Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Wedding: Cocktail Hour and Reception

I'm taking this week to finally post the rest of my wedding recaps. Yesterday was the ceremony; now it's time for dinner and drinks!

The celebration actually started before we were married, as I firmly believe that every ceremony is better with a drink in hand. Thus, we put the bar outside and opened it first thing. Our friends Michelle and Mark took care of the pouring (we did the same for them a month earlier, when they got married at the same venue). Pinot Noir and Chardonnay were on the menu (both of which I got for a steal at the wine shop where I work), plus a half keg of Fat Tire and a quarter keg of Blue Moon. Our venue didn't allow liquor, which made things easier. (Fun fact - our party of 70 finished nearly all the wine - 51 bottles! - but we had so much leftover beer. Crazy kids.) 

Michelle pours wine like a pro.

Here is something we splurged on: a party bus to take guests from the hotel in Wilmington to the venue in Burgaw, and then back again at the end of the night. It was a thirty minute drive down dark, rural roads, and we didn't want our guests to navigate that while under the influence. And we definitely wanted them under the influence. So: party bus. Totally expensive, totally worth it.

The party bus arrives.

Hello, guests! Have a drink!

We got married, the ceremony was amazing, and then it was time for the cocktail hour. Our caterer provided some light appetizers (cheese and crackers, fruits and veggies, spring rolls, mini-quiche) and the bar was hopping. The wedding party was whisked away to take some fancy photos, for which I did not have much patience. We got the basics, but I cut the bride and groom photo shoot short because everyone was having fun without me and I really wanted a glass of wine. Looking back, I sort of wish we had more  formal photos of the two of us, but I also wish I'd had more time to spend with my guests, so overall I'm glad we skipped the cheesy vanity shots in favor of friends and family. 

Erica, my MFA BFF.

Nathan and John, our canoeing buddy from Texas.

Nathan's dad and brother playing cornhole. 

Months ago, I convinced Nathan that we he had to build a corn hole set for cocktail hour. So Nathan, excellent partner that he is, followed some plans I found on the Internet and made a lovely corn hole set, and I ordered purple and yellow bags online. I attempted to paint the platforms in our wedding colors, but did an admittedly shoddy job (listen, I had a lot going that week). Luckily Nathan's brother, Eric, arrived in Wilmington a few days early and took over. He did a very professional paint job and the corn hole set got a lot of action. Also: we now own a corn hole set, so come on over and let's play! 

Undergrad friends, ten years later.

Scott and Ella, two of my best from the undergrad days at Purchase.

Once the appetizers were gone and the guests were pleasantly buzzed, it was time to go inside for dinner. The Train Depot is basically one long structure - we had the ceremony and cocktail hour on the outside deck, then guests walked through a short hallway into the long room where dinner would be served. But first, they had to sign our "guest book" (a DIY affair that I am still DIY-ing), pick up their wedding favors (homebrewed beer!), and locate their seating cards. 

Signing our guest book.

Homebrewed wedding favors!

Once inside, our guests were greeted by Cupcake Mountain, centerpieces made from recycled wine bottles (more about those later), and two rows of tables. We didn't do much to decorate the Depot - it's a lovely space as is, so we kept it simple with flowers and fancy tablecloths. 

Reception hall ready to go.

Cupcake Mountain.


We decided to do the whole grand entrance thing for our parents and the wedding party. Everyone did something funny or cute when they came in, and the photographers caught some great moments. 

Amy and David keep it classy with a twirl.

Ella and Miles land an excellent high five.

Terry keeps Allie laughing. 

Our siblings, Eric and Ally, dance their way in.

MOH Susan and Best Man Brian, celebrate jobs well done.

The grand finale - TRIUMPHANTLY MARRIED.

And then it was time to eat. You may recall our struggle with the menu - Nathan and I are both vegetarians, and we initially wanted to keep dinner meat-free. However, my parents covered the catering bill and they really, really love meat, so in the end we decided to compromise. Our main dishes, served buffet-style: quinoa and roasted vegetables, seitan piccata, vegetarian lasagna, and grilled flounder with a lemon-caper sauce. Our sides: roasted potatoes, broccoli with a cheese sauce, tossed salad with raspberry vinaigrette, and cornbread. Something for everyone, I hope. At the very least, everyone raved about the food, I ate enough seitan to feed a small army,  and my father did not sneak in hamburgers from Wendy's. I consider that a success. 

Nom nom nom.

Bryan and Eralda.

Mary and A.

Pretty friends!

Every good party need a cute baby.

Sally and Lucy!

My gorgeous sisters.

Two cute babies are better than one.

Susan and her boyfriend Derek.

My lovely new in-laws. 

As dinner was drawing to a close, we opened up the floor for speeches. We didn't want to force anyone to speak in public, but my sister and MOH, Susan, was bound and determined to make people laugh and cry. She succeeded, bringing up great stories such as my dreadlocks and that summer that Nathan lived in my parents' attic. It was a wonderful and touching speech.

Maid of Honor speech. 

Best Man Brian would not be outdone, and even though he hadn't written a speech on index cards like Susan, he managed to keep it short, sweet, and funny. You can't ask for much more when it comes to speeches.

Best Man speech. 

There were many bottles of champagne and much clinking of glasses. Side note: I really need to drink champagne more often.



And then it was time for Best Dance Party Ever. We kicked it off with the first dance...

We almost look like we know what we're doing.

... and then all hell broke loose. But I'll save those photos for tomorrow. Trust me, they're worth the wait. 

All of the photos in this post were taken by Johnny Wells Photography, based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I highly recommend his services! 

You can find the rest of my wedding recaps and planning posts on the Wedding page