The food fair that doubled as our wedding

by Forager on May 22, 2012

You would think that by default, everything that appears on one’s blog should be personal. But there are of course, varying degrees of personal.

I finally overcame my immense procrastination barrier and curated all the photos for this wedding wrap up post. In my defense, this was a very difficult one to create – not only was there so many photos (oh, just a lazy 700 photos to sift through), but the content was obviously highly personal, very private and took long deliberation of what to share in this post. The hardest decisions revolved around my camera shy family, friends and particularly the Co-Pilot who’d requested not to be “showcased”, so this is largely a fairly anonymous perspective of the day, with just a profile here or an obscured face there. The easiest were food related as we had a stunning and vast selection to choose from (most courtesy of our photographers Tealily Photography). We were warned many times by friends, family and even our caterers that we were overcatering – but we persisted with our planned menu. We weren’t prepared to compromise on quality or quantity as it was our wedding after all so we wanted to use the unique (we hope) opportunity to design the ultimate spread – and to fit all the desired elements in, what ensued was a mammoth feast timed to military precision.

A necessary prerequisite before you embark on this post is reading my previous post on the stress and meticulous planning that was required to create this wedding in 3 months. I promise that my emotional cathartic outburst was restrained to (but not exhausted in) that other post so this saccharine post will be largely a visual recollection of the day and appropriately themed as sunshine, happiness and a feasting extravaganza. No anger, no frothing madness, no shaking fist moments.

But before we could start the celebratory feast, first we had to survive the ceremony, and key to that, was getting there. The Co-Pilot’s cousin once removed provided the ride – an enviable and lovingly restored vintage blue Mercedes driven down from Noosa for the occasion.

Ready and setting off to meet The Co-pilot

Ready and setting off to meet The Co-pilot

My bridesmaids and I arrived discretely at the venue via a back entrance (on time) and waited patiently, hidden from view whilst guests continued to arrive and assemble under the tree where we were holding our ceremony. All was going to plan until the Co-Pilot suddenly came barrelling around the corner into me, then just as quickly screaming and shielding his eyes like he’d seen a horrific apparition and running in the other direction as quickly as he came. We were left standing there dumbstruck, his screams trailing off. It certainly wasn’t the reaction a bride wants from her groom on their wedding day.

Gathering under the ceremonial tree

Gathering under the ceremonial tree

Flowers courtesy of our sweat shop - buttonholes, ceremonial and aisle flowers

Flowers courtesy of our sweat shop - buttonholes, ceremonial and aisle flowers

My adorable niece and nephew acted as our flower girl and page boy, whilst the Co-pilot’s sisters were our flower maidens. The kids were given a final briefing and once all the guests finally present and assembled, the procession starts and they’re each led down the aisle, hand in hand with one of the Co-Pilot’s sisters. My bridesmaid, Jojo and my matron of honour, L-bean followed them, with me leading up the rear. As I am prone to tripping spectacularly in front of large crowds, my brother was well briefed on his duties to keep me upright and my arm was locked in an iron grip with his as he walked me down the aisle. A small army of professional bubble blowers worked incessantly to fill the air with floating iridescent bubbles to the tune of Holly Throsby’s “Here is my Co-Pilot”.

The final briefing before ceremony showtime

The final briefing and then it was showtime

The wedding ceremony

Industrious bubble blowers set the scene

We had a reading of a Yuan dynasty Chinese love poem in Cantonese and English, and to personalise the ceremony and involve our guests, we included something we called the red string ceremony. According to traditional Chinese folklore, the old man in the moon is a matchmaker god who joins soulmates by tying them together using a piece of red string around their ankles. The magical string will ensure true soulmates will eventually find each other no matter how far they are from each other and how tangled the string gets. Hence, singles will often pray to the old man in the moon to help them find their soulmate. As I grew up with this story, we incorporated this into our ceremony and provided ample red string for our guests to symbolically share their love around. We were later told that some of our guests were still wearing their red strings for weeks – even months after our wedding!

The Chinese Red String Ceremony for soulmates, wedding

The Chinese Red String Ceremony - soulmates are tied together with red string so they will always be able to find one another

As per tradition, our best man was tasked with ring bearer duties and although he had an untimely broken finger, he managed superbly. Surprisingly, despite being right handed and injuring that dominant hand, his signature as our witness still looked like intelligible scrawl and hopefully won’t raise any questions about whether a toddler was actually the witness to our wedding. Rings and personalised vows were exchanged and like that – we were married!

Retrospectively, I find it both surreal and amazing that a ceremony of such importance in our society is reliant on what is essentially, the integrity of a few spoken words. There was no trial by fire, I didn’t walk on hot coals to prove my love and commitment – it was quite pagan in nature really.

And a wedding doesn’t seem really complete without someone bringing on the waterworks and that responsibility was left to my pregnant and reliably emotional matron of honour, L-Bean. I turned beaming from the Co-Ppilot, to find her teary and overcome with emotion, dabbing away tears with the tissues she’d squirreled away in her bouquet – ostensibly for me in the event I burst into emotional tears.

Exchanging of wedding rings

Exchanging of wedding rings

Our beautiful bridesmaids (complete with tears)

Our beautiful bridesmaids (complete with tears)

On cue after our ceremony, the ARIA waitstaff appeared discreetly on the periphery of the lawn and came forward with a choice of Prosecco or a sparkling wine and canapes served to our guests under the tree mottled afternoon light. Having studied the canapes in great detail for the months leading up to the wedding, deliberating over this canape or that, ensuring the perfect mix of flavours whilst catering for our guests’ needs – I was absolutely determined to taste these canapes for myself. I had no intention of starving myself on my wedding day – particularly as I was cinched and trussed into my dress like a small ham – so I had the ultimate opportunity to feast indiscriminately. Yet, knowing that despite my best intentions, I was likely to be very busy and pre-occupied with guests so I’d pre-organised for the bridal party to have a selection of the canapes set aside so we could at least sample the menu.

And as I was clearly not going to be on “foodblogger duty”, our photographer was given the specific brief of being my pseudo-foodblogger for the day and the ARIA staff helped immensely by seeking him out for photos before our guests devoured the canapes. I think he clearly delivered on the brief! I recall thinking that all the canapes were delicious, but clear standouts for me were the molten tuna tataki morsels, the tender roasted beef on sourdough and the simply dressed crowd-pleasing oysters.

Champagne, oysters, jamon iberico and prosecco

ARIA staff at the ready: Sydney rock oysters with pink grapefruit dressing; crushed peas with jamon iberico, crostini and sherry vinegar; and a selection of either a sparkling wine or Prosecco

From top to bottom: Potato tortilla with witlof and chives; Peking duck pancake with shallot and hoisin; and spiced beef, butter lettuce, crispy shallot and mayonnaise

From top to bottom: Potato tortilla with witlof and chives; Peking duck pancake with shallot and hoisin; and spiced beef, butter lettuce, crispy shallot and mayonnaise

Top to bottom: Guests mingling under the tree; tuna tataki with shallot and ginger; Pickled walnuts, mushroom salad and crisp bread; and roasted Rangers Valley beef on sourdough with aioli

Top to bottom: Guests mingling under the tree; tuna tataki with shallot and ginger; Pickled walnuts, mushroom salad and crisp bread; and roasted Rangers Valley beef on sourdough with aioli

In addition to the blue colour theme, we had an Italian food fair theme for our wedding and once the light canapes were complete, we moved out guests through to another area for the “reception” piazza where we had stage two set up and of course, yet more food in store.

The reception piazza and our guest registry

The reception piazza and our guest registry

Whilst our guests were indulging in champagne and canapes on the lawn, an elaborate and impressive charcuterie station was set up; Rosso Pomodoro’s pizza station was fired up with fresh pizzas made and ready to serve to hungry guests; and we had a wine bar set up as well. These stations all came accompanied with tasting notes and pairing suggestions to really maximise our guests’ enjoyment.

The Charcuterie Station

The Charcuterie Station

The charcuterie tasting menu

The charcuterie tasting menu (click on the menu to enlarge)

Digging in to the charcuterie and antipasto

Digging in to the charcuterie and antipasto

Inconspicuous at the charcuterie station

Inconspicuous at the charcuterie station

The wine tasting notes

The wine tasting notes (click on the menu to enlarge)

It took just one bite of fresh, hot piping molten Rosso Pomodoro pizza and suddenly, the effort and rigmarole of separately organising their presence at our wedding and the delivery of their specialised equipment, including a one tonne 3 phase generator – it was all well worthwhile. Rosso Pomodoro’s owners, Ketty Laffi and Giancarlo Bazzocchi were there personally manning the pizza station in their familiar positions: Giancarlo behind the oven crafting mouth-watering pizzas and Ketty turning on her charm front of house – or front of queue as it were. We had 4 different pizzas being churned out and once one slice was tasted, it defied all willpower to resist going back and trying all the other flavours. There were some self-styled pizza connoisseurs at our wedding who were spotted in the pizza queue almost exclusively, sparing a moment between mouthfuls only to nod appreciatively and approvingly at our choice of pizza maker.

Rosso Pomodoro's pizza station

Rosso Pomodoro's pizza station

The pizza selection

The pizza selection (click on the menu to enlarge)

Many of our family and friends have already added little tykes to their family units, and we wanted everyone to enjoy our wedding and thus deliberately designed our wedding to be very child-friendly with picnic blankets, colouring in activities, games and bubbles aplenty. The pin wheels, crepe paper flowers and fans played a dual role of venue decoration and child-entertainment devices and were a great hit. Their enjoyment was palpable and the sounds of their joy, squeals of delight and laughter filled the air and became part of our festival background track.

Happy kids

Happy kids

A break in feasting was allowed for speeches and to encourage appetites for the post speech meal (of course there was more food to come!). The Co-Pilot ad-libbed because, he is a pretty talented lad and comfortable with that. Buoyed by confidence and peer pressure from the occasion, I bravely ignored my speech notes and also ad-libbed. At that instant, I acutely forgot that I’ve never been good at ad-libbing, and almost always end up babbling as my mind desperately goes into damage control and tries in vain to command the cogs that make my voice box shut down. I’m reminded that I may have unwittingly insulted the Co-Pilot more than I complimented him. I’m reminded that the word “infuriating” may have been uttered more than once. But – I’m sure I meant “infuriating” only in the most loving, complimentary and positive way…

Sprawled on picnic blankets for speeches

Sprawled on picnic blankets for speeches

Post speeches, our cheese wedding cake was brought out – an impressive stack of soft and hard cheeses, all accompanied by a cheese tasting menu of course. But clearly cheese wedding cakes are not the norm for weddings, and thus not recognised as genuine wedding cakes as immediately after assembling the cheese tower, it was immediately evident to our waitstaff that they’d have to stand vigil next to the cheeses and fend off hungry cheese fiends ready to disassemble our “wedding cake” before we got a chance to cut it! Clearly our pinwheel cake topper wasn’t a clear enough sign!

Our cheese wedding cake

Our cheese wedding cake

The cheese tasting menu

The cheese tasting menu (click on the menu to enlarge)

The second round of canapes were brought out at this stage – this time, four substantial canapes, because quite obviously, we’d expected our guests to come stark raving ravenous.

There were chicken burgers and pork belly rolls, kimchi braised beef cheeks and also sashimi plates as a lighter option. I’m not sure where I was when the sashimi plates were doing the rounds because I totally missed their appearance and only spotted them in the post wedding photo audit. Perhaps I was pre-occupied and busy chowing down on the pork belly sandwiches as they were just incredible! Cheek stuffingly tasty with a generous helping of crispy and satisfyingly noisy pork crackling. Even though I was full to bursting with my corset was failing me and threatening to explode in all directions, the food was delicious and I continued to devour everything presented to me.

Top to bottom: Sashimi plate with tuna, ocean trout, kingfish, soy and ginger; braised beef cheeks with Kimchi and spicy dressing; mini free range chicken burgers with rocket and sauce gribiche; pork belly sandwich with lettuce and shallots; one of our reds at the bar- a grenache shiraz mourvedre

Top to bottom: Sashimi plate with tuna, ocean trout, kingfish, soy and ginger; braised beef cheeks with Kimchi and spicy dressing; mini free range chicken burgers with rocket and sauce gribiche; pork belly sandwich with lettuce and shallots; one of our reds at the bar- a grenache shiraz mourvedre

The pork belly rolls were in high demand - everyone wanted a bite!

The pork belly rolls were in high demand - everyone wanted a bite!

Nightfall was the cue for the lanterns, twinkling fairy lights and candles to flicker to life and cast a warm glow over our guests. It also brought the final food station to life. The vibrant fresh produce heaped up at the risotto station had been teasing our guests all day and had them speculating on what the set up was for. The show was certainly worth the wait. With pomp and parade, one of the chefs brought out a large heavy pot and up-ended it spectacularly over the table, the creamy tidal wave pooling out in a perfect dense circle. The asparagus and wild French mushroom risotto was then deftly dressed and topped with more fresh julienned slivers of asparagus, generous scattered handfuls of wild mushrooms and a good dousing of truffle oil to finish.

I know I am likely to be more than a wee bit biased as it was our wedding, and I’m sure it wasn’t the wine colouring my memories, but we thought that this was the best risotto we’ve ever had. The rice was perfectly al dente; the asparagus, mushroom and truffle flavours vibrantly pungent and the texture hot, creamy but remarkably light. We were just both so sorry that we couldn’t eat more of it. And even more sorry that we hadn’t thought to doggy bag the remainders. It physically pains me to think something so delicious was potentially trashed at the end of the night and it is the dish that the Co-Pilot and I keep reminiscing about from time to time and wishing that we had the opportunity to have just another taste of.

The risotto station by day

The risotto station by day

The Risotto Station and the delicious asparagus and wild french mushroom risotto

The Risotto Station by night: coming alive with a delicious asparagus and wild french mushroom risotto

The very final offering in our feast was a second dessert, as we understand that for some, a meal not matter how filling just isn’t complete without something sugary to satisfy that ever-demanding sweet tooth. To fulfil this requirement we had a large profiterole cake from Mezzapica, the Co-Pilot’s long favoured supplier of profiteroles. To our surprise, even though just moments earlier all our guests were groaningly full, suddenly room was created for profiteroles and the heaped mound of profiteroles filled with either chocolate, vanilla or chantilly custard and cemented together with chocolate mousse was attacked at with gusto.

The profiterole cake for those who can't end a meal without a sweet happy ending..

The profiterole cake for those who can't end a meal without a sweet happy ending

Warm light bathing our guest registry tree

Warm light bathing our guest registry magnolia tree

Nightfall and happy well fed and watered guests

Nightfall and happy well fed and watered guests

We have such fond memories of our wedding day, the seemingly all-consuming planning and organisation anguish previously mentioned in the lead up to our wedding just quietly melted away like fragile cloud-light fairy floss and everything happened remarkably seamlessly. We were surrounded by a phenomenal variety of incredible food and wine, ate like gluttonous kings and had our friends and family with us to partake in the celebratory feast. And in a solid month of pelting rain, the sun made a special guest appearance and burst through the clouds to shine down like the hot summer’s day we’d planned for three months prior. It was a day that never fails to bring a smile to our faces and hopefully never ceases to for all the years to come.

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 vicki May 22, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Congratulations! Or is it best wishes to the bride? I can never remember! You looked AMAZING and the charcuterie and risotto stations didn’t look too bad either!

2 Trissa May 22, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Besutiful and Lassus wedding Trina, just like you! Congratulations!!

3 Jacq May 22, 2012 at 11:08 pm

What an amazing spread and to pull that off in 3 months is incredible! Congratulations to you and the Co-Pilot!
Jacq recently posted..Bo Innovation, Hong KongMy Profile

4 JJ @ 84thand3rd May 22, 2012 at 11:14 pm

Stunning and absolutely delicious looking! Congratulations!
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5 Christine May 22, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Trina, your wedding looked so amazing and you looked incredibly beautiful. I’d love to see the rest of the pics of the ceremony etc if you have a link you could email me :)
Christine recently posted..Eloise Month 8 – 9My Profile

6 Tori May 23, 2012 at 1:10 am

Oh my word. I have had the best time just reading about this (with Holly Throsby as a soundtrack), I can’t even begin to imagine how terrific it would have been for your guests. And while the food looks stunning- you look out of this world beautiful. Hoping married life is treating you kindly. x
Tori recently posted..Gnocchi, made from white beansMy Profile

7 Helen (Grab Your Fork) May 23, 2012 at 2:19 am

omg what an incredible wedding! I love the red string idea and the charcuterie station, and the pizzas and the pork belly rolls AND A CHEESE WEDDING CAKE! Many happy returns to you both. Congratulations on the start of an even more wonderful life together :)
Helen (Grab Your Fork) recently posted..Cornersmith, MarrickvilleMy Profile

8 Bonnibella May 23, 2012 at 5:24 am

You looked so beautiful, Congratulations! This is the first time I’ve ever seen a Cheese wedding cake, so unique and represented you guys. The pictures showed such a giggling fun happy time with all.
Bonnibella recently posted..So in love with a Girl and a Goat, ChicagoMy Profile

9 Rosie May 23, 2012 at 7:47 am

Oh – lovely and heartbreaking still that I wasn’t able to be there. I’m going to email Pa the link. XXX
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10 Angie May 23, 2012 at 8:17 am

Congratulatians again Trina and Co pilot!
I just love weddings and love how you have incorporated your love of food into the reception. Looks like an absolutely fantastic spread! And you looked absolutely gorgeous :)
Angie recently posted..[Angie Travels] Eating our way through Tasmania (Part 1) – Launceston, Tamar ValleyMy Profile

11 Nic@diningwithastud May 23, 2012 at 9:09 am

Oh you look absolutely stunning! What a beautiful day and an amazing spread. Congratulations to you both :)
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12 OohLookBel May 23, 2012 at 9:53 am

I’ve been looking forward to this post and you did not disappoint, Trina. Your wedding was stunning, especially the food. Thanks for sharing with us!
OohLookBel recently posted..Kiddie carrot muffinsMy Profile

13 Phuoc'n Delicious May 23, 2012 at 11:21 am

AMAZING! Congratulations to you and Co-Pilot. All the very best for your lives together as man and wife. I seriously can’t believe this was all planned in 3 months, great work Trina! I loved the personal and traditional touches you’ve added to your wedding day; it looked and sounded like the most perfect day. And oh my god, that array of cured meats has my mouth watering uncontrollably
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14 Sophia May 23, 2012 at 11:30 am

A long awaited post, and you are so beautiful Trina!

I didn’t know that the co-pilot saw you before the ceremony, sounds funny! (Although maybe not so much at the time!!)

Food looks amazing, just wish I could have tried everything. x

15 Melissa May 23, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Amazing wedding! Congratulations to both of you!
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16 Reemski May 23, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Trina, so beautiful, I’m such a sap that I’m getting teary! You guys did an amazing job and I hope it was all that you and the Co-Pilot could have wished for. We’ll have to have a very long overdue catch up as I want to hear more about it!

BTW where did you end up having it? It looks gorgeous
Reemski recently posted..The ArrivalMy Profile

17 Richard Elliot May 25, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Oh my, I think I’ve just died and gone to charcuterie heaven…….

It looks like you had a beautiful day and the effort was certainly worth it. Best wishes to you and the Co-pilot for married life.
Richard Elliot recently posted..Restaurant Review: Deli Bottega, BondiMy Profile

18 Claire May 28, 2012 at 8:40 pm

I’m such a sap that I’m getting teary! You guys did an amazing job and I hope it was all that you and the Co-Pilot could have wished for. Thanks that you’ve shared.
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19 billy @ A Table For Two May 29, 2012 at 11:42 am

That’s the most extravagant wedding I’ve ever seen. Even a gay man like me wants to get married just by reading it!

And, congratulations! :)
billy @ A Table For Two recently posted..Beef Australia 2012 – Rockhampton, QueenslandMy Profile

20 DynnaLou May 29, 2012 at 3:49 pm

I just love these photos so much! I think a lot of people would want to have this kind of wedding where all are so excited and even cooperating to make this better..
DynnaLou recently posted..Relief For GoutMy Profile

21 Christina @ The Hungry Australian June 24, 2012 at 2:53 am

Belated congratulations Trina! What a wonderful day you had – you looked just beautiful. And the food – I can’t believe how many different things you guys arranged and how gorgeous it all looked. And I LOVE your cheese cake.
Christina @ The Hungry Australian recently posted..Quince Meringue PieMy Profile

22 lizzie July 9, 2012 at 8:46 pm

Congratulations, planning a wedding in three months is quite stressful, sounds like you had a similar idea to us with friends helping out. Love the idea of a charcuterie station. We ended up with a whole pig to feed out crowd, he was fat enough after our 3 months of madness.
lizzie recently posted..Tha Ton Temple, Ban Tha Ton, ThailandMy Profile

23 Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) July 10, 2012 at 11:17 am

That charcuterie station is one of the most impressive things I’ve seen!

My wedding day remains the happiest single event of my life thus far and, despite it being over 2 years ago, I still have photos yet to sort through! Those being from friends’ cameras etc but the professional photos I definitely look back on fondly.
Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) recently posted..Matcha blondies (aka green tea white chocolate brownies)My Profile

24 Forager January 3, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Thank you everyone for your well wishes! I can’t believe we’re coming up to our first anniversary and can say we couldn’t have been happier!

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