Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Chopsticks Optional Wedding

It wouldn't be a Chopsticks Optional wedding if food wasn't the focus of it all! Not too long ago, we got married on the family farm in the Hudson Valley. Not only did we have a beautiful venue but we had free reign on all aspects of the wedding. In the early stages, the challenge was finding a local caterer that could meet our wildest dreams. We've long been fans of brunch at Sweet Sue'swho else would be up to the challenge! 

First we had this crazy idea of gauchos walking around with churrasco swords but playing off my own cultural traditions, we decided to have a pig roast instead. The idea evolved into four different marinated suckling pigs to reflect our blend of cultures and favorite global flavors: an Asian 5-spice pig; American brown sugar bbq pig; Hawaiian pineapple pig; and a Cuban mojo pig because Chef is our favorite movie. 

The rest of the menu was a combination of traditional and non-traditional sides that would complement the Asian/American pigs: lettuce wraps with noodle salad :: papaya salad :: cornbread and tortillas :: quinoa tofu salad :: black bean, corn, and cilantro salad :: chilled watermelon and fruit salad with mint :: jicama cole slaw :: mac 'n cheese :: grilled chicken and shrimp skewers :: pickled fiddleheads and grilled vegetables.

Desserts were a conglomerate of our favorite vendors: chocolate truffles and fruit tarts by Sweet Sue's; cupcakes by Lynsay Lu's Cupcakes, and brookies (oolong tea brownie/chocolate chip bars) from Short 'n Stout Tea. The highlight of our dessert table was a personal "naked" cake by TC Paris. We've long had a love affair with their opera cake but it was the Gateau de Reves that inspired our dreamy wedding cake. Chef Paul made a variation of the delectable chocolate cake layering salted caramel buttercream and chocolate mousse. The beautiful creation was adorned by the cutest custom cake topper (complete with our cat!) made by my bff. 

Even our centerpieces were food-themed! Instead of table numbers, we assigned each table an herb with different meanings behind them, i.e. basil for good wishes, mint for protection, dill for good cheer. We incorporated fresh herbs as part of the centerpieces, adorning homemade cheese boards made by J's groomsman. In lieu of appetizers, each table had different cheeses paired with nuts, olives, and dried fruits to nibble on. Edible centerpieces are the best kind!

We also made sure our guests were in a "hangry-free zone" by providing pre-ceremony snacks of goldfish and popcorn along with fresh lemonade and cucumber mint water. Plus our bar was well-stocked including two signature drinks (a hibiscus grapefruit margarita and mint mojito) and home-brew courtesy of the brother-in-law plus a homemade blueberry mead for the toast. Did you know the word "honeymoon" comes from giving newlyweds a "moons-worth" of honey-wine? How fitting right?!
Most of the wedding was a DIY project inspired by Pinterest. I used butcher paper to create an overlay for the tables and stopped by the Asian supermarket for small dishes to hold the olives and of course wooden chopsticks. Instead of a traditional guestbook, I picked up a cookbook from a thrift shop in Hudson and asked guests to sign and pick a favorite appetizer, entree, and dessert for date night. We found antique kitchen tools from Art Centric in Troy to decorate the tables and used Etsy for a number of personal touches: custom chopsticks from clarkewoodworks :: engraved cake server and forks from HandStampedGiftShop :: hooray cake topper from The Pink Owl Gifts :: flower girl dresses from LaylaRaes :: pocket watch "ring pillow" from emsdesertrose :: morse code bracelet from DashDotDashDot :: custom tie bar from BlueCornerCreasigns :: toasting glasses from HappilyEverAfter3 :: silver locket cuffs from paperfacestudio :: beer flight set from winecountrycraftsman

All of of our vendors were a delight to work with:
  • Catering: We can't rave enough about Sweet Sue's and her team, from service to the food and even cleanup. She helped us create a delicious, personalized meal to remember and it was everything we ever wanted. 
  • Music: The sweet tunes of gypsy jazz by Hot Club of Saratoga was the perfect choice for our setting. Chuck and the guys are a great group of very talented musicians, helping us create a fun and relaxed atmosphere and customizing our ceremony music with a string arrangement of our favorite songs. 
  • Ceremony: Of course we wouldn't have had a ceremony without Reverend Jude Smith who was so helpful in guiding us through the process. The ceremony was short and sweet yet personalized and meaningful. 
  • Photos: Katherine of YTK Photography captured beautiful moments, including these blog shots. She's a doll to work with! 
  • Flowers: Katherine Russak from Lark Street Flowers did an amazing job creating that rustic look that complemented our look so well. 
  • Dress: The wonderful ladies from Lily Saratoga helped me find a simple, elegant, and convertible dress by Jenny Yoo. I was able to change my look from ceremony to reception without changing dresses! How fun right?! Alterations were a breeze with Yana from Will Fit U In, conveniently located next door to Lily Saratoga.
  • Bridesmaid Dresses: Not pictured but my bridesmaids weren't stuck with the typical wear-only-once dress by renting them instead from Union Station formerly known as Little Borrowed Dress. 
  • Glennpeter Jewelers: Alan is wonderful to work with. My engagement ring came from Glennpeter so our rings were BOGO year-round. I fell in love with a rose gold diamond pave band for a unique complement to my white gold diamond solitaire. Try going to the March trunk show where you'll find even more options.
  • Accomodations: The Harvey House  in Catskill was a unique space that we found on Airbnb. It's a quirky curated art gallery/boutique guest house of sorts. The space worked well for getting ready and was only 5 minutes from the farm. Plus the funky art and decor made for great snapshots. That giant wheel behind my dress? It's from a set from a Peter Pan production; how cool is that?
As fast as it went by, our wedding was truly a wonderful moment celebrated by friends and family. Our vision came alive thanks to some wonderful people. We were so lucky to have had a chance to work with some of the best local businesses in the Capital Region and would recommend all to any brides and grooms to be. 

All photos are courtesy of YTK Photography