Meet Carter Sutton Aines, Staffing Coordinator and Event Planner with A Sharper Palate Catering & Events! Read how she got started in the restaurant industry then fell in love with event and wedding planning. Get to know her today!
How did you get to where you are now?
I started working in the restaurant business when I was fifteen in my hometown of White Stone, Virginia. I started as a server at a family owned restaurant during the week, and washed dishes at a waterfront bar on the weekends. Once I moved to Farmville for college, I started hostessing at Charley’s Waterfront Cafe and Wine Bar, and eventually became a manager. I relocated to Richmond, bopped around a few places here; both serving and in management, but had a change of heart in 2018. I knew I loved the food industry, a fast-paced environment, and the adrenaline rush that comes with it, but I was ready for something different. I found an ad on Indeed from A Sharper Palate looking for an event planner. I had only known the restaurant world, and really did not think I had a shot at landing the job with zero large scale event planning. I was nervous! Come to find out, we all come from restaurants in one way or another, and this has been my home ever since.
What makes you or your business stand out and why should a couple hire you?
With over 26 years of experience in the Richmond market, A Sharper Palate has off-premise down to a science. We also put food quality, preparation, and execution above all else. We cook on-site as much as we possibly can, whether that is Lollipop Lamb Chops for a backyard cocktail party or a guest’s choice plated meal on a farm. Cooking everything at the event and pulling it out of the oven minutes before it hits your table makes all difference in the quality and taste of your meal. If quality, taste, and presentation of your food is on your high on your priority list, we are the catering company for you.
What’s your favorite thing about working in the wedding industry?
I love being a part of the entire event coming together. From the initial inquiry we receive to the final menu selection, then banding together with Richmond vendors for the day of; it is truly incredible to watch someone’s entire dream form right in front of you. Being able to be a part of that along the way is such a gratifying experience.
What’s a unique tip you tell your couples?
“It’s all about y’all” is something I have found myself telling couples often! I’m sure I will find something more sentimental and unique as I bury my roots deeper into this industry. I just believe it’s so true. If you want to skip the garter and bouquet toss, skip it. If you want Taco Bell for a late night snack, let’s do it. I’m here to help accomplish whatever it is that is going to make your wedding day off of the charts special.
What’s your best piece of advice for couples planning a wedding?
Always talk to your caterer about what rentals are required to properly execute your event and let them handle that contract. 99.99% of the time, your caterer is the one that is handing all of the china, silver, and glassware (or plasticware), tables, chairs, linens, etc. for the entire duration of your event, along with cooking and service equipment. It is so crucial to have the proper quantities rented, and it also takes a great deal of stress off of you!
What’s your favorite moment during a wedding?
During the ceremony, the moment when the groom first sees the bride. Everyone always looks at the bride, but I look at the groom for that first look.
What are your favorite wedding trends right now?
I love seeing rich, bright color palettes in florals, whether that is bouquets or centerpieces, with lots of dynamic and dimension.
How do you de-stress?
FaceTime or phone call to the parents, followed by some love from the dog, and a good laugh or two with Brian.
What’s your favorite food/dish/cuisine?
Anything seafood related. I could live off Chesapeake Bay blue crabs for the rest of my life! Italian is definitely a runner up.
If you were to meet any celebrity, who would it be?
What would your perfect Saturday be like?
Coffee first, and then anything outside! From golf or the beach, to just washing my car or doing yard work, a pretty simple day can be the best.
What are your top three movies or books?
Dirty Dancing, Grease, and there’s no way I can only choose one Harry Potter movie!
What’s a fun or unusual fact about you?
I share my birthday with my dad!
What’s the best concert you’ve been to?
Jimmy Buffett, twice!
Do you love to travel? If so, what are some must-see destinations?
I love traveling. Usually I’m flying back and forth to Georgia to watch my Atlanta Braves with my dad or The Florida Keys to see my mom. I do have a “Travel Wish List” which includes Bali, Paris, and the UK.
Do you have a pet? If so, what’s their name and what are they like?
I’m a self-claimed dog step-mom to Brian’s rescue. Her name is Guinness and she has the most unique personality I have ever met! She loves bath time, running laps around the backyard, and keeps herself entertained with two toys at all times.
What is your most used emoji?
Always the laughing emoji with tears coming out! 😂
What is your favorite season of the year, and why?
‘Baseball season’ counts, yes?! Late summer to early fall. That’s when the best baseball is played!