Engagement season is upon us, and at Sonesta, we are excited about a new wedding website and a very exciting Sonesta Travel Pass wedding offer. We are here to help you with your wedding planning, from choosing a venue to deciding on the menu, and as part of that, we are launching a new series featuring wedding tips from our executive chefs.

We asked Chef Brian Dandro of Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island (and formerly of Royal Sonesta Boston)  few questions about wedding planning, culinary vision, and trends when it comes to wedding food and beverage, and he shared his insights below.

1) What is your favorite part of working with couples to make their wedding culinary vision a reality?
My favorite part would be the wedding tasting and getting to speak with the couple directly. We present our dishes with our preferences but it’s fun to speak with the families about what they like and see their excitement when you give them ideas on how to customize plates specifically for them.

2) Do you have a style of wedding dining you prefer – a plated, sit-down meal, stations, cocktail party, etc.?
Coming from Boston, it was extremely rare to see a wedding buffet but it’s quite popular here and something that I’ve learned to appreciate. It takes pressure off the family to capture meal counts and doesn’t lock guests into one choice.

3) What’s the most memorable wedding you have worked on? Feel free to share more than one!
I was working a wedding for a group out of Cape Cod and noticed the meal counts heavily favored swordfish to filet mignon by double, which is extremely unusual. I approached the catering manager for confirmation and was told, “It’s correct, they’re from THE CAPE!” The clients requested not to have any meal identifiers on the table setting, so when our servers were confirming meal choices with the guests, the final numbers had been reversed and we were short about 60 filets. We had the DJ push up cake cutting and add in a dance so I could quickly butcher and cook the additional steaks. In the end, everybody ended up with what they had ordered and the staff loved the swordfish we served in the employee cafeteria, we’ll always figure it out ?

4) From signature cocktails to intricate wedding cakes, weddings are all about the details. Have you seen any trends recently in planning food and beverage that really stand out?
I’ve seen more focus on the afterparty and I think it’s something that will continue. Having a private space with a dedicated bartender and some fun finger foods like assorted flatbreads and gourmet donuts is a great way to end the night.

5) What advice do you have for couples looking to plan a wedding at your hotel?
I recommend hiring a great wedding planner so you and your family can focus on just having fun! A dedicated professional owning the night for you is helpful in so many ways, from planning to ensuring that family heirloom used to decorate the cake is secured and in your room by the end of the night.

Learn more about wedding planning with Sonesta!

Wedding Tips From Our Executive Chefs: Chef Daniel Corey at The Clift Royal Sonesta Hotel

Sonesta Travel Pass Weddings Offer

Recent Wedding Trends: The Chase Park Plaza St. Louis