As some of you might know, I got married on December 16, 2017, and am recapping details of the wedding and sharing photos here on the blog! In case you didn’t see it, I posted all about my wedding ceremony here. And now, I’m going to share with you the reception!
After the ceremony and some last-minute photo shoots, Zach and I went outside the theater to head to the reception. The Guild, our wedding venue, is neighbors with a small local bookstore called Underground Books. While we were waiting for the limo, the owner of the book shop saw Zach and me walk by in our full wedding outfits, she ran out to say hello and congratulations and asked if we had a minute to could come to her store so she could take a picture. So, right after we were done taking photos in front of The Guild, Zach and I walked over with our photographer Krizel to take a few photos in her shop. The owner took a picture of us in her store (so sweet!) and allowed us to take a few fun shots with books. I loved how they turned out!
After taking photos in the bookstore, we climbed into the limo that Zach’s parents had gotten us for the ride from The Guild to our reception location, The Mirage Banquet Halls. The limo was so cool and fun! It was huge, with colorful lights along the ceiling and an auxiliary cable so you could play your own music. Since the weeks and months leading up to this day had been so busy, having those few moments after the ceremony to be together alone was so special. We were exhausted and exhilarated at the same time and enjoyed the rest in the limo knowing that we still had a full night ahead.
Once we arrived at The Mirage, our coordinator came out to get us and set everything up for the grand entrance. She had already gathered our bridal party and put each couple entering together in order. We picked “Humanism” by Stay Human, which is the opening theme for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Zach has loved the intro music to The Late Show since Colbert took over and thought it would be perfect for the entrance to our reception - which it really was! It was one of my favorite parts of the evening. It’s such a fun, upbeat song, and having everyone cheer as we walked in and danced around was incredibly fun, and it got everyone pumped for the night.
Also, a local company referred to us by a friend, J’s Party Rentals & Decor, provided the linens, table, and stage décor. I provided them with photos of what we were looking for as well as the color palette, and I am so happy with how it turned out. The hall looked breathtaking walking in. Not only is The Mirage beautiful on its own, but adding in the additional stage décor really made it special, sparkly, and so elegant. Our tables were decorated with simple floral centerpieces, a sign with the “theater” number, gold chargers, and burgundy napkins and runners — which I also thought came out so simple and elegant. We also gave little votive candles as our favor.
In order to incorporate the movie theme into the reception, we named each table after our favorite movies, and instead of table numbers, people were assigned theaters. In order for people to find their theater, Diane and I created custom movie theater tickets. I made the tickets on Microsoft Publisher, bought the gold paper at Michaels, and printed them at home (well, at Diane’s home because she has a printer!). The boards that held the tickets were inspired by a movie or award-show red carpet with gold ropes. Diane and I bought the materials at Michaels and Joann's and put them together ourselves the week before the wedding. I am so grateful for her help on this — she did so much of the grunt work while I had 1,000 wedding tasks to complete. All the DIY projects wouldn’t have happened without her help! I really loved how the movie tickets and boards turned out, and even though they were a lot of work, I would definitely do it again!
Also, our Smoosh photographer and friend, Phillip, took a few photos at the wedding which he shared with us! I noted which photos are his in the captions. Thanks, Phillip!
After our grand entrance, appetizers and drinks were still being enjoyed, so Zach and I had a chance to sit down and eat a few appetizers ourselves — which were delicious! However, the moment of eating was brief as guests started coming up to talk to us almost immediately. Everyone warned us that the bride and groom don’t really get to eat at the wedding, and although we gave it our best effort, that is generally true. We also served special “his & hers” cocktails at the bar. Zach’s choice was a Mai Tai, and mine was a Moscow Mule — two of our favorite cocktails. Diane also made some cute signs for the bar.
When it was time for dinner, Zach’s dad gave a quick speech welcoming guests to the wedding and to announce dinner was ready. He told a sweet story of the day Zach was born and recounted the moment the doctor handed baby Zach to him, telling him it's his responsibility to care for him. He said that Zach is now being handed to me; he’s my responsibility now. Everyone laughed, and it was a great start to the evening. He said a quick prayer over dinner, and tables were excused one by one to go through the buffet.
We decided to serve a buffet of Indian food (in case you didn’t know, Zach is Indian!), which we both love. The food was absolutely DELICIOUS! Seriously some of the best Indian food I have ever had (and I’ve had a lot), and our friends and family seemed to really love it, too. We both got a few bites of most of the dishes being served but were quickly standing up again to go greet each table.
Getting to say hi to everyone at their tables was another highlight of the night! We we were so grateful that so many friends and family members came out to the wedding — we had people from all over California, out of state, and out of the country come to share this day with us. It was great getting to say hi, thank them, and have a few minutes with each group. I have photos with several tables and won't share them all since this post is going to have like, 2,000 images.
After greeting about half the tables, it was time for speeches and toasts. Zach’s best man, Jason; my maid of honor, Kylie; and Zach’s stepdad, Randy, all made speeches. They were so sweet, funny, and emotional. Tears were in my eyes the entire time, and I am so grateful we had a videographer and photographer to capture each moment. The waiters forgot to give Zach and me champagne, so we were toasting with water, which made Zach very paranoid that people would think I was pregnant (I’m not!).
After their toasts, Zach made one of his own. I didn’t know what he was going to say, and he just went off the cuff. But every word he said just rang so true — just complete gratitude for the people in our lives and to have them all gathered together in this setting. One thing he said that really struck me was, “If I could quantify the accomplishments in my life, it would be this room.” Boom - out came the tears. It completely put into words how it felt to look out and see people from every part of our lives — elementary school, high school, college, Christian clubs, church, graduate school, best friends, family, etc. Every piece of our lives was represented in that room, and it was beautiful.
When the toasts ended, people were given a few moments to finish their dinner and get another drink. Soon after, we transitioned into the dances. First, we had the father/daughter dance. I danced with Zach’s stepdad to Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.” Afterward, Zach and his mom danced to ABBA’s “Dancing Queen,” which the crowd LOVED.
We then transitioned into our first dance. Our friends and brother-sister duo Eleanor and Chris Baylon played a live version of “The Moon Song” by L’Orchestra Cinematique, which is made up of Karen O and M. Mard from the movie Her. Zach and I have loved this song since Her came out in 2013 and have been saying for years that it would be the first dance at our wedding. We have known Chris and Eleanor for a long time, as well as their insane musical talent, so we thought they would perform it perfectly — which they did! I keep saying everything was my favorite part of the night, but this truly was my absolute favorite part. I cried like a baby dancing to this song, and it was a beautiful and perfect moment.
We could tell people were getting antsy to dance (especially while “Dancing Queen” was playing), so we immediately invited everyone onto the dance floor once our first dance was over. The DJs were awesome and played a lot of fun pop and dance songs. Once the dance floor got going, there literally was never a lull, which was awesome. At one point, the entire — and I mean, ENTIRE — dance floor got into a conga line.
After an hour or so of dancing, we had the bouquet and garter tosses. Our song for the garter toss was “The Boys are Back in Town” by Thin Lizzy and “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls for the bouquet toss. I thought it was fun having a song by the original girl-power band going while I tossed the bouquet out to all the single ladies. I also have shared at the end of this post a complete playlist of all the songs we chose for the wedding, in case you want to take a listen!
After the tosses, the last scheduled item of the night was the cake cutting. We had a small cake made for us to cut, which was two tiers, and the first tier was … fake! We really didn’t want to devote too much money to the cake because wedding cakes are absurdly expensive. We found a local baker through a friend who quoted us $100 for a simple white cake if we provided our own flowers as well as a fake tier — done! It was a chocolate cake with mocha filling, and it was delicious. We were sad we didn’t eat more. Cutting the cake was fun, although the fondant was pretty stiff and it wasn’t easy to get a slice out. The rest of the guests were served a chocolate sheet cake, ice cream, and a variety of indian sweets. I did get my hands on some vanilla ice cream, too, that was quite tasty.
The rest of the evening was just a TON of dancing. The DJ even told us afterward how great of a crowd we had and how it’s rare to see groups dance the entire time. I was so proud of all our friends and family.
Around 11:00 p.m., Zach and I made our exit. Our coordinator (who, again, ran the entire show so smoothly and flawlessly) organized everyone outside to make a tunnel to our limo. It was the funnest thing ever running through the tunnel with all our friends and family cheering.
After Zach and I drove away, we were both just overwhelmed and taken aback with how incredible the night had been. It was literally the best day of both of our lives, and we couldn’t have asked for a better wedding. My heart still swells every time I think about it or replay the day. I am happy I was able to write these blog posts to relive it all. Hope you enjoyed!
Next: Portraits & Behind-the-Scenes!
With wedding love,