One of the things I find so funny about planning a wedding, is how much time and effort you put into the details of the day. Well, not so much the time, but the time spent relative to the amount of notice these little details get on the actual day-of.
I decided early on that I wanted to be more focused on the day as a whole rather than the small details; but as with any wedding, planning out certain things like centerpieces and seating charts aren’t exactly optional. Also, there were a few details I really was interested in — the signs around the reception, for instance. I’m pretty sure that if you asked the people who attended our wedding whether they noticed these signs, at least 50% would say no. But, it was a detail I wanted to include, so I did. (And those of you who saw them, I bet you thought they were adorable and so worth the 2 hours I spent printing that sh#$ up. Well, just go with it.)
Anyway, let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
One of my bridesmaid’s mothers, Julie, did the flowers (not coincidentally, she’s one of my mom’s best friends and basically like a second mom to me). I wanted the flowers to be simple, seasonal, and not too large or complicated.
The bridesmaids carried small bouquets of red roses which were interspersed with rosemary. I loved that they added just a pop of color to the neutral grey dresses the girls wore, and really carried through the feeling of the season.
My bouquet was a simple combination of ivory roses, white gerbera daisies, and rosemary. It’s petite size was perfect and paired seamlessly with my simple attire. Not to mention, gerberas have been one of my favorite flowers since the beginning of time, so it was extra-special to have a few included in my bouquet.
The table settings were deliberately simple, keeping with the color scheme of creams and grays with a splash of red. Our centerpieces were simple potted poinsettias (from Trader Joe’s!), which I thought were festive and pretty without being overly complicated. We paired these with just a couple tea lights for a romantic glow.
We placed larger poinsettias (from Costco) on either side of the two fireplaces (one of which served as the altar for the ceremony). We also had fires going in the fireplaces, which flanked either side of the ballroom.
Other Reception Details:
One of my favorite details was our place cards. These little tags did double duty, showing people their seat and tagging their wine glass for the night. While trying to stick to our budget, I realized that one of the largest costs was going to be rentals for the space — glassware in particular. Trying to outfit every guest table with a wine and water glass, as well as stock an entire bar with glassware for 170 people was proving to be cost-prohibitive. So rather than allocate somewhere between 3 and 5 glasses per person, we opted to tag everyone’s glass with their name and spread the word that it was theirs to use for the for the night. I wondered whether people would actually cart their wine glass to the bar for refills, or simply take advantage of the disposable glassware we’d outfitted the bar with. Surprisingly, I hardly saw anyone using anything besides their designated wine glass that evening. Go figure.
That’s one of the signs I spoke about earlier. I made four large signs and two or three smaller signs (I really don’t remember exactly now, actually) for the bar, the seating chart, the dessert buffet, the gift table, and the guest book. To make these I simply downloaded the fonts used in our wedding invitations, added the wreath graphic used on the invitations, and then printed them at home before putting them into inexpensive IKEA frames.
I’d actually seen a number of adorable seating chart display ideas on blogs while gathering inspiration for our wedding. By the end though, I could have cared less whether we had some million-dollar light installation flashing people’s seat assignments, or if there was some drunk hobo shouting out table numbers at people. I was really more focused on the whole “getting to marry KC” thing by that point.
Rather than having a traditional wedding cake to be served at the reception, we opted to have a dessert buffet of bite-size treats that people could help themselves to. I loved having the dessert buffet because I actually hate cake, and all the treats were made from scratch by family and friends, which made them extra special.
Our favors were homemade Italian sugar cookies — a family recipe my mom has made for years during the holidays. My mom and a friend bundled the cookies up in small bags with festive ribbon, which KC and I toted around in baskets at the reception while we handed them out individually to each guest. I loved that the favors were personal (and delicious), and they allowed us to speak to each and every guest, if only for a moment. (Sadly, we did this while everyone was having dinner, so there’s no photos!)
While we didn’t have a traditional wedding cake that we served to guests, we did have a small cake for the cake cutting ceremony. The cake was made by my sister (and maid of honor!), Alexis, and was a work of compromise between KC and I (I had told him he could pick the flavor — chocolate — but I wanted white frosting for presentation purposes).
Alexis made a dense chocolate cake and covered it in thick white buttercream frosting. This was then adorned with fresh and sugared cranberries, for a seasonal look. If I liked cake, I’m sure that I’d think this was delicious. (KC confirmed that the cake was really good, and was trying to hunt down a slice later in the night after imbibing copious amounts of adult beverages.)
I wanted our reception to be like a family holiday party more than anything; so we opted to go for some non-traditional wedding fare for appetizers and dinner. Our appetizer was a hot artichoke dip (it was to die for and I wish I’d eaten more!) served with crusty bread and an assortment of crackers. For dinner, we served a baked chicken pasta, traditional macaroni and cheese with a variety of toppings, roasted winter vegetables, assorted breads, and a green salad. I did wonder whether people would look down their noses at the fact that we served pasta rather than a traditional meat entree, but we ended up getting so many compliments on the food, that I’m pretty sure it was quite a success!
Other Personal Touches:
KC gave all the groomsmen personalized flasks for the wedding day. These ended up being both appropriate and well-used on the day of. (Evidence: KC’s dance-floor skills which will be coming up in a later reception post.)
I had something old, new, borrowed and blue. The something old was handkerchiefs which were family heirlooms (and came in quite handy during the ceremony). The borrowed was a beaded clutch which was my great-grandmother’s (and stored some lipstick for touch-ups and kleenex which I stuffed into my heels before the ceremony, realizing too late that they were a little big). The new and blue was my whimsical UCLA garter, a nod to where KC and I had met, started dating and ultimately got engaged.
Alrighty, that’s it for now! Reception fun coming up next week 🙂 Have a great weekend, people!