For my part, I was more than honored and not a little bit taken by surprise when on a visit to Brooklyn, Stacy's former home, the couple asked me to play the part of food coordinator for the big day. I say food coordinator because they planned a pot-luck reception. If you have ever been to a pot-luck before, you know that people sometimes bring the oddest things, and you end up with tables and tables full of casseroles in pyrex, lasagna in foil pans, and potato salad in ziplock containers. We had it in mind from the beginning to ward off this overwhelming myriad of tastes and styles and set the boundaries for the volunteers. Joel and I designed a menu, chose the players, and doled out recipes while Stacy scoured Philadelphia for white ceramic platters and serving pieces. This was by no means as easy as it sounds.
200 guests were expected. Feeding that many is no small feat. First we decided on the menu. Then I determined how much was needed to accommodate the guests and broke it down into an excel spreadsheet grocery list. Every item needed was listed, price estimates added, preparation, packing and transport information included, and a column where volunteers could sign up. The bride and groom personally asked the volunteers to rise to occasion, and put on them a spending limit of $30 per person. From this came a whirlwind of emails between myself and the volunteers, hammering out details, answering questions, my favorite of which came from several getting-to-know you emails from Joel's grandmother (she made the home made mayonnaise) who became the one person I was looking forward to meeting the most at the wedding.
The day before the wedding... the big stress day, where all the details you never thought of are suddenly of dire importance, coupled with the anxiety of the bride and groom...this is my element. I love event planning, but most of all I love the excitement of the clock ticking down, the panic, the chaos, the resourcefulness, the letting go of things you thought were important months ago that just aren't any more. The nervous anxiety of it pumps my adrenaline to where I couldn't sleep, and when I finally force myself to - I awake with a little squeal and jump out of bed ready to do it all over again; but for real this time!
After the ceremony, food from the volunteers arrived in coolers, ziplock bags, and Whole Foods brown paper, delivered to my station in the back hallway of the studio where my Apron Squad, as we deemed ourselves, laid out tasty morsels on doilie lined silver platters and made the rounds tempting guests into snacking before the new couple arrived. Food was arranged in all the beautiful white ceramic serving pieces Stacy put together and I had the Apron Squad on re-fill duty watching the table throughout the reception always ready to provide more.
Well, success was had, the bride and groom were so pleased with the result, and I have to say I was too. I would love the opportunity to do this again, coordinate food for a pot-luck wedding. It takes special people to inspire the kind of friendships to confidently ask your loved ones to play along with a scheme like this, and Stacy and Joel are those friends who put a high importance on the healthy relationships that sustain them and allow them to be who they are.
A special thanks to the Apron Squad, who donated every minute of the reception, from set up to clean up, to creating a hospitable environment for a beautiful wedding, and the coming together of beautiful people.