A Wedding Tradition

My dad is one of seven; he has two brothers and four sisters and though they’re scattered all over the United States (and at points, beyond!), they are surprisingly close. While they would like to see each other more, the “sibs” always gets together for three things: the annual Anderson family reunion, their father’s birthday and the weddings of all their nieces and nephews. I remember being so proud at my wedding to have all my aunts and uncles there, together, for me.

I don’t know how it all started, but years ago my aunts started buying beautiful picnic baskets and filling them with food for the newlywed couple on the night of their wedding. Being mothers (and mothers of married children) they knew that the newlyweds often don’t have time to eat at the reception – they are far too busy talking to guests, dancing, cutting the cake and then they are whisked away without ever having touched the food that they so carefully picked for their wedding.

We were that couple. Andy was pretty sick with nerves before our wedding. We were already legally married at that point, so it wasn’t cold feet – he’s just not good at speaking in front of crowds and we had over 250 wedding guests. Needless to say, no food passed his lips. Just water. I was busy talking to people I hadn’t seen in years and just too excited seeing everyone have such a good time! I couldn’t sit down, let alone eat food.

By the time we got to the hotel at 12:30 in the morning, Andy said: “I’m hungry.” I said, “Me too.” We ate some food from the basket and saved the bottle of bubbly for when we got to our honeymoon destination the next day.

Last weekend was beautiful so we decided to have a picnic in Central Park. We pulled out the picnic basket (which is really a Rolls Royce of picnic baskets) and it has everything – plates, cutlery, napkins, wine glasses, cheese board and knife, a blanket. It also brought back such happy memories of my wedding night and also my wonderful aunts who filled it with food, goodies and a beautiful note.


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  1. jenn says

    That IS a great idea! Our caterer basically did the same thing for us (because sure enough, we barely ate anything at the wedding) but she just stuck it all in a grocery bag… it would be great to have it in a fancy picnic basket you could use again. Your aunts are geniuses!

  2. says

    What a brilliant gift idea! Gives me goosebumps – why am I emotional about this? Hurmph…. Anyway, I think this is an incredibly useful gift for the newly weds. I am going to make one for a very special friend this summer.

  3. says

    That is such a great gift! I’ve been wanting a picnic basket for a really long time; I think I just need to go for it this year. On the wedding thing, I know it’s rare, but my husband and I actually did eat at our wedding. In fact, we totally feasted! I spent ages planning out the menu (I gave the caterer my recipes so she could recreate them) and I baked the wedding cake so it was super important to me that I be able to eat. When the time came, we just sat down and they served us course after course. It was all SO good! And I think people understood that this was important to me as they left us alone to eat (although I like to think that they just loved the food so much that they were too busy eating to get up and bother us ;).

  4. Pam says

    A wonderful tradition from four beautiful sisters who have generously adopted me–an only child desperate for sisters–into their clan.

  5. susan says

    Loved reading your post, Maggy. We had just as much fun filling the basket as you and Andy did eating it! And Pam, I loved you from the first time I met you — we drop the “in-law” part — you’re our sister!! xoxo

  6. Karen Grassmick says

    Maggy, your post brought back memories of your beautiful wedding! We (your aunts) loved filling the basket with goodies you could enjoy after the wedding. So good to hear that you and Andy recently used the basket for a picnic. How fun!

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