The Cookie Table

A cookie table complete with buckeyes!

As I had said before, I had given David a "must" for our wedding from the get-go. I truly wanted to be married outdoors.

But there were a couple other "musts" that snuck in there along the way.

For example, growing up in Western PA, I wanted my "heritage" to be considered despite having the wedding in North Carolina. Thus began the Great Cookie Table lesson.

For anyone who calls Western PA (and Eastern Ohio for that matter) home, you should be familiar with this wedding tradition. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever been to a wedding without a cookie table!

For those of you unfamiliar to the tradition (like my future in-laws), I'll briefly summarize.
In the days leading up to the wedding, the bride, her bridesmaids, and all the women in her family work on the cookie table. Often, there will be a get-together for one of the baking sessions, but everyone is also expected to contribute individually. After all, how many ovens does the average person have?
The women will bake all kinds of cookies--everything from peanut butter blossoms to pizzelles to lady's fingers to thumb print cookies to lemon bars to buckeyes (again a western pa thing) to old family recipes!
There is always quite the spread. And when all is said and done, depending on the determination of the family, there can easily be waaaaay more cookies than were ever needed.

Regardless, the cookies are put on display for the guests in the reception hall and are open for eating as soon as guests arrive. They more or less take the place of appetizers. Often, the bride and groom also put out boxes for their guests to cart cookies home in.
But the most entertaining part is seeing which cookies get eaten up first. In my experience, it's the buckeyes, but that's because Western Pennsylvanians know what buckeyes are! It'll be interesting to see what goes first at my wedding!

Pittsburgh Wedding Essentials offers this advice:
  • Your cookie table should have something with chocolate, something with fruit, something with nuts and something with just butter, which will appeal to all the guests. She suggests a lemon bar or something similar for summer weddings.
This cookie table also takes the place of a dessert table which I've seen mentioned in a lot of wedding blogs. Our guests can choose to have cake and/or cookies, so we don't have to offer additional desserts for those who don't like cake.

The cookie tables are also always beautifully set up and decorated. There are often layers made using cake dishes, serving trays, etc.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said it better than I could:

"Wedding guests may not remember the maid of honor or the best man, but they'll remember the cookies."

If little girls dream of their wedding, I think I was dreaming of my cookie table! And wonderful David was nice enough to oblige me! We cleared it with the hotel we're considering, so now it's just time to start gathering recipes!

Informative cookie table links:

Wikipedia knows how it is
Chowhound readers weigh in
NPR even considers it news worthy
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette offers recipes for the table
Pittsburgh Wedding Essentials ... from a Vendor's point of view
Suite 101 works it
Cocktail Moms blog catches the cookie itch

And an informative Youtube video!

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