Figuring out all the little details of our wedding was by far the most fun part of the process, but it was also the most strenuous. There are so many little details you never even think about until you start planning a wedding (Do you have special glasses for your toast? Are you bringing your own cake knife? Who’s setting up your favors? Are you aware that there is a cake cutting and plating fee? Who’s responsible for picking things up? Whaaaaat?!). I mean here I thought, I picked my dress, we found a venue, we chose a cake and that was that. Ha! Also, did I mention Mr. RC and I decided to be our own wedding planners? And Pinterest convinced me that I could DIY just about everything?! Oh and I had to be hospitalized and have emergency surgery about a week and a half before the wedding?! Ay-yi-yi-yi! Talk about a nervous break down! Somehow everything managed to work out in one form or another….
Is it just me or are the prices of wedding invitations (a piece of paper with some writing on it, mind you) more expensive than a down payment on a house?! Mr. RC and I decided to design our own instead, so we came up with a simple “logo” that included a silhouette of the NYC skyline and the letter of each of our first names. We used that logo on our invitations, R.S.V.P cards, and our menu cards, all of which we got printed at Paper Presentation. Any other tags, signs, etc that needed to be made, we printed ourselves on nice paper that we had purchased from Paper Presentation as well.
Because we chose to get married in a church (and the churches in Manhattan are old, ornately decorated and gorgeous), we didn’t need to do a lot as far as decorating or details. In fact we didn’t even plan to have flowers for the altar, until my Mom found out the day before the wedding and sent one of my friends to a Bodega Saturday morning in search of flowers. Embarrassing but true! I’m forever appreciative of my friend for stepping in to do this and my Mom for being a botanist and knowing how to make a killer flower display out of simple flowers from the street corner market. We had a few other things planned, but due to the afore-mentioned hospitalization, the ideas were quickly deemed as unnecessary and they were nixed.
Mr. RC and I had planned out our own wedding programs, with funny writing, printed on nice paper and being rolled up and tied with gold ribbon. Unfortunately, they somehow were forgotten about until Friday morning….right BEFORE the wedding, when I was dressing for my bridal shower, writing thank you notes, wrapping bridal party gifts and packing for the wedding and honeymoon. I mean, why not throw in typing up wedding programs, just for fun, right?! It was a disaster! They ended up still being the funny writing that we had planned on, but they didn’t get tied with ribbon or printed on nice paper. I know it wasn’t a crucial part of the wedding but it was one of the things I was most disappointed in. Now I can laugh at it, but looking back I probably should have gotten a giant chalkboard sign and just written everything on that. No one keeps programs anyways, right?!
We kept the music simple, hiring a violinist to play some of our favorite songs. Her car broke down and she wasn’t able to play prelude music, but thankfully she arrived just in time for our ceremony. Another disaster averted.
For our rings, my brother carried them in a box that Mr. RC and my brother made. They started with a simple plain wooden box from Michael’s that cost only a couple of dollars. They then spray painted it a rose gold color and lined the inside with cream-colored felt. The circular portion of the lid was painted with chalkboard paint and my brother completed it with a chalk heart and the words “Mrs. and Mr.” (yes, it was supposed to say “Mr. and Mrs”, but it worked regardless). It was a simple project, that cost only a few dollars and it now sits on my office bookshelves holding a few treasures from our special day.
There was a lot going on at the reception, so brace yourself for the information that I’m about to dump on you right now.
I’ll start with the reception decor. The room we used at Maritime Parc was a perfectly clean slate that had the potential for endless decorating options. However, because of the big windows that boasted beautiful views of the skyline, we decided to emphasize that and keep the decor simple. Each table held a few small arrangements in mercury glass containers (from Flower Girl) along with several votives. We put one menu in the center of each table, held up by a small silver photo clip stand that said “Love” (thank you dollar section of Party Central).
As a way to commemorate where we live, each table had a NYC themed figure (i.e. a Statue of Liberty, a taxi car, an apple). Each guest’s place card then said whether they were sitting at the Flat Iron building, Times Square, etc.
For the place cards, we used twine to tie a tag to a small jar which doubled, not only as the indicator of where you were sitting, but also as a place to stock up on candy from the candy bar and a yummy party favor (more on the candy bar coming tomorrow).
We kept the linens neutral in white and gray.
We loved the idea of sparklers, but we were unsure if all our guests would stay to the end of the reception. So instead of a sparkler exit we chose to have a sparkler entrance! We made a chalkboard sign with a piece of wood from Michael’s painted with chalkboard paint, we ordered long sparklers from on-line, and we presented them in tall mason jars that my Mom had.
Mr. RC and I are huge scrabble nerds so we knew we had to find a way to incorporate that into our wedding. Our guest book was a scrabble board game and we made a “Sign Here” sign out of some of the remaining letters and letter stand.
While it didn’t end up getting much attention, we made a “Kissing Tree“, writing various things/dares on tags that people would have to do if they wanted to see us kiss. We tied the tags to a tree branch stuck into a clear vase full of glittery sand, and while I think only a few of the tags got used, it still made for a pretty decoration next to our guest book.
Mr. RC’s aunt kindly put together an incredible slideshow of pictures (mostly embarrassing ones) of us throughout our lives, which was highly entertaining for everyone to watch while they enjoyed their meal.
The cake, red velvet with cannoli cream filling, was a pretty ombre pink ruffled fondant one straight from a Pinterest picture. Our cake toppers were bride and groom felt octopus we found on Etsy, which again was a way for us to incorporate something with a special meaning to us.
We also paid tribute to another special place, Barbados (where we got engaged), by having a rum punch cocktail as our signature drink.
While a photo booth didn’t end up working into our budget, we still wanted to make sure people had fun taking pictures. We made a DIY photo booth corner complete with props and disposable cameras, which I will discuss in more detail tomorrow.
As far as music was concerned, we had the violinist from our ceremony play the cocktail hour and then we had a dj take over for the remainder of the reception.
My biggest tip for reception details is to make things personal. Find a way to include things that are handmade, personal items from family members, and things that are unique to you as a couple. Incorporate your hobbies, the place you got engaged, a nickname, your favorite board game, your favorite book, places you’ve lived, where your family is from, etc. It will really help put a nice touch on your wedding and create a more intimate atmosphere.
All pictures taken by our incredible wedding photographer Lesley of Kensington Blue
Check out my other wedding posts here and here.