Today we woke up early and headed to the As’. People were hustling and bustling about as E and I got to work on the melon salad. He hulled them and I chopped them (“on the bias” – everything I cut this weekend had to be “on the bias,” which basically means “diagonally”) and threw them in the other 100-qt cooler. Melons are shockingly easy to cut and we finished quickly. Then, E put me to work basting bread with olive oil while he chopped tomatoes. After I finished with the bread, E took me out to the grill so that I could grill the bread. Unfortunately, the grill fire kept going out and after about 20 minutes I gave up and brought the bread back inside to broil instead.
While all of this was going on, the servers arrived and E gave them a little pep talk. This entire weekend, I’ve been so impressed with E’s talents both in the kitchen and as a manager. He’s a gifted cook for sure, but he has also been a patient teacher with me and he doesn’t micro-manage. He makes time for everyone who comes by and asks questions and is generous with snacks and stories about the food. Over the last year, I have absorbed his vision for this wedding as he brainstormed, stressed and re-worked various concepts and I was so proud of him and the way he had crystallized things, which he was then able to convey in a few short sentences to the servers. They were immediately on-board with his vision and I could tell that they trusted his confidence and skill.
As E and the servers went down to the barn to begin setting up, I finished broiling the bread. By the time I got down to the barn, all the tables had been set up and table snacks – pickles, olives, bread, cheese and fruit – had been set out. Everything had gone so smoothly up until now, that we were due for a surprise or two: First, we discovered that the people making the cakes had set up their cake station on the tables we were going to use for food. Second, was that, in addition to food set-up, we were now also in charge of beverages. The wedding ceremony was about to start, so the servers and I hurriedly set up the beverages while E helped the cake people move their stuff to a different location. Once that was done, we set out the three salads – melon, bean and tomato – and began assembling the trout sandwiches (I made the mistake of not cutting the first two pieces of bread on the bias – it was the only time E got a little snippy with me). We had just barely set out one tray of trout when the first guests arrived.
As people came down from the ceremony, we directed them to the snack and drink tables while we continued to prep food. Then the announcement was made that people could begin dinner and that’s when all hell broke loose. The food was served buffet style, so in some ways that took a lot of the pressure off of us, but as the line of people moved through, we had to make sure that bowls were replenished, sandwiches were assembled, special orders were made and questions about the food were answered. I don’t remember much of what I was doing at that point, but I do remember feeling rather scattered. Somehow it all worked out and soon people were happily munching away and there was a still a ton of food left over. Once everyone was seated, the bride and groom made an announcement thanking us for all our work with the food, which E and I both thought was very sweet and generous.
The rest of the evening was typical wedding stuff – speeches, cake, people coming back for seconds, thirds and fourths. Once people started clearing out, we began cleaning up. Clean up was a bit of a thing – we weren’t exactly sure what needed to be done with all the table arrangements and dishes and such, so there was a lot of guessing, which made the whole process take longer. The servers were amazing throughout all of this – super helpful and uncomplaining. One of them even organized the waste into recycling, compost and trash. Around midnight, we were all dead on our feet (none of us had sat down all day) and we thanked everyone and called it a night.