Black Tie Blog

The Wedding Cake meets the Heat.



Over the last 25 years we have faced the challenge of the heat, and for the most part we have more than persevered. Hydrate is the word. Standing over a grill and cooking for hours at 97 degrees, our Sous Chef Kelly wobbled more than once. Fans, shade and water sometimes is still not enough. But she carried on, and all of our wonderful staff does as well, as we enter our second weekend of events and weddings in the scorching heat and stifling humidity.

The dreaded Buttercream fruit filled cake........no amount of air conditioning ( in a vehicle mind you....the 1800's farm house nearby had none, ) could conquer the humidity as it sidled up to that beautiful cake. It literally imploded. Now this is not a scenario we enjoy, but once in a Blue Moon, it simply happens. As our event planner looked on in horror, this beautiful cake morphed into a crumbling tower almost before her eyes, as it met.....The Heat.

What to do, what to do?  We always arrive with piping bags and frosting and plenty of berries and flowers to help any cake that is in heat distress. We have saved a few dozen over the years, as they begin to slightly wilt. But this one....OY.

Determined to save it the chef began reconstructing as a waiter went off to the bakery to purchase additional sheet cakes "just in case". Piping frosting and placing berries, the cake continued to refuse to cooperate. Just as fast as she repaired, it fell...again and again. Plan B. Construct a new cake out of the newly purchased sheet cakes. No air conditioning in the host's home meant working on this in the shade of our tent, where it was a comfortable 97 degrees, humidity as high. Slicing away at the sheets to create a new cake, time was running out. The Bride must cut the cake. As one worked on the imploded cake, another worked on a new cake....and now the moment of truth. Neither cake would look like anything but a horror show when we carried it out. 

What to do, what to do? Slowly all turned to the second dessert of the evening. The one dessert that no amount of heat or humidity could destroy. Heat....meet our homemade Whoppie Pies. We placed one of those next to our two cakes. Bravely, our event Captain summoned the Bride to examine our efforts. Of course we made her aware of the possible situation....delicious cake with a hideous appearance. We could serve it, but would she want to cut it? What would she want for her photo album, as she would look back years from now?

We waited. She smiled. She pointed.

The Bride and Groom stood at the table, and while cameras flashed and the heat seemed to diminish for just a few minutes, they cut and enjoyed together.....a Whoppie Pie.




Sometimes we just have to thank our clients when they are so gracious and just plain nice. It was a beautiful day, and nothing was going to ruin it for them. We served the guests the cake that never made it in the photos, but all agreed it was superb.  Sometimes your best efforts are not 100% successful, but the show must go on.

Fruit filled buttercream cakes are the worst possible choice for days like this. But truthfully....how often do we get days like last Sunday? This year, looks like we are in for a few more. So all you wedding cakes out there.......be very careful. 

Stay cool...and hydrate,


Pineland Farms....the possibilities are endless.

When we were asked late last year to manage the venues and catering at the beautiful Pineland Farms, it was an opportunity we could not refuse. Now that we have our feet wet, we are expanding the areas that allow catered events on the large and expansive property.  Last week we began planning our first wedding at The Collyer Brook Farm.

Rolling hills, cattle grazing through grasslands, spectacular sunsets reflected off the restored red barn – these are just a few of the sights at Collyer Brook Farm that will take your breath away.

Collyer Brook has been farmed since before the American Revolution, when sheep on these very fields supplied wool blankets for the American troops. Step into history on the adjacent remnants of the first woolen mill in the United States, now owned by the State of Maine.

Surrounded by several hundred acres of forests and ancient pastures, and situated at the end of a long dirt road, Collyer Brook Farm offers the ultimate in privacy, yet is just two miles from the Pineland Farms campus. 

Come see the views that few can see, and plan your next event at this pastural and peaceful venue.....Collyer Brook Farm. We will work with you and create an event to remember, at a site that will be impossible to forget.

Stay cool,


Chris and the Black Tie Gang !

Can't stop the rain.

Even the best planned events must have contingency plans that deal with the weather. To not plan on rain in June ( or any month in Maine for that matter) is to invite trouble. So with that in mind, our two rehearsal dinners and four weddings this weekend all had rain plans. Even with those plans, our event planners went the extra mile to ensure the guests would be as comfortable as possible. From fireplaces crackling at Camp Hammond,  fans and heaters drying the soft damp grass under our tents at Pineland, to weighting down our tent on the coast on Bailey Island (the winds Thursday night blew a few other tents away!), additional heaters picked up on the fly for a barn rehearsal dinner at Pineland, I am proud to say we did not take the forecast lightly.

Bringing charming umbrella holders and a dozen umbrellas, buying extra stakes to keep those tent sides tight, grabbing a dozen ballpark rain parkas (they only cost a few dollars each, but can save a dress or suit in a downpour), a blue bucket of rain rubbers and boots....all these are ideas that can add a certain charm and a feel of Yankee ingenuity to your event. No one minds one bit to slip on a big pair of rubber boots to trek to their car, if it means they won't be sloshing in their shoes all night. It always provides a few laughs as well. This is after all, June on the coast of Maine.

Don't forget to reserve tented walkways to allow your guests to reach outdoor restrooms, and we always make sure our staff is also kept dry as well. Sometimes the client may not consider this important, but a wet staff carrying soggy horsdoevres from the service tent makes for a poorly planned event, and an unhappy and unkempt staff. We ask for these considerations, and we thank our many clients who agree that a professional staff needs professional working conditions!

In the end, keeping dance floors dry through out the events proved challenging but necessary Don't forget to have plenty of thick towels on hand to keep these surfaces safe. One sprained ankle can ruin any event.

But by the time the dancing ended, all the lights were shut off and the last candle was blown out, and guests and staff were heading home, all were dry, happy, safe and sound.

Good planning=Good results.





In anticipation of our 25th year (that is one quarter of a century of catering!!) it was time to give The Black Tie Company a well needed face lift. After months at the drawing board with Forge, we now launch our new site. As the primary owner of TBTC, I have included a blog page, as not a day goes by where someone does not do or say something that is of interest for those who love a well planned party or event. I hope to begin to write about things that might not seem commonplace, as it is often the things that we do not see that have the biggest impact on a catered event.
So I welcome you all to a behind the scenes look at what we do, why we do it, and how a simple enough idea ( "Let's have a dinner party" ) can be taken to the next level, or even outer space if that is what one would like. Some of our finest events....the effort was in making it "look" simple. For other events, nothing was permitted to look simple, and none of it was. That is part of the challenge of what we do. We listen for the subtle or not so subtle cues from our clients, and help create the feel they desire. 
Simple or styled over the top....we've got you covered. And I will begin to uncover the process to the party.
Happy Summer,
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