Engagement Party, Part III – The Main Event

Our rings – photo by me, all rights reserved

Marriage means different things to different people.

From the way they were raised, the culture they grew up in, to their religious beliefs, traditions, and personal values. When two people decide to tie the knot, they have to figure out how they want to do it, what things are important to them, and then balance those things with the perceptions and expectations of their friends and family.

When The Fiancé and I announced that we were engaged, there was much joy and jubilee – and then, as we should have anticipated, inquiries as to our wedding plans. Our… our what? Oh, right, a wedding!

For us, marriage is an expression of love. It is intimately tied to how we feel about each other. We weren’t doing it to make it official, or to prove it to anyone, but for us. It was important that we include our families, and welcome them into our future lives together… but we still wanted a celebration that reflected our feelings and sensibilities.

While big, spectacular weddings have their benefits, we found there just were too many reasons for us to go a different direction. We thought about what mattered most, and worried that such a large event would distract us from our focus. Our idea of a wedding wasn’t big or traditional – it was small, and intimate. It was jeans and a t-shirt, be yourself, crack-open-a-cold-one… comfortable, just our families and us.

That was our take on things. Our style, our taste. That doesn’t mean it’s everyone’s cup of tea, though. I don’t think there’s a bride and groom out there who don’t have well-intentioned friends and family members trying to help, each with their own view of things. For some people, there’s the struggle over families that aren’t fond of the relationship to begin with – thankfully, I can say I have no idea what that’s like (I’m as likable as a kitten!) – but for others, it can be as small as explaining to their friends that there would be no actual “wedding”. Sorry, guys!

But without a doubt, I can say we are exceedingly lucky to have such supportive families, and understanding friends. Even though our celebration didn’t fit the classic mold, it was just as important to us. An announcement of our commitment to one another. A celebration of the love we share. And a toast to our future.

Thank you so much, to everyone! Cheers!

I rose with the sun the morning of our party, and started the day off with a hot mug of tea and the view of my mom’s incredible gardens. I was up at just the right time to see a morning glory and a moon flower open simultaneously!

The house – photo by Jeff Bannow

Thanks, Mom, for hosting us!
Before people arrived, I finished setting up The Cake (click for link).

 And also started prepping the food and drinks. For dinner I prepared this simple Fish En Papillote (click for recipe). With the help of my mom and Hilary we got all the fish wrapped up before everyone arrived, which made for a low-fuss evening. I also laid out platters of cheese, crackers, nuts, and fresh fruits for snacking, along with fresh loaves of bread from Zingerman’s.

To drink, we had wine – red and white – and sparkling juice. I had also made a couple gallons of Honey-Ginger Lemonade, which I mixed with club soda on the morning of the party. I floated pomegranate seeds atop the lemonade for a bit of color, and discovered later that they’d absorbed a lot of the lemon-ginger flavor, and had become like little jewels of sweetness and spice!

I also set up our ‘Guest Book’ – a book of empty envelopes for people to fill with whatever they’d like to say to us. You can take a peak inside our book by clicking here.

When people arrived, there were a lot of introductions – family meeting family, and everyone getting to know one another. When tummies started growling, I threw the fish in the oven and in no time everyone was sitting down to steaming plates of fish, and freshly buttered bread.
The fish turned out perfectly, and made for a wonderfully healthy dinner, pre the cake and ice cream we had planned. But before dessert, The Fiancé had a surprise rigged up for everyone… 
wait for it….

A puppet show! Yes, you heard me, a puppet show. I thought it was a silly idea at first too, but then he pitched me the script and I was sold. He’d turned our history as friends into a hilarious skit, comically depicted by “Squeegee” (on the left) and “Wiggles” (on the right). It was complete with fancy props and sound effects, and culminated with my character quite literally stealing his heart. The show was also a perfect example of our goofy sense of humor.

Then it was on to cake and ice cream – the moment we all were waiting for. Well, not really… but it was pretty darn exciting! Everything went over well, to put it lightly. Our small group of less than twenty people managed to polish off the entire middle tier of cake, before stretching back in a mutual sigh of contented bliss.
We ended the evening with games out on the deck. That’s my mom winning Jenga, by the way – the very next move and it came crashing down. Well played, mother… well played.
The very happy couple – photo by Jeff Bannow
We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day for our little gathering, and at the end of the night everyone left with smiling faces and full bellies.
Thank you to everyone who was there for making our celebration so wonderful!
Engagement Party, Part I                                             Engagement Party, Party II

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9 Responses to Engagement Party, Part III – The Main Event

  1. Courtney J October 2, 2012 at 3:01 am #

    This is so sweet and heart warming. What a wonderful day! :) Love all of the photos! And LOVE the puppet theatre!!!

    • Willow October 2, 2012 at 3:12 am #

      Heheh – thanks, Courtney! That puppet show was pretty incredible. We had it covered up with a sheet, and then we made a big deal out of presenting it to everyone. What can I say, I’m marrying a genius! :P

  2. From Valeries Kitchen October 2, 2012 at 3:08 am #

    So sweet Willow! I enjoyed reading every bit of that. You and your Mom did a fantastic job on the food. Everything looked wonderful. I love that last picture of you two. Just adorable :)

    • Willow October 2, 2012 at 3:13 am #

      Thanks, Valerie! There were lots of helping hands to pull it all together. :)

  3. leaf (the indolent cook) October 2, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

    Oh, bliss! And that puppet show sounds totally awesome. Looks like a really sweet and wonderful day, congratulations!

  4. shannon @ a periodic table October 4, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

    big, huge, happy congratulations to you both! It looks like you had an incredible time with everyone, and it’s always nice to do things exactly how you want them done. When i got married, there was lots of opinions and ‘push/pull’ pressure, and it’s hard not to give in to some of it. You had the day you wanted, and it was beautiful and special, which is exactly how it should be. love the photos – you two are adorable. :) that’s a great photo of your mom winning jenga, by the way.

    yay you!!

    • Willow October 15, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

      Thanks, Shannon!

  5. Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes October 15, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    What a BEAUTIFUL Day Willow – I am so happy for you! You looked amazing and so so happy – hahaha the puppet show, that is so awesome!

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