Need advice for planning the biggest day of your life? East End wedding expert Erin Finley, co-owner of Sydney’s Taylor Made Cuisine, is here to help, with advice on everything from food to location and more.
What are a few aspects of wedding planning that people don’t often consider?
Be very clear on what you want your day to look and feel like. Don’t simply agree with others’ suggestions. Think through what you want and express it clearly. Don’t assume that anyone else has the same vision as you do, be certain that your vision is clear, crystal clear.
What are some common wedding planning mistakes you’ve encountered?
Don’t try to change a location to something it’s not intended to be. Don’t try to force a feeling that doesn’t come naturally to the space. Create an amazing space by utilizing what’s there, rather than masking it.
What’s the most surprising request you’ve had from a couple?
The evening before a wedding, the bride had a change of heart and wanted to change the entire style in which the food was offered, people were seated and served. She had planned and contracted for an elaborate cocktail, grazing menu, and decided last minute that in actuality she wanted a fully seated served meal. Was it the easiest of changes? Absolutely not! Did we make it happen? Absolutely! Make your day what you want it to be, not what you think others want it to be.
What are some ways to make a wedding celebration uniquely “East End?”
Location for one—beaches, vineyards, farmland, historical properties, all worth looking into, all embody that East End feeling. Use what’s here, what’s freshest, what’s in season. Don’t be so rigid with your menu so as not to be able to incorporate,or replace, something last minute that may not have been available the week prior. Decide more on flavor profiles and broader menu items, like fish, allowing the chef to procure what he feels is the best option at the moment.
What wedding foods could you recommend to someone looking to offer something extra memorable?
Always allow the chef to create. Pick a style, some favorites, but allow the chef to play with your menu to any extent that you’re comfortable with. When chefs are left to their own creativity and permitted to purchase what they see as the best at that moment you will get much more from them.
How has your approach changed with more requests for dietary restrictions?
As much as possible, we attempt to accommodate most eating preferences and to be aware of the difference between life choices and true allergies. You can only know so much about your guests’ eating habits and those with actual concerns will plan accordingly.
What tips can you share for finding the perfect wedding cake?
Keep it simple but delicious! Wedding cakes should no longer be ordered for show only, they should actually be a dessert to be looked forward to, not just a symbol to be cut and photographed but actually enjoyed. Keep everything, as much as possible, under one vendor, less confusion, less chance for communication errors.
What do you love most about your job?
Creating a vision, menu and memorable event, where everything appears seamless, no matter how difficult the journey was. The joy of fulfilling two people’s dream wedding, making the almost-impossible possible.
Do you have any more advice for couples embarking on their wedding journey?
Create a timeline, and then realize it has absolutely no basis in reality. As it can be a great tool for keeping a list of to-dos and order of the event. It should never deter the wedding from simply flowing in a natural progression, so that you can truly enjoy and make the most of your day.
For more information about Sydney’s Taylor Made, visit sydneysgourmet.com.