The Egg Table

Yesterday afternoon Eddie and I attended an outdoor southern wedding. The weather was perfect, the bride was beautiful and the food was tasty. After a short ceremony, all of the wedding guests were invited to start eating while the wedding party finished the obligatory pictures. From my perspective, I can not think of a more considerate way to treat your guests. At almost every wedding I've attended there is that awkward waiting period between the ending of the ceremony and the moment the newly married couple enters the reception. Once the couple joins the party, there is no question about whether or not it is polite to eat. However, before the couple arrives, one can conduct an interesting study of wedding guest behavior if guests are not provided proper instruction since most southern wedding receptions are buffets. There is no barrier to the food save decorum.

Most wedding guests are connected in one way or another to the couple or their family so this is not an anonymous social situation. Attempting to "get away" with misbehavior is less advisable. People are cautious not wanting to offend or to be referred to as "that guy" for the rest of the evening. They practice restraint for the most part. This is hard when you walk into a room full of beautiful food knowing you'll have to stand in a longer line the longer you wait to form one. Everyone is looking to everyone else for permission to grab a plate. No one wants to be the first to foul. But no one wants to miss the GO signal, to miss out on the last of the sage mashed potatoes or a place to sit down and eat them.

If it is impolite to fill a plate with goodies before the couple makes their grand entrance, then I have some advice for future brides: Do not make your guests wait an hour while you take every combination of family pictures imaginable back at the ceremony site. We don't like it and we'll like you less for it. I've experienced this. Waiting for the couple while staring at food they weren't allowed to touch NEAR a meal time had an adverse effect on the guests. I thought of almost nothing else during the photos just after my own wedding that I forgot to organize a few in my haste (The one with us and Eddie's grandparents? It doesn't exist. I was in a hurry). I think we even beat a few of our guests to the reception site. I couldn't stand the idea of making my guests feel a tenth of the awkwardness I felt on that day, a few years before my wedding.

The invitation to eat yesterday while the wedding party finished pictures was a welcome one. The guests filed into lines in a well planned food maze throughout the historic home. There was a tasty variety and southern flair to the food. The jambalaya, bread pudding and deviled eggs stood out among my favorites. The deviled eggs are a prize at every church and family function I attend and are often eaten before the event starts under the premise that each guest that eyes them stops to "just take one." My mother's deviled eggs are gone before every holiday meal. At this wedding, the bride and groom or the caterer must have known this because there was one entire table devoted to the deviled egg. It sat near the center of one of the rooms filled with food. There were platters and cake stands full of them, all at different heights. It was art. Egg art. Tasty egg art. There were more than enough deviled eggs at this shindig - a feat hard to accomplish.

In passing, I heard a guest ask one of the uniformed servers for a fork as they seemed scarce at one point during the reception (also a no-no). The server directed her to "The Egg Table."

When a platter isn't enough...


Blogger Kyle said...

Ha Ha! I bet it was breathtaking. Thanks for sharing.

PS: I didn't feel even a moment of awkwardness at yalls reception. If I remember correctly I walked straight from the sanctuary to the "Outback" and immediately got in an already-formed line for jambalaya and tea.

11/3/08, 3:51 PM  

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