Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Our Wedding, Part Eight || The Reception

Our reception was simple, beautiful, and quite crowded! It was very possibly the most chaotic part of our wedding day but that was just mostly because our venue was undersized and our crowd was oversized. =) It was extremely hard to find a local venue that was large enough, but we settled finally on a church hall that is ten minutes from my family's home, and was about twenty-five minutes from the ceremony venue.

The food was amazing (my mom + sister spearheaded/made it all along with my aunt/uncle/cousins/friends) and everything really turned out incredibly in spite of my slightly disorganized systems! (or lack thereof!) It ended up being just what we wanted-a big fun party-and it was the perfect end to a beautiful day!

Immediately following the ceremony, my personal attendants took all of the bridesmaid bouquets over to the church and placed them in the empty vases there for some of the centerpieces. I loved the beautiful color they added to the wood/white/candles/lights we already had.

My sweet brothers cut all the wood slabs (I told them I wanted "lots", in various sizes, so I don't even know how many we had!) and then we used those for the centerpieces and also for various other decor throughout the reception.
Everything was very simple and we made the most of every inch of space available!
John and I definitely knew we wanted a coffee bar! We got big bags of Kirklands coffee beans from Costco and used those. We also had cream and coffee syrups.
All of our syrups and paper supplies for the reception came from Webstaurant Store. I got the referral from my sisters-in-love aunt, who coordinated their double wedding and ordered their paper supplies etc from there. They had great service, a huge selection, and the best prices I was able to find.
I also reused all of the white tablecloths from my brothers' double wedding, and then afterwards they were washed and put away for my sister's future wedding. =)
A friend of mine painted a bunch of pallets white and then we used them for various signs/decor. 
This was our menu. (text written out by my sis-in-love Carolina)

For our menu...I am a HUGE lover of soups. Combine that factor with our cold December wedding date, and the food decision was pretty easy for me! I definitely wanted to have a full meal and my parents wanted that too. (one of the things about my mennonite/amish heritage that I LOVE and that is that one ALWAYS serves a full hot meal at their weddings, and that meal is often prepared by either the brides' family or by close friends!) Taco soup is one of my favorites and an easy "stand alone" soup because of all the toppings! (since there are so many toppings, it isn't as necessary to have bread/salad/etc as sides) 
So I decided to go simple on the main course, with just soup + toppings, and then add in the "flair of fancy" with the cheesecakes, cupcakes, + coffees. It was the perfect menu for such a cold day. 
The dessert area was probably my favorite. My sis-in-law Cassidy did all the decorations for the reception and she did an amazing job! I loved especially how she arranged all the details around the deserts! She used lots of lace (this kind), lights (these) and candles.

The white cupboard doors with the quotes written on them were done by a dear friend of mine who has such a beautiful script. I loved how they turned out and how Cass arranged them.

My sister Allison made the cheesecakes (all thirty-five of them! Blesssss her) 
Mocha (my favorite)

Salted Caramel (John's favorite)
Vanilla w/ Berry Sauce 
Some of my all time favorite quotes...
Cupcakes by my very gifted cousin!
One of the food lines
The kitchen was a beehive of activity! My aunt + uncle were in charge and then I had a group of friends I had asked to help with various things. Everyone worked so hard to make it all go well!

Open mic was definitely a highlight! John + I both have seemed to live lives that tend towards juicy open mic stories (oh dear!) so there was much hilarity as his siblings advised me in certain things to prepare for, and mine were just as eager to let him know about some of what he was in for!
So blessed to have so many of my Bontrager side cousins attend our wedding!
One of my very talented cousins did our cake and it was so lovely. Just what I wanted-simple and beautiful. She does incredible work and you can read more about her business here! (I highly recommend her!)
Time to cut the cake!
White cake for him, chocolate for me. =) 
Just one of our differences that keeps life fun + interesting! 
We spent several hours mingling with our guests and loving every minute. The hard thing about having such a big wedding is that it is simply impossible to talk to every single guest, but we made sure we had plenty of time at the reception (we didn't leave til after 8pm) and so we got to talk to as many as possible!
With my long-time friends, program attendants, and reception coordinators. Love these girls.
Departure time!
We came outside to the extreme cold (6 below and plummeting!) to find our highly decorated getaway vehicle...=)
One of the best things that we did all day, on our wedding day, was our special time of goodbyes with our families. We knew it would be next to impossible to be able to say goodbye to all 40ish of our family members before we left the reception, since we wanted to be flexible and not have a set, predetermined departure time. I thought it through and simply could not figure out how we would manage to not miss someone.
John saved the day and came up with a genius idea, one that I would definitely recommend especially to those of you who are planning your weddings and who have big families. His plan was that we would do a grand departure, per usual, and then return fifteen minutes later for family goodbyes. We arranged this so that nobody else knew about this "special goodbye", except for our families; we sent out an email to them about a week before the wedding, explaining which room (one at the back of the reception venue, by a back entrance) we would meet at, and that it would be exactly fifteen minutes after our big sendoff. 
It worked perfectly. Quite a few people left right after our sendoff, and those who stayed were mostly just hanging out and enjoying an extended party time, or helping take down chairs + tables. All of our family was waiting for us when we came back in fifteen minutes, and we were able to give hugs all around and have such a special few moments with them all.
There were a few tears...
I will never forget or regret this time; it was priceless, and the perfect ending to our reception.
Two more posts to come yet in this series! 

Happy Tuesday!


  1. Looking forward to the last two posts!

  2. I LOVE your cake! And the coffee bar. And the signs. And the cheesecakes. And just everything! It all looks perfect, just like you said. Thank you so much for sharing, and I'm looking forward to the last two posts!
    P.S. And I loved getting to see you and John the other weekend!

  3. So fun! We love Taco soup, and those cheesecakes look so yummy!!!

  4. Wow! Loved the detailed report and pics! It felt like I was in the room right along with everyone else :) You did have ALOT of people come! Do you know how many you served? (I see Kendra's parents ;) and Jim bob and Michelle;) I didn't see any Duggar children tho except John.

    1. I believe we had just under 600 for the reception (some only came to the ceremony and not the reception) but I don't know on an exact count.
      And yes, the Caldwells are dear friends of our family and they were so sweet to come early and help out! I know a number of the Duggars children were there but I don't know which ones. =)

  5. LOVE!!! these posts are just some of my favorites!!! By the by, I am COMPLETELY obsessed with your wedding flowers!! they are stunning!! I love the colors and the texture and arrangements!! Just gorgeous!! the decor for the reception was perfect!! I applaud you for sharing your wedding photos in such a thoughtful and constructive way! I truly hope it inspires and helps future brides for planning and organizing! You made so many wise choices and were very thoughtful of your family and guests!! I love you both SO and I wish you abundant blessings!! hugs, Aunt Pandy

    1. Aunt Pandy! Thankyou so much! I knew you would've just loved them! (bouquets) I thought of how much you would like them. =)
      Missed you there so much but so thankful for the opportunity to watch you do the double reception SO well; I feel like I gained greatly by the ideas I got from you! Thankyou!
      Love you too!


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