Participating in a Time-Honored Tradition Makes for a Sweet Lesson

Weddings Editor Lauren Davidson experiences the behind-the-scenes of a cookie table for the first time.
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I recently put together my first Pittsburgh cookie table.

When the situation arose — two good friends were tying the knot at a small celebration at Penn Brewery and needed some help — I couldn’t believe it was the first time I was participating in the time-honored tradition. I had a cookie table at my own wedding, but my mother handled it from start to finish. 

How hard could it be? You contact the bride and groom’s families and friends and people bake cookies. Wedding guests eat the cookies. They take some home. Simple, right? What all could possibly go into orchestrating a cookie table?

A lot, it turns out.

The people I asked to provide the goodies were eager to help, but it didn’t stop there. They wanted to know how many people were coming. How many cookies they should bake. What kind of cookies other people were baking so they didn’t duplicate. 

They asked if I wanted the cookies ahead of time or on the day. Should they bring them on plates or in Tupperware? 

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Next came the execution. I fielded calls from the groom’s mother and aunt: Did I want to look at the trays or serving tiers they had? Was I thinking white or gold plates would look best? Was I planning to doily the plates? (Yes, doily can be used as a verb). These were all good questions, none of which I had considered.

Suddenly, I had spreadsheets and multiple messages out to the bride, who I was trying to relieve by taking on the project in the first place.

Perhaps sensing I was in over my head, the groom’s aunt, a longtime family friend of mine, quietly took over. I was presented with a dozen gold serving plates, and they did indeed look better with doilies. When the cookies arrived at the venue, she carefully arranged them on tiers, making for a beautiful aesthetic (pro tip: you want a three-dimensional cookie table).  

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Even though I can take very little of the credit, I was incredibly proud of that cookie table. It gave the wedding a little extra sentimentality; I connected with friends I hadn’t seen in years to ask if they’d bake, and it gave everyone something to talk about when we met in person.

And of course, it was delicious.

My 500-cookie table was smaller than some of the entries we receive for our biannual cookie table contest (find the winner here), and knowing how much effort is behind them has made me even more in awe of how beautifully they turn out. Many of our Real Pittsburgh Wedding couples (page 29) made a point of calling out the people behind their own cookie tables when recounting their wedding days. On a day all about love, a homemade cookie table from family and friends makes everything all the more special.

Categories: Weddings Editor