Friday, May 14, 2010

The Before and After

The wedding reception ended, but we were lucky to have spent much more time with our guests than that during the course of the weekend.  Because we wanted to spend as much time as possible with our 46 guests, we scheduled other weekend events that helped us relax and celebrate with everyone:
  • Ladies' Spa Time
  • Welcome Event
  • Wedding Day Getting Ready
  • After-Dinner Drinks in Bridal Suite
  • Farewell Brunch
Ladies' Spa Time
On the Friday before the wedding, there was some downtime between the rehearsal and Welcome Event, which I planned to use by heading straight to the spa.  I also thought it would be a nice opportunity to have a little "girl time" before all the formal wedding events started.  So a few days before the wedding, I emailed the female guests with the following: 
On Friday, March 19 from about 5 p.m. to 6:15 p.m., I will be at the Ritz-Carlton spa to relax in the hot tubs and pad around in slippers and a robe.  If anyone wishes to join, please feel free! The use of the common areas of the spa is free to all guests staying at the Ritz.  For others wishing to use the spa, there is a $50 day fee.

Here are the amenities of which I will be taking full advantage:
  • Steam room/Sauna (are these different? I don't know) (women only)
  • Jacuzzi (women only)
  • Roman mineral bath (coed, so don't go naked)
  • Heated swimming pool
  • Fitness Center (not on my list of things to do, but you are more than welcome, of course)
  • Relaxation rooms with water, tea and coffee
A few ladies joined me in this little haven (I would show you pics of us but we were nekkid. Haha not):

Welcome Event
Since our wedding was semi-destination, we wanted to invite all the guests to the "rehearsal dinner", which we called the "Welcome Event".  It was wine and heavy hors d'oeuvres served in one of the rooms at the hotel, hosted by my mother-in-law.  We included the Welcome Event in the schedule that was sent with our invitations, and here's the excerpt from our wedding website regarding the event:
Please join us Friday evening for wine & hors d'oeuvres at the Pacifica Room in the Ritz Carlton. If you have a big appetite, though, feel free to dine first at the Conservatory Lounge located in the Ritz-Carlton, or at any of the restaurants in the area.
Children are more than welcome, especially if they like to drink wine. 
Party and casual cocktail attire welcome (suits are not necessary).
I didn't do anything except select the food and wine for this event.  We used the few flowers and piped-in music provided by the hotel, and that was it.  Despite this appalling lack of effort on my part, what mattered was that the guests were ready to kick off the weekend, and kick it off they did.  Everyone drank and ate to their hearts' content, and laughter and conversation filled the room the entire evening.

Look at my friend on the left guzzling it down
Triplet of three sweetest guys ever (their wives made me write that)

Someone shouldn't be making a toast when she's tipsy
Look at that awesome bulletin board in the back that I scrounged up as decor

Wedding Day Getting Ready
I was so looking forward to the "getting ready" time the morning of the wedding.  Since I did not have a formal bridal party, I was not automatically surrounded by my bestest lady friends, so I invited the female guests to visit the bridal suite during that time.  

In the email that I sent to the ladies regarding the spa time, I also included the following:
I want to spend as much time with all of you as possible.  To that end, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the wedding day (Saturday March 20), please feel free to drop by the bridal suite (location TBA) to say hello.
Some of my friends dropped by so I didn't feel like a loser, and we chatted, ate, drank some bubbly, and shared the building excitement for the day.

Yes, I look heinous, but cut me some slack I hadn't had any bubbly yet. I was thirsty.

After-Dinner Drinks in Bridal Suite
We wanted to keep the momentum of the reception going, and informally spread the word at the reception that anyone was welcome to join us in the bride & groom suite (not the bedroom silly, in the living room of the suite) for some drinks.  It was nice to unwind after the reception, to relax and get schlumpy.

It was really all about hanging out with the pugs and drinking some more bubbly

Wow. Flattering.  Guess someone was sleepy. Me, not the pug. The pug sleeps no matter what.

This was so low-key.  We had bought some beer and bubbly, and asked the hotel to bring us a tray of flutes.  It was very chill and just a nice way to end the evening.

Farewell Brunch
One of the things my sister and her husband wished they had done at their wedding 12 years ago was a farewell brunch the day after the wedding.  With that in mind, they generously hosted an awesome brunch for our guests the next morning.  And I mean awesome--we're talking eggs Benedict with crab, cheese blintzes with berry sauce, and some of the tastiest bacon I've ever had, not to mention gobs of other stuff.
In addition to including the event in the schedule that went out with the invitations, we had the following tidbit on our wedding website: 
Oh does it have to end so soon? Never fear, we wouldn't let you leave with an empty stomach. Please join us for a casual brunch on Sunday where we can enjoy your company and some tasty food. Like cinnamon rolls.
Oh, is it deja vu? Well yes! Brunch will be in the same room as the Saturday night wedding celebration.
Bring the kids along!
Black tie attire mandatory (kidding--totally casual).
It was a lovely, relaxed way to finish out the weekend.

That boy in the red jacket kept calling my dad "grandpa". Thanks kid, no pressure.

I am so grateful and lucky that my family members were able to host these additional events.  It made the weekend that much better because it maximized not only our time with the guests but also the guests' time with each other.  These events helped increase the feeling of celebration and camraderie that I believe really carried the weekend.

Are you planning any other events around your wedding?

All personal and guest photos

1 comment:

  1. oh what a wonderful recap of a wonderful weekend!