Food plays a major role in one of life’s biggest celebratory events. What wedding food do you remember—either from your own wedding or one you’ve attended? Share your story in the comments below.
The night before our wedding anniversary last weekend, we ended up having dinner in a restaurant right next door to the one where we’d dined on the eve of our wedding. In fact, Red Rooster Wine Bar and Cafe, where we’d taken out-of-town friends on Friday, and its venerable sibling, Café Bernard [where we’d enjoyed a lovely, lively meal with family members and friends years before], share a kitchen and a chef/owner, Bernard LeCoq.
Marion and I discovered the wonderfully bohemian, wonderfully French Café Bernard when we were dating. It quickly became our go-to for romantic evenings out. So when Marion’s father asked us to choose a restaurant for dinner the night before our wedding, no other place even came to mind. I can’t remember a single thing we ate that night—the conversation and wine flowed quite freely—but it was a memorable, convivial evening.
To call our wedding small and informal is an understatement of heroic proportions. We were married in Chicago’s City Hall. Besides us and the judge, the entire wedding party consisted of Marion’s mother, father and sister, my mother, Marion’s best friend from junior high and his date. The flowers—a bouquet for Marion, corsages for the other women and boutonnieres for the men—came from our neighborhood florist.
Marion’s sister Lena was our wedding photographer. To make sure she got into at least one picture, we handed the camera to a passing police officer as we stood outside City Hall. The result was a beautiful shot of the brass plaque identifying the building as City Hall with a row of smiling faces along the photo’s bottom edge.
Our reception was as modest as the wedding ceremony. We held it in our lovely Lakeview apartment. Friends and neighbors swelled the crowd to about a dozen. The topper on our wedding cake, ordered from our favorite neighborhood bakery, towered over the diminutive cake. Marion made the handful of appetizers we served. I only remember chilled asparagus spears wrapped in prosciutto, perhaps because we’d also laid in a bottle of champagne per guest.
By late afternoon, guests had departed. Marion’s parents were on their way back to Detroit. Only my mother, who was staying with us for the wedding, and Marion’s sister, who lived in the neighborhood, remained. And suddenly, we were ravenous. In a decision probably also affected by the generous supply of champagne, we decided to head over to our then favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner. Enchiladas, chips, burritos and margaritas were consumed with gusto.
Then we went barhopping. With my mother and brand-spanking-new sister-in-law. At some point, Lena peeled off, having to work the next day, but my mom hung in there. The three of us ended the evening eating scrambled eggs and chili at the sadly now defunct Mel Markon’s, across from the Lincoln Park Zoo. Although since it was 2:30 in the morning by then, I guess it was no longer technically our wedding day.
We’ve been to our fair share of weddings since—in churches, parks, backyards and apartments. We’ve been to some swell receptions too, including an amazingly opulent affair in the Empire Room of Chicago’s historic Palmer House Hotel. But there is not one thing either of us would change about our own wedding day.
The photo of the cheesecake lollipops above is one in a series of shots sent in to The New York Times from readers around the world. They were in response to “With This Burger, I Thee Wed,” an article describing how “brides and bridegrooms are taking a decidedly down-home approach” to wedding receptions, including the food served. Out with the caviar, in with the “grilled steak, sweet potato fries and Rice Krispie treats [not to mention the checkered tablecloths].” You’ll find the entire charming slide show of readers’ wedding food here.
Okay, it’s your turn. What wedding food memories do you have—either of your own wedding or a wedding you’ve attended? Leave a comment and share your story.