Perfect Setting Catering


Ilonka Floral Decorator

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Appleford Open House : Vendor Spotlight

As our Open House at Historic Appleford nears (only eight more days!), we want to be sure to introduce our guests to the outstanding vendors that will be helping us to bring this event to life.

Ilonka Floral Decorator

Our second spotlight is about Ilonka Floral Decorator, a Main Line floral and design specialist. Run by Ilonka Comstock and her daughter Keely, Ilonka Floral Decorator can turn your event into a bucolic garden. Ilonka also provides decoration services that can transform your party into an upscale soiree! Be sure to RSVP for our Open House at Appleford and meet Ilonka and Keely in person.

(Note: The Open House is reserved for prospective Appleford and Perfect Setting Catering guests only, please call 610-889-2040 for more details)

RSVP to reserve your spot on October 29, 2015!

Check out some of their work,

Vendor Spotlight: Merryweather Films

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Appleford Open House : Vendor Spotlight Merryweather Films link to site.

As our Open House at Appleford Estate nears (only nine more days!), we want to be sure to introduce our guests to the outstanding vendors that will be helping us to bring this event to life.

Merryweather Films

Our very first spotlight is on Merryweather Films, a Main Line videographer. Whether it’s behind the camera or behind the scenes, their team works tirelessly to craft lasting memories while offering the highest level of customer service.


RSVP to reserve your spot on October 29, 2015!




Check out some of their work,


Fall Menu 101

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Check out our Fall Menu Recommendations

Leaves are changing color, the air is crisp… fall wedding season is officially upon us. Perfect Setting works with countless couples during this season, and many are curious about seasonally appropriate ideas for Fall weddings.

Autumn Appetizers

The menu really kicks off with your cocktail hour where guests will be introduced to passed hors d’oeuvres or stationary appetizers. Fall is a season where you should incorporate rich flavors and seasonal decor to make a big impact in both menu and presentation. Luscious flavors are a critical part of the seasonal menu, and we recommend finger foods that include a smoked meat, such as a smoked salmon. For a stationary appetizer, a cheese station goes a long way, and you could offer baked brie with a fig topping on a table surrounded by pumpkins and gourds.

Recommendation: Apple & Butternut Squash Soup

*You can really kick this item up a notch with the addition of an Ommegang Pumpkin Ale


In the summer months, you see a lot of chicken and salmon served at weddings as a main course, but you want to transition those lighter options to something more appropriate, such as pork. When you think Fall, you think of heartier meals, like Shepherd’s Pie with savory accompaniments like butternut squash. There is nothing better than a warm, hearty meal served on a chilly day.

Recommendation: Autumn Breast of Chicken Roulade Stuffed with Andouille Sausage, Sage & Rosemary


If you are planning to serve a dessert in addition to your cake, you have plenty of options. One such option would be a pie station where you present guests with a selection of seasonal favorites (apple, pumpkin, pecan etc.). Looking for bite-size delicacies? Consider allowing guests to create their own caramel apples, or even serving fondue.

Recommendation: Bread Pudding Station
Featuring Homemade Croissant, Red Velvet and Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Offered with Toppings to Include Whipped Cream, Crème Anglaise and Dulce de Leche,
Apple Cinnamon Compote, Chocolate Hazelnut Sauce,
Blueberry Compote, and Rum Raisin Sauce


roof top garden

Green Roof Banquet

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Downtown Green Roof Banquetcira green roof banquet

Good morning everyone! We are currently prepping for a pretty cool event taking place between two Philadelphia Skyscrapers. The Cira Green project is an elevated public park landscaped on top of a multi-storied parking garage that spans the gap between the two newest additions to the Cira Center complex. Flanked on both sides by the mixed use EVO Tower and the new FMC Tower, Cira Green is really a welcome retreat to the predominantly concrete, urbanized west bank of the Schuylkill River. Tonight’s private event includes a jazzy Whiskey & Cigar Pairing Bar. Be sure to keep an eye out for up to date photos of this truly unique party space.

Open House October 29th – Appleford

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Open House at Appleford


This October Perfect Setting Catering will be hosting an Open House at the beautiful Appleford arboretum in Villanova.

The event will provide food and beverage and showcase our service and favorite vendors! Additionally, you can also meet with the Perfect Setting sales team and discuss your upcoming event. If you or someone you know is thinking about hosting an event at Appleford please RSVP for an invitation. Please include the prospective date, occasion and estimated guest count in your RSVP.

Our Preferred Vendors

At Historic Appleford

At Historic Appleford

You can expect to meet our preferred vendors listed below:

Ilonka Floral Design

Tom Barrett DJs

Merryweather Films & Video

Bredenbeck’s Bakery

Lauren Brown Invitations

Marriott Hotel of Conshohocken

Please view our invitation here


Alcohol Arithmetic

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Alcohol Arithmetic

How much alcohol do I need to purchase for my event”? 

This is a common question that Perfect Setting Catering hears a lot, and one that we have the answer to.

Not everyone offers a full bar at their event, so it is important to first decide what you’ll be offering to your guests. Will they have the option of wine, liquor and beer, wine and beer, Craft Beer only? Your first step is to narrow down what alcoholic beverages, if any, you want to offer to guests.

Outdoor Bar | Perfect Setting Catering

Case Study

Let’s pretend that this particular event is a wedding with 100 guests and a four hour reception. Assuming that no alcohol was served prior to or during the ceremony, we’re starting with a cocktail hour.

Over the course of your reception (including cocktail hour), your guests will most likely have about 4 beverages (about 1 per hour). If we do the math here, that is 100 guests x 4 drinks = 400 drinks. So what exactly should you plan to stock the bar with?

100 Guests Bar List 

*This list may vary based upon what you are serving.


A standard 750mL bottle of wine serves 5-6 glasses, depending on how your bartender pours. Larger bottles will be the most cost effective. Try to provide a variety, two whites and two reds will suffice. The standard is usually a Pinot Grigio or Riesling for the cocktail hour and a more complex white such as a Chardonnay or Zinfandel for dinner. As for reds, a Pinot Noir for cocktails and perhaps a Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo or Merlot for dinner (especially if you are serving steak!) Dessert wines, such as a Rosé, are always appreciated. At 5 glasses a bottle (conservatively) we suggest at least a third of your beverages be made up of wine.  At 133 drinks apportioned for wine, that comes out to 26.6 bottles of wine. The remainder of drinks can be supplemented with beer and liquor.


Beer typically comes in 12 oz bottles at 30 bottles a case, though some come in 24 packs. If you have a crowd that likes beer then you may wish to provide 1.5-2 beers per person. With 100 guests you will need approximately 150 – 200 beers, or 5-6 cases. You should consider your crowd and their personal tastes. Some crowds are craft beer drinkers, others prefer more traditional choices. Usually having a standard Lager such as Yuengling and a variety of craft and light beers is sufficient.

Consider how your bartenders will have to set their bar depending on the venue. If you provide six different 12-packs of craft beers along with white wine and a couple cases of lagers then your bartender may not be able to have every type on ice. This is based on how their space and beer tub apportioning factors into the equation. The more variety you choose then the more complicated the bar becomes, at the very least make sure to provide sufficient quantity with the variety of beers. There is nothing worse than a bartender digging around for one of the twelve Golden Monkeys that was provided. Also consistency is always appreciated by your guest. If they keep coming back to the bar only to find the beers they liked have already run out then it will create a slower bar line as your guest evaluates their options. (Note: make sure you don’t buy the ‘variety’ packs that most beer brands offer. This means more variety but less quantity of any one beer…which to say the least becomes a headache throughout the night).

Craft kegs are also becoming popular and will serve about 165 12 oz. servings (though smaller kegs are also an option). If you are planning to use kegs make sure your caterer can handle the delay that a keg can bring. A well flowing keg can be a boon for your flavor profile but any stoppage at the source can cause havoc at your bar.
Devon Horse Show 2015 | Perfect Setting Catering


There are limitless options of liquor to choose from. It is important to provide variety. Try to provide the fundamentals: Vodka, Whiskey, Scotch, Rum, Gin. From there you can decide on quality. Mixed drinks are usually the safest way to serve large crowds because they will drink slower and a mix drink requires less liquor than a “neat” drink. For a 100 person crowd who love mixed drinks you may wish to provide 2/3 of your 400 beverages (about 266 drinks) as liquor options.

From the bartender’s perspective a fifth of liquor is easier to pour than a handle. Though a handle will usually save you more money. Here is how liquor volumes work out mathematically:

The Standard

 A 1.5 oz pour = 1 standard drink.


A 750 mL (25 oz.) bottle = 16.6 standard drinks. 


A 1.75 liters (59.2 oz.) bottle = 39.5 standard drinks. 

A handle will serve about 2.38 times more than a fifth. Considering a fifth of Maker’s Mark is $30.00 and a Handle is $58.00, you save about $13.40 by getting a handle, or close to 22.9 oz of liquor more (that’s 15.3 drinks!).

Essentially, you will need to provide a mixture of 16 Fifths or 7 Handles to cover your liquor portioning. The additional third of drinks can be made up with wine and beer.


Your mixers will heavily depend on what types of beverages you are offering to guests. If you want to offer soda to guests as a non-alcoholic option, you’ll need extra on hand not only for those guests who aren’t drinking alcohol, but to use as mixers for those who are.

The most common mixers to have on hand are: Coke, Sprite, Orange Juice, Pineapple Juice, Cranberry Juice, Ginger Ale, Tonic Water, Club Soda, Grenadine, Triple Sec*, Sweet & Dry Vermouth*, Bitters*, Lime Juice, and Simple Syrup.



Lemon and lime are the two most popular garnish options. Your bartender will garnish every drink that gets served. You may also want to have a few jars of olives and maraschino cherries.

Some specialty drinks will require a particular garnish. For example, when we make our Mint Mojito specialty drink at weddings, we make sure to have plenty of mint leaves and lime available. The garnish is an added bonus to the specialty beverage and you do not want to run out. The reemergence of Old Fashions as a popular drink (thanks Mad Men) requires orange slices on hand, though this can be convenient if you package the Old Fashion with a Blue Moon, both of which use orange slices. If you plan to supply Corona’s then your caterer needs to be aware in order to bring extra limes. A good caterer will know in advance what garnishes will go with popular drinks.


Remember The Golden Ratio – 4 Drinks : 1 Guest

Whether you serve predominantly beer, or wine, or liquor you can typically assume your average guest will consume 4 drinks. A typical crowd will have a handful of heavy drinkers and perhaps an equal handful of non-drinkers. So while one guest prefers six drinks, another may drink only one…or none!

You can also overestimate your liquor just to be safe. If you instruct your caterer to use only as much as is necessary then a great caterer can avoid icing down alcohol that doesn’t need to be opened. If you end up with a surplus of unopened boxes of beer, wine and liquor then you may be able to return the balance to the store and get a sweet refund. Always pays to be prepared!

If you have anymore questions please feel free to contact us!


How to Give a Best Man Speech

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How to Give a Best Man Speech

Guest post from writer Joe Forster

I’ve done a few speeches so I figured I’d post this. First, a quick formula that I like to follow.


Steps for Writing a Best Man Speech

1. Introduction

Introduce yourself and how you know the bride and groom, something like, “Hi for those of you who don’t know me I’m Bob, I went to highschool with John we’ve been friends for 14 years.”

2. Appreciation

Thank the parents, not only for having you there and putting on the wedding, but for raising two awesome people and putting them out in the world. After the intro, the easy segue into this part is “The first thing I want to do is thank Mr. and Mrs. whomever…”

3. Tell a Story about the Groom

Tell a story about the groom, this is the best chance to be funny but if you aren’t typically funny don’t worry about making jokes, nothing is worse in a speech than a bad joke, a bad joke is worse than a boring speech, it’s worse than a nervous speech, it can really kill your confidence. For me, I tell a funny story here and there and then usually a funny comment on the story, but it’s also a great chance to tell a story about the groom being a great person, and say something really heartfelt.

4. Tell a Story about the Bride & Groom

Tell a story about the bride and groom, one where they met or the first thing he said to you about her, when you knew she was the one for him, or just a time they were awesome together. Again, if you’re funny a joke works well here, but it’s definitely not needed.

5. Congratulations

Offer congratulations, good luck, and continued support. This is where you say something really heartfelt, even corny as long as it’s not too much of a cliche. My last speech ended along the lines of “how everyone is trying to find someone they can live the rest of their lives with, but these two found someone they couldn’t live the rest of their lives without” (ugghh) how beautiful. Use something specific to them, and don’t worry about being sappy, it’s a wedding.

Couple other rules that can be helpful now that the formula is out there.

  1. You usually go on after the maid of honor and the father of the bride… you are not going to do as well as them, they are always insanely well prepared and sometimes they shed a touching tear or two. Keep your speech short, should be the shortest of the night. 2-3 minutes is the sweet spot. 5 is the absolute max if you’re a great speech giver. Also it might go without being said, but your main job is to make the groom look incredibly cool. Try and convey how much you like him and his bride to be.
  2. DO NOT do any jokes about creaky beds, friction in the sheets, or consummation of the marriage. Everyone has heard them before, they aren’t funny, and a couple dopes might laugh but most people will feel awkward.
  3. Come sort of prepared. Don’t write down the whole speech, just write down the bullet points and speak from the heart about the bullet points. Pulling out a sheet of paper looks very lame, but going on and on because you keep remembering stories is even worse. Go up there thinking something along the lines of “intro, thanks, story about John where he did this, story about John and his wife when they did that, funny joke I made, touching closing.”
  4. I know I’ve said it before, but do not be obsessed with being funny. If you’re funny in your day to day life, be funny. I tell two or three jokes in a speech usually. If you aren’t funny, don’t worry about it, ‘awws’ are just as good as ‘hahas’ so be heartfelt instead. Bad jokes ruin everything.
  5. How much booze before? This is a huge one and it’s very dependent on who you are. Probably best not to be completely sober, it’s better to be loose up there, but the most important rule is not to be drunk. Have a couple drinks to calm your nerves, but I’ve seen the groom ask the best man to stop before, it’s ugly, be very careful not to get too drunk.

So that’s a quick little rundown, I hope it helps a few people. Being chosen as a best man is a huge honor and says a lot about the kind of person you are, it’s important to have a good quick speech, and then sit down. Tell the bride she looks beautiful almost right at the beginning. NO INSIDE JOKES! Practice your speech out loud a few times and relax.

-Joe Forster
(reprinted with permission)

3 Reasons to “First Look” | Perfect Setting Catering

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Weddings bride and groom hors d'oeuvres first look

An hors d’oeuvres moment just for the bride & groom

The ‘First Look’

If you aren’t one for tradition, you might want to hop onto the “First Look” bandwagon. One of the latest trends that Perfect Setting Catering can’t help but notice is our couples are choosing to see their significant other prior to the wedding ceremony and taking the majority of their pictures ahead of time. Why exactly is this “First Look” so popular right now?

Time Efficient 

When you opt into a “First Look” with your (almost!) husband or wife, you are able to get ready a little earlier and perhaps even take care of your photographs ahead of time. Once your couple portraits are taken, you can even get a head start on bridal party and family photos.

Not only are you getting a lot of your pictures taken, but it allows you more time at your cocktail hour to mingle with your guests and relax vs scrambling to get pictures done before dinner.

Alone Time

A lot of couples have nerves prior to the ceremony, and the “First Look” often eases some of that tension. You are able to relax with your significant other prior to the ceremony, and since your pictures are done you will have plenty of time to spare. A “First Look” permits you some time together before the festivities of your reception.


From a photography standpoint, you may also have better lighting for “First Look” pictures. If you have a late afternoon ceremony, the lighting might be better a couple of hours beforehand. Not only do you reap the personal benefits, but you could wind up with some really fantastic shots just because of the time of day.

Essentially, this is your day! Perhaps it may be time to ditch tradition and forge your own path. Consider the “First Look” approach for your future wedding date.
premier venue guide

Premier: Venue Guides by Perfect Setting Catering

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The Appleford Venue Guide is now LIVE

Planning an event?

Perfect Setting Catering knows that planning an event can be strenuous enough. If you are in the middle of your busy life and trying to plan a wedding then you may not have time to drive to every venue! Fortunately we have you covered.

The Guide

Perfect Setting Catering has been painstakingly putting together top-to-bottom guides of local Philadelphia & Main Line event venues such as Appleford, Brandywine Manor, Duportail, Merion Tribute House and many more. We have created a virtual tour that shows you the highlights and the features of these wonderful venues. The goal is to consolidate all of your venue questions into a neat and tidy package. Before making a trip all over south eastern Pennsylvania take a moment and read our guides to see what venues meet your needs. We assure you the venues we provide are all leading industry venues that will accommodate your every need.

To start, we have released our Appleford Venue Guide. We hope to roll out the other guides on a biweekly schedule in order to ensure accuracy and thoroughness! Please like us on Facebook to receive updates as we post our guides online.


Tips to Save as a Wedding Guest | Perfect Setting Catering

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Weddings Are Expensive – Save As a Wedding Guest

Lately, it seems that attending a wedding as a guest can be almost as pricey as being a member of the bridal party. Once you add up the cost of travel, housing, gifts, clothes, food and transportation…you may be in for a nasty surprise. The average cost to attend a wedding is $673. If you have been invited to a wedding, (or… gasp… more!), do not fret. The Perfect Setting Catering team has five tips to help you save money as a wedding guest so that you can enjoy the wedding festivities without breaking your budget.

1. Take Advantage of Hotel Room Blocks

Hotels will provide big savings for big groups. Make sure to ask your host whether they have any deals with a local hotel, especially one close to the venue (hello transportation savings!) You can get a discounted rate as a guest if you are on their list.

*Extra Savings: Split the cost of the hotel room with your date, or another close friend who may be attending the wedding. Still more than you had hoped? Check out websites such as

2. Break The ‘Can’t Wear it Twice’ Rule

Once that wedding invitation is received, “What am I going to wear?!” may be one of your first thoughts. If you are on a budget, it might not be in your best interest to splurge on a new outfit. Go through your closet, and see if you can reinvent something that you already have, or see if you could borrow something from a friend. It’ll give you the thrill of a new outfit, but without the price tag.

3. Skip the Cash Bar

Not every wedding is an Open Bar, and if the couple whom you are celebrating has opted for a Cash Bar, do not feel obliged to partake. Those drinks add up over the course of the evening, so you should make a note to leave the cash at home to avoid temptation. You might still get a glass of champagne if they are having a champagne toast prior to dinner, and you can still take advantage of other options such as tea and coffee towards the end of the night (assuming they are included).

4. Jump on the Registry

Check out the wedding gift registry as soon as you can. Often, the more affordable gifts are available earlier rather than later. Also, sign up for mailing lists to the places they are registered – you will most likely get savings coupons sent to your inbox that you can use.

5. Get on the Uber Bandwagon or Try Skiplagged

If the event is in (or convenient to) a major city, it might be worthwhile to use a service such as Uber, versus renting a car. It is most likely that other guests will need a ride from the hotel to the ceremony, and back again…. try finding out who might be able to coordinate a carpool.

Catching a flight? It is said that Tuesdays are the cheapest for purchasing airline tickets. Do some research to compare flight costs with Google Flights or

If you are feeling adventurous try something called skiplagging. To ‘skiplag’ you basically buy a one way ticket that has a layover in the city you actually want to go to and then you just skip the connection once you land. For example, occasionally you will find flights that travel from Los Angeles to New York via Philadelphia that may be cheaper than setting Philadelphia as your destination. If you take this connecting flight and just disembark at PHL instead of heading onward to New York you may save money! View this great website called (Note: Though this is not illegal, if you use this method a lot you may be eventually flagged by your airline. Once or twice is not enough to get you into trouble, but if you become a skiplag junkie you may run into trouble with the airlines! Be aware!)

If you follow these five tips to save money as a wedding guest, you should be able to attend a wedding (or two, or three!) without breaking the bank.