Catersource ACE finalists are now in the judges’ hands
Catersource’s Achievement in Catering and Events (ACE) entrants are now in the hands of the deciding judges. Winners will be announced in an exciting close of show ceremony, the Spark Industry Awards Celebration, at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on March 15 New Orleans, along with the winners of the ICA CATIEs (Catered Arts Through Innovative Excellence).
The Barns at Wesleyan Hills is featured on RusticWeddingChic.com's spectacular site!
We celebrated the start of the holiday season with hot cocoa, cide donuts, carolers, Santa, and a tree lighting and invited the whole Wesleyan Hills community to join us for this annual event! We had carolers from the nearby Wesley Elementary School sing sing for us Many thanks to Principal Tom Cannata, the children of Wesley School, Powerstation Events, Jackson Chevrolet, NoRa Cupcake Company, and Santa for making this special day happen!
Tom McDowell is the President & CEO of Pavilion Catering, Inc. and a long time resident of Middletown, CT, with deep family roots within the community.
Tom graduated Xavier High School in Middletown, CT and then went on to receive an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts and a B.S. in Food Service Management from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI. Upon graduating, Tom returned to Middlesex County working in area restaurants and hotels as a chef, manager, and food & beverage director.
Tom founded Pavilion Catering in 1984 and became the exclusive caterer at The Pavilion on Crystal Lake. Pavilion Catering took over the food & beverage operation at Lyman Orchard’s Golf Club in 1993; then assisted in the kitchen design and layout at The Wadsworth Mansion and became a preferred caterer in 1999. In 1995, Tom founded the Food Service Solutions division, providing consultation to school food services throughout Connecticut. In 2006, Pavilion Catering, Inc. became the exclusive caterer at The Barns at Wesleyan Hills transforming it into one of Connecticut’s premier non-traditional wedding venues.
Tom is a member of the prestigious Leading Caterers of America an organization comprised of the 50 leading catering companies in the country. He is also a member of the International Caterers Association and the Les Amis d’ Escoffier Society of CT for Fine Dining.
Tom oversees the entire operation and today he mentors an exceptional management team making wedding day dreams come true.
"Tom - I just wanted to send a big Thank you! to you and your team. Our Grand Re-Opening was absolutely perfect. The food was delicious, the presentation special and memorable, and your staff was top notch! A million thank you's!" - TJ Jackson
Jonathan is proud to be entering is 18th season as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Jonathan believes that weddings today are about transforming raw, non-traditional spaces into magnificent wedding venues, bringing the rich diversity of Connecticut Farms to the (reclaimed) table and creating unexpected, fun and unique experiences for wedding guests. In addition to leading the Wedding Division, Jonathan also heads the FoodService Solutions Consulting Unit, providing consulting services to Child Nutrition Programs in Connecticut schools. Jonathan is very active in the hospitality community. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Restaurant Association, is a member of the National Restaurant Association and the International Caterers Association. He is a member of the elite, invitation only Leading Caterers of America group and a member of the advisory board for the University of New Haven Hospitality and Tourism program. Jonathan also belongs to the Les Amis d' Escoffier Society of Connecticut. Jonathan is a Justice of the Peace and in his free time, Jonathan enjoys mentoring young caterers across the country. Jonathan lives on a small farm in Connecticut with his wife and children.
"Did I mention that our property guide was Jonathan Jennings, the company’s COO? I don’t know about you, but I’ve never known another COO to jump in and help the team like Jonathan did for us on our wedding day – literally driving us around in golf carts. He pleasantly accommodated all of our location desires, even those more extreme photos that we were after. He even made suggestions to add to our list. He drove us up to the highest point in Middlefield at sundown to capitalize on the breathing taking view and gorgeous natural light. I cannot wait for our photos!" - Maria & Brian
Connecticut Wedding Group Executive Chef Stephen Lisitano is the 2013 Connecticut Restaurant Association Chef of the Year! We are honored by this award, and that Connecticut has recognized how delicious Steve’s menu is, and how inspired his presentation has become!
Growing up within steps of The Pavilion on Crystal Lake, Chef Lisitano began working for Connecticut Wedding Group as a dishwasher, riding his bike to work everyday. He quickly developed a love for his kitchen, learning anything and everything he could. Through his culinary training, Steve continue working in that same kitchen. He has grown and succeeded with Connecticut Wedding Group, continually transforming our menus with his seasonally inspired, farm-to-table foods, and imaginative presentations.
Executive Chef, Stephen Lisitano treats every single event individually, giving his full attention to the culinary details that make your wedding day dreams come to life. He is always willing to go the extra mile to make sure each and every guest is taken care of; regardless of allergies, special dietary needs, and restrictions. Steve is committed to creating delicious food on your wedding day, and can’t wait to be a part of the celebration!
"No matter what I say here, words will fall short of the praise that Steve Lisitano, Executive Chef and the rest of the team at Pavilion Catering deserve. Just hearing the way Steve talked about his menu offerings, my foodie husband and I instantly felt relief, trusting that the food would be amazing… We just didn’t realize HOW amazing!" - Maria & Brian
Dawn Pandolfo oversees all aspects of our Golf Catering and Restaurant Operations.
She loves the challenges and rewards of motivating a team and also coordinating food and beverage services to help create successful golf tournaments.
Her experience began at 16 yrs old. While serving a cub scouts dinner, she was offered a position by a caterer who had attended the event.This led to more than a decade of work in the hospitality field, and has given Dawn the expertise to meet and exceed all the needs of Pavilion Catering and CT Wedding Group clientele in an effortless fashion.
She brings enthusiasm, professionalism and endless energy to each day and takes great satisfaction in working with clients from the very start of the sales process to coordinating details to the final setup and completion of an event.
As the winter months near and the golf clients put away their clubs, Dawn always looks forward to
transitioning into wedding sales and planning each year, and is always excited to see the innovative ideas brides & grooms are coming up with!
"Dawn - WOW - what an awesome job Lymans did on behalf of Kevin's Memorial Golf Tournament. Everyone said best tournament & we are so grateful for all of your hard work to ensure his event was successful. Kevin always wished for a 'hole in one' and we got that for him on Sept 26th! Thank you!" - Cheryl & Lauren
Michelle joined the CT Wedding Group Team at the start of the 2012 wedding season, and instantly felt right at home. Planning and celebrating weddings has always been her true passion. There is no greater satisfaction for Michelle than seeing a happy couple’s wedding day dream come true.
Michelle began her career in event planning in 2003 while attending Johnson & Wales University, where she earned her B.S. in Hospitality. Since then, Michelle has gained lots of experience working many different types of events, both social and corporate, but always knew her heart was in weddings.
Whether it’s helping choose linen colors, creatively setting up your wedding event, or just being there by your side before walking down the aisle, Michelle will bring her unique and innovative expertise to make sure that each and every Bride & Groom’s wedding day vision comes to life the way they envisioned it!
"Hi Michelle! When thinking of our wedding day, the word PERFECT comes to mind! The day ran smoothly and effortlessly, from getting ready at the homestead, to the ceremony, to the reception, and right down to the end of the night packing up the cars! You truly thought of everything, every last detail was taken care of. Your organization, attention to detail, and genuine thoughtfulness is so much appreciated. We have received so many lovely comments about how personal the ceremony felt, how beautiful the decorations were, how amazingly delicious the food was, and how the night was a total blast!! Thanks for all you did to make our wedding day the most special and spectacular day of our lives!" - Erin & Oliver
Mary-Beth McDowell is thrilled to be a part of her 16th season with Pavilion Catering, and she is excited to continue helping couples plan the wedding of their dreams! As the Director of Wedding Planning with Connecticut Wedding Group, Mary-Beth provides her wedding planning expertise for Connecticut Wedding Group's couples, and also provides day-of coordination.
Planning and coordinating weddings with Connecticut Wedding Group really gives her the greatest sense of satisfaction, especially when she can be a part of the details planning process with her Bride’s & Groom’s months in advance. There is no better feeling than to know that she can help in creating a dream wedding for a beautiful couple.
Mary-Beth received her B.S. in Atmospheric Science from the University at Albany, but always knew event coordination was her passion. She continues to be Pavilion Catering’s resident meteorologist, assisting to get each and every ceremony outside! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Mary-Beth for questions, concerns, or even a forecast!
"We worked with Mary-Beth and she's a dream. Living in NY we were worried about planning a wedding in CT and communicating mainly through emails. But Mary-Beth could NOT have been friendlier, more responsive, more interested, organized or helpful. She gave us great ideas and really understood and followed our theme. She responded to emails so quickly she made me feel like I was the only bride she was working with!" - Linda & Robert
"Mary-Beth is hands down the sweetest, most professional and talented wedding coordinator. She helped us to create a magical day down to the smallest detail - there was not a single thing we asked for that was refused." - Carly & Taylor
Jessica joined the Connecticut Wedding Group in 2015, and immediately felt right at home. She began her career in the hospitality industry in 2004, planning both corporate and social events, but finding a true passion and dedication to wedding coordination. As a Wedding Planner with Connecticut Wedding Group, Jessica finds the greatest satisfaction in creating the most memorable day for our couples! Be it guiding you through your menu design, or being by your side as you prepare to walk down the aisle, she believes that the perfect wedding day is all in the details that make it unique!
"You know how they say something always goes wrong on your wedding day? That is not true with a wedding with CT Wedding Group. Every detail of our wedding was executed perfectly, and every single guest raved about the wedding! I didn't think that my wide and I would be able to relax and lt go of the details, but our wedding planner, Jessica, did everything right to put our minds at ease and made sure every detail was even better than we dreamed." -Stephanie & Tracy
As early as Jenna can remember, she has known she wanted to be involved in the wedding industry. Growing up on a 30 acre horse farm in South Jersey, she not only gained a strong work ethic, but was able to envision her passion for rustic weddings. After working as an event planner in South Jersey for nearly 6 years, Jenna relocated to CT and began a career in the wedding gown industry. While there, she gained an immense amount of experience, but always hoped she would one day follow her dreams back into planning and coordinating weddings. Jenna believes that establishing a connection with each couple and truly getting to know them individually is imperative. At the end of the day, her main goal is to be apart of each couples dream wedding and celebration.
Best day of our life!! The CT Wedding Group was by far the best group to work with. From day one of the process everyone we worked with was awesome. Anytime I called and asked a question everyone was happy to help. When I called and talked to Ashley I can feel her smile though the phone. I loved that. She is a great part of the team. Mary-Beth always responding to my e-mails promptly and always friendly. And on the day of the Wedding Jenna and her assistant Allie were AMAZING. We could not have done it without all their help. Thank you so very much everyone at the CT Wedding Group for such an amazing day. XOXOX... - Mary and Dave
Welcome CT Wedding Group's newest team member! For this Cheshire, CT native, the journey towards her career in wedding planning was anything but traditional! Cathy received her degree in Communications & Media from Western New England University, and completed a certificate of Culinary Arts at Le Cordon Bleu in Cambridge, MA, before moving back to CT to follow her passion and love of all things culinary and planning events.
Cathy's passion for planning, combined with her love for food and drink, has led her to follow her her passion for planning weddings. She brings more than 14 years of restaurant & event planning experience to CT Wedding Group, and pairs it with her outgoing and friendly personality. She is so excited to help you plan and celebrate. You will feel completely at ease knowing she has the little details covered on your wedding day!
Samantha is thrilled to be apart of the CT Wedding Group Team! As the assistant wedding planner she is excited to help our couples in creating the wedding day you deserve, bringing her experienced knowledge of our unique venues along with her personal knowledge of our ceremony & event coordination to every aspect of your planning process. Samantha graduated from Johnson & Wales University in 2014 with an A.S. Degree in Baking & Pastry Arts and with a B.S. in Food Service Management with concentrations in Sommelier Studies & Event Management. From there her passion of event planning flourished as she gained experiential education with the banquet operations team at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, where she was coordinating weddings & various corporate events. Samantha is elated to help make the remarkable vision you have become a lasting reality. She will be there from the moment you call, all the way through to putting the final touches on your momentous day. She looks forward to hearing from you!
"Samantha was our day of coordinator and she is the bees knees. Such a positive woman who will calm your nerves and remind you of the important things. My DJ messed up big time during the processional (putting the wrong music on) and she ran up and shut it down! She was there to pull me away from guests when I was starving and needed someone to excuse me. She helped put everything together before we left the venue and made sure I had plenty of extra cupcakes to eat. Always trust the person who is willing to be the "bad guy" for you. Sam, thank you for everything, you are so fantastic at your work and it is clear that you love doing it." - Julia & Steve, May 2017, The Knot
"A very special thank you goes to Samantha Nickerson, wedding planner extraordinaire. She couldn't have been more responsive and thoughtful at our final details appointment, in the days leading up to the wedding, and on the day of the wedding. We are grateful for her dedication to making our wedding day perfect for us, taking care of the last minute hiccups that can arise, and communicating effectively with the rest of our vendors, all without causing us any stress or hassle. How she coordinated everything on our wedding day is beyond us, but she did it all with a smile on her face and checked in often to ensure we had everything we needed." - Lauren & James
Allie has been a proud and valuable member of our team for the past five years, and has been in the food service industry for nearly a decade. Her warm and reassuring nature, combined with a very natural and genuine interest in the desires of others, instantly puts people at ease; and most importantly has you immediately feeling the center of attention. Her mission is always to make sure every inch of your venue is perfect and decorated to your unique tastes! And above all, Allie's true joy is the smile on your face when you are able to relax and enjoy the wedding day of your dreams!
In the years that Allie has been with CT Wedding Group we have seen many happy couples, and their guests, enjoy the special occasions she has managed. You can certainly rest assured that she will dedicate herself to understanding your vision, she and her team will bring that vision to life, and she will make sure your very special day is everything you've imagined!
There are not words to describe how amazing our experience was with CT Wedding Group and The Pavilion on Crystal Lake. From the moment we called to inquire about the venue, we knew we found out spot! Their customer service is truly unparalleled -- we were treated like members of the family immediately. They made the planning process so easy, the packages are transparent and easy-to-understand, and Mary'Beth's weekly emails kept us on track. Staff were friendly and always willing to answer any questions that I had, and our day-of coordinator Allie (which is included with your package!) was FLAWLESS. From cleaning stains off dresses, to making sure we (and my family) all had their favorite drinks in hand, to adding last minute decorations, to watching the weather like a hawk, Allie did it all. As a type-A person, I was truly able to shut off the planner in me and enjoy my day. If you are looking for a place that will treat you like royalty, with AMAZING food (seriously, our guests can't stop talking about it and it's farm-to-table!), with gorgeous views, look no further. The CT Wedding Group will you the wedding of your dreams, guaranteed. Thank you all for everything!! We wish we could do it all over again! - Dana & Blake
As soon as Lindsay worked her first wedding with the CT Wedding Group Team she knew that this was where she wanted to be. Over the past five seasons Lindsay has fallen in love with the wedding industry through her various roles and responsibilities with in the company. She thrives off of the unique energy and excitement of each wedding she is a part of. Through her childhood, her participation in theatre both on and off the stage generated her creativity and passion while directing events. Lindsay currently holds a bachelors degree in Health Sciences and an Associates Degree in Occupational Therapy but found her calling with weddings while interacting with couples and their guests on the big day! She believes the most important piece of the wedding day is making sure there is a smile on the couples face from the minute they step foot on the grounds to the moment they leave.
Everything thing went better than expected. The food was amazing, the venue was perfectly cozy, and the staff adapted to any change in plans throughout the day with ease (switching the ceremony indoors due to rain, adjusting the head table setup). Lindsay was wonderful - she was on top of everything and kept things running smoothly throughout the day without being too intrusive. I could not have had a better experience and it was a day that I, my husband, and our family and friends will remember fondly. - Brittney & Suleyman
Ashley was born and raised in Middletown, and grew up in the hospitality business starting with her parent's restaurant. She graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2011 with a degree in Theatre Design and has her Culinary Arts degree from the Lincoln Culinary Institute. In the winter of 2014 she began her career at CT Wedding Group.
"I also need to mention Ashley. She was my phone girl. Especially near the end I was calling constantly asking very random questions, "what's the diameter of the tables?" Ashley has an answer for everything and if she didn't she would do research and get back to me. Thank you to all of you. I will never forget that special day and you were all such great help and support throughout it." - Julia & Steve, May 2017, The Knot
Cate is very excited to be with Connecticut Wedding Group for her third season! Starting as a member of the waitstaff, Cate has been able to experience many aspects of the service that makes our company so special. As a banquet captain, she makes sure that each wedding is unique to every couple that celebrates their big day with us. She has a lot of experience making dreams come true from her time working in Walt Disney World, where she visits as often as possible. Cate is in her final year at CCSU where she studies Political Science with a concentration in American and International Law, but knew from her first day at CT Wedding Group that working in the wedding industry is where her passion is and she can't wait to help you celebrate!
Melissa joined Connecticut Wedding Group in 2016, and she is thrilled and proud to be a part of this wonderful team! Melissa currently holds a B.S. degree in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Connecticut but her passion for planning and organizing events is what led her to the wedding industry. With her strong work ethic and attention to detail, Melissa will make sure that your wedding vision comes to life while you and your guests enjoy your wedding day with full and happy hearts!
An Annual event for the Wesleyan Hills Community to celebrate the start of the holiday season
An Annual event for the Wesleyan Hills Community to celebrate the start of the holiday seasonAn Annual event for the Wesleyan Hills Community to celebrate the start of the holiday seasonAn Annual event for the Wesleyan Hills Community to celebrate the start of the holiday season.
Our success starts with our people who are passionate, dedicated, amazing, educated, simply put: the best in the business!