Monday, November 26, 2012

PaC Man & Wife: Ring of Fire

Whose idea was it to give inebriated guests giant sparklers? And encourage them to wave the lit wands enthusiastically at the bride and groom at an uncomfortably close distance?

Our sparkler display.

Oh. That would have been us.

We should have known better. Earlier in the night, a guest (who still remains anonymous) decided to test out the flammability of the sparklers and the lobby's interior by lighting a sparkler. WTH. Linda, our venue coordinator, has eyes in the back of her head because she was on it in moments. The bucket of sparklers and conveniently placed lighter (my bright idea) were hidden away until the grand sparkler exit. Not in the lobby. Outside.

(guest photo)

Mr. PaC and I realized we never gather the whole sparkler exit much logistical thought until we were standing in the foyer peering out at the guests... gleefully waving their unlit sparklers, one in each hand, with such zest that I began to question our sanity. A kitchen torch was produced and a succession of sparks zipped up the parallel ranks of the guests. This was it.


 (above two images: guest photos)

We stood at the beginning of the gauntlet and listened to the sparklers crackle and fizz. I was going to go up like a dried Christmas tree in February with all this hairspray. I emphatically motioned for everyone to step the hell back. Mr. PaC grabbed my hand tightly... and ran!

Woah, wait! We're running this thing?

We hurtled toward end of the line, slowing to a trot as we approached our getaway vehicle - one very fast convertible, idling in wait. I handed off my bouquet to my new husband, scooped up my voluminous gown, and hopped into the car. We glanced over our shoulders to our cheering friends and family still vigorously waving those sparklers. In this fleeting moment, all was perfect. 

The engine revved. Mr. PaC threw it into gear and I threw my hand triumphantly into the air, just as I did at the end of our ceremony, as we disappeared into the darkness. 

The warm summer night swirled all around us as we zoomed through chateau country past stone walls and old estates and chased us down into the valley over hills and summer fields. Intoxicating smells of sweet grass, the meandering Brandywine River, and finally the cool, green canopy of the park marked our ascent back into reality.

The night, and our adventure, was far from over, but this convertible ride concludes the Pain au Chocolat wedding recaps. Many times during that night, Mr. PaC and I remarked how much fun we were having, the speed at which the night was passing, and how we'd do it again next year... and the year after that! My one wish for every bride is to feel this way. To have so thoroughly enjoyed her wedding that she would do it again in a heartbeat. To feel the support of family, friends, and fellow bees. And, most importantly, love - the really good kind... heart-swelling, swoon-worthy, conquer anything kind of love - for her beloved.

(all photos by Heather Fowler Photography, unless otherwise noted)

Catch up on our PaC recaps!

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

PaC Man & Wife: Dance Me to the End of Love

Hi! Welcome to the insanity known as our second dance set! Good thing I embraced the dancing because the crazy was about to kick up a notch.

The glow sticks were a BIG hit. Planning brides take note: guests will want to wear more than one; double the amount you think you'll need. Our guests found inventive ways to wear them...

Necklaces, headbands, armbands, and even drink wraps.
(lower right: guest photo)

There were rumors of a strange tradition on Mr. PaC's mom's side of the family. I had yet to see it in person and wasn't entirely sure what it entailed, but some level of embarrassment was inevitable. What is this tradition I speak of?


Instigators or very enthusiastic participants?

Yes, I know. I was speechless too. Yes, those are dinner napkins. On their heads.

I have no idea where it came from but they've been doing it forever. And since the wedding was my official joining into their family, I had to participate. Thankfully, I had an "out" for wearing it since I was the bride... but I did have to wave it around until the ladies were satisfied.

(guest photo)

I retreated to my husband, tempted to hide behind him until the napkin craziness went away. But it wasn't going anywhere. I was the bride. There was no escaping it.

I shouldn't have been surprised when Mr. PaC joined the dancing. The lights and glow sticks were irresistible.

Or when the ladies encircled him. The napkin dance set off a wave of revelry that spread from person to person until the dance floor was packed. My grandmother? Kicking up her heels with the grandkids. My grandfather had to sit down because his pacemaker kicked in! Mr. PaC's uncle who'd just had knee replacement surgery? Oh, he was pain-free that night! Best of all, we were enjoying ourselves.


DJ Z ended the dance party with Donna Summer's disco anthem "Last Dance." I am not a fan of disco and would have wished to end our wedding night to a song that had meaning to us. I pushed hard for Madeleine Peyroux's version of "Dance Me to the End of Love" - a slow song and decidedly anti-climatic; Mr. PaC said no. But we never specified a last dance song and left it to chance... and I think the literal message of last dance worked well for our guests.

We would not have these great pictures had it been a slow, couples-only song.

When the last dance started, I was caught in the photo booth and squirmed away because, like it or not, this was our last dance song and I'll be damned if I was missing it! I found Mr. PaC, but he was already dancing with someone else. What the hell?!

What the hell, indeed!

A family friend and Mr. PaC were waltzing around the dance floor. They had gotten into a conversation and realized a minute later that they were still dancing. It was one of the more amusing unscripted moments of the wedding. Still, I had to cut in on their tender moment and finish the dance with my new husband.

Spinning in circles.

 One last hurrah!

Singing along... "Come on baby, let's dance toooooonight!"

Ending it with a kiss and double high-five! 

Things really heat up in the next recap! You won't want to miss it, promise.

(all photos by Heather Fowler Photography, unless otherwise noted)

Catch up on our PaC recaps!

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Monday, November 19, 2012

PaC Man & Wife: I Turn My Camera On

Gather your friends, grab your props! It's time for the photo booth images!

After the speeches and dinner, our guests stormed the photo booth. There was a wait most of the night. Imagine my surprise when my grandfather was the first to hop into the photo booth AND rock the bee hat. I think my fun-loving sister and cousins had something to do with it. I always knew I had cool grandparents, but this just confirms it.

My grandfather: eighty-eight years old and cool as hell.

Setting the tone for the rest of the guests!

Mr. PaC's Jersey family in the house! 

Feeling the love.

Even the parents got in on the action!
(upper left image: Heather Fowler Photography)

Our X and O balloons were one of those details made me very happy. The venue offered to let us fill them onsite so Mr. PaC and Linda hunted through the catacombs of the old mansion looking for a helium tank that she knew was there, somewhere. She let Mr. PaC fill up the first one, but the X still had a few wrinkles so he added a little more air. BOOM! It exploded right in their faces. He smartly decided it was best to leave a little wrinkle in the next one. He trudged back upstairs with the pieces and recounted the story to his mom and brother, who knew how sad the bride would be to miss the X to her O, and one of them called in a favor. En route from New Jersey were his two aunts who tracked down a new X balloon. The switch was so seamless had Mr. PaC never told me, I would have never known.

One of my favorite pictures! I loved my X and O balloons!

Me and my momma.

The photo booth pictures were the best sort of delayed gratification. We didn't see them until the next day when we were in recovery mode. Mr. PaC and I howled with laughter as we flipped through the hundreds of images. Each one a mini-present from dear friends and family.

Look who popped back into the photo booth: goofballs, hams and cut-ups.

My sister really enjoyed the photo booth!

If you've been with me throughout my Weddingbee journey, you know I have an aversion to veils... which should make the following photos of me in a dress-up veil even funnier!

(above three images: Heather Fowler Photography)

Here I am showing my love for my bees and representing the hive. You were with me all day between the bee charms, bee hat, or inspiration from your weddings adapted to oursOur bee hat was quite popular. How many times did you spot it?

Had we done a bouquet toss, this friend would have been a fierce competitor!

Choosing to feature a handful of images from the 250+ originals was tough. Who wants to see a million photos of strangers? To you, these folks are familiar faces at best. But we love every photo! The plan is to create a massive photo collage to hang next to our wedding photos. What will you do with your photobooth images?
(all personal photos unless otherwise noted)

Catch up on our PaC recaps!

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Wedding Morning

Thursday, November 15, 2012

PaC Man & Wife: When I'm 64

Given my love of The Beatles, it's probably no surprise that "When I'm 64" wound up as our cake cutting song. Sing along with me as we scroll through the sweet images of our cake cutting, thank you speech, and a spontaneous nighttime photo shoot.

Our colorful geometric cake from the Hotel duPont encircled by votives, bridesmaid bouquets, 
and other details.
When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now
Will you still be sending me a valentine, birthday greetings, bottle of wine?
If I'd been out 'til quarter to three, would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I'm sixty-four?

You'll be older too
Ah, and if you say the word, I could stay with you

I could be handy, mending a fuse when your lights have gone
You can knit a sweater by the fireside, Sunday mornings, go for a ride
Doing the garden, digging the weeds, who could ask for more?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I'm sixty-four?

Fondant circles in yellow monochrome

Every summer we can rent a cottage
In the Isle of Wight if it's not too dear
We shall scrimp and save
Ah, grandchildren on your knee, Vera, Chuck and Dave

Send me a postcard, drop me a line stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say, yours sincerely wasting away
Give me your answer, fill in a form, mine forever more
Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I'm sixty-four?

The finished product compared to my mock-up. I think they got it pretty darn close!

You've probably noticed we don't have a cake topper. We opted to forgo one because we loved the simple design of the cake and wanted it to shine on its own, especially since choosing a design was a long road. That doesn't mean we passed an opportunity to inject some personality into the cake display! Our LEGO bride and groom, complete with custom gouache dye jobs, stole our guests' hearts and were a crowd favorite to photograph.

Even the mini-groom sports a sartorially appropriate blue suit!

Here we are smiling, pretending to cut the cake. In reality, we had no clue what to do next. Sensing a moment's hesitation, Linda, our venue coordinator, gave us a quick tutorial: two parallel cuts and one straight down between them to free the slice.

Interesting things to note in the above photograph:
1) My engagement ring is still on my right hand.
2) We are using our non-dominant hands to cut the cake... which made cutting into a giant cake for the first time a little more awkward.
3) That's a borrowed knife. We correctly assumed the venue would have a knife capable of cutting cake. Are we the only ones would didn't buy a cake knife for the wedding?

Drumroll, please. Will we be good? Or will we cake smash?

Skeptical eyebrows on both sides. Over the din, we hear a friend shout, "Don't do it!" 

While not the most flattering photograph, it tells a good story. In this fleeting moment, I'm shooting my parents a sideways glance that says, "I'm going to be good. Unlike you guys." The backstory: My mother cake smashed my dad, who fed her first and behaved, and he has never forgotten the feelings of betrayal and embarrassment. (Just kidding, Mom! Mostly.) I'd never heard this story until a few months before our wedding. My dad made sure to stress that the cake cutting tradition is a time for tenderness and not an opportunity to seek revenge for pre-wedding tiffs. Cake smashing, if not mutually agreed to in advance, would not be in the spirit of the moment. His earnest story reinforced what I already knew. We would be good.

Synchronized and civilized!

Grand Marnier pound cake with raspberry filling (top)
Marble pound cake with chocolate ganache (middle)
Hazelnut pound cake with apricot filling (bottom)

As a wedding guest, I'm frequently curious about the cake flavors so I whipped up a cake sign using our official wedding typeface, the fondant colors, and an extra frame.

Yum! Going back for seconds of the hazelnut pound with the deliciously complex apricot filling.

And maybe a third bite! 

Taking advantage of our captive audience, the cake cutting and our thank you speech were paired together. The thank you speech was one of those things I just did not plan. I presumed the emotions of the day would carry me through and provide inspiration. Moments before speech time, Mr. PaC asked if I wanted to speak. Oh, crap. Normally talkative and confident, I was suddenly struck speechless and shy. Was I ever relieved when he picked up the mic and gave a successful unrehearsed speech (long enough for the two of us). And this is why I said "yes" and "I do" to Mr. PaC. He is the yin to my yang. Where I falter, he picks up the slack.

Adoration and relief.

Mr. PaC seized the moment and used the mic time to tease his brother for his 8-minute best man speech. I'm searching out his brother to see his reaction.

So proud of my husband!

Our wonderful friends.

He talks. I make the faces. We're a good team.

My new husband had touched on everything I would have; there was nothing left for me to say. So I just smiled gratefully at as many friends and family as I could make eye contact with and sent silent thank yous.

After the cake was cut and the last of the long speeches given, our photographers stole us away for an impromptu photo shoot in the boxwood garden. Mr. PaC and I spun, smooched, and snuggled in the warm night air as we soaked in the realization that our wedding was coming to an end. We confessed that we would do it all over again - it was so much fun! Let's do it next year, we planned.




Let's add two more: sit...

... and sleep!  

(all photos by Heather Fowler Photography, unless otherwise noted)

Catch up on our PaC recaps!

Days Before
Wedding Morning