My dear sister, the writer Wendy N. Wagner, got married on Saturday. It was wonderful and not just because it was an absolutely beautiful spring day. And it was wonderful not just because she and her now-husband are perfect together. It was wonderful because the entire wedding celebration so perfectly encompassed who they are as individuals, a couple and as a family.
Months ago I volunteered to make the desserts for the wedding reception. We tossed around several ideas and ultimately came up with serving full-sized pies of which Wendy and John served slices to their guests for their receiving line.
This may be a daunting task for some folks but I’ve been baking pies since I was seven years old…making pies seemed, well a piece of cake. And yet, for all my pie-baking experience, there came the expected tweet: “Of course, since I desperately want these to be the tastiest and loveliest pies possible, these are some homely pies folks. ” And the responses basically sounded like this: ”I don’t care what my pie looks like. As long as it tastes good, I’m happy.” Which got me thinking about serving pie for a wedding and how really, pie is the perfect food with which to celebrate a wedding.
Pie tastes like comfort and love. Pie takes a significant level of work to make a good one. Pie may surprise you. Pie comes in all kinds of flavors. Pie makes folks think of people and stories and times shared with others.
For the most part, couples choose a wedding cake because it looks pretty. I had a gorgeous cake at my wedding many years ago. But wedding cakes are more than just pretty things. Cakes can lie. I’ve baked many a cake over the years, including one crafted to look like a 3-dimensional bi-plane. A cake baker starts with the best cake possible and then uses lots of frosting to make it beautiful. If the cake is dry, the filling can compensate a bit. If the oven needs leveling, the high spot can be cut off. And really, the appearance is what really matters during the photo op, right? A pie doesn’t work that way. If the apples are mealy, the dough tough, or the oven too hot, the pie just isn’t going to turn out quite like the baker had hoped. So a pie takes a different kind of patience, love and faith. And pie requires an appreciation of the fact that sometimes pie is messy and not quite what you were expecting and lumpy and brown in spots. But it still warms your heart, mixes the sour with the sweet, tastes like the best of memories and makes you crave more.
Which is a lot like a strong marriage.
I think more couples should have wedding pie. Their dessert table would have some picture perfect pies and some bubbled over messes. There would be pastry crumbs all over the place and plates licked clean by small children. There would be favorite flavors and some untouched. And there would be left-overs, eaten by the newly married couple for breakfast.
Here are some photos from the wedding pies and the best wedding I’ve been to in a long time. May Wendy and John have a marriage that is just like pie…