Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wedding Wednesdays : The Reception

Since I recently got hitched, and have all the photos from the big day, I launched a weekly series sharing my favorite images and memories, and a few tips and resources along the way. This is the fifth installment. If you're planning a wedding, make sure to check out "The Credits" at the end. Enjoy!

After the ceremony, our guests enjoyed cocktail hour on the decks of the Martin Johnson House while GT and I, along with our wedding party, took a few more photos. We had hired Carriage Trade Catering to provide the food for the evening, and they did an outstanding job whipping up gourmet grub on site. Guests noshed on three tray-passed hors d’oeuvres during cocktail hour: an Angus ribeye beef skewer with chimichurri sauce (my dad’s favorite), ancho-chile infused shrimp ceviche served on corn tostada with avocado and shallot, and an artichoke “two ways” (grilled and pureed) topped crostini topped with lemon zest. We wanted there to be something for every palate—the meat eaters, the seafood lovers and the veggie fans.

We stocked the bar with our favorite local wines and brews. It wasn’t the most economical choice but something we were passionate about. Everyone knows GT and I love wine and often journeyed to Temecula for a day of wine tasting, and San Diego is the craft-beer capital of America, after all! We had lots of choices (and, lots of leftovers) but everyone raved about the drink selections so it was well worth the cost and effort to curate a locally driven bar.

Besides music and mingling, entertainment included lawn games and wedding-themed Mad Libs. Cornhole and bocce ball were set up on the grass and Mad Libs were placed on our wine barrel belly bars for guests to fill out. (We received some very interesting responses that were a hoot to read after the big day!)

After the cocktail hour, guests picked up their potted succulent escorts that doubled as favors and took their seats. We entered the reception to Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie.” That was my husband’s enthusiastic choice. There wasn’t much he was firm on during the wedding planning process, but he insisted we swagger in as the new Mr. and Mrs. to that tune.

We then went right into our first dance, “Marry Me” by Train. Part of me wishes GT and I had practiced a little beforehand, but it was a sweet and authentic moment between us so I wouldn’t change a thing.

While we had a farm-style sweetheart table, our guests were seated at rounds, about eight to a table, and the dinner was served family style. Our So Cal-inspired menu featured a balsamic-dressed baby spinach salad with quinoa, tomato, caramelized onion and feta cheese. For the main course we had ancho chile chicken breast and grilled cedar plank salmon, served with chimichurri and Spanish aioli, oven-roasted market vegetables and paprika potatoes. We loved our meal and were happy to hear positive reviews from our friends and family as well.

After dinner, we heard touching and funny toasts from my parents, GT’s best man and my maid of honor and then it was time for the special dances. Though it might be a bit overplayed at weddings, I chose “I Loved Her First” by Heartland for the father-daughter dance because every time I heard it I choked up. And the same held true on the wedding day! I was a blubbering mess. Not just because of the lyrics but also because of what my dad said as we swayed back and forth, hand in hand. It was a beautiful moment. I was still emotional as I watched my new hubby dance with his mom to “My Wish” (the Brooke Kelly Kilgarriff of the Rascal Flatts song). GT is an only child and has always been especially close with his mother, and as they danced she sang the song and you could tell she meant every word.

Our DJ, Will Chitwood of Dancing DJ Productions, smartly played the John Legend hit “All of Me” to get our mostly all-couples-crowd up and on the dance floor and the rest of the reception sort of flew by after that.

Highlights include GT's mom's cousin Doug expertly busting out Michael Jackson moves to "Billie Jean," not to mention my small-but-mighty spitfire of a grandmother-in-law boogying the night away, showing us youngsters how it's done.

Of course another highlight that no one will ever forget, for many reasons, is when the classic Isley Brothers song “Shout” came on. It’s become a tradition of sorts for GT to dance in quite an outlandish fashion to this song and, at its pinnacle, do a one-arm push-up. No joke. He gathered all his boys around to do it with him and as they jumped in unison to the chorus, creating a wonderful spectacle, the deck broke. Just what every bride dreams of! It didn’t break completely, no one fell through or got injured, thank goodness, but due to the bowing plank we had to move the dancing to the upper deck. Yep, an unforgettable moment indeed.

Before I knew it, it was time to cut the cake (to “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz). The last dance (“Choose You” by Sara Bareilles) and our glow stick exit (“Light Em Up” by Fall Out Boy) came all too quickly as well—it’s true what they say about your wedding going by in the blink of an eye. I wasn’t ready for it to end. But we left full of joy and love in our hearts—for each other and for the friends and family who made our day magical.

More photos from the reception below, if you'd like to see...


BRIDE'S STYLE: Theia Wedding Dress and Untamed Petals Aimee Sash, both from Lovely Bride Los Angeles | Alfani Women's Kyrah Wedge Sandals in Dusty Rose (looks like they are no longer available) | Necklace and bracelets made by bride | Gemstone Dangle Earrings by Delezhen

'MAIDS' STYLE: Dresses from ModClothLuLu's and Express (all no longer available) | Necklaces and Earrings from Francesca's

GROOMSMENS' STYLE: Pink Check Dress Shirt and various purple ties from Men's Wearhouse | Perry Ellis Linen Pants in Natural Linen | "Honeymoon" Lavender Argyle Socks from Argoz | Shoes and belts their own | GROOM'S STYLE: Same as his men, plus Perry Ellis Linen Vest in Natural Linen

DESSERTS: Wedding cake and Groom's Cake by Twiggs Bakery | Macarons by Bouchee | Mexican wedding cookies, lemon bars and Oreo truffles homemade
RUSTIC MAD LIBS: Free printable from Love vs. Design
MENUS: Handwritten by Bride, on cardstock from Paper Source
FLORALS: Modern Bouquet
SUCCULENTS: For favors and centerpieces from Succulents Galore 
MAKEUP (Cheriene) and HAIR (Nicolette): Beauti on the Go
COORDINATION (day-of): WED San Diego
PHOTOGRAPHY: heidi-o-photo


  1. I absolutely love that you took photos of the food, especially since that was one of the first things I told my photographer I wanted pictures of! But it looks like such a gorgeous day, and I love reading these posts of yours

    1. Haha, yep, the hubs and I love food and cooking, and we carefully selected the menu, so we told our photog to make sure to snap some pics of the cocktail hour bites and dinner! Thanks for your kind words, and for reading! It's fun to relive the day a little bit each week :)


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