Today I introduce you a new blog section dedicated to meetings with other wedding professionals that offer services that I would define out of the boxes. By now, you will have realized that I love unconventional weddings. That is why I like to offer to my couples also special services, for their wedding or collateral to it.
Let’s start talking about catering, a basic part of every event, sometimes the main one. How many times I thought that the proposals I received from catering were so tempting and rich, but equally “standard” too!
Then one day I received an e-mail from Pepper Diva Unconventional Banqueting, a name that I liked right away. And I immediately discovered that it was not the only thing I liked.
Pepper Diva Unconventional Banqueting is an all female company born thanks to Ornella D’Angelo who proposes custom menus for weddings and events.
Hi Ornella, first of all tell us who you are
Hi Veronica and thank you for this interview!
I’ve been working in the weddings world for over twenty years now. After an architecture’s degree, a combination of situations brought me to know a new business: weddings in private venues, villas and castles. So I decided, in a very instinctive way, to follow this passion that I felt was growing in me and I began to work as event manager for a big catering.
How did you give birth to the idea of Pepper Diva Unconventional Banqueting and to its name?
After the catering experience I opened my wedding planning agency that I have ran with satisfaction for several years. In 2011 I was thinking of launching a second brand, Pepper Diva, that would have been dedicated to children’s parties.
But the brand immediately took its own way, quite different from what I imagined. It happened that I made a first business service in the baby fashion industry and from there I started to deal with catering services for childrens’ high fashion brands.
At that point, food become for me a design element. When all your work has to focus on a single buffet table, the food becomes also a matter of colors and shapes, not just flavors. So I started making my menus and fully managing these events.
I must say that the idea of coming back to the wedding world was natural. I didn’t like to feel “split” between the wedding planner agency and Pepper Diva. Pepper Diva was part of me, this pink woman that was part of me (and I swear, I’ve never thought that within me I could have found such a pink aspect) could no longer stay aside. As a wedding planner I also always had the “crisis” of the menu. Let me better explain: my wedding projects never found correspondence in the food.
So I decided to carry my new reality even in the wedding world, which I believe is the one that reflects my personality the most.
Regarding Pepper Diva‘s name… The name was born from an infinite number of tries and cuddly combinations I had made. I was looking for a contrast because I’m not cuddly at all.
I liked it, but to me it seemed a bit strong for a project destinated to kids parties until I asked to my older daughter. I read to her all of them, and when I arrived to Pepper Diva she told me: this is the one!
Your menus are always tailored to perfectly fit into the wedding mood. How do you give birth to them? What is your approach with the couples?
My menus are usually born blindly, they start from an atmosphere. I close my eyes, I try to feel around me what will be the atmosphere of the event, and then I wonder what I would like to eat, what flavors, what colors would I like to find in that context.
I have to say that my approach is still not very well understood. Often when I ask for information about the outfits, I ask you to see pictures of the wedding dress, I ask which flowers will be used and the style of the compositions I almost feel like an harasser. Once, I was also told that banqueting usually does not ask these questions and I had to point out that I’m not a banqueting like the others. In order to work well I need to get into the atmosphere.
The flowers, the colors of a wedding, the bride, her dress, her hairstyle, they all help me to enter into the mood.
This is true also for setting up the buffet, because even when the menu has been created, chosen and confirmed, I have to think about how to set up my own buffet, how to set up the table and, to do so, I need to know what and how the centerpiece and the style of floral scenery will be, so I can follow that style to create harmony.
I remember that when I read your proposals for brunch weddings, pic nic weddings and tea time receptions I was completely in love with them
Yes, I love to break the molds, but doing so does not mean to do something strange or necessarily different. Sometimes it doesn’t take much to make an event unique.
I think many spouses continue to rely on traditional menus because they are the only things they know, they see and because no one proposes anything different. New things always scare a bit. The idea of being the first ones to do a different reception isn’t always accepted and often the fear of what the guests might thing prevails.
I wanted to create, besides traditional menus, also thematic menus so that married couples could have a very precise idea of what might be an alternative reception and then pick the option they prefer.
This is how the Apericena menu whit a slightly informal cut was born, the Tea with Merenda combines the wonders of a classic English flavored tea with more well known flavors, the Brunch menu for late-morning hours, the Boho Chic menu where finger food is king in a very natural and relaxed atmosphere.
My menus, even the thematic ones, always combine different flavors whitout forgetting our being Italian and are always balanced so that there is the scenic part but never to the detriment of flavors.
Even the traditional menus are very different from one another. We have the Appointment in Villa, designed for the elegant setting of a vintage villa, the Country Chic set in an extremely convivial farmhouse, the Summer Evening menu, thought for the warm evenings when all you want is a sophisticated but light and fresh food or, in contrast, the Home Flavors Menu which is very hot, wintry, with the finest flavors of our tradition.
I really love them all, because they are all different, but, of course, once every couple tells me their story I create a different menu from them that talks about them.
Do you have an advice for couples who are looking for the perfect vendor for their wedding reception?
I always believed that wedding vendors should be chosen by feeling. Brides have to feel comfortable with each vendor and, moreover, they must trust them.
Thank you Ornella, and think pepper!