The truth is that although I don’t like cookie-cutter weddings, in general I love, love weddings. I love the idea of family and friends getting together to see two people join lives. I love the corniness of “love in the air” and people thinking about falling in love and being together forever. I also love everyone having this excuse to dress up in their finest and get decked out for a special occasion… and taking lots and lots of pictures to prove how good looking they all really are. I am a little brainwashed by Disney and love a happy ending.
But to try to prevent us from seeming like we would have a cookie cutter wedding, Chris and I spent the last year trying to figure out the best ways to make this wedding really “us.” How do we infuse this with the ridiculous and funny, light-hearted but heartfelt beings that we try to be?
Where did we start thinking about this? Well, if you know me at all, we started with the food. I sought out the only caterer of the three preferred caterers our venue was contracted with that would allow us the most cultural customization with our menu to reflect our cultures and our food loves. We had Vietnamese (which exceeded any and all expectations for both quantity and quality) for our welcome/rehearsal dinner, so we didn’t have to worry about that. For our reception, this ultimately resulted in Chinese, Malaysian, Indian, Thai, Mexican, and American-influenced dishes. We had to have a good mix of meat, seafood, and vegetables to accommodate our pescatarians and our meat-eaters alike, and there absolutely had to be rice. And because we’re in California, we wanted the option of tacos and quesadillas. so we made it happen via interactive food stations instead of formal plated dishes. We asked for a lot of customization, additions, and deletions (which, frankly, we had to pay quite a bit for), but in the end, it was all worth it. The food we had at our wedding was exactly like what we ate during our wedding tasting. And for the dishes we didn’t get a chance to taste but totally took a chance on, like the leg of lamb, the chicken tikka masala, and the butternut squash soup with ginger-poached pear, they were even better than they sounded on paper.
I was so proud to have wedding food that no one grumbled about or said was tasteless or worse, over-salted. And since Chris has always been a big snacker, he wanted to have little bowls of some of his favorite snacks, which include banana (plantain) chips, and his Aussie favorite Arnott’s Barbeque Shape crackers. Chris could gorge on these all day if you allowed him to, so we felt this was representative of us. We made sure to have Ben, his brother, groomsman, and MC, let all the guests know during the reception what these little snacks were in the bowls on their reception tables. And our wedding favors were many different flavors of Tim Tams, Chris’s favorite biscuit/cookie, which is also of Arnott’s from Australia. So we sent guests home with these biscuits packaged in plum purple organza drawstring bags with “With Love” labels that had on our names on them that we got complimentary from Wedding Paper Divas, courtesy of my cousin who works at Shutterfly.
What about dessert? We both love tropical flavors, so my first instinct was to try to find a dessert shop that could make us a mango cake. The only one that offered this was a shop that had a very high cake minimum and was hell-bent on using fondant; they were the ultimate cake Nazis. Neither of us likes fondant, so that was nixed. We finally found a dessert shop that could not only make our wedding cake image come true, but also accommodate mini desserts for the dessert table I’d always dreamed of having and having styled in our wedding colors. The wedding cake flavor was not mango in the end sadly, but was still tropical: vanilla cake with passion fruit filling and coconut cream cheese frosting. And because having wedding cake and four different mini desserts was not enough for me for variety, we also hired and got a great deal on a gelato cart, offering flavors that reflect us: pistachio (my favorite gelato flavor by far…with real pistachio chunks), tiramisu (hello, gelato is Italian, so we can’t NOT have tiramisu), pumpkin pie (very American), and mango sorbetto (to make up for not having mango cake). (Full disclosure, the dessert shop completely messed up on our cake design, as we ordered a completely different design and shape than what was delivered, but we’re taking it up with them now. It’s happily the only thing that really went “wrong” during the wedding day).
I researched and hand-picked every single seasonal floral and leaf stem put into the bridal and bridesmaid bouquets, the corsages and boutonnieres, and all center pieces and altar flowers. I loved the plum anemones, the white garden roses, the bright green cymbidiums, and the plum and white lilies the most. They gave a romantic but fresh look to the entire venue that I was so excited about when my florist presented the bouquets to me. She was happy to hear what I wanted, but also very proactive in giving me suggestions for the look we were trying to achieve. Chris said he didn’t care what I chose as long as there were orchids. We had two types of orchids, so he was very happy in the end. In fact, I’m surprised by how much he actually raved about the wedding flowers. He seemed more thrilled with the end result than I was!