If you’ve discovered yourself in the unfortunate situation of listening to me talk about wedding planning, you know that I’ve already planned my bachelorette party, found my dress, booked my photographer, and gotten an impressive, if alarming, head start on my registry. And then when I’m done bragging about what a successful over-achiever I am, you’ll also have had to sit through me explaining why I’d almost rather shove pencil lead into both of my eyeballs than continue searching for a caterer.
Almost rather. Please don’t come at me with writing utensils. Unless you know somebody who will cater my wedding for free, in which case that would be worth the resulting eye patches. It’s never too late to throw a pirate-themed wedding.
Jonathan and I have a lot of different opinions about food. A lot of different opinions about food. And it would be one thing if our biggest catering problem is that he wants crab cakes for dinner, and shellfish isn’t kosher; we love and respect each other enough to compromise our way through this. (Mostly because two-entree options exist, so really we both get our way and don’t have to compromise at all.)
The actual biggest problem we’re facing is finding a caterer we can afford who also fits into our venue’s strict guidelines and regulations for caterers. Who knew that a wedding IN A BARN would have so many rules? I just assumed the whole thing would be like that scene from Oklahoma! when they sing about the farmer and the cowman being friends. Rogers and Hammerstein led me to believe that people in barns are generally easygoing. Once again, musical theater has lied to me.
I try to avoid bogging Jonathan down with wedding planning stresses. When I actually get the opportunity to talk to him, we have more important things to discuss (for example, his impending reenlistment and wire rooster statues that I recently received in the mail). Priorities. Not to mention that he’s generally got enough stress without having to worry about the napkins matching the chair covers, matching the escort cards, matching the groomsmen boutonnieres, matching my shoes. That is a lot of matching. And therefore a lot of stress. And even though I thought I was getting pretty good at convincing Jonathan that my eyeballs are bulging out of my face like that because of a weird genetic allergy related to a certain type of moss that grows only in Virginia, and not because of stress, apparently he can still tell when I need to talk things out.
After an infuriating 15-or-so minutes looking at our most recent catering quote together and realizing we’d have to cut basically everything except the potato course to make it work, Jonathan came up with a new suggestion: serve our wedding guests MREs.
For those of you who are wondering, like I did the first time Jonathan spouted off that acronym to me, MRE stands for “Meal, Ready-to-Eat,” and even without having tried one I can safely assume it tastes about as good as a jar of gefilte fish that’s been sitting in the back of my cabinet since three Passovers ago.
MREs come in lightweight packs that are designed to withstand falling from a helicopter 100 feet in the air, and also to stay edible for at least a year in moderately extreme temperatures. So if all of Jonathan’s army buddies can just go hungry for a few days at a time during their deployments and stock up on uneaten MREs, we could totally cater our wedding for free. For cocktail hour we’ll serve bullet casings soaked in moonshine, which I will spend the next year making in my bathtub.
Anybody who doesn’t like it can drop and give us ten.
This led to one of my more brilliant ideas: scrap the boring black-and-white wedding I’ve been planning around Jonathan’s dress blues, and give the dress blues the starring role. A PATRIOTIC ARMY WEDDING! Camo manicure, American flag ball gown, bridesmaids in army jackets, patriotic stripper heels, American flag flasks for the wedding party gifts, and Fourth-of-July centerpieces fit for Uncle Sam himself.
We silently agreed that the catering discussion was over. At least until we get a new quote, or until the army develops a kosher crab cake MRE and wedding-night lingerie to match that flag gown.
P.S. Jonathan says that, technically, that pad-thai-vomit photo is of a UGRE, which is a type of MRE designed to feed a platoon-sized element. That’s a direct Jonathan quote. So is this one, explaining how UGREs are prepared: “The cooks have the ability to drop a bag of food into a pot of water, let it cook, and then serve it to us all shitty.”