The honeymoon is over! JK – I mean, yes, literally Mr. Foodie and I have returned from the honeymoon and are attempting to slide back into “real-no-longer-planning-a-wedding-life.” Here is what I have learned:
1) If possible, take a honeymoon right after your wedding. I wasn’t sure we were going to be able to leave our jobs, etc. and do this, but I am SO glad that we did. Not only is it a welcome respite after what feels like a year-long marathon race, it is also a chance to refocus on what actually matters here – your bond with your partner. And did I mention the free desserts?! Everywhere we went on the honeymoon, people gave us free desserts lol
2) Give yourself a buffer before going back to work. We came home last Thursday, so we had an entire weekend to put the house back in order. We went through all our awesome gifts (THANKS family and friends!!!), did laundry, wrote thank you notes, and even had some chill time with our families so we could rehash the highlights of our awesome wedding 🙂
3) Be prepared for the post-wedding to-do list. I found ample advice from all over about keeping pre-wedding to-do lists, but was surprised as hell that my post-wedding to-do list would consist of more than “write thank-you notes and sleep for 12 hours straight.” My post-wedding to-do list included gathering photos which, believe it or not, is a rather monumental task. In the days after my honeymoon, Mr. Foodie and I scoured our social networks to grab up all the beautiful pictures that our friends and family took that day. Additionally, we tagged a lot of photos so we could find them easily, but also so our friends could see nice pictures of themselves caught on others’ cameras. Of course we will have the many lovely pictures from our photographer at some point, but I wanted all these candid shots as well because you never know what gems your guests have until you start browsing. Next we started the surveys and reviews component of planning a wedding in the digital age – we were so pleased by all of our vendors that we wanted to reach out to them personally as well as post about our experiences publicly. We all rely on reviews to help us choose vendors, so it is only appropriate that we should contribute with our mainly positive and sometimes constructive feedback. We also distributed extra supplies – we ended up with fair amount of “extra” things like cigars, beer, and decoration items. Part of our planning was to minimize the inclusion of what would become “useless” stuff afterward, so many of our decor pieces became permanent fixtures in our home. Our centerpiece flower containers are mason jars, so they will be used for jam this season. Our welcome sign now hangs on the living room wall and greets every visitor by our front door. Still, we had some things we knew would be more useful in the hands of others – so we gathered them up and delivered them before they could go “to waste.”
Those have been my big post-wedding lessons, may they serve you and yours well in the future 🙂
In addition to WEDDING, the theme of today’s post is CAKE. Mr. Foodie and I decided to go with – wait for it – grocery store wedding cake at our reception *GASP.* Many of our guests were surprised by our modest little cut cake – a simple red velvet round cake with cream cheese frosting, and further surprised by our two massive grocery-store-bought sheet cakes – one chocolate with raspberry filling and one vanilla with lemon filling – but the reason we did this is because we LOVE Wegmans’ cake. For those not familiar, Wegmans is a grocery chain located in the northeast. It will forever be my favorite place to shop and to eat cake. I say this as someone who does not usually care for the cloying sweetness of cake desserts. Wegmans is consistently awesome, flavorful, and by no means over-sweet. Everyone loved our cake btw. Like, a lot. The cherry on top of guests loving the cakes was the cost. For a full sheet, a half sheet, and the cut cake, it came to $121. Not bad when the average wedding cake for our size party will run you at least $450.
After my first day back to work, I admit I started to feel the kind of restless melancholy that I hear is common for some folks after the excitement and anticipation of planning a wedding for a year and a half is no longer there. I came home and decided to bake a cake to snap me out of my funk. The only problem is that we haven’t quite restocked our baking supplies, so I was running low on everything. Except beer – we still have tons of that stuff lol. So I decided to make this chocolate beer cake. St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, right? Why not take a stab at a beer cake?
The first thing you may notice is that all the dry ingredients are measured in ounces. For the average American cook, this is annoying since we are used to using cups and teaspoon measures, but Mr. Foodie and I acquired a food scale, so we set to work weighing everything out. I might have been a little impatient with some of the measuring, and I had to add in some shortening because we really did not have as much butter is called for, so the texture of our cake turned out a little more dense than I would have liked. I followed the recommended baking time as well, but our oven runs hot, so in hindsight I should have checked on it a little earlier. All that considered, it turned out pretty well. The recipe calls for a stout beer, but I picked one that was kind of hoppy with a “orange blossom” flavor – it paired well with the flavor of the cocoa powder.
We could not make the frosting because of the aforementioned lack of butter (and no milk to speak of), but I went ahead and mixed a quick beer-and-powdered-sugar icing (3 Tablespoons of beer to 1 Cup of sugar) to drizzle over the top. Then I chopped some of our leftover Hershey’s bars from our wedding favors (smore packets with a #starwars theme) to garnish the top. A use-what’s-in-the-pantry-cake if there ever was one.
I will be giving much of this cake away so Mr. Foodie and I can try to stay on our pre-wedding health kick track, but making it was just what I needed. The kitchen is my happy place. To be back, to be together, to be cooking. It was all so much fun. Are we allowed to feel so much joy in so short a span of time?
Mr. Foodie and I received many wonderful cooking gadgets and serving pieces for our wedding – it is our new mission to utilize each and every one, and to post our results here. Not sure how often we’ll be able to manage it, but not having a wedding on one’s plate tends to open up one’s schedule a bit lol So stay tuned! Also, I’ll be posting some fun wedding details on my instagram @fairfaxfoodie so check it out!