After thirty years of living faithfully with one another, our family friends finally decided to make it legal. My husband David would perform the ceremony. Our family would host the reception at our home. My daughters, Maggy and Sharon, and I would cater it.
Our goal: despite hosting, officiating, and catering the wedding, David, Maggy, Sharon, and I wanted to really be able to celebrate this moment.
Did we succeed? You bet.
Since we knew our friends well, we planned a menu that was significant for them and relatively easy for us to pull off. The appetizers were from all the places they loved—Lobster Roll Sliders from Maine, Muffuletta Foccacia Squares from New Orleans, Austrian Roasted Pumpkin Soup which I served shooter-style garnished with roasted pumpkin oil and seeds, crab cakes with a mango salsa to remember their time in the Caribbean, a big platter of French cheeses.
The biggest reason we enjoyed the wedding is that help arrived at 2:00. After familiarizing them with the food and menu, we took off our aprons and took time to primp for the ceremony that started at 4:00. I’ve hosted way too many parties without help. Trust me: if you want to enjoy your own party you need to hire competent, experienced help (and that would not be the neighbor’s 15-year-old kid).
We took timesaving shortcuts. The wedding couple requested lemon meringue pie for dessert. That’s six pies. I could have spent a couple of hours making pie dough from scratch. Instead I rolled refrigerated piecrusts in graham cracker crumbs that gave them a homemade look and flavor. I had a choice with the lobster sliders—steam four 1 1/2 pound lobsters (@ $10 per pound) or buy 1 quart of frozen picked lobster meat at $65 a pound. Same price. Easy decision.
We were flexible. For the main course we had proposed big platters of Grilled Butterflied Rosemary Lamb Shoulder and Grilled Tuna Nicoise. When I had to make the decision between $23 per pound tuna and $8.99 per pound salmon, my platter became Grilled Salmon Nicoise. And no one seemed to notice that that grapes stood in for the non-existent apricots in the salad.
It was a magical night—even for the cook. I’m glad I was able to see everyone enjoying the food, happy that I didn’t try to play both caterer and host, that I wasn’t stressed because I spent way too many hours and way too much money doing it “right” instead of the way that felt right….for me.