Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Reception: Part 2

After the cake cutting my dad gave his toast. Leading up to the wedding I know this was something my dad put so much thought into, wanting to say just the right thing and it was so perfect.  He was funny and sweet and made everyone feel welcome and did his best to cover a lifetime of a father's love. He also shared the poem that grandpa, his dad, had written and shared at my parents wedding. Such a precious gift. At the end of his toast we clinked glasses and then my dad asked me to dance. We went back and forth (and back and forth) on what song we wanted to dance to and finally settled on My Little Girl- Tim McGraw. That song has the sweetest words and I just swayed held on until the music stopped.
I love my grandparent's expressions in this picture- they were so shocked and happy when my dad read the poem. 
T.J. and his mom danced together next and then the party really got started! The band was amazing and they had everyone on the dance floor for the rest of the reception. That was the most important thing to me, I wanted our guests to have fun, to dance all night, to have sore feet and smiles on their faces. And since T.J. and I did a pretty good job of greeting all our guests during dinner we got to dance right along with our friends and family. 
I tossed my bouquet, danced with my family and finally got to witness my dad "gator." We got a little bit softer and then a little bit louder now. And before I knew it, the evening was coming to a close. 
After the last dance our guests made their way outside and were handed sparklers. We gave extra long hugs to our families and said thank you thank you thank you to our wedding planner. Then we also headed outside, took one last kiss for the cameras, and ran through the sparklers and the rain heading arm and arm to our hotel as husband and wife.  
Best. Day. Ever.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Reception: Part 1

Over two months ago we had a big party to mark the start of our happily ever after. Maybe you've heard me mention it a time or two? Well I'm still not done mentioning it.  After the ceremony out guests slowly made their way downtown to the reception cocktail hour while we were taking photos. Our reception was held at The Loft. It's a converted textile mill on the water downtown. All high woodbeam ceilings, brick walls, arched windows overlooking the river and the city skyline, and lots of cool rustic and industrial details. It was the perfect spot for the style and look that I had in mind for our day. Our wedding planner did this fantastic job of transforming the space with our dream team of vendors. And the night before the wedding she allowed me to unload all my DIY details, menus and place-cards, a seating chart, favors and chalkboards into her car and I didn't have to worry about one detail on the day!

The venue actually has two connected spaces. In one room dinner was served. We did a combination of round tables and long banquet tables with boxed florals spilling flowers and long flowy garlands running the lengths of the tables with votives casting a pretty glow around the room along with the twinkly cafe lights strung across the ceiling. Above the head table was a dreamy hanging floral arrangement.  I had seen something similar on my photographer's page and that's when knew I needed to hire that florist.
(table numbers | stands-spray painted gold)
We also had rented two vintage dressers, one for displaying the seating chart and our guest book and the other for holding all our handmade/homemade favors. I designed our seating chart and had it printed at Staples. We then attached strips of magnets to the back so it would hang on this sliding metal barn door in between the two rooms. Our guest book was "The Newlywed Cookbook." I love that when I actually use this cookbook over the years I will see well wishes and love from our friends and family. 
And our favors were homemade "Sally Berry" Jelly made by my grandma Sally. I printed stickers for the lid and together with my mom, sister, aunts and grandma, we tied them all with gold glitter bakers twine. In addition, a dear friend of T.J.'s family made wooden spoons, spreaders and honey stirrers. Each one said our name and wedding date plus the type of wood it was made from. I loved having these two distinctly personal touches and love how they looked displayed on the day. 
In the adjoining room we held our cocktail hour and then later it's where all the dancing went down. It was filled with cocktail tables tied with burlap bows, a four-sided bar in the center of the room (I hate queuing at a wedding so this cut out that problem), two lounge areas with vintage tufted couches and chairs and two more hanging floral arrangements above, and we displayed our cake in that room as well.

We worked with my favorite Greenville restaurant for the catering and they made everything as if you had ordered it off the menu yourself.  For cocktail hour we had two stationary hors d'oeuvres: Mini Chicken and Waffles with Cranberry Syrup,  and Vegetable Crudite Cups. Then we had three passed hors d'oeuvres: Deviled EggsTomato Soup Shooters with Pimento Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, and Shrimp and Grits Bites with Red Pepper. We also had a signature cocktail, Spiked Apple Cider which were passed out to guests as they came in and garnished with a cinnamon stick. 
But let's back up... T.J. and I arrived at the venue and our wedding planner brought us a plate of all the different hors d'oeuvres and a coupled drinks so we could still enjoy the cocktail hour while having a little moment for just the two of us. We also practiced our first dance a bit  and took a break from the picture taking, or so we thought... some sneaky aunts and uncles snapped a couple from up above.
Then it was time for the real first dance. We made our "entrance," and danced to George Strait, True. I was a little nervous, all eyes on us, but it was such a fun moment and really felt like we were still just having a private moment to ourselves.

After the dance, his aunt asked the blessing and we moved into the other room for dinner. For dinner we had a salad course and the main was a fillet and crab cake duet. T.J. and I did our best to enjoy the yummy meal but of course we were being pulled in a bunch of directions and had to make our rounds and visit all the tables. This was one of the reasons I chose to do a sit down, plated dinner instead of a buffet (also, remember, I hate queuing at weddings), it made it much easier to make sure we were able to see everyone.

After dinner we cut the cake! We had four layers, two layers with strawberry with vanilla filling and two layers with vanilla and chocolate cake with peanut butter filling, all iced in vanilla swiss buttercream. And it was displayed on a beautiful wood round cut from a Hackberry tree and smoothed and polished by the same woman who made us the spoons. On the same table we also displayed framed photos of both sets of parents cutting the cake on their own wedding days. I know we are so lucky to both have a mom and dad who love each other and have set such a wonderful example of marriage and commitment for us to follow.
 More love and laughter and dancing to follow...

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

two months | twenty seven years

Being married to T.J. is just so darn fun. Really I stop in my tracks sometimes and thank my God for answering my prayers and then some. Being married these past two months, being his wife, having our own home, living life together. It's just so much fun!! And I can't think of a better word to describe this time right now. I laugh so much, my heart feels so light.

Today is T.J.'s 27th birthday and I love that we get to celebrate it together! And I may have a few surprises that I've actually managed to keep a surprise this time. Around his birthday last year I was visiting him in Alabama and we were a month away from him popping the question. It's crazy how fast time flies and how I fall more in love with him everyday.

T.J. is working RIDONKULOUS hours at the hospital. He works so hard for us and still comes home most days smiling, and happy and silly (whereas I would be a grouchy mess) and I LOVE that. I love that he's happy to be home, I love being home for him. Meeting him at the front door when he's walking in and getting a kiss and a "hey baby"!

Of course, last week he wasn't home for dinner once and maybe he'll only look back and remember these early months and years as the hardest of his career... but I like to think he'll see it like I do. And whatever little time we spend with each other, even just a few minutes before falling into bed at the end of the longest days, makes it all so worth it.

I know we're new at this whole husband and wife thing and people love to warn you about how hard marriage is, and I'm not naive, but right now it's all that I hoped and dreamed it would be.
Happy Birthday T.J.! 

Thank you for making life more fun, more bright, more everything. Hope the many birthdays and decades ahead of us together are just as full of love and laughter. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

favorite portraits

After the ceremony we had a quiet moment in the church office where we signed our marriage licenses and said "I can't believe we're actually married!" We had left a little gap between the ceremony and the reception to give guests time to get back downtown and to give us time for all the photo taking.  We took our family photos in the sanctuary since we didn't want to drag the grandparents out in the rain and I'm so thankful to have a portrait with all my grandparents, parents and our siblings. It's hard to imagine a time when we'll all be in the same room at the same time again so this will be a special memory.
We then loaded up the bridal party back in the trolley and headed back downtown to take our photos there popping champagne and toasting to a fun night. We then pulled up to this beautiful open air pavilion on the Reedy River (actually an old carriage house and a venue I would have considered for a summertime wedding). It was perfect picture taking spot because it was covered from the rain but we still could enjoy the last bit of daylight. 

When I look at these photos now I'm right back to that post ceremony giddy high, that floating on air feeling, where everything was happening around me but all I remember seeing is T.J. These are just a ten of my favorite shots...today. It seems, every time I look at our photos I change my mind and pick different favorites. Don't know how I'll choose which ones to put in an album or hang on our walls?? 

Next up... the reception!! 

Monday, February 23, 2015

and we're going to get married

Are you sick of my wedding posts yet? Hope not because we've only just made it to the church and I still have more to share!

But first let's back up... We had a challenging time finding a church to get married in.  We looked at our university campus chapel which was my first choice, and then the church I attended when I was in college but neither worked with our dates. It was important to me to get married in a church and I was worried we would have to have our ceremony at the reception venue which I really didn't want. Fortunately my sister is a member at a local church and I had visited with her a couple times. It was a little bit further from the reception venue but otherwise perfect. I loved that it had some country charm like the rocking chairs on the front porch, and that the inside had a sort of rustic look with high vaulted wood beam ceilings, it was basically a blank canvas for our decor.  When my mom and I came to town to do a bunch of the wedding planning, we found out that a previous bride's family had built a custom pallet wall to cover the front wall of the sanctuary, and they had left it for other brides to use. It was the perfect addition and absolutely framed the alter beautifully. And once our florist added her magical touch the space was transformed.
When our limo arrived at the church it was still raining so with the help of our wedding planner and my dad I was ushered inside to wait in the children's nursery with my bridesmaids and my parents for guests to arrive and take their seats.
While we waited we practiced the hymn I'd chosen, Be Thou My Vision, grandmas stopped by our "holding room" to say hello and give kisses, and my bridesmaids prayed over me as we lined up to process into the sanctuary.

I heard the music for the seating of the grandmothers and mothers begin, Jesu' Joy of Man's Desiring, and then the transition into Canon in D for my bridal party's entrance. Soon it was just my dad and I alone outside the double doors. We reassured each other, I held my breath, and then the wedding planner opened the doors.  The music took a breath and then picked up with the more lively, joyful verses of Canon in D (you know, the middle part where it gets fun),  the congregation rose and I kept my eyes locked on T.J. and my arm tight around my dad's as we made our way to the alter.

Dad placed my hand in T.J.'s, and we attentively listened to the counsel and encouragement of our officiant. I handed my bouquet to my sister and we turned to face each other, whispering I love yous and beaming from ear to ear. Unity candles we're lit, prayers and worship songs were sent up, promises of forever and ever were made, vows were exchanged, then rings, and finally, after only waiting for the past year and half, but really I've been waiting for my whole life, with a kiss we were husband and wife. 
**So grateful to Chris Isham for capturing these once in a lifetime, fairytale, dream come true moments as it was a sparkly blur on the day of.