In the five years since my nearly-perfect wedding, I've had a lot of time to think about that day. While there is no doubt that I would do some things differently today, mostly because some styles have changed, at the time everything felt right. From the dress to my DIY flowers, it was a great way to capture in time who my husband and I were then. This is why I still get frustrated when I think about our catering mistake.
While my husband and I are definitely food-driven people, white tablecloth dining is not our scene. It feels dated and stuffy, an overly formal exercise that lets restaurants charge more while giving less. So it boggles my mind that we chose one such restaurant to cater our dinner, all because they charged less than what we had budgeted and we thought it was expected of us.
After going to a couple of weddings where people had to wait an hour to get through a buffet line, I thought the natural solution was to have a sit-down dinner with servers. To be fair to my restaurant, the food was fine, nothing to write home about, carbo-loading Italian. It was inoffensive and gave our guests a healthy layer of pasta so they could drink more wine without getting too drunk. It's not the quality of the food I regret, it's doing a sit-down meal at all.
I was so excited to talk to people, see loved ones I don't get to hang with very often, and relax that I was anxious during the whole meal and wanted to get it over with. My eagerness to wander also meant that I wanted nothing to do with wading through a heavy pasta and instead just wanted to graze for a bit. Since I had never had a wedding before, there was no way for me to predict this mood, but I should have known that formal dining is just not us.
I should have done the aggressively-trendy food-truck court and just let everyone hang out. My venue had the space and I could have gotten four to five food trucks for the cost of a mediocre Italian meal. This was way more our speed, essentially a continuation of the cocktail party that would have allowed us both to just embrace the amazing, atmospheric wedding-high while getting to enjoy a good meal.
Planning a wedding was finding ways to blend our personalities while also finding ways to make traditional elements work for us. I had no problem axing the need for a florist or using old-school vows, but somehow I got it in my head that a wedding needs a formal dining element. Weddings, of course, don't need to be any one thing, so if my husband and I decided to do the whole shindig again, I'll steer clear of fancy dining.