We had taken dance lessons for a few months before the wedding, which was really fun! Of course the DJ had skipped the intro to the song, so we were a little thrown off at the start, and ended up having to make it up as we went along.
Thankfully no one seemed to notice! We're not really fans of being the center of attention, so switching up the dance a bit was a welcome distraction from everyone watching us.
Let's start with a random tangent about our reception. One of the biggest problems I had while planning our wedding in a small town was figuring out a venue to fit all of our wedding guests. We had a rather large wedding, with around 325 guests. There were no venues other than the local armory in the area that could hold such a big group of people. My biggest worry with the reception was that I did not want our guests to feel like they were in a gymnasium. I wanted it to feel like an elegant space, or as elegant as it could get while still fitting everyone comfortably. I spent hours upon hours figuring out how to make this room a little prettier and worried about it so much more than I care to admit. But when we walked in for the cocktail hour, all my worries about the reception feeling too much like a gym were alleviated. Yes, the floor still had lines all over it and the walls were still blue cinder block. There wasn't much we could do about that. But the rest of the place was completely transformed by our awesome decorators! Here are a few before pictures of our venue and the general layout of the reception to give you a better idea of what we were working with.
When we walked into the reception for the cocktail hour, we were greeted with this pretty table in the foyer of the building.
After walking into the cocktail room, there was a wishing tree, which was our version of a guest book. We asked guests to write wishes for us on tags, and then hang them on the tree. The tree was made of white spray painted branches cemented into a wooden box.
We had one of our family friends playing the piano in the cocktail room, which made for a wonderful atmosphere.
Our guests started filtering in and headed to the bar for drinks.
We had two signature cocktails for guests to choose from (along with the usual beer, wine, etc) including the "Something Blue" (champagne with Chambord and Blue Curacao)
and the "Marry me-Jito" (a blackberry honey mojito).
In lieu of a slideshow, we opted to hang pictures from all stages of our lives for guests to look at during the cocktail hour.
We couldn't resist having a photobooth to take pictures in all night. We just set up a camera on a tripod with a remote, and some lights pointed against the backdrop. Sadly we totally forgot to take a picture of ourselves in the photobooth, but it was a huge hit with our guests!
The kids found their own little table filled with coloring books and crayons to entertain them.
With so many guests at our wedding, we knew it would be hard to spend time with everyone that came to celebrate with us. For us, it was important to be there at the start of the cocktail hour so we'd have extra time to visit with our guests. I'm so glad we did it this way rather than being fashionably late, because we actually got to spend time chatting with family and friends. The cocktail hour was such a fun time! After some more mingling, it was time to head into the dining room for dinner.
When we arrived at our first location, we grabbed a few more pictures near the car before heading down to the boardwalk overlooking our hometown.
We had some laughs with our wedding party in between photo ops. One of my bridesmaids told me I had a phone call and then proceeded to shove a cell phone in my face before I knew what was happening. I totally thought she was serious and tried to answer it before looking at what she had handed me.
Yeah, it was a flask shaped like a phone. So I "answered" it correctly before starting our group pictures.
Then we headed back to the boardwalk.
Then walked over to the pavilion in the park.
We drove to an old bridge to get some photos near the water.
One of our ushers owns a bar in town, so we stopped to meet some of our guests for a drink before our cocktail hour began.
We had to get a few shoe shots in while we were there since we changed shoes after the ceremony.