Wedding bells are ringing at UCI Health

The hospital's foodservice team planned a small wedding for a patient and their betrothed, completely to the couple's surprise.
 petite filet topped with an herb compound butter.
As a main course, the team served petite filet topped with an herb compound butter. / Photos courtesy of Morrison Healthcare.

After a patient at UCI Health got married in the California hospital, the couple was planning on ordering in food to celebrate.

But the hospital had other plans for the newlyweds. Its foodservice team, which is managed by Morrison Healthcare, had been secretly planning a small wedding for the coupleand had only about two days to make it happen.

Veronica Breedlove, the patient service manager at UCI, took the lead on a cake and decorations. The team wanted the event to be special and felt like the options provided by the hospital's cake vendor weren’t suitable for a wedding. So, Breedlove took matters into her own hands and found a local bakery that could make a wedding cake on short notice.

wedding cake The wedding cake had two flavors: red velvet with cream cheese filling and white cake with fresh strawberry Bavarian cream. 

“I just kind of went on to Pinterest and picked some, like, pretty neutral wedding-style cakes like two-tier that we wanted," Breedlove said. "And I sent that to the cake vendor and begged them to do it quickly.” 

Breedlove said it was quite hectic at first, but the vendor was able to accommodate the request. She wanted to offer two flavors so there would be options for the couple and their guests. Ultimately, they decided on a simple red velvet cake with cream cheese filling and a white cake with fresh strawberry Bavarian cream.

Kelvin Crisostomo, senior executive chef at UCI Health, created a personalized menu for the couple. As a starter, he served a charcuterie board with assorted artisan cheeses, cured meats and more. For the main course, the couple dined on a petite filet topped with an herb compound butter. For the sides, he served lobster mashed potatoes, asparagus, squash and tomatoes. The couple was even given a copy of the menu to take home with them.

wedding menuThe wedding menu. 

“It was fun," said Crisostomo. "It was something different, you know? Who gets married in the hospital? So, we wanted to do something that's not typical hospital food. Definitely.”

Breedlove said the staff had a great time with the event, noting the team was particularly excited when the cake showed up.

The end result was a beautiful spread set on a sheer tablecloth with pearls as an accent. And the couple was completely surprised.

“They didn't know that anything was happening. They were really excited and surprised. They just knew they were gonna get married. They didn't know that there was going to be a cake and food,” said Breedlove.

While weddings aren’t common at UCI Health, the team tries to take every chance to go the extra mile for patients, noted Breedlove.

“Whenever there is a patient here for any special reason, I just tell chef, 'We got to do something.' And we collaborate on what we think is the best considering the situation,” she said. “So we don't really let any opportunities pass us by to not try and think of something that goes above and beyond for them.”



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