And, I now know that I can seat 44 people in my house for a sit-down dinner.  Though I will not be planning this again anytime soon.

The evening was such an interesting challenge,

from the guest list (plenty of people who don’t know each other), to us needing good weather for cocktails outside…and NOT getting it, to deciding to cook it all myself (hiring staff for the evening), to the emotions of the beginning of the wedding itself.

Fortunately, my best friend Harry, who is also the best baker I know, period, flew in from San Francisco, all ready to bake his heart out.  He spent weeks testing out recipes for 3 mini cakes: almond, lemon and chocolate, and planned to bake dozens of each and display them in a little tower.  We divvied up oven time, and he had 5:30-10 AM! At 10:00 AM, I went into major roasted vegetable prep mode,which took me to 1PM, then used the afternoon to bake the vegetable lasagna and Mediterranean chicken.
At the same time, my mom set the tables.

We plucked flowers, hydrangea branches and herbs from the garden, iced the Prosecco, wine and beer, and Alan created a welcome sign!

All along, we kept checking off our list and double-checking on the timing.  I’m a real list girl, and there is nothing more satisfying, whether for work or at home, than having a good list to work from, and seeing things getting checked off.

So much for cocktails outside: it poured, along with lightning and thunder, throughout the day and evening.  Guests arrived drenched, but we were all set up inside with drinks and great hors d’oeuvres: gorgeous cheeses, Tuna Carpaccio, and two things meant to be grilled- shrimp and sausage -but now had to be quick-seared in the kitchen, not the grill). We could not have done it without Angela and her crew, who managed the kitchen, bar, and handled all serving and clean-up.

In fact, Angela got the lamb chops grilling inside until every smoke detector in the house decided that it had had enough; who knew we had a home-alert system that includes a man’s voice telling us all to, “Evacuate the house immediately.”  Well, we didn’t need to evacuate the house, and fortunately, our son Sam arrived at just that moment and knew exactly what to do to stop the alarms. At that point, the skies cleared, Angela was able to finish the lamb chops outside on the grill, and dinner proceeded without a hitch.

I got through my toast dry-eyed.

I wasn’t sure I would be able to – good note to practice your toast out loud as it gets you used to what you want to say without falling apart.    Dinner was delicious, the desserts were gorgeous and the perfect cap to it all.

And, here’s the happy family, ready for the big day tomorrow…