Notes from Nancy:
Elegant Afternoon Wedding for 105
The date August 24th, 2002. The place Vancouver, Washington. The
event my step daughter's wedding.
Nancy was very organized.
She had also set up the buffet tables at home weeks ahead of time to develop
her decor strategy. Practice made perfect in this case and will for you
to, especially when you are planning such a special event. Practice
prepares one to get it right when it really counts. I have left Nancy's
notes as she gave them to me to capture her personality and her
excitement. .. Dayle
Here is the menu that I decided to use:
chicken salad croissant sandwiches
cheese ball and crackers (the cheese ball will be in the shape of 3
packages and frosted with white cream cheese and decorated with silver and gold ribbon
and string pearl type beads. Just like in the
Wilton cake book.)
veggie platter with Uncle Dan's southern Dip in a hollowed out
fruit tray with a pineapple top in the center
Teri's awesome pasta
salad (from this site - I increase the olives and cut in half the cheese.)
prawns and cocktail sauce on a 3 tier serving dish
mini muffin pan size cheese cakes in silver mini muffin liners on a
smaller 3 tier serving dish
Swedish meatballs-in a chafing dish
lil smokies in grape and chili
sauce-in a chafing dish
chocolate fortune cookies at each place setting.
Hershey's mini candy bars with personalized wrappers
Not a real fancy menu but I know that it will look nice and taste good.
I have catered this same menu minus the prawns at work and at another event so I know that
people like the food items & it make me a little more self assured that the
big wedding day will go smoothly - at least as far as the catering.
One week ahead I made up 9 large freezer zip lock packages of meatballs with pineapple
chunks and sweet and sour sauce on them and froze them. I also made 300 mini cheese cakes
using the mini muffin tins with the silver foil cup liners and Keebler mini vanilla wafers
for the crust. I also zip locked the cheese cakes and froze them. I made up 24 bottles of
sparkling cider with the labels about 1 week ahead and 1 special bottle for the bride and
groom. I made up the mini Hershey candy bar wrappers 2 weeks ahead. I baked 36 lbs of
chicken breasts 1 week ahead, diced the meat, and then froze it all in ziplock bags to be
made into chicken salad the day before the wedding.
Two days ahead I made my giant cheese ball shaped like 3 stacked packages with silver and
Mylar ribbons (needed something that would hold up under refrigeration and not bleed) and
string beads. This was as I had thought, a real conversation piece. People thought at first
that it was really a cake since it was so big. I elevated the cheese ball on a soda crate
covered with linen napkins and placed a very long, narrow basket with handles covered with
linen napkins in front of the cheese ball with the Pepperidge Farm "Entertainment Style"
crackers inside of it. These crackers are very high quality and one of the cracker shapes
is a butterfly so very wedding worthy.
Nancy's awesome 'cheese ball' - instructions
farther down this page.
I made the salads the day before and put damp paper towels over the top with plastic wrap
over that and then the foil lid. The broccoli and apple salad was the best received. I
served it along with Teri's awesome Pasta salad (recipe from this site.)
I made two veggie platters and two fruit platters the day before and covered each with
damp paper towels and plastic wrap. No clamp on lid was used because my trays are always so
One day before I picked up my rented 4 tier silver tray. This is 30" across at the bottom
tier. This was covered with green leaf lettuce and lemon slices around the edge. The shrimp
was placed on top of the lettuce and on the top tier was a small silver bowl that had a
pedestal base so that it could clear a screw that stuck up at the top. From this silver
bowl was hung the very large shrimp. This was the eye catcher for the right hand side of
I took out the meatballs and chicken from the freezer 2 days before to thaw. The
meatballs were on the very end in a chafing dish and the second chafing dish was filled
with lil' smokies in a grape jelly and chili sauce sauce.
The cheese ball 'cake' is at the far end of the table
along with the deviled eggs
and the chicken salad croissants, you can see the shrimp next to the
This wedding and reception were very, very beautiful. I had so many guests that commented
to me on how good the food was. One guest told me that this was the best wedding with the
best food he had ever been to. I almost started to cry because I felt so proud that it all
turned out so nicely.
The 2 things that were bloopers were not food related but I will share them still. The
first thing was that the 3 large floral arrangements were not packed well and were all
needing to be redone. One of these was so bad off that I had to totally redo it with new
styrofoam. The 2nd bloober happened when I was redoing that last arrangement. I was
standing in front of the alcove that is raised up 5 inches from the floor. When I went to
walk to the alcove across the room to check the arrangement there to make sure that they
matched, I forgot about the 5 inch step. I fell to the ground hard, spraining my ankle. I
bare feet the whole time except when I hobbled down the aisle I was able to slip my shoes
on for that short time.
All in all a perfect day and a perfect wedding. I e-mailed pictures to Dayle of the buffet
tables. I would have taken more photos but couldn't get around to do it because of my
All for now,
I forgot to mention that I did use the recipe for deviled eggs from this message board. I
added Best Foods Mayo, brown spicy mustard, and garlic powder to the egg yolks. I would
estimate 3/4 c mayo, 1 T of brown spicy mustard, 1/2 t garlic powder yolks from 12 whole
eggs (24 halves). This is a very creamy mixture , which is what I needed since I used the
pampered chef egg decorator which requires a runnier consistency and had made these up 1
day in advance and didn't want them to look dried out at all. There were 24 deviled egg
halves on a 12" clear plastic plate lined with a white plastic
doily with an oriental lady design on the doily. It had a low clamp on lid (this item was
hard to find). The
doily helped keep the eggs from sliding around. The dill weed and the paprika was put on
every other egg half which made a beautiful colorful tray. The deviled eggs were very well
There was 105 guests total.
There was seating at the tables for 120. I was expecting anywhere from
135-150 guests. I made enough chicken salad for 108 sandwiches
but since these were made just before the reception, we were able to hold back on
opening up the last package of Costco croissants. I found out the best onion salt
to use in the chicken salad is "Durkee's". It does make a difference.
We had more than enough food. Again, I figured for 150 guests. I knew that the cheese
ball would feed aprox
200 guests. We did have aprox 1/2 of it left over, that was expected but I wanted the size
to make an
I had made 10 dozen deviled eggs and those were pretty much eaten. I used the recipe
message board of mayo, brown spicy mustard and garlic
powder. I put dill and paprika on them 1 hour before serving them.
I made 2 veggie and 2 fruit trays. There was only a small amount left over. I made way
of the salads. I made 2 full pans of broccoli and 2 of
pasta. I could have gotten by with 1-1/2 pans of broccoli and 1 pan of pasta salad.
(by pans, Nancy is referring to chaffing dish pans, or
what is called steam table pans, the size of pan that would fit into the
chaffing dishes in the photo above)
We had plenty of shrimp I had bought 10 bags of 31-40 shrimp per bag and
then 1 large shrimp 21-25 bag for the hanging shrimp. I bought 5 jars of cocktail sauce
and that was just
I made 450 meatballs and only needed 350. I bought 12 lbs of lil' smokies and could have
The wedding was at 3pm and the reception was in the same building at 3:30, there
also was a DJ and dancing, the reception was over by 6:30pm.
You can just glimpse the Bride
behind the pillar learning some dance steps from the DJ. Everyone was
The cheese ball was made with 4, 3 lb bricks of softened cream cheese and 24
cups of mild pre shredded cheese and 24 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce and 24
teaspoons of minced yellow onion.
I started out on a large cake board that was silver with a
scalloped edge. I bought it from Party Depot. I started in the middle of
the board and just started shaping it into the package shape. when I got the
correct size then I worked on getting the height right. Any excess cheese ball
that was on the
cake board was wiped off with a paper towel with no one the wiser. I then proceeded
with the other two tiers. When I got to the corners I would
smooth them from both directions to make it sharp. I used large string beads
to go around the bottom of each tier. On the lowest tier I placed 3 Mylar 1/4
inch ribbons, silver, gold, silver with 2 rows of small string beads separating
the silver. I did this to all 4 sides of the lowest package. I also placed two
mylar bows of silver and gold on each corner of the lowest tier. On the middle
package I took softened cream cheese and spread out a bunch on a piece of
waxed paper. I put the waxed paper onto a cookie sheet and then froze the whole
After 1 hour I was able to use my heart shaped cookie cutter to make the
heart shapes that you see laid onto the middle tier. The middle tier also had a
silver Mylar 1/2 inch ribbon crossing over 1 corner of the tier. For the top tier
I used 1/2 inch Mylar ribbon on all sides and then wrapped this up well with
plastic wrap. I made this 2 days before the wedding and didn't add the foofy bow to
the top until right after the plastic wrap was removed.
Don't panic when the cake cracks. It will. Just take your finger and run it
along the crack to fill it back in. I should mention that after all the cheese ball
has been shaped into the 3 tiers then you do need to melt plain cream cheese in
the microwave to use as frosting.
Don't worry that the frosting is all bumpy and not smooth. Stick this in the frig
uncovered for 30 mins.
Pull it out and then smooth down the frosting with your finger (a
small cake spatula dipped in hot water might work for this too
It will be smooth now. This took me 2 hours to make, but was very much a
The advice I would give is to forget the ice sculpture. Even though it is pretty we
didn't have a freezer. We had
to borrow the neighbors for the 3 days it took to set it up. We also had to find
someone to deliver it to the reception that wasn't really a relative or friend
since they were already at the wedding. When the sculpture arrived it had to be
cut out of the plastic mold. We accomplished this using a dremel drill with a
special cutting tip. This took a long time and made a big plastic shaving mess
behind the bar. The first ice mold I got on sale had 4 leaks in it & I was
pulling my hair out in desperation. I was able to get a new one on a rush order
and still have time to get it into the freezer in enough time for the wedding.
I would recommend making the champagne or sparkling cider labels. I heard a lot of
positive things about them. The fortune cookie were a nice touch at each table
setting. The centerpieces were nice because of the 3 gold fish swimming around the
bulb of the
calla lily. (For those of you wondering what
happened to the goldfish, after the wedding they were transported in a bucket
in someone's van. The bucket tipped over and the fish were 'toast' the
unlucky owner of the van found 3 more dead ones days later... terrible smell
in car ... Dayle)
Also the day of the wedding I needed 3 people to help in the
kitchen to make sure the chicken salad croissant sandwiches were made up at the last
minute and also that the meatballs were heated and chafing dishes going, etc. I
could have made all the food myself. I received help on the veggie and fruit platters
of the food being cut up. I know that I would have had to have help in the
kitchen at the reception just due to the timing of things and I didn't want to miss
the ceremony. My kitchen help was the hardest working crew
that you will ever run up against.
Sparkling Cider Labels
I just wanted to share with you something that I tried and was successful with. I took a
sparkling cider bottle and removed its label. I then made my own label on the computer that
For Our Wedding Day
August 24th, 2002
These tiny bubbles
Will bring you delight,
When you make your first toast
As husband and wife.
Of course the script was all centered on the label and the sir name was typed in large
black font, sparkling cider was typed in medium red font, and the wedding info in large
gold font, and the toasting message in small black font. I then put a skinny red border at
the very top & bottom of the label. I took the bottle neck label & removed it for a
pattern to trace out onto gold shiny sticker paper. I used a
LaserJet printer & printed the letter of the couple's last name. I lined up the
original label with the capitol letter underneath it the best that I could estimate in
order to center it. I then cut out the gold sticker paper into the shape of a neck label. I
stuck the neck label onto the neck of the bottle with their last name initial centered on
I also will make other labels for the guests bottles. There will be 24 that will say the
same thing but, slightly different:
These tiny bubbles
will bring us delight,
if you join us
in our first toast
as husband and wife.
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