Sunday, October 12, 2014

Scratch that

We went to the wedding of Josh and Cassie Lee on Saturday and it might have been the most fun wedding we've been to since 1998. 

Let me qualify that statement. We've been to some super fun weddings. This one gets special consideration because we went in thinking we'd know only the bride and groom, so it would be a bit awkward.

Annie Strahla, particularly should take note of this. And maybe you, Niki: there's much to tell your fellow wedding-planning addicts.

First, it was outside on a horse farm and deceptively simple. The backdrop was the farm, of course, which was gorgeous. So picture rolling hills with fenced in pastures, a small lake, a large and a high-roofed, open shelter in front of a gatherin of wooden chairs. Behind us was a beautiful old barn and surrounding us more pastures and hills. Overhead, an amazing, October sky that finished with a spectacular sunset.  (I stole this shot from Cassie's Facebook page.)

The wedding party stood in front of the structure.  and a small arched, trellis with a few sprays of grape vines and baby's breath. Three beautiful hand-made quilts hung from one wall of the open structure as a back drop for Cassie, Josh and the minister. It was stunning.

The men walked in from the right. The bridesmaids from the left. Cassie's dad drove to the back of the crowd in her grandfather's pick-up truck. She stepped out in a swirl of blinding white and the slight wind took her veil, which if you know Cassie, had to be a work of art. 

She laughed. He laughed. He caught the veil, tossed it in the truck, took her hand and brought her forward.

The ceremony was lovely. The music perfect. 

Inside a large white tent next to all this was the reception. As you entered, guests were asked to sign quilt blocks that will later be assembled for the couple, and to also take Polaroids of their partyto leave behind. You got your table assignment in exchange for the photo.

There was an open bar, as well as gourmet popcorn to tide you over until dinner. The decor was lovely but the thing that really got people buzzing was the fact that each of the few dozen tables was dressed held a different, guest-made (or Cassie-made) pastry.

There was flour-less chocolate cakes, 6-layer red velvet, a layered chocolate fudge, apple, spice, carrot, bundt, apple pies, large cupcakes, peach tortes, something that looked nutty. An amazing array. And of course, Alison's own brown-butter, butter-sugar mini-cupcakes topped with carmelized creme brule sugar sprinkles.

Ali and Cassie bonded early over their joint love of baking and along with our invitation to the event was a special request that Ali be among Cassie's friends who would contribute a dessert. How sweet is that?  You don't have to do much to make me your friend for life. Being good to my kid will do it. I can't describe how special that invitation was to Ali.

Reports back were that her cupcakes didn't just fit it; they were a huge hit. No hint at all that they were done by a 13-year-old who doesn't even have a Pinterest account. 

There was a traditional, but small, wedding cake, and there were other bits of lovely decor. But the shared dessert idea was brilliant. It didn't just give people a way to be personally involved in the wedding, it was an incredible ice breaker. Perfect strangers, long-time friends and family were trading treats back and forth, table hopping and sharing the night as if they'd all grown up together.

We did run into one couple friend there, and weren't seated with them --or Ali for that matter. But we made great friends with the people at our table and we fully expect to see them in real life out side of the Mr. and Mrs. Lee connection. One couple at our table turned out to be someone I'd worked with years ago so it was way fun catching up. 

In short, we went to the wedding because we love Josh and Cassie, and their inclusion of Alison was beyond sweet. But we didn't really expect to have a fabulous time. You've been to those weddings where you enjoy yourself but you're not really deep into the mix and it gets a little long. This was not that.

I need to introduce Cassie and my friend Niki. Niki is a wedding expert who dabbles in doling out advice and moderating conversations on a wedding planning site. It was amazing on so many levels.
I can't believe I didn't snap some photos. I just was having too much fun.     

Alison put a lot of work into the cupcakes and had rejected a bunch of ideas of what to make. Her work is all from scratch, of course, and she's got a bit of stuff on her plate already. 

In the midst of the wedding project homework, cheerleading, play practice and basketball for her, and  general work stuff and Book Club for me, we got late word that desserts were needed for a school fundraiser that was occurring on the night of the wedding.

We'd already offered to loan our cornhole board for the school event, and sponsored a team in our place. I asked Ali if she wouldn't mind doing an additional baking job, which I'd make easier by using a box mix as the base.  She looked askance at the box mix but given our general state of busy-ness, reluctangly agreed that this was a the smartest way. She baked the school cupcakes Thursday before basketball practice. 

There was no discussion about me making the things. Desserts are strictly an Alison job at our house.

I'd asked if I could just use excess wedding project icing for the school cupcakes to disguise the less-than-our-personal-best cupcakes.  

"Uh, no," she said.  "And if you don't mind, I would rather that you don't tell anyone I made these," she said.

I inquired as to why.

"Mom," she said. "It's a box mix. I don't want my good name tarnshed."

I informed her that she was a snob. A confectionary snob.

She loudly disagreed to the snobbery but stands by her baking standards. In exchange for her help with icing them, I agreed to let it go. And take credit for the school cakes. We further agreed that I'd buy icing for them.

Friday was wedding baking night for her; book club for me and, as it turns out, a spontaneous work fun thing for Jeff.  He had the Subaru and wasn't going to be home in time to get the cornhole boards to school. I had Book Club.

I rushed in late, gave Ali the sushi she'd asked for for her lonely dinner, along with ingredients she needed for her wedding icing and the store-bought icing. I'd planned to shower before Book Club but the shopping and work had put an end to that. 

My Book Club is great. They'd let me slide in stinky as long as I had wine, I knew that. So I collected my wine and other Book Club stuff, double checked my directions and set about stuffing the cornhole boards into my Mustang. 

They fit -- barely -- into my car by leaving the trunk open and squeezing my front seat nearly to the dashboard. We said our goodbyes and I puttered to the school in a light rain with stuff hanging out of my car.

It was only as I started out that I realized I hadn't wrapped the cupcakes, just asked Ali to toss them in disposable pans. I should have known she'd get them in there and not think about preservation. Even as she disdained her association with them, she did make them look pretty. Unprotected, but pretty.

It all worked out. I hope. We'll hear back today, I'm sure, at the football game where she'll cheer before heading out to basketball practice.

Somehow I have no pictures of any desserts or even the wedding. We had a great time though. Cornhole would have been fun, too. But I hear some of those desserts were store-bought, so we made the right choice.

Sent from my iPad

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