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The Most Important Wedding Recap: The Food (Photos and Menus)

wedding photos candid

Have I mentioned the food?

When Chris and I decided that we would, in fact, have a small wedding, we knew that we had an opportunity to avoid the bland, greasy, and just plain overcooked plates of “wedding food” that wreak havoc upon the intentions of many a well-meaning couple.

In other words, if we could convince them, we wanted our mothers to cater the wedding.

After soothing some fears and promising to find someone to help with the dishes, they dove right in.  Chris’ mom, working in Jordan at the time, sent hypothetical menu after menu to us.  My mom spent several months perfecting her cupcake recipes.  She was determined to work her recipe for the quintessential Southern cupcake (Red Velvet) into a grand masterpiece of perfect crumb and cream cheese frosting.

Chris’ mom enlisted the help of the other best cook we know: Cathy Crandall.  Cathy Crandall is probably one of the nicest and most amazing women I have ever met (and the one person we seem to run into the most in the Great Wall supermarket.  Anyone I run into multiple times in the same supermarket obviously shares the same important life priorities)  Cathy concocted some amazing Western and non-Western dishes.  Eggplant?  I usually hate it.  Cathy Crandall’s eggplant?  I ate about 2 pounds over 2 days.

Not to say there weren’t speed bumps.  I got home from Nairobi a week before the wedding to find out that I narrowly escaped having a whole baby pig roasted and served at our wedding in Cantonese tradition.  Mrs. Crandall and Chris’ mom were crushed when Chris told them they were absolutely not allowed to buy the whole baby pig.  They protested that with all of the ribbons and bows around its head and the small size (only 2o to 30 pounds) it would be cute, delicious, and traditional.  At long length though, they finally conceded sadly that it was our wedding so they would forgo the pig if we really wanted them too.

Of course, even without the baby pig, there was A LOT of food.  We ate wedding leftovers of some variety for at least 6 weeks after the wedding.  Though we probably spent at least $600 to feed 40 people brunch, dinner, and dessert, when you take into account how long it was before we had to buy groceries again, I would say we probably had the most affordable and GOOD wedding food in history.

So without further ado: Our Menu and Pictures

Post-Ceremony Brunch

Our decision to hold the ceremony in the morning and the reception at night meant that we had plenty of time to cook the reception meal without our parents having to miss out on the ceremony.  It also meant that we felt that we should definitely feed people twice-being so nice as to spend half of their 4th of July with us.  So, after the ceremony we served:

Strawberries, blueberries, yogurt, and granola (red, white, and blue 🙂 this detail was all Chris’ mom’s idea)

Bagels and Lox with all of the toppings

Croissants and pastries from Hellers (a local bakery around the corner from our house)

Orange juice, sparkling water and coffee (also from Hellers)

All of the fruit and bagels and everything else came from Costco which saved us a lot of money (and again meant we had breakfast food for weeks after the wedding)

wedding food

After everyone dispersed, we started working on our appetizers and dinner.  Chris and I ran to the Chinese grocery story to pick up the duck with our awesome photographer, Stephen Voss, along for the ride.

wedding photos candid

Of course, a few phone calls later we were also picking up Thai Basil, some greens and a few other things.

wedding photos candid

wedding photos candid

When we got home I donned an apron and started helping my mom decorate the wedding cupcakes while Chris and his mom got started on the main courses.

wedding photo

wedding photos food

By the time everyone returned to our backyard around six we had plates and bowls of delicious appetizers set up in the backyard:


a delicious set of Wisconsin cheeses hand picked by my mom

Crostini served with

Bruschetta and Olive Tapenade

Marinated Eggplant slices (I can’t even describe how amazing these were)

Marinated peppers

Assorted alcoholic beverages and mixer set out in a sort of DIY bar.

Everyone was having a great time.

wedding reception photos

And when dinner was ready, Chris and I rang the “dinner gong”…

wedding reception photos

…gave the pre-flight instructions for dinner

wedding dinner reception

The spread for dinner was awe-striking with cold plates of pickles and sauces and little dishes on each table and a buffet spread against one wall.

wedding food

Chris’ mom gave a short explanation of everything on the table and on the buffet and then it was time to dig in.

wedding photos

For Dinner there was:

Peking Duck

“Chicken on a Cloud”

Marinated dofu

Korean Bulgogi (we started a grease fire making this-oops!)

My mom’s snap pea, mint and rice salad

Sauteed Shrimp

Chinese Roast Pork


Chinese Broccoli (my favorite) and Bok Choy

wedding food

It was hand’s down some of the best food I’ve ever eaten.  The mom’s truly outdid themselves.  It was not quite Chinese, not quite Western, with something new for everyone to try and something familiar for everyone as well.  We all went back for seconds…in some cases thirds and fourths (ahem Joseph Sinatra :))

With the limited seating capacity, Chris and I carried a small plate around to mingle and pick things off our guests plates

wedding food photos

wedding food photos

We drank the fabulous wine that we picked out a few weeks earlier with Chris’ dad in Virginia.  And soon it was time for champagne toasts and cupcakes!

wedding cupcake

The champagne was delish and also from Virginia and the vineyard we bought it from was nice enough to throw in exactly 42 of their tasting cones.  The perfect number for our guests…

wedding champagne

with a few extra available for clowning around

wedding food photo

My mom’s cupcakes were out of this world

wedding cupcake menu

wedding cupcakes

I’ll get the recipes and put them up here in another post but she made: Key Lime, Grapefruit-buttermilk cupcakes with candied grapefruit topping, Coconut cupcakes with raspberry centers, Chocolate Cupcakes with marshmallow centers, Chai tea cupcakes with honeycomb topping, and of course Red Velvet. (My sister did all of the “signage” for the wedding with some magic markers the night before-she’s pretty talented, no?)

The cupcakes were seriously divine.  No one could stop eating them, not even Chris’ 90 year old grandmother.  People still talk about them today, 6 months later with a touch of reverence for the fluffy clouds of cake and delectable frosting that they were.

And of course there was the obligatory cupcake smashing sequence, though I swear, I didn’t see it coming.

wedding cupcake fight

And then before we knew it, it was time to head into the backyard for the “traditional” Toy Panda Toss!  Stay tuned

All photos by the supremely awesome Stephen Voss.  Check him out here and here


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