Alenah and Grant Riffle Married The Waterford Way

(By Elizabeth Kim of Waterford Receptions)

It was fate that brought newlyweds Alenah Tsutras and Grant Riffle together as husband and wife on September 28, 2013. They met in 1997, at age 18 and since they were young and with things getting in their way, they finally started dating at age 22. It quickly ended when Alenah moved to Atlanta to pursue her dreams in music and voice. After some time passed, they grew distant and being in two different cities, Alenah thought they’d never see each other again. Alenah moved on and was inspired to follow in her father’s footsteps to become a successful voice over artist. (Her father is the original voice for companies such as Papa John’s, HHGregg and Pep Boys.) Alenah built herself a successful career in Florida, Atlanta and New York pursuing music and traveling for national voice over commercials. (

Though the door seemed to have closed for Grant and Alenah, they had no idea that their story was just about to start. The two  reconnected at the age of 33 and after a couple months of dating, Grant got  down on one knee and asked the girl of his dreams for her hand in marriage. These two were destined to become husband and wife. Alenah left the big cities and moved back to her hometown in northern Virginia to start her life with Grant. Grant is a civilian and has a significant role in IT support for the Quantico Marine Base.

Just like their story, their wedding was just as unique. Alenah and Grant married at St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church and hosted their wedding reception the “Waterford Way” at Waterford at Fair Oaks on a beautiful autumn day in September. With a bridal party of 11 groomsmen and 11 bridesmaids, the couple joked that it was reminiscent of the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” and the bridal party included a very special member – the bride’s cousin Ariel Winter from the popular TV series Modern Family.

When asked why they picked Waterford, the couple said that Waterford at Fair Oaks was  the perfect location because of its close proximity to the church and the area where the bride grew up. Their wedding planner also highly recommended the venue for outstanding service and great food.   Food is an important part of any event and the couple enjoyed the food during their tasting – but the food on the big day was more delicious than they could have imagined.

“Staff was awesome. They were always on top of things and very helpful with my requests! My husband and I are so glad we chose Waterford for our special day. Everyone was extremely helpful, courteous and knowledgeable. The look of the ballroom that evening exceeded my expectations. I enjoyed the cake cutting surrounded by beautiful mirrored doors and chandeliers, which was one of the many romantic moments for me and my husband. We will definitely suggest the Waterford to friends and family. A special thank you to the Sales staff for being there for us every step of the way!”

Waterford Receptions thanks the newlyweds, Mr. and Mrs. Riffle! We enjoyed working with you and sharing in your special day. Congratulations on a beautiful marriage and we wish you many, many years of happiness!

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Photo Credits to Issa Michel Photography, Flowers by Maryam Flowers, and Cake by Wanda’s Cakes.

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Waterford Chef Shares Recipes on Let’s Talk Live

Waterford’s Chef Mike Rogers was on Let’s Talk Live today to share some great recipes and tips for event menus.  If you missed him, you can view the video here – and see below for the complete recipes for some of the great dishes!


Smoked Salmon Fettuccini

1 lb. hot smoked salmon
1 lb. cooked fettuccini
3 red peppers
1 pint heavy cream
1 tsp. garlic
½ cup white wine of your choice (unsweetened)
2 tsp. butter
2 tsp. flour

Sautee garlic.  Add smoked salmon, wine and peppers; cook for 2 minutes. Add cream and bring to a simmer.  To thicken, add butter and flour. Serve over cooked fettuccini.  Sprinkle feta to liking.

Chicken Piccata

7 - 08 225

3 eggs
1 tsp. garlic
1 tbsp. basil
1 tsp. rosemary
¼ cup grated three-cheese blend (asiago, parmesan and romano)
1 cup flour

Coat chicken with egg and flour. Sautee on each side for 1 minute then put in the oven at 350° for about 15 minutes, or until it reaches 160°.

Chicken Piccata Sauce:

1 tsp. chopped garlic
1 cup white chardonnay
2 tsp. lemon juice (reduced by half)
¼ cup heavy cream
½ lb. butter

Cook garlic, wine, lemon juice and cream for 3 minutes. Add butter and stir constantly until butter is melted. Remove and drizzle over chicken.  Add capers to liking.

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Waterford and the Salvation Army Host Thanksgiving Dinner for Community Families

For the last 10 years, Waterford receptions and the Fairfax Corps of The Salvation Army have hosted a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner for local needy families and this year is no exception. Yesterday, Waterford at Fair Oaks provided a full Thanksgiving meal for more than 200 people from 12-2 p.m.

“For more than a decade, we have worIMG_0283[1]ked with the Salvation Army to host this event each year – and we look forward to it every time,” said Keith Clark, Waterford Receptions CEO. “It’s one way our Waterford family can give back to so many others in the community – and often times our staff members bring their own family members to join in and help with the event.”

While this event has become a tradition for many Salvation Army volunteers and the families that they help – it has also become a cherished tradition for many of the Waterford staff members also bring their family members to share in the event.

With turkeys that were donated from the Salvation Army Waterford created a delicious and masterfully prepared buffet of home-style dishes that included a variety of vegetables, stuffing, mashed potatoes and desserts.

The Thanksgiving meal, prepared by Waterford’s Chef and culinary team, included:

  • 250 pounds of turkeyIMG_0287[1]
  • 50 pounds of mashed potatoes
  • 20 pounds of pasta
  • 10 pounds of stuffing
  • 2 gallons of gravy20 dozen rolls/biscuits

“In addition to the amazing food, we are happy to give these families a beautiful place to enjoy their Thanksgiving meal,” said Clark. “It can be a very memorable and elegant experience for these families to gather in our chandelier-filled ballroom and be served on our china.”

People applied for the dinner through the Salvation Army, and the ones who attended are those who use that organization throughout the year for assistance.  Several families have come to this Thanksgiving event for several years and it has become their holiday tradition – a day full of good food, beautiful surroundings and creating great memories with friends and family.

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The Waterford Receptions Kitchen – Thanksgiving Recipes

Waterford’s Chef will be on Let’s Talk Live today sharing some great tips and recipes for Thanksgiving. Check him out on News Channel 8 at 11 a.m. this morning and see below for the full recipes he will discuss. Enjoy!

photo 4

1 Turkey, 4 Oranges, 3 med onions cut into 1/8 , ½ cup cider vinegar and ½ cup sugar

Toss vinegar and sugar over orange and onion wedges.  Stuff bird and cook 20 min per pound.  Glaze chicken after taking lid off to brown

2 cups of orange juice, ¼ cup soy sauce, ¼ cup brown sugar, ½ cup cider vinegar and 2 tbsp red pepper flakes

1 14oz bag cornbread stuffing, 1 stalk celery small diphoto 1ced, ½ onion small diced, 12 oz sweet Italian sausage, 2/12 cup chicken broth and 1 cup cranberries

Cook sausage, onions and celery, add stuffing mix and chicken broth, add cranberries and keep warm

Brussels Sprouts
2# Brussels sprouts cleaned and split, ½ cup blue cheese crumbled, 2 cup red seedless grapes split, 1 cup frosted walnuts, ½ stick butter and 1 tsp salt

Steam sprouts in vegetable broth (you can use chicken broth for extra flavor) until fork soft. Drain and add grapes, salt and butter. Toss until butter is melted, than place in serving bowl. Top with blue cheese crumbles and frosted walnuts

Cranberry Sauce
2 cans of whole cranberry sauce, 1 small onion diced, 1 cup fresh cranberries, ½ cup white Zinfandel (optional), 2 Tbsp stone ground mustard

Saute onions until golden brown, add Zinfandel, fresh cranberry and reduce by half. Add cranberry sauce and mustard.  Stir until smooth.  Refrigerate and serve cold

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Waterford Receptions Giveaway – Win a Free Reception

As part of the News Channel 8 Holiday Giveaway, Waterford Receptions is giving away a free reception!

The winner can use the 5-hour reception for the event of their choice – a wedding, charity gala, business event, etc. – and can include up to 200 guests.

Valued at $20,000, the reception giveaway includes Waterford’s Sapphire package, which includes an open bar, hors d’oeuvres, and plated or buffet dinner.

Don’t miss your chance to win – enter today at

Check out CEO, Keith Clark on New Channel 8’s Let’s Talk Live to learn more about Waterford and the giveaway.

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The Waterford Receptions Kitchen – Fall Recipes by Executive Chef Michael Rogers

Seems that the fall days are finally here to stay.  But as we say goodbye to the days of grilling out, we don’t have to go running for the crock-pot just yet.

Here are two simple and delicious recipes from Waterford’s corporate executive chef, Michael Rogers, that leverage the wonderful ingredients and festive flavors of fall.

Forest Chicken

This delicious chicken dish makes use of apples and mushrooms – which tend to be abundant in the fall.  Chef recommends apricot-scented chanterelles but morels, shiitakes, oyster mushrooms or portobellos can all be used.


½ cup all-purpose flour

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 chicken breasts, bone still in (about 8 ounces each)

2 teaspoons chopped garlic

2 teaspoons minced shallot

8 ounces wild mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and sliced

½ cup veal or chicken stock

1/3 cup diced tart apple, such as Granny Smith or Gravenstein

¼ cup chopped walnuts

2 tablespoons dry sherry

2 tablespoons dry white wine

2 teaspoons minced tarragon

1 teaspoon minced thyme


Preheat the oven to 350°F

Season the flour with a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Dust the chicken with the seasoned flour, patting to remove excess. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sauté until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan and set it in a shallow baking dish. Bake the chicken until it is no longer pink in the center of the thickest part, 15 to 20 minutes.

Prepare the sauce while the chicken is baking. Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of the oil from the pan the chicken was cooked in, and reheat the pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and shallot and saute for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes. Add the stock, apple, walnuts, sherry, white wine, tarragon and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by about half. Taste the sauce for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Arrange the chicken breasts on individual plates, pour the sauce over them, and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings

Three Squash Soup

While pumpkins may be the most popular within the gourd/squash family, there plenty of other types to enjoy as well.  Check out this savory soup that acorn and butternut squash as well as zucchini.


2 tablespoons butter

1 small onion, chopped

1 piece (2 inches) fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 acorn squash

1 large butternut squash cut in half and seeded (try roasting the seeds with a little kosher salt for a snack)

1 zucchini

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon white pepper

Salt to taste

Olive oil and butter for roasting

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock


Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Cut up your squash in slices and scoop out the seeds, but don’t peel them.

Drizzle olive oil on a sheet pan and place pats of butter underneath the squash slices on the pan, placing the squash flesh side down. This creates caramelization on the bottom of the squash. Cook it all for about 30-40 minutes or until it begins to look a little shriveled and feels soft to the touch.

Allow the squash to cool enough to handle it.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion, zucchini until translucent – about 2 minutes.

Add ginger, garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant – 6 to 8 minutes.

Stir in 4 cups stock. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Scoop out the insides of the squash and add it to the stock pot, along with the spices. Mix thoroughly and then puree it in batches in a blender or food processor. Serve hot.

Optional:  Swirl in some warm heavy cream to make the soup thicker and richer. 

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Autumn Wedding Trends Brides are Falling in Love With

September 22 marked the first day of autumn.  The leaves are changing, the weather is beginning to get a bit cooler and the seasonal pumpkin craze is back.

Many couples choose October as the month to say ‘I do’.  In fact, The Wedding Report notes that May, June and October are the most popular wedding months in Virginia.

So, cheers to those who are planning to celebrate their nuptials next month – and for those who are in the engagement phase and eyeing a fall wedding for next year, here are some of the trends we are seeing.tablesetting

The Dress
Wedding dress trends change with the seasons.  Fall offers brides a chance to break away from the standard summer strapless and explore a world of sleeves, wraps and cropped coats.  According to The Knot and Brides Magazine, some of the hottest looks this season include delicate cap sleeves, romantic full lace sleeves, illusion lace and beaded necklines and sheer strap dresses.

The Groom
Autumn is all about rich, warm color tones – so it is the perfect time to stray away from the traditional black tux.  Mix it up with suits that are grey, tan, brown or navy and add in some extra layers and fun (yet manly) accessories like vests, suspenders and bowties to bring in elements of the bridal colors.

The Colors
Speaking of colors… Picking the colors for your wedding is one of the biggest choices you’ll make as the colors play a role in almost every element of the big day. Pantone offers some help with its Fall 2013 Fashion Color Report. While it might be difficult to find Mykonos Blue or Samba in your local dress shops, it at least gives you a sense of what hues are hot this season.  Just remember that even though shades of brown, orange and green may be the common go-to’s there are many other color options that can still help you achieve the perfect fall festive look.

The Flowers
Fall wedding bouqflowersuets and floral arrangements can take a variety of shapes and sizes and include numerous textures and non-floral elements – wheat, moss and berries can all be used to compliment a fall inspired wedding.  Succulents are also becoming popular because they come in deep, fall-appropriate colors and brides can easily work  them into their centerpieces.

The Dessert
In general, it seems that couples are getting creative with desserts at their weddings – whether it be cupcakes, sundae bars, candy stations – the traditional wedding cake, just doesn’t seem to be, well, cutting it anymore.  The deliciously warm flavors of fall, like maple, cinnamon, ginger and apple cider (and who could forget pumpkin) can make for some amazing new twists for after dinner cocktails and tasty treats.  Consider serving fall favorites like tarts, turnovers and pies to give your guests a unique dessert and end your celebration on a sweet note.

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