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Helen's Mulberry Lane Farm Journal

Rachel's Wedding, Part Four

Wedding Attire for the Men Folk

To tux or not to tux? That is the question.

At $100 a pop for one tux, it seemed reasonable to just have the men wear a black suit. Joey's parents bought him a very nice suit, so he was all set. The best man and the fathers wore black suits they already had. Savings of about $400 all told.

Esther made a lovely tie for Josiah, the best man, out of the same material as 'Beka's dress, costing nothing but Esther's time.

Josiah and Joey.

A man is defined by his character,
not by the car he drives or the clothes he wears.


This is the first wedding that we have had that involved a meal for all the guests. It is hard to stretch a $1,200 budget that far. But Rachel married into a Mexican clan where NOT having a meal was, well, just not done. Weddings are EVENTS in that culture, and I love that about this clan. They are so close to each other that they enjoy spending extended time together. And what a better place to do that but a wedding celebration!

So, we were happy to provide a meal, especially to so many of the groom's family and extended family who were coming all the way from California.

We had the reception at the church, in the basement. Going to a club or restaurant just was not possible on a small budget. The church basement was far from grand, but convenient for our guests. That meant all the guests could attend the dinner! Yeah!

Having the meal catered was also not an option; not at $10 - $15 a plate!

Rachel planned to serve chili, rolls, tossed salad, punch, coffee, and cherry crisp with ice cream. We expected about 65 dinner guests.

Rachel purchased all items ready made, except the cherry crisp, which Rachel and Joey made the week before the wedding. Doing the work themselves meant lots of "very tired feet" shopping and last minute "put it all together" workouts. Rachel visited various stores and compared prices, mainly between Sam's Club and GFS (Gordon Food Services). Lists, lists and more lists!

(Notice how Rachel put a lovely handmade silk flower
in her hair for the reception.)

Rachel and Joey served a practice dinner for the family to see if she and the family liked her food choices. She made several options for punch and asked for votes. Large family events are not the time to test out new recipes.

Over Thanksgiving Rachel and Joey did quite a bit of the food purchasing. They came home with their car full to the top.

They purchased large cans of chili from GFS. All other items were purchased from Sam's Club. The chili was served with sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese.

One of the side dishes was tossed salad served with black olives, bacon bits, shredded cheese, and grape tomatoes. Italian and Blue Cheese dressing were the two salad dressing options. Another side was fresh rolls with butter.

Punch and coffee were also available.

Joey's Aunt Evelyn.

Rachel typed up the menu and framed it in a lovely white frame and put it on the table. She also purchased two plastic drink servers from WalMart for $20 a piece. These were great because they were large enough which meant no refilling during the reception. We saved these drink servers for other family events.

Plastic plates, cups and plastic silverware were used. Rachel bought the most lovely plastic plates that looked like real dinnerware. I wanted to rewash them after the wedding; they seemed too nice to throw away. But what would be the point in that? Might as well use the china in the cupboards at the church, in that case. I just closed my eyes and threw them in the trash. I would rather spend time with our guests anyway, than wash piles of dishes.

One of the dilemmas regarding food for the reception was who is going to get the last minute things ready? Everyone would be in the church upstairs and of course, no one wanted to miss the wedding.

Rachel asked a college student acquaintance (lovely Christian girl!) if she would like the employment for a couple of hours. She was happy for the work and this worked out very well. She took care of heating up all the food, setting out the punch, filling the serving bowls as they emptied, etc. What a blessing that was. This allowed me and other family members to mingle and spend time with the guests. By the time the reception was over, she had cleaned up much of the mess in the kitchen as well. Thank you Elizabeth!

Rachel, all dressed in her wedding attire, was in the kitchen several hours before the wedding explaining everything to Elizabeth. It was quite a site! Rachel was cool as a cucumber and had her instructions and lists all laid out. Amazing!

I meant to tell you that I turned my Mulberry Lane Farm market stand/store (16 ft x 16 ft) into a "wedding prep" area for Rachel. Whew! I'm sure glad we did! This was a tremendous help both before and after the wedding. It meant that there weren't piles of stuff in my "1,200 square foot already crowded/inhabited with six adults and their various belongings" house.

Rachel had the tables in the store all set up with piles of materials for invitations, decorations, gifts, and of course, all the food stuff. Rachel was then able to head out to the store and work on her wedding stuff which was left undisturbed since the last time she was out there.

The store also became a spot for Rachel to begin to pack up all of her personal belongings in boxes and store them there. She began "moving out" to the store in bits and pieces. She also began looking for various pieces of furniture at thrift stores, which when purchased, were stored in the store. Desk, dining room table and chairs, etc. began piling up.

The plan was that a week before the wedding, Rachel and Joey would bring a trailer load of her stuff up to her new home in Wisconsin and get things settled. 'Beka, Tim and Caleb also were planning to go along to help.

I would highly recommend, if at all possible, setting aside a room or part of a room just for wedding preparations. It really reduced the stress for me as we simply had not an inch to spare in our house. And we do not have the time to set up and tear down several times per day, simply to eat meals at our dining room table.

Honeymoon Basket

I really enjoy making a honeymoon basket for the bridal couple. It has become a tradition for me.

I usually start with a nice large basket. I keep my eye out for one at the thrift stores a few months before the wedding. They cost about $3 or so.

I fill the basket with candles, (don't forget the matches!) sparklin' grape juice, wine glasses, granola bars, trail mix, nuts, fancy crackers and cookies. These are quick snacking foods that the starvin' bride and groom can eat on their honeymoon. I don't spare any expense on this one. It usually ends up costing about $75 for the food to fill it. I cover it with plastic so it looks nice and nothing falls out of it.

The basket gets put into the groom's car during the reception.

Coming soon! Rachel's Wedding, Part Five: Wedding Music and Paperwork.


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