Thursday, January 29, 2009

That Wedding: Dining Details

Walking into the Great Room for our first dance was my first glimpse of the room, and when we sat down after our dance I took a few seconds to soak everything in. Tiffany (my DOC), my wonderful Aunt Janelle, my mom (because I know she wouldn't be able to resist helping), and Donna (the hotel coordinator) set things up even better than I could have directed, and I didn't have to lift a finger to do any of it.

I love the bright splash of color that the punch adds. This is where not having a color scheme comes in handy.

Our little sweetheart table was just what we needed. We were very gushy throughout the entire meal, staring into teach others eyes and repeating over and over "We're married. Can you believe it?"

Tables were named after locations found in our favorite novels. I have to admit that I was stumped concerning what the tables should be named and That Mother suggested they be named after our favorite novels. Why didn't I think of that? I decided it would be more fun to name them after the famous locations found in those books. It turned out to be a fun chance for guests to try to figure out what novels were being represented at each table.

Our table was named Paradiso. Where else would the bride and groom sit? I liked Inferno much better, but it didn't seem very appropriate for a wedding.

Our fluffy mini book centerpiece was topped off with an antique book That Mother found in France last summer.

Our table name signs were rather flimsy and we needed a way to have them sitting high enough for guests to easily find where they were sitting. The solution was taking wire, wrapping double strands around a pencil to create loops that would hold the paper, and then creating two larger loops on the bottom to hold it up. That Mother's ability to dream up inexpensive solutions to the common problems encountered during wedding planning amazes me.

Table signs were fashioned by ripping (gently) pages out of an old novel we found at antique and thrift stores. That Mother gently taped the book page to a sheet of printing paper and printed the table names directly on the novel's pages. If you look closely at some of the signs you will see that some of them have text from the novel on them! I think it was a fictional book about Cuba. I didn't really proofread the pages, I hope they were appropriate for the event!

Below are all of the table names we used. Can you tell which novels these locations can be found in?

Pretend that "a" is really an "e" to spell Hertfordshire. This is why wedding projects should not be done late at night.

This table contained the only novel That Groom could think of as a favorite. He is more of a non-fiction business themed book kind of guy. He originally suggested Lord of the Rings as his favorite and I said "What location are we going to name the table after from LOTR, Mordor?" We decided to go with The Hobbit instead.

This one was also a little bit of a stretch. I've never actually read Frank Baum's "The Wizard of Oz", but I do really love the play Wicked and I've read the novel that inspired it. That counts, right?

I do realize that Anne didn't actually live in a town named Green Gables. If I can change the spelling of Hertfordshire I can certainly reinvent where Anne fell in love with Gilbert Blythe, right?

Each centerpiece was resting on a stack of antique books. I think my favorite is the enormous yearbook from 1920, with record of women's sports teams playing croquet matches and such. I originally wanted to find books that would be relevant to us or the theme of love in some way, but when you live in a tiny town in central Washington you take what you can get.

As guests sat down I admit they were a little bit overwhelmed with the information presented to them, but tucking things inside and under their napkin seemed like the best way to make sure no one was missed.

The menus were printed on sheets of cardstock cut into thirds. Want to know why the first item on the list makes me smile? Andersen Organics is the brand name my dad farms under, and the soup they served that night was custom made just for us. We managed to organize the whole thing as a surprise for him.

Underneath the napkin guests found a card inviting them to visit our Flickr site and upload their snapshots. Until I got my pro pics back I hit refresh several times a day on our account to see if any new pictures were up.

The other card under the napkin detailed the favor we would be providing them with after the wedding. Kelli Nicole and I worked out a system that would provide guests with the opportunity to go to the proof site, order a print of their choice, and have it shipped to their house free of charge. We wanted to provide guests with something to help them remember the event that they would actually want to keep.

Above the napkin sat the place cards with a button attached. I wanted to find a way to use buttons on the table (like you would expect anything else from me), and as a former waitress I know how frustrating it is to try to read the tiny text at the tables when serving meals. The buttons were not only a pretty decoration, but a secret code for the catering staff. A white button meant fish, black button for beef, and a gold button for pasta.

We also have several gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and so a map of the room with the location of each place setting and their meal preference/allergies was provided for the catering staff so there would be no mistaking who got which meal.

Dinner was served and I should have been starving, right? Nope. I had to force most of my meal down because of the excessive amount of over stimulation I was experiencing. There were people to talk to, and moments to drink in, and my brand new husband sitting so close to me, whispering sweet nothings in my ear.

I did manage to eat about half of this delicious onion soup. I believe it was a blend of organic shallots, cippolinis, and onions, all of which I shamelessly claim are the best found in the Pacific Northwest.

Oh wait, did I say I had a hard time finishing each course? Except for the intermezzo that is. It was a cucumber melon blend and it was phenomenal. People kept turning to me and saying "Isn't this unbelievable?" The bride can ask for seconds, right?

As we were waiting for the main course to be served the best man/MC called the DOC and I over and suggested we play some type of ice breaker game. I wasn’t so excited about the idea at first, as I didn’t want the reception feeling like a game show with contests and prizes, but I ended up liking his suggestion of having everyone in the room try to guess how to spell That Groom’s middle name. The best man threw a little twist in the game when he revealed in front of everyone that it was actually the entire room competing against ME!

Each table was given a pen and a slip of paper, and we had a few minutes to think. I was stressed, and took a wild guess. I admit I wouldn't have been able to write down anything at all if I hadn't been forced to call That Groom in the middle of my temple recommend interview to ask how to spell his middle name. After a few minutes the best man leaned over to That MIL and asked her to spell her sons middle name.

The emotion you are seeing on my face is pure shock and disbelief. I actually spelled his middle name correctly! It must be a sign of true love or something, because my husbands middle name is MIECZYSLAW. Not only is it crazy authentically Polish, but it is made-up Polish and sounds (to us Americans) nothing like the way it is spelled. No one else in the room even came close, throwing in letters like X and P to be funny.

Dinner arrived, and where was the bride? Visiting with friends, laughing, and enjoying herself. My bridesmaids scolded me and told me to go sit back down and eat something but it didn't last very long. Of course I regret skipping out on the main course now because it was really delicious!

We washed everything down with ridiculously expensive strawberry lemonade. Usually when I go out to eat I just drink water, so having three pretty glasses sitting at my place setting made me feel so happy. Silly I know, but it's the little things that make me happy.

One of the best moments of the night was when a group of groomsmen called Kelli over and said "Kelli! You have to take a picture of this chair!" They were all giddy with excitement and I couldn't figure out why until I leaned in for a closer look.

That Groom and some of his groomsmen graduated with their masters in Information Systems together. These binary chairs were a hilarious unplanned touch!

Everyone except little sister MOH Shay kept their distance from the sweetheart table throughout the dinner. It is the one drawback of a sweetheart table, people think because you chose to sit at your own table that you don't want to interact with them. Definitely not the case, but we don't regret having a little bit of extra time to ourselves.

In this shot I'm instructing MOH Shay to collect examples of the menus, place cards, and other items found throughout the room. It's a good thing to! The one big mistake Hotel 1000 made that night was clearing the room before the event was over. They threw away paper products, plates of desserts (some of them special gluten-free desserts we brought in ourselves) and other things we would have preferred to keep while everyone was downstairs for the grand exit. I'm not sure why they didn't talk to the bride or the mother of the bride about the schedule for this, but they definitely received a scathing email from me for that one.

Guest Photo

Dinner was everything we planned for and more. We really are in Paradiso together.

Guest Photo

Kelli Nicole, that is what I call an "eye for details". I don't think you missed a thing.


That Wedding: Bridesmaid Party!
That Wedding: Whole Foods (Rehearsal-ish) Luncheon
That Wedding: Harbor Sailing
That Wedding: Putting My Face On
That Wedding: The Gift Exchange
That Wedding: Dressing That Bride
That Wedding: Bridal Details
That Wedding: The First Look
That Wedding: Into The Woods
That Wedding: Woodsy Family Portraits
That Wedding: To Wed! To Wed!
That Wedding: Showered With Love, Coins, and Hugs
That Wedding: Group Shots With a Little Spice
That Wedding: Those Groomsmen
That Wedding: The Whole Party
That Wedding: Me and My Maids (+Manmaid)
That Wedding: Ring Ceremony Prep
That Wedding: The Ring Ceremony
That Wedding: Let Us Whet Your Appetite
That Wedding: Photobooth
That Wedding: We Dance


Megan said...

First of all, gorgeous. So many details I'm "borrowing" if I ever get to plan my wedding.

Second: I'm sorry I ever mentioned the "e/a" fiasco. It was done with all the kindness of my heart and I thought maybe if hadn't gone to print it would be good to know. It's the editor/Austen lover in me, but from now on I'm keeping my mouth shut!!

Blablover5 said...

I have never seen the Wizard of Oz. My Dad was terrified of the flying monkeys so we couldn't watch it when we were little and I never had any want to, but I did pick up Wicked.

Man I'd love to get a chance to see the Musical.

Ruby Slippers said...

Love everything!

RE: The Wizard of Oz - you've at least seen the movie, right? The book is actually very different and I never felt compelled to reread it, but I love the movie. Mostly because it has Judy Garland in it. I Adore her!

I'm in a funny place with Wicked - I haven't seen the show because it hasn't come here, but I have the soundtrack and I think it's brilliant! I had to stop listening to it because I would wake up in the middle of the night with "Popular" in my head. Then I read the book and thought it was awful. Absolutely terrible. Oh well. I still want to see the show!

Anyway (backtracking) I love your bookplace idea - so cute! And the food looked yuuuumy.

Anonymous said...

You look gorgeous.... I love the suitcases. I may need to borrow that idea for something. :)


Jenny said...

I absolutely LOVE every detail of your wedding. I cannot stop looking at the beautiful pictures. I love the centerpieces especially. Very well done!

Kaitlyn said...

I don't know how many times I can say this, but I love every detail of your wedding. Every aspect.

Jo said...

WOW!!! Your centerpieces are absolutely amazing. Fabulous!

Teresa said...

Having your guests upload their photos to a flickr site... genius! Lovely photos!