Spotlight on Marcia Selden Catering

For over 30 years, Marcia Selden Catering has been creating unique events with an accent on extraordinary food, creativity, and highly polished professional service. We sat down with Managing Partner and Executive Chef Robin Selden to learn more about the family business!

Can you tell us how your mother became inspired to begin Marcia Selden Catering?

I always start by saying that my mom was an entrepreneur before the word was in the dictionary. When Martha Stewart published Entertaining forty years ago, Marcia exclaimed “I can do that,” and that’s exactly what she did!

She spent the next 20 years cooking for countless dignitaries and celebrities, catering everything from intimate dinner parties and cocktail receptions, to galas for thousands in New York City. At this point, her business was booming and she tapped me and Jeffrey (my brother) for help. He was on a fast track in the New York Luxury Hotel world and I was fairly happy in my job, but we figured that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. The rest is history as we grew the business to twelve times its size in revenue and staff and moved to our current home at 65 Research Drive in Stamford.

Being an entrepreneur is all about wearing multiple hats. How did each family member find their perfect spot within the business?

Jeffrey joined us the summer of 2011, leaving the New York Palace Hotel as the second-in-command for their Food & Beverage department. He brought a wealth of business knowledge to the company along with his NYC Catering contacts and clients, so we felt that it was important to have a presence in the city. In the summer of 2014, we took over a floor of a building on 38th street to dedicate to our NYC offices, kitchen, and venue called Above Twelve. As a Managing Partner, Jeffrey wears a variety of hats and is responsible for Sales and Operations along with our beverage program called Liquid Kitchen.panna cotta

I am responsible for the Culinary Team, our Creative Operations team, and all of our Marketing efforts. I’ve found that I’m happiest when creating our advertising campaigns and working on research and development for new recipes. Mom is the “name on the door” and she is responsible for whatever she wants on any given day—much deserved after working on building this amazing company for 40 years. She is the creative force that pushes us all to do our best and she reminds us to never accept mediocrity. She is the greatest mentor to us all!

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Could you describe the happenings in your kitchen on the morning of a big event?

Like the opening night of a Broadway show– very organized and perfectly executed mayhem!

What looks fresh to you this year as we head into the summer months?

I’m most excited for the local farm fresh produce.  I’ve never met an Heirloom tomato that I didn’t love!

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Is there a recent food trend that you’re glad to see disappear?

Yes– Activated charcoal!

Is there a classic you’d love to see come back in vogue?

I would love to put a modern twist on traditional dishes like Chicken a la King and Beef Stew.

You’ve just served up another successful wedding reception on a lovely Saturday evening. What does your perfect recovery Sunday look like? How do you treat yourself?

I’d definitely head to the local diner for breakfast before my “real” job as a parent kicks in. I’ll hit usually the grocery store, do laundry, help with homework, and then maybe treat myself to a pedicure.

And when you’re cooking for yourself, what’s your favorite comfort food?

I love anything cooked out on the grill and big pots of soup chock full of veggies (usually with beans and quinoa).  I’m also obsessed with breakfast and will never turn down an awesome omelet!
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Imagine you’re marooned on a desert island. What three kitchen tools would you like most to have with you and why?

  • My favorite Stainless Steel mixing bowl because I can prepare anything in it and even eat out of it and it won’t get damaged by the sea water.
  • My Shun Chef’s Knife which is my favorite, “can’t live without it,” tool in my kitchen
  • My Porcelain Enamel Coated Cast Iron Casserole (with the lid) because I can use it to boil water, cook soup, sauté, braise and even fry if I’m lucky enough to start with a few pantry items like oil!

 

Spotlight on Little Red Fox Bakery

Kristi Tursi of Little Red Fox Bakery knows how to please the eye just as much as the palate. Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles recently grilled her about celebrating with sweets throughout the seasons.

 

In just a few words, could you tell us about your bakery? 

I’m the owner of Little Red Fox Bakery located in Essex, Vermont.  What’s with the name, you may ask? When I was six I told my family that I was the owner of Little Red Fox Bakery, thus a dream has become a reality. The majority of my business specializes in ‘Celebration Cakes’ for weddings and ‘Elevated Events’ as the component of my bakery that focuses on all catered events. I incorporate locally sourced and ‘Made in Vermont’ ingredients in all of my bakery goods. I’m lucky enough to be able to use maple syrup that is produced down the road from where I live!

I’m also a food stylist and photographer with ongoing assignments throughout New England and the New York Metropolitan area where most of my work is based. Yes, I focus on the visual presentation, but I live by this rule: Flavor Leads Style.

 

You’re living in a perfect world: So many of us love to bake and everyone loves baked goods! How did you discover this passion?

I’ve been baking since I was a little girl, but the road to opening my bakery and catering business wasn’t a straight route! My mother’s side of the family is Hungarian, so I was fortunate enough to start my baking adventures with some of the world’s most classic recipes. Holidays, birthdays, and special occasions were all opportunities to learn my beloved recipes. I’m not embarrassed to say that on a recent trip to Budapest, Vienna, and Paris, I sampled pastries for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

I studied psychology and art history in college and even pursued post-undergraduate work in those fields, but my love for baking and the desire to run a business ultimately led me to opening the doors to Little Red Fox Bakery.  I love the exactness and precision of bakery life paired with the creative freedom and design work for wedding cakes and sweets.

And you’ve a great deal of experience as a food stylist down here in New York City?

I worked for a few luxury e-commerce sites and quickly segued into food photography and styling assignments–It’s an aspect of my business that I truly love. My work was recently published in PDN (Photo District News) for food photography and I also have ongoing collaborations with brands such as CARGO Cosmetics and Fjallraven for styling and photo work.

 

If you’re planning sweets for a large event, logistically speaking, what is a good direction to go in? And what types of treats might not go so smoothly?

For large scale events, I always work to appeal to everyone’s unique tastes and requirements; treats for people with nut allergies, some gluten free selections, and a show stopper type of dessert to add an element of surprise. I generally try to go with things that tease the palate, so I include a variety of textures: gooey, crunchy, smooth, and fluffy, to name a few. I also always like to include savory sweets, like rosemary or caraway biscotti. The latter goes well with wine at cocktail parties, so you can say that I cover the taste sensations that begin the meal and those that end it.

 

We’d love to hear more about some of the work you’ve done for weddings.

I specialize in wedding cakes, favors, and full service catering under the part of my business known as ‘Elevated Events.’ I love making wedding cakes that incorporate unique details, like calligraphed messages on wafer paper affixed to the surface.

A current trend is to have a dessert table in place of a cake. Brides (and grooms) come in for a consultation and talk about all their favorite memories of getting to know each other and the foods associated with those memories. We like to curate a menu that is truly a culinary reflection of their courtship.

 

Spring is just around the corner. What tastes and textures do you think are best served as people tire of heavy winter foods?

People generally want things with fruit and palettes that are reminders of the awakening of spring on the landscape. Small fruit tarts, fruit mousses in mini chocolate cups, and mini cheesecakes topped with fruit tend to be popular choices. On the more elaborate and fluffy side, we have meringues, a crowd favorite. They are feather light, perfectly sweet, and customizable to pretty much any flavor profile.

 

A truly elegant show stopper is a layered mocha dacquoise cake, which includes layered hazelnut meringue with mocha butter cream. A Spanish Windtorte, a Baroque looking construction of fancy meringue piping, is also excellent as it can be topped or filled with a pastry cream and seasonal fruits and berries – the perfect transition from decadent holiday treats!

 

What goodies do you think can keep cool in the summer heat?

I love trifles. The flavors are so versatile, and they can be made in large or small scale; it’s the ‘just right’ amount of cake to cream to fruit ratio! I also love fruits tarts and shortcakes, both of which incorporate fruit and can be made on the lighter side for those 90+ hot, humid days.

Last year, we did an event held in a non air-conditioned old barn at the edge of a river; think ninety degrees, humidity, and mosquitoes. We made a lemon three-tier cake with lemon and lavender infused pastry cream filling. It was a semi-naked cake that we adorned with frosted berries and mint leaves. On the side, I had chilled raspberry champagne-soaked watermelon mini cubes on a stick—they were almost as popular as the cake, maybe more so!

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And how is chocolate best served in the summer?

Hopefully not melted! I think a ganache tart can be served in hot and humid weather quite well.  My two most popular flavors in the summer incorporate orange blossom or lavender; both have a hint of flavor that is balanced by the semi sweetness of the chocolate. I love to garnish the tarts with edible flowers—always a gorgeous finishing touch for tying in the color scheme of a wedding. Time management and organization are key when baking and presenting food, especially when it’s warm. In summer weather, a cooler or two may displace diamonds as a girl’s best friend.

 

As fall returns, what ingredients do you like to bring forward from the back of the pantry?

Fall is one of my busier times for weddings and catered events, so I created a theme called ‘perfect pairings’ to help those planning a Fall wedding with some level of continuity among their sweet and savory choices! I tend to reach for nutmeg, cinnamon, or even smoked maple! I love mulled cider, as it pairs wonderfully with cider doughnuts and apple pies. As a Vermont-based baker, it goes without saying that I sweeten my desserts with maple syrup and maple sugar any chance I get. I think a dark maple syrup provides for the best pronounced flavors in my pumpkin pies, butter creams, and compotes! 15099470_1475730969123730_2837803386319929344_n

I also love chestnuts. I include a chocolate chestnut ganache tart as a holiday selection and I make Chestnut Mignons, a Hungarian specialty with chestnut cream, chocolate, and rum shaped into a chestnut shape and enrobed in chocolate and mocha couverture.

 

For winter holiday entertaining, whether it’s a cozy get together following an afternoon of ice skating, or a more formal holiday affair, what could we surprise our guests with?  

Who doesn’t love to fawn over a dessert table? For a small, casual gathering (after skating, say, by a roaring fire),  I would have a menu that includes cinnamon hot chocolate paired with Belgian brownies and whipped cream, hot cider paired with maple churros, and piping hot mochas with chocolate éclairs filled with blood orange pastry cream. 16122724_271096073310002_9068248877664043008_n

For a formal affair, I love to present a crepes cream cake that looks like it has a thousand layers. Another favorite that I made for a Scandinavian event was the Princess cake; a green dome of pistachio marzipan adorned with delicate pink flowers covering layers of cake, pastry cream,  and lots of whipped cream.

 

In terms of classic recipes, what do you think never goes out of style?

A classic genoise cake, which is a French-style cake that serves as the foundation for simple jelly rolls and many elaborate pastries. It is perfect ‘as is,’ but even better as the cake layers on a scrumptious wedding cake. A genoise holds up incredibly well year-round and can be made with ingredients that a home baker will have in their kitchen.

And when the ovens have cooled and you close up shop for the day, how do you like to spend your down time?

I live in Vermont for a majority of the year and love getting outside to enjoy the Green Mountains! From November through April, my skis are by the front door so I can literally step outside, don my skis, and off I go! In the summer months, I turn into a kayaker. I’m also the happy owner of a German Shepherd puppy, so hiking, trail running, and sailing on Lake Champlain are perfect departures from a chaotic day of baking and decorating (and it keeps the puppy happy)! My time in nature keeps me focused and serves as a beautiful work/life balance! When I’m in the city, I walk everywhere–I’ve been known to walk from SoHo to the UES. I love the contrast of solitude and city buzz. I think art and beauty and truth are found in that contrast.

 

Spotlight on Double G Events

Designer Maggie Brucker of Double G Events knows how to throw a perfect party! Recently, Maggie graciously indulged Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles with a delightful dose of her wit and wisdom.

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We adore your work! How were you first drawn into this beautiful business?

Thank you so much for your kind words! I actually got into this industry “by accident,” though I always knew I wanted to do something creative for my career. As I was growing up, I took theater and dance classes, voice lessons, performed in plays, painted, and more. I went to college for Interior Design thinking I would open up my own design firm some day, but I realized that it wasn’t for me after working in the industry for two years.  I then did what every other 24-year- old college graduate did when they didn’t have a job and started bartending at my friend’s restaurant. The restaurant soon started to offer off-site event catering and my friend asked me to help, thus my love for events and weddings was born!

After a few years with my friend’s catering company, I was offered a position as the Event Planner for Barteca Restaurant Group (Bartaco, Barcelona Wine Bar), where I took on the role of planning and designing all in-house and off-site events. Six years later, I decided to open my own Event Planning and Design boutique and Double G Events was launched in 2010!

 

Your events are so fresh and spirited, yet so timeless. What’s the secret to striking this perfect balance?

You hit the nail on the head! There are so many talented planners and designers out there, and I am so lucky to be friends with most of the ones based in Connecticut–they really are my soul and support group. Being a solo entrepreneur, it’s wonderful to have these gals just a phone call or text away for some “water cooler talk” or comedic relief. Sometimes you just need someone to lean on who gets your industry!

With that said, we all offer similar services and need to be able to differentiate ourselves from each other. It took me a while to figure out my unique style through lots of soul searching, paying attention to the clothes I wore, how I decorated my home, and more. I came to realize that my style is timeless with a bit of unexpected edge. I try to stay away from trends because I want my clients to be able to look at their wedding 30 years later and still love it.

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When I work with brides, the word I say over and over again is “AUTHENTIC.” I ask them questions about how they spend their weekends, what shows they like, how they decorate their home, and more. Though Pinterest is helpful for aesthetic reasons, it tells me nothing about my couples and who they are personally. My goal when designing a wedding is for their guests to walk into the space and say, “I get it! This is totally Jane and John!” and understand why certain elements were chosen.

As you can see from all of these photos, every wedding is unique because every one of my clients has their own unique style, and our job is to bring that to their event.

 

Within an event design, what element can you never get enough of? And what aspect do you think is most impactful when used with restraint?

Lighting, lighting, LIGHTING! Lighting will change a room’s ambiance in a heartbeat and I always ask my clients to put aside splurge money for this purpose. I describe lighting as the “jewelry” of the event. We work with Shindig Lighting a ton, and they are always evolving with innovative chandeliers, bistro canopies– you name it! In one of our most recent weddings together at Truelove Farms, we used hand-made hanging Moroccan Chandeliers that they personally picked out during their trip to Morocco to ship back to the USA!

 

Are you noticing any trends that were prevalent just a few years ago that your more recent clients are not requesting?

I won’t lie, but I am SO happy the burlap and Mason jar trend is OVER! As a designer, there is only so much you can do with burlap, and it made every wedding look exactly the same.

 

Are they asking for anything that’s new and surprising you?

We’ve definitely noticed a trend towards having a less formal affair. Instead of plated 4-course meals, clients are interested in having interactive food stations or passing appetizers throughout the reception so that guests can easily mingle and dance as they please. We’ve also been seeing a trend towards brunch weddings (my favorite meal of the week) instead of traditional dinner weddings.

Our clients are always looking for venues that have that “wow” factor, i.e, industrial factories or airplane hangars. Those are super fun to design!

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You do a lot of work at the Connecticut shore. Is there a dream venue you’ve been longing to design for but just haven’t had the opportunity yet?

Our dream venues are always backyard tented weddings—they are so personal to us and our clients. It’s a blank slate to bring in anything that the clients want without worrying about whether the décor we bring in will clash with the surroundings.

 

You receive heaps of praise from delighted clients. When they write you the thank you note, what are the two or three things that you keep hearing for which you are most proud?

I am most proud when clients praise my amazing team. I am personally not one to be in the spotlight – it actually makes me a bit uncomfortable – which is why I think I like this job so much. The bride is the show and I can stay behind the curtain.

When a client praises my team, I smile from ear to ear because they are an extension of me and my work. It makes me feel like I’m doing a great job in teaching them what our brand stands for, and watching them grow makes me feel like a proud Momma!

Here are a few of the best compliments I’ve heard lately:

“We spoke with other planners and you were the friendliest!”

 “I’m not that worried about which venue we choose because I’ve seen your work and know you’re going to make it amazing!”

 “We did not pay you enough for what you did!”

 

When it’s time for you to relax and recharge, what’s your idea of a perfectly relaxing evening?

I travel to Colorado a ton; we are currently opening up a studio in Denver and there’s nothing like the mountain views. When I’m in Connecticut, I love going to farmers’ markets and estate sales, hosting dinners for friends, trying out new restaurants (food in the way to my heart), and taking my dog hiking in the woods.

And your ideal weekend escape?

There are so many options, but there’s nothing better than retreating to a cabin in the woods without cell service or email so that I can completely unplug at the end of a busy season!

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Photo Credits:
Trulove Farms Wedding
Location: Trulove Farms, Morris, CT
Planning + Design: Double G Events, Planning + Design
Photography: Athena Bludè Photography
Florals: Fleurescent
Tent: Abbey Tent + Party Rentals
Rentals/Linen: Peak Event Services
Vintage Rentals: Gather + Lounge
Lighting: Shindig Lighting
J House Greenwich Wedding
Location: J House Greenwich, Greenwich, CT
Planning + Design: Double G Events, Planning + Design
Photography: Sarma + Co.
Florals: Fleurescent
Rentals/Linen: Peak Event Services
Lighting: Shindig Lighting
Candlewood Lake Wedding
Location: Candlewood Lake Club, New Fairfield, CT
Planning + Design: Double G Events, Planning + Design
Photography: Andrew Henderson Photography
Florals: Fleurescent
Rentals/Linen: Peak Event Services
Lounsbury House Wedding
Location: Lounsbury House, Ridgefield, CT
Planning + Design: Double G Events, Planning + Design
Photography: Monika Photography
Florals: Truffles + James
Rentals/Linen: Party Rental Ltd. // Gather + Lounge

 

Spotlight on Virginia Edelson

Based in beautiful Aspen, Colorado, Virginia Edelson of Bluebird Productions creates unforgettable events for the experience of a lifetime. Ever conscious of her impact on our environment, Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles asked Virginia how she achieves so much while keeping the region so gloriously gorgeous!

 

 

  •  Seasonal Flowers – We recommend consulting with your floral designer to select flowers and greenery that is seasonal and sustainable. The environmental impact is less (transportation, fuel, keeping cool, etc) and the design feels more appropriate. Bonus points for using a floral designer who works with farmers to source flowers that limit the use of pesticides and herbicides!

 

  • Potted Plants – We suggest incorporating potted plants and trees into the design when appropriate. These potted components of a design can then be gifted, put into homes, planted or repotted and used in a different capacity. We adore cut blooms and can’t imagine a wedding without them… but mixing cut and arranged with potted is a lovely approach to lessen the impact on the land.

 

  • Compost florals (and food) at the event – We recommend composting any green products after an event. It may not be the glamorous part of an event to discuss,  but it certainly has a large impact on our landfills.  

 

  • Group Transportation – When venue appropriate, we recommend providing transportation for all of your guests to and from a wedding. This will cut down on the fossil fuels burned by many many cars.

 

  • Local Food – Not only does local food just taste better, it’s better for the environment and supports the local community.

 

 

Spotlight on Erica Beckman

Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles asked Erica Beckman of Clean Plate Pictures to tell us about her absolute favorite spots for engagement and wedding photos in and around New York City. 

  1. DUMBO/Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO are classic shooting locations, and for good reason. The bridge itself is iconic, and it’s absolutely stunning at sunrise. The DUMBO neighborhood has an amazing variety of environments in a a small, walkable area. With gorgeous views of the Manhattan skyline, tons of cool graffiti, and lots of cobblestone streets and alleyways, it’s ideal for getting lots of different locations. Even after shooting there for years, I always find something new!

 

  1. Vinegar Hill

Vinegar Hill is right next to DUMBO, so I usually shoot in both locations together. Vinegar Hill is such a colorful neighborhood; it’s filled with brightly painted doors and store fronts and lots of industrial brick and wood textures. It also has tons of my two favorite things: graffiti and vines!

 

  1. Fort Tryon Park

Fort Tryon Park is another hidden gem. Most people immediately think of Central Park when they want a green location in the city, but Fort Tryon is just as gorgeous – and usually a lot less crowded! The gardens there are stunning, especially in the spring, and there are amazing stone structures and steps (plus, it’s got incredible views of Hudson)!

 

  1. Rockwood Hall – Tarrytown, NY

If you’re willing to venture out of the city limits, Tarrytown is just a short train ride away and home to Rockwood Hall Park. The grounds of the former Rockefeller Estate overlook the Hudson River. The ruins of the old mansion are a great spot, and the park is full of these weeping trees that are dreamy to photograph.

 

  1. A Special Location

I love when clients suggest a new location to me. Photographing a location that’s special and unique for them makes the photos that much better, and it’s always a pleasure to find new places! Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City was suggested to me by a couple and I was so pleased to see how cool it was – full of awesome structures and with a gorgeous view of the city. Another couple invited me to their country home upstate where we got to shoot in this dreamy, woodsy atmosphere– we even found this amazing covered bridge in the area. I encourage everyone out there to think about spots that are special to you!

Erica BeckmanErica Beckman makes the experience of being photographed easygoing and fun, so couples look and feel happy and relaxed. She started Clean Plate Pictures 8 years ago with the goal of capturing the heart and soul of a celebration, recording the big events as well as unexpected candid moments. Today Erica runs her busy wedding photography business from her studio in the Hudson Valley, photographing weddings all over the Tri-State area.

Spotlight on Marcardin Calligraphy

We sat down with Heather Brock of Marcardin Calligraphy to talk about her beginnings as a calligrapher and how she became inspired to start her own company. 

Q: “Marcardin” is such a unique name. Can you please tell us the significance of why you chose that name for your company?

HB: The name Marcardin is very dear to me because it is the name of an old family estate located in Shelbyville, Kentucky that belonged to us for over 150 years. Much like other homes and farms of that era, the estate was named by its builder, Mark Hardin. Fast forward to the early 1990s and my family was faced with the tough decision to sell it [Marcardin Farms] once my Great Aunt passed away. Most of the family memorabilia was kept in the attic; old letters and notes penned by ancestors, including those from my great uncle Mark Hardin, dated back to around 1856. All of the letters feature beautiful pen and ink calligraphy, and as an adult, the penmanship is my favorite thing to exist from that attic. I’m very fortunate to have such richly documented family history to reflect on. Marcardin, which was once known as Marcardin Farms, is now calligraphy for me.

Q: When did you first learn calligraphy and how did you know that you wanted to do it as a career?

HB: I was probably 10 or 11 when I picked up any sort of calligraphy pen for the very first time. I remember mastering (or so I thought I did) any instructional books I could get my hands on, but I moved on with other art mediums as I grew up. In my 20s I decided to pick up a pen again to learn the refined skill of pointed pen calligraphy in hopes to address my own wedding envelopes some day. When I realized how therapeutic it was to put pen to paper, I knew it was something I wanted to pursue for a long time to come.

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An envelope addressed to Marcardin Estate 

Q: How long have you been based in Kentucky? Do you have a wide client base in your area, or does most of your clientele hail from elsewhere? 

HB: I was born and raised (and still reside) in Louisville, Kentucky, so I’ve always stayed put. I am very fortunate to work with some of the absolute best wedding planners and designers in the city and state, so I do get a lot of referrals through them. I also serve nationwide, working with some stationers out of New York City and Los Angeles.

Q: We see that you offer a variety of calligraphy styles for your services. Do you think that there is an even split between interest in more traditional styles versus a more modern look? img_5198

HB: I would say nine times out of ten, my clients choose my Signature style. It’s definitely more modern, but it still gives that flourished feel that can be found in some traditional styles. I’m definitely more of a modern calligrapher; traditional calligraphy, such as Spencerian and Copperplate, can take decades to master. I certainly envy my calligraphy colleagues across the world who have the patience and skill set to achieve those writing principles.

Q: You have done beautiful work on everything from outer and inner envelopes, to escort cards and menus. How do you ensure that your pieces reflect overall aesthetic of the event?
img_0083HB: I love when I’m able to help design an entire invitation suite, so it can be printed or pressed in every which way. I like to start with my bride’s ideas of what she is thinking by getting inspiration photos from her. I’ll go through my series of questions which can turn into a few different pencil sketches before I put ink to paper. I then send my work to my go-to designer to do all the digitizing for me. From there, we meet to make sure everything is set perfectly for print.

 

 

Q: We were thrilled to work with you on pieces for a Dempsey & Carroll wedding recently. How did you first hear about Dempsey & Carroll? 

HB: I was so excited to finally get my chance to calligraph the beautiful paper from Dempsey & Carroll. I’ve seen it [Dempsey & Carroll’s paper] in many areas of the wedding industry, and have always heard great reviews from other calligraphers. The paper is exquisite and I am in love with everything from the texture to the watermark logo– It’s hands down my favorite to write on.

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Heather’s work for a recent Dempsey & Carroll wedding 

A Spotlight on Molly Middleton Events

Events Curator Austin Ackles sat down with Molly Middleton to discuss her wedding & events business. 

AA: You hail frommm3 the Atlanta, right? Sadly, I’ve never been to a big southern wedding. What’s so different about them and what makes them so incredible?

MM: BIG is right!  Everything is better when it’s bigger in the South!  Actually, I think that is more of a Texas thing.  Everyone is so hospitable and friendly in the south and they want to share their big day and celebrate with as many friends and family as possible.  I think the southern charm combined with the amount of people creates an amazing energy. Everyone is so happy and they just want to eat, drink and be merry together!  Also, I find that southern weddings are often a celebration of all things southern, like the strong food culture, southern drinks and the beautiful landscapes (think live oaks dripping in Spanish moss).

AA: Do you still work down south often?

MM: Yes, I have been so incredibly fortunate to be able to continue to work down south.  Most recently, I have done a few weddings in Sea Island, GA.  It is such a DREAM to work down there!  The level of sophistication and professionalism is incredible and they still manage to be calm, cool, collected and so much fun to work with!  Sea Island does a great job of balancing luxury and professionalism with that family feeling of the South.

AA: What’s the biggest difference between working with clients down there and those in the New York area?

MM: I would say that the southern weddings tend to be steeped in rich, family tradition.  I recently had a bride from Chattanooga, TN who wore a beautiful cathedral-length Duchess Lace wedding veil that her great-great grandparents had purchased on a trip to Brussels, Belgium. The veil had been passed down to all of the women in the family to wear on their wedding day.  Now, this is not to say that I don’t have traditional clients from New York, because I do.  I also have a lot of highly successful professional couples who come to me who might be getting married in their mid-late thirties or forties for the first time and they are paying for the wedding themselves.  When the parents are not footing the bill, they have free reign to express themselves however they want!  For example, last year I had a client in New York who processed down the aisle to Alicia Keys’ and JAY Z’s Empire State of Mind and then I had another couple who recessed down the aisle to the theme-song from Superman.  Being from the South, I so appreciate tradition, but I also LOVE it when clients want to mix things up.  It’s fun for me from a creative standpoint.

AA: For every wedding there’s a rain plan. Have you ever done a wedding that required a hurricane plan?

MM: Good timing on this question.  I’m planning a wedding in the Bahamas for next spring.  Technically, it isn’t hurricane season, but I’ve got to take that into consideration in the planning process.  Stay tuned!

AA: If your daughter was to get married in 2040, what will her wedding invitation look like?

MM: If I have anything to do with my daughter’s wedding invitation, it will be a beautiful custom letter-pressed invitation on a nice 6-ply card stock.  I happen to love charcoal as opposed to black ink, and I may add a little pop of color with a beveled edge. Laura Holder & Will Menkes