CARMEL, CA (October 2015) Inspired by the culinary bounty of California’s Central Coast, Holman Ranch Tasting Room, located at 19 E. Carmel Valley Road in Carmel Valley Village, is working with Edible Monterey Bay to invite local culinary chefs and artisans to demonstrate how wine can be best complemented with fresh culinary products found throughout the Central Coast.
DO: Include GoPro cameras into the mix
Another technology that’s popular (and legal) are GoPro video cameras. Attached to a selfie stick, the camera can obtain ultra-creative shots on the dance floor, or perhaps entering the ceremony. The GoPro has become one of the most creative devices used to capture weddings. The major benefits for these cameras are that they can go anywhere, attach to anything and are easy to use. With its system of straps, mounts and lightweight design, it is the ideal camera to capture those candid moments.
Here are some ways to use GoPro:
- During the reception, place the camera on one of the accessory poles. Then simply hit the record button and have guests capture their POV before passing it to the next guest.
- The GoPro excels at wedding time-lapses with a unique creative look of the entire day. Setting a GoPro camera to take one picture every second results in more than 3,500 images in an hour. The images are then rendered together sequentially into video form to make a short clips. The video is set to show 30 images progressing – giving backgrounds such as clouds fluid movement. You can capture your vendors setting up and decorating your ceremony site and wedding venue.
- For the ultimate POV using a GoPro, have a groomsmen put on the Chesty Strap, a lightweight harness that holds the camera. It can be easily hidden under a tie for that up close and personal recording of the guys getting ready and escorting guests to their seats.
- Attaching the GoPro to your pet lets you capture a unique view as guests enjoy your best four-legged friend trotting down — perhaps with a ring in tow.
DON’T: Use drones to capture those coveted aerial shots
The drone industry is poised to boom, as hobbyists, entrepreneurs and businesses discover new ways to use a technology that seemed like science fiction just a few years ago.
Drones, or UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) have made headlines for their use by the United States military in war zones around the world. While those drones are equipped with high-tech devices and air-to-ground missiles, consumer drones can be put to use in other ways — even at weddings.
But most photographers and wedding planners don’t encourage using a drone at the average wedding because time is limited and it could take away from shooting other moments. In short, it’s not the best bang for your buck. What’s more, drones aren’t legally permitted in all places and they can be dangerous if your videographer isn’t experienced with flying them.
DO: Ask your photographer about film Both newbie photogs and more seasoned ones are starting to bring film cameras back to weddings. The result is a very rich and classic look that’s slightly different than digital. Film allows the photographer to capture the detail and nuances a bit better. You can ask your photographer to get creative and superimpose a bride and groom image onto a landscape, or flowers imprinted over your gown, for instance. Multiple exposure takes a bit of time and focus to set up and execute, but it’s very doable, and the results can be surprising.
DON’T: Allow guests to play amateur photographer Here’s a familiar scenario at modern weddings: The best man is standing beside the groom and pulls out his cell phone to take a photo during the ceremony. This makes for a bad distraction in an otherwise touching image of the groom seeing his bride walk down the aisle. When the professional photo proofs arrive, the image of the bride and groom often includes iPhones and iPads covering their faces. Thankfully, a growing trend is having an “unplugged” ceremony, where guests are asked to put away their devices and truly witness the event.
It turns out that the bottling color choice depends on the country in which the wine is made, at least in part. The traditional colors used for French and German wine bottles are:
- Bordeaux: dark green for reds, light green for dry whites, clear for sweet whites.
- Burgundy and the Rhone: dark green.
- Mosel and Alsace: dark to medium green, although some producers have traditionally used amber.
- Rhine: amber, although some producers have traditionally used green.
- Champagne: Usually dark to medium green. Rosé champagnes are usually a colorless or green.
American vintners basically follow those guidelines. White Zinfandel, however, always comes in clear bottles. Clear bottles have recently become popular with white wine producers in many countries, including Greece, Canada and New Zealand. Most red wine worldwide is still bottled in green glass with the goal of protecting it from light.
What is a punt?
No, we’re not talking about American football. In wine, a punt, also known as a kick-up, refers to the dimple at the bottom of a wine bottle. There is no consensus explanation for its purpose. The more commonly cited explanations include:
- It is a historical remnant from the era when wine bottles were free-blown, using a blowpipe and pontil. This technique leaves a punt mark on the base of the bottle; by indenting the point where the pontil is attached, this scar would not scratch the table or make the bottle unstable.
- It had the function of making the bottle less likely to topple over — a bottle designed with a flat bottom only needs a small imperfection to make it unstable — the dimple historically allowed for a larger margin of error.
- It consolidates sediment deposits in a thick ring at the bottom of the bottle, preventing much/most of it from being poured into the glass.
- It increases the strength of the bottle, allowing it to hold the high pressure of sparkling wine/champagne.
- It provides a grip for riddling a bottle of sparkling wine manually in the traditional champagne production method.
Why are there so many bottle shapes?
Just like people, wine bottle shapes vary greatly. Usually, wine bottle shapes reflect the area from where the wine grape hails.
If there is a classic wine bottle shape used in the U.S., it’s the Bordeaux shape, with straight sides, and shoulders that cut in sharply towards the neck and sit high up on the bottle.
Typical wines that use this bottle shape are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, and Semillon.
The Burgundy wine bottle shape is quite different, wider at the base and a gentle transition from wine bottle neck to shoulders and into the body. The lines are very graceful and flowing. The most common wines found in Burgundy wine bottle shapes are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
OK, brides and grooms of the digital age: Put down those jumbo binders, highlighter pens and sticky notes, and back away. Instead, take a look at your phone because it’s smarter than we are, and can turn a stressed couple into an “appy” couple.
Yes, there are apps for wedding planning, so it’s time to streamline your pre-nuptials strategy by heading to cyberspace.
From sites that ensure you’re staying on top of the budget to apps that delegate shopping tasks (and make sure you’re getting exactly what you want), try downloading the following most popular pre-wedding apps:
Step one is creating a digital home for all the essential data. Shared folders in Google Drive, Dropbox, or other cloud-based storage service work fine, but try the free note-taking app Evernote, designed to organize many different kinds of media and present it in one streamlined package.
The comprehensive app gets your partner involved in the planning process with collaborative notebooks that allows you and yours save inspirational photos, important documents, and notes to the same place. With shared notebooks, you both have access to contracts with vendors, travel itineraries, guest lists, and mockups for invitations.
For on-the-fly inspiration, try Pinterest’s mobile app, designed to capture and collect images you come across, creating a secret, private board of what inspires you. Use the built-in camera function to snap images, and upload straight to Pinterest.
For Last Minute To-Dos
TaskRabbit connects with background-checked locals to help you with basically any task you might need — from making a pick-up, to organizing RSVPs, and even tying ribbons on programs (or other DIY projects). Just post a task you need help with and hire the person who bids the right hourly rate.
For Staying on Budget
When it comes to weddings, all those little purchases add up quickly. Stay on top of all the expenses for the big day with the free app Wedding Budget. It allows you to track you expenses with great detail. For a quick overview, flip the phone horizontally to reveal a pie chart.
For Online RSVPs
Anyone who’s planned a wedding knows that handling everyone’s RSVPs can be a daunting task. Let technology do the work for you by setting up a Google submission form. There are even pre-made wedding RSVP templates available. Just customize the typefaces and color to suit your theme.
You can also set up your own wedding website though a site-creation portal such as Wedding Jojo, or Weduary, which provide guest RSVP and management tools.
For Photo Sharing
It’s a monumental occasion, so of course you want to capture every moment of it. WedPics is the best photo- and video-sharing app to document your special day. Invite your guests via email, text or Facebook. They get to take unlimited photos (which are private unless they use a hashtag) of the wedding and reception, so you can see all the pics and videos in one place.
You can then order the prints, share them or delete the ones you don’t like. Users can also create separate albums so your engagement party, bridal party, reception and honeymoon photos are all organized.
For Honeymoon Planning
The app TouristEye will help you put together an amazing one-of-a-kind travel itinerary — from picking the best restaurants to finding those out-of-the-way sightseeing spots or restaurants. You have the option to invite friends to your trip so they can recommend things to do on your wish list.
Food is more than mere sustenance. It’s a become a lifestyle, a daily passion … dare we say an obsession for some. Just click through the television landscape and you realize how much food-related programming has exploded, with stand-and-stir cooking shows expanding into other permutations, from reality shows, to competitions, to (at last count) 11 shows about cake and cupcakes alone. And there are thousands of culinary apps to teach us how to make everything from applesauce to zabaione.
So it stands to reason that the hottest corporate team-building trend in America surrounds the culinary arts, including classes, challenges, tours and dining events that brings together employees to learn and work as a team. Gathering together around a meal is a universal custom that connects people from all backgrounds and cultures and dny activity centered on food is going to naturally be a socially engaging experience.
Following are some ideas for some engaging culinary team-building events:
‘Iron Chef’ Challenge
Modeled after the popular TV series, a cooking challenge requires a few culinary skills and a few secret ingredients to keep your group collaborating, communicating and cooking together.
Divide the group into teams and the “chairman” will brief the group on event instructions and guidelines. Teams receive all the supplies needed to ensure culinary success, including herbs, spices, condiments, pantry items and the secret ingredient of the day. The “kitchen stadium” includes cooking equipment. Teams must be able to communicate with one another, delegate tasks and practice their time management to ensure their meals are ready on time. Prepare a judging panel to score the creations.
Dining In The Dark
This idea takes a standard group meal to a whole new level. The concept of dining in the dark originated in Europe and since has traveled the world. It becomes a true exploration in dining as guests discover a whole new feast for their senses. Group members interact with each other and share what they are experiencing and how they feel. It’s an entertaining eating experience as the host engages participants about their theories on what they are tasting. The idea is that, with the dominant sense of sight on hold, the remaining senses heighten, allowing guests to experience smells, tastes and sounds like never before.
Winery Team Challenge
Start this team activity with an informative wine tasting and end it with an entertaining and competitive sangria making and marketing challenge. A local sommelier can lead the way, giving participants a brief, interactive and fun introduction to wine, before leading the group in a white and red wine tasting.
After the tasting, divide into teams and each group starts their own winery. Teams are briefed about the interesting history of sangria, and then take part in creating their own blends. Then teams develop a name, design a winery logo and label, and decorate their team aprons and tables for the final judging. They can also write and perform a jingle or commercial to sell their product to the judges.
Group members can cook with a cause during a team-bonding experience that is both fun and meaningful. This challenge includes food prepared and consumed by the participants during the event and a subsequent donation to area food banks.
To help your group better comprehend the issues of hunger and homelessness, the day can begin with a brief quiz on the subject. Participants will work in teams to answer questions that the facilitators will review and then discuss as a group.
Plan a cooking competition that includes appetizers consumed by participants, as well as preparation of hot food that will be donated to a local soup kitchen. Teams will compete to see who prepares the best dish in the eyes of culinary judges. Add a food-bag donation element to the day that involves participants taking a reusable tote bag, decorating it and stuffing it with food. Included in each bag is a personal letter to the family in need.
Americans consume the most wine in the world, buying more than 350 million cases of it each year. Wine is an integral part of our culture, but like the political landscape, wine drinkers generally fall into two camps — white or red. While most red wine drinkers also like white wines, those who prefer white wine often cannot stray into the red zone. For them, red wine tastes “bitter” or “astringent” so they keep to whites, reluctant to become more adventurous.
Red wine is an acquired taste — much like learning to drink coffee. There are many good reasons to venture into red wine. It is heart-healthy, it stands up to full-flavored, rich foods, and it represents a wider spectrum in both flavor and body.
The spicy red or purple grape skins are an integral part of the taste and personality of red wines, which can be peppery, spicy, plumy, or jammy. Very few red wines are sweet. Many white wines are technically dry (not sweet) but they have a perception of sweetness (fruity, fresh fruit aromas). A “sweet” beverage doesn’t complement a hearty steak, or pot roast, or barbecued ribs. These full-flavored dishes need a red wine.
Here are some steps to take in your quest to learn how to appreciate — even love — red wine:
- Find a ripe and round red wine. These wines are technically dry but have the taste of riper black fruit. Blackberry flavors will be a better balance with a prime rib or a burger than ripe melon flavors. A wine with a jammy characteristic will have a perceived taste of sweetness, even though the wine is not sweet.
- Request a medium-bodied wine. Some foods are best with a full-bodied wine, but medium-bodied is a good place to start, and works well with or without food. Pinot Noir is often a medium-bodied “gateway” wine for those who prefer whites.
- Gravitate toward wines made from the following grapes: Shiraz, Syrah, Grenache, and Zinfandel. These grapes are inherently a bit fruitier than the noble grapes of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
- Be prepared to spend what you perceive as above your normal budget. Red wines normally age in oak barrels and often take years to become truly drinkable. This raises the price, but spending between $12 and $25 you can find a nice red wine. Here’s a tip: Try wines from Australia, the south of France and wines with “Central Coast” or “California” as an appellation.
- Drink the wine properly. Pour about 3 ounces of red wine in an 8-ounce glass. Let the wine breathe. With the wine glass on a table, place your fingers on the base of the glass and swirl the wine to aerate it and soften the tannins.
- Start with the food and move to the wine. Food is essential to learning to love red wine, but don’t make your first bite of food, say, a salad. The dressing may make the wine taste acidic. Consider holding the wine until the main course arrives.
- With the first couple of sips, moisten all the taste buds in your mouth (this makes the wine taste better).
- Red wine is often served too warm, so don’t be afraid to chill your red wines a bit. Most experts recommend that red wine be served at or near cellar temperature, which is about 60 degrees.
- Finally, be determined. Don’t lose heart if the first couple of wines aren’t appealing. Keep sipping and you’ll find your comfort zone.
For centuries brides-to-be have dreamed of majestic horses, rustic-glamorous ranches and country dining under the stars, with elegant equestrian-themed weddings satisfying that cowgirl fantasy.
There are numerous stylish and elegant ways to incorporate a love of horses into the big day. Whether you choose to add layers of rustic, Western-inspired charm, or go for a classic and preppy look, you can’t go wrong with details inspired by your other tall, dark and handsome companion.
The trend for equestrian chic rears its beautiful head season after season, and a subtle nod toward horse-inspired detailing creates a unique wedding theme.
Horseshoes have long played a role in weddings. An ancient symbol of good luck, a horseshoe is traditionally given to a bride on the morning of her wedding. Modern brides have been known to carry a lucky silver horseshoe with their bouquet, or go one step further by using the symbol as a print throughout the wedding. Invitations, menus, programs and napkins (among other accouterment) can be dressed up (or down) with a horseshoe motif. Horseshoes also make an easy, unique wedding day flavor for your guests.
Here are other fun horse-themed ideas for the big day:
- To really win the race, add colorful rosettes, ribbons and cup trophies to the wedding-day decor (the cups make great flower vases), or choose to arrive at the ceremony by horse and carriage.
- Forget the country club, get married in a barn or similar outdoor space. For the reception, go the extra mile by using hay bales as extra seating and/or decorative items.
- Lay down a wooden dance floor, and hire someone to teach impromptu Western-themed dance lessons to liven up the party.
- Whether the other love of your life joins you for portraits, or down the aisle, dress up your four-legged steed with a stunning floral wreath.
- For the best couple in the room, horse show ribbon chair signs are a cute way to add a touch of derby-inspired details.
- Use custom, monogrammed horse show ribbons as escort cards, with each ribbon adorned with a fun superlative that is customized to each person.
- Incorporate a pretty equestrian touch to your wedding cake, such as a sparkly horseshoe or sculpted models of a pair of horses.
- For a derby-inspired wedding, use roses as the themed flower, and serve mint juleps as the signature cocktail at the reception. And dress up that drink with personalized drink stirrers.
- Offer pony rides for kids to keep them busy and active beyond the main venue, or provide a horseshoe pit for some spirited action for both kids and adults.
- Holman Ranch in Carmel Valley is perfectly suited for a horse-themed wedding. It’s elegant and sophisticated, yet charming and cozy, with a rugged, beautiful landscape. Get married at the ranch, outdoors with a breathtaking 360-degree views of the Santa Lucia Mountains, or perhaps in the Carriage Room with its dramatic lofty ceiling and barn like doors that swing open to help greet Mother Nature.
As much as you may believe that your wedding guests have waited hours just to get a slice of your towering cake adorned with fresh flowers, they are probably more interested in chowing down on gourmet donuts hanging on a giant peg board.
That’s just the way of the world. In fact, creative dessert ideas are all the rage at modern wedding receptions, not taking the place of the traditional cake, but creating a sweet anticipation where guests eat, point and shoot photos of fun, creative treats.
The donut peg board idea delighted guests at a recent wedding at Carmel Valley’s Holman Ranch. Adorned with the message “Donut Leave Me Hanging,” the board drew a large crowd that appreciated the whimsy in the delicious creation. For this idea, donuts may be sugar-dusted, frosted, glazed, fruit-filled and decorated to match your wedding colors. Warm donuts may be chosen for their seasonal tastes such as apple pie filling, or pair them with a shot of milk or a full-blown milkshake as a dessert duo.
Ideas are endless — just scan through those scrumptious-looking wedding dessert pics on Pinterest and Instagram. But to further help inspire your wedding’s show-stopping dessert hour, here are some other dessert trends for weddings:
- Pies. What makes pies so popular? They evoke family memories, from those languid days eating slices of grandmother’s specialty. Capitalize on this trend by serving mini pies displayed on tiers as the perfect single serving. Have your baker create an impressive array of flavors, or serve pie pops for a grab-and-go dessert.
- Throwback desserts. From bananas foster to mud pie, there is a return to classic desserts that recall weddings of the past. If it was big in prior decades, it’s undoubtedly big again now. Your older guests will smile at the memories and your younger guests will think it’s new or hip.
- Macarons. This dainty French dessert is light, airy and not doused in sugar, and often made in vibrant colors. It’s a top trend because foodies adore French-inspired desserts overall, and colorful macarons can be designed to complement your wedding colors.
- Milkshakes. Call this a dessert drink, and serve them in mini glasses, freshly-made, with a trendy striped straw in the glass. Milkshakes may be made in classic flavors, as flavor blends, or spiked with a shot of liquor for your adults-only wedding reception.
- Candied apples. If your wedding vision includes the words “relaxed” and “fun,” then you’ll love this classic idea. Not only are candied apples fun to eat, you can dip them, top them and serve them any way you like.
- Gelato. A gelato bar has taken the place of ice cream bars, with fresh flavors such as classic vanilla bean or chocolate, or with seasonal flavors such as key lime, pumpkin, pistachio and cherry. The creamy goodness of gelato is one of the top dessert trends that works for every season.
Romance and history abound at Holman Ranch, a vintage Carmel Valley property adorned with ancient oaks, hillside vineyards, olive groves, a stone hacienda and spectacular views from every vantage point.
Renowned as a hugely popular and stunningly beautiful wedding venue, Holman Ranch draws couples from far-flung corners of the world. Once married in Holman Ranch’s rustic yet sophisticated setting, couples invariably recite a long list of accolades. And when asked to name the top reasons for getting married at Holman Ranch, these three lead the way:
- The view. Couples can easily spend a small fortune on wedding-day decor, from fabric to flowers, but nothing can top what Mother Nature provides naturally. Rarely do outdoor weddings offer the beauty and splendor provided by Holman Ranch, nestled in the shadows of the Santa Lucia Mountains. Offering breathtaking vistas from every angle, the ranch provides the ultimate backdrop to any wedding ceremony. After exchanging vows al fresco among the rolling hills dotted with oak trees, couples can sip estate-grown wines in the vineyards and indulge in all the historic ranch has to offer.
- Exclusivity. On the most important day of their lives, a bride and groom simply do not want to share the spotlight with anyone else, which is why Holman Ranch only hosts one event at a time. All the focus and attention is put where it belongs — on the happy couple and their guests. There will be no wedding “crashers” from other events on property because Holman Ranch belongs to that couple and that couple only. This exclusivity (weekend dates can book up a year in advance) has led to a resurgence in weekday weddings, where couples can save on the budget and easily secure vendors normally booked on weekends.
- Flexibility. At Holman Ranch, couples are allowed to bring in all their own licensed and insured vendors. This is very important to those couples who desperately want to create a personalized, a la carte experience — from the flowers, to the food, to the well-stocked bar. And when it comes to wine, Holman charges no corkage with a minimum wine purchase. So Holman Ranch’s award-winning lineup of wines is available to help please a wide variety of palates. Holman Ranch has also developed a reputation as a safe haven for same-sex couples, and specializes in interfaith ceremonies, off-season weddings and ceremonies of any size and scope.
In the end, Holman Ranch becomes the venue choice of couples from all walks of life because it provides beauty, exclusivity and flexibility. But there are countless other reasons. Find yours by visiting www.holmanranch.com.
The shorter days and the unpredictability of the elements make winter the least-popular season for weddings, with the vast majority of couples opting for summer or fall nuptials.
But more and more couples are finding the idea of tying the knot in the winter season romantic, cozy and unique — and also convenient in terms of booking venues.
While winter weddings can magical, they don’t come without their share of problems. It’s vital to think of every weather contingency, and to think of your guests: Will they have to walk along an icy path to get to the ceremony? Does the reception hall get chilly due to all the large windows? Or, conversely, does the room lack ventilation and get too warm and stuffy? Should a valet be stocked with umbrellas so no one gets drizzled on getting in and out of their car?
Following are tips to help create a winter wedding wonderland:
Rich seasonal colors make this a great season for weddings, but overdoing the reds and greens can make the ceremony more holiday-oriented than you intended. Consider a less-is-more approach to your color palette: Silver and white with crystal accents can add some glamour to the proceedings. For the ceremony, try a white velvet aisle runner trimmed with white satin ribbon, or decorate the altar with a crystal curtain backdrop adorned with hanging strands of elegant white orchids.
The first potential pitfall for weddings in most parts of the country is obviously the chilly temperatures. Be sure to dress your wedding party weather-appropriate. You can still choose strapless dresses or bridesmaid dresses with shorter hems, but consider incorporating wraps in an accenting color or even opaque tights if they will be spending a significant amount of time outdoors.
As for the bride, the long-sleeved wedding dress trend is gaining more and more favor, with brides everywhere rocking tons of new styles. From plaid toppers to lacy sleeves and modern minimalist long-sleeved dresses, the diversity in this style makes it a no-brainer for many winter brides.
While you probably won’t want to plan an outdoor winter wedding reception (especially if you live in an area that gets plenty of snow and ice), there are still lots of ways to bring the beauty of the season indoors. Hang garlands of greenery or icicle-like crystals to highlight your dance floor or cake table, and incorporate plenty of candles, pinecones, and glittery details into your centerpieces. Another way to create a cozy reception is by using plenty of lush, soft textures — such as velvet, chenille, or tweed —into your decor. If you want to heighten the drama, bring in the icy outdoors with ice-carved vases on your reception tables.
FOOD AND DRINK
Serve soup shooters during the cocktail hour, hearty comfort food during the dinner, and pass out shortbread cookies and spiced cider for your late-night snack. When it comes to the cake, have the baker play up the season with a white, vintage-style cake, dusted with edible silver powder. For accents, why not add a white sugar ribbon and crystal drops cascading down one side of the cake.
For later in the evening, a decked-out hot chocolate and churros station will warm everyone up. As far as favors are concerned, send your guests home satisfied with small packages of chocolate-covered cranberries or roasted chestnuts.
A winter cocktail hour calls for warm, comforting drinks. You really can’t go wrong with hot chocolate and warm apple cider, but why not serve up white hot chocolate in small espresso cups as the guests arrive.
Red roses, calla lilies, and amaryllis are decidedly winter wedding flowers, but if you think outside the flower box, you’ll find a variety of options for winter blooms. Consider fuller flowers, such as white hydrangeas and soft ranunculuses. White boutonnieres can be handsome when they’re accented with greenery, but they also look great with a simple white ribbon.
A classical pianist playing during dinner is a sure way to create an elegant ambience, but consider a more unexpected accompaniment. For a musical twist, hire an a capella quartet to sing background music at the reception. If you’re into a more classical sound, hire a cellist and ask that Vivaldi’s “Winter” be included in the repertoire.
In the end, don’t sleep on winter. It holds its own magic and can help create goosebumps (and not just from the chill in the air).