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Wedding help! (Please feel free to chime in…)

April 23, 2010

[Note: Many apologies, but nearly every post I write between now and June 18 will be wedding related. So very sorry for this, however, the people that I would be fussing over all of these details with are a continent away. I am left with no choice but to vent my frustrations, questions, excitements and inspirations via this site. Read at your own risk of boredom…]

Ok. So. Thanks to my amaaaaaazing, wonderful, selfless, [insert glowing, suck-up-y adjective here] parents who drove 7 hours roundtrip to Harrisburg yesterday, I am apparently the proud owner of a signed, stamped and soon to be delivered New Original Apostilled Birth Certificate!

Score.Now we just need BF’s mom to make a similar journey (from Cleveland to Columbus) and we will be nearly set.

However, short of flying to Ohio and personally driving her from place to place, I can’t really do anything to move that process along. SO. I will obsess about the things I can fix.

They are as follows:

1. Wedding Music

BF would be the dj for our wedding rather than the groom if only I'd let him...

BF and I have decided to forgo the wedding dj dude and do the reception music ourselves. We may do the cocktail and ceremony as well with the help of a few cds, but BF is still hoping for some kind of live musical group. A violinist? String quartet? Harpsichordist? I have no idea. If we were having my dream beach wedding, I’d push for some super cheesy awesome cliche like a steel drum band. If we were having my dream Cleveland wedding, I’d push for one of the Case (our alma mater) choral groups or one of the student groups from the Cleveland Institute of Music (their students shared our campus and are crazy talented).

However. We are having a beyond our wildest dreams Belgian wedding and I do not know of any choirs or quartets. So cd will suffice.

ALSO. With regards to the reception, I am looking forward to having the mix from our wedding forever. And ever. We’ll be able to listen to it on our anniversaries, play it at our U.S. wedding celebration and maybe even force the future children to sit and listen to it on repeat during long roadtrips. Just to annoy them. Sounds amazing, no?

here’s where I need your input…

a. if anyone knows of wedding-appropriate bands or quartets or soloists (around Leuven) who are reasonably priced OR where to look for these sort of things, please let me know! The wedding planner only knew of one group free on our day and they were roughly $1,000/hour. Umm, no.

b. ALSO. If you know of any MUST PLAY wedding songs, I’d love to hear them. We have all the standards from “Sweet Caroline” to “Living on a Prayer” on our list, BUT, if you were at a wedding and heard something more unique (yet perfect), let me know!

2. Tasting

A summer gazpacho (like this one via Sunday Suppers) is on the menu. But will it taste as good as this one looks? Quandry.

Our reception will be held at this incredible, rustic, classy, intimate, magical place called “The Faculty Club.” It’s right in the Begijnhof in Leuven and will (hopefully) be special for our American guests. (I’ll share more on it when I have suitably amazing pictures – the gardens around there are starting to bloom so we may photo hunt this weekend.)

We had many reasons for picking this venue, but one of the biggest factors was the food. As our wedding is on a Friday, the food for the reception will be catered by the team from Arenberg, a Michelin starred restaurant. (yummmm) And they won’t just be catering, they will be catering. Like, big time. There will be 200 or so passed hors d’ouerves during cocktail hour for the 50 or so guests which will then be followed by either a 3 or 4 course meal (it will depend on # of guests. Fewer people will = more courses as there is a minimum cost for the evening.) Plus cake. And potentially some late night snacks such as fries.

Sounds perfect, right? Sadly, I think there is a catch. It appears that you have to choose just 1 menu out of 4 different offerings for ALL of your guests. For those of you who weren’t aware, in the U.S. you typically have a cocktail hour with hors d’ouerves then you serve either a buffet or a sit down dinner with 3 courses – soup/salad, a main entree which you allow your guest to choose followed by cake. And that’s it. Here there are all these options, which is great, but we have to pick the perfect combination that will make the most people happy AND – kicker – I don’t think we get a tasting.

If we want to sample the various menus we either have to go to their restaurant at least twice. It’s a great place and I LOVE having dinner there, but at 45-55 Euros a meal (without beverages)… it’s just sort of annoying.

input time…

a. Is this normal for Belgium? i.e. does everyone pick menu items blindly? If so, I’ll quit being bummed. If not, perhaps I’ll try and work something out with the Faculty Club people. I just don’t want to be a rude, demanding, obnoxious American. Especially not around people who might hold it against me and spit in my wedding cake. That’s gotta be bad luck for a marriage.

Do I go all crazy Bridezilla and make complicated centerpieces?

(gorgeousness via

b. Has anyone ever been to a wedding at the Faculty Club? Comments? Even general ones… i.e. there weren’t enough flowers or not enough light or the food was awful or we should make sure we have X and do not have Y? Are additional decorations needed since the place is pretty austere?

ummm… that’s all I got for now. I had some weird dreams last night about getting married to a 3 year old (wonder where THAT came from) and decided to write rather than sit in bed wide awake. Better get ready and go to work. Without the job I will have to have the local friterie cater the reception. And no one wants that.

Have a wonderful weekend and thanks in advance if anyone comments 🙂

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 24, 2010 12:32 pm


    I got married in the Faculty Club last year and we were delighted by their service.
    We married on a Saturday however so the catering & personnel was by Bart Claes catering and not Arenberg but we were told that they have similar quality and style.

    Bart Claes only does big parties and does not have a restaurant so we could not taste in advance. We did get bottles of each wine (and because we didn’t like the proposed champagne we also got the other options home :)….yumm lots of tasting). We had a dinner with our parents in the Faculty Club by the Arenberg catering; We thought the food was excellent price/quality.

    So to be short: no we never tasted , we trusted Bart Claes’s very good reputation. If I were you , you could try to negotiate a tasting since Arenberg does have a restaurant but I’m not sure if they would be willing. In the latter case you’ll have to trust them.

    We got many many many many compliments from our guests on the Faculty Club , the staff and several people commented that they had the best food on a wedding ever. I must say: we had lamb on the menu and had 180 guests….Hats off to them to be able to cook the meat just right for all of us. We had a few vegetarian guests and someone who only eats fish, no meat and they got adjusted menus (we had no idea what woudl be served) but it was truly a dish that was worth it and not some ‘last minute I’ll throw some vegetables on the plate and that should do as replacement’ kind of dish. We had pointed out on which tables the vegetarians would be and it was all automatically taken care off without any fuss, confusion or additional guiding needed. They were also attentive to notice some pregnant woman, to ask how the meat should be cooked or if they wanted any changes and it was all taken care off.

    Also during our reception they were very attentive: someone showed up with a huge bouquet of sunflowers (yes huge) and I was just handed them or a maitre already showed up with a huge vase to put them in next to me etc. The next morning after our party they all still helped us to load the presents into our car. Very very nice and very professional people. The faculty club is an expensive place but sure worth its money. I had not to worry about a thing.

    Oh yes, I remember I screwed up the table lists ….and they all checked and figured it out without bothering me and I didn’t even know there had been a problem.

    As for the flowers: the Faculty Club has a contract with Verde (Kapucijnenvoer 6-8). He comes to do the flowers 2-3 times a week: some bigger pieces at the entrance, smaller pieces for the tables.
    I was not impressed with the store at all, it didn’t look modern, had no flower arrangements to show. Nevertheless I liked the flowers that were usually in the Faculty Club whenever I came by to check things out. So I dared to ask him and had a meeting with the guy from Verde, could look in his picture albums etc, show him pictures of bouquets I liked etc. He could show pictures of the modern abstract no-nonsense style I really wanted . In the end it really worked out brilliant for us since he could make my wedding bouquet in the same style as the rest of the Faculty Club. I got to give input on the type /color of flowers for the Faculty Club which is not usually the case. He made the same things for the church as well so it was all one theme. And I didn’t thing he was outrageously priced.

    One thing I was worried about at the Faculty Club is that we couldn’t have a choice for a DJ for our evening party. he was expensive….a lot more expensive than most DJ’s and we had never heard him. I really wanted to have a good party all night long. Some wedding forums online gave him good reviews but still.
    But we had a fab party. The floor has never been empty at all,…there’s been non-stop dancing between 12-4 AM. And he seemed to be knowing very well who was still around: old aunties got their songs, then the youngsters.
    I’m very surprised that the Faculty Club lets you do your own music???? A live group yes, but do you get to do your own music during the dinner? do you have a party too?

    I hope this long comments helps a bit :). Have fun with the preparations

  2. brittspencer permalink*
    April 26, 2010 6:38 am

    Wow! Thank you SO much for your amazing advice and pointers on the Faculty Club. I should have hired you as my wedding planner haha 🙂

    Really, I can’t tell you what a relief it was to hear how well they took care of all of the needs of your guests! My future-in-laws are Vegetarians so it was wonderful to learn that won’t be a problem. Also, that is great news about the flowers. I will try to do something similar with Verde!

    I was looking at your posts on your wedding at the Faculty Club and all I can say is that it looked like an amazing evening! Your bouquet (and you!) were stunning and it looks like everyone had an incredible time.

    Anyways, thanks again for your comment! I hope you have a great week and get a chance to enjoy the gorgeous weather 🙂


  3. Leni permalink
    December 14, 2010 4:34 am

    Hi Britt,

    Congratulations again on your beautiful wedding! The pictures look just amazing and I am sure you had an absolutely great day!!

    We are planning to celebrate our wedding next year in the faculty club as we just loved the place and the food must be exceptionally nice.
    However we have two concerns and as you Brit also married on a Friday I wanted to get your POV. As far as we understood on Fridays there will also be restaurant guests. Did you experience this as well? Did you find this disturbing? It’s already very expensive and it seems a bit over the top to us to pay another big amount to buy off the restaurant as well.

    Also the room seems quite big to us. We’ll have about 70-80 guests, you mentioned you had 50 – did you go in the big room as well?
    Did you end up receiving a tasting in the end?

    Thanks a lot and if you prefer please feel free to mail!


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