February 24, 2010

A Harborside Wedding - BIL Swan's Revenge

One toast down and another to go...

BIL Swan gave our other toast, and boy was it a toast!
As much as I am sure he does not want me to write this, I didn't really find out that BIL Swan was one of the most consistent readers of my blog until his toast. I knew that the IL Swans read my blog, but I was pretty shocked to learn that BIL Swan is an avid reader. Et tu, BIL Swan? Really?

It turns out that BIL Swan probably has read my blog more than some of my good friends have!
Why the surprise on my part? Well BIL Swan is sort of the quintessential strong and silent type. He likes to get up at odd hours to fish. He likes beer. He's a guy's guy. That being said, apparently he didn't mind reading posts about things like fascinators and dress shopping. Who knew? BIL Swan, no worries. Your secret is safe with me (and the Weddingbee readers of course). ;)

As some background before I get into the details of the actual toast, I should say that Mr. Swan was the best man at BIL Swan's wedding the year before. He gave a pretty touching yet funny toast about BIL & SIL Swan, but it wasn't without some ribbing. Mr. Swan made some jokes about BIL Swan's younger days especially about his somewhat unhealthy relationship to a certain stuffed animal.

Mr. Swan showing off Teddy the Bear during his toast to BIL & SIL Swan
(I took this one)

Anyway, it was now BIL Swan's turn. After a few jokes about Mr. Swan's chosen career path (you had to be there) and a few other musings, I was getting a little nervous. I'm not gonna front. This was taking awhile. There had to be something to this....and there was.

It's getting hot in heeerrree, aint' it, Mr. Swan?

Yes, Mr. Swan, you're gettin' clowned.

Have you ever heard hilarious stories aout your FI as a child? My favorite until-that-moment unsubstantiated story about Mr. Swan was about his childhood desire to be an actor. BIL Swan made sure that everyone at the wedding would learn first hand about not only Mr. Swan's love of the childhood family plays that he headlined and directed but also his love of costume design. Yup...Mr. Swan liked to play "dress up," and BIL Swan had the proof.

Mr. Swan couldn't believe it. He had to see it for himself.

Notice the family cheering. Apparently, this is a well-known secret. I was just happy to finally get to see Mr. Swan's creativity.

For a second, I thought Mr. Swan was going to tackle BIL Swan. He restrained himself though. :)

I had to see it for myself too.

I couldn't stop laughing.

I wasn't alone.

So what were we laughing at? Well BIL Swan found a way to make a poster size collage of Mr. Swan in some of his best costume creations. I can't even figure out what some of them are supposed to be. Which one is your favorite? Also I want to make a shout out to MIL Swan for nurturing her very creative son and being Mr. Swan's co-designer.

(courtesy of BIL Swan)

BIL Swan also mentioned my participation as a blogger on Weddingbee. I was actually happy that BIL Swan did mention the 'bee since you all have been a huge part of my planning. He did say that it was a way of learning more about me since we live apart and that made me feel all warm and fuzzy. I was really glad that he also gave me (and everyone else) the biggest laugh I had all day.

Swan Tip #16 - Be careful if you give a toast at someone's wedding. It might come back to haunt you! :)

All images by Dante Williams, unless otherwise noted

Did you miss anything?

February 18, 2010

A Harborside Wedding - A Toast & The Ugly Cry Revisited

After our first dance, we settled in to eat a little, but before too long it was time for our toasts. Our first toast was by Godmother Swan. Since we did not have a bridal party, we got a little creative with who would deliver our toasts for us. Godmother Swan has been a very special part of my life. She was a good friend of my grandparents when she lived in the Caribbean. I've never met any of my grandparents (most died before I was born or when I was a baby), so she has always been a living link to my maternal grandparents. She's also Mommy Swan's godmother and the grandmother of my goddaughter. Are you still following? Let's just say that while not blood related, she is like family to me.

Her toast was sweet, and I was glad to have been able to give such an honor to someone who has been like a second mother/grandmother to me all of my life.

There was a drawback though. I had made it all day without a major cry. Yes, I did make the cry face during the ceremony, but just a couple of tears rolled down my face.

I started out doing pretty well at the beginning of the toast. Then Godmother Swan started to read a cute little poem that my cousin wrote. My cousins were not able to make the trip from the Caribbean to be at the wedding. Since I grew up as an only child, my cousins are like my brothers and sisters. I was really disappointed that they couldn't make it, but before the wedding I had gotten over it. I knew there would be quite a few hurdles for them to be able to attend. I had accepted it. Right? NOPE! Enter the infamous poem.

It wasn't Emily Dickinson or Maya Angelou worthy, but as Godmother Swan read the poem it started to hit me that my cousins weren't there.

Hmmm..it's wasn't looking good. See the beginnings of the Ugly Cray Face?

Yep. I was getting worse.

Wait for it....

Yep, a full on sob. Oops! I feel like I had held it together enough though I felt a little embarrassed that I had like broken down like a little baby in front of so many people, a few of whom I'd never really met before. At least this time, I hid my face :)

I recovered, but I totally didn't expect my emotions to hit me during a toast.

Thanks, Godmother Swan!

Do you anticipate that any particular parts of the wedding will be emotional for you? Are you having someone special do a toast at your wedding.

Swan Tip #15 - (I screwed up my last post, which was supposed to be Swan Tip #14. Please forgive me. :)) Be prepared for your emotions to hit you when you least expect it.

February 16, 2010

A Harborside Wedding - Deets & Decor

Before I get further in recapping the reception, I thought I would show you some of our receptions little personal details and decor.

As I am sure I have said upteen times here, I am not a crafter. I'll show you the scary results of one of my half-way DIY below. I am also not the most creative person around either. I am always in awe of the ingenuity and overall badass-ness of my fellow bloggers and you, dearest hive members. Y'all be creative! Since I am pretty much okay with my lack of the crafty gene and visual artistry, I looked at different ways that I could add a personal touch to our wedding details.

Here's our reception room all set up. I love the floor to ceiling windows and all of the light streaming in. The clean, modern lines of the room really reflected the look we wanted.

Since Battery Gardens is a restaurant, they supplied all of the tables, chairs, silverware and glasses. I will be the first to admit to you that table settings were not a priority for me during the planning stages. I could have brought in my own, but I didn't. One of the main reasons I went with white table cloths is because of our hot pink and orange color scheme. In my mind, anything else but white would have been too busy. Did I mention that the white linens were included? Yeah, that too. :)

I should take this time to thank Ella Meyer of Limelight Floral Design for her help. Remember Swan Tip #2? This was primarily based on her. Ella was nice enough to humor me when I had one of my few "I think I am having a Platinum Wedding, but I'm really not" moments. See, I wanted to have each table have a different centerpiece. Ten different centerpieces! Ella nicely talked me down from the ledge, and we had about 4 different types of low centerpieces. Also I was pretty concerned about hot pinks I was using (yes, I did write that). I just wanted to make sure that everything matched (yes, I wrote that too). Ella made sure that everything matched but not too much, and the colors of the flowers actually worked well together. Did you know that there is a difference between fuschia and hot pink? Thanks to Ella for not only listening to what I wanted but being able to point me in the right direction.

Also here's a close-up of our table names. Yes, we were the crazy ones with no table numbers. The table names were places or people that meant something to us. The guests at the table, for the most part, had a connection to that person or place as well. For example, we had the name of the village in the Caribbean where my family is from. We also had a table named after my dorm in college where my college friends sat. Yeah, I know. Not original. :) Here's a close-up:
(I actually took this picture)

Our table names were actually designed by our lovely calligrapher, Fran, of Little Flower Calligraphy.

We had menus at each place setting. EvaPaul , who designed our invitations, added the same modern style for our menus. At first, I was just going to do two per table in an effort to save paper, but then I just gave in and had one at each setting.

Let me introduce you to our escort card table:
Thank goodness for Ella and my DOC, Christine Viola, and the folks over at Battery Gardens. I don't know who exactly set this up, but it looks downright lovely.

The oranges in the apothecary-looking jars were my idea (although inspired by so many things I saw), so I do get to claim something! :)

We didn't just do any old escort cards. Our escort cards were envelopes which contained little notecards inside. Here's the outside:

(I took this one too)
The outside of the envelopes included our guests' names and table assignments.

The notecard looks like this inside:
(Mine too)


Inside we wrote notes to our guests thanking them for coming and telling them what they meant to us (Okay, I did that. Mr Swan often told jokes for the ones he wrote). Mr. Swan held me back from writing a card for each individual guest. We ended up doing one card for each couple, which definitely cut down on the work.

Some other little touches included photos of us with some of our guests and other family, some of whom had passed away. MIL Swan painted a canvas for us to display them.
We also placed some framed pictures that we had of us and our guests.

Our guest book was a little something different, I guess. :)
I know that I'm not the first Bee blogger to use Moo Cards: Mrs. Candy Corn used them for her escort cards; Mrs. Kitten used them as trivia cards during her reception; and Mrs. Hot Cocoa used them to tell her guests about her wedding website. I told ya I wasn't original. :) I actually used Moo Cards for our guest book. Also that big ball of hot pink craziness is actually a pomander that I tried to make. There were supposed to be more, but let's just say that they didn't make it. Moving on....

The Moo Cards were set up next to our escort cards during the cocktail hour and then moved upstairs during the reception. We asked our guests to pick their favorite photo card of us, flip the card over, and write us a message or a wish. The completed cards were put into a small jar that's now in our office.

We used many of our engagement pictures that Dante took as well as a few other favorite pictures of us.

We made sure to include instructions 'cause this doesn't really look self-explanatory.

I think that our guests enjoyed leaving us messages. Some were quite....interesting :)
So that's it! Our little details weren't super crafty, but they added a personal touch that we liked.

Swan Tip #13 - More Mrs. Swan Tough Love: Definitely include personal details if you'd like to, but if you're tearing your hair out about them, they're just not worth it.

All Images by Dante Williams, unless otherwise noted.

This isn't the first recap and definitely not the last:

February 10, 2010

A Harborside Wedding - The 8th Grade Sway with a Twist

After our wonderfully productive and fun cocktail hour, our guests proceeded upstairs so that we could finally start the reception.

I have a confession to make: I did not want to get announced as we entered the room. Whatcha talkin' about, Mrs. Swan? I was kinda uncomfortable with the hoopla-esque feling of it. In my ideal world, Mr. Swan and I would come upstairs, take a seat just like our guests did, and let things proceed from there .

But we got announced anyway...yeah, I punked out on this one too. It was one of those times where people were saying, "You're not going to do THAT? You've got to do THAT!" Okay. We did it. Another small thing I hadn't expected to do, but it was actually fun.

We decided to do the first dance immediately. By the way, I've never understood why first dances tend to occur as soon as the bride and groom enter the reception. Do any of you know why? Is it to "open the dancing?" Hmmm.....

I was happy that we decided to have our first dance sung by one of my friends, Big Mitts (not her real name). Remember her? She has a lovely voice, has sung in a variety of settings, and I knew that one of the songs we were thinking of would really suit her voice. She sang "Inseparable" by Natalie Cole.

We always talk when we dance.

I think Mr. Swan and I tried to make sure we didn't totally just do the 8th grade sway. We did try to get something going by adding a turn or two.

Our song ended, and I thought, "Well, that was fun!" Little did I know that our dance time was actually not over. I'll have you remember that Mr. Swan was out of work for most of our engagement. That left him with quite a bit of time on his hands and the ability to take some dance lessons. Our DJ, Rob, piped in and said that in honor of my love of "Dancing with the Stars" Mr. Swan had taken salsa lessons and was going to put on a show....with me! WHOA! I definitely didn't see that coming!

I'm not THAT great of a salsa dancer, but I wanted to at least get the basic step right. I really had to concentrate.

Mr. Swan shaking his hips was just too darn cute. Go, Mr. Swan! Go, Mr. Swan! Go, Mr. Swan!

He even threw in a dip!

I just burst into a fit of laughter because Mr. Swan had performed a Michael Jackson-worthy spin move.

Our first dance ended up being a lot more eventful than I thought it would be. Thank you, Mr. Swan!

Are you planning anything special for your first dance? Does your fiance(e) ACTUALLY know about it? :)

Swan Tip #13 - While you might want everything to turn out a certain way during your wedding, be open to the fun surprises that may be in store.

All images by Senor Dante Williams

Wait! There's more in case you missed it...

A Harborside Wedding - Early Peace?
A Harborside Wedding - The Makeup Fraidy Cat Has Her Day
A Harborside Wedding - Puttin' It on at the Ritz, Dress & Shoes Edition
A Harborside Wedding - Puttin' It on at the Ritz, Veil, Etc. Edition
A Harborside Wedding - The First Moment
A Harborside Wedding - Just the Two of Us
A Harborside Wedding - Gearing Up
A Harborside Wedding - We Shall Proceed...
A Harborside Wedding - Our "Other Guests"
A Harborside Wedding - The Meaning of It All (or a Ceremony Begins) - Part I
A Harborside Wedding - The Meaning of It All (A Vow & a Ring Exchange) - Part II
A Harborside Wedding - A Productive Cocktail Hour

February 5, 2010

A Harborside Wedding - A Productive Cocktail Hour

Aaaah...the cocktail hour....

I love making sure that I use my time with friends and family wisely. Mr. Swan really wanted to attend our cocktail hour so that we could greet our guests, eat some of the great food we'd chosen for them, and enjoy the general good times. Our cocktail hour was what I like to call "productive". Here are some things that I did during our cocktail hour that not only made it productive, but most importantly FUN! Remember I've said it's totally necessary to have fun!

1. We greeted many of my guests especially those that I'd never met before.

2. I hugged friends both old and new... a lot.

3. I posed for pictures.

4. We made sure to get some laughs with our guests.

5. We watched our guests as they enjoyed themselves.

6. We took in some of the great sunny weather we had that day. Battery Gardens has a great patio area that was exclusively for our group.

7. We got our grub on with our guests. Well, actually, the Batterry Gardens folks set aside some food for Mr. Swan and me to make sure that we actually ate something before greeting everyone. Here's a sample of what our guests enjoyed (Did you think I was going to NOT show you food shots? Au contraire, mis amigos):

Lamb chops..I don't think I had one, but I heard that they were great.

Crab cakes, a classic favorite

A cheese station. Cheese is a must!

Our guests also got to chow down on a Mediterranean station with all the fixins'. Hummus, olives, baba ganoush, pita...oh my!

We had a relatively smaller wedding (compared to many) of only about 95 people, and I think we got to see almost all of our guests during the cocktail hour. I made sure I got the attention of some of the waiters to bring over some of the hors d' oeuvres. Um...hello! I was the one in the big white dress, so I figured they'd stop if I waved them over :) Yes, I know I am a bad bride, but I was HONGRY!

Yay for using our time during our cocktail hour wisely!

Swan Tip #12 - Another one of the most highly debated wedding issues: cocktail hour attendance. Attending was a great option for us. We got to spend even more time with our guests; enjoy the beautiful weather were were having that day; and eat. Who doesn't like eating? :) If you can find a way to attend even a small part of the cocktail hour, I highly recommend it.

All Images by Mr. Dante Williams, wedding paparazzo

How did we get to the cocktail hour already?!