#WeddingWednesday with 23 City Blocks

Mike Cassimatis Photography

We had the pleasure of chatting with Kennedy Calton and the amazing team at 23 City Blocks and got the inside scoop on everything there is to know about catering for your wedding!

For those who are just hearing about 23 City Blocks, how would you describe your team and what you offer for weddings and events?

23 City Blocks Catering provides flawless execution for all styles and types of events. From corporate meetings and luncheons to weddings, no event is left without a signature touch. Executive Chef Nicholas Miller and his talented culinary team work with the freshest local ingredients, delivering delicious tastes with artistic flair. Catering has never tasted so pretty.

23 City Blocks Catering also owns and operates The Caramel Room at Bissinger’s and Lumen Private Event Space. The Caramel Room at Bissinger’s blends equal amounts of chic and sweet all encompassed within a working chocolate factory, give a feeling of an intimacy and magic to a wedding of any size. Lumen Private Event Space’s modern style and contemporary flair present a timeless-designed event space with 20-foot ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, and a customizable LED light system all encompassed in an architecturally stunning historic location.

Add caption

Food and drink have always been a crucial part of wedding festivities, where would you suggest for a bride to start in choosing their wedding caterer?

Not all caterers offer ranges of services or allow you to personalize your event from a food and beverage standpoint, so knowing what you want or at least having an idea makes the process much easier to narrow down a caterer. For example, if you know you would like your guests to enjoy their meal family-style, you’ll want to do research to determine which caterer would be the best fit. Preliminary phone calls to see who you are getting to know, who is getting to know you, and who you are vibing with can help make the overall experience more enjoyable and decision easier.

When choosing event staff what are some questions that every bride should ask?

How many staff are on hand the night of? What is your ratio of bartender to guests and servers to guests? What style of service do you provide? (For example, some caterers use a synchronized service where all guests at one table are served at the same time. If this is something you would prefer at your reception, you should make sure that is something your caterer can do! 23 City Blocks Catering offers synchronized service as a standard which is a rarity in the St. Louis market.) How familiar are your staff with the space? Do you have to hire temporary staff often from outside agencies? Here at 23 City Blocks Catering, we have a staff who has been trained extensively and has thorough experience and knowledge of the level of service we provide to our guests.

What advice would you give in order to ensure that caterer, event staff, and bridal party are all on the same page and that prep and wedding day go smoothly?
Green Wall Studio

Effective communication is the biggest key to making sure that all involved parties are informed of the flow of the evening. Food service is a major facet so coming up with a general food & beverage timeline and plugging in other moments into that is a great starting point. The timeline of the night, like when you begin hors d’oeuvres and when dinner starts, is totally up to you! Just make sure that you are communicating those times with your event manager so that the culinary team can be on the same page! To allow you, your bridal party, and family to relax and just enjoy the evening, we also recommend looking into hiring a wedding planner. Planners have a variety of package sizes including month-of and day-of execution which is perfect for those brides that can handle the big things!

When putting together an event, what are some crucial elements to tell your caterer?

Everything! This is not a joke. Your caterer would rather have every detail possible. If Great Uncle Bob has a tendency to grab the mic to make a speech at random moments, let us know so we can be prepared with you! Food allergies, how many dances, how many speeches, will there be a blessing, is an extended dinner time important or would you rather just get straight to the dance floor? The list goes on and on. Just be open and honest with your event manager. If they send you updates to the timeline make sure to review it and make sure everything is exactly what you were expecting!

What is one important aspect of wedding catering that most brides overlook?

What kind of food do you and your soon to be spouse want at your wedding? While it is perfectly fine to want your guests to have a great experience, this night is about you as a couple! If you have foods that are special to you, your guests will enjoy the personal touches and will be sure to remember the night for years to come!

In your own words, what would you say makes 23 City Blocks Catering unique?

The relationships we build with our clients. With the first step into our door, you become a part of our crazy little family. From the culinary team to service staff to your event manager, we are there with our clients every step of the way through 42 layout changes [true story!] to sharing a meal at your tasting to packing the car at the end of the evening and saying our final congratulations. We become not only your vendor, but your friend, confident, and person to rant about your crazy mother-in-law. We strive to take that vision in your head then go above and beyond to make it happen for you because it’s just the kind of people we are. No one else has a love like you and your spouse, and you deserve to be treated as so.

Heather Roth Fine Art Photography
23 City Blocks works with many of St. Louis’ best vendors and venues in the wedding industry, what advice would you give to a couple to help them find the best combination of teams to create their perfect wedding day?

Simply ask questions! What is most important is that the vendors and venues can accomplish what the couple is visualizing their wedding day being, and your venue coordinator//catering managers get the opportunity to work with tons of killer crews so they have a wealth of information they are willing to share. The wedding industry in St. Louis is filled with talented professionals who are eager to work together to create these perfect days, but each one has their own style. Though a florist may do phenomenal work, they may not match up with your panache which wouldn’t be the most harmonizing for your big picture. Find vendors that you connect with and your event is sure to be a dream come true.

There are so many different needs with it comes to food for a crowd. How do you think a couple should handle the needs of their guests, such as gluten-free, allergy conscious, sugar-free etc. and still maintain a menu that both the couple and their guests will love?

Meeting certain guest’s special needs doesn’t affect the menu of the couple’s dreams around here at all! Our culinary team is great about putting together dishes fit for all needs that we provide outside of the couple’s menu. They just simply should let us know about these guests ahead of time and we got them covered!

Specialty cocktails are all the rage these days, is that something 23 City Blocks can help a couple create and how can a couple make their own version unique to them?

Our Vice President of Operations, Nick Jovanovic, is a master behind the bar and loves crafting new creations! Couples can easily give him an idea of what they like and he is sure to whip up a specialty cocktail they will want to sip on all night.

Every wedding has a theme, how does 23 City Blocks go about incorporating the theme into your catering and event staff?

We love creating custom menus and themes give us a perfect reason to be a little extra creative! Our amazing culinary team and executive chef are the best and really work together with the event manager to create a menu that brings the couple’s theme to life.

What would you suggest that a couple be prepared for with a tasting?

Tastings typically are about 3 months out from the big day. During this time, they will be able to taste hors d'oeuvres, main entrees, desserts, and drinks with hopes of agreeing on a set menu! It’s harder than you think with how delicious everything is! In addition to tasting the menu, we like to use this little get-together to look at linens, table set-up, and any other last final details that need to be nailed down.

Presentation is half the fun of catering and events, so many little details that all come together in the end! But many brides can be overwhelmed with planning all those tiny details, how do you handle this?

Just as it is important for the event staff and bridal party to communicate, communication is huge among all remembers of the 23 City Blocks Catering team. From the moment the event is being conceptualized, we work hard to keep every member of the team in the loop on every detail, large or small!

Shadow & Light
Out of all the events that happen in this industry we all have our favorites that we get to be a part of. What is one of your favorite moments at The Caramel Room?

OH, THERE ARE TOO MANY TO EVEN CHOOSE FROM! We will say that we did recently have a surprise proposal at The Caramel Room that was just too fun to be a part of. Our Vice President of Marketing, Amanda Bradham-Little, connected with the now-fiancĂ© in October 2016 and after months of planning and preparation we got to see the magic unfold on the terrace as he pulled off the biggest surprise of his life. It was extra exciting as “How He Asked’ was on-site live streaming the entire thing!

The Lumen is such a dynamic space, what advice can you give to brides to fully take advantage of all the Lumen has to offer?
White Klump Photography

Lumen offers a ton of ways to really show off the personality of the bride and groom! We LOVE the niche wall in the space that allows the couple to really do whatever they want. Some couples will use it to display pictures while others will place little mementos that are special to them! Oh, and of course the customizable LED system allows for the couple to really set the mood of the space fit for their event.

23 City Blocks is running a campaign 23 reasons to love 23 City Blocks, what are your top 5 favorite reasons that every couple will love?

Picking only 5 is almost impossible! One thing that we really value and love about our company is the service we offer. We like to think that our service standards are fit for royalty and that is exactly how we strive to treat our clients from the moment they inquire.

To find out more about 23 City Blocks, The Caramel Room at Bissinger’s and the Lumen Private Event Space click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment