Monday, April 2, 2012

You're My Everything: Guests at Our Own Cocktail Hour

One of the perks of having a wedding early in the day is that you have substantial time between ceremony and reception to take care of all of your photos.  In other words, you actually get to attend cocktail hour!  By the time we carted ourselves back to the clubhouse, our guests were still filtering in; we hardly missed any fun at all.

Our first order of business during cocktail hour was inhaling a few handfuls of our delicious appetizers.  Neither of us had eaten since early that morning, and we were famished.

Once I had some sustenance, I hunted down my mom and hairdresser to help with my veil and bustle.  Now, I just need a moment to wax poetic about my bustle.  My seamstress created a side bustle to follow the drape of my dress, and she used sheer ribbon to form this inner support.  It was fantastic.  First of all, having it to the side was very convenient, as I wasn't worried about people behind me stepping on it, and I could keep an eye on it throughout the evening.  Pretty much, I could baby-sit my bustle more easily.  Secondly, the use of the sheer ribbon was perfect.  The entire bustle was crafted with four pairs of ribbon, which the seamstress numbered one through four. When it came time to actually bustle my dress, my mom (and godmother, who we intercepted in the bathroom) just had to hunt down the two ribbons numbered "1," tie them together, and move on.  It was much less confusing than other bustle constructions I've seen, and it lasted up until about the last hour of the evening.  I could have easily had my mom re-bustle by re-tying the ribbons, but by that point in the evening, I was having too much fun to care and decided to just hike up a few yards of fabric and carry on with the evening.

I'm not going to lie; by the time I arrived at cocktail hour, I was definitely ready to be de-veiled and bustled.  As gorgeous as my train and veil were, I was pining to be able to move without feeling like I needed a five-foot safety radius.  I was ready to navigate a room without needing an assistant behind me at all times.  At the risk of sounding overdramatic, taking my veil off and bustling my dress was freeing.  I felt like I had lost a few pounds and was ready to really get the reception started.

I'd have to say the highlight of our cocktail hour would be our signature cocktails.  We followed through with our plan to offer three special drinks, though it was a last-minute decision.  Leading up to the wedding, both of us picked our favorite drinks to serve as signature cocktails; we had the "Bill," which was Jameson on the rocks, and the "Jill," which was sweet tea vodka and lemonade.

Just enjoying my namesake cocktail
Photo by BM E

Up until about 10 days before the wedding, though, we simply couldn't come up with something that meshed our two flavor preferences in an effective and appealing way.  At (virtually) the last minute, inspiration struck.  While out at a local bar, one of our groomsmen bought our group of friends a shot called a "Royal Flush."  Both Mr. Snow Cone and I loved it, and we were pleasantly surprised when we learned the ingredients - whiskey, fruit liqueur, and fruit juice.  Finally, a drink that combined his liquor (whiskey) with mine (fruity), and tasted great, to boot!  So, on top of our personal favorite cocktails, we also offered one called "The Snow Cones," which had whiskey, peach schnapps, and cranberry juice.  I think our trio of signature cocktails helped the bar line to keep moving, and our guests seemed to love learning a bit about us.  I can't tell you how many times I'd have someone walk up to me, empty glass in hand, and declare, "I just finished a Bill!  Now I'm going to try a Jill!"  Happy couple, happy guests.

Speaking of happy guests, here's a glimpse into our cocktail hour fun:

Above 2 photos by family friend F
Photo by family friend F

While our guests were enjoying themselves, Mr. Snow Cone and I took advantage of this "down time" to catch up with some of our friends who had made the trip to Johnstown for the big day.

After having attended my own cocktail hour, I have one piece of advice: if you can make it to cocktail hour, do it.  This was one of the most enjoyable parts of the day for us.  We did a receiving line and we had plans to visit as many tables as possible during dinner service; however, the cocktail hour provided us with some bonus time to mix and mingle with guests.  We both agreed that without cocktail hour, the entire day would have been a lot more rushed and scattered.  The only way I can think to describe it is this: we attended cocktail hour not as the bride and the groom, but as guests of the event.  There weren't any expectations about who we talked to and for how long and when.  Instead, we moseyed our way through the crowd, sometimes together and sometimes separate, catching up with lots of people in a casual, unstructured way.  It was a refreshing change of pace from the go-go-go mentality that had surrounded much of the wedding day to this point.  For one blissful hour, my biggest concerns were having a signature cocktail in my hand and talking to my friends and family. 

All photos by the amazing Christina Garber unless otherwise noted
    You're My Everything: Just the Two of Us :  wedding pictures pittsburgh pro pics recap Snowco Snow+Co

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