Home Cooking: The Family Dessert Buffet

I believe that a wedding should be liberal with sweets. Every other day of the year can be restrained, healthy, and good, but after a wedding the guests should leave with a taste of something sweet in their mouths. I also did not want my guests to wait until cake was served; dinner should flow directly into sweets, just as snacks and hor d'oeuvres flowed right into the meal. And one more thing: I wanted to involve my family in the food.

So I took up the most obvious answer: Potluck!

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My mother's family is a pack of renowned bakers, and so I asked them if they would mind bringing a few home-baked treats to the wedding. No pressure, mind you, and no obligation. Just if they would enjoy it.

Well, before you know it, my grandmother had packed eight dozen coconut squares into her freezer and my aunts and great-aunts embarked on similar campaigns.

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We offered sweets with fresh-roasted coffee from our local coffee roaster right after dinner, in between the toasts and our friend's Elvis medley. They were a sure hit. I already have emails asking (pleading?) for recipes, which is a problem because even I don't know what was on that table. (My mother has been charged with gathering recipes and titles.)

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All in all, it was one of my favorite parts of the wedding. There were little tastes and nibbles that were all so familiar - my great-uncle's anise pizzelles, my grandmother's coconut squares (or Lamingtons), and the family's traditional Eastern European rolled cookies.

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There was something with peanut butter and caramel that apparently made my brothers' eyes roll back in their heads, and I can see from the photos here that was something with mint and chocolate.

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It was such a gift from my family to have those sweet, familiar tastes on hand in addition to my own baking and our caterer's wonderful meal. In the words of another inspiring bride, it also reinforced the ideas of community, connection, and commitment that we hoped were at the heart of the wedding.

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Beautiful details, sweet color palettes, pretty jewels, delicious shoes (believe me, I had a pair), the sweep of a gown and just the right fashionable and "magazine-worthy" flowers - all of these are so fun to dream of when working on a wedding. And yet, along with all those delightful pretty things, I am very grateful for a family who helped us keep the community and the connection at the heart, where they belong.

All that to say, thank you. (And if anyone wants recipes for anything in the photos - I'm working on it.)

Cake and ice cream up tomorrow!

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Related: Home Cooking: The Home Cooked Wedding

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(All images: Friend Michelle, unofficial wedding photographer and paparazza extraordinaire, via Flickr)

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