One week ago today, Ryan’s brother and his new bride pledged their lives and their love to one another in front of an intimate group of family and close friends on the beach. Tears were shed, laughs ensued, and it was all followed by one heck of a party afterward at the beach house we rented:
While the ladies took the morning off to visit the spa, the men were left to enjoy a morning on the beach before the festivities of the evening began. Peanut enjoyed her first ever manicure. I think she’s hooked, and my mom might just never forgive me for that. (Sorry, Mom.)
The porches were decorated with hundreds of clear lights and beautifully decorated tables, adorned with the bride and groom’s engagement photos and a scrumptious spread of tropical food and drink. The catered dinner consisted of coconut shrimp, barbecued chicken kebabs, and crab cakes. Ryan’s cousin Shanna provided pitchers of “TropiShannas,” a sangria recipe I hear she spent weeks perfecting. Alas, I did not get to sample… but perhaps she’ll make them again! In addition, the cookie table was extensive and varied, with zucchini chocolate chip cookies, ladyfingers, pecan tassies, truffles, and coconut macaroons. There was also a chocolate fountain with fruit to dip, which was all but devoured (in fact, a story has been making rounds that my own sister was found with a chocolate beard. Fortunately, “RyRy” found her first and got her cleaned up before I discovered the mess. She enjoyed it, though, and I’m certain she wasn’t the only one- kid or grownup alike- who had chocolate all over her face.)
My contribution was a couple of appetizers: a watermelon salsa served with tortilla chips (which I think was a pretty big hit!) in a watermelon bowl; a spinach dip and a crab dip, both served in bread bowls; and a 3-in-1 cheese ball, the crab dip and cheese balls from a Country Cooking: Bridal Edition cookbook I received as a gift for our wedding a few years ago. Everything but the watermelon salsa I was able to make ahead and freeze so that on the actual wedding day, the spinach dip and the crab dip just had to go into the oven for a short time before going to the table. Here are the recipes I used for the crab dip and cheese balls:Three-in-One Cheese Ball 1 package cream cheese, softened 4 cups (16 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, room temperature 2 tablespoons milk 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce Coarsely cracked black pepper 1/2 cup crumbled bleu cheese (I substituted Feta) Minced fresh parsley 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder Finely chopped pecans Assorted crackers In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, cheddar cheese, onion, and Worcestershire sauce until fluffy. If a smoother spread is desired, process in a food processor until creamy. Divide into thirds (about one cup each). Shape first portion into a ball; roll in cracked pepper. Add the bleu cheese to the second portion; mix well. Shape into a ball; roll in parsley. Add garlic powder to the remaining portion; mix well. Shape into a ball; roll in nuts. Cover and refrigerate. Remove from refrigerator and let stand 15 minutes before serving. Hot Crab Dip 2 cans (6 ounces each) crabmeat, drained and cartilage removed 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened 1/2 small onion, finely chopped 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish 2 dashes Worcestershire sauce 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1/3 cup slivered almonds Assorted crackers In a mixing bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Spread in a 1-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with almonds. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes or until mixture bubbles. Lindsay and Kevin rounded out their wedding day by spending their wedding night in a quaint little B&B nearby, but like the rest of us cut their vacation short with the threat of Irene. However, we were blessed that their day went off as perfectly as we could have hoped for. To my “big brother” and new sister-in-law, I send warm wishes for a long, loving, happy marriage. One week in, ten million more to go (that’s somewhere in the neighborhood of like 192,307 years, if I did my math right)! I am so proud to have been part of your day- to have been a witness to such a deeply touching and beautiful ceremony. In his best man speech, Ryan offered the following advice: “Kevin, memorize the following two words- ‘yes, dear.’ And Lindsay, remember to let Kevin think he’s the boss.” Have fun together. If you can’t laugh with one another, what do you have? And to that I would add, remember to always put one another first. When it comes down to it, having each other is what really matters. Make it count. Each and every day.