Wedding Projects : The Book!

Four years ago today, Calder and I got married! This June I’ve been sharing some of the crafts that made their way into our wedding. A couple of weeks ago I showed you the bunting that decorated our reception tents and ceremony. Last week I shared the homemade purses that I embroidered for each of the bridesmaids (you also got a sneak peak at the sash that my mom made and hand-beaded to go with my wedding dress!). Just yesterday you saw the tags that labeled our homemade favors and were used as place cards. Today I’m sharing the book that we made to remember our big day. It also serves as a cookbook and highlights the huge role Calder had to play in our wedding. He planned our dinner and did most of the cooking, including the grilling during our reception!

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Interspersed throughout this post, you’ll see photographs from our wedding as well as snapshots of the book. We never got around to hiring a professional photographer for the day, but of course, with Sarah being a professional, that is what we would recommend to capture your important memories. Fortunately for us, between Sarah and a few of our friends with professional cameras, we had a great impromptu crew on hand, and they captured the day beautifully. All of the photos throughout this post come from their keen eyes, and we can’t thank them enough!

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Since everything from the ceremony to the reception to the late night dancing and bonfire happened on-site at my parents’ house, it was a fairly casual affair. As such, it didn’t feel right to have a receiving line, but at the same time, Calder and I wanted a chance to say hi to each of our guests. So, we had a “meat and greet” line! Calder grilled the salmon and steaks that were served as part of the main course, and while he served each guest their main dish, he was able to say hi to them. How awesome is that?

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In addition to grilling the meat, he planned and cooked (with some assistance) the hors d’oeuvres and side salads that when with the main course. Between his work, our homemade favors, and my mom baking the cakes, we decided that a book would be the perfect way to record our big day, because it could serve as a combination photo album and cookbook.

As you can see from the photo above, I organized the book into chapters for both the photographs and the recipes, switching back and forth between the two and following the progression of the day. In addition to the photographs and recipes, I used the digital illustrations of flowers and bees that my brother designed for our invitations to decorate pages of the book.

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I also made sure to include details we would want to remember, like the readings from our ceremony. At the last moment, we realized that we didn’t make any sort of program for the ceremony. So our brother, the awesome designer that he is, came up with these hexagon-shaped single page programs that listed the names of our wedding party and included a little note inviting everyone to the reception tents for dinner and dancing after the ceremony.

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We had a live band that played at the beginning and end of the ceremony, and then continued playing throughout dinner. After dinner, everyone was invited to a DJ’ed dance party in the barn. The band was the Wissahickon Chicken Shack and we love, love, LOVED them. We can’t say enough about how unbelievably awesome they were. Having a bluegrass band was the perfect compliment to our relaxed atmosphere, but it’s also such a great genre of music that appeals to people of all ages, which is particularly nice when you have a multigenerational event like a wedding. Our DJ was a great friend of Sarah’s, and she rocked the barn. Everyone had such a great time dancing well into the night…

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But back to the food. Since Calder was cooking for a crowd of about 100, he was cooking large amounts of food. Rather than scale down the recipes for the book, we decided that it would be fun to write them with the quantities of food we actually used for the reception. I also wrote the recipes in the book following Calder’s notes exactly, so you don’t see clear lists of ingredients and step-by-step instructions, rather, each recipe is written in paragraph form and I bolded the ingredients to make them jump out at the reader.

This may seem like an odd way to write a cookbook, but I liked that it mirrored his thought process as he planned the meal. We also included a little note to readers at the beginning of the book, explaining the scale of the recipes and mentioning that each of the recipes can easily be scaled down to a smaller size, but instead, we suggested that they have a party and cook the recipes as written ;-).

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The thought of cooking for your reception may seem overwhelming, and it totally would be if you don’t have help. Calder prepared the salads and side dishes the day before the wedding. The day of the wedding, we had some fantastic help from friends of my mom’s and a few students from the high school where she taught. We wrote out the full menu for our assistants, and they did a perfect job of bringing out dishes and refilling platters as needed. The adults mainly stayed in the kitchen to do the prep work, and the high school students walked around serving appetizers.
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To help make the students more identifiable as someone a guest could ask for help, we had them wear a simple uniform of a white shirt, khaki shorts, and a simple apron that I made for them using twill tape and this dish toweling fabric (it’s called Granny Rose Yellow by Fabric Moda). I liked that the red and yellow went with our color theme, and it seemed like a very farm-like apron, which I thought was perfect for the reception.

As for drinks, we had self-serve kegs of beer and rootbeer, and a great friend who has his bartender’s license worked the bar for us that day, which was down at the reception tent during dinner and then migrated to the barn later in the evening!

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We also included the recipes for our favors in the book. Since canning requires some level of precision, these recipes were written in the traditional fashion. If you’re interested in making your own chili sauce, I included a photograph of that page in this post!

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One of the best surprises of the day were the lanterns that my sisters arranged. They ordered a few dozen of the white sky lanterns, and as you can imagine, it was the most amazing sight seeing them floating in the air.

Ok, we have just one more wedding-related post coming up… and it has to do with our ingredient of the season. Any guesses?!

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