Reception


Last night, D. and I met with Nicole from Events of Excellence to finalize the last few details. We picked out linens, china, and flatware.

This linen is called Tatsu Dragon Celadon. The caterer showed us the reverse of this fabric as the right side, and we liked it. The background will be celadon, and the dragon and swirl details will be in gold. All of our guest tables will be covered with this linen. We’re pairing ivory cloth napkins with these linens. The food tables will be covered in a solid celadon linens with either ivory or gold accents.

This linen is for our cake table. We figured with the blue “Such Great Heights” themed cake we should have a blue, whimsical tablecloth to match.

We decided on the square plates instead of standard rounds. For some reason, the square plates work better with the asian fusion theme. Plus, they were only 5 cents more per plate.

We decided on the Torino flatware because the squared handles pair well with the square plates and remind us of chopsticks.

But the best news of all? Nicole will most likely be there at the setup and the beginning of the reception to supervise. Yay! She’s great.

Oh thank God!

We have less than 6 months to go, and I *think* we’ve found our new location. The Hakone Gardens are the “oldest surviving Japanese-style residential gardens in the Western Hemisphere.

If everything goes as planned, we will have our ceremony in the Hill and Pond Garden on the Moon Bridge and our reception on the back deck of their Cultural Exchange Center.
D. and I visited the location this past Saturday, and we were very excited about it.

Hakone Gardens - Front Gate
Front gate

Hakone Gardens - Hill and Pond Garden
Hill and Pond Garden (Moon Bridge)

Hakone Gardens - Turtle Island
Island connected by Moon Bridge. The island is in the shape of a tortoise.

Hakone Gardens - Moon Bridge
D. on the Moon Bridge standing where we will take our vows.

Hakone Gardens - Koi
Fish!

Hakone Gardens - Waterfall
Waterfall in the Hill and and Pond Garden

Hakone Gardens - Rear
Rear of Cultural Exchange Center on the deck.

Hakone Gardens - Deck view
View from the deck.

So, what do you think?

Below are some pictures of the Ainsley House in Campbell, CA. We decided against the Ainsley House because it doesn’t have a rain plan, and they don’t provide tables and chairs. (Plus, the woman on duty at the Ainsley House gift shop/office was not very nice when we asked for the rental information packet.)

Ainsley House
Front of the Ainsley House.

Ainsley House - gate
Side gate entrance to the garden.

Ainsley House - Garden
Both the wedding ceremony and reception would be held here. Usually, the bride and groom stand under the four-post canopy.

Ainsley House - Tree
A tree and bench in the garden yard.

It’s nice, but we weren’t feeling it.

Nope, I’m very much alive. Unfortunately, I’ve been very very busy and stressed for the last several weeks, so wedding planning was placed on the back burner.

Last week, D. and I went back to Amphora Catering for our second tasting. After our first tasting, we wanted to tweak the menu a bit and try different flavors. I expressed all of my concerns and ideas to Jade via email, and after a few weeks of no response, I called Amphora to speak with her. The reason why I hadn’t heard from her was because she left the company to go back to school. It’s admirable to pursue higher learning, but jeez, an email or a courtesy phone call to tell who my new event coordinator will be would have been nice.

Anyways, I was a bit leery after that snafu, but all my fears were allayed by the great service and food at the second tasting.

I brought the camera with the intention of taking pictures, but I was so focused on the food that I forgot to take pictures until halfway through the tasting.

Chicken Skewer and Grilled Vegetables

As you can see, I decimated the Pineapple Chicken Skewer once again. It wasn’t as flavorful and juicy as the Pineapple Skewers from the first tasting, but I still liked it. Also in this picture are the grilled vegetables. D. and I weren’t pleased with our vegetable option at our first tasting, so the chef at Amphora prepared three different options for this tasting: grilled vegetables with zucchini, squash, and roasted red peppers; traditional steamed vegetables with carrots, broccoli, and turnips; and something we’re calling Asian vegetable slaw (pictured below).

Asian vegetable slaw

The marinated Asian vegetable slaw, I believe, is comprised of red cabbage, carrots, and zucchini. It was delicious.

Chimichurri steak

This is Amphora’s take on a flank steak with chimichurri sauce. It tasted good, much better than the Asian flank steak from the previous tasting. Unfortunately, I despise onions, and this chimichurri sauce seems onion heavy.

Rice salad

The chef wanted to give a rice salad another go. I still wasn’t a fan. It looked really pretty with the blackberries, strawberries, and mango, but I didn’t like the texture or flavor.

Jicama Salad - Southwestern

We sent Amphora a jicama salad recipe to reproduce, and the chef came up with the above southwestern version and the fruit version below. D. and I preferred the southwestern version. The only adjustment would be to eliminate the red onion from the black bean/corn relish.

Jicama - Fruit

The fruit version wasn’t bad; it was different. I’m not a fan of the cilantro and scallions.

Balsamic pasta salad.

Not only did the chef prepare this balsamic vinaigrette version of the pasta salad, he also made a sherry vinaigrette version (not pictured). I still prefer the first version of this pasta salad from the first tasting, but I’m afraid it doesn’t go with the other food we’ve picked.

After tasting all this food, Bobby, the head of catering, came out to brainstorm menu ideas with us. He was great. We really want to figure out a way to serve duck in some form at the reception, but we don’t know how. He said he was going to toy around with some ideas and get back with me. Of course, all the brainstorming led to D. and I rethinking the entire menu. I need to discuss this with Bobby, but we’re now pondering a mini surf and turf entree with angus beef sliders and some kind of grilled fish. Craziness. Hopefully, we’ll have our menu nailed down sometime this year.

(BTW, if you’re in D.C. and desire amazing sliders, forget Silver Diner, go to Matchbox. Trust me.)

I have a secret. Promise you won’t tell. You promise? Ok.

There is a part of me that is warming to the idea of eloping. Between the contract delay with the ceremony/reception location,  the psychotic quotes from caterers, and the lukewarm response from family and friends, I’m starting to wonder if having a sentimental wedding is worth all the trouble and expense.

I don’t want to run off to Vegas. It’s a wedding factory out there. Plus, we’ve already been to Vegas and got our marriage license there last year. (It was Valentine’s Day, and we’d thought it would be a fun souvenir.) It’s not valid anymore though.

Getting married at some all-inclusive tropical destination could cost as much as our small sentimental wedding, plus no one would be able to attend besides ourselves.

Maybe it would be better just to rent a beach house for several days and have the wedding with just close family.  But throwing both of our immediate families in the same house for a week? “Two families picked to stay in a house and attend a wedding… The Real World: Eastern Shore.” Hmm, maybe not.

Perhaps, we’ll just surprise our immediate families by getting them together for the first time and have a surprise wedding.  (evil grin) I like that idea. (/evil grin)

Several weeks ago, D. and I visted Montpelier Mansion in Laurel, MD to talk with a rental representative. I’m still waiting on a contract from them, but they are holding the date for me.

Two of the pictures are mine. (The batteries died in the camera before I could take any other pictures. Stupid rechargeable batteries!) The other pictures are from Montpelier Mansion’s website.

Montpelier Mansion Garden
This is a side garden and view of the mansion. The green tents were left over from an event the day before. We’re planning on setting up the tables for our reception where the two tents are located under the tree.

Montpelier Mansion front
We plan on getting married in front of the mansion with our guests seated in chairs on the terraced lawn. I’ll walk down the brick path from the house and meet D. in front of the garden circle for the ceremony. (Photo courtesy of Montpelier Mansion).

Montpelier Mansion Library
If it rains on our wedding day, we will be getting married in the library. This would be our view facing our guests. We won’t keep the chairs in that circular configuration; we would set them up in rows.

Library hyphen
The library hyphen… I would be entering the library from this hall passage. (Photo courtesy of Montpelier Mansion).

I hope to take some more pictures of the mansion soon. I’m really looking forward to finalizing the location. I’m tired of wedding vendor limbo. I want to lock something down.

My official stance on wedding colors and themes is that I’m against them. This isn’t prom or homecoming; it’s a wedding. However, I do like things to be coordinated.

For example, most women buy matching bra and panty sets. I don’t. I buy underwear to match my pants and bras to match my shirts. Why? Because inevitably, the underwear band peeks out above my pants and I’d rather have a black pants against a black band than black pants against a lime green band. Or even worse, hot pink underwear under white pants. Yowch! (I don’t own white pants, but if I did, I know that you’re supposed to wear flesh tone drawers, not white, and especially not hot pink.)

So, D. and I are trying to put together this casual, upscale, summer BBQ reception. We want our friends and family to feel comfortable and have fun, and we still want it to feel like a special occasion. Right now, the plan is to serve food grilled outdoors by the caterer, put up lanterns all around the reception area on shepherd hooks, and hopefully, if money allows, be entertained by a cajun or zydeco band. It’s a really rough outline. However, when I’ve been contacting caterers, they’ve been asking “Around what color is your wedding based?”
ManicBride: Ummm. I don’t know yet.
Caterer: What about your flowers?
ManicBride: Ummm. I don’t know. Maybe pale blue and green hydrangeas, but maybe a bright wild flowers with dahlias thing. I’ll know it when I see it. I do know that I’m not having a cascading bouquet, does that help? (It doesn’t, by the way.)

I’ve thought about it a bit.. maybe sage green tablecloths… definitely not red gingham (but I do like the light blue small gingham, but I fear that’s too casual). Maybe fireflies could be a thematic component.. since most of the reception will take place at dusk and go into the evening. I’ve considered buying or making jars of fireflies for table centerpieces.

I know I’ll get it all figured out. I just need to spend some time reviewing Martha Stewart’s website.

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