(The first post in this series is here.)
When planning a wedding, it is important to accept that your initial vision might not completely pan out. I planned my ideal menu, but taking into account the amount of time, help, and space we had, I realized that I couldn’t execute roasting chickens for 90 people.
When discussing what we would do for our rehearsal dinner, we explored ordering BBQ from a nationally renowned smokehouse that happens to be about 20 minutes from where we live. Their half pans of brisket, pulled pork, and smoked chicken feed 30-40 people apiece and cost $100-150 each. So we started thinking about that for the wedding instead of the rehearsal. That would be $365 for the main dish for 90 people. BBQ sides would be easy. I have a standard set of favorite side (many I cooked here) and by nature they are easy to make in bulk and stand up to sitting out.
While my initial plan for appetizers was just meat, cheese, and pickles, my mom volunteered to make a bunch of our favorite dips to include as well. I asked all three of my aunts to make desserts, and planned to make the cake myself.
We revised our menu to look like this:
- Salamis from Short Creek Farm (6)
- Various cheeses from Wegmans and Costco (cheddar, brie, bleu)
- Smoked salmon dip (Mom)
- Charred onion dip (Mom)
- Hummus (traditional) (Mom)
- Hummus (Sweet and tangy – my favorite) (Mom)
- Roasted eggplant caponata (Mom)
- Marinated ciliegine (Mom)
- Bits and pieces party cheese ball (Mom)
- Hot pepper labne (from Soframiz)
- Bread from Birchtree
- Pulled pork (from BTs)
- Brisket (from BTs)
- Smoked chicken (from BTs)
- Cornbread (2 orders – 90 pieces)
- Marinated green beans (Mom)
- Coleslaw (me)
- Baked beans (without the bacon, so it could be a vegetarian main) (me)
- Mustard potato salad (Mom)
- Coconut cake (me)
- Peanut butter balls (Auntie Judi)
- Black Russian Cake (Auntie Judi)
- Anise ring (Aunt Sandi)
- Nut tarts (Aunty Ann)
- Lemon bars (Aunty Ann)
- Seven layer bars (Aunty Ann)
- Forgotton meringues (Aunty Ann)
- Mrs. Buerschaper’s molasses crinkles (Aunty Ann)
- Gluten-free brownies (Aunty Ann)
- White wine
- Red wine
- 3cross Ronde apricot blonde
- Cold Harbor Indian Summer
- Season of Love Saison (a beer we made at Incredibrew in Nashua, NH)
- Basil lemonade
While the names listed after the recipes were the main orchestraters, there were still a lot of other hands moving behind the scenes. My mom planned, tested, shopped for, and executed all the dishes she made, as well as helped me source and organize all of the serving pieces. My mom’s boyfriend, Ken, juiced 80 lemons for the basil lemonade, rolled up all the silverware in napkins, and prepped all of the cheese and salami for the apps.
Will’s parents, Helen and Dave, were with us in the kitchen for the 2 days before the wedding scrubbing 30 lbs of potatoes, trimming 10 lbs of green beans, chopping up peppers and celery to go with dips, getting everyone lunch while we were setting up, running out for forgotten ingredients (how could I forget the Vermont maple syrup?????), and picking up the BBQ. My aunts from both sides of my family, Judi, Sandi, and Ann, made all of the desserts, but also brought the dishes to serve them on and set them up.
(And just to be clear, this is only a list of who helped with food-related tasks. Many other family members and friends helped us sourcing, lending, and setting up speakers, chairs, tables, flowers, lights, etc.)
We did the majority of the shopping on Wednesday, the meal prep on Thursday and Friday, and then all that was left for Saturday was to frost the cake, pick up the BBQ and keep it warm, and set out all of the sides (which I hired catering staff to do). That’s enough on the menu for now, but in my next posts I’ll talk about quantities we actually made, the timeline for all of these dishes, cost breakdown, and what I would change if I did it all again (not much, but you always learn something!).
Photo by Dean Cerrati.