Friday, March 30, 2012

You're My Everything: Just the Two of Us

After dismissing our families and bridal party, Mr. Snow Cone and I had some private time for pictures.  This was the first time we had, just the two of us (plus a photographer, of course), since the day began.  It was so nice to have a little span of quiet and privacy in the midst of the crazy, hectic day.  We started out on the upper part of the golf course, where all of our group shots had been taken.

I know this one is strikingly similar to the photo above; however, I love how it's a little less posed and more of a candid shot of the two of us looking at each other.  Just a sly little glance, but that moment always puts a smile on my face.

The week leading up to the wedding, my good ol' friend kept increasing the likelihood of precipitation for our wedding day.  The day before the wedding, I think we clocked in at 70%.  Looking at this sky, though, I think it's safe to say that forecast was just a smidge off.  About an hour after our reception ended, the skies did open up, though!

We were fortunate in that Christina had photographed her first wedding at Sunnehanna the week prior to ours.  She knew exactly what photo locations to use and took charge, which worked out wonderfully.  We hopped into the golf carts that Sunnehanna provided to us, and ducked onto a lower, more shaded hole on the golf course.  As we started posing there, a somewhat impatient golfer asked that we be quiet while he teed off.  Apparently the long white gown doesn't get you a total pass on your wedding day!

The hole we visited had a rustic fence, so we started there.

Once the less-than-enthused golfers had played through, we took over the tee area, resulting in some of my most favorite pictures of the day.  In fact, this first one below has evolved into our official wedding portrait, making the rounds on Christmas cards and the like.

If I had to pick one photo from our wedding day to encapsulate our relationship, it would be this one.  I love how we're both sporting goofy grins, mid-laugh, and we only have eyes for each other.

Mr. Snow Cone got a short reprieve from posing when he got assigned to fluff my veil for a few more bride portraits.  I don't think he minded one bit.

This photo below always strikes me as quintessentially western PA.  I love the rolling hills in the background, combined with all the different shades of green and blue.  We were so lucky to have such a perfect day!

Finally, our hours of picture-taking came to an end.  The new Mr. and Mrs. Snow Cone hopped back into our golf course and headed back to the clubhouse for the cocktail hour.

... but not before suffering an ill-timed golf cart crash!!

Ohhh, just kidding.  Christina asked us to pose like we were about to crash, and we didn't miss a beat before immediately making these faces.  Now this photo was the one selected for our first Christmas card as husband and wife.  Much more fitting, I do believe.

All photos by the amazing Christina Garber

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

You're My Everything: Getting Goofy on the Greens

One of the main draws of having our reception at Sunnehanna was the opportunity to take photos on the gorgeous golf course.  Neither Mr. Snow Cone nor I is a golfer; however, well-maintained landscaping, gorgeous shades of green, and rolling hills make for some premium wedding photo backdrops for anyone!

We started out pretty standard, with everyone lining up.  This is one of my favorite photos of the entire day.  It's the perfect combination of posed and relaxed. 

We then tried to take a bridal party jumping photo, without much success. 


Just kidding; we nailed it!

Reveling in the jumping success, Team Bride posed for some or some nontraditional shots.  This first one was inspired by a photo BM K stumbled upon prior to the wedding; I'm so glad she found it because it's such a nice way of showing off the flowers, dresses, and colors.

Team Groom decided they wanted some "artsy" shots, too.  First up: tough guys.


Then, they got a little more relaxed.

Then, the groomsmen got a lot more relaxed.

While it appears in the above photo that Mr. Snow Cone is looking at his friends with disappointment, that couldn't be further from the truth.  In fact, that is a pose of sheer jealousy.  He wanted in on the fun, so he remedied the situation.

Yessir, that's my new husband.  Being fondled and massaged by some of his best friends.  From the smiles below, though, I'd say that completely bizarre photo was worth it.

Once the gentlemen had stopped their shenanigans, Christina suggested the groomsmen hold me across them.  I can remember that request being met with initial excitement and then a lot of confusion at how you handle physically lifting up someone who a) is in a long gown, b) has a long veil, and c) is the new wife of one of your best friends... all while the newlyweds' parents look on.  Thankfully, the temporary awkwardness subsided and the men hoisted me up.  See?  I look totally relaxed in the photo.  Make sure you take special note of the groomsmen all the way to the left.  He's definitely pulling his weight. 

Not to be outdone, the bridesmaids immediately suggested a reversal of that photo.  Christina seemed surprised, saying that we were the first bridal party to attempt to hoist the groom up.  Attempt?  Please.  How about majorly succeed? 

Once we had all returned to solid ground, we did one more set of group photos with the bridal party.  Christina instructed us to hold hands and walk a few yards down the hill while she snapped away.  You'd think that a group of 20-somethings would be able to follow that simple set of instructions without any difficulty.  And you'd be wrong.  We kept lining up in a few separate lines, then big blobs formed, then some single-file line action occurred.  Finally, we got our act together, marching forward and making comments like, "What, you don't dress up in formal wear and walk around holding hands with 15 other people on a typical Saturday?  What's your deal?"

 Sigh.  Look at that sky.

By the time we came back up the hill, we were all kind of losing focus, laughing our heads off and having a jolly good time.

We dismissed the bridal party and snapped a few more portraits with our families.


Now, none of us can remember the context for this photo.  As a result, my family decided that this picture captures the moment that Mr. Snow Cone realized he was officially stuck with my kooky family for the rest of his days.

Finally, we were done with group pictures on the golf course.  We hopped into a golf cart and followed Christina down to a more secluded area of the course to snap some pictures of just the two of us.

All photos by the amazing Christina Garber

Sunday, March 25, 2012

You're My Everything: Detailing the Reception

The party bus pulled up to Sunnehanna with plenty of time to spare before the beginning of our cocktail hour, so it gave us the perfect opportunity to sneak a peek at some of the details that make a reception truly personal.

First, we saw the tables that would welcome our guests to the cocktail hour.  Upon entering the reception, our guests saw the table of our parents' and grandparents' wedding photos:

In front of the family photos, I created small memorial candles for our deceased grandparents.  We included a nod to them in our programs, but I wanted something additional, too.  As weird as this likely sounds, in my mind, programs are for the ceremony and our loved ones deserved the opportunity to be "present" at the reception, too.  I decided I needed a little something extra to bring our loved ones along to the party, and a simple memorial candle for each one fit the bill perfectly.

After taking in the family wedding photos, our guests came upon our creative guest book alternative, dreamed up by Mr. Snow Cone. 


Next to the guest book, we displayed our personalized mailbox, which earned rave reviews over the course of the evening!

Our guests had the opportunity to find their seating assignment on the oversized seating chart I made on PowerPoint the week of the wedding, complete with  the hydrangea motif and Monterey font from our invitations.

edited for privacy

Once our guests knew their assigned table, they were able to take in the flood of photographs sprinkled through the cocktail area.  Remember how I wanted to display childhood photos at the reception?  I decided to create some banners to drape around the cocktail hour tables.  Unintentionally, this turned out to be the perfect project to use our first batch of invitations - the backside of the invitations served as the ideal backing for the photos!  I made a few banners with photos of myself:

and a few to show off Mr. Snow Cone: 


Unexpectedly, as the reception got underway, our DJ asked me if those photos were originals or copies.  When I told him they were copies, he suggested we announce that guests were welcome to take any and all photos they were interested in.  At the end of the night, most of the photos were still left, but did have some guests express their gratitude at this generous gesture.  Definitely not what I had in mind when I made the banners, but it was a great on-the-fly solution to make our night a little extra special for our guests.

We also sprinkled photos of the two of us from our near-decade of dating around the cocktail hour area:


While marveling at the cocktail hour decor, Mr. Snow Cone snuck into the ballroom without me.  He came rushing back out with an ecstatic look on your face, exclaiming, "You have to look at your cake!"  Never one to need a second invitation to look at dessert, I obliged.  


I honestly couldn't have been more pleased with the finished product.  I waited until practically the last minute to sort out the cake details, only to find out that my original vision of clusters of hydrangea between the tiers was shot down by our baker and our florists.  Apparently the August heat and a delicate bloom away from a water source doesn't end well.  When the hydrangea plan went out the window, I gave our florists our baker's phone number and empowered the professionals to sort it out themselves, letting them know I trusted their judgement.  How's that for delegation??  They obviously did a great job, and it was perfect to have one less thing to micromanage the week of the wedding.

The cake table also had my toss bouquet and a cake topper we opted to use next to the cake. 

After oohing and aahing over the cake, Mr. Snow Cone and I took a step back to look at the ballroom in all of its glory.  Suffice it to say, we were completely floored at how fantastic it looked. 

It was bright, it was classy, it was fun, it was perfect.  While the catering staff scuttled about, finishing up the final details to the room, Mr. Snow Cone and I just stared at each other with dopey grins.  It was really happening.  It was just a short bit of time until our wedding reception began.  

Now, onto a complete tour of the room!  First up, our simple but stunning centerpieces.

Each table had a traditional table number, along with a framed "fun fact" about the Snow Cones.

Additionally, each place setting had a photo-sharing card and a menu, complete with the significance of our special dish selections.

Here's the total look of one of our guest tables:

One of the neatest features of the ballroom at Sunnehanna is the mantels that can be found at either end of the room.  Our florists did a bang-up job decorating them to match the look of the entire room, providing gorgeous bookends to the equally gorgeous room.

Finally, the last noteworthy detail of the ballroom was our toasting flutes, all four of them.

Now, I've highlighted the details of the cocktail hour area and the main ballroom.  For many weddings, those are the two most important spaces.  Not for the Snow Cone wedding, though.  Instead of going for a demure table of cookies tucked along the wall in the ballroom, we decided to do something a little more ambitious.  We transformed the tradition of a cookie table into an entire room devoted to this common wedding tradition in Pennsylvania.

When all was said and done, we blew our original goal of 2000 cookies out of the water.  We ended up with closer to 3000, thanks to the hard work of family and friends.  While I don't have a picture of it, I whipped up a framed sign to accompany the central cookie table, explaining the tradition and encouraging guests, especially those who may have been unfamiliar with this custom, to take a hearty handful of cookies.  We knew that if people politely took one or two, we'd end up with a ridiculous amount of cookies leftover.  If you look at the photos above, you'll notice that we even provided purple doggy bags to give people that final push toward gluttony!

The cookie room, as it was so fondly called, had a few other big-ticket items in it.  Namely, the groom's cake: 

And a coffee and liqueur bar.  Sure, it wasn't cookies and milk, but I don't think people minded the extra opportunity to imbibe.  It was a party, after all!

As gorgeous as our reception space turned out to be, we couldn't spend all afternoon enjoying the decor.  We had photos to take!

All photos by the amazing Christina Garber