In addition to putting together a new issue of Catersource this summer and heading out to Denver for our amazing Art of Catering Food conference, I’ve started to occupy myself with one other activity: attending the weddings of some of the people I care about most.
A couple of weeks ago my boyfriend and I headed out to the Santa Ynez Valley in California to see good friends Carol and Josh get hitched. They were married in Coquelicot Estate Winery in Solvang, which is about 40 minutes east of Santa Barbara. Carol and I have been friends since high school so the whole ceremony was very near and dear to my heart, and we had an extremely lovely time.
It was a hot day out in Solvang, with temps in the high 90s, but paper parasoles provided shade and a cool breeze blew throughout the ceremony. We sipped on lemonade beforehand and mason jar Brown Derby cocktails afterward — all in all it kept us pretty cool. By the time the reception started, it cooled down in wine country, and the evening was dotted with shooting stars from the Perseid Meteor Shower.
Hors d’oeuvre were passed while we waited for the wedding party to take photos — they were the (delicious!) usual suspects, but with California touches. I was quite fond of the beef carpaccio and something lovely with tuna and avocado. (An avocado culinary note: no one seasons avocado in the Midwest, and while it’s fantastic on its own, avocado is wonderful when its flavor is boosted with a tiny bit of balsamic or other seasonings. Don’t be frightened to enhance its luxurious creamy greenness!)
The reception was held in a nearby barn, decorated in bright blue, orange, yellow and green. Dahlias in vintage vases and bottles were used as place cards, and the guestbook was literally placecards — a vintage postcard rack that guests could fill out and mail. Really fun, and fitting for a couple about to head off to Tahiti for their honeymoon. (I took one with me to mail from home as well… I still have to send that out!)
New West Caterers provided phenomenal wedding fare (and according to the bride, they were wonderful to work with). The menu was pesca-vegetarian, which was a fitting choice for the couple and the guests. I love having options that aren’t just meat and pasta, so it was great to see a lighter menu that didn’t hang out all heavy-like in my stomach while I was dancing. Halibut and salmon were served buffet-style alongside fresh salads and vegetables, all of which were bountiful and delicious. Salads, salads, abundant salads! I hope that’s a trend because I could get used to it…
Since we were on a vineyard, we also drank plenty of Coquelicot’s wine, along with blackberry beer made by some of Carol and Josh’s friends.
And for dessert? Well, in addition to a small cake, Carol and Josh brought Coolhaus in to serve ice cream sandwiches, coffee and hot chocolate. Coolhaus is a dessert truck that operates in five cities, but I hadn’t heard of them until this wedding, so it was a delicious surprise to me. Custom homemade ice cream sandwiches? Yes, please. I opted for red velvet cookies with salted caramel ice cream (which I think should be considered a traditional dessert right up there with French vanilla at this point), while boyfriend Will went for a potato chip-flavored cookie and mint chocolate chip ice cream.
Comfort food really feels right at home when you’re at the wedding of a childhood friend, and at the end of the night, the combination of baked cookies and cool ice cream–personalized to order– was a real treat. Even the paper they were wrapped in was edible!
All in all, the wedding was bright and fresh and reflected the truly awesome tastes of the couple. Thanks to Carol, Josh, both of their families, New West, Coolhaus, Bluephoto Wedding Photography, and everyone involved for a beautiful ceremony and wonderfully fun reception.
A video of Carol and Josh’s lovely wedding day by photographer Jonathan Roberts is below.