{How To} Create an Ideal Seating Arrangement

The key to a successful dinner party hinges more on a small detail many hosts’ over look…the seating arrangement. This seemingly minor step in planning a dinner party is truly the difference between a wonderful evening full over conversation and an evening that your guests can’t wait to get away from. Sure, great food is important, but if your guests aren’t interacting, what difference does the food make? If the thought of creating an ideal seating plan makes you want to go running for the hills, have no fear! We’re sharing our insider secrets and years of experience to help you create the perfect arrangement, no matter what the occasion! (more…)

By |July 6th, 2015|How to|Comments Off on {How To} Create an Ideal Seating Arrangement
  • {How To} Start a Charcoal Grill {How To} Start a Charcoal Grill

    {How To} Start a Charcoal Grill

{How To} Start a Charcoal Grill

You can always smell summer. Fresh cut grass, the still humid air before a storm rolls in, suntan lotion, and perhaps the best smell ever….food cooking over a charcoal grill. In my opinion, just about anything would be delicious cooked over open flame, especially one with a base of charcoal. While you can’t beat the convenience of a gas grill, once you get the hang of lighting and prepping a charcoal grill, the few extra minutes of work makes the flavor worth it!

Step 1:

Fill a chimney starter with charcoal, the higher you fill it, the hotter your grill will be. Typically with grilling, you’re looking for high heat and a great sear, but if you accidentally heat too many briquettes, well…read on for what to do!

Step 2:

Lightly spray some balled up newspaper with cooking oil and place under the chimney. Using a long stick lighter, light the newspaper in several places and check to make sure there are flames hitting the charcoal.


By |June 23rd, 2015|How to|Comments Off on {How To} Start a Charcoal Grill

{Trend Alert} Entrees and Sides

Drinks have been enjoyed, appetizers nibbled on, and dessert already set, but without a doubt, the thing everyone remembers at an event is the main course! Luckily, we know exactly what to do to leave guests in awe!

New Cuts of Meat & Fish
This is probably the best trend to hit 2015/2016 for hosts and hostess. Utilizing new/different cuts of meat along with non-traditional fish usually means that food costs go down. Chef’s that are familiar with these cuts of meat know what to do to make these cuts just as tender as a filet and as flavorful as a strip, often at a fraction of the cost. This also breathes new life into nose to tail eating, only without as much of the tail end!

Who You Calling Ancient – Grains?
Ancient Grains are having their moment in 2015. They give you an opportunity to take a traditional dish and give it a unique spin, while still offering up a starch for guests. Typically used for side dishes or great vegetarian alternatives, many of these ancient grains can be incorporated into desserts as well!


By |June 16th, 2015|Trend Alert|Comments Off on {Trend Alert} Entrees and Sides

{Trend Alert} 2015 Appetizers & Desserts

Just like fine wine, trends for 2015 keep flowing. Moving past cocktail hour, every event is guaranteed to have two things: a beginning and an ending. Many times, the first thing your guests see (or eat) are hors d’oeuvres and the very last, dessert. Here’s what is hot for the rest of 2015!

Special Diets Welcome

As vegan and vegetarian cuisine becomes more mainstream, chefs have been getting more creative and experimental, giving guests delicious and visually stunning vegetarian appetizers.

Food Trucks Optional

Food trucks are notoriously known for their creative mash-ups and blending of cuisines. In 2015, trucks are optional, but street food-inspired appetizers are all the rage. With a strong focus on ethnic flavors, these hors d’oeuvres a flavorful bites that immediately transport guests to different countries.

Pass the Charcuterie Please!

Charcuterie plates are moving beyond traditional cured meats (although they’re still very popular) and have splashed into seafood. From tuna pate to crab leg terrine, seafood charcuterie is the next wave of appetizers.

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For…

Ice cream! It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t enjoy cold, velvety, dairy goodness, especially when that ice cream has been hand crafted by a small batch ice cream maker. Similar to last week’s trends, artisanal, small batch ice cream allows the maker to use high quality, unique ingredients that will shine through. Plus, a smaller batch makes it much easier (and more fun) to play around with interesting flavor combinations.

For Those Times You Just Want A Bite

The bite-sized food craze is sticking around in 2015 and we’re okay with that. As the night starts to wind down, guests start to anticipate what will be served for dessert. Will there be a big piece of cake? Maybe a […]

  • {Planner Spotlight} LK Events {Planner Spotlight} LK Events

    {Planner Spotlight} LK Events

{Planner Spotlight} LK Events

Jewell Weddings has been working with the dynamic team at LK Events for years, so it was only a matter of time before we could sit down with them to hear about what sets them apart and inspires them!

Jewell Events Catering: How long have you been in business?
LK Events: Lauren had been working 8 years in off-premise catering before opening the doors to LK Events in August 2009. She brought on Nicole, Jennifer and Allison, respectively, and we have a combine total of 27 years of experience in weddings and events.

JEC: In no more than 3 words, describe what your company does.
LKE: Make People Happy!!

JEC: What is one thing that sets LK Events apart from others?
LKE: Our value to our clients is style and taste and how we deliver on that is through the amazing collaboration we have with our colleagues in the industry.

JEC: Where does your inspiration come from?
LKE: We are inspired by the amazing chefs in Chicago, fashion, interior design, store fronts and the fabulous event designers here in Chicago!

JEC: What is one emerging trend for events next year?
LKE: Besides mini food and beverages, we are also very excited to see color coming back into centerpieces and bouquets.

JEC: What is the craziest or most fun event you’ve done? (No names, just some details!
LKE: We can’t pinpoint just one event, as we have so much fun with our clients throughout their planning process and especially on the day of their wedding. Something crazy happens at each event and that is also what makes it fun!

JEC: What is one thing you wish everyone knew about your business?
LKE: While we all have different personalities, we work as a team in every and all ways.

JEC: […]

By |June 3rd, 2015|Planner Spotlight|Comments Off on {Planner Spotlight} LK Events

{Trend Alert} 2015 Cocktail Trends

The National Restaurant Association just wrapped up another fabulous NRA Show 2015 at McCormick Place last week in Chicago. After a week full of great information, delicious food and drink and innovative technologies, we’re excited to share trends that are continuing through 2015 as well as some new ones that will be popping up.


This week, we’re focusing on one of the most important aspects of any event, cocktail hour! From locally produced spirits to edible cocktails, the trends hitting 2015 hard are buzz-worthy to say the least!

Micro-distilled/Artisan Spirits/Locally Produced Beer, Wine & Spirits

The easiest way to control the quality of a beverage (or food for that matter) is to make small batches, and even better, know the distiller! When alcohol or beer is produced for 5000 people instead of 500,000, the flavors can change, better quality ingredients can be used, and the end result is something that has been nurtured over time.

Culinary Cocktails

Chefs and bartenders have been separated since the beginning of time, but 2015 is the year to break down the wall and start using the expertise from the kitchen behind the bar. Full of flavor with lots of depth, culinary cocktails are going far beyond an oyster shooter.
House-Brewed Beer

A great chef knows what beers will go great with his or her food, so why not bring that process in house. Brewmasters are able to control exactly what goes into their brew and can make the perfect recommendation for the delicious meal you’re about to enjoy.

Edible Cocktails

A far cry from the jello shots you may have known in college, edible cocktails are bringing a new level of fun and excitement to events. From wine sorbet to delicious ‘pop-tails’, there are many ways to […]

By |June 1st, 2015|Trend Alert|Comments Off on {Trend Alert} 2015 Cocktail Trends

{How To} Stock the Perfect Bar

What is the one thing every great host or hostess offers their guests when they arrive? A beverage. A party or even casual gathering can go from spectacular to mediocre within minutes of guests arriving if your bar isn’t properly set up.

Our resident bar-specialist, Alessandro, shares his tips for stocking the perfect bar every time!

  1. Know when to splurge and when to save.


By |May 27th, 2015|How to|Comments Off on {How To} Stock the Perfect Bar
  • {Planner Spotlight} Bliss By Sam {Planner Spotlight} Bliss By Sam

    {Planner Spotlight} Bliss By Sam

{Planner Spotlight} Bliss By Sam

Chicago is excited to open it’s arms to the fabulous and extraordinary planner from North Carolina, Samantha Dockery, the owner and lead consultant at Bliss By Sam! We had a chance to sit down and talk with Sam about her successful business, her source of inspiration and what she loves about Chicago.

Jewell Events Catering: How long have you been in business?
Bliss By Sam: Ten years! We’re celebrating all year long!

JEC: In no more than 3 words, describe what your company does.
BBS: Wedding Planning Architects

JEC: What is one thing that sets you and Bliss By Sam apart from others?
BBS: ME! As planners (for the most part), we all offer the same services. Our personalities and experience are essentially what sets each of us apart. A long time ago, I learned to embrace who I am as a person and have learned how to use that to my advantage in planning. My smart mouth, Type A, fun, daring and devoted personality has fueled Bliss’ fire.

JEC: Where does your inspiration come from?
BBS: My daydreams! After I meet with my couples, I literally lie in bed early in the morning and late in the evenings imagining what their wedding day should look like based on what they’ve shared with me about themselves as individuals and as a couple. I love when I have those ‘A-ha!’ moments.

JEC: What is one emerging trend for events?
BBS: I am loving that couples are still choosing bold colors and multiple shades of them! Right now, I’m in love with the color blue. I want all my grooms and their male attendants to wear blue tuxedos!

JEC: What is the craziest or most fun event you’ve done (no names, just details!)?
BBS: Oh the stories […]

By |May 20th, 2015|Planner Spotlight|Comments Off on {Planner Spotlight} Bliss By Sam
  • {Insider Tips} Choosing Your Flowers {Insider Tips} Choosing Your Flowers

    {Insider Tips} Choosing Your Flowers

{Insider Tips} Choosing Your Flowers

Annie Kasak from Annie Occasion for Any Occasion stopped by to share her insider tips for selecting the perfect flowers for your wedding.

As a florist, the very first thing I recommend is to look through some bridal magazines and other bridal publications for initial ideas. Look through at least two to three magazines and pick our all the ideas and themes you like that pertain to what you may have already planned. You may even want to start a folder specifically for your wedding, including floral ideas. Bring this folder to your initial consultation. Further, have a clear and firm idea of what you absolutely DO NOT want! Additionally, have a general floral budget set. While you don’t have to know 100% what your budget is or what it will be, you should have a general idea (10-15% of your wedding budget is standard). Setting initial parameters will give your florist a frame of reference to work with.

The following is a simple list of do’s and don’ts to consider before and during your floral consultation:

  • DO get online and visit various floral websites to familiarize yourself with different floral and foliage varieties and bouquet ideas (www.aboutflowers.com is a great site)
  • DO schedule an appointment with your florist. Many florists require an actual consultation or appointment and prefer that to someone just dropping in
  • DON’T bring more than one other person to your first consultation. Too many people can make the consultation hectic and can cloud your opinions
  • DO be honest with your florist. Be upfront with him or her if you are merely price shopping. If you are price shopping, most florists will not offer an extensive wedding consultation or ‘on-the-spot’ consultation
  • DON’T be afraid to tell your florist […]
  • {Planner Spotlight} Honey Bee Weddings {Planner Spotlight} Honey Bee Weddings

    {Planner Spotlight} Honey Bee Weddings

{Planner Spotlight} Honey Bee Weddings

It’s always hard to take time to sit and chat, especially as we are launching into the busiest time of year for weddings! Thanks Misse Daniel, the fabulous owner and wedding planner, over at Honey Bee Weddings for stealing a few moments to talk with us!

Jewell Events Catering: How long have you been in business?
Honey Bee Weddings: We’re in our 8th year of business.

JEC: In no more than 3 words, describe what your company does.
HBW: Plan. Organize. Design.

JEC: What is one thing that sets you/your company apart from other?
HBW: My background in project management makes planning a whiz!

JEC: Where does your inspiration come from?
HBW: Fashion, Textiles, and Paper. I love lush linens and a beautiful paper suite.

JEC: What is one emerging trend for events or weddings next year?
HBW: We’re going to see lots of low centerpieces that are a mix of dramatic flowers, organically arranged with taper candles.

JEC: What is the craziest or most fun event you’ve done? (No names, just some details)
HBW: We had a small plane land in the middle of a bison ranch. The bride and groom had a Grand Send Off before the reception ended to Elton John’s “Leaving in a Jet Plane”.

JEC: What is one thing you wish everyone knew about your business?
HBW: I wish people know how much patience is required to design a truly exceptional event!

JEC: What is the best piece of advice you can give someone planning a wedding?
HBW: Try not to get too overwhelmed; there are many steps and the devil is in the details!

JEC: What is your favorite “hidden gem” restaurant in Chicago?
HBW: Sinha, the Brazilian cuisine is delicious, but the experience makes it one of a kind.

JEC: What is your favorite part about […]

By |April 23rd, 2015|Planner Spotlight|Comments Off on {Planner Spotlight} Honey Bee Weddings