Affairs to Remember, Atlanta's greenest caterer and one of the largest privately held off-premise luxury caterers in the United States, recently announced that Senior Catering Consultant Chris McKinstry planned and executed his 401st wedding, setting a new record for the company's 40-plus years of catering and designing special events.
Groom Zachary Gawthorp said, "Chris was amazing and I am so glad to have chosen Affairs to Remember for our wedding. Chris got me right from the beginning. He was always there to respond to an email or answer a call. He was confident and comfortable. Being hours away, I trusted everything he did and never felt like I had to be there. Chris has been doing this a long time, and his experience shows. Our creative ideas bounced off each other, and I couldn’t have picked a better person to help me plan this wedding."
While his wife-to-be, Shika, was in her Medical Residency, Zachary planned their wedding. He asked for a unique, out-of-the-box experience. They wanted a wedding reception that would allow all of their guests to mingle throughout the evening getting to know the bride and groom, as well as their families and friends. The typical wedding traditions, such as the first dance and wedding cake, were 'left at the altar' for a welcoming 'extension of their living room' atmosphere.
Shika and Zachary | Photo by Gemini and the Bear
Zachary said, "I had been to many weddings over the past few years of friends and family. They all seemed to be structured the same way. A short ceremony followed by a scheduled reception. It started to feel as though I was going to a conference. Every detail was written down and turned into a timeline of events…a first dance, a few speeches, the cutting of the cake, a champagne toast and dancing. I went with some friends, sat at the table with them, and left with those friends. There would be hardly any interaction with the bride and groom or their families."
"I did not want this for our guests," Zachary continued. "It was important to me that everyone would have that interaction. Yes, the day is about the bride and groom, but I believe there should be more. With the bride and groom come their families and friends and coworkers. It should be about the union of these two sides and I wanted to give them an opportunity to embrace that union."
Shika and Zachary's wedding guests enjoying games - Photo by Gemini and the Bear
Rich Wilner, General Manager, Affairs to Remember, said, "Chris is brilliant with his clients and consistently puts his wedding couples at ease about the whole planning process. Many of his wedding clients return from their honeymoon to tell us how much fun they had throughout the wedding reception planning process, often inviting Chris to stay in touch."
Rich continued, "At Affairs to Remember we make connecting and establishing a relationship with the client our first priority. It's their special day and creating remarkable memories for our couples is our passion—something we're proud to have been doing for more than 40 years."
The 'Indian-with-a-Southern-flare' menu was designed and prepared by Executive Chef Ahmad Nourzad and his culinary team of chefs. Offered were traditional Indian dishes as well as a number of fusion dishes, including Affairs' famous Miss Josephine's Mac & Cheese topped with house-made Chicken Tikka Masala, elegantly presented in martini glasses.
In lieu of a wedding cake, Zachary and Shika opted for Gulab Jamun—a traditional Indian dessert offered at the most festive Indian occasions—as well as a traditional S’mores experience just outside of the main entrance of Mason Fine Art, a local art gallery and special events venue in the Armour neighborhood.
The décor—designed and executed by Jade Lee Events—was indeed an extension of one's home. A giant rustic, dramatically lit wall featured family photos. Plush lounge seating invited conversations. There were giant Jenga and giant checkers for the kids and kids at heart. And a live event painter, Maggie Smith Kuhn, was there to capture the essence of the evening.
Live painting by Maggie Smith Kuhn | Photo by Gemini and the Bear
Chris McKinstry, Senior Catering Consultant, Affairs to Remember, said, "Event design and creating menus that couples and their guests will love in the moment and talk about for years brings me a certain kind of gratification. I take exceeding a couple's expectations seriously—while enjoying some laughs with them along the way—and I continually challenge myself to take it to the next level. It's been quite an exciting memory-making journey!"
"The key to success is 'listening' to and actually 'hearing' what a couple wants for their special day," continued Chris. "If you can master that skill, you're destined to create wonderful lifelong memories for those who trust you with those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. I'm ever grateful to have designed and catered more than 400 weddings—Zachary and Shika's was my 401st, a milestone that humbles me as much as it excites me. Working with Zachary was a great experience and I wish him and Shika the warmest congratulations on their union and all the best for their future together."
A full interview with groom Zachary Gawthorp is on Affairs to Remember's website.
About Chris McKinstry
Chris McKinstry, Senior Consultant at Affairs to Remember, is a top-producing consultant for the organization. He is responsible for account management and designing some of the grandest events in Atlanta, while creating, building, and maintaining strong client relationships. Humorous and charismatic, Chris has served as the catering and event design professional for more than 400 weddings since joining Affairs to Remember in 2005. A native of Belfast, Northern Ireland, Chris has called Atlanta home since 2005 by way of Boston, Massachusetts, where he owned a café, a wine and spirits store, and a successful catering company.
About Affairs to Remember
Affairs to Remember is one of the largest privately held full-service event design and catering companies in the United States. Our award-winning services include expertise in off-premise catering, ballroom and event space management, bar management, and full event management and production throughout the Southeast. Our consultants also orchestrate venue selection, décor, music, entertainment, tents, lighting, and photography. We are also Atlanta’s first Zero Waste Zones caterer. Our 40-plus years of success is attributed to the company’s innovative menus, impeccable service, attention to detail, logistical achievements and reliability. Clients consistently applaud our expertise in guiding them through an exciting, memorable experience. For more information, please call (404) 872-7859 or visit www.affairs.com.
Travis S. Taylor
Director of Communications
(404) 872-7859 x22
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