Now it’s time for the fun part: the part-y part! (See what I did there?) The part that has all the crazy photos of all the crazy guests dancing in crazy manners. These photos are some of my favorites because they offer glimpses into the dancing frenzy that overtook our reception. Some brides may worry about their guests not dancing at the reception…if that’s you, I will lend you some of our guests. Because our guests. Are. Amaaaaazing!
I secretly had high expectations from my cousins and my parents’ old college buddies, all of whom know how to have a good time on the dance floor. Not only did they step up and deliver, but they were joined by many, MANY more! I was absolutely blown away by the vivacity of other friends and family members on the dance floor, some of whom were even delightfully surprising. Aside from a brief intermission for some flower tossing and garter flinging, the dance floor was hopping non-stop from the moment the party portion of the reception officially started til the very end.
Before we could really get the dancing party started, we had a few more traditions to uphold. The bouquet toss, for one!
I had DIY’ed a little toss bouquet out of the silk flowers I had bought for centerpiece mock-ups using hot glue and spare ribbon the night before. Brides, do not let yourself handle hot glue guns the night before your wedding. It just won’t lead to good things. I, for instance, was reckless in my stressed state of mind and ended up burning the tip of my finger on scalding glue. The burn promptly blistered before my eyes and there was nothing anyone could do. Fortunately, the blister was well protected by my thick, shellacked nail, so it didn’t bother me throughout the wedding. But the experience made me even more eager to chuck that offending bouquet into a crowd of rabid women. That’ll teach it.
All right, all right, so silk flowers can’t be taught lessons and the crowd of women was far from being rabid, but the toss was still fun!
All single ladies, even the engaged, assembled behind me.
I was secretly aiming for the woman in green, as you may notice. I was privy to her boyfriend’s tentative plans and thought it’d be some good ol’ foreshadowing.
I was nervous and excited for our first dance as newlyweds. Nervous, because neither of us is very good at dancing. Excited, because our chosen song is awesome. At least to us. Maybe to you too? Let’s put it on to set the mood:
The song speaks to us on multiple levels and never fails to make me feel incredibly alive and inspired. It’s not your typical first-dance song, and it’s not even much of a traditional love song, but it is ours and it was perfect for beginning the next step of our adventure.
Daddy Bunting loves to make slideshow movies, and he especially loves to time them perfectly with music and coordinating lyrics. We go on a family trip, and when we return he’ll be poring over the resulting photos and designing a musical montage masterpiece to burn to DVDs for us all. Now that I’m thinking about it, slideshows are sort of like scrapbooking for men. But I digress!
I wasn’t going to get down on my knees and beg for someone to make us a cute wedding slideshow for the reception, but I do think they’re rather nice to watch at weddings as long as they don’t run for too long. Maybe it’s just me, but I enjoy seeing snippets of people’s life stories, and it is especially fun to see side-by-side comparisons of the couple as they age. Still, it wasn’t something that I could devote my precious DIY’ing time to. Fortunately, I had
Weapon X Daddy Bunting. So he pored over my baby pictures and got several storage tubs of Mr. Bunting’s baby albums while I provided a list of the songs essential to our childhood/adolescence. And then we set him loose.
He spent hours and hours and HOURS making our slideshow. He selected the best of the best photos, timed them perfectly with the songs that best represented our different life stages, and created a wonderful catalog of memories that had us smiling…
One of the things I was exceptionally eager to see for the first time was our cake. Though the cake wasn’t exactly high on my wedding priority list and I never really believed the lines cake vendors try to feed brides about their wedding being judged entirely by the cake (seriously?), I was still excited to see that frosted structure.
And boy, it did not disappoint! Our cake vendor did a wonderful job translating my idea from this…
Sketch courtesy Sandy at Cascade Confections
You can’t have weddings without kissing. Well, I suppose you can, but then you’d be missing out on quite a bit of fun (and glass clinking).
The inevitable glass clinking that was our guests’ demand for a newly wedded kiss was both something I was looking forward to and dreading. Looking forward to because I did love kissing my new husband, but dreading because the clinks seem to chime at the most inopportune moment… like when my mouth is stuffed full with pot roast.
Thanks to our DJ’s experience, we came up with a compromise that would satisfy our guests’ demands for lip-locking action without getting completely out of control. I mentioned it before, but I’ll explain again since this post involves a lot of kissing.
DJ Randee laid down the ground rules in the beginning: whenever a glass clinked, a couple from the suspected table would first have to demonstrate a kiss and then the newlyweds would follow suit. This is not an entirely new trend at weddings, but it sure makes it interesting.
Of course, the first clink came minutes after Mr. Bunting and I took our seats at the head table. And sure enough, DJ Randee was on the culprits in seconds while gleefully telling them they needed to show us how it was done.
My cousin and his fiance took to the dance floor and demonstrated a twirling-dip-and-kiss effortlessly.
I love toasts at weddings. They’re so heartfelt, personal, and oftentimes hilarious. If you know the bride or groom, you get to reminisce with the toaster. If you aren’t as close with the bride or groom, you get to learn something new about them. And if you are the bride or groom, you end up feeling like the most loved and blessed couple ever. That, or highly embarrassed.
But I knew I was safe on the embarrassing front. Not because MOH Bunting didn’t have any ammo, mind you—she had plenty. But because we’ve known each other since second grade, and she knew that one day, when she gets married, I would have the opportunity to be in her position of power, haha.
We didn’t use rental transportation for the entire wedding party, but all of our ladies and gents beat us to the reception and were waiting for us when we arrived. We gathered in the foyer until our grand introductions, and though the majority of our guests were in the inner room, a few snuck out to congratulate us.
DJ Randee brought me a glass of wine, which I was more than happy to accept. Yes, please! And that’s when I realized that I hadn’t gone over the head table seating arrangement with our wedding party. Whoops! Fortunately someone had a scrap piece of paper and a pencil, so I did my best to draw out the plan and explain it to Brother Bunting and everyone else. I doubt I was very concise even then in my state of excitement, but they were able to decipher my doodles and half-sentences all the same. Go, teamwork!
Before I get into the events at the reception, let’s take a walk-through of all the little decorative details that greeted our guests. I know some of you live for these detail posts, so I’m sure you won’t mind this little long, scenic walk-through.
Several cocktail tables were set up in the main foyer, and on these we had our blue Mason jars, signature flowers, and some of my Grandma Bunting’s hand-sewn fabric hearts.
Skirting the tables was none other than, that’s right, bunting! My other Grandmother Bunting and Mother Bunting labored dutifully over all those sewn triangles, and they really added some pops of color to the space.
When Mr. Bunting and I returned to the park following our carriage ride, we had just enough time to mingle with our lingering guests before they went on to the reception downtown. A group of our friends and relatives remained behind to help tear down the decorations at the park, and since we had finished all our formal portraits before the ceremony, we pitched in to help. Yeah, that lasted long.
I have no idea why, but Mr. Bunting possessed a strong love-hate relationship with all our tissue poms. He loved and appreciated them as decorations, but he loved to hate them as objects. I don’t think I’ll ever understand, but it’s almost like Mr. Bunting was the one who personally had to count sheets of tissue paper, fold, cut, and fluff all those colorful poms. Which is just silly talk, because aside from the fluffing party we had at the rehearsal dinner, it was my fingers who labored so intensively over these delicate creations. All right, all right, Mr. Bunting did help fold a few (after he was kicked off cutting duty for failed quality control checks), but he later admitted to me that he got away without fluffing a single pom. That sneaky devil. So why, then, was he so keen on destroying my pretty poms? He claims he only hates them on my behalf (they were rather tedious and frustrating), but I secretly think he just loves the idea of shredding a brightly colored ball of tissue paper. When we started pulling down the decorations, including the poms, Mr. Bunting got a devious glint in his eye and zeroed in on them like a lion to its prey.
While Mr. Bunting and I were taking a little horse-drawn carriage stroll, our guests were invited up to the pavilion to enjoy cookies and refreshments immediately after the ceremony. I promised a plethora of detail images…so be prepared for this photo-heavy post!
Some of you may remember the fabric garland I DIY’ed and my general plan for the cookie table at the park. Well…it turned out beautifully. I didn’t get a chance to see the full thing assembled in person, but these photos assure me it was amazing (and not to mention delicious!).
Our carriage rental included a private ride that, before the wedding, I wasn’t entirely sure if we would have time for or not. I wasn’t too worried since we could always redeem it after our big day, but once we were in the moment we wanted to take it right then. We knew our guests would be entertained in the meantime by the beauty of the park and the dessert table and refreshments we had set up for them to enjoy. And having had our family and formal photographs taken before the ceremony certainly meant we had nowhere to be immediately following our recessional.
“Do we have time for the ride?’
This was almost the big moment. The moment I had been anticipating for so long now…the pronunciation and big kiss. But first, a prayer. Corinthians 13:1-7, 13, to be exact.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
The next part of our ceremony was something I’ve named our “foundation ceremony.” It is something I specifically developed for us, and I am especially proud of it. While very similar to the sand ceremony (and even a lesser-known water-mixing ceremony), our foundation ceremony took us several steps further in creating the deeply personal and meaningful ceremony we envisioned.
Instead of colored sands to represent the joining of our selves and our lives, we used earth, sand, and rocks from the geographical locations most important to our hearts and our personal histories. These alternating layers don’t just symbolize our union, but also our past, present, and future. To explain the meaning of the ritual and the significance of each bottle of earth, I wrote some words for our pastor to share during the ceremony.
Best Man Bunting performed his duty of safeguarding the rings until they were needed beautifully, but now it was time to bless and exchange them and I couldn’t wait to have that shiny new band on my finger marking me as a married woman.
Slipping Mr. Bunting’s ring over his finger, I repeated after our officiant.
With this ring, I thee wed, and with all that I am and all that I have, I honor you.