We left off yesterday heading over to the reception in an old working Richmond trolley. All of our guests had already been taken for a ride on the trolleys from the ceremony site up through historic parts of Richmond to our favorite local restaurant, The Roosevelt, where we held the reception.
While we'd planned the entire party, there were still some fun surprises — like the cake. We'd ordered it months before from the local Pearl's Cupcake Shoppe (full story on the cake here). They'd delivered it earlier in the day when we were all getting ready, so seeing the final outcome and how it tied with everything else we'd planned was such a pleasant surprise:
The cake was a honey-based flavor topped with the same fresh florals from the wedding party and DIY decor. Mary created a vignette next to the cake in honor of her paternal grandparents. We propped up the 1920's cake toppers that graced their own wedding cake and 50th wedding anniversary cake along with a photo of them with the toppers at their 50th. Mary made a shadowbox to showcase the handwritten note her grandmother wrote about the toppers, expressing her wish that her granddaughters and great granddaughters use them in their weddings:
You can read more about the history of these little toppers, along with the full note in this post. The vignette made for a meaningful way to include and honor the love her grandparents shared. This was the first family wedding since her 100+ year old grandmother passed away, so it was heartwarming not only to us, but all those that knew her.
The 17 Apart — this is the age difference in our relationship and the name of this here blog. He came up with a clever combination of the 2 different decades we were born (1966 and 1982) in such a classic way that made sense for today.
The Basil — Basil is the name of our dog, so of course this particular drink featured infusions and garnishes with the fresh herb.
The Murray — this is the southern family pronunciation of "Mary's" name and a longstanding laugh among our family and friends. If you refer to Mary as "Murray," she will actually take it as a term of endearment. This was a bit of a wild card and T nailed it with a twist on a classic southern.
As a complete surprise to us, he also came up with a fourth concoction — a Hungarian spritzer, based on our shared Hungarian heritage. All of the craft cocktails were ice cold and refreshing, so good for the hot summer evening it turned out to be.
Aside from the handcrafted cocktails, which everyone had a laugh talking about, there were Virginia wines and beers flowing to help cool everyone off.
Now, I have to tell you (and it's probably no surprise) that the food was my main department. We both wanted an array of southern staples, but since there was limited space we hadn't planned for a seated dinner. This is where the talented and brilliant Chef Lee Gregory (who happens to be nominated again this year for a James Beard award as the best chef in the Mid-Atlantic) helped us plan the menu of our dreams — all in the form of passable dishes that could be eaten while standing with a drink in one hand.
To start there were charcuterie, cheese, fruit and vegetable spreads to welcome arriving guests. Passed food included all the old favorites — deviled eggs, fried chicken skins with a spicy honey, fried green tomatoes with a remoulade and pimento cheese, crab fritters with a jalapeño old bay sauce, fried mac n'cheese balls, cornbread and sliders for days (pork belly, flounder & fried chicken). We also came up with a fun idea for a seafood boil on a stick which included shrimp, corn, sausage and potatoes with old bay — this was one of the favorites from the night.
To help balance out all the heavier options, there were also chilled soup shooters (cucumber buttermilk & cauliflower with almonds), lettuce wraps with peas, manchego and mint, spoonfuls of pickled shrimp with avocado and radish, and ricotta beet crostini.
By the time we made it over the party, it was already in full swing — we were so ready to jump in, sip some cold drinks to help cool off the hot summer heat and celebrate our first hours of marriage with all our family and friends that made it out.
The space was just the right size, making the party feel intimate and boisterous at the same time. Guests chatted, signed guest cards, snapped pics and danced — it was a really low stress and happy way to celebrate with everyone.
Mary and I forwent some of the traditional wedding reception activities like tossing the bouquet and garter, but we had a lot of fun with the first dance. It wasn't fancy, but very simple and quick — we chose I'll say it's true, sung by Johnny Cash with George Jones. When we look at the pics below, we can still hear it blaring as we danced and laughed across those hardwood floors:
After our first dance, we each danced with our mother and father together, inviting everyone else to take part as they wanted.
Midway through the party we'd planned for champagne to be passed around before heading over to cut the cake.
George, Mary's dad and my now father-in-law, did the honors of giving a toast before we cut the cake. He told a story (in best George Andrews fashion) about the point in time when he realized I was the right guy for his daughter:
It's a long and favorite story of ours that dates back to early in our relationship when I dropped everything at work to drive 10 hours roundtrip to the Jersey Turnpike to basically rescue Mary when her car's timing belt snapped and she blew the engine on her car trying to get back to Virginia for the weekend. On top of that, my own car was in the shop and I had rented a car in order to get to her. Mary had called me first when her car broke down and George recalled that by the time she phoned him next and heard that I was already en route before he could make plans — that was the moment. It was really meaningful for me to hear him tell it from his point of view as a father, since I know what that feels like. As a funny aside — Mary and I notoriously laugh and call out "famous exit 7" every time we pass by the mile marker on the Jersey Turnpike where she broke down that day. It was definitely one of those epic moments that happen over the course of a longterm relationship.
With toasting, there were a couple cracks at our age difference and just how long it took us to finally tie the knot (almost 10 years), but in the end, we were both feeling the massive amounts of love from everyone in the room. We took the time to say a few words of our own, thanking everyone there for playing such special roles in our lives and relationship.
After cutting the cake, we enjoyed just getting a chance to hang out with everyone as the sun set and the lights dimmed.
This was also the point in time where some of the notes our friends left us on the vintage postcards got decidedly more cheeky!
It was this core group of friends and family that seemed to hang in there right up to the end!
We love all the candid moments our photographer captured throughout the evening, but had to pause for a couple posed shots with our very best of friends. These were the two most "together" shots we could pull off at this point in the night, when the drinks were flowing and one-liners kept coming:
As the party wound down, the sparkler kits were passed around and we made our way out the door to the glow of sparklers lighting up the sidewalk.
We left the party a little tired and messy (in the best of ways), wishing the day hadn't gone by so quickly. We'd hired a car to pick us up from the restaurant and the ride home consisted of one of those funny stories where things didn't go quite as expected (we had a very talkative driver). It made for a good memory and funny story from the wedding — we'll have to save that one for another time.
Whew! So, that's how it all went down. We've both been excited to share all the pics and stories from the wedding, and are even more happy you cared to see them. We'll be back this weekend with one final post to round out wedding week here on the blog. After the all the planning and seeing the big day come and go, we've had a lot of afterthoughts and figured they might be fun to share. So stay tuned!
Sources & Credits:
Photography: Tori Watson of Marvelous Things Photography | Reception: The Roosevelt Restaurant, Church Hill |Cake: Pearl's Cupcake Shoppe | Flowers: The Flower Market by Vogue Flowers, Richmond | Vintage postcards: Bursts of Creativity, Etsy | Gold Drink straws: Daintzy, Etsy | Balloons: Balloon Maniacs | Ceremony Jars: DIY, hanging flower jar tutorial | Reception Jars: DIY, gold spray tutorial | Reception signage: DIY | Sparkler Favors: DIY, kit tutorial