Our reception was held in an old Mennonite church that had been abandoned due to a feud between church members. Never a good thing, but we fell in love with it as soon as we walked in. It had some great characteristics including a large hole that had been cut into the center of the chapel floor to accommodate the large machinery of the new owner. An interesting solution that probably had some Mennonites turning over in their graves. Hopefully they would approve of the wedding decorations more than the farm equipment. It's now the Gem of the West museum and filled with all sorts of fun nicknacks.
Apparently some people had more fun with the museum than even I had anticipated. I hope they don't mind that I showed their pictures. It makes me laugh so hard.
Being drawn to a spring garden theme for a wedding reception is definitely a good idea, unless you live in the cold north where spring is just barely starting to show. But that didn't stop me! I had lots of ideas that didn't pan out, like forcing paperwhites. Such a pretty bulb. But they wouldn't ship them unless night time temps were above freezing. But, I found out that you can also force flowering tree branches and lily of the valley. Woohoo!
So Mike and I cut some branches from his barely budding apple, lilac and cherry trees and I set to work forcing their blossoms. It was amazing to see their progress every day, but it was the cherry branches that became the most showy. And while there weren't any blooms on the trees outside, we had some beautiful spring flowers inside.
To give spring even more of a boost I decided to bite the bullet and make giant paper flowers from postal wrapping paper. I really went back and forth about doing these flowers. I knew they would be very time consuming and possibly flop and if weren't for family members ready to pitch in wouldn't have happened. I love how they turned out. Some people took them home at the end of the night and I have a few on the wall in my office. Some hard work you just can't get rid of.
To keep with the relaxed feel for the reception I found some beautiful paper by Amy Butler that were made into pennant garlands to drape everywhere. You say circus, I say festive garden.
Our guest book table looked so pretty and had such a great concept behind it. People were asked to write down memories or give advice that we would then hang on the stage wall. I think there was a lot of confusion. Most people didn't fill it out and those that did gave us the same advice, don't go to bed angry. We also got a few notes that people were writing to each other and passing around. "That guy at the table to your left is pretty cute." "Should we go over and talk to him?" "I think he's married..." We had fun afterwards trying to figure out who wrote these notes.
Every wedding has a favor and ours was no different. Mike's mom recently passed away and we wanted to include her in the wedding. Gladiolas were a love of hers and as a result the family farm had hundreds of bulbs that we packaged up and placed on each dinner plate. I love how it turned out.
And the desert table. Pies surrounded by spring flowers, moss and logs. Some of the logs were cut to be pie stands and others were cut to accommodate succulents. Have you ever tried to buy moss online. Not cheap. However, if you happen to have a friend who lives in Oregon that is willing to go pillage the nearest forest or sidewalk, that's the direction you should go in.
We bought pies, but the best ones were made by my mom and aunts. Mom made our wedding pie, however, it didn't make it out of my brothers car until after the pie eating started. I do believe it was eaten though. Just not by the bride and groom.
Which leads us to mood lighting. I really wanted candles in mason jars. I loved the relaxed look, but mostly loved the idea of washing them afterwards and reusing the jars instead of buying candle holders that I wouldn't know what to do with afterwards.
All I can say is, if you plan on decorating yourself, it can't be done without the help of your family, the grooms family and friends. I think that is what makes it even more memorable. Having everyone rally around to pull off a seemingly impossible task. The talking the laughing the idea swapping...I don't know that I would abuse everyone if I were to do it again. I would probably go more simple. But if I did that, I wouldn't have the memories of the love expressed through those helping hands. And what a loss that would be.