"OMG We are totally at your wedding right now!" (sophisticated opening line of The Boo's wedding toast)
It's really so miraculous, isn't it? One minute there you are, trudging along your daily existence, resigning yourself to the humdrum and the mundane and thinking "well, I guess this IS all there is"... and then, in a heartbeat, everything changes. Suddenly, there's the One. The Game Changer. An addition to your life that changes it so profoundly, in a thousand small ways, that you can't imagine living without it. Just to behold it is a joy:
I got a coffee maker!!
(...why, what did you think I was talking about?)
All kidding aside, what a freakin' gorge-tasti-fabu-rific WEDDING!!!
Congrats to The Mouse ... AND to The Husband!!!!
(flowers, streamers, confetti, trumpets)
It really was one for the history books. I've been putting off writing this post because I'm totally intimidated. I'm aware that, unless I have a very specific angle, it could be the very War and Peace of blog posts... or leave out significant things and get me scolded in the Comments section. And, although a picture is worth a thousand words, there are at least a thousand pictures-- and we haven't actually even gotten the photographer's shots back yet! So I'll only be able to really report on a small, personal slice of delicious coconut wedding cake ... um, er, I mean, of the Event itself. (Anyone who's' reading please feel free to leave your favorite memory in the Comments section!)
Hair and makeup with The Mother & friends. Andaz Hotel NYC.
Everyone is going to have their favorite, definitive moment from your wedding. It's hard to pick one. I'm going to say that mine, for obvious reasons, is going to have to be the night before in the hotel room, when a Very Agitated Mouse could not find the Food Network on TV, and only calmed down enough to sleep when her sister read her the entire Room Service menu aloud.
Drenched Mouse on the bus en route to Rehearsal Dinner, clutching Boo-Assembled Ribbon Bouquet. It was pouring. We couldn't get a cab.
But there's so much more! The CEREMONY, beautifully located on the grounds of Lyndhurst Castle in Tarrytown NY. (Anyone who has great location shots or comments let us know, as of course we were cloistered in the Bridal Holding Pen right up until showtime.) The Bride's gorgeous, dramatic entrance from between the tall iron doors of the mansion, glimpsed from a distance, was breathtaking. The Groom's love-drunk, tear-filled eyes as he spoke his vows. The eleven adorable flower girls who all, in unison, miraculously failed to drop a single flower petal from their tightly clutched paper cones. The way the officiant said "now you shall feel no rain" as the wind picked up and just a few drops started. And, oh yeah, probably the part where I got up to sing, made it three lines into what was supposed to be a beautiful Irish ballad, burst into tears and yelled, "I TOLD you this would happen!". During the ceremony. Well, at least it got a laugh. And at least it isn't captured on videotape. Oh, wait.
The PARTY. DANCE Party, that is. I think I actually did see some cows coming home as the last person teetered off the dance floor. The photobooth, which was hijacked by small children enacting complex narratives and adults in delightfully obscene postures ... The speeches (laughter, tears, applause for all of them) ... The farm tables (!!), rose-gold-purply autumnal flowers, and japanese lanterns. The band, a delightful assemblage of horns and suspenders, who led us all down the hill from cocktail hour into the main hall. And who could forget the night's second-most passionate union:
Ladies and Gentlemen... in from Cleveland OH... the only other Hart Girl in existence, Isabel!!
Who we had never met (shame on us) and who is a Dance Machine.
Also, we looked awesome. I need another reason to wear that dress, stat. YOUR dress ... I can't even get into it or we might have another Irish Ballad Malfunction.
And, of course, who could forget the delightful last-minute thrill of the US COACHWAYS bus that simply never arrived in NYC to pick up half the guests and, like, BRING THEM to the wedding in Tarrytown. No phone call, nothing. Eventually The Fiance got through (who gave him a phone??) and the charming US COACHWAYS company rep SHOUTED and HUNG UP on him. The ceremony started 45 minutes late, the plucky guests in question had to walk to Grand Central and buy train tickets, and the one US COACHWAYS bus we had, I hear, treated folks to a white-knuckle Ride of Terror back to Manhattan. Oh and now they're offering a 20% refund. (!!!) That's US COACHWAYS, all you brides-to-be out there.
I realize, as this post natters on, that I have not said one word about the food. And that's probably because I barely ate. (I hear that happens. Again, go for it in the Comments!) So I feel I have a good excuse to talk briefly about The Bridal Shower and the Bachelorette Party! though they are not strictly on-topic. That was the first time I've ever been called upon to host, well, anything besides a dinner ... and it was such. a. good. time. First lesson of hosting: delegate. Without your beloved childhood friend CC's artistic talents, how could all the ladies of the Bachelorette have worn these T-Shirts ?
American Apparel Saga to come later.
And without The Mother and The Aunt's advisory, how could the Bridal Shower guests have snacked on these?
Personalized M&Ms: Possibly even tastier.
For a classically lovely, girly bridal shower, you could really do worse than the private 'Evelyn Nesbitt Room' at Lady Mendl's Tea Salon in Gramercy Park (finger sandwiches, clotted cream, champagne cocktails), and for a classy-but-still-risque bachelorette party, I highly recommend a Saturday night at the small, beautiful TriBeCa supper club Duane Park. The dinner/show combo ($60/person) features a really impressive prix-fixe menu (hon. mentions to shrimp & grits appetizer and pork loin with honey-plum-barebecue-I-ate-all-of-it sauce), a live smokin' jazz band, and an old-timey burlesque show hosted by downtown's beloved drag king Murray Hill ("Showbiz!"). Cocktails are additional but stellar, if it took a while to get them. (Oh, and an afternoon in the waterfalls and steam of Spa Castle in Queens won't hurt none either. I'll never forget lounging in the rooftop whirlpool bath with you, A-Mac, and CC, sharing a Pina Colada and watching the sun set. Good times.)
Were there two cameras? What am I looking at?
Since, as they say, Brevity is the Filet of Sole, I will stop there. (Cod! That's what I had at the wedding. Cod. It was tasty.) I would like to give two particular food-related wedding shout-outs. One is to Lady, your personal attendant provided by catering, whose timing ("I came to see if you need anything" right as we found out about the second bus) was flawless and who did not bat an eye when we requested 4 vodka shots at 4PM. They came ice cold and accompanied by a plate of the cocktail-hour latin-themed finger foods (mm tamales). Well done, Lady.
The other is to YOU for your wedding cake stroke of genius.
It's really second only to The Cat Lady's 22 -Cake wedding in my book.
After that last agonizing round of decisions, where you, The Fiance, The Mother, and I sat half-asleep trying to decide whether to go with "white sponge" or "yellow cake", and grumbling that no one was going to eat it anyway, you finally just called the caterer and asked if they'd be willing to make the below recipe. The Aunt makes it at least once a year for us and it's always a showstopper. This time was no different, and like everything else in this wedding, was joyful, delicious, and unforgettable.
The Mouse's Ingenious Wedding Cake, nee Ina Garten's Coconut Cake
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pans
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup milk
4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
For the frosting:
1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans, then line them parchment paper. Grease them again and dust lightly with flour.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. Crack the eggs into a small bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl once during mixing. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. The mixture might look curdled; don't be concerned.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
Fold in the 4 ounces of coconut with a rubber spatula.
Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and smooth the top with a knife.
Bake in the center of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until the tops are browned and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack for 30 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a baking rack to finish cooling.
For the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extract on low speed. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until just smooth (don't whip!). To assemble, place 1 layer on a flat serving plate, top side down, and spread with frosting. Place the second layer on top, top side up, and frost the top and sides. To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides. Serve at room temperature.