Thursday, July 2, 2009

An enlightening experience with the catering biz and some rich folks

I have a friend, Kathleen, who, on the side, does catering with her sister, Margo, (they are partners but Kathleen also works full-time). They have done several different events and have done it for years but last weekend they had a wedding for 350 people (the largest event they've done) and it was a buffet dinner with appetizers, so she asked if I could help. I was glad to, thinking it would be fun (and it was) and to have a new experience in doing something I hadn't done.

The wedding was to be at 4:oopm at a church in town and the reception would be at the parents of the Bride's home in their backyard...hmm...backyard is an understatement...but I'll go into that later. We were to have everything set up and ready expecting the first of the guests to arrive around 4:45pm. Kathleen asked me to come around 12 to help out and to be dressed in black slacks with a white shirt. I had both so I didn't have to buy anything special to wear. I also have several pairs of black shoes...I have always worked in an office setting and have black dress shoes, however, working in an office setting...I'm usually sitting most of the day.

She gave me the address of where their home the top of a hill that sits above Hayden Lake. So I get there and there were several cars parked along the street and in the driveway (family and the bridal party were getting ready) so I parked a couple of houses up the street so I wouldn't block anyone in. I had also wondered how in the world they were going to have so many people here, in a residential area...where was everyone to park....I figured out how later.

I rang the doorbell twice and no one answered but I could see on the side of the house a gate was opened to the back and I could also make out kind of a tent back there and figured that would be where I would find Kathleen, Margo and anyone else who was helping them out. So I walked around...several landscaped stairs down to a landing in their backyard to a pool...and further out I could still see that tent (what it actually was...they had their tennis court tented off with all the tables for everyone to sit, the band to set up and the dance floor).

I was quite relieved that someone came out the back door just then so I could inquire as to where the catering people all were and he said, oh this way...they are down in the garage (not the garage to the house because I was just there at the front of the house and it was opened but no one there) and I'm so glad he showed me because we went around the pool, down several more stairs to another landscaped terrace that has a huge outdoor kitchen set-up, down another larger set of landscaped stairs to a huge house....they call it their "funhouse" and in that garage all the catering people were setting up. Margo, and her daughter, Jennifer, were there and they had been working at getting things set up for awhile, I could tell, she told me to go on in and Kathleen would show me around and get me started.

So I go in the door to an area that has a 2 lane bowling alley and a putting green and around the corner they have a pool table, big screen tv & a full I know why they call it their "funhouse". Wow, they don't lack for any kind of entertainment. Kathleen was there helping a couple of other gals that were there to help out as well. She showed me around where everything was going to be set up and I discovered that they had parked their cars on another street (with the address of the "funhouse"). They have patio furniture everywhere, a huge fire pit and Kathleen said they even have an outdoor screen to watch movies on. I could tell that they entertain a lot because in this garage they have a bunch of cupboards that had all kinds of plates, serving pieces, anything we could think of to put food out on.

These people have 3 lots in a subdivision, 2 that have houses on them that are back to back (kinda - more kitty corner) and the other lot has the tennis court on it, so it is more of a triangular area that they own). I also spotted 3 golf be used in transporting the guests to the reception from some area, I didn't know where, they would all be able to park.

I started helping out with prepping the food, slicing cucumbers (by the pounds), tomatoes and lemons. Then I got to enjoy their outdoor kitchen by grilling several pounds of sausages that were being sliced up for appetizers. We were really lucky in that the parents of the bride also got 10 high schoolers (all dressed in black slacks, white shirts & black ties) to help us out, which in essence was a life saver for us all because there was soooo much to do.

I ended up looking like the garbage disposal blew up all over my white shirt (I kinda figured I would end up that way cuz I am messy when I'm in the kitchen) so I didn't have to go out and mingle with any of the guests, we pretty much let the high schoolers do all the running (thank goodness because I was past the point of being able to walk much). My shoes had rubbed the skin off the backs of my ankles/heels and I was trying to carefully walk around to not touch the backs of my shoes to them.

I helped put together these HUGE salads (the bowls had to have been 2 1/2 ft diameter) and we did 2 - 3 of each kind of salad (4 different salads) in them. Then I helped with dishes for the rest of the night. For some of the appetizers they had overnighted fresh King Crab legs (already cracked...I was told it costs more to have them done this way to make it easier to eat), shrimp, salmon, another kind of fish, sausages, pork riblets, veggies, antipesto type trays, 3 huge fruit kabob displays (that a couple of the gals decorated), a white chocolate fountain, several different breads and lots of fancy cheeses. They had a sushi bar, a section where there was pork loin and prime rib (we weren't minding any of those) they did a cinnamon pork dish, chicken and rice dish & green beans. They ended up having so much leftover food.

In looking around a few of us were talking and we figured that the wedding had to have been over $50,000...just seeing the amounts of food that we were preparing, all the real flowers, all the dishes and chairs, tables, etc...for rental (there was no plastic ware everything was real silverware, real plates, real wine glasses, etc...) and this was just the reception.

Kathleen used to work for the father of the bride (he was a partner in a land development company she worked for and he is a Neuro-surgeon here in CDA) and so she knows the parents (that is how she got in on the catering part of the wedding). She said the mother-of-the-bride made her dress, the Bride's dress, the Bridesmaid's dresses and the flowergirl's dress. I didn't get to see the Bride unfortunately but I saw all the other dresses and she does WONDERFUL work. The Bridesmaids dresses were all Tiffany blue with a wide, white, satin sash that had a bow in the front and rhinestone straps...very fitting for the color, the mother-of-the bride dress was beautifully beaded, the flower girls dress had this tulle in the front that at the bottom (it was somehow folded to incorporate this) was silk rose petals in Tiffany blue.

Kathleen also told me that they had flown (in a privately rented plane) all the bridesmaids to Vegas for a bachelorette party....geez.

I did manage to snap off a few pictures with my cell phone so they aren't the best but you can get a little glimpse of what it looked like.
This is looking at the "funhouse" from the outdoor kitchen

This is the tennis courts with all the tables for seating (taken from the outdoor kitchen)

This was looking up towards their outdoor kitchen from the garage of the "funhouse"

This was looking up at the tented area from the garage of the "funhouse"...after the sun went down they had votive candles ALL OVER these rocks that were so pretty

Needless to say the next day, I seriously was having some major issues with walking. I hurt from my knees all the way down...must have been all that standing on a concrete floor, let alone up and down all those stairs in their backyard. I didn't leave until 11pm and I still had to walk all the way back up to the house and down the street to my car. Next time, I'm gonna get me some REAL "Crocs" (I hear nurses wear them on their shifts) in black and I should be good to go.

I was telling a couple of the gals that my step-daughter is getting married next summer and it won't even come minutely close to how HUGE this wedding is...but then husband isn't a brain surgeon either, so we couldn't afford even a minute fraction of the will be just as beautiful though. For my own wedding, I found you can do a lot of things, make them all nice and still be able to afford it.

*Note: Sorry I feel like this post is poorly written in that I am jumping all over but it is late and I was trying to remember so much and just get it all down.


  1. Sounds fun. I think I would have had fun helping out too. Too bad I'm so far away. I remember when I was in Mississippi and I was in the kitchen all day (on concrete) in flip flops. My feet were swollen and the skin between my toes were like your heels.
    The food sounds wonderful. It made me so hungry, I think I will go get something to eat.

  2. were these people obamer rich