Planning a wedding can be a rewarding and exciting experience, even with the many little details that come up along the way. We spoke with The Vineyards at Aquebogue General Manager Russ Moran and Sales Director Kate Wiggins to get some advice on the planning process, from catering to location and beyond.
What are a few aspects of wedding planning that people don’t often consider?
Many of our couples struggle with understanding the day-of timing for a wedding. Most people have a difficult time conceptualizing the timeline of a wedding reception. When you reserve your wedding at a Lessing’s venue, we guide each couple through the entire process from planning to event production.
What are some common wedding planning mistakes you’ve encountered?
Communicating with the vendors and the venue. We work hard to create the perfect day, but often we receive key details at the very last minute from couples, despite our best efforts. We always recommend that couples keep a record of all vendor phone numbers and contact information to submit to the venue to keep all communication and important details in sync.
What’s the most surprising request you’ve had from a couple?
One of the most surprising requests we received was to have a live aerialist perform throughout the reception, while pouring Champagne! We worked with the company on ceiling height and proper insurance. The guests were amazed. It was definitely a unique touch.
What are some ways to make a wedding celebration uniquely “East End?”
Locally sourced food is our specialty at The Vineyards. We are known for our farm to table station, as well as our effort to incorporate locally sourced foods into all of our menus. We have a hand-drawn chalkboard map of the East End hanging in our cocktail room highlighting our local farmers and fishermen who provide us with these products weekly.
What wedding foods could you recommend to someone looking to offer something extra memorable?
Guests appreciate locally sourced foods. At The Vineyards at Aquebogue, striped bass and our farm to table station are huge hits. For cocktail hour, action stations—like stir fry woks, carving boards and pizza stations—are always guest favorites. In addition, our raw bar and live sushi roller stations are among some of our most popular items on the menu. For these stations, we use fresh, locally sourced seafood and shuck clams and oysters to order for the raw bar, as well as create custom sushi rolls right in front of guests.
How has your approach changed with more requests for dietary restrictions?
Catering to dietary restrictions has become the norm. It’s less of an approach and more of providing good customer service. People are much more health conscious now. There are many actual food allergies, but sometimes, it can be more of a personal dietary choice. We’ve added upgraded vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options to our wedding menu. In addition, we work with bakers who can accomplish delicious, quality gluten-free desserts.
What do you love most about your job?
We’re very invested with our clients from the moment they book the venue to the moment they walk down the aisle. Myself and Russ are here for the beginning of every wedding. From countless emails to food tastings and final meetings, we’re always accessible for questions. I personally always stay for the ceremony to say hello and congratulations to each couple and Russ is always here throughout dinner service. We take our jobs very seriously and treat every couple with one-on-one attention, as if they are our only client.
Do you have any more advice for couples embarking on their wedding journey?
Enjoy every moment of your engagement! From reserving your dream venue and planning the details, to getting ready the day-of and dancing the night away, cherish every second of the process. There will certainly be unexpected snags (and maybe some great surprises, too), but know that at a Lessing’s venue, your wedding will be one of the best days of your life.
For more information about The Vineyards at Aquebogue and other Lessing’s venues, visit lessings.com.