Reception… Beginning Recap

The party has come… and gone! It’s over. 3+ months of planning and it was a lot of fun and turned out absolutely gorgeous. We had tons of compliments about the food, yard, and set up.

My parents and younger brother Dan, Dan’s girlfriend Cathy, and her mom, were such a tremendous help to us in setting up and decorating everything. We were able to borrow the tables and chairs from Dan’s union hall and from Cathy’s family. It is so amazing to have had all their help with the entire day.

I know y’all are expecting an update from the party, but I’m just so bummed over the pictures that I have no energy to even begin the post. As it turns out, that amazing professional photographer was a no show. Yes, I should have booked my own photographer. Lesson learned. Doesn’t make it suck less.

I shall leave you with this [heavily edited/lightened] picture while I edit, crop and try to salvage the rest of the pictures…


Finally… Party Time!

Tomorrow is the day. Finally. We’ve been planning this party/ wedding reception for a little under 3 months. Ya know, had to bask in the glow of our wedding/ Vegas trip for a few weeks. 😉

Tomorrow I get to see all the family I haven’t seen in ages, even the estranged half that, quite frankly, shocked me by saying they were coming. I get to see friends flying and driving in from all over the country to celebrate with us.

Tonight we are celebrating my amazing husband’s [huge milestone] birthday with my Twitter/ FB friends Sarah and Simon. Incidentally, it’s also Simon’s birthday! Had our friends Leung and Nancy been able to make it, we’d have a triple birthday for the 3 guys. Weird, huh?

Yesterday and today were spent shopping for, buying and prepping all the food, cleaning up the yard, rolling the flatware, cleaning up our house, making all the signs, buying the centerpieces, and doing everything else required to have a rather large party at the house. Mom, dad and I hit up BJ’s Warehouse Club yesterday and spent a small fortune on the non-perishable stuff like the plates, flatware, soda, [11 bottles of] wine, chafing dishes, and so much more. Today mom and I went back for the food. Sure, we could’ve done it all in one trip, but it seems slightly less painful to the wallet this way. Hey, I did say slightly!

During all this, I recalculated our budget. I was really surprised to find that in the grand scheme of things, we spent a LOT less money than I thought we’d have spent. And, of course, we spent thousands of dollars less catering everything ourselves than had we used a professional catering company.

We have been extremely fortunate with our super talented friends and family. The main side dishes are being made by my [for all intent’s and purposes] sister-in-law’s grandmother. Desserts are being made by myself, my mom, my brother and my SIL’s sister. All the decorations, signage, favors, I am making, except for the centerpieces themselves. We’re getting plants and I really do have too black a thumb to have grown them. 😉 The tents and chairs were loaned to us by my SIL’s family and my brother’s union hall. And there’s more… That I’ll need to figure out when I write that recap post for submissions.

After everything is said and done, I plan on submitting the party to a few different wedding websites. Not just for the budget, but for the pictures and everything else.

Oh! That’s another thing. We had a photography budget of $1200 initially, but quickly dropped it to $600. We kinda figured we could find a student or something on Craigslist for $5-600. I know I know, that’s risky. As it turns out, my friend Moe has a friend that lives in Key West who just so happens to be an Emmy award winning photographer/ videographer. And they’re giving us the pictures/ video as our gift. Yeah… I’ll let that sink in for a bit. <3


Party Set-Up… 5 More Days

On an entirely different note, our wedding reception is in 5 days. And I gotta tell you, I cannot wait for it to be here… then be over! I am not putting nearly as much thought and time into the reception as I did with our wedding/ vacation to Las Vegas. It’s going to be truly amazing to see family and friends we haven’t seen in years and to introduce Steve to all of them. Hey, the gifts aren’t that bad either… 😉

I mentioned a few weeks ago about the new location for the reception. It’s in the much larger part of the yard and already beautifully decorated with orchids, bromeliads, bonsai and palm trees. My father is a truly amazing, even if amateur, landscape artist. On Saturday, we (mom, dad, Steve and myself) set up 3 tent frames, trimmed tree branches, moved the tables and benches my father built, and raked up the loose rocks and branches. Dad put down an entire palette of mulch (75 bags!) and then we went back to Home Depot to buy another palette and check our options for the centerpieces. It turned out he needed another half palette, but everything is finally complete. Wow, that’s almost 200 bags!

I’ll leave you with a few pictures of the setup. Kayla and Jake were instrumental in helping by standing on and in front of the golf cart, lying in the grass and licking everyone. The next pictures will likely be after the party. 😀


The Actual Reception Location

Seeing as it’s now less than 3 weeks from our wedding reception, my folks called us outside Saturday afternoon to start discussing the logistics and layout of the tents, tables, food, drinks, etc. I’d posted pictures on here not long ago of the yard where the party was going to be held… well that’s totally changed! Rather than party in the big open yard with bad lighting and trenches where dad pulled all the trees out, we’re having it in the yard between their house and ours.

Dad decided to hang a few more light strands around the yard to increase the lighting. It’s a gorgeous area with tons of plants and natural beauty already in place. AKA zero need for additional décor! The strung lights cast plenty of light, but there will also be several spot lights around the yard. Over by the tents, there will be more lights. Good thing my father is so crafty as there are electrical outlets all over the yard perfect for additional lighting.

He’s also going to buy mulch to even out the ground so no one else trips like I did a few weeks ago. I’ve been checking the weather and it is going to be the perfect Miami “winter” with a high of 73* and a low of 53*. So much for my idea of wearing a cute dress! More like a cute sweater with a pair of jeans and maybe boots.

The plant house in the middle of the area

The large tree surrounded by seating, the appetizer/ drinks tent

The food tent

The whole area taken from the area where the seating tents will be located

We still need to make the favors. I bought 100 sheets of origami paper to make the candy dishes and 7lbs of candy. Also need to…
* organize the guest book canvas boards and markers
* make the flags for the centerpieces
* order the food!
* make sure we can borrow tents and chairs from Cathy’s family or else find a place to rent
* buy the centerpieces (6″ plants) and plant sleeves [or maybe make them]
* find table cloths
* clean our house!
* and probably several other things


Chocolate Chip-Walnut Cookies

What? How do those relate to babies, weddings or knitting?

Well, the next month 26 days is all about testing desserts for our reception. These are potential winners! My favorite site for recipes is definitely Annie’s Eats as she has stuff from every imaginable category, but is a great writer to boot! So yes, I took her Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe and split the chips to about 3/4 cup and added 3/4 cup of chopped walnuts. OK, more like “chopped then smashed up even smaller by hand” walnuts.

In case there was any doubt how big these suckers were...

Last weekend I broke in our new KitchenAid Stand Mixer by whipping up Annie’s Challah recipe. While delicious, I’m really not sure how she got such a huge loaf. It was delicious and been requested to have a presence at the reception. Guess I’ll be playing with it a lot more in the coming weeks.

Check her site out, and be sure to let me know what kinda stuff you’ve made!


Chocolate Favors!

OK, so favors. They’re not necessary, but I still think they’re adorable. No, i’m not talking about some little trinket our guests will throw in a drawer, stick on a shelf or throw away… I’m talking about food! More specifically, chocolate Kisses!

Yep, I decided on Kisses bc they’re a lot bigger than M&Ms and they come wrapped. I don’t really want to be touching food people are going to be eating.

Here’s my next choice… the packaging. Do I buy the 2x2x2 boxes and decorate them, or make boxes? Tonight at the bookstore, I was flipping through one of Martha Stewart’s big books of crafts and found a super cute origami candy dish.

So of course, I had to rip a piece of paper out of my little notebook and make one…

Background removed in PhotoShop

I was digging around online to find out the size of standard origami paper, which seems to come in a huge variety of sizes, and found the image below. It’s made of felt sewn together in 4 spots and might just be easier to make. If I find a rotary cutter and a thick mat, I can cut big felt pieces down to size.

Another option, made of felt

The thing with the paper dishes, is I’d buy a bunch of 12×12 scrapbook paper and cut them all down to 6×6. I’m fairly sure it could work.

The other option is to buy some 2x2x2 cardboard boxes and twine to tie them shut. The paper and felt boxes have that personal DIY touch, whereas the boxes have none. Hmm… What to do? What to do?

What would you do?


Reception Location

Picture it: Lush green open space, swaying palm trees, hanging orchids and bromeliads, candles and bunches of carnations in a fishbowl on all the tables, and twinkle lights and paper lanterns as far as the eye can see.

That is the vision I have for our reception. In this space, which is to the left of my parents house. My father has been landscaping and cleaning up the area for a few weeks now. They had a holiday party last night in this area.

I just love all the gorgeous land my parents have and that my father has a real eye for landscaping. No wonder where I got my creativity from! Only mine comes in the form of graphic design and knitting. 🙂

Whatcha think? What do you picture when you see this raw open space?


First [Non-Cash] Wedding Gift!

beccablogsWhy yes, we did get married 2 months ago. But that doesn’t mean we got any presents then. When you essentially elope – even though the whole Facebook/ Twitter world knew about it – you get no presents. We also weren’t expecting any. Duh.

Our “wedding reception” is in just over a month. Holy cow, that’s soon! Our registry is finally getting some notice, and stuff being bought.

Yesterday afternoon, my mom called to ask if I had ordered anything as she saw a big box inside our fence. Upon further inspection, it was a Bed Bath & Beyond box and, according to the Fedex label, weighed 29 pounds. Being the registry stalker that I am, I knew exactly what it was… only I was wrong.

The problem begins with Fedex’s complete disregard for fragile packages and customer service. We live on a large piece of land with lots of animals and have a fence going around our entire property – like everyone else in Homestead. This fence is electric and without the remote, you can’t get in. long ago, Fedex and UPS decided to not even bother honking to let us know a package is here and to just chick it over the fence. But hey, at least they put the boxes in a plastic bag in case it rains.

So, yeah, 29lb box sitting inside our fence wrapped in a bag. I suspected what it contained and was terrified that it was broken. When I got home from work, I lugged it back to our house and proceeded to open it.

My wedding present, and mom was excited to open it too. Nice.

Without further ado…

hmmm... what could it be??

The kids didn't care, they were otherwise occupied by the plastic bag and a bowl of water.

Ahhhhh! KitchenAid Stand Mixer! (insert hyperventilation here)

Mmmmmm Pretty *pet pet pet*

My family, they're awesome! <3

And what's this? A surprise gift! Gorgeous flatware.

That’s right, the coveted KitchenAid Stand Mixer is mine! Errm, I mean ours.

Right right, ours.. there’s a husband here! He actually does cook quite a lot, but I have a feeling that I’ll be using this baby more between baking bread, cupcakes, cookies, pastries, etc etc etc.

When I said I was wrong about about knowing exactly what was in the box, it’s because I had no idea they’d bought us the flatware too!

I called to thank my aunt and she said she knew how much I wanted the mixer, but the flatware was so we have “no excuse to sit down to eat dinner together with [our] matching flatware.” Love her!

So there it is, our first non-cash wedding gifts. Now to get our thank you cards from @OvernightPrints so we can deposit the checks and send the thank you notes!