Monday, July 18, 2011

Wedding Recap - The Reception

I told myself that I would have all this wedding stuff written about before our photographer got our photos done.  Lucky me, we still don't have them yet.  Time to dash off the last little bit of wedding recap.  I know this was two months ago but writing it all down feels good.  I know I have these impressions, feelings and details captured for the future.  Thanks for bearing with me (or skipping them entirely for equally exciting race reports). 

The reception was a blast.  After all the stress of the past months it was time to just let loose and drink and hang out with friends and family and have a good time.  When people talk about how fast their wedding day goes I now understand what they mean.  It whizzed by.  Like a lemon; a lemon with wings.  They are very fast you know.  Really, we couldn't have asked for anything more from our reception.  Well, there were two things that we could have asked for more on but in the grand scheme of things they are very minor.  I'm doing this bullet point style 'cause I don't want to string together a narrative.  All hail, laziness.
  • We were determined to not be one of those couples that says "we didn't even have time to eat on our wedding day" so we asked the caterers to save us each a plate of all four appetizers.  Come to find out it isn't really about time as it is about appetite.  Even though we both had barely eaten in the past two days neither of us had any appetite.  We took a few bites but didn't really enjoy it much.  Same with dinner.  Just a few tastes and we were done.  People said the grub was good and we got good unsolicited comments on the food so hopefully people enjoyed it. 
  • One of my favorite moments of the evening wasn't noticed by anyone.  I was standing by the doorway when I noticed a group of four strangers peering in.  I thought they were looking for the other wedding happening at Edgefield that had a similar last name so I approached them and said "you must be looking for the other wedding".  They replied "No, we are on a scavenger hunt and need to find a bride."  I am standing right in front of them.  In my wedding dress.  All fancied up with make-up and fancy hair and oh, did I mention, my WEDDING DRESS.  It was hysterical. 

    I gestured wildly to myself in my wedding dress and said "Hello?!  Bride here!"  One of the girls mumbling something about Pippa Middleton and white bridesmaids dresses and how you just don't know anymore and then they took my picture for their hunt.  They needed a groom too so I grabbed Kevin and they got to check something off their list.  I guess my look wasn't as bridal as I thought it was.  Maybe when one of my friends responded in a lackluster fashion when showed the dress "oh, and you can totally wear that again" it might have been a sign about what other people think about "proper" wedding fashion.
  • The toasts were wonderful.  The best man gave a touching speech, my brother told a funny story and Kevin's grooms chick gave a surprise toast.  She is very uncomfortable getting up in front of people and speaking so that was a really nice surprise.  Also, sparkling wine is very tasty and McMenamins makes a tasty one.  It is made with pinor noir instead of chardonnay and it is nummy.
  • The first dance ended up being a lot of fun.  For months Kevin wasn't sure he wanted to do one because he didn't want to feel like a performing monkey.  I understood but was of the opinion "you get to do this once in your life, let's just go for it".  So we kept taking dance classes that we were going to take regardless of the fact that we were getting married (still taking them by the way).  The classes are in rhumba, cha-cha, waltz, foxtrot and ballroom East coast swing and we started in mid-March.  We had a song picked out months before in case we wanted to do it after all.  We wanted something fun, lively, joyous and short; we definitely didn't want a sappy moment here.  Since we are both huge Dean Martin fans we chose "Ain't That a Kick in the Head".  Perfect.

    Originally it was going to be a foxtrot since it works better with that dance style but the dance floor is small for foxtrot and we actually learned more East Coast swing steps and felt more comfortable with that (read: easier).  I wanted to choreograph something but Kevin was adamant that we just go out and dance.  Even though I woke up that morning freaking out that we weren't prepared enough and "oh god, they are all going to be staring at us" he talked me into it.  And you know what?  It was a blast!  We just danced and didn't even notice people watching us.  It was just him and me dancing for fun and busting out our whole eight moves we had learned.  Actually, we learned about eight but probably only did about five because that is all Kevin could remember how to do (guys have it harder in the dancing world).  We are both so glad we did a first dance.
  • I made it through about eight hours of standing, walking and dancing in my heels.  I am kind of proud of that.  They were actually very comfortable but I did finally decide to put my flats on about the last hour of the night.  Such a wuss.
  • The two disappointments:  there were quite a few candles that didn't get lit on the centerpieces and on bistro tables and the guest book table.  I noticed them but was told that brides aren't supposed to do any work at the reception and for some reason listened to this.  The caterers were supposed to get them but they never got around to it. 
    The other disappointment were the centerpieces.  For something I spent a stooooopid amount of time fretting about they turned out "meh".  Not horrible but not what we had envisioned.  There were supposed to be a lot more flowers on the tables in our vision but our communication got crossed with the florist.  In hindsight, the one thing we would have done differently was have the florist do the whole centerpiece.  Doing half ourselves saved us no money and it would have looked better if she had full control of everything.  Oh well, the candles were beautiful and unless they are outstanding or really horrible no one really remembers centerpieces anyway. 
  • We were both surprised how little time we had together at the reception.  We were so busy talking with friends, dancing like fools and just having a blast that we never got any quiet time together.  That is perfectly fine but I didn't anticipate that.  But we had the honeymoon for days of quiet time together and the reception was for partying with friends.
  • The cake.  Oh dear lord, how I love this cake.  I won't go on and on about it as much as I would like to (I was going to give it its own post) but let me say that it was perfection inside and out.  One of Kevin's favorite moments of the night was when we brought me over to see the cake for the first time.  I was brought to tears by it.  I loved it so much.  It was outstanding.  Better than I imagined it would be.  We didn't want elegant or romantic or formal or anything like that.  We wanted joy and fun and energy and something different.  I have not seen a cake like this anywhere on the internet and I looked at A LOT of cake porn.  Hours upon hours trying to figure out exactly what the cake should look like.  I know it isn't everyone's idea of a wedding cake but it was perfect for us and suited the mood we wanted to create. 

    The black rabbits on it also fit perfectly with Edgefield and their connection to the black rabbit.  Using black rabbits was my mother's idea by the way and we are so glad she thought of it.  It helped cement the design for the cake. It was also the tastiest wedding cake I have ever had.  Moist and flavorful, particularly the banana rum layer.  I am so glad we found the baker we did.  She is a true artist and we could not have asked for better.  She mentioned in a few e-mails before she made it and has mentioned since that it was her favorite cake she has made this year.  She enjoyed getting to do something different and it showed. 

    The cake toppers were another joy.  Originally we weren't going to have a cake topper because there are so few out there that aren't hideous.  But when we visited the Edgefield back in January to finalize all our vendors we saw these little black clay bunnies in the gift shop.  Kevin thought they would be perfect for the cake toppers and when he asked who made them we found out it was the lady in the clay studio on the property.  We met with her and she custom made a bigger pair for us for a ridiculously good price.  It was the perfect topper for the perfect cake.
  • The guest book table seemed to be a lot of fun.  We had postcards that friends gave us from around the country and around the world.  People wrote wonderful kind messages and fun messages and generally had a good time with it.  We even got one dirty joke!  I actually expected more since we said on the instructions it was OK.  There were a few folks we didn't get any from but most people played along.  Reading the big stack of postcards when we got back from the honeymoon was a blast.  We played a game trying to figure out which person sent which card based on the picture on the front.  I would say we got about 80% correct. 
  • We remembered to have someone videotape the ceremony but we have no video from the reception.  Apparently one or two people have the first dance on their phones but I haven't seen it yet.  I wish we had remembered to have at least the main parts of the reception recorded.
  • The DJ was some of the best money we spent.  We were going to have an iPod for the music and a friend handle the few emcee duties required and he would have been great.  But the more we thought about it the more we wanted someone whose whole job it was would be to read the crowd in the moment and keep people dancing and having fun all night and he did that.  We gave him our friend's requests so he had those if he felt they were good for the evening and he just winged it.  He could tell right off the bat that slow songs weren't going to work for our crowd so he kept it lively and upbeat.  He also did a beautiful job with minimalist announcements and really helped the evening run smoothly.  Also our friend Lloyd got to just enjoy the evening with no responsibilities other than to have a good time.  I would post photos of everyone dancing and having a good time but instead, I will protect the innocent.
  • People seemed to be enchanted by the idea of lemons with wings with their names on it.  Dang near every persons photos I have seen involves pictures of their lemons.  Even our photographer got a little kid look on his face when he said "I have a lemon with my name on it!"  He took a photo of his lemon for himself with his iPhone.
    The pint glasses were also a big hit.  Kevin worked long and hard on the graphic and it turned out beautiful.  Plus, who doesn't love a pint glass? 
    The Theo truffles seemed to be a big hit.  I fully expected people to take them home with them but when we cleaned tables at the end of the night there were a lot of empty truffle boxes.  I am glad people enjoyed them.
When it was all said and done we asked ourselves "was it worth it" and "given the chance would we do it again" and the answer to both was a resounding "yes!"  Yes it was stressful, yes it was expensive but it is truly a once in a lifetime experience and I am so glad we had it.   Now we get to sit back and be spectators at weddings for the rest of our lives.  We can't wait for that.  There is a part of us that, immediately after the wedding, said (even though we totally would do it again) "Thank God, we never have to do that again."  But now, there is a little part that says "Oh....we never GET to do that again" and it is a little sad. 

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