I made another wedding cake. This time, for my mother. She and Charley were married last Saturday at their house up in Maine.
(Well, they weren't “married,” not really, if we’re going to be legally exact. It was more of a commitment ceremony. They called it their “outlaw” wedding.)
The ceremony was simple and quiet. A handful of my mom and Charley’s closest friends and family members stood up, one at a time, to tell stories about the couple—some funny, others serious, all beautiful and touching in their own ways. Ben, my little brother, officiated. My mom and Charley each wrote their own vows. It was a clear, warm day, but thunder rumbled in the distance as they read them out loud.
They are a quirky couple, an unexpected match in many ways. But it works. They've made it work. They've been together for ten years. And listening to them read their vows, it struck me again just how perfect they are together. My mom and Charley know each other, every part of each other. The good parts and the bad parts and all the parts in between. And they love each other both because of and despite them all.
After the ceremony, we celebrated.
Now, I will admit that this wedding stressed me out for a number of weeks beforehand. After all, I was the wedding planner, a task I assigned to myself without thinking too hard about the details. And let me tell you: There were details. Rentals and hirings and food and drink and lights and taxis and hotels and schedules and music and flowers, oh my. But after a bit of hectic running around, a thick stack of “to do” lists illegibly scrawled on legal pads, and a few last-minute orders (kindly) barked at unsuspecting family members, it all came together. Miraculously, we made a wedding. A real un-real wedding. It was perfect in its imperfections.
The evening began with champagne toasts, moved on to dancing, and was filled with good food throughout. Bryan and Dan, two of my buds from Cook’s Illustrated, catered the whole thing. (If you’re in the Boston area and are looking for a great team of caterers, let me know!) There was tomato bruschetta with boquerones, and Spanish tortilla with preserved lemon aioli. Gravlax blini with red onion crème fraiche, and octopus and potato brochettes. Bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with almonds. Pork tostadas with queso fresco and radishes. When the plates of sliders came out of the kitchen, guests hovered around them like vultures, waiting to go in for the kill.
And then the cake. I made the same cake that I made for my friends Ashley and Colin back in 2009. (If it isn't broken...) An almond cake sandwiching layers of lemon curd and blueberry jam. Frosted with a swiss buttercream. It was a rustic looking cake. A little splotchy. A tiny bit lopsided. We ate it in the dim, blue light of dusk. It tasted damn good.