Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Reception

Let's face it ... 

... while the ceremony is the most important part of the wedding day, the reception usually is what causes the most stress, headaches, anxiety, etc. etc. etc.

Here's a fun post about some of the details of our beautiful reception.

Bruce really wanted his friends and family to be able to see the part of Connecticut that I grew up in and love and that he quickly fell in love with when we first started dating.  I agreed, but knew that it would be a challenge.  The northwest "hills" of Connecticut are known for small towns and local businesses - NOT hotels and banquet halls that can accommodate 230 people for a wedding.  Needless to say - we had to be creative.  We had originally planned to rent big tents and have the reception at my parents house, but started to think about the costs of renting two large tents for guests & dancing, one smaller tent for catering, a local industrial kitchen for the caterers, a dance floor, restrooms, and finding ways to transport from the church (because there isn't enough parking at my parent's house) we decided to change venues.

We ended up renting out the Community House, a town-owned building that sits on the church's property adjacent to the church building.  The building actually used to be owned by the church, but at one point I believe (don't quote me on this) the church donated the building to the town.  It is very multi-purposeful.  Growing up, I remember using it for the silent auction at our annual Harvest Fair, and seeing musicals & plays put on by the Kent Players.  As we were setting up for the reception, different people told me what they remember of it - how it used to be home to the local police department, used for fire department fundraisers, girl scout meetings, yoga classes and more.

The advantage to having the reception at the community house was that guests could literally walk across the lawn from the church to the reception, and they could get to their cars at any time.  The advantage to having the reception at the community house was that all of our vendors (caterers, cake bakers, liquor store owner) know the building well and there is a fully-sized industrial kitchen for the caterers downstairs.  The advantage to having the reception at the community house was that the building already had tables and chairs and we wouldn't need to rent any of them with our linens.

The biggest disadvantage to having the reception at the community house was the fact that we weren't in a banquet hall or hotel that does weddings week after week - we had to work out all the details, find individual vendors, rent linens & place settings, set up, decorate and remember guest amenities that normally the bride & groom and their families don't have to think about.  We were EXTREMELY lucky, though.  Our vendors thought of EVERYTHING and they worked well together to pull everything together.  They were all local, which was what we wanted and they helped us navigate the not-so-local things we needed to get (linens, place settings, etc.).  We were also really lucky that we had a lot of really enthusiastic church members that were willing to help us with all of the set-up.

This is the reception all set up and ready to go the night of the rehearsal!!  Because it's small town and my mom's the minister in town, we were able to get in all day the day before the wedding without a problem so we weren't doing any setting up the actual day of the wedding.  We took these pictures with the overhead lights on, so pictures just the twinkly lights and the candles lit on the table and that's how it looked the night of the wedding.

We put the head table up on the stage.  It was fun to sit up and look out at everyone - too bad I only really sat down at my table for maybe a total of ten minutes!! (There was always someone to talk to - why would I want to sit down?!)  

The two round tables were appetizer "towers" - apparently they were filled with food.  I actually never saw them, because by the time we finished with pictures, took a breather with our bridal party and made our way to the reception, the towers had been broken down and cleared away.  But I heard they were awesome and the appetizers were great!! (The long rectangular table was for the buffet - the caterers broke that down and then that whole area became a dance floor)

We set up the tables simply, but (hopefully) elegantly.  Black tablecloths, red rose pedals and mirrors with candles for the centerpieces.  It really looked beautiful with all of the glass glistening.

We didn't have any specific pattern to the centerpieces.  We put the mirrors down and started with the big candles.  The caterers and their staff took on the task of lighting hundreds of candles that night and replacing them to keep them lit throughout the night!!

I had asked my friend Courtney if she would be able to get us a cake knife & server set to cut the cake with and she OUTDID HERSELF.  Not only did she get a beautiful set (which I couldn't find a picture of but I'll keep looking), but she also got these matching champagne flutes and got everything engraved!!  They turned out amazing!!  They put our names on them, as well our wedding date and the word "peace" to match our wedding bands.

Our favors!!  These were actually kind of fun.  We bought champagne flutes in bulk at IKEA (two things we love - IKEA and different bar glasses), ordered matchboxes from Ideal Favors and tied on a note that told people we wanted them to continue to toast to the celebrations and blessings in their lives.  What was awesome was that the adults seemed to love them because they'll be able to use them and the kids loved them because ... 

... it gave them something to hold all of their candy in!!

This was one of my FAVORITE PARTS of the reception - the candy buffet!!  I saw the idea on The Knot and knew I HAD to have one at our wedding.  It was SO easy.  Bruce and I went and got jars at IKEA (if you, your parents or your friends have jars you can just use them - they don't need to match, we got all different kinds) and then Bethany and I went to Costco and got about $100-$150 worth of candy.  From then on out it's just a matter of being creative!!

The kids loved it, the adults loved it, Bruce & I loved it and it was SO simple.

I hope you enjoyed my reception!!


  1. I love this post. Your reception sounds perfect! So many great ideas and I'm so happy that you share them!! You can be certain that when I someday get married there will be plenty of questions headed your way!

  2. I wish I was there!!!!!!!!!!!!


Hello and thanks for commenting! Unless I have your email address, I respond to all questions directly in the comment form. Check back if you've asked one! xo, Sarah

Related Posts with Thumbnails