By Sarah Lagrotteria
There was so much to love about Karen & Mike’s wedding in Berkeley over Memorial Day Weekend. Inspired by California’s natural beauty, the bride and groom used vintage postcards of state parks and monuments as table markers (we were Mount Tamalpais) and designated each place with a potted succulent.
We sat down to two beautiful loaves of pain d’epi–baguettes hand-shaped to look like individual sheaths of wheat–and ceramic crocks of grilled spring asparagus, marinated mushrooms caps and a coppery harissa-spiked sundried tomato tapenade. We hesitated — are we allowed to tear the bread? Maybe it’s just decoration?–and in our moment of mutual awkwardness broke the proverbial ice.
While our table got to know one another over the tearing and dipping and passing, two waiters came by hauling a steaming pan of paella so we could appreciate our main course all together before tucking into individual plates of smoky richness (food by Anne Walker Catering.)
On the drive home, Angus and I conducted the usual wedding postmortem: how happy the groom looked, how exquisite the bride was in her dress, how fun it was to reconnect with old friends, etc. But what I’ll remember most is how Karen & Mike wanted us to have our own intimate table party: how simply placing bread and appetizers across the table transformed a formal event into a hands-on experience, how the fun of breaking bread with strangers made us fast friends and how pausing to collectively inhale paella’s particular blend of smoke and sea reminded us that the best eating is a shared experience.