Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Turning Lemons Into Lemonade

So you know how everyone has those stories about what went wrong at their wedding? We to do, sort of. There were small things that went wrong on the day-of, but honestly, I didn't even notice most of them (and the ones I did notice, I didn't care about). But there was a last minute planning/design emergency that totally freaked me out. But in the end, it ended up making things even better.

On the Monday before the wedding, my friend Laura and I went to the Marston House around noon (approximately the time that the ceremony would take place on Saturday) to check a few things out. Laura would be helping the rental company set up chairs, tables, etc. on the big day. Plus, I was concerned about the sun -- we had initially planned on facing the house, but I was worried that we might need to adjust based on where the sun would be at that time of day.

And my worries were dead on. Once we got there, I realized that if we faced the house, we'd all be staring directly into the sun. So, last minute change of plans, and we decided to flip the opposite direction and face the fountain. Which meant calling the rental company to adjust the placement of the chairs and coming up with some last minute decorations for the fountain.

I know what you're thinking -- that doesn't sound like a big deal. It wasn't. What was? Because the musicians required a shady spot to sit, I was planning on having them sit under the small roofed structure on the west side of the garden. When we got there that Monday...I saw this:

WTF? A beat-up plastic fence in front of some caution tape? A support pillar about to fall over and crush someone? This was not going to work. Since the property is still technically owned by the city, I know calling them would be useless (when have you ever known the city to fix something non-essential in less than a week?). We rented an umbrella for the musicians to sit under, and began brainstorming options for covering up the deteriorating structure. Some sort of curtain? Attaching swags to the plastic fence that the city put up? Then I found it: the rental company had white lattice panels in their inventory. Three of those covered up the caution tape and plastic fencing perfectly. We chose not to decorate the lattice at all because I figured the less we did to draw attention to it, the less likely it would be that anyone would notice that there was something wrong. And that was exactly the case. I don't think anyone even noticed the panels, let alone that there was something crumbling behind them.

I hope my family doesn't mind me posting this picture of them -- it's the only photo that shows the lattice covering up the damaged structure (in the background). As you can see, it looked just fine.

However, the best part about the last minute changes was the decorations that my sister made for the fountain. From day one, before we even knew the when and where, I was daydreaming of having some sort of hanging floral strings, like these. Upon consulting the florist, we learned that, because it would involve so much labor, these would be really expensive. And I didn't trust my last minute DIY abilities (since you can't make fresh floral elements very far in advance), so I just shelved the idea. But my sister kicked into super-maid-of-honor mode, and after a trip to the wholesale flower shop, she spent the Wednesday before the wedding string these beautiful garlands. We also took some of the leftover flowers and scattered them in the fountain's basin. It look absolutely magical.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Something Delicious

Starting with the cake to recap our reception might seem like an odd place to start, but if you know how much I love sweets, it would make total sense.

There were three vendors that all played a role made our wedding cake the most fabulous confection ever: CAKE, Che Bella, and Jennifer Murphy.

When we first met the team at CAKE, we were sold simply by the fact that the cake tasted great. Why people settle for wedding cake that tastes like cardboard simply because it looks pretty is beyond me. As the name of this blog implies, do not settle for something that looks nice but has no flavor (both literally and figuratively!). The best part about working with CAKE was how a delicious problem had an even more delicious solution. JT and I were having a darn hard time choosing between two flavors -- dark chocolate with hazelnut mousse and dark chocolate truffle filling, and a simply perfect vanilla cake with vanilla creme and fresh raspberries. The solution? CAKE would do both flavors on alternating tiers for no extra charge! People raved about both flavors.

When it came to the appearance and design of the cake, we knew that we wanted a simple, clean design with a touch of whimsy that would show off the true star of the day, our amazing cake topper custom made by Jennifer Murphy. Wondering why we chose a puppy and a bunny for the critters? Here's the slightly embarrassing truth..."puppy" is my nickname for JT, and his for me is "bunny." I know, I know, you can stop making that face now! But words cannot express how absolutely adorable the topper is. It now sits beautifully on our mantel.

CAKE's talented team did a beautiful job with the buttercream frosting (which, by the way, tasted as good as it looked), piping a delicate dot pattern. Che Bella added the touch of whimsy with their flowers. I especially loved the fiddlehead ferns curling along the sides. However, my poor niece had an unpleasant surprise when she picked one up thinking it was chocolate but discovered upon biting down that ferns are not quite as tasty as they look.

Photos by Aaron Thompson

Monday, December 14, 2009

Polaroid Guest Book

I promise I'll have lots and lots of photos by Aaron Thompson to share with you soon, but in the meantime, let's talk about photos of a different kind: our Polaroid guest book.

We didn't want to do the traditional guest book, and photobooths are all the rage on wedding blogs this year, so of course we wanted to incorporate some sort of photobooth concept. What I thought took it up a notch was the way we gave guests the option of adding a personal message in the photo -- Bleu Boheme has a wall across from the bar that's one giant chalkboard. So next to this wall, we set up a small table with a camera, some extra boxes of film and some chalk with instructions to write a message on the chalkboard and snap your photo in front of it. We got some really adorable, sweet and funny photo messages out of it.

Photo by Aaron Thompson

That is until my mom decided halfway through the reception to use up the "leftover" film and went around snapping through a good 30 sheets....and of course, only about half of the guests had actually made their way over to the chalkboard by that point, so a few of them never got to participate in the fun. But every shot, no matter how goofy or strangely composed, is like gold. It was totally worth the high price that I had to shell out buying Polaroid film on Ebay (because Polaroid was officially discountinued this year, it's been selling like hotcakes on Ebay). But fear not, future brides, Fuji is planning on making a replacement product in 2010.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

And Suddenly You're in Love with Everything

The first photos of our wedding from our totally awesome photographer, Aaron Thompson, are in! Here's a little preview of many more to come.

I'll be posting more along with more details about the reception and great vendors we used, but for the time being, you can see more photos on Aaron's blog.