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For some couples, like New Yorkers Ruti Mor and Spencer Kupferman, the reception menu is a chance to highlight their backgrounds. The Kupfermans got married at the ultraposh King David Hotel in Jerusalem in May 2007. They worked with the hotel's chefs to create a kosher menu using local ingredients and incorporating pomegranates—the wedding's design motif—in dishes like lamb kebabs with pomegranate syrup and pomegranate martinis. Their use of the fruit honored Ruti's grandparents, who emigrated from Iran to Israel and planted pomegranates in their yard to remind them of home. To make their elaborate menu come together for the destination wedding, the bride made five trips to Israel over the course of a year. But if trips aren't possible, Ruti and Spencer say, do your research and consult local chefs who understand the area's ingredients. "Don't just say you're a California-Cab guy without knowing about the local wines," says Spencer. "And if you want something done right, don't just send an e-mail."
Molly Wizenberg, a columnist for Bon Appetit with a popular blog called Orangette, also wanted her menu to evoke a sense of place. Molly grew up in Oklahoma, and her husband, Brandon Pettit, is from New Jersey, but they live in Seattle, a city they both love. They wanted to create a taste of their adopted city. They found their caterer, Ciao Thyme, through a friend's recommendation and immediately clicked with the chefs. Presentation was another consideration; Ciao Thyme uses handmade wooden bowls and ceramics for a textured, elegant look— "Their eye for detail is incredible," says Molly. At the rehearsal dinner, the details included tables topped with jars of the couple's homemade pickles (including carrots and grapes), and a delectable buffet of summer vegetables and sandwiches. At the wedding, Pacific salmon was smoked on the premises, tiny deviled eggs from a local farmer were topped with domestic caviar and crème fraîche, and fingerling potato chips were washed down with rosemary-infused lemonade. "It was so gratifying afterward to hear everyone freaking out about the food," Molly says.