We’ve hashed out (almost) all the pretty details; now it’s on to some of the “events” of the reception. First, toasts.
My Dad spoke first. Those of you who know my Dad would agree — he is a master speaker. He has almost 30 years of being a professor under his belt, so he is something of a professional, you might say. But still — he has an uncanny and extraordinary knack for saying the perfect thing at every occasion. Kate and Cormac’s wedding was no exception. His toast was warm and welcoming, funny and clever, heartfelt and loving. It was so obvious he put thought into it (as he always does), and it paid off. Bravo, Dad.
Next up was the father of the groom. Rick did a wonderful job, as well, reflecting on the past week (and years!) as well as the wedding day itself. He is also a teacher, so I wasn’t surprised he was comfortable speaking in front of a crowd. Bravo, Rick.
Which brings us to the bridesmaids/maids of honor toasts. My sister Kim and I shared these roles, and so we shared the toasting responsibilities, too. We had talked briefly about what we would say several times before the wedding, agreeing that we would hash out the details when we were together in Maine the week before the big day.
Which we did… sort of. We kind of settled on a loose plan of Kim will introduce us, and Em will say what an awesome big sister Kate is (and was) and how excited we are to have Cormac joining our family. Well, we executed our plan… sort of. I do remember saying something about how much we love Kate, and I do remember saying something about how much we love Cormac. But what I remember more is how what we said in no way encompassed the sentiment we actually felt. And I felt horrible.
Yes, I had the excuse that I was a leeeeetle busy in the weeks and days leading up to the wedding, well, planning the wedding. And I have the “excuse” that I hate public speaking. But I could have done better, and I should have done better, because you don’t get too many chances to toast your big sister and her new husband, and I should have done a better job with the one I got. This is especially crushing to me, because one of my very FAVORITE parts of weddings are the toasts.
Luckily (at least according to the photographic record), Kate appears to have liked our speech:
BUT moving on. We were followed by Cormac’s best man, Paul, who had the crowd roaring. Paul’s toast involved snot.
The groom really didn’t find the toast very funny, unfortunately.
We finished the speaking part of the reception with a blessing over the meal given by my Uncle Dick, who is more of an honorary uncle than an actual uncle. It was really special to have him giving the blessing, since he married my parents thirty years ago and baptized Kate ON the Island where she was married 26 years later. Pretty special.
On to a few details! As you all well know, we had lots of bunting. LOTS of bunting. We hung it on the boardwalk coming in…
over the buffet…
on the back of Adirondack chairs…
over the bar…
behind the cake display…
…and other places, I’m sure. We also had mini paper bunting on the fronts of the buffet tables.
We chose not to have full seating because we wanted people to mix and mingle (and play lawn games!). It worked! We did have seating for about 60, though. On the tables, we used plain white linens, simple runners of navy and white gingham fabric, and an assortment of centerpieces. Elements included:
white hydrangea from my grandmother’s garden
beach rocks and striped candy sticks
fresh blueberries in cute berry baskets
and paper pinwheels
I wrote about Kate + Cormac’s centerpieces a bit more here.
Back to that bar for a minute, shall we? My good friend (a licensed bartender) handled the drinks for us, and he did a fabulous job.
As promised, a few more details from the reception!
We had croquet, ladder golf, and cornhole set out for guests to play with, and play with them guests did! My family is pretty much obsessed with croquet, so this did not surprise me.
Guests also took advantage of the “photo swing,” a last-minute project I wrote about here.
The lawn blankets were used, too — in fact, I’m 99% sure at least one guest took a short nap during the reception.
The favor/guest book combo was all Kate’s idea. She cut circles out of navy blue cardstock and handstamped each one with a guest’s name. We set up a table at the reception, laid out all the cards, then placed a pot on each. The pots were the favor — they were filled with seedlings and little bags of dirt. Once a guest removed his or her favor, he or she used the pre-name-stamped circle to write a note for the guest book. Brilliant!
Let’s see… next I think I’ll talk about general decor, and then it’s on to toasts, cake, and the sunset cruise!
With the portrait session over, it was time for the happy couple to head to the reception! Luckily, they had some nifty signs to follow, made by yours truly and her Dad.
The final sign they came to was this one, which pretty much sums up the reception, I think!
The grand entrance down the boardwalk:
The paparazzi was out in full force!
First order of business? Getting some food! Kate had planned this menu carefully, and she was VERY excited to sample her choices. Since we didn’t want to build a kitchen onsite and wanted to cut down on the amount of rentals needed, we went for a menu that was as hands-free as possible, and could be brought to the Island pretty much prepared, and stored either at room temperature or in coolers. This really helped to cut down on costs — if you’re planning a wedding at a remote location, I would highly recommend carefully thinking through your menu! For the items that did need a fork, we prepared bamboo and cocktail napkin bundles ahead of time, tied with the same yellow and white twine we used on the invitations:
I believe the napkins were picked up at Ikea, but I could be wrong.
Now for the menu! We had delicious skewers cooked on a grill…
…a variety of veggies and pasta salad…
…a make-your-own organic beef slider bar…
…pulled pork sliders…
…a cheese and cracker display…
…veggies and dip…
…and many other delicious eats. The catering company did a beautiful job of setting everything up in the tent!
I also wanted to point out the buffet menus. We taped the print-outs I had designed into a variety of frames Kate found at Goodwill. Spray painted yellow, they looked as good as new!