pat, this sounds like a ton of fun-and work. You could have lots of trays of cookies, and then small decorated or colored sacks for guests to fill and carry home. Also the little Chinese-type take home boxes are available on the internet and in craft stores. I would make the containers small to hold just a few cookies, lest the Cookie Monster show up and take dozens!lol Sturdy cookies would be the best , delicate cookies a no-no for this type of activity. Caterers charge an arm and leg for cookies, so recruiting help from family and friends would be ideal to cut costs. My niece just got married and had cupcake trees instead of a wedding cake. It was different and so pretty. That is a new thing the girls are doing here. Guests just serve themselves as they fill their hors douvre trays with other eats. Good luck, I love to see old traditions come back like this. Would this be an Amish tradition or Mennonite perhaps.?
I was at a Jewish wedding where they did this, big tradition, the women had been baking for weeks apparently. I don't think this is the type of thing where you as a guest bring cookies, but rather it's put on by the family.
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Nancy (nlf_PA) has done cookie trays for several weddings. Here's a thread that might help give you an idea (all the recipes are in that thread if you pick thru the comments). She posts on the Recipe board and I'm sure she'd answer any questions you have.
My sister also had cookie trays at her wedding (45 years ago) but they were done by the Italian bakery that made the cake as it's part of the wedding expense. I'm sure the reason for having family members and friends make the cookie trays now is to keep the costs down. It's not something guests are expected to bring.
Didn't know it was particularly a western Pa thing. I've been to a number of weddings (one was in Florida), where they had cookie trays out. Sometimes made by family, sometimes purchased from bakeries. It was done as a sort of 'alternate' dessert. The trays were put out at the end of the meal, before the cake was cut, so that the guests had something sweet to munch on. A lot of people, I find, seem to like to take the wedding cake home--especially when it's cut nearer to the end of the evening, so it's nice to have the cookies or a sweet table (I've seen that, as well--a buffet of desserts) inbetween times.
Nice tradition, and after a big meal, I'd just as soon have a couple of cookies, and save the cake for later--tomorrow.
My Italian in laws always have a cookie tray, either the family bakes or bakery, it's mostly Italian cookies of different varities & some butter ones. I love the weddings think we get to take a little box home. I wish I had some right now.
I did not grow up in Pittsburgh, but have lived here since 1995. It is referred to as "the cookie table", and yes, it is often enormous with many varied cookies prepared by family members. As far as I know it is not an Amish or Mennonite tradition (I grew up close to Lancaster and it was not common there to my knowledge.)
I did have a "sweets" table at my wedding - not just cookies but other things as well. Some family members wanted to do this and I was fine with it - as long as they saved me some pizzelles from a particular friend of the family!
I don't know enough to give you ideas for the types of cookies on the table at weddings here - the only thing I know for sure I usually see are buckeyes. Have fun!!!
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