Our Wedding Reception

6:00:00 PM

I am super excited to be able to share our wedding reception details with you all! We have officially received our pictures from the photographer and I couldn't wait to get started on this post!

In April 2015, Zach and I got married at Hampton park in Charleston, South Carolina. It was just the two of us in my favorite park and it was so sweet! We decided to write our own vows, and we wanted it to be an intimate ceremony.

We knew that we would like to have a reception at some point. So we planned to invite all of our friends and family to come in December. We weren't actually sure where we would be living in December, but we narrowed it down to three states. So we went with our gut and decided on a venue in Birmingham, AL. Lucky for us, we found out we'd be moving to Auburn, AL, so it all worked out!

I stumbled across Ruffner Mountain Nature Center on Pinterest and I fell in love. We soon planned a trip to visit and we knew we had to have it! This location was perfect for the number of guests we had, and our budget. We even received a discount on the rental for becoming members. The staff was incredibly helpful, and they did everything they could to give us a special day! In fact, one employee even let us borrow her phone for the entire reception when our music fell through. I would definitely recommend this venue!

I decided that I wanted two different dresses since they were two totally different events. My actual wedding dress was very simple and I got that one from David's Bridal. The second dress was from Michael's Formalwear and Bridal. I knew that I wanted something a little more detailed for the reception. I knew as soon as I saw it, that it was the dress. It was similar to the dress that I wore to prom with Zach and that just made it even more special!

Bridesmaids' Dresses
The bridesmaids' dresses were simple and elegant. I wanted to keep the theme to White, Burlap, and Navy, so I had them wear these dresses in Marine. I'm so glad that I got their dresses from David's Bridal; it just made it so much easier on the rest of the wedding party and family. The groomsmen and fathers were able to get matching ties at Men's Warehouse. There were even dresses for the mothers at David's Bridal too!

After working as a wedding planner in Charleston, I knew I didn't want real flowers. It just didn't quite make sense to me to spend so much on something that would be thrown away. So, I decided on burlap bouquets to go with our theme. I found an awesome artist on Etsy and she created custom bouquets for me and the girls!

When I purchased my wedding dress from David's Bridal, I received a $20 gift card to Shutterfly. I decided to use this for our guestbook! I was able to get a background similar to burlap in their program. I then decided on a template and uploaded the pictures. I used our engagement pictures from Chantilly Lace Photography. I would definitely recommend Shutterfly for your photo books. The picture's were printed with quality ink and paper. I'm sure the wonderful pictures helped too :)

I was very indecisive when it came to our favors, but we found the perfect ones! We knew that a December reception would be chilly, and we wanted the favors to be something our guests would actually use. So, we gave everyone a blanket! I created tags on Microsoft word and printed them on cardstock. We hole punched them and tied them on the blankets with twine. A couple people were lucky enough to get two blankets, and the rest of the extras went to Goodwill!

I just have to take a moment and praise our caterer. Chef Bryon Rickard was absolutely amazing! The food was wonderful and he went above and beyond for us. He was able to create a menu of hors d'oeuvres that combined southern and Italian without clashing. We had chicken and waffles, smoked sausage cornbread bites, ranch bacon mac-n-cheese cups, meatball sliders, caprese skewers, egg rolls, and a fruit tray. He made sure Zach and I were the first to eat and that we had everything we needed! I would recommend him 2000%!

Cookie Bar
As I'm sure you've noticed we went with a very simple, rustic, and do-it-yourself approach to our reception, and this cookie bar was no different. We ordered the glass jars, cut and glued the ribbon on them, and wrote out the labels. Not only did we make the jars, but we made the cookies too! We got the wedding party together and cranked out all of these cookies. It was a wonderful bonding experience, and it was so much fun! We made all of the cookies from scratch, and we got a lot of compliments on them too!

Originally I wasn't going to get a special hanger for my dresses, but I immediately changed my mind when my mother-in-law sent me the link to the Get Hung Up hanger shop. I had one of these hangers for each of my dresses and events. They were beautiful and custom made for me! It was super easy to find hangers to match for my bridesmaids' dresses too!

I planned to wear the same accessories to my reception as I did my actually wedding, all of which were from David's Bridal. I even planned to wear my veil too, but it wasn't until halfway through pictures that I realized it fell out of my hair in the car! The only piece that wasn't from David's Bridal, was my belt which came with the dress.

I've always known the kind of ring I wanted and that's exactly what I got! All of our rings are from Zales, and I wouldn't change that for anything. So far there has been a Zales everywhere we've been stationed, and the people are always so nice!

A majority of our décor was handmade. We created our card holder the same way that we did the cookie jars. I also did all of the chalkboard signs and labels. We purchased the candles from Yummi Candles, and then we hot glued the different pieces of ribbon and twin to them. The tree slices were from a fellow crafter. She doesn't normally sell them, but her and her husband were willing to help us out! You can find her shop Happy Brooke Designs on Etsy. We found the "God gave me you" and "love" signs at Hobby Lobby. The rest of the wooden signs were a collaboration between Junk Dog Salvage and Kathleen Kindt.




Photo Booth
We knew that we wanted a photo booth, but it just wasn't in the budget. So of course, we created one! My husband and I made the burlap banners with supplies from Hobby Lobby. We found all of our props at Party City and Dollar General. Our wonderful photographer happened to have some chalkboards and chalk to use too! The photo booth was open to the guests to take pictures with their phones, but the photographer also made sure to take some too.

As a photographer myself, it was a very difficult task trying to find a photographer that I liked and trusted. So when Zach's cousin offered to do our wedding and reception photography as a gift, we couldn't say no. Unfortunately, she was unable to make it to the reception and we were frantically searching for a new photographer just weeks before the event. Luckily Zach's mom happened to find one that was free! Jennifer at Heart Smile Photography did a great job following my list of "Must Have Shots" and organizing our large family! She knew that I was more concerned with pictures of the details, rather than pictures of myself and she did a great job of capturing them! I mean, did you see that ring shot?!

Overall, I'm incredibly happy with the way everything came together!

Did you use handmade vendors for your wedding?

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  1. Your dress is AMAZING! And all of the decor ideas are awesome! Congrats!


  2. Thank you for allowing me to design bouquets for your wedding and be a part of your special day! Everything turned out beautiful! Congratulations!

    1. Thank you! They were so beautiful, and they received so many compliments! I'm hoping to use them as props in some of my future photoshoots as well.

  3. You are so sweet! Thank you so Mich for ball owing me to capture your special day! It was such a beautiful day and you were beautiful and everyone was amazing. I wish you both an amazing life together.

  4. I adore this post, seriously. Planning a wedding is SO MUCH WORK, but it was so much fun and seeing all the little details come together, so worth it! I honestly do wish I could relive the experience.

    I LOVE your color scheme, the marine for your bridesmaids dresses is stunning! That color is so flattering and such a pretty color for a winter wedding!
    Your bouquets, GORGEOUS (we did red and white for our colors, I went with red carnations because I wanted them to last for more than just the day and I wanted people to be able to bring the centerpieces home and enjoy them!)
    Love your dress!
    We did a Shutterfly guest book with our engagement photos too! I had so much fun choosing layouts, organizing photos and choosing quotes and pages for the book. Yours is so cute, I love the photo you used for the cover!
    Also, the blanket idea for favors is so creative!
    I'm not going to continue to comment in detail about every little thing in your post but I love your decorations, your food looks delicious and the signs you had are beautiful.

    We didn't use any handmade vendors for our wedding. The ones you used did such a great job! I did do a lot of DIY and had a lot of help from friends and family though :)

    Sounds like your wedding was perfect! I sure do hope so <3 Congratulations :)

    1. Planning was definitely the easy part! I actually planned both our ceremony (April 17, 2015) and our reception (December 19, 2015) in the first month of getting engaged :)

      It definitely helped that I've previously worked as a wedding planner, but it's still a lot of work! I'm not sure I've hit the part where I miss it just yet, since it was still only two months ago :P

      Thank you for all the kind words! I really love that color, especially now since my husband joined the Navy. I figured it was also an easy choice to match the guys uniforms.

      Isn't Shutterfly the best?! It is always my go to. I love all of the freebies they've sent out too!

      Thank you so much again! Our reception definitely didn't go as planned, but it was still pretty wonderful :)

  5. I got the dress in a size Large,The fabric is soft too. Tom did a great job at capturing me being all floaty and ethereal in a patch of tall grass in a random parkwedding dresses tasmania

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