Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dinner & Speeches

After our first dance was over dinner was served family style by a group of Girl Guides.
I am a leader for a Sparks unit and made a donation to a Guide unit within our district that was fundraising for a trip to Churchill Manitoba. Their leader organized approximately 10 girls to come out and serve the platters to each table and clear dishes afterwards.

{We attached menus to the red wine at each table...Originally I planned to have a menu laying on each plate but I miscalculated the amount of paper I needed and in the end I think that would have been over kill.}

My BIL D also acted as the MC for the rest of the evening and started the speeches as we were finishing up our meal.

First to get up was my Mr's brother & best man....

He had prepared a PowerPoint presentation to go along with his speech, which was a bit of a gong show to set up and his fiancee definitely loves him as she missed eating most of her supper since he had neglected to grab the laptop & projector prior to the reception so they had to sneak out and then set it all up. In the end it all worked out and my Mr was thrilled.

In hindsight I would suggest NOT starting speeches as the servers are clearing tables as it got a little noisy with the change in tempo and took awhile for things to quiet down, when the guests realized that speeches were happening. I'm not sure how many people actually heard his speech but my Mr did so I think that is what is the most important.

After the best man speech, the parents of the groom got up to give their welcome...

My FIL didn't speak during their Thank yous and welcome, but perhaps that is because he decided to do an impromptu Thank You speech after their reading during the ceremony. I'm chalking it up to the fact that he was nervous or perhaps oblivious that you don't actually get to say unscripted speeches during a scripted ceremony, especially when you have the opportunity two hours later...but those are my in-laws for you....gotta love them.

After they sat down all three of my bridesmaids took turns giving a speech, something that truly humbled me. The fact that they all didn't have too but chose to was very touching. And they all gave unique and heartfelt speeches.

First came my sister, MOH M....

...then BM K....

and lastly MOH K.

By the end I was crying. I love these girls and am so happy they were and are part of my life.

(I regret not grabbing their written speeches after they were done and shoving them into my purse so that I could read them again when I wasn't so emotional and could actually register everything. Perhaps they are reading this and would be so kind as to email them to me...)

After their speeches were over my parents took their turn to say 'Welcome to the Family' and their thank yous.

This being my parents' second daughter's wedding, my father came prepared and actually wrote out his Thank yous so he wouldn't forget.

All and all I was really happy to hear everyone have a chance to speak.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Social: Setting up the Mix Table

Flashback to our social...I actually thought I had written about what I did for our drink mix table but looking through my posts I've been proven wrong! Considering I actually put a lot of work into what we provided I figure I'll share it with you now, rather then just answering the question in the comment section.

First off, I'm a gin drinker and one of the biggest let downs at a social is when I walk up to the bar and find out that they serve gin (Yahhhhh), which I proceed to buy, but then walk over to the mix table only to see my options are Coke, 7up, Ginger Ale or Orange Juice. Take from me, gin does NOT go well with any of these options. If you are only planning to supply the above mentioned mixes then please don't supply gin! You are only teasing people. I much rather order vodka to begin with if I knew I would be drinking gin straight.

So after that little rant let me share with you what I included at our drink mix table....

The hall we used, Bronx Park Community Centre, includes a drink fountain containing Ginger Ale, 7up, Coke & Diet Coke. For an additional charge they replace the canisters if they run out so you don't have to worry about not having enough of the basic mixes. (And as a bonus, they never actually charged me for the additional Coke and Ginger Ale that was used).

Additional I went to Costco and bought 4 - 4L jugs of Cranberry Juice, 4 - 2L Clamatoe Juices, 6 - 2L Tonic Waters (these were from Superstore actually) & 2 boxes of 4 - 2L Orange Juices. The nice thing about Costco is you can return what ever you don't use so if you are unsure of how much to buy just pick up a few extras to be safe and bring them back the next day!

If you are like me and think the little extras are what makes an event special and memorable you may want to add the following items to your table: a platter of celery sticks, lemon & lime wedges (I cut all of these pretty small...see picture below)  and cherries with tongs so people aren't sticking their dirty fingers in them!, as well as Tabasco & Worcestershire sauce. I went to a social where they also provided the ceasar salt to rim the glasses but since your alcohol is already in the glass by the time you make it to the mix table it isn't really easy to get that salt on there so I decided to skip that ingredient.

At the time of our social they didn't provide ice so that is what the white bowls are on the table. Since then they now include ice, as my SIL has booked her social with them next May (stay tune for my planning of that one!).

Basically for less then $200 extra you can make your mix table a little more diversified which you will make the drinking A LOT more enjoyable for your attendees and perhaps they will buy more!

Is there anything you included on your table that I forgot?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Learning To Dance

Before I continue on with the recap of our wedding...I know I'm taking for EVER...I figured I'd interrupt it with more details of how my Mr and I learnt our Two Step, as the question came up because of the last post.

When my Mr agreed to take dance lessons I made a few calls to studios and was also recommended one studio by a couple that took lessons for an anniversary. The first studios I called were the well known ones, one being Arthur, but apparently their reception system isn't that great and did not receive calls back.

The one we were recommended was Shirley's Dance Studio, the studio is on Tache in the basement of a bowling alley and the website is nothing flashy, so if I had judged a book by its cover in this instance I would have missed out big time!

Shirley is one of the nicest women you will ever meet and she is passionate about dance. She personally teaches the private lessons for wedding couples and is dedicated to making sure you are comfortable on the dance floor. The private lessons will run you $200 for 6-8 classes where she will spend the time to make sure the dance is choreographed to the song of your choosing, but here's the bonus...we started roughly 2 months before the wedding and we needed a lot of help at the beginning. After the first month we had already used 8 lessons but felt that it we were really getting the hang of things and wanted to continue. When we asked her how much more we owed her since we would need at least 6 more lessons she said NOTHING. We ended up taking about 15 classes with her, one hour long each, and only paid $200.

I can't promise that she won't increase the price but I definitely recommend that this is a woman that cares more about the experience then charging for every minute she's with you. My Mr was extremely self conscious about dancing in public and Shirley spent a lot of time making him comfortable.

We opted to learn the basics of the dance rather then choreographing special moves at different times in the song because she felt my Mr would be more comfortable picking the changes in the dance as we were moving rather then stressing that he forgot to turn me at a specific time. It worked really well for us.

Now I just need to get him to agree to dance more often!!

So if you are considering taking lessons in Winnipeg I STRONGLY encourage you to call her up!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Our first dance

We chose to start our reception with our first dance. Mainly so that it was fresh in our minds and my Mr didn't have to stress about it during dinner and speeches, as we had snuck in some practice during our photo session.

As I think I've mentioned before, my Mr and I took dance lessons for two months prior to our wedding, to learn how to two step as our first dance would be to "Stuck Like Glue" by Sugarland. There was a minor melt down at the end of the first month where my Mr decided that he would never get it and wanted to quit but he stuck with it and I think we pulled it off, especially when we started all I wanted to do was lead and he didn't feel comfortable stopping me!

One of our guests was kind enough to take video and share it with me so I've uploaded it to to share with you. Enjoy!

Our First Dance from Carmen Kaethler on Vimeo.

If you either can't watch it or don't want to right now here are a few shots our photography got of us while we spun around the floor.

I am so happy we decided to take lessons, rather then just play it safe and sway back and forth. It was one of my favorite memories of the night and it made our mothers and grandmothers day! We received a lot of compliments and even some good natured teasing at the fact that my Mr counted out loud as we danced...Quick, Quick, Slow, Slow! But I needed him to do that as I was extremely concerned about tripping on my turned out to be too short to pull up with the wrist brace but slightly too long that my heals caught a bit of the hem during turns. All in all I think it turned out great.

Did you decided to take dance lessons or do something different for you first dance?

{Photos By Darren Hull Studios}

Monday, September 12, 2011

Entertaining our guests

While we were off taking photos around the park our guests had two hours to waste before dinner. As the venue was 40 minutes from Winnipeg, where most of our guests were from, I didn't expect them to drive home between ceremony and reception which meant that I needed to occupy their time so that they weren't bored.

We opened the bar at 4:30, immediately after the ceremony was over, and had the appetizers we made on Thursday put out buffet style by our servers (the Girl Guides). Of course I've had no luck documenting the appetizer portion of my wedding as no one seems to have taken pictures of them during cocktails. I don't even know how the presentation of them ended up looking! People told me they really enjoyed everything and it was gone quickly, which is good!

But I would have really liked to see what it looked like! Hopefully a pictures will surface one day...

Along with the appetizers & cocktails, our DJ moved his system from the ceremony location back to the reception venue to start the background music.

We got lucky with our venue, in that it was a beautiful campground and park so our guests were able to stroll their paths, walk across the bridge and if that wasn't enough I also set up a photo booth area for people to pose for their own pictures.

Originally I thought to do a DIY automated photo booth but trying to figure out what camera to use, how to have people remotely click, etc gave me a headache! I decided to ask one of my many amazing friends to man the booth during cocktails and take the pictures manually. I later posted them on our flickr account for people to download.

Here a few of the shots he took...

Lastly we set up lawn games, borrowed from our parents, for people to play. This wasn't just used during cocktails but after dinner and speeches. If you have the space at your wedding I strongly recommend it. Not everyone enjoys dancing all night and it is a fun way to occupy the kids that come.

{One of the many signs I made for the day, its actual printed to look like a chalk board via Mrs Bunting's DIY Faux Chalkboard on Weddingbee - Photo by Darren Hull Studio}

{My aunt playing lawn golf - photo by Darren Hull Studios}

Just the two of us

With everyone else taken care of, we spent the last 1/2 hour before dinner taking pictures of just the two of us. Here are a few different areas in the park that we shot at...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Posing with our wedding party

After the family and group photos were taken, I desperately had to visit the little ladies room. So as I ran with my bridesmaids for a much need bathroom break, the guys started taking pictures...

We joined them shortly and MOH K climbed up in the tree with the guys...
Our next shots were action ones, our photographer lay on the grass as we ran towards him and the guys jumped over. I think this is one of my favourite pictures as the guys all have the most ridiculous facial expressions in their mid leaps...

We had to do a few takes as I wasn't running fast enough in my heals. It didn't help that the first time we started running my crinolines started sliding down my legs!

Next we moved to another area of the park where we took pictures with me and each of my bridesmaids(we were really lucky to have a venue with so many photo opportunities with in a few steps from each other, it definitely helped us keep on our tight schedule!).
{Me and MOH M, my sister}
{Me and BM K}

{Me and MOH K}

My Mr also got a few more shots with just him and the groomsmen...

There was a walking bridge at the park, (capacity was 7 people I think!) which was our next photo opportunity...

We finished our wedding party pictures on the grass in a nice big pile up (another one of my favorites)...

Do you have your photo locations picked out yet? Are they at your venue or will you be driving from location to location?

Picture Time: Altogether now...

Before all of the guests dispersed from the ceremony, to grab cocktails and appetizers, visit the photo booth, play games or mingle we ushered everyone over to a clearing in the trees to take some group shots. I really wanted a pictures with everyone that came to send out with out Thank you cards.

With over 150 guests it was a little tight to cram everyone in to the shot but we did it. Not sure how some people ended up where they did, though. (Specifically my sister's husband is in the far left corner and my BM K's husband is in the far right corner...why they weren't standing by their spouses up front...I don't know...)

After the group photos were done we spent a little more then 30 minutes doing our family portraits. I think family is very important and wanted to have group photos with each of our extended sides.

First we took pictures with our parents...
{My Father & Mother}
{Both of our parents}
{My in laws}
{FIL, MIL,Us, BIL, Future SIL}

Then came my Mr's extended family...
{MIL's extended family....far right is our photographer, my Mr's cousin, and is the ONLY picture he 'approved' with him in it:)}
{FIL's extended family}

And then my side of the family...
{My mother's extended family...she is actually the oldest of 9 children and I'm the oldest of 20 grandchildren, so if everyone could have made it this would have been ALOT bigger!}
{My father's extended family...he only has one sister so this side feels a lot smaller}
{My immediate family...this is where it gets tricky, my family are not the biggest fans on my brother's girlfriend and wanted a picture with out her but I didn't want to step on any ones toes. Some how it ended up being just my brother, sister and parents with us and my BIL wasn't in it...}
We did get him back in, but also my brother's girlfriend, for a picture with my father's mother.
And then we did a picture with my BIL's immediate family...which didn't include my brother's girlfriend....Oh how fun it is to try not to hurt peoples feelings and still get the pictures you want!

With the group photos done, we had 1 1/2 hours to finish our wedding party pictures and couple poses before supper. In hind sight I definitely would have allotted at least another hour for pictures!!