When I got married, I went the non-traditional route and chose a San Francisco City Hall wedding à la Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio. Unlike Marilyn who wore an almost understated dress suit (nothing with an ermine collar could truly be plain), I wore a bright pink halter top dress, but that’s the closest I came to incorporating any princess elements into the event. Afterward we treated some local friends to a fine dinner to celebrate. We didn’t intentionally leave out long distance family or friends, but those farther away dears couldn’t or wouldn’t travel West for one reason or another. Hubbie and I have talked about possibly having a reception on the East Coast at some point, and when we do, I plan to steal an idea gleaned from a New York Times lifestyle piece.

In December reporter Ron Lieber covered the cookie tables found at Pittsburgh wedding receptions. Their tradition may have been born from ethnic customs and further encouraged by the Great Depression. No matter how fancy the wedding, guests expect a cookie table. This buffet of sweets is one of their wedding highlights. Families spend hours baking and arranging their cookie tables (or they pretend they did and hire caterers), and then the families pray they don’t suffer the embarrassment of running out of the goodies, especially since guests expect to take some home.

I like how this tradition has persisted despite wedding commercialization, and the cookie table adds the homemade crafty element that may be trendy right now, but is ever practical and fun. Baking and sharing is giving of oneself for others enjoyment, and what better way to share the joy of a new union than sharing a sugar buzz with those you love? I’m thinking we’ll have an anniversary party on the East Coast, and the only demand we’ll make of our guests is to bring a plate of cookies for a cookie table. One friend had a candy buffet at his wedding reception this summer that was a big hit, so I’m sure our friends would be game.