After all of the toasts, the food, the first dance, the cake cutting, the formal photos and the traditions…it was time to party.
The Sparkler guests are pretty much professionals when it comes to partying, and they wasted no time getting down to business. Everyone hit the floor as soon as they heard our incredible band play their first note. Before long, the entire room was packed wall-to-wall, shoes were flying off of bridesmaids, and one of our ushers was on stage giving the lead singer a run for his money.
After our first look, newly armed with our flowers, we filled the last precious moments together before the ceremony with some more couple portraits. This session produced some of my favorite pictures as our excitement and nerves ebbed and flowed.
Because Wayfarers Chapel didn’t require much decoration, we didn’t really give it any. There were plenty of pretty things to catch the eye though.
The plaque in front of the chapel.
I know, I know—I’m not clever. At least I try, right!? Today, we’re talking sweetheart tables. Before I talk about the table, though, let me talk more about the decision making process.
Like many bees before me, when I started thinking about all the things you must know before you get married, I thought it would be beneficial for us to read Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages. I know how I give love to others, but when it came down to my preference in receiving love, I wasn’t exactly sure how my results would come out. After reading the book and taking the assessment, both Mr. O and I scored the highest in quality time. Given how we enjoy spending our time, the results did make sense…which leads me to table talk.
Given that our preference is spending quality time together, we wanted to ensure that we had moments of our day built in that would give us that quality time—special moments for just the two of us to enjoy without any pressure. Since we’re having a fairly small wedding, we plan to skip the receiving line and visit with our guests after we finish eating. We also considered that if we had a more traditional head table, we would be talking to some of our favorite people, but not necessarily each other.
So, a sweetheart table it will be! Not to mention…I love the look of a sweetheart table in photos!
This is my standout favorite, I’ve even started looking around for similar letters!
Back during the end of September, I went to have coffee with my FMIL and FSIL. However, there was no coffee. Instead there was tea! And tons of familiar faces! I walked into the oh-so-charming dining room of the little restaurant and gasped at what I saw! I was so confused at first, I didn’t know why everyone was there, and then it dawned on…they were there for me! Mr. Beanstalk’s mother had planned a surprise bridal shower for me!!! I was so surprised and excited by this touching gesture.
|They gave me a “Bride” sash (that I didn’t want to take off) and a little flower crown to wear!|
It was such a delightful day. We sipped different flavors of tea (I’ve become a a big tea consumer in recent months…I adore English Breakfast Tea as a late afternoon drink) so this was a real treat for me! As we drank our warm beverages and chatted amongst each other, tiny sandwiches were served. They were served on platters and set in the middle of the tables. Once we had finished all of the finger sandwiches, tiny scones and pastries were brought out for our enjoyment! Everything I tried, I loved!
I am going to jump ahead a bit in the evening. Mainly because I feel like talking about this right now. Good enough, right?
You know how people say that something will happen during your wedding that you won’t be prepared for? Coming from a grade A Girl Scout over here, I somewhat scoffed at the idea of not being prepared. I am always prepared.
But here’s the thing, you cannot control other peoples actions. What you can control is your response.
Once the open dancing got under way, people really started to let loose and have fun. Unfortunately, one of our guests broke one of the golden rules of bringing drinks onto the dance floor. You just cannot jump up and down and control your drink at the same time.
Insert the party foul of all party fouls. He spilled his drink. All down the front of my maid of honor’s dress.
I won’t completely point out which dude was the offender in this picture, but take a wild guess. This picture was taken literally the moment after it happened. You can even see my sister in the middle looking down at herself realizing that there is some type of alcoholic beverage all down the front of her dress. I obviously had not realized quite yet what had happened.
There are a few different ways we could have handled this situation. The big sister in me wanted to grab him by his tie and yell at him. I know accidents happen, but you really shouldn’t be getting sloppy on the dance floor at a wedding. Also, I would probably lose the whole “classy bride” thing.
We turned up at Dragon Mom’s house with a plethora of boxes and Rubbermaid containers, filled with little decor details that we, with tons of help from my mom’s friends, our parents, the wedding party and family members, used to make our wedding our own.
Dad Dragon made a bunch of these wood rounds, which were intended to be used to give height to our centerpieces. We had too many of them, though, so they were scattered around the tent for decoration as well. Here, they’re with our giant B monogram, which we used as a guestbook. He burned each round with a different message.
After months of anticipation and planning, including a tasting, it was time to dig into our wedding food. Eating at our own wedding was a BIG deal to us. Aaaaand as it turned out, I was too excited to eat and only pecked at my entree. The special champagne and sauvignon blanc we ordered? Glad we shared it with the wine-drinking tables because I didn’t finish my first glass. Thinking of the pear and blue cheese salad makes me salivate now, but then I had to force myself to eat. (Apparently, this is not uncommon!) Anyone who knows me knows that NEVER happens. I love food. Often to the point where I’m thinking about my next meal while eating the current one. Foodie-bees, raise your forks!
In between forcing myself to eat bites of my entree, I sat back and people watched. Eventually I just gave up on the salmon and champagne.
Then the glass-clinking started…
These days, it seems like everyone is doing a first look. Everybody wants to get a million photos, so they do the first look thing and then have all the photos done before the ceremony. I totally get it. I want to have a million photos, too. And I don’t want to spend hours between the ceremony and reception taking them. BUT, neither my fiance nor I want to do a first look. Why?
For one, we want the moment when I walk down the aisle to be extra special. I know, I know, everyone says it’s still super magical even if you have done a first look. Sorry. I don’t believe you. [Edit: This came out wrong. What I should have said is, "I don't believe that would be true for me." I trust you all when you say that your own moments were quite magical.]
Second, I’m going to go out on a limb here and admit that I just don’t really like the photos that come out of those sessions. The girl taps the guy on the shoulder. He turns around, does the sort-of surprised face. They have an awkward hug (has another actually hugged their significant other like that before? Why do they always look so weird?). And then they kiss and the rest of the photo shoot commences. (I am purposefully not posting any pictures here, because that would just be rude. There will be no dissing of any specific wedding photos.)
Really, reason numbers one and two should probably be enough for anyone to understand why we’re not doing a first look. But in the spirit of full disclosure, I have to tell you about the third reason. I know I’m going to be nervous on my wedding day. I know Mr. Whale will also be nervous. And when I get nervous, I start talking about all kinds of random things, especially the things that I’m worried about.
Except I’m not all cute like she is. (Image from Never a Dull Moment with Missy)
When Mr. C and I first met in 2009, I was in a long-term, long-distance relationship with a Northern Irish guy I met while working in Japan. The relationship dragged on for years after leaving Japan, with me flying out to see him in Switzerland (where he was working) and him flying out to see me in the U.S. several times a year. It was complicated and I think neither of us were ever really happy. Being together was so incredibly hard. I know that sometimes it can be a challenge to make a relationship work, but this seemed like too much work—a constant uphill battle with too few good times in between. We were all wrong for each other, totally incompatible, but for the longest time neither of us had the courage to let go. Then I met my fiance and it was as if someone had lit a fire beneath me for the first time. I realized that I wasn’t happy in my relationship, that I hadn’t been happy in a long time. That realization gave me the courage to end the relationship. Even when you know you are doing the right thing, it can still be hard to let go of someone who has been in your life for four years.
After more than four years back in the U.S., I returned to Japan with Mr. C this past summer. (personal photo)
I know the jury is still out on whether favors are a wedding necessity, but Mr. Wallaby and I decided to provide favors for our guests as an extra little thank you for coming. When we were considering different favor options, there were a few guiding principles:
1. No monogrammed/personalized favors with a picture of us, or our name on them. We routinely purge our houses of clutter, and we already get all kinds of free things from work. (We work for large companies, and in our industry there are always giveaways at conferences and recruiting efforts—I have a laundry bag, many water bottles, several flash drives, a cutting board, a coffee cup, zillions of pens, a back-pack, a duffle bag, and countless other things emblazoned with my company’s logo.)
2. The packaging must be minimal and must be reusable or recyclable. If you haven’t figured it out by now, Mr. W and I are big-time into minimizing our impact on the environment.
3. We preferred to choose an edible or consumable favor. We love food, especially sweets, and it would be only fitting to offer our guests edible treats.
I did some research and found several options. (Now, I’m sure there are a million other favors that we would’ve loved—macarons, anyone?—but these are the things I found that were most personal and reflected something special about the two of us.)
First—wildflower seeds. These aren’t edible, but they are consumable—they won’t take up shelf space or collect dust. Mr. W and I love gardening and we’re both very interested in botany and how plants grow—and how plants benefit the natural environment. I took a lot of plant biology classes in college, too—I’m even hoping to earn a PhD in plant biology eventually. Moreover, the Texas wildflowers are well-known in this area, so we could offer our guests packets of Texas bluebonnets or another variety of Texas wildflower seeds.
Alright, between our first look and our solo shots you have seen enough of Mr. Dalmatian and I alone for the time being (this will be temporary—I still have a plethora of couple shots that I am going to throw at you!). So clearly it is the perfect time to show you the gorgeous boys and girls that made up our stunning bridal party! Ladies first…
After letting Mr. Dalmatian pose with us for a little bit, we kicked him out to hang with his boys while we had some quality girl time.
It wasn’t long before more guests followed suit.
Around 5:20 our photo time wrapped up, my dress got bustled while standing in the pavillion, and it was the moment of truth: time to enter our reception for the first time and see if all the issues of the previous day had been resolved. Would there be water for the guests? Ice? Would the beer we’d spent $200 on be cold—or even be served at all? Where would the appetizers be?
As we lined up in the foyer and hairdresser-now-emcee B (she’s a woman of many talents!) got everyone’s attention to announce our entrance, I tried to peek in to see what the scene looked like, but I couldn’t see much because we were trying to hide in the corner until we were announced.
B introduced MOH Lefty and Best Man D, and they walked in to cheers and took their seats at the head table.
Next it was our turn. Remember how I said earlier that I have a mortal fear of showing emotion in front of people? This is one of the times of the day where I regret that the most, because I wish we had done some kind of cheering-bouquet-raising-fist-pumping-grinning-dancing entrance—because that’s what I felt like on the inside. But when B announced us and our guests stood up to cheer us in, this is what I looked like: