The Expert Tips & Advice is an interview series with local wedding professionals. We talk about trends, ideas and advice to make wedding planning easier for the couple.
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Well-fed guests are happy guests.
You want to your wedding guests to enjoy the day, so planning the right amount of food to offer them is important. I talked with Bill Rieckhoff, owner of local popcorn and ice cream shop, Great American Popcorn Co., for creative and easy ideas to satisfy your guests’ appetites. Whether you want to offer snacks during your reception or party, or you want to give your guests an edible gift, Bill had ideas and tips.
“Popcorn is an American classic and it’s a simple, healthy snack,” says Bill. Great American Popcorn Co. offers 125 flavors, with about 40 to 50 very fresh flavors on their shelves on a typical day. Some flavors even have a local flair like the fun Crunch Berry popcorn. It’s been quite popular and everyone loves the Cedar Rapids Quaker Oats tie-in.
Brides and grooms can do a tasting by simply stopping into the store. “Weekdays are better customer service, as Saturday’s can be quite busy,” suggests Bill. To help you plan your popcorn bar, Great American Popcorn Co. needs to know the number of guests for your wedding or party, as well as other food that you will be serving. When they know these details, they will help you determine the right amount of popcorn to have available.
Three ways to serve popcorn for weddings, graduations and more:
1. Popcorn bar
Great American Popcorn Co. can quickly and easily get your popcorn bar ready to use. With this option, they provide the glass jars, scoops and serving cups, along with the flavored popcorn. Starting at $1.50/person, this makes it simple for the bride and groom to offer snacks to guests.
“Typically people will pick three flavors, but you could do up to six or nine, depending on how large of a group you’re serving,” says Bill. He suggests offering a variety of flavors. Most people will choose a sweet, a savory and a “basic” flavor. “Caramel and chocolate flavors are always a hit.” Bill recommends their popular Lemon Cookie flavor, with it’s lemon caramel corn rolled in chocolate. White cheddar is a good option–and less messy than traditional orange cheddar flavors. If you plan to offer extra “add-ins” on the side of your popcorn bar, such as candies or nuts, Butter popcorn works well.
2. Gift size bags
Great American Popcorn Co. offers a snack size bag called Little Popper. There are lots of ways to use these bags of popcorn to satisfy and delight guests. The 2-cup bag is perfect as wedding favors. Or add bags of popcorn to hotel room welcome baskets for out of town guests. They will appreciate a snack to munch on, as well as being introduced to a delicious local business. The bags also make fun thank-you and hostess gifts. Labels can also be personalized with your wedding date or short note.
3. Bulk Popcorn
Some couples may prefer to DIY. Buying bulk popcorn from Great American Popcorn Co. is the perfect way to supply your popcorn bar. A 10-gallon Big Bag can feed 60 to 80 people, lets you pick from tasty flavors and saves you hours popping popcorn at home.
Tips for your popcorn bar:
In the summer, beware of humidity! “Your popcorn bar jars should have lids. The jars we supply with our Popcorn Bar do come with lids.” Also smaller bags of bulk popcorn are better. “They’re more manageable to hold onto to when you’re refilling your jars. But more importantly, smaller bags stay sealed against humidity when they’re not yet in use. We provide our popcorn in the smaller bags for you so you don’t have to worry.”
Great American Popcorn Co. is an award-winning family business that sells gourmet popcorn, ice cream, candy and soda. Originally located at the Newbo Market, Bill and Robyn Rieckhoff sold vegetables produced from the family farm, Morgan Creek Market, a local 37-acre vegetable farm. With their kids, Sydney and Carter, they started selling ice cream and popcorn at the market, too. This June will be three years at their current location, now across the street from Newbo Market. Named one of Orbitz “Top 5 Popcorn Shops in the US,” Great American Popcorn Co. has also been awarded for outstanding retail experience from Travel Iowa.
A’s to my Q’s: Bill says…
Weddings and popcorn go hand-in-hand.
You should never get married without a spouse.
To have an unforgettable wedding, sometimes you have to loosen your tie and get crazy.
Electric Slide, Chicken Dance or watching from the bar? Chicken Dance!