Magazine article The New Yorker

Taste Test

Magazine article The New Yorker

Taste Test

Article excerpt

TASTE TEST

--Sophie Brickman

Rachel Roth, a physician, and her fianc(c), Jon Cohen, who works in finance, are getting married on May 18, 2014. On a recent Thursday evening, they went to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to attend a cocktail hour and a sit-down-dinner tasting for couples who are planning to be married in one of the garden's wedding venues, the glass-domed Palm House and the slightly smaller Atrium.

"It's nice to talk to people who are in the same position," Roth said. "It's a really supportive environment during what can be a stressful time. We're all trading tips and taking notes." On the menu she was holding, she'd put a star by "crudit(c)s station."

A hundred and forty people--engaged couples, a smattering of future mothers-in-law and best friends--schmoozed at the cocktail hour, in what felt like an awkward wedding reception. Instead of making individual appointments for couples to select menus--the Botanic Garden hosts two hundred weddings annually--the house caterer, CharlesSallyCharles, holds two mass tastings a year. Each couple gets two tickets, with an option to bring guests, for seventy-five dollars a head. (In the early days, clients could bring guests free; feeding frenzies ensued. "We ended up with a whole lot of pissed-off brides and grooms," Charles Krause, one of the partners, said.)

Sitting by the fountain nibbling on sashimi and sushi rolls were Allison Moore and Andrew Perlgut (October 18, 2014) and Andrew Rabensteine and Joe Schulz (October 4, 2014). "How funny is that, we're two weeks apart!" Rabensteine, an actor whose Web site lists "excellent mover" under special skills, said. The pair met when Rabensteine was cast in a play, "The Chicken Snake," written by one of Schulz's friends. Schulz was set to play the lead, a character based on him, but it took ten years to get the play produced. "By that point, I was too old to play myself," Schulz said, biting into a miniature Reuben sandwich. Rabensteine got the part, and then Cupid had one less arrow.

Rachel Karnovsky and Sidney Coren, both twenty-eight (May 25, 2014), told the story of how she'd proposed. "I got him this Batman trinket"--the groom said that he identified with Batman--"and we were all upstate at my grandparents' house, and I just asked him."

Sue Kaplan, the mother of the bride-to-be, chimed in, "Afterward, we were all crying and hugging, and my mother said to me, 'You know, I proposed to your father. …

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