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Unique Lansing wedding celebrates community

Corey Wojciechowski and Laura Ross tie the knot amid friends and family

by Melanie Jongsma

LANSING, Ill. (July 27, 2018) – When Chef Eric “Chops” Wat is asked about the handmade wooden serving trays, his answer includes not only the trays, but also the specially engineered grill, the locally grown vegetables, and some butter he and Corey Wojciechowski received from a college roommate’s mother. And though it takes a while for the concept to crystallize, in the end, everything he’s saying is about community.

Wat and Wojciechowski and several other friends met in college, and living together became an opportunity to learn about their diverse cultures and traditions. When the mother of one of the roommates sent a sampling of some sort of Mediterranean butter, they savored it, and it became a gateway food to exploring other family traditions.

Wat became a chef, and gradually he’s been “catering” the weddings of people he knows—though the term catering gives the wrong connotations for what Wat actually does. The meals Wat prepares are deeply symbolic, a celebration of friendship, and artistry, and varied skills. Everything is handcrafted, which gives members of the community multiple opportunities to contribute. In the Wat/Wojciechowski circle, you don’t have to be a chef in order to be involved in a wedding. Someone might pick vegetables, or hand-letter signs, or sand and stain wood serving trays, or light candles around the port-a-potties. Everyone is needed.

The wedding was held in a Lansing back yard, east of Oakwood Avenue. And thanks to myriad personal touches by family and friends, it was a celebration of family, friendship, and community.

Chef Eric (right) loves making personal connections when he serves at a wedding. He is hoping to transition into doing this sort of catering full time. (Photo provided)
The serving platters were cut, sanded, and oiled the day before the wedding. (Photo provided)
A photo frame was available not only for bride and groom (pictured) but for all wedding guests. (Photo provided)
Even the grill was made by one of the friends. (Photo provided)
The back yard was filled with dozens of friends and family members, part of the community celebrating this new marriage. (Photo provided)


Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma
Melanie Jongsma grew up in Lansing, Illinois, and believes The Lansing Journal has an important role to play in building community through trustworthy information.


  1. Thanks for sharing this story about a unique Lansing wedding. The photos and personal details provided by friends and family made it a one of a kind wedding. Twenty-eight years ago my husband and I held our own backyard wedding in Lansing’s Schultz Park neighborhood on a beautiful July day. Cafe Borgia catered the menu, a Scottish bagpiper signaled that the reception had begun and a jazz trio performed for guests as the sun set. I hope more Lansing residents follow the Wat/Wojciechowski idea for a wedding that incorporates both local customs and traditions from around the world. And, I hope Chef Eric has the opportunity to cater many more weddings in our beautiful village.

  2. Thank you so much for the lovely write up of my daughters wedding!! It was truly the perfect wedding! Chops catering was a huge hit and everyone could not stop taking about how fabulous it was, and how it was the best food they had ever had at a wedding! Thanks to everyone who pitched into make this a success!!

  3. Thank you so much for the kind words. All of us at Bitter Herb are grateful to have been a part of such a beautiful event. Working together with the people you love and trust is a gift that we cherish and strive for. Thank you to the families that really facilitated our work with their help and tremendous hospitality.

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