When I got married last summer, the meal was forefront on many of my guests' minds: I spent my days playing with food as a magazine food editor, and my nights writing a food book. Food was, to put it mildly, my life. Would I have sous vide steak and a cake held together by molecular gastronomy and a prayer? Truffled foie gras? And indeed, our venue's chef prepared plate upon plate of decadent tasting options, each worthy of a five-start restaurant.
But the food editor in me thought of more than just the taste. I considered my wedding season (high summer), the place (right on the beach), and the drinks (cold and plentiful). What would I want to eat if it wasn't a wedding? An abundance of fresh crab cakes and thick-cut fries, and pounds of fresh sliced Jersey tomatoes, topped with a sprinkle of sea salt. Add in some vinegars and fry sauce on the side, free-flowing Pisco Sours, and I had my dream meal. That's exactly what I went with, and, a year later, I'm still hearing about those tomatoes! It turns out that my friends who work in food have a similar philosophy when it comes to wedding food: serve real food you love, done right. Here's what they loved most at their recent weddings:
"The highlight of our snowy December wedding was a baked tagliolini with prosciutto -- aka, the wedding version of mac and cheese. The other highlight was (of course) the cake. We got it from my favorite bakery, Ferrara's in Little Italy. The cake was a three-layered white sponge cake, with two layers of filling in between -- raspberry and chocolate." -- Lynn Andriani, Oprah.com food editor
"The food was absolutely my main focus when planning my wedding. I wish that I could have cooked the meal myself, but, as that would have been completely insane, my goal was to make it feel as close as possible to a dinner party that I would have cooked and hosted for our friends. The meal was served family-style on long wooden farm tables so that everyone could have some of everything. I had them place the wine bottles right on the table so that guests could refill their glasses as they pleased. I wanted it to feel abundant, and for guests to be able to pick and choose their favorites, and freely have seconds or even thirds. And then we served things like pomegranate-braised brisket, grilled vegetables, and an herbed quinoa salad with dried fruits and nuts -- all my own personal recipes that I’d made many times before." --Alejandra Ramos, Always Order Dessert
"We had a sit-down lunch long before the dancing or toasting, in part so we could really talk to all our guests, and in part because we wanted to enjoy eating on our wedding day. A lot of the food at our venue, Park Avenue Autumn, is really classic -- almost Old New York. I was really excited about the Dover sole, one of the greatest restaurant treats in my book. But it was the seasonal sweet potato gnocchi with chestnuts, cranberries, and brown butter that was the biggest hit with our guests." --Cara Eisenpress, founder and editor at Big Girls Small Kitchen and the author of In the Small Kitchen
Doesn't it all sound delicious?!