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?
Now, of all the “tastings”, this one was by far my FAVORITE. It was also the most spread out (yes, even more so than the beer!). Champagne has recently become one of the drinks I actually enjoy indulging in! I’m not MUCH of a drinker (with all the alcohol we’ve purchased lately you may not believe me, though!), and when I do have a couple, I like it to be something that I actually ENJOY. Champagne was one of those drinks in the gray area: we’re only doing beer and wine, and we’re using Mason jars as glasses, so with the exception of water glasses, our guests can use the same glass all night. With that concept in mind, I just always figured that our guests could toast with whatever drink they happened to have in their hand, right?
WRONG. Mr. B said that it’s not a wedding without champagne. I re-explained our Mason jar concept, and that it would completely defeat the purpose if we also got champagne glasses, especially when most people don’t drink champagne just to drink it! He agreed, only his new idea was even more silly. “Well, then we will only get champagne for the head table.” This is why women plan weddings, I couldn’t help thinking, but I had to politely inform him that would not do because, unfortunately, that is rude—it had to be available for everyone or not at all. I secretly hoped he’d say “OK, not at all, then,” but he didn’t. So our search began. When I picked up our wine at BevMo, I picked up some champagne that was also on the soon-to-be-ending five-cent wine sale.
One of the big things I kept putting off was going to look into alcohol prices! One of the great things about being able to bring our own booze to the wedding, is it saves a TON of money! But the downside to bringing your own alcohol is that you have to, well, bring your own alcohol. And if you’re working on a budget, like we are, it’s not as simple as going and picking up a few cases of wine and beer and calling it a day! (Well, I guess you could make it that simple, but I’m more into doing my research than that.) First things first, we selected our wine!
Luckily for us, one of our friends has a wholesale license, which helps out a whole lot on the food, but he doesn’t have the right license for alcohol (darn!). So that left me to start at my trusted Costco. I started by checking out the prices they had on various wines and champagnes. I found a few that seemed like they would work, but none of the prices were GREAT, and I just wasn’t really in love with anything. So I noted my prices and moved on to Bevmo!
Now, I don’t go to Bevmo very often, and when I do it’s usually because I have my heart set on some random drink the grocery store doesn’t have. Seeing as I don’t drink that much, that’s a pretty rare occurrence. But I happened to go during their AH-MAZING five-cent wine sale. Now the awesome thing about the sale is that they have a bunch of good wine at buy one bottle and get one for five cents! Now that could drastically change my budget up! You see, we (similarly to a LOT of couples) can’t afford to splurge on wine, and honestly I was budgeting about $5 per bottle. This number is able to fluctuate, but that was where I really wanted to stay. But with the five-cent wine sale, I could get bottles priced around $10 for $5 each! So I picked up a few different bottles and took them to dinner at my mom’s house so that we could taste them and decide. Since Mr. B doesn’t drink wine, I needed my mom and step-dad’s trusted opinions, and they definitely came through! Sure enough, one of the bottles I bought was one of my mom’s favorites!
Thanks to the help of your votes, hive, we were able to narrow down our list of choices to our top five choices that we would serve for our signature cocktail tasting/birthday party. We took the top three choices from the votes, and then I picked my favorite and Mr. Ly picked his favorite. The top three choices were: Poinsettia, Kir Royale, & French 75. I chose a Pimm’s Royale—because I love Pimm’s Cups, and I thought I would really like a Pimm’s Royale. Mr. Ly actually went from the comments section and chose Hive member mholden’s suggestion, the Honey Badger (I think he just liked the name!).
After a delicious and fun dinner with many of my closest friends, family and their significant others, we headed back to the Lyre residence where we had our champagne chilled, liquor bought and glasses all set up—we were ready to go.
Our drink supplies for the night (minus the champagne)
When I first made my appearance on the ’Bee, I proclaimed myself to be a lover of all things champagne. However, since that proclamation, I have yet to incorporate any of the bubbly into our actual wedding plans. I have a champagne shower coming up, and (of course!) will be making some glittery champagne glasses which so many bees have blogged about (I’ll just show you the final product when they’re done!), but now comes the time when Mr. Ly and I must decide on our signature drink for cocktail hour. There’s only one thing I think it should be:
|I do love me some bubbly. Personal Photo|
Our wedding will have a full open bar, which was a non-negotiable for us. Upon arrival to our ceremony, our guests will be greeted with a glass of champagne before entering the ceremony space. (This alone sold me on our venue.) Our caterers are well known for their excellent service, and this is certainly one of the aspects that drew us to Cescaphe catering. However, they are truly known for their cocktail hour (which is actually an hour and a half—more on that later!). Along with the food and standard open bar, they also offer a signature drink to be butlered with the passed hors d’oeurves. Signature drinks are fairly common these days, but we can’t decide on a drink.
Since our guests will already be getting champagne, and can get more if they’d like, we’re opting against it for our signature drink. If I can’t have just plain champagne, I will have a champagne drink of sorts. It doesn’t have to match our colors—would anyone drink something gray anyway?
This is where we’re starting:
Guess what? My parents had a DRY wedding. Yes, as in, alcohol free!! Back in 1979, they got married early on a Sunday morning and hosted a late breakfast sort of meal following their ceremony. They did not serve any booze. While Dad Sword has a beer every once in a while, Mom Sword never drinks; consequently, I am not a huge drinker myself. Growing up NEVER seeing alcohol in the house coupled with a phobia of vomiting leaves little room in my life for binge drinking. But the thing is, I’m marrying this guy:
In Scotland, at a B&B, pre-dinner drink, June 2010
He’s from the United Kingdom, or as I call it, The Land of Drinking.
One option our venue gave us was to provide our own wine and champagne, and pay a corkage fee of $15 a bottle. It seems steep, but because the venue has a loose policy on this and didn’t say magnums would be charged double, we bought magnum sized (1.5 L) wine bottles, which cost around $15 each. A regular bottle of wine (750 mL) at the venue was around $37, so we inevitably saved money on the wine front. For champagne, the price was around $8 a glass. We bought our champagne for $9 a bottle. We clearly saved money here too.
Yesterday I went to Real Canadian Superstore and bought all of our wine and champagne. At first, I wanted to place an order because they only had nine bottles of champagne in stock. However, I waited too long. The order wouldn’t come in in time for us to drop it off at the venue on Thursday to be chilled for Saturday. (I’m getting married on SATURDAY! YAY!) So, I ended up having to visit two stores. At the first store, I bought 12 magnums of white, 14 red, and nine bottles of champagne. At the second, I bought four magnums of red and 11 bottles of champagne. My car was PACKED!
It may not look like it, but I’ve got nine bottles of champagne and 24 magnums of wine in here!
I picture our bar setup for the wedding as quite casual. We’re providing a few bottles of wine per table during dinner, which I think will just sit on the tables. There will also be a few liquor options and a bunch of beer, which I am imagining on a separate bar table with ice, straws, and extra cups. But what about our cocktail hour, while the wedding party is off having photos taken?
We’re not having a bartender, so fresh-made signature cocktails aren’t really an option. I don’t want people to have to wander into the tent to find booze, and I want them to use their Mason-jar glasses, so we’re offering, drum roll, please…punch!
I mean, how can you resist sweet setups like these?
Last Friday night Mr. Castle was finally able to give me my Valentine’s Day gift! His gift to me was a Wine 101 class. He thought it would be good preparation for our honeymoon in Italy and Paris, where we will surely be drinking plenty of wine! We decided to schedule it a couple weeks before our wedding, figuring it would be a nice break from all the projects we would be working on. It turned out to be a great choice, because after our crazy week we needed to have an evening out!
I wanted to share some of the small tidbits of information I learned from our wine class. I really don’t know much about wine, other than I enjoy drinking it. I’m terrible when it come to purchasing a bottle of wine, though, and that’s where this class really helped. We tried 12 different wines during our two-hour class, and yes by the end we were a little tipsy. Trying such a wide variety of wine introduced me to some new kinds I really enjoyed. As for those I didn’t enjoy, I at least learned to appreciate their unique flavors.
Ready for wine class!