Monday, August 15, 2005
My fiance and I met while we were both managers in the restaurant business. I have a special affinity towards the cooks. I love their raw conversation. I love the sarcastic sense of humor cooks tend to have. Let's face it! Cooks are nuts. They endure the high pressure environment of cooking on line for a restaurant full of rude and demanding public for sometimes hours at a time. They scream and tantrum sometimes when their angry at you (i.e. I was a waitress for a few years, as well, at a very popular Irish Pub). The rush eventually dies and everyone looks around like the enemies have retreated on a war field. They shake it off and its business as usual until the next horror strikes.
Weddings are like this for cooks only it lasts non-stop from morning until practically midnight for some caterers. I know because I was a catering manager and I have been involved in probably 40 weddings in the past 5 years. I started out serving until I was promoted to front house manager in charge of caterings. I did that until I ended up at a five hundred top wedding in a barn on the longest and hottest day of the year, the summer solstice, without air conditioning. I worked non-stop at this wedding for three days. I went to sleep with my muscles twitching. When that was over- I knew I needed to do something else. I went back to school and finished my degree. I got a job at an elementary school. However, the pay at the school is insufficient so that it requires a second or third job for survival. Therefore, I still serve at weddings and work at a restaurant as a shift manager and serving staff.
As I said before, all this experience has provided us with friendships with different food service clientele. One of our co-workers branched off and now co-owns his own establishment called Jimmy Jack's Rib Shack (just this year)! He has offered to prepare smoked salmon for us and I'm very excited about it. I recommend anyone coming into Iowa City to check this place out. It's right across from the Sycamore Mall, 1940 Lower Muscatine Rd. The phone number there is 354-RIBS or toll-free (877) 354-RIBS.
When it comes to appetizer, I figure I am just as capable of putting together my own vegetable and fruit trays the day before. So I won't be ordering those. I will be ordering plenty of antipasto platters with roasted garlic, meats, cheeses, sauteed mushrooms, olive salad, ect. My theme is definitely going to be Italian - or as my friend Greg would say, "Roman Holiday".
I need to find someone to make up the centerpieces. I have a sweet basil, olive branch with sage and fruit thing in mind. I want a carafe of sangria (peach?) on each table and a bottle of wine. I'll keep some non-alcoholic for the non-drinkers in the back. There is a wonderful little place near here (Iowa City) called The Amana Colonies. Most of their wine is crap sweet wine which I happen to abhor. They make one wine that I love- The Merlot reserve. I might make that the table wine to add an Iowan touch to the reception.
I have to reserve my reception site before any of this is set in stone. As you make have read in an earlier blog that my parents live in Mexico. They should be moving somewhere state-side before the end of the year. I would love to know where they are before reserving anything as I could possibly have a reception in their backyard. You see, unless I have a reception anywhere other than a hotel or restaurant, I will be reserving tables, chairs, and bar for the event.
I am not fond of Iowa City's primary rental agency. I have washed dishes and respectfully returned them as orderly as possible for wedding after wedding only for them to come back with a huge MIA bill for tons of items. A couple of times we had them recount their stock only to find out that they had simply miss-calculated and we actually didn't owe a thing! I can't afford these kinds of mistakes.
So a word out to all you to-be brides, "Be aware of this!". It could cost you hundreds of dollars. They charge even for ripped boxes or if they somehow got wet. When you sign that rental agreement they lick their lips with dollar signs in their eyes. DO NOT have your caterer take the rental table service back to their restaurant to have it washed. Leave everything in the establishment it was delivered to. Servers can clean up and set it aside to be picked up. The second that stuff leaves the reception you run the risk of it getting dropped, broken, lost, or stolen. It's not worth it for anyone. If there is a dishwashing fee for the rental items, PAY IT! Let them deal with it. Its too much of a hassle for anyone else. This is something I am very adamant about.
When I was in Cedar Rapids I worked a few weddings at the Chek-Slovak museum. They rental agency there was very attentive to consumer needs. On a Saturday night at midnight they were able to send someone to load all the stuff up and take it back to their store! That is service. The Iowa City agency would leave a truck there and have you or your totally non-affiliated caterer load the truck. Why? Store hours- Their closed. They are also not open on Sunday. I think a rental agency should always be open on Sundays. If they need a day off they should take Tuesdays and Wednesday. Lets face it! Their primary business happens on the weekends! Being closed on Sundays is plain stupidity and unacceptable.
I'd have my wedding in Cedar Rapids only for one reason- and I think its big. Cedar Rapids is where the Quaker Oats factory is and it stinks! It stinks like stale beer. That yeast smell follows you where ever you are in Cedar Rapids. My fiance is actually from here- but I can't do it. I can't have my family walk away from my wedding with that sense memory. I want only the aroma of sweet basil or lavender in their noses not a sewage plant.
Well, these are the things on my mind these days related to this wedding. I have lots more I want to write about. I still have the dreaded, "dress shopping" to cover as well and the delectable wedding cake! I promise that I will soon have a reception site as well. I'm very excited about the possibility of have it at the Iowa City Art Museum. I'll write soon about that as well.