Event Spotlight

Summer Wedding in the South

Shining a light on one event and the details that made it memorable

The wedding took place at the Gothic-Tudor-style Callanwolde Fine Arts Center in Atlanta.

The wedding took place at the Gothic-Tudor-style Callanwolde Fine Arts Center in Atlanta.

Caterer: Avalon Catering (avaloncatering.com)

Venue: Callanwolde Fine Arts Center in Atlanta, a special events facility in a Gothic-Tudor-style mansion that was built by the Candler family, the founders of Coca-Cola.

Event Details: Cathy Conway, founder and executive chef of Avalon Catering in Atlanta, catered this 165-guest wedding last June for a longtime client, the bride’s mother. “They wanted a really simple, clean wildflower look, incorporating the outdoors to the indoors,” says Conway. The result, she says, was “simple beauty,

The minimalistic décor kept the grand space from feeling overwhelming and drew more attention to the cuisine. “The food was very important to them, and for the dinner they wanted the food to speak to the guests,” says Conway.

Menu Highlights: The cocktail hour featured appetizers evoking summer and the South, including classic deviled eggs, cornbread rounds topped with Benton’s country ham and a grilled apple salsa, summer squash and ricotta crostini, and brisket sliders with pickled red onion and horseradish sauce. The family-style dinner started with a pre-set summer salad with juicy heirloom tomatoes, ripe peaches, feta, pickled serrano peppers and crispy greens. For the main course, guests dined on local corn and field pea succotash with peppers and crispy potatoes; assorted grilled summer vegetables with a paprika vinaigrette; creamy Anson Mills rice with fresh herbs and parmesan; grilled strip loin served over a bed of turnip puree and topped with a salsa verde; and pan-seared North Carolina trout finished with a light summer tomato, butter and herb sauce. The bride and groom had a two-tiered Italian cream cake for cutting, and guests were treated to chocolate and white cupcakes with buttercream frosting for dessert.

The clean, simple décor included wildflower bouquets.

The clean, simple décor included wildflower bouquets.

The Best-Laid Plans: “It was a gorgeous day, but we did have summer thunderstorms looming, which in the South are completely unpredictable and stop as quickly as they start,” says Conway. “Everyone had their phones out, and we pretty much stood on the outdoor porch trying to decide whether to set chairs and bars inside or out. At one point we took apart trash bags and taped them over the already set bar. It was only five minutes before the first guest arrived that we made the decision to leave everything outside, based on our best radar reports. We got a sprinkling, but then the skies cleared, and it was beautiful.”

Have a good candidate for Event Spotlight? Send details to Catering’s editor, Sara Webber (sara@cateringmagazine.com)