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Food | Manolo for the Brides - Part 4
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DIY Soda Wedding Favors or Reception Seating Cards

soda wedding favors

How cute are these itty-bitty bottles of soda with custom labels? Mike 78 recently posted an easy-peasy DIY pop bottle tutorial – with pics! – over at 100 Layer Cake. She suggests using them as reception seating cards, but brides and grooms could bottle just about anything (juice, cider, champagne, local water, etc.), slap labels on them per her instructions, and give them away as wedding favors. Maybe not for a chilly wintertime wedding, but imagine how grateful your guests would be to find themselves in possession of an ice cold drink custom made by you at your outdoor summer wedding or unseasonably warm springtime affair!

It’s a Piece of Cake…Maybe

Here at Manolo for the Brides, we are not shy of DIY. Our attitude is more or less ‘if you really think you can do it, why not do it?’ If you know how to sew, we see no reason you couldn’t consider making your own gown. If you can cook, we can absolutely see you doing self-catering. If you’re good at design, we think it’s a great idea to design and print your own invitations. We don’t often give instructions, but we encourage considering your own talents in creating your own wedding.

Me? I love to bake, and I’m really good at it. All the same, I never considered making a tiered wedding cake and decorating it myself. Why? Because while my cakes taste amazingly good, they are not ever pretty. I put the effort into the flavor. Decoration doesn’t come easy to me. I’m not good at prettying up my plates. If I competed on Top Chef, they’d throw me out for my sloppy plates about challenge two. I would never dream of giving you instructions on constructing and decorating a wedding cake…but there are plenty of sites out there with everything you need if you want to try making your own wedding cake.

Orange: It’s Not Just for Halloween Anymore

My mother always said orange was her favorite neutral. If there’s one thing I learned at her knee, it was that her eye for color was impeccable. These days, orange is my favorite neutral, too.

Oh I know it’s a bright, aggressive color. I know a little can go a long way. I also know it goes with and brings out the best in a wide variety of colors. I also know it’s a wonderful color for a happy celebration like a wedding.

Not convinced? Take a look under the cut at the cheery gallery of orange wedding details I’ve put together. Please note that there is not a single one that looks like Halloween.


Pretty Tasty

Brides and grooms who choose to incorporate flowers into their reception menus more often than not turn to that old standard, the wedding cake decorated with blooms that match the bridal bouquet or reception table centerpieces. And as common as it is to see cakes with edible flowers like roses, violets, pansies, or lilacs, go to enough weddings and you’ll eventually see non-edible flowers on the cake as well. These are removed before the cake is served… in fact, most floral embellishments on wedding cake are removed before serving since not that many flowers taste really good on wedding cake unless sugared first.

flowers as food

I said “on cake” because there is no rule stating that flowers must be used on or in desserts. Cooking with flowers is coming back into vogue and has a long history. Flowery cookery can be traced back to ancient Rome, China, India, and the Middle East. Edible flowers were particularly popular in the Victorian era during Queen Victoria’s reign. And now edible flowers are starting to appear in dishes at wedding receptions.

edible flowers

I think it’s a fun (and potentially delicious) idea that can add a little pizazz and personality and color to a reception meal. If you go this route, make sure your caterer has some experience working with or cooking with flowers to avoid things like, oh, food poisoning or pesticide poisoning. That’s important, since even though there are plenty of edible flowers, not all of them are grown to be eaten. Stick to organically-grown blossoms or blooms grown specifically for human consumption.

flowers as food 2

Thinking about DIYing your wedding menu? Rosalind Creasy’s book Recipes from the Garden has plenty of recipes featuring fresh flowers, from stuffed zucchini blossoms to vibrantly colorful fresh salads.

edible flowers 2

Brides and grooms not putting together their own reception lunches or dinners can still approach their caterers with floral recipes they’ve found in cookbooks and online. SheKnows has recipes for things like rosemary flower biscuits and pansy herb salad. No matter who is doing the cooking, be sure they know that flowers should be used sparingly in recipes since most blossoms function like herbs. They can have strong flavors (think spicy or minty) and can also be difficult to digest in large quantities.

eating flowers

Doesn’t that look lovely… and yummy, too?

Wedding Food For Thought

Oh, fancy finger foods, how I love thee… how I arrive at each wedding reception I attend hoping that you shall make an appearance. How I sigh when I see the same old miniature quiches and scallops wrapped in bacon, which I cannot even eat for I am a vegetarian. My own dietary peccadillos aside, what is more satisfying that having just a touch of this and a smattering of that. I find it much more enjoyable than filling up on a platter of three portobello mushroom caps paired with a mountain of sauteed veg. And heck, even with my aversion to flesh, I can’t say that I don’t enjoy admiring meaty delights when they are artfully prepared and presented.


Teeny cheeseburgers are getting kind of played out, but I think they’d make a great addition to a backyard barbecue wedding. These are easy to DIY if you’re planning on having the grill play a central roll in your reception eats, but remember that you’ll have to designate someone to man the fire.


Why You Should Always Eat a Little Something Before the Wedding

On the morning of my wedding, my stylist looked me straight in the eye and said “Honey, a glass of champagne and a bite of a muffin do not breakfast make.” Guests have it so easy, sitting there in pews or folding chairs while the bride, groom, and their attendants stand stock still in dress shoes for the duration of the wedding ceremony.

Unless, that is, they fall over, like this groomsman, who probably did not have any breakfast. The temptation to skip the pre-wedding meal is always there… think of the bride or bridesmaid who wants to avoid a foodbaby or the groom or groomsman who is in too much of a rush to grab a bite. Unfortunately, some of us do not handle low blood sugar as well as others, and a fainting bridal party, while occasionally humorous, does not make for picturesque ceremony photos.

Brides and grooms, do yourselves a favor and bring a little snack with you to wherever it is you’re getting dressed and prepped for the wedding ceremony. Remind your bridesmaids and groomsmen that it’ll be a while before the reception meal is served, especially if you’re taking wedding photographs after the ceremony. Better yet, equip the bridal (and, uh, groomal?) chamber with a fruit plate or a platter of bagels for everyone, including your stylist, to nosh on while ties are tied and makeup is applied.

Inspiration for Ashley #1

As I mentioned in a post last week, two dear friends of mine will be getting married quite soon. Ashley and her fiance are planning a low-key, outdoorsy wedding on Labor Day weekend and have only just started to plan because they only just got engaged. In addition to offering congratulations, I offered to help out by finding wedding inspiration they might like. For most (if not all) of this week, I’ll be using Ashley’s own words as my inspiration. Without further ado, off we go!

The wedding will be at 3 pm, reception to follow at my parents’ place on the Snake River. It will be a HUGE ASS BBQ involving all manner of food. There will be impromptu dancing, all manner of unscripted toasting, motorboat/fishing rides up and down the river, 4-wheeling for the boys, a bottomless open bar, and a campfire. There will be fireworks at dusk and general merriment until the last person stumbles off to bed.


While it’s not quite fireworks at dusk, sparklers are a fun way for wedding guests to add a little light to the bride and groom’s special day. In this picture taken by emtboy9, sparklers become wedding decorations when taken out of their boxes and put in what looks like a flower pot. Ashley could up the ante by displaying sparklers in decorativevases at each table, perhaps as a centerpiece.


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