food budget. This may change eventually, but a starting point is necessary.
2)What is the budget for the Bridal & Grooms cakes.
3)What venue are using for the reception?
4)Expected guest count
5)Are there any food allergies for you or your guests
6)Do you need China, stemware, flatware, etc.

Please keep in mind that caterering menus can have a wide range of prices–$20-$70pp. If you are on a
relatively tight budget here are a few tips that will help you keep the cost down:

1)Have the Cocktail hour and the dinner served buffet style. Passed Hors D’oeuvres and plated dinners
need twice or three times the amount of servers and this will significantly add to the total cost.
Buffets can be very beautifully presented. In fact 95% of the weddings we do are buffet style and are quite beautiful.

2)Choose less expensive menu items. Shrimp and Salmon are delicious, but are also significantly higher
in cost than Chicken, Brisket or Pork Loin.

3)Keep the cake decorations simple. A simply decorated cake can be around $4+pp. Very intricate design
work on a cake can cost $6-$8pp or more.

4)Consider using plastic ware instead of China. There are very nice plastic ware options in the market
these days and this can save quite a bit of money.

Just remember we are here to help make your day a wonderful and memorable for event for you.

Happy Tastings!

Laura Eliel
Bittersweet Cakes & Catering

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Beautiful Weddings on a Shoestring Budget

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

We are sorry for the lack of a post this past Thursday. But due to the wildfires in Central Texas we have
postponed our post until this week. Thank you for your understanding.
Laura Eliel

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Blog #5–Finding a photographer

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

The key to a beautiful wedding is planning and communication. Too many times I see the frustration in a
bride-to-be overwhelmed by the entire process. Know how to work with your vendors, do not micro-manage
your photographer, but do not compromise your expectations.
Here are some tips on how to get the best photography deals for your event.
1)Choose a photographer that has worked at the venue you have chosen. Often photographers that work repeatedly at a particular venue will offer unadvertised specials.
2)If the photographer you have chosen is booked ask them whom they would recommend. Often a recommendation will get you a discount, particularly if you fill a slot from a recently cancelled event.
3)They might also recommend a new and upcoming photographer that charges a “new photographer” price.
4)Consider choosing and off-peak time for your wedding. May/June & Holiday weddings are literally competing against each other so the prices will be higher.
5)Be a great client—Bridezillas pay the price for their attitudes and often loose alot of the extra perks photographers are willing to throw in items to the package because of a brides pleasant attitude.
6)Ask for them to make recommendations for other vendors.
7)Take care of your photographer at the event: Make sure they are fed, have safe place to store their equipment
8) when choosing a photographer be careful of choosing a buget priced person they are ofter a person that is looking to “expand their portfolio” and simply do not have the experience to capture your event wityh any quality and often do not have the equipment to do the job well.

9)Please remember that a photographers work is mostly done after the wedding is over and that these images become the most important part of your wedding memories. THey spend days in fromt of the computer going through images, retouching selections, enhancing and styling the final images, backing up files, formatting, creating an online gallery, etc…. Let them know that you appreciate all of the work they are doing.

By following these tips you will find that it is possible to get quality photography services foryour specific budget.

Joey Gallahan
JWG Photography | Design
Imaging and Photography Services
(512) 589-9807

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Blog #4—Do you need a wedding planner?

Friday, August 26th, 2011

8 Reasons to Hire a Wedding Planner

I have heard more than once, a bride that did not have a planner sigh and say “I wish I had hired a wedding consultant!”. It does not have to be a large wedding either to hire a planner, as small weddings have the same needs with logisitcs, assistance, set-up . . the list goes on.
Why Wedding Planning?

Reason # 1:

A Theme Is More Than A Hodgepodge of Great Ideas
Your ideas are fabulous. But they are only the foundation of your theme. Remember: They are only ideas and pictures ripped out of magazines. Brides have ended up blowing their budget on one item to the detriment of the whole wedding. This is where your wedding planner becomes your magician. Knowing all the tricks and resources, your wedding planner can create a theme that runs through the whole event. They see the whole picture. If budget is a constraint, they will advise you how to economize and still achieve a similar look.

Reason #2:

Is Your Budget A Guideline Or A Blueprint For Bankruptcy?
A budget is an essential part of your wedding planning. Even a million-dollar wedding has a budget. A budget will give you perspective and it will center you. It will be a great comfort to you when you want to know where you stand financially. Expenses tend to mount up quickly, and your budget will always give your a realistic assessment. I have witnessed brides being so out of control that they end up randomly buying items that have no rhyme or reason. That money could have been spent elsewhere to make the wedding a better experience for the guests. Being realistic about your budget is essential. Don’t fool yourself with a figure knowing you can go over it.  You will only be hurting your chances of selecting the best possible vendors. Your wedding planner is your accountant and will believe the budget you give them. They honestly try to work within your parameters. Therefore, decide on a realistic figure so your wedding planner can recommend the vendors who will deliver the best work within your budget.

Reason #3:

The Venue Event Manager
When the event manager from your venue tells you they can do your wedding planning, they are not lying. They will do everything under the sun to oversee everything they are responsible for; however, they are not responsible for 90 percent of the details that go into your wedding. Some brides are shocked when things go wrong. They thought their venue person would be on top of things. Not necessarily. If they have several events that day, they can’t be held responsible for letting you know your flowers haven’t arrived or your best man is held up in traffic. Imagine walking into a bald room instead of the floral intensive ballroom you paid for. Your wedding planner is your overseer. Their job is to make sure everything arrives on time and complete. If you have 15 tables, 13 centerpieces just won’t do. They will get the florist to fix it. If the videographer does not show up, they should be able to find a replacement for you. Things happen, but it is your wedding planner’s job to see that things are fixed and end up perfect. Your wedding planner is your fairy godmother.

Reason #4

Timelines And Other Annoying Details
Checklists. Do we know anyone who likes them? And timelines. “Who has time to think of these boring things? I’m getting married!” I recall one bride saying. Actually, you might not be getting married after all if the minister does not show up. Timelines are critical. Timelines are necessary. And timelines keep your wedding planner sane. They thrive on them. You, however, should never be subjected to them. These are the things a bubbling bride should be kept far away from. They will certainly kill the excitement.

Reason #5

Synergy Applies To Vendors Too
There are vendors who work so well together you almost get double your monies worth. Having a vendor with an attitude can affect everyone. Your wedding planner knows these things and will steer you in the right direction.  By involving your wedding planner in the selection of vendors from the invitations on, you will be guided down the path of success. After all, synergy is what we are striving for!

Reason #6

What Are The Rules?
Brides need a go-to person for etiquette, wedding-related questions, and to keep the planning timeline moving forward. All brides need a liaison to help keep emotions and relationships from straining during planning. Your wedding planner is a combination of Martha Stewart and Emily Post. Do you really have the time and inclination to research, answer, and solve the problem yourself?

Reason #7

Overtime Charges Accrue Faster Than Champagne Pours
One hour of overtime with a location site or photographer can cost you plenty! Everyone is on the clock and so is your wedding planner. The difference is your wedding planner is on your clock. They keep everything in motion so extra costs are avoided. In the end, your wedding planner is the most cost effective choice you can make.

Reason #8

Frazzled Is Not Fabulous
Wedding planning and the events that lead up to your day will be stressful. You should have one job only. Keeping yourself relaxed and living in the moment. You need time to take in and enjoy this special day. Be with your loved ones. Be happy. Be kind. And mostly, be assured that your wedding is going to be the most fabulous day of your life.
Yes, all weddings have glitches. And yours will, too. But your wedding planner will make sure you never have to deal with or see them. You may never even know anything out of the ordinary happened. And that is the sign that you are a genius at wedding planning. You started out with great ideas, hired a wedding planner to bring them to life, and sat back like a pampered princess on your wedding day accepting all the accolades that you deserve.
your intrepid Wedding Warrior, Christina
Wedding Warriors
eco chic events & design
Austin to San Antonio & the Hill Country between
101 FM 3237, Suite C, Wimberley TX
PO Box 2115, Wimberley TX 78676

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Blog #3 What Rental items do I need?

Sunday, August 21st, 2011

Drop down on your knee proposal at the location of your first date. Check.
Trying on one hundred twenty-three dresses at three different bridal boutiques. Check.
Budgeting for everything. Don’t forget the candles.
Imagining walking down the aisle at the venue of your drreams. Check.
I’ll try one of everything. Tastings with the area’s finest. Check.
Going over the budget.
Budget. Budget! Check.

Once you have a budget, then decide what is most important to you for your big day. If it’s food, find the best caterer you can afford, and have them customize a dinner for you. If it’s décor, splurge on linens and flowers. Specialty pieces. If it’s your grand exit, charter a hot air balloon flight.
But make it personally, yours.

When it comes to the rentals for your wedding, you should first figure out what your needs are. Visit with your venue and caterer to find out what they provide. If your venue provides tables and chairs and your caterer supplies the dishware, flatware, and glassware, you can check these items off your list.

Once you’ve determined what your needs are, then the fun can begin, and yes, you guessed it, it goes back to what is most important to you. To get the biggest bang for your buck, we often recommend splurging a little on your linens. For just a few more dollars per table, you really can change the entire look of the room. From a pin-tuck overlay to make the room more elegant to a burlap runner to add a little rustic elegance to the table, linens really are an inexpensive way to give your wedding a punch of color and style.

Most rental companies will either allow you to pick up your rental items, or you can pay to have them delivered and set-up. To be a super-saver, wrangle up some close friends and relatives and have them pick up the items for you for free. If this isn’t an option, or if you want as stress-free day as possible, work with the rental company and your venue to see if they will allow you to deliver and set-up the items during the rental stores business hours. This is always the least expensive route to go, and most venues in the area are easy to work with as well as long as they don’t have another event the day before or the day after.

Always look for deals. If you give yourself plenty of time in the planning process, you can wait for wedding vendors to run specials. Many vendors run discounts during bridal shows and during the non-peak seasons (roughly late June until August). So plan ahead, book early, and save.

Happy Planning!

Sweet Sunday Events

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Blog #2 Beautiful weddings on a shoestring budget-Finding a Venue

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

He asked the question, you said yes….so now what?

You may have had the vision in your head since you were 4 of what your big day would look like. Or you could be suddenly overwhelmed by all of the things that just got added to your “to do “list. Let’s be honest here….it is a big list. So lets start with the basics and you will suddenly see the 10 mile “to do “list shrink down to, oh’ about a mile.

First the guest list. Believe it or not the hardest task on the list. I always suggest to have you’re A, B, and C list. From here you can use your list to help you decide on a budget.

So you have a good idea of where you’re budget stands and the size of space you need to be searching for. Now it’s time to create a list of locations that fit in the high end and the low end of your budget. I say high end and low end because you will find that even if it’s in the high end it still might work for your budget.

Look for what is included in the rental rate of the location. If time in the space is all that your rental rate covers, then you will have added expenses for chairs, tables, linens and other items. By choosing a location that includes these necessities then you are saving a big chunk of you budget. It is also a big added bonus when “smaller” items are included such as votive candle holders, bathroom baskets. etc. All those “smaller items” add up and often are not thought about till the last minute.
How many hours are you able to use the space? Will you have time to get ready, have a ceremony and a reception? If you wish to have more time, what is the hourly rate to add hours? Do they allow you to provide your own alcohol for a fee? If you plan on serving alcohol, then being able to purchase it yourself can save you hundreds. You will always need to pay a corkage fee of some sort that is required by the location, but look for other perks that the venue offers when it comes to your bar. Do they provide a space or table for the bar, is the bartender included?

Vendor selection is a crucial part of the planning process. Being able to choose your own vendor can be very beneficial to your budget. Look for packages deals. Vendors will often team up to offer special priced packages that are all inclusive. Packages are always a great deal and it allows you to cross off several items from your “to do” list in one swoop.

Staffing. Even if you are on a budget you don’t want the guest experience to suffer. Let’s also be honest, no one you know wants to take out trash, mop floors or bus the tables, after your wedding, no matter how much they love you. You want to look for service staff that is included in your package or in your catering contract, in the end it is priceless. These are the folks that keep your reception going and you and your guests happy.

Deposit and Payment Schedules. No one wants to think of a cancellation for any reason, but sometimes things happen and a date needs to be cancelled. The majority of locations have a non- refundable deposit, in the event that a date cancels. However, if that is your $1,000 never to be seen again it can be very upsetting. Look for smaller deposit requirements so in the unfortunate event that you have to cancel you are not loosing your mortgage payment. I also think that setting up a payment plan where you decide what the amount will be is a great way to chip away at the bill. We let our clients set up their own payment schedule and then send out reminders that record the payments and balances.

In a perfect world the word “budget” would never be used in the same sentence as wedding. But, let’s face it…nowadays a lot of us are paying for our own weddings. However, even on a budget, you can have the beautiful and perfect wedding of your dreams.
Happy Planning!
Jillian Findlay-Laage
Cedar Bend Events Manager

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Beautiful Weddings on a Shoestring budget

Friday, August 5th, 2011

In todays economy everyone is trying to downsize, cut costs and have more for less. As a bride you want the fairytale wedding. The one perfect day. Everybody’s vision of this day is different.
For the first time bride this can be a bumpy road filled with many questions, decisions,indecision and frustration of where to turn and how to fit all the pieces of the puzzle together inorder to achieve
your wedding day perfection, without going broke.
Over the next 7 Thursdays you will be able to read blogs written by local wedding vendors. They will help you streamline your ideas, focus your thoughts, prioritize and be better prepared to ask the appropriate questions when you meet with people in the wedding industry; and to understand what are our expectations of you.
The vendors that will be participating in this blog are also eager for your feedback, so that together we can achieve the perfect wedding day.

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Bridal Show July 23rd

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

The Villa on Lake Georgetown        512-869-9292          info@villaonlakegeorgetown.com

Sat. July 23rd 12-3pm

You will have a chance to experience some wonderful menu items and cakes

Look forward to seeing everyone!

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Open house at Stinger studio

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

We had a phenomenal open house at the Stinger Art and Framing Studio in Georgetown this past weekend.

Great Art, Great Food.

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10% Discount on Catering!!!

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Receive a 10% discount on any catering order, over $2,000 booked by June 10th, 2011, for events in August or September 2011.

Please contact us at 512-917-5223

(this discount does not apply to wedding cakes or petit fours)

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Bittersweet Cakes and Catering
Serving Austin, Round Rock, Georgetown and environs in Central Texas
512-917-5223   laura_bittersweetcafe@yahoo.com