Sometimes Sparky surprises me by putting in a lot more thought into something than I have. While “buy wine for the wine box” was on our to-do list, it wasn’t really on my radar. Since Sparky is the wine guy, I assigned him the task of figuring out what bottle we would seal with our love letters during our ceremony. After I gave him that task, it fell off my radar completely.
Until Sparky brought it up, that is.
You see, Sparky had taken the task to heart and had put a lot of thought into figuring out a wine that was meaningful to us and that would still be good in five years. The producers of the wines came as no surprise, but when he said “We need to find 2007 vintages, since that’s the year we got together” I could have melted. The man is pretty amazing, if I do say so myself.
So. What wines are we considering?
First up: DeLille Grand Ciel, 2007
Via DeLille Cellars
It seems like the ring exchange is usually the last part of a ceremony before the presentation of the newlywed couple. We’ve chosen to structure our ceremony a little differently, owing to some of the other rituals we want to include. The first of these is the unity ritual.
Unity candles and sand ceremonies are still probably the two main unity ritual options of today’s wedding ceremonies. But, like a lot of brides, I was looking for something a little different and more appropriate to our theme. I briefly considered a wine box, but that didn’t really suit my idea of the perfect unity ritual. (While some use locks, most of them involve hammering the box closed and that’s just way too jarring for me.)
Then I remembered something I’d read in passing, several years ago, on the Adventures in Vineyard Land blog (now Schram Vineyards). They did a wine-blending ceremony: The Unity Wine Pour. I loved that idea, and decided it would be perfect for our ceremony unity ritual.
Of course, how to do it was the big question.
I mean, the mechanics are simple enough—pour two wines together and each drink from it, right?
But what wines, what do we pour into, who drinks first, do we drink together, etc. etc. etc.?
A few months ago, he was doing his usual random surfing the web at work and in one of the far corners of the internet where he likes to hang out, he found something that, in his words, “we just HAVE to do, okay?”
When asked what it was, he answered “we have to bury a bottle of bourbon in the yard.”
Uhh…I’m sorry, what? I’m not even the slightest bit a whiskey drinker, but even I don’t see the benefit in burying liquor in the yard. It’s not prohibition, and we’re not moonshiners.
He explained to me that in fact, there was a Southern tradition in which a bride and groom bury a bottle of bourbon at the ceremony site where they’ll be married, a month before the wedding. Allegedly, this prevents rain on your wedding day.
As silly as it sounds, anyone who’s been in the southeast this summer knows that we’ve had more rainy days than not, and I’m not taking any chances with my all outdoor wedding.
Here’s what one of my favorite Charleston wedding websites, Borrowed and Blue, has to say:
Because the name is, so far, totally eluding me.
Which is sorta weird because the names are usually what come to me first on a project like this, and they help guide the rest of the components. I suppose I’m putting a wee bit of pressure on myself with this one and that’s why it’s taken me this long to get this far with the cocktail inspiration.
Enough navel gazing! What (as-yet-unnamed) cocktail will we be serving to our guests and what bit of bubbly did we decide on???
Our mystery bubbles | personal photo
A mixture of pomegranate juice and dark chocolate vodka topped off by the Barefoot Moscato Spumante champagne!
The pomegranate is from my original cocktail, and the chocolate—well, who really says no to chocolate? Not the Road Trips! We both prefer the sweeter, dessert-y-er cocktails for general consumption, so including chocolate was a good, safe (tasty!) call. The Barefoot Moscato was the only one of the three that really let the other flavors come through, and its rather gentle price point certainly doesn’t hurt.
I hadn’t intended on having such a strong base spirit getting into the mix to compete with the wine, but my first version with Godiva liqueur didn’t go so well.
My birthday was in June and I decided to use the occasion to do two things: 1.) Clear out some of the extra wine from our wine cellar and 2.) Have our guests help us choose the wine we would be serving at the wedding.
As to the first one—Sparky is a wine collector and he has filled our house (and our offsite wine cellar) with more wine than we can currently store in an organized manner. I know, it’s a terrible problem to have. The original plan for my birthday party was to invite a bunch of friends over, have an assortment of bottles out that needed to be opened, and tell guests to pick whichever they wanted to drink.
After I sent the invite, we happened to get an email from our venue coordinator with the wine/beer list. After talking about it, Sparky and I decided to pick up as many of the bottles as we could and then do a blind tasting with our friends and have them vote on their favorites.
We had 10 wines to choose from—five reds and five whites. We will be able to have two of each.
One white we discarded immediately because it was French. Sparky and I drink a lot of Washington wine and it makes sense for us to feature it at our wedding so that our guests get to drink what we normally drink. From there, we ran around town trying to track down all the wines we could. We ended up with eight, four of the reds (CMS Hedges, McKinley Springs Bombing Range Red, Helix Merlot, and Cooper Hill Pinot Noir) and four of the whites (For a Song Chardonnay, Barnard Griffin Riesling, Barnard Griffin Fume Blanc, and Charles Smith Pinot Grigio).
A bit out of order, but this was the voting area layout.
Under any other circumstances, mid-morning might be a smidgen early to start serving alcohol, but since it is a wedding and it does fall in the acceptable brunch imbibing zone, I don’t think too many folks will bat an eye at it. Though some will undoubtedly try to ease the social stigma of morning drinking by joking about it being “five o’clock somewhere.”
(For kicks and giggles I looked it up: it’ll be 5:30 in Greece when our cocktail hour starts.)
For those not quite ready to partake of our signature cocktail (more on that in a minute), we will have other bevvies available, of course!
Honey Lake didn’t really have a brunch-level event package when we booked with them, so that meant we could pretty much cobble together what sounded good to us from their standard event menus. Since they do business retreats and the like, they did have options for breakfasts, so what we did was request the “Free Range Continental.”
Our friends drink. A lot. Not like an obscene amount, but sometimes like they’re still in college. As a result, the weddings typically get pretty rowdy.
Yes. She’s wearing a chair cover. I chose this photo so she can remain anonymous. / Personal photo
…which makes me even more excited for my wedding.
Don’t get me wrong—we’re not crazy, belligerent, cause-a-scene drinkers, but everyone always has a great time and tends to drink their fair share. It’s just what ends up happening.
When it came time to plan our bar, we had to think long and hard about the alcohol we would be serving. Just kidding! It was an immediate decision to have an open bar.
Sure, it costs more than just having beer and wine, and we even had the option through our caterer/bar to provide all the alcohol and they could provide the mixers and garnishes, but we knew our crowd, and have no regrets. It’s a non-cuttable expense.
Remember how we scored our sparkly for cheap? Well, the internet came to the rescue again.
I follow a UK group on Facebook called 10 ways to have more money as a student, without working. It’s brilliant—every day pictures are posted with deals, codes, and other awesome finds. I’ve got a few things because of that site. Free food with vouchers, 1p chocolates, and even a one terabyte external hard drive!
A couple of months ago they made me aware of an offer that was on at a supermarket. Twenty-five percent off when you buy two cases of French wine. And one (gorgeous) wine I had my eye on was already over 50% off. Add to that a voucher for £12 off a £60 spend, and my brother’s 10% discount and well…£12 bottle of wine for just under £4.
Our venue was going to charge us £10 a bottle of wine, or £6 corkage—so at £4 a bottle it’s pretty much the same price to bring in our own. But I’d much rather have a bottle of Chablis than a bog-standard Chardonnay, so we’ve done good.
Maison Fort du Roi Chablis by Tesco Wines
And if we were buying white, we may as well buy some red, too. Amazingly, this offer extended to all cases of wine the week after, so we had our pick of the reds! I hit up the Tesco Wines website and the first thing I did was look for discounts. What was the point in buying a £5 bottle of wine if I could get a £5 bottle of wine that used to be £10 or more?
I wasn’t to be caught by the cheeky discounts, though. You know the ones—where they stick up a £5 bottle of wine for £10 for like, a week, just so they can say it’s half price when it goes back down? You’re not fooling me this time! Only the good stuff for this party!
We received our very first wedding gift on Saturday!
When asked on what occasions she drank champagne, the late Madame Bollinger famously replied, “I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it—unless I’m thirsty.”
I used this quote on the menu for my 18th birthday cocktail party. Good times.
I do like a glass of champagne. Correction. I do like a glass of something sparkly. I don’t really care if it’s champagne. Or prosecco. Or cava. Or sparkling wine. If it’s a drink made from grapes that has bubbles in it then I’m a happy girl.
Our venue will provide wine for our meal, and other drinks can be bought from the cash bar, but we will have to supply the sparkly. With an £8 corkage fee per bottle, we couldn’t get champagne—it would just have been too expensive. So instead we decided to stick to the cheaper stuff!
(Here goes a really awkward and embarrassing post. Especially as I have lots of family who read this blog. Please continue to read my entries after today, I beg. Thank you.)
I want to talk about the wedding night. The ooo la la, after the party ends, sexy post-reception time of the night…
I know this subject can be a bit taboo, especially on public websites, but when we plan our wedding day we tend to think about all the parts of it, even the late night parts.
And my disclaimer is this: Everyone’s situation is different and completely unique to them, but at the top of this blog post it says by Miss Sword, so remember these are my thoughts on the subject and my thoughts only. Let’s dive in, shall we?
While I consider myself to be sexually liberal, when it comes to my wedding night I consider myself to be quite old-fashioned. I believe that it’s important to consummate your marriage, and that’s exactly what we Swords plan on doing. (Yes, we’ve talked about it.)
At the same time I understand that for some couples, wedding night sex just isn’t a priority whether it be because of exhaustion from a long day of hosting, familiarity/years together, or getting a little bit too drunk and passing out before anything can happen. I’m sure it’s different for every couple!
For me, it’s not only about sex, it’s about intimacy. It’s the only first night of marriage we’ll have, and as a true romantic, I can’t help but think it will be an extra special night.
Plus, I don’t know about you, but I’m so excited to dance and party with all of my awesome guests as well as my awesome soon-to-be-husband, so I imagine the amount of quality time Mr. Sword and I will get together during the reception will be pretty limited. I look forward to being alone and relishing in the last few moments of our wedding day together.
photo by Jennifer Jackson
But what about my wacky post title?? Here goes the most embarrassing thing I will put on the internet probably ever. One can only hope.
When we were in MN over my holiday break I was out to dinner with BM L Dawg and this conversation really happened. I swear.
I love the cocktail hour during weddings. It’s such a nice time to catch up with old friends and family members and indulge in a drink (and sometimes a few hors d’oeuvres too) before the rest of the reception, when you are often seated at an assigned table. Mr. Wallaby and I are planning a lot of fun surprises for our outdoor cocktail hour—stay tuned! While we plan out those activities (we may or may not be constructing a set of cornhole boards!), we’ve also been discussing what to serve during the cocktail hour.
Swizzle sticks add some pizzazz to cocktail hour.
Here’s the kicker: our venue allows us to bring our own alcohol! They provide the bartender(s), and we bring all liquor and bar essentials (stemware, cocktail napkins, mixers, etc.). They don’t even charge a corkage fee. The more brides I talk to, the luckier I feel that we found a venue with such a budget-friendly alcohol policy. With our Costco membership, Mr. W and I can afford to buy much more liquor than we could if we hosted the wedding at a venue that charges a premium for drinks.
We really lucked out, I think, on the alcohol portion of our wedding. Our venue is somewhat odd in that they take care of alcohol and tables and linens and stuff—basically everything BUT food (more on that front later). This is a unique byproduct of its function as the Women’s National Democratic Club, for which they host events all the time.
We opted for a full bar with a champagne toast because the price difference between that and beer and wine only was pretty negligible, and I really wanted to use these babies with some bubbly:
Clearly, Wolfman and I do enjoy an adult beverage or two, and it’ll be nice to give our guests a full selection. In addition to pretty standard liquor and mixers, here’s our wine list:
…you aren’t gonna find ‘em at the Armadillo wedding.
In case I haven’t been clear with you guys yet, the thought of spending tons of money on this wedding makes me sick to my stomach and I’m resolved to stick to a relatively modest budget. This is especially important because Mama Dillo and Papa Dillo have graciously offered to pay for this shindig, and Mr. A and I are more than grateful for any amount of money my parents have set aside for our wedding. That being said, one of the ways we’ll be slashing wedding costs to cushion our budget is by having a (very) limited bar.
How limited, you ask?
Last time I brought up Mason jars, I was referring to the MANY that we were planning to utilize for decoration. This time around, I will ACTUALLY be talking about how we will be literally drinking our beer from Mason jars. Other than the hay bales, one of my other favorite trendy ideas was drinking from Mason jars! I have loved every other time I’ve used them as glassware, it fits with our rustic country theme, and having our guests keep the same glass all night seemed very “green.” Thanks, again, to good ole Pinterest, I was able to find inspiration on how to label my Mason jars for our guests: chalkboard!
I came to love the idea of a little chalkboard on each jar where each guest could write their name on their glass.
Isn’t this setup cute?