Our Wedding: Reception

It’s Ultimate Wedding Week reception time!
We had cocktail hour immediately following our ceremony on the other side of the fireplace from where we had the ceremony. While our guests ate appetizers and started to get their booze on we took photos with Brad’s side of the family. I think we enjoyed a whopping 10 minutes of cocktail hour.

Our reception room turned out great. We have an amazing group of family and friends who helped us set up the space the day before the wedding. The lanterns had battery-operated lights inside them so they would glow above the dance floor.

My mom is an awesome bow-tier.

Half of our reception centerpieces were the thrifty hurricanes that I made. We filled them with rose petals and water and topped them off with a floating candle. The other centerpieces were hydrangea, spray rose, and hypericum berry arrangements made by our florist.

Our reception tables were named after places Brad and I traveled to together. I made the table cards with the name of the city/place and a photo of us that was taken in that particular city/place.

Our dinner menu was on the backside of the table name card.

An IU decorated sugar cookie, which served as the favors, was placed at every place setting. The cookies came from Brad’s favorite hometown bakery. I think our guests liked them because there were none left at the end of the night.

We decided to do a receiving line as guests picked up their escort cards and moved into the reception room. That way we could have a chance to say hi and thank each person individually. It moved pretty fast– only taking about 15-20 minutes to greet 120 guests.

The escort cards were laid out on a table with our grandparents’ and parents’ wedding photos. I made the escort cards– more about them on Friday!

The Indiana University fight song played as we entered the reception.

My mom insisted that we have a head table. Good idea, mom, because I love this picture.

Brad’s grandfather gave a lovely blessing.

Before long it was time for us to cut our beautiful wedding cake. It was decorated in Swiss dots and pink garden roses. The topper was custom made to look like Brad and me. And we couldn’t forget Jack.

Our Maid of Honor and Best Man gave wonderful toasts.


Our first dance was to “Stay With You” by John Legend. I bought two dance lessons through Groupon in attempt to not look like eighth graders spinning around in a circle on the dance floor.  Amazingly, Brad had fun at our lessons. We didn’t do a fancy choreographed number– we just learned a couple basic steps.

I shared the father-daughter dance with my dad and step-dad.
We danced to “Daughter” by Loudon Wainwright III.


Brad and his mom danced to “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts.

Then it was time to dance!


I made flip flop baskets for when our female guests needed to kick off their heels. I bought  flip flops from Old Navy, bound them together with ribbon, and put the size in the middle.

My Maid of Honor caught the bouquet.

Our friend intensely caught the garter. This photo makes me laugh every time I look at it.

Our guests loved the DIY photo booth. So did we.

All photos by Anya Albonetti

It was such an amazing day and night spent with our family and closest friends. I would do it all over again in an instant.

In case you need to catch up, here’s our before the ceremony and ceremony photos.

What was your favorite thing about your wedding reception?
Did you have a special wedding cake topper?
What was your first dance song?

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  1. Gorgeous photos! Congrats! I love the colors. I came across your blog via Sarah Jester at Blue Soul Designs. I love the design and use of white space. Great blog.

  2. Absolutely beautiful! The joy just exudes from the photos!

  3. I’ll let you plan my next wedding. Mmmkay? But don’t get too excited because Nate is still pretty awesome in my book.

    We had our reception at a botanical garden. It was pretty. Our cake topper was a hugging couple from a local pottery place. Our first dance was “Little Moments” by Brad Paisley. Boring.

  4. Your wedding was beautiful 🙂
    I love my cake toppers, Vintage style Barbie and Ken, bride and groom Christmas ornaments. they originally both had brown hair, but hubs is blonde so I painted his head yellow. We hang them on the Christmas tree every year – my kids call them the “mommy and daddy ornaments”

  5. I love your paper lanterns! And the photos of your grandparents are so sweet – this looks like a fun reception! So glad you linked up!

  6. I’m currently planning a wedding and would love to know more about how to make a DIY photo booth! That sounds like a genius idea!

  7. What font do you use for your wedding and for all of your blog! I love it and want to download!

  8. What a fantastic reception! I love how much light filled the space, and the flip-flops are such a good idea 🙂

  9. I’m not a cake-topper kinda gal, but I have to say I think yours is ADORABLE! I mean seriously, so cute. I can’t believe you did so much yourself. You need to start a wedding planning business, for real. Women of the world need you. 😉

  10. More beautiful pictures of a gorgeous day. I LOVE every detail of your wedding reception. It is so simple and stunning at once. The lanterns are a really beautiful pop of color against the wood of the venue.

    My favorite part of our reception would probably be the toast that my brother-in-law made. It was sweet and hysterical at the same time, and people still frequently comment on it. We didn’t have a special topper…just a ribbon that the baker put on it for us. And our first dance was to “Everyday I Love You” by Boyzone.

  11. What a beautiful reception!!! I made our wedding cake topper and LOVED it- we had it on display in our living room until I had to pack it up for moving- it’s going up in the new house though for sure! Our first dance was “Johnny and June” by Heidi Newfield.

  12. I love your cake topper! Such a gorgeous wedding

  13. Love all the details and those cookies are too cute. We had dancing shoes at our wedding. They were a huge hit!

  14. awe that is soo beautiful! I love your colors! I am a Delta Zeta so I love everything pink and green! My favorite part of our wedding reception was when everyone was out on the dance floor dancing!

  15. Love the colors, the flip-flops, the venue…everything is adorable and sweet!

  16. I just came across your blog randomly. Your wedding pictures are gorgeous. Thanks for introducing me to the John Legend song! I love his voice and had hadn’t heard ‘Stay with Me’ before. It’s a perfect first dance song.

  17. Hi Chelsea! I happened to come across your wedding photos on Pinterest. I’m getting married in May and haven’t been able to find the right table place card holders anywhere! Can you tell me where you got the holders you used for your table name card/menu? I think they would be perfect for us! If only I could find out where to buy them. Thank you!!

  18. Thank you for sharing your awesome diy centerpieces! We will be creating similar glass centerpieces with pink rose petals for our wedding in September of 2015. I bought some fake rose petals but they didn’t float. What kind of rose petals did you use? Fake or real ones? If they were fake, where did you order them from? Thanks!

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