Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Reception was well received

After we made our way through that ridiculous receiving line, we moved over to our tent for our first dance, dinner, and speeches. At the end of our receiving line, we had a barnboard table top that Dan and a friend built and then put on some old wooden workhorses we borrowed from our venue. On there, we had our florist place a sheet of wheatgrass where we put our escort cards with each guests name, table number, and a fabric covered button that coordinated with the fabric skirt I put on each little jar of homemade caramel. Each table had its own fabric. Yes, I am that anal retentive, there was no need to make it that complicated, I just did :)

Escort cards in situ.
A close up of my handmade fabric buttons and the cards I made. Each of those corners was punched by me!

Our homemade caramel favours. The tags either said "Love is Sweet" or "From our kitchen to your belly". You can see the coordinating button escort card in the background on the right. We also made a contribution to the Alzheimer's Society of Toronto in honour of my grandmother who couldn't be with us to do the disease. They gave a packet of Forget-Me-Not seeds for each of our guests which I thought was a beautiful gesture.
Can I just say how gorgeous our friends made our tent? I was overwhelmed by it. I bought all of our lanterns in Chinatown for a pretty good deal from this sweet little couple who gave us a cake topper as a thank you and good luck for our wedding! They were a mix of solid and eyelet white paper lanterns. They didn't get strung up exactly how Dan had envisioned because of how the tent fiasco went, but it looked pretty nonetheless!

One of the eyelet lanterns at night
At the table: One of the teapot floral centrepieces, Evian bottled water, and the lace wrapped votives I made.

One of my teapots

Our guestbook table. We designed our guestbok with photos from our engagement photos. It turned out amazing!
Our curly willow accent arrangements that went around the perimetre of the tent.

The menus I designed, printed, and assembled.
Dan and I had a little sweetheart table in the center of the tent. Our venue decided to build this giant canoe shaped firepit in the middle of our event space which sort of threw out floor plan for a loop, so we tried to make the best of it and just managed the space as best we could. It wasn't ideal but what can you do?! 

Behind our table, was the canoe firepit. What do you do with a canoe shaped fire pit? Fill it with rocks, a corkscrew hazel tree wired to the hilt with orchids, moss, votives, and thank your friends profusely at the end for their patience, creativity and love building it for you!!!! It was like a fairy land behind us. Seriously, it took my breath away when I saw it, I couldn't have pictured anything so beautiful if I had tried. It was beyond what I had hoped for and one of my favourite things about our wedding!!!

The lovely talented ladies who created my fairy land tree!

Seriously, how gorgeous is this?!?!
The tree lit up at night. It wasn't this blue in person, it's just the way it looks on camera for whatever reason.
The rocks with moss, orchids, and the lace wrapped votives I made. The orchids and moss I bought a a flower wholesaler.
Our sweetheart table with a bit of the tree behind me there. I can't stop emphasizing how pretty it was! Sorry!
Okay, onwards. So we came in and had our first dance to Joshua Radin's "Today". It's such a beautiful song. It was actually Ellen Degeneres and Portia De Rossi's wedding song and when I heard it it gave me goosebumps. When Dan came home we listened to it while we danced and I started crying. That's when we knew it was the right song.

I'll just throw in a couple of snaps of a few of our friends, parents, etc giving speeches because since most of you don't know them this holds no relevance to you! Everyone gave us beautiful speeches/toasts and there were a lot of tears flowing. It meant so much to Dan and I to be surrounded by so many people we hold close to our hearts. Every person who was invited was someone who had made an impact on our lives, there were no frivolous invites of friends of friends of friends. 

What do you do when  you have a groomsman who's a professional stand-up comedian? Make him your MC of course! Tim did an amazing job! He did the perfect balance of humour and sentimental touches.
My father-in-law sending along some messages of love and well wishes from family who couldn't make it.
Stacey telling silly stories of our childhood and travels together. We've been friends since we were six!!
Carson likely embarrassing Dan ;)
A few good laughs
My gorgeous aunt and her husband. The camera loves this woman, we should all be so lucky!!
My parents share a few words

My mother-in-law shares a moment with me after her speech. I'm so lucky to have her!
My sister and I are criers. I think my MOH speech at her wedding sounded more like a drowning animal than anything resembling the English language. She did far better giving a speech at our wedding ;)
My brother-in-law gives a thumbs up to marriage!
While we were doing the speeches, we were also eating. And eating. And eating. Oh my gosh were we ever spoiled!!!! Our caterer/chef really focused on local, in season foods which is how Dan and I like to eat as much as possible. It was such an amazing meal, everyone loved it and proclaimed it one of the best meals they'd ever had. 

Let me back up a second and tell you why we chose Ezra to cater our wedding. When Dan turned 30 I wanted to something spectacular for him. He's a hard working guy, a terrific father to his son, and a wonderful partner in life. He rarely does anything just for him. We spent the weekend up in Muskoka parasailing, kayaking, playing shuffleboard, and enjoying some quiet time for once. When we got home, I had arranged for a private chef to make a quiet dinner for the two of us out on our back deck overlooking the river. Some of our friends had come to the house to let in the chef and set up some lights, flowers, etc. It was perfect. I found Ezra through a google search looking for "private chef+Toronto". His name kept coming up attached to rave reviews. I took the plunge and decided you only turn 30 once right?! Well let me tell you, that night was the best meal of my life. Every single penny was worth it. Ezra is charming, talented, and attentive to the most minute detail. We booked him for Dan's birthday dinner every year in perpetuity that night! We told all of our friends and wished there was someway we could afford to share such an amazing experience with them. 

Fast forward a couple of years and a couple dinners later. We approached Ezra about the wedding, worried that maybe our budget was too small. Ezra was wonderful and suggested some incredible options we didn't think were possible and bingo bango, we had a wedding meal! Having Ezra with us made it all the more special. We were finally able to share that beautiful, intimate meal with all the people we love most so that for once we wouldn't be teasing them all with descriptions of how amazing his food is! So Ezra, if you ever read this, know how much we adore and cherish you, and how happy we are that we've discovered your genius! 

I'd also like to give a shout out to the amazing staff of servers we had. It started pouring rain halfway through dinner and our kitchen tent was a good 40 feet away from the main tent. Our servers sloshed back and forth in the rain, always with a smile and a kind word. I don't know where these angels were sent from, but from the first second of our wedding until well after the last guest left, they were watching over everyone, taking amazing care of us, and I never heard a gripe or complaint. I have no idea how they pulled it off but I am forever thankful to them!!!

Without further ado, our meal and the wonderful people behind the scenes who brought it to us!

First course:
Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho with Lobster Salad & Basil Oil
The incomparable Ezra Title. Quality checking each plate before it leaves the line!
Some of our sous-chefs with the plan for the day pinned to the wall behind them. Such hard working guys!
Our main veggie dish:
Herbed Carnaroli Risotto with Haricots Verts, Cherry Tomatoes, Fontina Cheese, Pine Nuts & Balsamic Reduction  *drool*

Our main meat dish:
Cumbrae’s Flat Iron Steak with Fingerling Potatoes, Local Corn, Summer Squash, Chimichuri & Bordelaise Sauce

How many chefs does it take to perfectly plate a wedding meal? Their attention to detail was just outstanding! And keep in mind, this is not a kitchen. This was in a storage room that we added tables to and we had to rent all the equipment!

Dessert was Poached Peaches & Financier (buttery almond cake) with Sea Salt Caramel Ice Cream. That freaking sea salt caramel ice cream is my favourite thing on earth. I could eat it all day every day. I'll have to bribe Ezra for the recipe...  


I'm pretty sure there are no pro photos of the food actually on the tables because our hard working photography and cinematography team were wolfing it down before it occurred to them to take a shot of it! There were a couple of no-shows at their table and rumor has it they were fighting over who got the extra meals ;) 

So, next up will be the conclusion of the night, our late night dessert buffet and dancing, and then I'm going to do one more recap post of details. I had a million tiny details that I want to share with you, but I also wanted to keep these recaps moving along, so I've saved them for last! Enjoy and happy weekend everyone!