After six years, most of them raising our two children, my partner and I are taking the marriage plunge this summer. Being a professional chef and a control freak about food, I always figured I’d cater my own wedding. Parenthood has given me a hard dose of reality. Getting dinner on the table is an accomplishment, so pigs will fly before I’m the one to serve our nuptial feast to 80 of our close friends and family (without getting a divorce the next day).

Having kids has restricted our time, energy, and monetary resources so we have had to modify our pre-parenting wedding visions. While I may plan the menu, order the food, and season the sauce, my first vow to my fiance ©e has been that the only food I plan to touch on our big day is what’s on my own plate.

Having restrictions isn’t so bad. It helps us make decisions in this you-can-have-it-all world. Our budget inspires creativity. A chef friend of mine, whom I trust, has agreed to cater our wedding in exchange for my services at a job of hers later in the year.

We live in on a gorgeous piece of land in Vermont so we’re going to have the reception at home. The menu will be country simple: barbequed baby back ribs and chicken, grilled corn on the cob, garden grown cucumber-red onion salad and platters of sliced beef steak tomatoes, my mom’s red bliss potato salad, cornbread, homemade pickles, strawberry lemonade, and a keg of local beer.

Guests will bring a pie of their choice to go with vanilla ice cream. The cornbread will be ultra moist with the addition of creamed corn and the barbeque sauce will be flavored with apple cider vinegar and maple syrup.

We’ll serve drinks in mason jars, decorate with red checked tablecloths and sunflowers I’m about to plant, and have our friend’s band treat us to original music with a bluegrass flavor.

Our goals for the day are to be present with each other, our kids and our guests, to be relaxed and positive, to eat well, and above all, to have fun.