Friday, July 30, 2010

our wedding: reception details

Mr. FP. Sure, he's a detail. Or, at least, his tie is. It was made custom by Etsy's toybreaker and everyone loved it. The boys sporting similar ones, but theirs were in black while his was charcoal. Want "tie that don't suck"? Check out toybreaker. I desperately need to get my hands on one of their silk scarves.

Hours, and hours, and hours, and hours were spent on these babies. I never want to see another piece of tissue paper so long as I live. Okay, that's a lie. But it will be a very long time before I make any more of these poms again. But it was worth it. In combination with the white paper lanterns, these beauties added a nice punch of color to the otherwise white space and we got so many compliments on them. Plus some requests from my sister's friends who simply must have some for their bedrooms. Thank goodness we had left overs. And the rest? They're hanging from our living room ceiling, forever reminding us of our wedding tent.

Mario and Peach. Read all about their creation here. I'm pretty sure our ring bearer was hoping we'd ask him to take our cake topper home with him. Tough. We're hanging on to this baby.

The reception flowers. One of the best ways we saved money. From the first months of our engagement, I was panicked about how much centerpieces would cost. $30 a pop? Times 12 tables? I mean, that's not expensive by normal wedding standards, but it could easily take up 1/8 of our budget. Ah, hell no. Thankfully, I came across the idea of potted centerpieces and fell in love with the idea. So I painted pots and we purchased the flowers two weeks before the wedding. We went with a mix of gebera- and dahlia-esque potted plants in a variety of colors and my grandmother was kind enough to plant and tend to them. Combine that with some gorgeous fabric and voila! centerpieces for under $6 each.

(guest photo)

Our fortune telling fish. The funniest novelty I'd ever heard of. When I came across them in HeyYoYo's Etsy shop, I had to have them for the wedding. Thankfully, Mr. FP concurred. Basically, they're supposed to tell the mood of the person whose hand they touch, depending on how their heads or tail moves. So if its head moves, you're feeling jealous. If its sides curl up, you're fickle. Etc, etc. Not an exact science, but hey, neither was our wedding.

We scattered them around the guest tables and were thrilled that people seemed to be enjoying them. Some people got so worked up by the results (especially when some members of the older generation kept getting "passionate") and they turned out to be quite the conversation piece. And even if fortune telling fish aren't your thing, you should definitely check out HeyYoYo; they have some seriously hilariously stuff, wedding or no.

Case in point.

(photo by yours truly)

(all photos by our photographer, unless otherwise stated)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

DIY: card box (er, cage)

In the months leading up to our wedding, we were struggling to find a suitable solution for a card box. Every single card box option we looked at was either boring, overdone, or cheesy.

And 3 weeks before the wedding, we were still at a loss. No card box yet no desire to settle for something ugly or traditional... which usually turned out to be one in the same for us. We were looking for something unique, something interesting. And if we got really lucky, we were hoping to have something that we could re-purpose after the wedding for apartment art.

In the back of my mind, I held the ultimate solution. A bird cage card box. Pretty. Unique. Re-purpose-able. Perfect.

Yet, after scouring Michaels, Winners, HomeSense, and even a couple TJ Maxx's during our trip to Florida, I had yet to find any trace of a bird cage. Actually, that's a lie. I found a really cute one at Michaels, but it was way too small. As in, couldn't really even fit a card in it kind of small, so obviously that wasn't an option. Sad bride.

Who knew that the solution to our problem would come from my parents' shed. The shed full of creepy spiders and the lawn mower also happened to hold the solution to our card box issue.

After explaining the issue to my mom and asking her to keep an eye out at any auctions or yard sales she attends between then and the wedding, she pulled out a weird kind of cage. It wasn't a bird cage, per se, and it was in three separate pieces, it had no real hole for inserting cards, and to add insult to injury, it was a really unfortunate color of brown. (I desperately wish I had a before picture to share, but alas, I do not. Just trust me, it was really bad. Like, photo booth chalkboard before the paint job, kind of bad.)

Nonetheless, I took it home determined to make it work. Somehow.

Problem #1: It's in 3 separate pieces: top, middle, bottom.
Solution: Twist ties.

Problem #2: There's no hole to insert cards.
Solution: Cut the skinny wooden dowels that held it together in a straight line to make enough room to insert a card.

Problem #3: It was brown. Really dark, really ugly brown.
Solution: Spray paint for any kind of surface in a really pretty shade of blue.

And yet, even after all this work, it still didn't look quite right. The cuts that I had made to make room for cards wasn't straight and it looked horrendous. Thank goodness for ribbon. Lace ribbon, in fact. What a life saver. My new motto? If anything ever looks strange, put ribbon on it.

Slap on a piece of paper attached to a chunk of card stock to let people know what it's for, and voila! card cage.

(all photos by me, except the first, which is by our photographer)

And the best thing about this option? We didn't even have to make space on a table for it. Because of the hook on the top, we were able to hang it like a real bird cage in the reception tent.
Here it is on the left, hanging up next to the gift table as the kids oogle at the candy buffet.


(guest photo)

In the end, we never really solved our card box problem because didn't have a card box. We had a card cage. And although the twist ties we used to hold it together weren't a permanent solution (they lasted the entire wedding night, but gave way a week after the wedding when we tried to hang it in our apartment), it was a perfect last minute fix.

The total cost for the whole project worked out to about $10 since the spray paint cost $7 and the lace ribbon was from the dollar store.

Man, I love spray paint.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

our wedding: the reception pt. 2

By the time the reception came to a close, the cupcakes had been devoured, the candy buffet had been cleared out a dozen or so bottles of wine had been emptied. The in-between time is where the good stuff happens.

Aside from the food, our reception was full of laughter and celebration. Exactly what we needed.

Our officiant, Rosemary, sporting one of the photo booth props. Seriously, get an officiant you can laugh with. It worked wonders for us.

As unique and nontraditional as our wedding was, traditional and wonderful things remained standing during our reception. We had speeches. Heartfelt ones and hilarious ones. One in particular which will stand out forever in which my father, along with my cousins, brother, and sister, threatened Mr. FP's life with a dozen soccer balls.

To understand that one, you would have had to experience the first Thanksgiving dinner Mr. FP had ever spent with my family. It happened to be a perfect day for playing soccer that day and, being the soccer fiend that he is, Mr. FP decided to join in a not-really-a-game game of soccer on our front long with my cousins. Somewhere along the way, he recieved a blow with the soccer ball in a face courtesy of my cousin which broke his glasses in two. Entirely in two. To the point where he walked around like Harry Potter for a week with tape wrapped around the nose piece of his glasses.

This is the story that my father meticulously recreated for our guests during the reception in order to emphasize his desire that Mr. FP treat me properly in our married life. At the end of his speech, all of my cousins and siblings gracefully stood up and took out the soccer balls that had been hidden beneath their seats in order to remind Mr. FP of the bodily harm which awaits him should he cause me any heartache.

I laughed until I cried.
As far as I'm concerned, this takes the cake as far as father-of-the-bride speeches go.

And, of course, the obligatory traditional of tapping glasses to get the bride and groom to kiss was in full force that evening as well. Although, our wedding put a funny twist on it since we didn't actually use glass cups. Seeing people try to make a sound loud enough on the plastic wine glasses was hilarious.

Plastic drinkware? I know, I know, The Knot would cringe to hear this. Nevertheless, it worked perfectly for us. They were cheap and cheerful in a beautiful shade of blue. Plus, they were easy to clean up and we didn't have to worry about replacing any broken cups like we would have had to if we'd rented them.

In addition to the speeches, we were serenaded with a few verses of Taylor Swift by my precious little cousins. As if they hadn't done enough by helping with programs or acting as flower girls, they took it upon themselves to sing to us during the reception as well.

And that was it. The food was eaten. The wine was gulped. The cupcakes had been feverishly consumed. The candy buffet was empty (literally, empty, something Mr. FP is still bitter about because he didn't get to scoop any for himself).

There was no dramatic exit that signaled the end of the reception because we were spending the night at the cottage, so this gave guests the chance to periodically say their goodbyes to us. In addition to circling around the reception to visit each table, the individual goodbyes gave us a great opportunity to thank everyone for coming and to make sure we'd spent at least a little time with each person.

My older cousins and some friends were kind enough to act as shuttles for our guests since they had to park on the main road due to limited parking at the actual cottage. Although we'd been worried about how this would work, our guests responded extremely well and they knew who to find when they needed a ride back to the car. Friend valets rock.

By 9pm, most people were saying their last goodbyes and Mr. FP and I were more than ready for the day to be done. Although I understand the desire to dance the night away and party until 3am on your wedding day, that's just not us. We were ready to get changed and settle into the cottage's couch.

But, of course, we were in for one more giant surprise before turning in.
The weather.

Remember that little hazard? In spite of the fact that I knew we would have an amazing wedding regardless of the weather, I had worried myself sick about the weather and we were blessed that it had help out all day. All day, that is, until around 8:30. At that time, the downpour of all downpours began and we were thankful to have tents. And let me tell you, it was a blessing. We'd been so warm all day that it was nice to be refreshed by the rain. In fact, Mr. FP promptly removed his silk tie and took the opportunity to stand in the rain for a solid 5 minutes.

Everyone always says that rain on a wedding day is good luck. But with our outdoor venue, I thought rain was the kind of luck we could do without. Thankfully for us, we got both. Sunshine for the ceremony, photos, and reception and a torrential downpour to cap off the day.

And despite all the opinions we'd received prior to the wedding about spending the wedding night at the cottage when other family members would be staying there, the cottage turned out to be perfect. Almost every person who found out that we weren't going to an inn or hotel for that night had some sort of adverse reaction: "but, you'll want to be alone" ... "you can't spend your wedding night at a cottage" ... "aren't your parents, sister, aunt, uncle, and cousin staying there that night too?"

Screw them. We didn't have to pack, we barely had to move. A simple walk across the lawn from the reception tent and voila!, the honeymoon suite. And the next morning, it was a 40 foot walk to some of the best swimming ever. Nothing could have been better for us, so I'm glad we didn't cave into other people's ridiculous expectations for our wedding night. It was, after all, our wedding night. Some people have a difficult time getting that. Idiots.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

our wedding: the reception

I specifically remember heaving a huge sigh of relief when the ceremony was done and the formal portraits had been taken. As overjoyed as I was with the ceremony, let's face it, it's the nerve-wracking part of the day and I was just excited for the reception at that point. Plus, I was starving. Pit in my stomach kind of starving.

So we got changed up, me in a sundress and cardigan while Mr. FP ditched his jacket. And so the accessory dilemma was solved. Like Amberdawn suggested in her comment on that post, I decided to go with the sash and veil for the ceremony and saved the hair flower and cardigan for later (as much as it killed me to leave that cardigan behind during the ceremony...).

And as physically necessary as changing outfits was, it was also a nice emotional break for us to be alone even if only for 10 minutes. Although we're not Jewish, the whole concept of yichud completely makes sense to me now. We'd gone through practically the whole day together at that point, but amidst the furry of getting everything ready, we hadn't exactly had time to connect emotionally.

I'd highly suggest taking at least a few minutes alone together. Seriously. Do it.

We arrived to the reception without a big entrance. No marching band. No music, other than the iPod playlist that played softly in the background. No choreographed dance. No first dance, even. We just walked in to a round of applause. Simple. And perfectly us.

(all photos, except the last, by our photographer)

Then it was time to eat. Oh my God, was it ever time to eat. And the food was amazing. As I've mentioned numerous times before, I had no interest in the food at our wedding. I wanted there to be plenty for everyone, but I could not have cared less about what it was, as long as there was something vegetarian for myself and those who are so inclined. So my mom was kind enough to liaise with a local catering company which happened to be run by a man who grew up in the same area as my mother. And let me tell you, the food was awesome. Plenty of salad, potatoes, veggies and apparently, the pork tenderloin was ridiculously tasty.

As far as drinks went, we bought tons of cans of pop and the caterer brought a gigantic water dispenser which we left on one of the food tables so people could help themselves. My aunt and uncle were also nice enough to provide plenty of wine which people promptly devoured.

Yeah, yeah, okay, so there was food.
People drank lots, fine.

I know that what you're really interested in is the desserts.
No? Oh, it must just be me, then.
I was thrilled when it was time for dessert.

Mr. FP's aunt has promised us some of her famous chocolate mini cheesecakes and I couldn't wait for them. In addition to those, the catering company brought tons of fruit to be dipped in the milk chocolate, caramel, and white chocolate fountains they supplied. Yep, that's right. 3 fountains of deliciousness. Go, mom.

And of course, the cupcakes had been successfully iced and setup on the cupcake stand (by my awesome aunts) and were quickly eaten. I'm pretty sure the kiddies had made it over to visit Mario and Peach before they'd even finished their dinner. Too funny.

In the kerfuffle of the day, I completely forgot something for the cupcakes that I'd always intended to make: cards to distinguish between cupcake flavors. I'm ticked I forgot those because I was concerned about allergies, but as it turns out, the guests who did have allergies were comfortable enough to ask either myself or Mr. FP which ones were safe for them. But even so, silly me for forgetting that.

Speaking of silly, I couldn't get over how funny the kids' reactions were to the candy buffet which double as our guest favors. I think this photo speaks for itself.

(guest photo)

If only there were drool dripping from their mouths, then it would be perfect. They went crazy over it. As did the adults, for that matter. More details on the candy buffet coming soon.

Okay, that's it, this post is turning into a novel. Part 2 of the reception tomorrow.

Friday, July 23, 2010

our wedding: ceremony details

Here's some more photos from the ceremony. We're so blessed to have had a photographer who took note of the details we worked so hard on for so many months. She's my hero.

Our ceremony musician, a friend of Mr. FP's and a local musician who did an awesome job. Or, at least, so I'm told. I was a little too focused on walking down the aisle to hear him. Pathetic, I know. He played "Today" as everyone walked down the aisle, which ended up being very appropriate since he openly admits to having a man crush on Joshua Radin.

Tree face! These bad boys are scattered all over the trees at the cottage and they're all unique and hilarious.

Our program attendant, sitting patiently. Thank goodness for calm children.

Our programs. I made 80 of these and I have absolutely no desire to ever do that again. The only consolation in the seemingly never-ending program assembly process? The cute little owls.

Our amazing handmade rings done by fabuluster on Etsy. We cannot thank Jess and Brent Williams enough for these pieces of art that we get to wear on our fingers. And I'm thankful to have some good shots of them because mine never quite did them justice. Read more about them in these posts.

Our rings in their nest. I think our ring bearer may have been a little thrown off guard when we told him he'd be carrying a nest, but he rocked it.

Our vow sheet which we shared. Complete with typo.

The chairs. Which took me way too long to set up. Good thing they're pretty, or else I'd hate them.

One of my favorite things about the ceremony, Mr. FP's feet. The choice of Converse had been much debated in the past (his dad informed him that he "can't get all dressed up in a suit and then wear sneakers"), but I'm so thrilled he wore them. I can't help but see a pair of black high tops and have them remind me of him, even though I know millions of people wear them. But, hey, I'm not alone in that. My little cousins once saw me wearing Converse and proceeded to make fun of me for wearing Mr. FP's shoes. Because, of course, no one else in the world wore them as far as they knew at the time. I love kids.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

our wedding: the ceremony

And with that, down the aisle we headed. It wasn't nearly as scary as I thought it would be. I was so happy at that point to see all our friends and family with us that it took the pressure off. Plus, I had no shoes on. Walking through the grass barefoot seems to instantly make any awkward moment more comfortable.

(guest photo, all other photos were taken by our photographer)

The ceremony went off without a hitch from where we were standing. We were shortly interrupted by a couple of water vehicles but that only made the Mr. and I laugh. No panic. No anger. No annoyance. Just funny.

our awesome officiant, Rosemary

The ceremony wasn't as romantic as I thought it would be. For some reason, I'd built it up in my head as a ridiculously intimate and emotional experience. And it sort of was.

Emotional? Yes. Intimate? No.

When you think of it, it's hard to have an intimate and romantic moment with your partner when you're standing in front of 80 people. I should have thought of that sooner, but I didn't. Even so, the readings made people laugh and I managed to avoid crying, which was a major bonus and I wouldn't have had it any other way. It was a happy 15 minutes, like it should have been, not a sobbing, blubbering, mess of mascara moment.

It was especially funny for me because at one point, I realized that Mr. FP wasn't paying attention. Yep, that's right, in the middle of our ceremony I look over and he's not listening at all to what the officiant saying. What's he doing? Looking at the audience. Typical. It made me giggle. And even more amusing is the fact that he didn't even recognize it at the time. Nope, I had to show him a photo from our ceremony where his eyes are on the audience while the officiant is speaking. So typical. What a man.

Our pretty flower girls, who did a great job walking down the aisle despite their many concerns about this. These concerns were expressed to us in the days before the wedding with about a bajillion questions about their "jobs" in the wedding. Thankfully, the rehearsal seems to calm their nerves slightly.

Rosemary with the rings

Thankfully, we did have one excessively special moment during the ceremony. Our first kiss could not have been better. For the first moment in all the time we'd been standing up there, our first kiss made me feel like we were the only ones there. Cliche, maybe. But true. And I loved it.

And when it was done, we followed it up with wedding party photos which were hilarious, formal portraits which were annoying (who knew we had so much family?!), and couple portraits which were amusing and surprisingly relaxing thanks to our amazing photographer who is such a goof.

At that point, I was able to ditch the veil and change into a short sun dress. For all you summer/outdoor wedding ladies out there, I'd highly recommend having a change of clothing if your wedding dress is long. Mine was simple. Strapless. Light fabric. Two layers. No tulle. But it was long and incredibly warm. And the sun wasn't even if full force that day! I was thankful to get out of it.

Plus, if your wedding dress is tight fitting, how the hell are you going to eat 1,282 cupcakes? Pfft.

our wedding: getting ready

I know, I know, I'm a posting slacka. I'm a recap slacka. I'm a horrible blogger. But I have two words for you... tooth extraction. Yeah, ew. But I'm back now so give me a break.

Once noon rolled around, Mr. FP and his boys were kicked out of the cottage as the girls needed to start their prep work. For weeks, we'd been wondering where the boys would go when the girls needed to get ready. We'd thought about renting a room at a local inn where some guests were staying, but for 3 hours, this seemed wasteful. And having them drive 40 minutes back to the city didn't even make sense.

Thankfully, we got a call a week before the wedding from my aunt who owns a cottage across the water from my grandparents' cottage, where we were. She kindly offered her cottage to us if we needed extra space for the wedding party or guests to sleep. Of course, we promptly took her up on the offer and were able to use her place (which was only 5 minutes away) as men's locker and dressing room. Talk about a huge, last-minute blessing.

Getting ready went pretty much as scheduled. But it was at this point in the day where my brain turned to mush. I forgot to paint my nails. I didn't have the time or energy to curl my hair. I forgot to give the flower girls the pins that I had made for them. Maybe it was partly because things were still in boxes all around us or maybe it was that I was too frantic, but things were forgotten. Oh well. That's life. Looking back, I could care less. It doesn't phase me in the slightest that my hair wasn't curly or that my nails weren't perfect. Getting married is enough work for one day.

photos by our photographer, click to enlarge

One thing that I do look back fondly about that time of the day is our decision to break with tradition. Not only had Mr. FP and I spent the night before the wedding and the morning of the day together, but once we were both ready, we spent the moments before the ceremony together as well.

When we got back from my aunt's cottage with his men and lady, he simply walked back into the cottage and told me how beautiful I looked. There was no "first look" photos. It wasn't a dramatic moment. It wasn't even romantic.

You know what it was? It was relaxing. Relaxing as hell.

Having him with me in the last moments before I walked down the aisle was one of the best decisions we made that day and I wouldn't change it for the world.

I'm sure some people around us weren't so impressed. In fact, they were probably shocked and secretly disapproved of the whole thing. That, I am sure of. But I am also sure that I don't care. Why the hell would I want to be unnecessarily nervous on one of the most joyous day of our lives? That is one tradition I have never understood and one that we had absolutely no desire to replicate. Thank goodness for that.

In the mean time, our beautiful photographer arrived and started doing her thing. Outside there was a constant influx of guests as more and more people started to arrive.

At one point, we had way too many people packed in the tiny kitchen of the cottage, but it was nice to see some of my aunts, uncles and cousins before the ceremony.

(my pretty cousin and our program attendant with her program basket)

Our music man came early as well, partly to setup and partly to do what you see below in this photo one of our guests took.

Cottages rock.

Monday, July 19, 2010

DIY flower suggestions

After writing three parts about the seemingly never-ending drama surrounding our wedding flowers, I thought it might be encouraging for those of you considering the DIY flower route to compile a list of tips.

Coming from the other side, I can't guarantee that it will be easy. In fact, I'd like to guarantee that it won't be easy. Realistic? Yes. Depressing? No.

Despite the drama and difficulties we faced due to our decision to go DIY, I wouldn't change a thing. So, you ambitious amateur florists, here's some things to keep in mind:

- Don't be intimidated. People make such a big deal about flowers but they're not scary. If you've done your research, it's nothing to panic about. Everyone has a florist hidden inside them somewhere. So don't listen to all the people that will tell you that "doing your own flowers will stress you out like crazy. And who wants stress the day before their wedding?" No one. Good thing flowers aren't that stressful.

- Do them the day before. Unless your wedding is at 9 pm, chances are you won't have enough time to arrange on the big day. Plus, it's good for the flowers to be freshly cut and soaked overnight before the wedding because it keeps them looking fresh.

- Have help. Lots of it. Your hands will thank you. If I'd had to hold that bouquet for 40 minutes by myself, my fingers may have fallen off. Plus, without help, it would likely take upwards of 5 hours.

- Use your help. If you're anything like me, you'll think you can do it all yourself. There's no point in having helpers if you're going to insist upon arranging each and every bouquet personally. Have the final say before the bouquets get taped if you want, but let your helpers divide the brunt of the work amongst themselves.

(all photos by our wedding photographer; click images to enlarge)

- Step away. Get one of your helpers to hold the bouquet a few feet away from you so you can see what it really looks like. I held my bouquet for 30 minutes straight but it wasn't until one of the girls took it from me and stood back that I could really see what it looked like. After that, I was able to better judge where flowers needed to be added to fill holes.

- Have tons of rubber bands on hand. I mentioned before how most people insist upon taping the bouquets as each flower or two is added, but as an indecisive person, this never would have works for me. It took me about 10 minutes to get the bouquet together and I spend the next 40 picking out certain stems to move them here or there, adding different types or colors, and just a whole lot of general rearranging. If you rubber band the bouquet when you think you might be done, you can step back and take a look without it falling apart but it also gives you the chance to make changes.

- It doesn't have to be perfect from all sides. No matter what I did, there was one side of my bouquet that didn't look quite right. Instead of trying to add more flowers to the already full bouquet, I just decided to hold it from a different angle. (Adding a brooch or pin of some sort will help you remember which side is the front on the wedding day.)

- I said it before and I'll say it again: be flexible with your flower selection. If you're depending on grocery stores or Farmer's markets like I did, you'll want to have a few different ideas lined up. I didn't get the wildflower bouquet I was thinking of, but I'd seen so many other bouquets that I knew peonies and spider mums would work. Typically, grocery stores don't stock certain sought after flowers like Calla Lillies or peonies, so be prepared for that. If you have your heart set on something, make sure you pre-order. You can still arrange them yourself, but at least you'll have the guarantee that your favorites will be there.

- Buy floral tape. Lots of it. Normal tape probably won't cut it. And if you want things to be extra secure, buy floral wire and corsage pins from a place like Michaels or Wal-Mart.

- When in doubt, add foliage. Even if its stuff you collect from your backyard (like we did), it'll add some dimension to the bouquets and provides a cheap way to fill out a bouquet if you're on a strict budget. And hell, even if you're not on a budget, it looks cool.

- Most importantly, stay calm and do what feels right regardless of your preconceived notions about what kind of flowers you'd have or what shape the bouquets would be. Remember that, despite all your careful planning, DIY projects don't always turn out exactly how you think they will. But keep in mind that this doesn't mean your flowers will be any less amazing than you were hoping they'd be.

(I say this, specifically, because I would have loved for someone to remind me of this very fact when I was freaking out at the grocery store...)