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Eat, Drink, and Be Married

How four couples turned their receptions into great gastronomic events.

Photographs by Alexandra Rowley

The Ultimate Foodie Reception
June 12, 2004

The Bride and Groom: Michelle Gucovsky Chasin, 32, a tutor, and Noah Chasin, 38, a professor of art and architectural history at Bard College.

The Setting:
Hampton Baker Estate in Hampton Bays.

The Backstory: More than anything, Michelle and Noah wanted their reception to be a spectacular food experience. "We wanted to avoid the curse of the steam table, the tepid graying food you normally find at weddings," explains Noah. "Because we were asking people to come to Long Island and stay in expensive hotels, we felt like it had to be something to make the trip worthwhile."

Making it Happen: Wedding planner Nicky Reinhard of David Reinhard recommended using caterer Olivier Cheng, who she says cooks the kind of food you'd eat in a restaurant, not in a banquet hall. The Jewish ceremony couldn't take place until after sundown, at around 8:30, so drinks and appetizers were served starting at six to allow the 160 friends and family members time to enjoy the beautiful property in daylight.

How it Played Out:
As they arrived, guests were offered cocktails, including a specialty drink - bellinis with a choice of mango, passion fruit, or raspberry purée. Passed appetizers included crab cakes with marinated cucumber and chipotle dressing, lobster and daikon summer rolls, mini truffled grilled cheese sandwiches, and marinated grilled artichokes with goat cheese. The showstopper, however, was the raw bar, which was constructed of giant modernistic shears of ice, on which were freshly shucked oysters and martini glasses filled with two kinds of seviche. After the ceremony, guests moved into a tent for a sit-down dinner, starting with carpaccio for meat-eaters and artichoke salad with goat cheese for vegetarians. The entrée was wild striped bass or vegetables en papillote with truffled sauces. The wine choices - Bourgogne Blanc Haute Côtes de Nuits 2001 and Chinon Les Picasses Olga Raffault 1999 - perfectly complimented the food. Michelle was worried that the late dinner would cut off the dancing early, so Cheng came up with the idea of passing desserts instead of having guests return to the table to eat them. As guests danced, waiters served them bite-size s'mores, lemon-curd tartlets, banana eclairs, and mini ice-cream cones on lighted Lucite trays. Although Noah wanted the food to be a standout, he had worried it would be too over the top and trendy. "I didn't want people who were used to simpler fare to be put off," he says. "But I knew it was a success when some older second cousins of mine with no interest in fancy food gushed about the meal. It was a real testament to its broad appeal."

The Tab:
About $143 a head for food and beverage.



 

From the Spring 2005 New York Wedding Guide

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