Archive for the ‘Reception’ Category

I’ve been thinking lately about certain elements of our wedding that might up the ante for our guests and might not cost too much. We are having an open bar at our reception; our caterer does not negotiate any other way, except to perhaps skip the bar altogether. While we were visiting, our wedding coordinator was unable to give us a tour of the facility, and so the owner gave us the grand tour himself.

Later, my father went out of his way to compliment the owner on the beauty of the facility and his business skills. My father, a dynamite businessman himself, enjoys going out of his way to do these things. “Thank you,” the owner said, and then instructed the coordinator to add an ice sculpture and a martini bar– normally two extras that the caterer can provide at the expense of the couple– as his gift to us! To which I say, way to go, Dad!

Had this not been the case, I probably wouldn’t have considered a signature cocktail as an option for our wedding. We’re Irish, and like our beer. But, since it was gifted to us… well, that’s another story entirely! A few cute names, some signage, and green-colored drinks, and we’re good to go. And… sorry, but did I mention that it’s free?

Here are some options for frou-frou signature cocktails–


This gimlet was featured in this month’s edition of Martha Stewart Weddings, and I kind of love it. It’s so cute and summery feeling! Granted, I’ll be honest here and tell you that I have no idea what a gimlet is– what kind of alcohol does it use? Those look like mint leaves, right? Any ideas?

Speaking of mint leaves, a Mojito is another great green option. While The Knot tends to overwhelm me, they have some great (color coordinated!) signature cocktails, including this mojito!

Mojito   What You Need   Handful of mint leaves 3/4 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice 3/4 oz. simple syrup* 1 1/2 oz. light rum Club soda Lime wedge, for garnish    How to Make It   Muddle mint leaves in lime juice and simple syrup. Add ice...

Thank you, Carly Roney, for including the recipe:


What You Need

  • Handful of mint leaves
  • 3/4 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 3/4 oz. simple syrup*
  • 1 1/2 oz. light rum
  • Club soda
  • Lime wedge, for garnish

How to Make It

  • Muddle mint leaves in lime juice and simple syrup.
  • Add ice and rum and shake briefly.
  • Pour ingredients into highball glass.
  • Top off with club soda.
  • Garnish with lime wedge.
  • *Dissolve 2 cups sugar into 1 cup boiling water. Let cool. Refrigerate any leftovers.


Also on The Knot, I found another adorable summer-y drink, the Key Lime Pie. 

Key Lime Pie    What You Need   Lime juice Crumbled graham crackers for rim 1 1/2 oz. KeKe Beach Key lime cream liqueur 1 1/2 oz. vanilla vodka Squeeze of fresh lime 1 1/2 oz. half-and-half    How to Make It   Saturate rim of a martini g...I’m very intrigued by these crushed graham crackers…

What You Need

  • Lime juice
  • Crumbled graham crackers for rim
  • 1 1/2 oz. KeKe Beach Key lime cream liqueur
  • 1 1/2 oz. vanilla vodka
  • Squeeze of fresh lime
  • 1 1/2 oz. half-and-half

How to Make It

  • Saturate rim of a martini glass with lime juice.
  • Dip upside down into graham cracker crumbs.
  • Pour liqueur, vodka, and squeeze of lime into a shaker.
  • Shake and strain into a martini glass.
  • Add half-and-half.


Of course, if you’re thinking about green cocktails, the first thing that pops into your mind, as it did mine, is an Appletini. Well, maybe not the first thing, but it sure is up there. The Knot provided another recipe for this drink.

Appletini    What You Need   2.5 oz. sour apple liqueur 2 oz. vodka Sour mix and triple sec to taste Apple wedge, for garnish    How to Make It   Shake and strain ingredients except apple wedge into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a...I really like the color of this one, too. Also, the woman’s hand featured in this picture is very nicely manicured. Well done, woman in black dress, well done.


What You Need

  • 2.5 oz. sour apple liqueur
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • Sour mix and triple sec to taste
  • Apple wedge, for garnish

How to Make It

  • Shake and strain ingredients except apple wedge into a chilled martini glass.
  • Garnish with apple wedge.

This is probably one of the most feasible drinks to make, since it was a martini bar that the owner of the site gave us, not a catch-all cocktail confection. Also, remember how I was planning on having apples in vases at the bar? Could be way cute! What if I could do the Appletini and the Key Lime Pie to go with the bar decor of apples and limes?

Oh, goodness. I need to be reeled in. Love the enthusiasm, though.

What do you think? Do you have a signature cocktail? And how did you name them?


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One thing that I’ve been waffling about is a Sweetheart Table. I can’t decide about it. I’d loved the idea initially, instead of a long head table with mostly vacated seats– let’s face it, the wedding party never sits down, anyway. But, a few months ago, this idea was called into question– a bridal publication (I can’t remember which) pooh-poohed the Sweetheart Table, saying, “Isn’t that what the honeymoon is for?”

I did a bit of research for this post, visiting some major wedding industry publications as consultants. The Knot seems to think that a Sweetheart Table is romantic, but Martha  (my lover) has this to say: “The traditional “sweetheart” table-for-two can make a couple feel isolated and self-conscious.”

So I have to ask: am I doing something wrong?

I’d never seen a Sweetheart Table until fairly recently. I’d thought it was a new, breakaway trend and that I was being a free-thinking, modern bride! Turns out, Martha says it’s traditional! So, what do you think? Are Brandon and I isolating guests by enjoying our meal by ourselves? (I have a tendency to think a Sweetheart Table would improve our chances of actually eating, though I’m not holding out much hope.) Or, are we enjoying a romantic night together, while avoiding the politics of seating? What do you think?

And, before you make a judgment, please see the following inspiration photos for the Sweetheart Table:



And I’ll plop my own bouquet right in the center. Just to remind you– it looks like this (clearly, I have a thing for callas):


Imagine how absolutely lovely a Sweetheart Table could look! I love the potential decor… but is that a good enough reason? Comment with your opinion!

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Well, you’ve seen the bouquet, you’ve seen the church flowers. Here’s what I’m thinking for our reception. To jog your memory, our beautiful reception venue looks like this:

Photo by Cindy Patrick

Photo by Cindy Patrick

 So, we’re thinking about flowers like these for our reception space. We’re going to alternate high and low arrangements, with more low than high. Theme flowers, like I mentioned before, are going to be white calla lillies, hydrangeas, and white roses. Here’s what’s inspired me:





I really love the vibrant green of the stems. The top two have way more calla lillies than I can probably afford, as they’re pretty expensive. But I thought this was a nice way to incorporate the fresh green of the rest of our decor, and also keep it natural and muted. I love the Thai leaves that are incorporated as well– they add a really nice element of greenery that I’m very attracted to.

For our low arrangements, something like this–





I love the hydrangeas– not many blossoms are needed to make a full, lush arrangement! And, again, they’re a nice, muted tone, but still can be a wow when clumped together. There won’t be any callas in the small arrangements, only the large ones.

And, I’m thinking of hatching another DIY project. I cannot imagine that children will appreciate flowers– I just don’t think they will. Perhaps at the kids tables, I’ll use buckets filled with crayons, coloring books and candy as a centerpiece, instead of cluttering the table with them, which I was going to give out anyway. Is that tacky? I’ll make sure they’re toward the interior, instead of a very photo-visible exterior table.

So, what do you think? With an estimate of 22 tables, how many high and how many low?

Do you have signature flowers for your event?

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Well, I’ve posted on Bridesmaids dresses, the reception and the ceremony locations. I’ve not posted about my dress, for it will remain a lock-stock-and-barrel secret until my wedding day. However, here’s what I’ve been thinking about floral design.

My florist, Janene of In Full Bloom, specializes in “intensely personal flowers.” She’s so great to work with, and I really enjoyed my time with her this winter. I won’t post bouquet options for myself, because as I came to think about my own bridal bouquet, there was truly no other option than white calla lillies. Beautiful, classy, a bit modern, but in traditional white. So chic. I also love the sharp contrast of the green stems– I think that will seperate the white of the flowers from the white of my dress.


For the bridesmaid’s bouquets, I have a special surprise in store. Also, when talking with my friend, Melissa, on the phone the other evening, she exclaimed, “I found your blog!” This brought on a few mixed emotions– surprise, for one– and also regret that I can’t share all of the surprises I have in store for them. However, here’s a few pictures that have inspired me for their bouquets.

What’s not a surprise is that they will all be all-white bouquets. I love the simplicity of white-on-white that my bouquet will have; I was having a hard time, however, finding an appropriate shade of green to accompany their dresses. So, it’s white flowers for us all!



I posted earlier about my flower girl, Paloma, and the pomander I’d like for her to carry. That idea is still my primary option, and will also be in the works as a DIY project.



I can make one of those, right? Power to the people! The question is– green or brown ribbon? I’m thinking brown. Thoughts?

Next up: Church flowers (another DIY project) and Centerpieces.

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Well, I feel incredibly behind the ball. The first thing that Brandon and I did after getting engaged (aside from me purchasing my wedding gown) was book our reception location! It’s an absolutely incredible ballroom, and has inspired much of our planning since. We LOVE this ballroom, and are so excited for our gorgeous reception, to be held at the Skylight Ballroom at the Merion Caterers. blog48

We love this ballroom! The skylight is a 40 foot dome, and will look beautiful in both the night, and the day…


Our reception is at 6 PM in August. I’m not sure what the sunset time is or what sort of lighting we can expect. All I know is that this caterer has continued to wow us, and we’re so excited to wow our guests as well!

I just love how unique the site is– the marble floors, the beautiful glass dome. I also love how the ballroom is circular— it provides a huge amount of unity to the entire event, I think. There’s a lovely staricase leading up to the ballroom– on the second floor of the facility. My imagination is reeling when I think of what we can do with the staircase, or about the bathroom packages– so much fun and potential for personality!

My fiancee is terribly excited about our tasting, although disappointed he has to wait until June to sample all of the mouth-watering goodies they have to offer. The manager was gracious enough to give B and I a gift of a martini bar; we’ll also have some lovely hors doerves and carving stations during cocktail hour, and incredible dessert bars, like ice-cream sundaes, a Vienese bar (serving B’s favorite Tiramisu and my father’s favorite canolis), some chocolate fountains, and– my favorite– a crepes station! Bananas foster anyone?

What do you love about your reception site? What elements were important to you? What makes it unique?

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Well, I must say, my absolute favorite vendor thus far is my photographer, Kamila Harris. Here’s a few of my favorite engagement shots from our photo session this fall!

Why, yes, in fact. My shirt is from Anthropologie. Glad you asked! My mother bought me the necklace I’m wearing as an engagement gift– a mother of pearl, leaf shaped pendant. It’s beautiful, perfect for fall, and totally me. Ironically, I think that the shirt Brandon’s wearing also came from my mom– a Christmas gift from last year, perhaps?lb_1066


I love the coloring in this one, and how close we’re holding each other.



This one reminds me of the Beatles’ Abbey Road… I feel like a rock star. A rock star getting married.

This one is pretty artsy. I love it.



Classic shot. With a white picket fence!



And to end with two favorites:

Walking off into the sunset


And, lastly, the one. This reminds me of a Monet, water lillies (leaves) and all. This was taken not far from my home in New Jersey, and is absolutely breathtaking. My sister, who drives over this bridge on a daily basis, was shocked shocked shocked! when she found out where this photo was taken. It’s going to be framed. Hands down.



One of the things I love most about Kamila, in addition to being so fun and easy to work with, is that Brandon and I have full rights to our photos. Because I love them so so SO much, I embarked on my very first DIY project for our wedding. Using Blurb, I made our guestbook with images from our wedding! It’s huge, coffee table sized, and has a few pictures and LOTS of empty space on each page, for guests to sign, leave notes, draw pictures, etc. I love it because it will be more functional than a traditional guest book; we can display it in our house, rather than a satin, ribbon-clad guest book of yore. Also, what a great way to show off our beautiful engagement pictures!

I can’t wait to see the book. It was shipped to my home in New Jersey, not to my school address. So, sadly, I’ve got a while to wait. Until then, my digital proofs will keep me company.

Au revoir!

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Well, I thought I’d try my hand at an Inspiration Board. While most ideas that I have for my own wedding are solidified, I really enjoyed working on this! I responded to a post on Style Me Pretty, entering to win $500, should my board be picked. Here’s what I’ve come up with in response to the following query:

I am getting married May 1, 2010 in Charlottesville, Virginia.  I am a woman who has been dreaming about her wedding her entire life.  Now that the time has come for me to plan I have begun to feel very overwhelmed.  Specifically, I am having a hard time editing myself.  I see all of these ideas and details that I like and I am not quite sure how to incorporate these ideas into my special day.  The weddings that stand out to me (and I think most others) is the ones that work in small, unexpected details.  The details are what I am getting lost in.  So, I come to you for help. 

I know that I my wedding colors are going to be a bright pink (more raspberry) and white. I will be married in a vineyard and the ceremony will be outside.   I am a girl who is attracted to shabby chic styles. I see myself using more vintage chic/rustic type of details and designs.  My friends and family would describe me as very preppy and not as trendy as other 25 year olds.  While I am not desperate for penny pinching ideas, I also do not have an extravagant budget to work with. Can you help me figure out where to begin?

SO, here’s what I’ve come up with. I wanted to use the raspberry shade, but offset it with shades of paler pink. As this bride is getting lost in the details, I chose some detail-oriented options, rather than some big-picture items.

Raspberry, Pink and White

Inspiration Board: Raspberry, Pink and White

First Row: Hershey Kisses Ring Photo by Kamila Harris Photography; wine cork placecards by LeapFrog photography; Cake table by MK Photography; shoes by Christian Louboutin, from Bluefly; Wine label by LeapFrog photography

Second Row: Flower girl picture by MK Photography; Centerpiece and tablescape arrangement by In Full Bloom Floral Design; bouquet by Kamila Harris Photography

Third Row: Personalized fans picture by MK Photography; raspberry checkerboard chocolates from Etsy; Invitation Suite by Bird and Banner; Dress featured in Martha Stewart Weddings;

Fourth Row: Champagne toast with Raspberries from MK Photography; dress by Vera Wang on Bluefly; Seating card, chair wrap and boutonierre from Martha Stewart Weddings

Fifth Row: Bridal Party and Flower cones by MK Photography

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