If you could have your wedding at a place that really meant something special to you, wouldn't Publican Quality Meats come to mind as a possibility? Of course it would. But who could actually arrange for such a thing having your union blessed in the company of mortadella, boudin blanc, and Heinz Ketchup? Well, get ready for a love story that will bring salumi-scented tears to your eyes. Andrew Miller, a food consultant, and Shana Schneider, a designer for digital media, made this dream happen this very past Saturday. It started when they decided they wanted to get married somewhere that had special meaning for them and living two blocks from Publican Quality Meats, and being regular customers of all of One Off Hospitality, the idea of actually getting married at PQM popped into their heads and wouldn't let go. Find out how they turned the dream into reality as we look through wedding photos taken by who else for a food-inspired wedding? our man Huge Galdones.
"When Publican Quality Meats opened in our neighborhood, it was a big plus for us," Andrew Miller told us. The couple went frequently enough to be known to the staff. Before coming to Chicago, Miller and Schneider had spent two years in Madrid and Barcelona, and as Schneider says, "It was the closest thing to a European butcher shop that we found here. We like the space, we like the vibe."
"Neither of us are from Chicago. So finding a place for our wedding that had meaning for us was a challenge," Miller says. The couple knew that Publican Quality Meats had done other kinds of events, including rehearsal dinners, so it didn't seem out of the question. Schneider adds, "Lately I've been seeing a lot of articles about our generation pushing back against hotels and the traditional reception, and people doing it in places like your backyard, which is more economically feasible. It didn't strike us as too wild, it just made sense."
"We went over what they can do. We wanted cured meats, charcuterie, pates," says Miller. "Food is a big part of our lives, professionally and personally. We've had a lot of shared experiences built on food. Being literally surrounded by beautiful meats and cheeses was better to us than flowers and white tablecloths."
"One of our favorite things to do is sitting around with a shellfish tower and some wine. So we balanced what Publican Quality Meats can do with some things from The Publican," Miller adds.
As for wine, they wanted something better than what was on the Publican's (admittedly beer-focused) list, so with the help of One Off partner and sommelier Eduard Seitan, they drew on Avec's list to select their wines, and even got bourbon from The Violet Hour.
And the minister? Miller and Schneider are also devoted customers of Perman Wine Selections, and one day it slipped out that owner Craig Perman was a mail-order minister who had performed a wedding for colleagues from Alinea. "We wanted a blessing from someone who knew us," Miller says. "Craig said he'd loved to, and it was perfect."
"For us, it was not only getting married with the meats and cheeses around us, but also with the staff of their restaurants, who have been a part of our lives since we've been here," Miller says.
The cake was by Miller's sister Alison, who also arranged for the topper featuring his motorcycle and their dog Lil' Frankie.
What did their families think of the idea? Miller says his father and stepmother were the most traditionalist of the bunch, and if there was any pushback, it was just from their unfamiliarity with how the wedding would work versus a more traditional setting. "It was intimate and everything worked out."
Afterwards, downstairs in the kitchen they had a bourbon and beef party. "All my guy friends, that was the first place they went," Miller says.
"Part of it was being able to look back, jokingly, and say, we got married in a butcher shop," Miller says. "But food brings people together, so to be able do our wedding in a restaurant was really fun. It was something no one had experienced before, and being down in the kitchen, celebrating— it was really cool." Schneider adds, "Everyone had a fantastic time. We weren't going for unique, we just wanted to represent us."
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