My local food wedding

We bought burgers and hot dogs for our cookout-turned-reception at L&M Meats

We bought burgers and hot dogs for our cookout-turned-wedding reception at L&M Meats.

I got married. It was a surprise wedding, a spur-of-the-moment, low-key, low-budget affair.

G. and I were supposed to get married next year. We wanted to get married in the spring so that we’d have nice weather for a ceremony at his house, and I didn’t think I could manage it this spring because I was moving and starting a new job. (A job, by the way, that is still kicking my ass. Hence, the lack of blog posts.)

We set a wedding date for May 2014, but then a friend who is getting married in June 2014 totally shamed me. She had a place, food, photographer, DJ, bridesmaids and a dress all lined up, and I had . . . nothing. Then we went shopping for bridesmaid dresses for her wedding, a process I found more stressful than fun, and I realized that the move and my work schedule were only part of the reason I had done nothing. I’m also just not that into big weddings. Or, really, weddings at all.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m into G. I’m into being married. I’m into being married to G. It’s just the relationship that I dig, not the ceremony or the show.

So, a couple of weeks before my mom was flying in to help plan the wedding that G. and I were supposed to have, I suggested we just get married at the cookout that we’d already scheduled during her visit. G. agreed, and when my mom and her boyfriend landed on a Wednesday evening for six days of what they thought would be cake-tastings and meetings with photographers, I told them that what we really needed to do was buy a dress because I was getting married in two days.

The next morning, I found a nice white sundress on sale for $50 at Talbots. We spent the rest of the day hunting for a sundress for Mom. Then we had one day to pick up odds and ends and set up the pole barn and yard for the cookout.

Luckily, G. had already done most of the work. I am probably the only bride ever whose groom planned 80 percent of the wedding reception. My contributions were sending out the initial invitations to the cookout, finding a minister (it helps to have one as a best friend) and ordering ice cream from Purple Door.

G. and I both splurged on one thing when we decided the cookout would be a reception. I ordered ice cream in single-serving cups from Purple Door, which has some of the best ice cream in Wisconsin — and this is a state where people know their dairy products. G. rented a Toy Story-themed bounce house.

The ice cream was more expensive than the bounce house.

But worth every penny.

On Saturday morning, I was driving around picking up burgers, hot dogs and buns when I realized we had achieved one of my initial goals for our wedding celebration. Back when I thought we were going to have a formal wedding, I decided I wanted to make every effort to highlight local food at the reception. I mean, that’s a lot of what G. and I are about, right? We grow a lot of our food in the garden, and we patronize farmers markets and locally owned restaurants because we want to support community businesses.

My foodie politics got thrown out the window though when we decided we were getting married at a party only 21 days down the road. But then, just naturally, we did it. We ordered burgers and hot dogs from L&M Meats, a butcher shop recommended by the woman who cuts G.’s hair. Our buns came from Paielli’s Bakery, where G.’s family has been buying pecan rolls for decades. Lettuce and onion to top the burgers came from our garden, as did the zucchini I used to make cake. Purple Door supplied the ice cream, and that was about it. Our guests were already planning to bring side dishes to the cookout, so we were set.

It worked out really well. We got married in the morning, and the party started about 2 p.m. After everyone had their fill of burgers, hot dogs and elk brats brought by a friend of G’s, we made the announcement and showed a short video with clips from the ceremony. Then we had ice cream and more drinks (another friend showed up that morning with cases of hard cider and Mike’s lemonade left from a party he had — awesome!) . Before you knew it, there were a pile of adults in the bounce house. It was a good night.

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3 responses to “My local food wedding

  1. Congratulations, Michelle! Such exciting news, and this sounds like just a perfect day for you both. Best wishes always!

    I found a modern version of the 7 blessings for Jewish weddings that I thought you would also appreciate as you starting out this new chapter of your lives:
    ~May your marriage enrich your lives.
    ~May you work together to build a relationship of substance and quality.
    ~May the honesty of your communication build a foundation of understanding, connection, and trust.
    ~May you respect each other’s individual personality and philosophy, and give each other room to grow and fulfill each other’s dreams.
    ~May your sense of humor and playful spirit continue to enliven your relationship.
    ~May you understand that neither of you is perfect; you are both subject to human frailties, and may your love strengthen when you fall short of the other’s expectations.
    ~May you be “best friends,” better together than either of you are apart.

  2. What a wonderful blessing, and who but the Jews could have thought of one that covers nearly all of human time so well! Thank you Stacey! And many thanks and only MORE wonderful wishes for the bride and groom – you all did a wonderful job of ‘duping’ the guests,
    who were even all the more happy for it! We believe you two are absolutely meant for each
    other. Much love, L & J

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