Read Part One of the “My Big Fat Dish Wedding” series, by clicking HERE.
Leading Up To The Big Day
When it came to planning my wedding, I had three goals: to make my guests gain at least five pounds from the fantastic food, plan a simple, yet elegant wedding that reflected our personalities, and throw one awesome party. Between the DJ telling my husband that our wedding was the best gig he’s ever done, my photographer wishing he could have come as a guest, and my friends telling me it was the most delicious wedding they have ever attended, I think it’s safe to say we succeeded. Over the past three years, we’ve fallen in love with the mom and pop restaurants and businesses in West Chester. During those years, The Town Dish has introduced me to some of the best foods that I’ve eaten and I wanted to share them with 150 of our closest friends and relatives.
The Bridal Shower
Most women experience love at first sight, they swoon over impeccable style, charming personalities, and dashing good looks. However, I fell for country roads, local artisan goods, and an iconic fieldstone barn. When I toured Northbrook Marketplace last year, I left smitten and longing to return. While my family members chose a healthy menu of mixed green salad, Caprese Focaccia sandwiches, roasted vegetable and hummus sandwiches, fruit salad and yogurt dip, cupcakes, and caramel apple favors for my shower; the menu options were boundless—pasta feasts, sirloin, smoked meats and BBQ sandwiches and even a sugar-infused smorgasbord of peach pies, apple cider donuts and ice cream made on site. While we still have a few years before we need to reserve Northbrook for my baby shower, there’s always Sunday brunch!
The Rehearsal Dinner
Among tatami rooms in a Japanese-style temple, trickling falls among stone gardens, vibrant cocktails, and far-flung, family-style foods; our two families joined at Teikoku Restaurant to commence our wedding weekend. The Win Signature Restaurants have spoiled me for all sushi; each roll was given the utmost attention, skills, and finest ingredients around. Their signature roll—the Chay Roll—is a spicy tuna roll, bundled with a layer of avocado and tempura crunch, drizzled in eel and fire sauces, makes me weak in the knees. Our guests had the same sentiments; the sushi disappeared as fast as it was brought to the table. Their traditional Thai and Japanese dishes—Pan Roasted Chicken with Red Curry Sauce, Angus Rib Eye Teriyaki, and Chicken Pad Thai—won over the simplest palettes in our party. The only clashes between families happened toward the end of the evening, over who got the last bite of chocolate souffle, creme brulee, coconut macadamia tart and caramelized cheesecake.
Rehashing the Main Event—The Wedding!
With melodies floating from the Shrewsbury String Quartet, my father led me down our makeshift aisle in the City Council Chambers of the West Chester Municipal Building. Our officiant, Mayor Carolyn Comitta, brought warmth and cheeriness to our ceremony and we felt as if an old friend was uniting us in marriage. When it came to transforming our bustling town center, Mayor Comitta and Sandi Huss made it incredibly easy to design our dream day.
My husband and I are certainly not crystal chandelier and tuxedo tail people, nor are we plain ol’ hall people. Not only did we want a venue that reflected our laid-back personalities, but we wanted our guests to experience the charm, character, and history of our adopted hometown. The Chester County Historical Society’s modern elegance provided everything we could have asked for in a venue—a beautiful setting, flexibility which allowed us to plan our wedding the way we envisioned, an experienced and supportive staff, and close proximity to convenient parking and downtown West Chester bars. When our guests needed a break from the dancing and photoboothing, they could linger through centuries worth of county treasures in the Historical Society’s seven galleries of 70,000 pieces.
Every married person I know told me that it doesn’t matter what is on your menu, you don’t get to eat our your wedding—that was one of my biggest fears about our big day. Luckily, we were the exception to this rule and were able to nosh on duck wontons, mushroom, brie, and tarragon puff pastries, pistachio chicken, white bean crostini, roasted sirloin with cabernet sauce, roasted turkey, and eggplant Napoleon along with our guests. With Brandywine Catering’s extensive menu which includes six pages of options, we weren’t stuck with the same-old menu of mediocre dinners. Not only did Ted Pace bring an army of wonderful staff members that tended to our every need and excellent food, but his 30 years of knowledge and experience made me sleep soundly the night before.
Editor’s Note: As of 2013, Jimmy Duffy Catering is Chester County Historical Society’s exclusive catering partner.
With all of the local vintners at our disposal, why would we ever want to serve our guests mass-produced, mediocre wine? After our Barrels on the Brandywine tours through the local wineries, one always stood out to us—Pantone Cellars. On the night we got engaged, we poured Mario Pantone’s first harvest—a 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon (not only was it a good year for grapes, but it was the year our relationship took root) and we knew we wanted his Fiori Bianchi, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, and Rosato to be poured on our big day.
One would say I have a slight obsession with ice cream, and I felt that my night wouldn’t be complete without it. While spending a day in the life as an ice cream maker with John Reece of Scooped Ice Cream, I learned custom flavors for private events was one of John’s specialties. Aside from marrying my best friend and being surrounded by my friends and family, John’s Raspberry Lambic and Chocolate ice cream was definitely a highlight of my big day.
There’s always been only one bakery in my life. My mom and aunt both worked there for decades, my sister and I took turns behind the counter, and every milestone in our families’ lives has included a Sweeney’s Bakery. The real question is, can I wait an entire year to dip my fork into their luscious vanilla pound cake with rich and creamy buttercream icing?
We wanted our guests to return home with a local memento that wouldn’t just be another tchotchke collecting dust. Thanks to Jeff Bryer of Bryer’s Apiary and his thousands of worker bees, our guest’s lives are a little bit sweeter with his world class honey.
Our big day wouldn’t have been complete without these beautiful details: Gary Colyer and Stephanie Harvey of Mizfam. Photo. Video. Design, Platinum Hair Salon, Soundinmind DJ, Gabe Coffey Videography, The Days Hotel, and Sardo Jewelers. Our big day went by just as fast as everyone forewarned, but not only did our guests share our celebration of love, they enjoyed the charm of our town and the culinary mementos from our courtship.