Over the recent months, we’ve had the pleasure of following the journey of grooms-to-be Eric and Michael as they prepare to get married here at Chubb Hotel and Conference Center this fall. We have gotten to know their story previously and now we are going to ask the hard questions about their big day: food, music, lighting—as they say, the whole enchilada. It’s the third in our four-part series following the couple in their matrimonial journey.
Read our most recent conversation with Eric and Michael below.
What factors came into play when selecting and finalizing your menu?
Michael: Budget and variety were two of the two biggest factors for me. Because we wanted the feel of a cocktail-style wedding reception rather than a formal seated dinner, I wanted to make sure that our guests had a lot to choose from and that our stations were filling, hearty and plentiful.
What food item are you most excited about?
Eric: Jose Garces is a culinary icon in Philadelphia. We are so excited and grateful to be able to share Garces flavors with our guests. The creative presentation of the cocktail hors d’oeuvres alone are indicative of what we love in his restaurants.
How did Garces Catering make the menu selection process easier?
Eric: We really enjoyed attending the tasting event the Chubb Hotel team hosted. It was a perfect opportunity not only to taste the food, but also to experience the impeccable service and flow of the room we chose for the party. In addition to the menu tasting event, we had the pleasure of having an additional menu planning meeting with our catering manager Stephanie Carr. She did a great job playing to both our personalities and helping to facilitate our decision making. She also allowed us to customize a few of the items we chose for different presentation and flavor preferences.
How has Stephanie helped keep you on track?
Michael: Stephanie met with us recently to review our day start to finish after the menu tasting. She was incredibly patient and detailed, and she offered great suggestions and alternatives while keeping our budget and concerns in mind.
Is there anything on the big day either of you are anxious about?
Michael: I believe that we are in the best hands possible, so I think that “worried” is the wrong word. Between Stephanie and Eric, there was so much detail that I hope that I remember all the things that I need to do on our big day. Stephanie assured me that she will be there every step of the way and all I will have to do is let her handle the countless little details that will make our day so special. I think I can do that.
Eric: For me, stepping back and releasing control of the day is a big deal (and hard for a control-freak event planner). We both trust Stephanie and the Chubb Team (and all of our vendors), which makes it easier for me to relax, be the groom, be present and enjoy the day with Michael.
What part of the day are you most looking forward to?
Michael: I think I’m most looking forward to the party aspect of it: the time when all the pictures are taken, the toasts are over, and the first dance is done so that I can just focus on enjoying the rest of the evening with Eric and those who are most special to us.
Eric: Giving up control and enjoying the day like my clients do. I am so excited to see all the details come to life. I’m also very excited to see all of our guests come together in one place and celebrate us. It will be overwhelming in a very amazing, beautiful and surreal way. I am most excited to experience the whole day start to finish with my new husband. We have been waiting years to make this happen. It’s happening and it’s going to be perfect!
Has weddingwire.com been as helpful as you hoped it would be?
Michael: Honestly, I relied heavily on Eric for using WeddingWire.com. I know that they had a great budgeting tool that helped us keep track of all the things that you might forget leading up to the wedding and the reception.
Eric: We continue to use the website’s budget planner to keep us on track and remember details that we may not have remembered without it. It’s also a great way to share our experiences—all positive—with our event professionals with whom we are working.
What benefits have you found to hosting a cocktail-style reception instead of something more traditional?
Michael: I think the cocktail-style reception gives us far more flexibility to customize our day. I tend to view the formal dinner at receptions as something that gets in the way of me enjoying myself. I find myself stuck sitting down for two hours talking to the same people while the servers serve the food and clear the tables. Having a cocktail-style reception gives us and our guests the freedom to mingle with others and, I think, have a better time.
Also, our bandleader, Joe Napoli, will have the freedom to gauge the crowd and adjust the music accordingly. If he sees that most of the people have finished eating early, he can start playing more upbeat music so that people can dance. For us, it just better suits our personalities and our personal style.
What are some “must-haves” when it comes to design?
Michael: I think lighting is super important; it helps to set the mood. We selected Genetic to work with Affairs to be Remembered. They came up with an amazing personalized package that will highlight the designs of the team at Affairs to be Remembered. I know it will be spectacular, and I can’t wait to see it.
Did you put equal thought into the look of the ceremony and reception?
Michael: Since we are planning on having the ceremony outside, we really plan on letting nature be our backdrop. Affairs to Be Remembered is keeping things simple and just doing arrangements filled with natural game feathers and autumnal colors. This look will transition into our outdoor space for the cocktail hour and will eventually be brought into the reception itself.
Tell us more about your flower selection!
Michael: We choose to keep things simple and elegant with the flowers. We are also mixing in pheasant feathers for our boutonnieres. Our tablespaces will be filled with rustic lanterns and succulents with pops of autumnal colors like orange and gold. The cocktail tables will have metal terrariums filled with succulents and mosses. They have also designed a custom metal screens that will hold copper planters filled with grasses, air ferns and succulents.
Have you decided on your first dance song?
Michael: Yes, our first dance song is “Your Guardian Angel” by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. I love the song, and fortunately, when I told Eric about it and he listened to the words, he loved it too. Our wedding band Amsterdam has learned the song especially for us and we heard it for the first time last month. They did an amazing job—I think we were all crying!
What are some of the wedding day highlights you want to capture via photos and video?
Michael: Obviously, the ceremony and all the big moments of the reception: first dance, dancing with our mothers, cutting the cake and the toasts. I also want to make sure that they capture the beautiful work that will be done by Garces and Affairs to Be Remembered. I want to make sure that I have a chance to look back and see things that I might have missed. Without video and photography, we would miss out on so many details we won’t see with our heads in the cloud. It’s so important to us to have photography and video included in our day.
Is there a specific location on the Chubb Hotel grounds where you’re hoping to get pictures?
Michael: I definitely want to use the beauty of the outdoor space at Chubb Hotel, like the stone bridge and the beautiful mature trees. There are so many gorgeous options on the property; we are just hoping that Gabe, our photographer, will pick his favorites and have fun with it.
Stay tuned to our blog for the rest of Eric and Michael’s Chubb Hotel wedding story! Visit us to start planning your own wedding at Chubb Hotel and Conference Center.