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 

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