Will we be able to pull this all together?
Will we have enough food?
Will I manage to prepare and serve a special dinner for sixty people and keep my sanity?
I am happy to report that the answer is yes to all three questions. (Quiet, those of you who question the preservation of my sanity or perhaps wonder if there was any there to begin with!)
Anyway, here are a few suggestions if any of you have weddings in your future and plan to do major portions of the preparation yourself:
1) Do your research. For me, that meant carefully checking out the kitchen where I'd be doing the food prep, testing recipes, and comparison shopping for ingredients for the dinner.
2) Make a detailed plan. Once I had chosen the menu and settled on recipes, I started figuring out just what I could do ahead and what had to wait til the day of the dinner. Some things I could make ahead and freeze. Gravy could be frozen, rice for the casserole could be cooked ahead and frozen. I also made a very detailed shopping list and preparation guide, ordering when things should come out of the freezer, what would get cooked first, etc. My plan saved me, eliminating the moment by moment stress that can occur when things really get rolling. I lived by my plan. I carried it with me everywhere for a few days before the wedding!
3) Call in the troops and delegate. Help is golden. I had a LOT of help and I had INCREDIBLE help. They are what kept me sane and smiling. I felt so buoyed by all my helpers. I could not have done it without them.
So, here we go ....
Thursday afternoon we went to the Family Life Center at the church and moved bleachers and basketball goals. We cleaned and pulled trees out of the storage closet. We arranged tables and chairs. We spread tablecloths and set the tables for Friday's dinner. We hung lights. I had an army of help!
Singing helps, too. Matthew and Jonathan serenaded us with all the love songs they could think of while taking cups out of plastic sleeves.
Not many people get to chop mushrooms with a cowboy. I'm lucky that way.
In addition to setting everything up, as you can see, we did some food prep on Thursday. We rinsed and dipped chicken breasts in coating, we chopped mushrooms and kale. I got a blister on my chopping hand. It was a LOT of chopping. We got everything as close to being ready for the oven as we could on Thursday afternoon...
and then, that night, we went out to dinner.
21 of us.
Delicious food, a fire in the fireplace,
crayon drawings on the paper table cover,
lots of laughs.
That was not in my original plan but I am very thankful that someone else was thinking ahead, too!
Thanks, Bapa and Grammie!
It was the perfect ending to the day.