wedding flan.

Back when Josh and I were still working under the assumption that we were going to be paying for the wedding, we were brainstorming on ways to save money. We talked about how to encourage people to take pictures during the reception and then upload them to a single site. We discussed who we knew who had particular talents that we could exploit call in for a favor. We got to the topic of cake. I don't care much about the cake, as long as it's delicious. Bad wedding cake is such a disappointment. But it seemed like a big burden to ask a non-professional to do a whole big wedding cake, and we don't know anyone with special cake skills.

But we do know a lot of people with regular cake skills. Most people know a couple of good dessert recipes that they whip out for potlucks. So we came up with the idea of crowd-sourcing the cake. That is, rather than find one person who is good at baking to make us a massive cake, ask a bunch of people to make us a regular-sized cake or two. And it wouldn't have to be just cake. There could be pie or cobbler or cookies. There could be banana pudding or tarts or flan! We thought that this was a great idea. It would give people close to us an opportunity to be an important part of the day. It would be delicious. It would be unusual, yet we could still do all the traditional cakey stuff (cutting ceremony, toppers, freezing a piece) that you would do with a white, tiered cake. And there is pretty much something for everyone. Don't like wedding cake? No problem, have some wedding flan. ¡Arriba!

I shot off a mass email to everyone in my family, telling them about our great idea and asking for contributors. I made it clear that there was no obligation to participate, and that those who did would have complete freedom over what they wanted to bring. I could not have been any nicer about bothering people to make me free cake so that I didn't have to pay for one.

The response was...tepid. That's okay. I am used to my relatives thinking that I'm a bit weird. I strong-armed most of them into agreeing to help, even if they thought I was nuts. Josh thinks it's a great idea, and that's why I'm marrying him and not those spoilsports. And I think that once people see it, they will get it, even if it's not something they would have done.

My dear sister sent me a heartfelt email about how this was a terrible idea that I was going to regret. She countered that cake at a wedding is not automatically wedding cake, as I had said in the mass email. She and her husband agreed that they had really liked their cake (it had a fountain!). She even offered to chip in on a real wedding cake. It was sweet.

My response was that just because they enjoyed their cake and look back upon it fondly, that doesn't mean that if they had not had it, they would miss it. Also, and this is something I keep returning to, whatever you do at your wedding will be special to you because that's what you did at your wedding. It is a self-fulfilling specialness. The ring is The Ring because he bought it and gave it to me. The dress is The Dress because I picked it out and wore it. None of these things are special on their own. We make them special. It's like a mind trick we can play on ourselves. All we have to do to impart specialness to completely unspecial objects is to associate them with the day that we vow to spend our lives together.

My mom got married in a red gingham dress that she made in home economics class. It was not a wedding dress, and yet it was her wedding dress. So maybe cake at a wedding is not automatically wedding cake (except in a strictly linguistic sense). But, as the bride, I say that this is my wedding cake, and so it is. Years from now, we will look back and think about all those cakes and pies and flans and how glad we were that we did that. Isn't that neat?

In case you are still not convinced, and some of you are not, I have come up with another way to turn regular cake into wedding cake. There is a secret ingredient that you add. Ready? I'll tell you.


Our "cake," actually a table full of various desserts, is the combined effort of many people. There are many flavors, consistencies, and styles. But each was made with love by someone who loves us to celebrate our love. Individually, these various desserts are the people in our lives who have contributed to us becoming the people we are. Together, they make us, in a scrumptious smorgasbord of influences. This is our union. And you can eat it! Mmm, symbolism.

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