Casual Gourmet ~ Cultural Cape Cod Wedding
June 7, 2010
By: eddye
New England
Fall Weddings

We're starting off this week on The Little Black Book Blog with a charming wedding filled to overflowing with love and tradition! Olive from Cape Cod's The Casual Gourmet, and Katie, the bride have graciously shared all the lovely details and so I'm just going to step aside and let them fill you in!

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Katie and Maz's wedding blended a contemporary twist on classic New England fall with the bride’s Jewish and the groom’s Persian heritage. The bride is from Colorado, the groom is from Washington DC, they planned their wedding while attending grad school in Philadelphia and they currently live in San Francisco. And ... they chose to have their wedding on Cape Cod, where the bride’s family has a house. “You can’t beat Cape Cod in the fall,” said the bride.

The day of the wedding dawned dazzlingly bright and sunny, but also unseasonably cold for October. The ceremony was planned for outside, but there was no way the guests would be comfortable without some added source of warmth. The morning of the wedding, the plan to serve champagne before the ceremony was scrapped in favor of hot chocolate and tea, and the bride’s mom rounded up her extensive collection of quilts – many of which she had made. They were laid out on the chairs, and guests cuddled underneath them during the ceremony.

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The bride and groom were married under a chuppah made with silk from the bride’s grandfather’s WWII parachute. They faced their guests for the ceremony, and spread out in front of them was an elaborate display called the Sofreh-ye Aghd, a Persian wedding custom. The mother and sister-in-law of the groom carefully arranged the Sofreh in the hours leading up to the ceremony. Traditionally Sofreh-ye Aghd is set on the floor facing east, the direction of sunrise (light). Consequently when bride and bridegroom are seated at the head of Sofreh-ye Aghd they will be facing "The Light".

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The Sofreh was comprised of a gold embroidered cloth, handed down from generations to symbolize family and tradition; Kalleh Ghand, two large sugar cones that are ground over the couple’s heads to shower them with sugar, symbolizing sweetness and happiness; a ‘mirror of fate’ called the "Aayeneh-ye Bakht" and two candlesticks to represent the bride and groom and brightness in their future; a specially baked and decorated bread "Noon-e Sangak" that symbolizes prosperity for the feasts and for the couple's life thereafter; a basket of decorated eggs and a basket of decorated nuts in the shell to symbolize fertility; a basket of pomegranates for a joyous future; a cup of rose water extracted from special Persian roses to perfume the air; crystalized sugar "Kaas-e Nabaat/Shaakh-e Nabaat" to sweeten life for the newly wed; a brazier "Manghal" holding burning coals sprinkled with wild rue "Espand" to bring health; a bowl of gold coins representing wealth and prosperity; a copy of Koran "Ghoraan-e Majid" (the Moslem's holy book); and an assortment of sweets and pastries to be shared with the guests after the ceremony.

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The ceremony started with a symbolic “meeting of the families.” A member of a different branch of each family would meet in front of the bride and groom and feed each other, often with amusing results. This was repeated a dozen or so times – cousins, aunts and uncles, siblings up to parents. For the bride, it was one of her favorite parts of the day. “We wanted something lively,” said the bride. “And we really saw our marriage as an opportunity to spend time with people we love. Making our family join the ceremony felt right for us.”

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The rings were presented on a tiny pillow needle pointed by the bride’s sister with an image of a Nantucket Lightship basket, an iconic Cape & Islands image. Right after the couple was married, they dipped a pinky finger into a cup of honey and fed it to one another to sweeten their life and matrimony. The groom then, per Jewish tradition, broke the glass and the crowd shouted “Mazel Tov!”

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Little pops of red were used throughout the wedding, starting with pomegranates used in the "Sofreh-ye Aghd” and ending with the bride’s Stuart Weitzman shoes. Finding the perfect shoes was one of the hardest parts of the wedding, said the bride. “I knew I would never wear white satin shoes again.” She loves the perfect shade of red of these shoes and she still wears them to parties and other weddings. “I love looking down and know I’m wearing the ‘ruby slippers’ from my wedding.” The bride’s dress is Amsale. She had fallen in love with it, but she knew a couture gown just wouldn’t fit into the budget. So she picked out another dress from a boutique but she couldn’t make herself order it until she had at least tried on the Amsale. As she was searching the internet looking for a place to try it on, she found it – on Craigslist. She was able to buy it and have it taken in a size for about 1/5 the price of a new gown. For some of the outdoor photographs she added a red pashmina to tie in with the groom’s red tie.

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Amy Riley of Painted Light Photography captured the images, including a series at the beach with the most amazing colors and light. "That's what made her stand out to us from other photographers," Katie said. The ceremony took place on the front steps of the Cape Cod Museum of Art, and afterward everyone moved inside for the reception in the museum’s main galleries. The bride thought originally she wanted the wedding in some sort of charming barn, but that would have been a bit too casual for the groom’s family. The museum, with a gorgeous soaring beamed ceiling, was the perfect compromise of rustic and modern. “It’s a very unique, dynamic building,” said the bride. “From the outside it looks like old Cape Cod but inside it has contemporary touches.” So much of the wedding was a fresh take on old New England, but Katie wanted to avoid being overly kitschy or quaint. Instead of using the more commonly seen seashells in their decor, they used cranberries, which are grown all across the Cape. They also added another splash of red. The floral arrangements, casual arrangements in vases filled cranberries or tiny white stones, were made by Betsy Butera, who is a florist more by hobby than by profession. “We heard about her through another florist who wasn’t able to do our wedding,” said the bride. “She came to my parent’s house and used our hydrangeas and greens from the backyard. It was very fall, very organic. I loved it! ”

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The menu was also a reflection of classic New England with a twist. The Casual Gourmet provided food for the cocktail-style dinner, which included an extensive array of passed hors d’oeuvres and three food stations. “We wanted to create a menu that featured all the fall comfort flavors Katie and Maz wanted, but also offer enough variety to provide something for everyone,” said the Casual Gourmet. The highlight was a Fall Risotto station, which allowed guests to pick from a display of ingredients – ranging from butternut squash to shrimp – that they wanted to add to their made-to-order risotto. “You’d think the Risotto Station was the best thing that happened to them,” the bride said of her guests. The format of the reception was carefully designed to allow guests to eat when as they wanted and start dancing as soon as possible.

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This flexible, constantly-moving eschewed many traditional elements but the flow really fit the crowd. People danced all night. DJ's Brian Delac and Scott Arrington from Murray Hill Talent played everything from the Hora to Persian club mixes. Everyone was exhausted at the end of the night. “You want your guests to have a good time,” said the bride. “For everyone it was a great exhausted!”

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photography courtesy of Painted Light Photography

You can see the whole gallery of images from Katie & Maz's wedding right here!  Congratulations!!

The Casual Gourmet are true experts at destination (and Cape Cod!) weddings and they have a terrific feature on their blog ~ A Wedding Reception Site Map for Cape Cod! Take a peek!

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