As Mr. Cherry Pie and I finished up our portraits together, our guests were invited from the cocktail area to the reception tent by the ringing of a dinner bell.
We intended our reception to be rustic, casual, and comfortable, like sitting down to dinner with family. For me, the piÃ¨ce de résistance of our wedding day will always be the ceremony, but I absolutely loved how our reception turned out. There were no fancy linens, lighting, music, slide shows, or sound systems… just tables enough to seat ninety, a few hand-designed details, and a buffet of astounding regional food and drink. It was perfect, despite the drenching downpour that started as soon as dinner began…
At the entrance of the tent, one of our coordinators from Katalin Green Design had set up a table with our seat assignments. Directed by the “Find Your Name” sign that I varnished and printed, each guest found the stone with their name and turned it over for their table number.
Each stone was selected by Mr. CP’s dad from the North Fork of the Flathead River, which runs past Glacier to Polebridge and into Canada. Then, he hand-lettered the stones with guests’ names and table numbers using a silver paint pen.
Each of our round, 8-person tables was numbered with a wooden sign, sawed, lathed, and assembled by Cathy Weber, our friend and officiant. For centerpieces, we had an arrangement of red, orange, and orange/yellow variegated dahlias with grasses in antique mason jars that I collected in early 2008.
For some color and contrast at the tables, we chose square khaki linens over white rounds, accented with chocolate napkins. Dinner was a self-service buffet, so plates were not set at tables, but rather offered as guests lined up for food.
To fill in the space, we accented each place setting with a napkin topped with one of our Polebridge Mercantile cookie favors (tied with a hand-stamped “Thanks” shipping label) and a card with instructions for uploading photos to our Flickr site.
(Don’t worry; the password you see there has been changed.)
The tables got a bit crowded once everyone started to arrive. We had opted for a smaller tent rental to save money and wasted space, but the dimensions of this more affordable option were definitely cozy. Thankfully, no one seemed to mind, even when we had sealed the windows and turned on the heaters. At least everyone stayed warm!
After guests found their seats they either lined up at the buffet, or visited our “guestbook” at another station set up near the tent’s main entrance.
A second sign I created from a cheap Michaels frame, some varnish, and Paper Source cardstock directed guests to “Write a Postcard to the Bride and Groom ”“ They’ll Get it After the Honeymoon”. We wanted something different for a keepsake, and by making our guests’ messages something we got in the mail (sent by Mr. CP’s dad), we kept getting well-wishes long after the wedding was over.
On the table below, we’d set out a large stack of pre-addressed postcards featuring vintage artwork from Glacier National Park and Montana. I wish I’d thought to leave everyone some more blank cards as souvenirs!
Once guests had lettered a brief message, they could keep the card to send, or put it in the old mailbox I found in an antique shop just outside Glacier last spring.
At long last and somewhat belatedly, the two of us entered the tent. We were reluctant to stop taking portraits together because we had been enjoying our time alone. But, as fate would have it, just as we were thinking we should get to dinner, it started to rain, and then rain harder.
We were practically chased across the lawn by the weather! As soon as we were inside, it started pouring down drenching rain, causing a mad dash to seal all the tent doors. I’m glad we decided to rent all the attachments as a precaution. Always have a “worst-case scenario” backup plan!
With the rain, the temperature dropped steeply, and we turned on our two heaters. Closing the tent doors kept most of the heat in, but had the somewhat unexpected side effect of making the tent a little dim. In retrospect, I wish I had put more effort into lighting the tent, though I don’t think anyone but me noticed enough to nitpick.
Inside, guests had started on the evening’s refreshments. A variety of Washington and Oregon wines, graciously provided by Mr. CP’s mom and step dad, ferried all the way from Seattle…
And chilled water in carafes poured from a vintage jug…
For food, we had a variety of grilled entrees: Montana buffalo, Idaho red trout, and organic veggie kabobs:
On the side, mashed potatoes, garlic noodles, local salad greens…
And, of course, fresh-baked loaves of bread made from the Polebridge Mercantile, designed to be hand-broken and shared…
At the tables, a veritable feast of color…
Everywhere, there were little hints of Montana. From shoes peeking out underneath…
… to hats hanging on the backs of chairs.
We were able to fill our plates while our guests engaged in conversations, laughter…
And a little bit of whatever is going on here:
We settled into our seats, trying not to worry about the rain at our backs. Before we had a chance to dwell on it, we heard the first sound of someone clinking their wine glass, then a cacophony of silverware on stemware, and obligingly had our first of many captive kisses that evening:
Next, I’ll share some of the stories from our heartwarming and hilarious toasts, followed by our delicious desserts.
[Credits: All images courtesy of Piknik Studios.]
Married in Montana: The Rehearsal
Married in Montana: The Girls Get Ready
Married in Montana: The Guys Get Ready
Married in Montana: The Bus Ride to Polebridge
Married in Montana: Pre-Ceremony Preparations
Married in Montana: Staging the Ceremony
Married in Montana: Our Wedding Ceremony (Part 1 of 2)
Married in Montana: Our Wedding Ceremony (Part 2 of 2)
Married in Montana: Receiving Line & Refreshments
Married in Montana: Cocktail Hour
Married in Montana: Bride & Groom Portraits
Married in Montana: Family Photos
Married in Montana: Wedding Party Portraits