Tips to Make Your Impressive Affair Seem Much More Difficult than it Actually Was

Spring is the perfect time to honor a bride-to-be. It provides the most beautiful backdrop for a bridal shower, loaning its colors, patterns and seasonal goods perfectly for the occasion. But treating your ladies to a gorgeous luncheon paired with wine doesn’t need to be a daunting task!

The Registry in Franklin is an ideal place to start gathering items and inspiration. Owners Kathy and Jane are no strangers to lending their expertise to all things wedding-related. They agree, first deciding on a color scheme and/or theme is an important starting point. How would you like your party to feel? Would you like it more casual or formal or perhaps a bit of both? Will it be more traditional or contemporary? Will it be more minimalist or grandiose? Once those answers have been found, your event will begin to take shape.

Most importantly, remember to have fun! This is a celebration!

The Setup

What You Need:

Along with the standard items such as silverware, appetizer plates, entree plates, dessert plates and napkins for each guest in attendance, don’t forget the larger items for entertaining: large platters for food items to be served, carafes for pouring larger quantities of wine and pitchers for water or non-alcoholic beverages. Bowls for pasta courses or fun snack items are also a good idea.

Water goblets for each guest are an often overlooked place to have some fun with the decor. Charger plates and napkin rings add a lot to a table in a small amount of space, and a colorful table runner can really amp up your table-scape. Centerpieces complete the table, and fresh spring flowers are the way to go!

Choose some lovely Champagne flutes for the occasion, and have two white wine glasses for each guest to enjoy each pairing. (No reds here—white and lighter color clothing is sure to be abundant!) For dessert wine, a port glass adds another touch of class.

The Drinks

The Wine List:

Debbie LoCurto, owner of Uncorked Encounters, makes smart and classy recommendations on how to pair your meal.

The Welcome Cocktail (name it after the bride!)

Flowers don’t just have a place in decoration; they are wonderful elements in food and drinks as well. This slightly sweet, well-balanced, floral and fruity sparkling cocktail is sure to kick your celebration off right!

Wine 1: Trefethen Dry Riesling

Fresh, fragrant and dry yet succulent. Dry riesling is an excellent start to the meal—great acidity to complement a fragrant fish dish and a subtle sweetness to contrast a bit of spice.

Wine 2: Mer Soleil Silver Unoaked Chardonnay

Aged in stainless steel, this chardonnay brings the round, full-bodied quality you crave without the oak. The lingering yet vibrant finish allows for a great deal of freedom in the entree course, where savory sauces are usually prevalent.

Wine 3: Merry Edwards Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc

A stunning dessert wine for a stunning bride. These grapes are left on the vine longer until their sugar levels are higher, and their fruit flavors burst of dried stone fruit. A fine compliment to any dessert, sweet or savory.

Wine Pairings:

Welcome cocktail – antipasti such as cold pasta salad or whimsical popcorn tossed in dried flowers, herbs or spices

Wine 1 – smoked salmon or a subtly spicy fried dish like a dressed-up jalapeño popper

Wine 2 – pulled chicken sliders, subtly flavored with a rich, white barbecue sauce

Wine 3 – perfect with foie gras or blue cheese, but also wonderful with mini cheesecakes, fruit tarts or mousse

Welcome Cocktail 

Yields 1 cocktail

Ingredients

Syrup from Luxardo or Amarena cherries

1 sugar cube

6-10 drops Bitterman’s Burlesque (hibiscus flower, acai berry) bitters

Dry Champagne or sparkling wine

Lemon twist

Directions

1. In a Champagne flute, add 1 teaspoon cherry syrup.

2. Drop in sugar cube.

3. Using dropper from bitters, coat sugar cube (sugar cubes can be pre-soaked in bitters as well).

4. Fill flute with sparkling wine.

5. Garnish with lemon twist dropped into glass.
 

Lavender & Apricot Stilton Crackers

(Adapted from InspiredTaste.com’s Blue Cheese & Walnut Crackers)

Ingredients

1/4 pound salted butter, room temperature

8 ounces apricot stilton cheese, room temperature (Trader Joe’s has it!)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons dried lavender, crushed to release oils

2 teaspoons dried thyme

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1/2 cup toasted pistachios, chopped

1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Directions

1. In bowl of electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter and stilton together for 1 minute or until smooth.

2. On low speed, add flour, lavender, thyme, salt and pepper, and mix until large crumbles, about 1 minute.

3. Add 1 tablespoon of water and mix until combined.

4. Move dough to floured board, press into a ball, and roll into a 12-inch log.

5. Brush log with egg, spread pistachios on cutting board, and roll log back and forth on pistachios, pressing lightly to distribute them evenly on the log.

6. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 days.

7. Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut the log into 3/8-inch thick portions.

8. Place crackers on sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush tops with more egg, and sprinkle more lavender and salt on top.

9. Bake 22 minutes or until lightly browned, rotating once during baking. Cool at room temperature.

Prosecco Poached Pears

Ingredients

3 Bosc pears, sliced to 1/4 inch

1/2 cup cane sugar

2 tablespoons raw honey

1/2 cup prosecco

1/4 cup water

1/2 tablespoon black pepper

1 teaspoon whole cloves

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 pinch salt

Directions

1. In medium saucepan, mix all ingredients except pears together over medium heat.

2. Once liquid begins to simmer, slowly add pear slices.

3. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes or until pear is slightly translucent.

4. Remove from liquid, slice down a bit, and serve on crackers.

(Also beautiful in a salad or on ice cream!)