Last weekend Keith and I were invited to a menu tasting at the New Haven Lawn Club, a Georgian mansion where we’ll be having our wedding reception next May.
Let me set the scene: The New Haven Lawn Club was founded in the 1890s. In 1929 the clubhouse was destroyed in a fire and was rebuilt—and redesigned—two years later. The ballroom now features maple hardwood floors, floor-to-ceiling windows and an ornate wood-burning fireplace. Four custom-made crystal chandeliers hang from the vaulted ceiling. Stepping into the ballroom is like taking a step back in time. Most people I’ve shown pictures to instantly recall one of literature's great characters, Jay Gatsby.
Although our wedding date is a year away, attending a mock reception gave me ideas of what I like and didn’t like for our wedding. Here are a few of the things I never knew I’d have to think about when it came to planning:
- The bar needs decorating. Two bars draped in black linens are set up against a plain white wall during cocktail hour. Of course it will be decorated with thirsty guests, but I think a small flower arrangement or framed cocktail menu will look nice there too.
- Monogrammed cocktail napkins are not a waste. I had actually thought about these a long time ago, but my want became a need when I saw that the servers were passing out napkins with the Lawn Club’s logo on it—two tennis rackets. Maybe that’s not what they serve up for weddings, but if I noticed the club’s monogram, wedding guests will notice ours.
- Napkin fold is important. The way each napkin is folded actually makes a huge impact on the look of the table setting. For example, Keith pointed out that napkins folded in the water glasses distracted from low flower arrangements. Good eye Keith.
- There’s more to wedding food than chicken or beef. Since one of the most important tasks of the day was to sample the food—we ate, and ate, and ate. Everything was delicious and it will be hard to narrow down 10 main course options to two! One of my favorites was chicken stuffed with apple sausage, herb-smoked gold potatoes and a citrus caramel brown butter sauce. I felt like Padma from Top Chef as I tasted everything on my plate.