If the ceremony part of the wedding can be a bit restrictive (at least if you’re going the traditional route), the reception is your chance to show everyone what you are about as a couple, and what constitutes a good time to you. I mentioned before that Jon and I wanted the celebration to be an introduction to the South for those of our guests who had never been to Atlanta; one way we did this was through the food. That’s what most occasions are built around down here, anyway!
Our caterer prepared a delicious menu of “upscale Southern” cuisine that included shrimp and grits, fried chicken, buttermilk and sweet potato biscuits, macaroni & cheese, fried green tomatoes and an absolutely outrageous Coca-Cola glazed pork tenderloin. (One of the strongest opinions my dad expressed through the wedding planning process was that he didn’t think mac & cheese was fancy enough. He suggested mashed potatoes instead; I’m not sure those are any fancier. Needless to say, he was overruled.) The wedding cake was the most delicious red velvet cake I have ever had. At the bar, I had gotten permission to bring in a few cases of glass-bottled Cheerwine, a delicious cherry cola drink from North Carolina that’s hard to find outside the region. If anyone hadn’t tried Southern food before they came to our wedding, they certainly had their fill by the time they headed home.
For the cocktail hour entertainment, we looked to Jon’s musical background – he plays the saxophone and writes about jazz – and hired a friend’s quartet to get the party off on the right foot. A DJ took over at dinnertime, playing a mellow mix of jazz and indie tunes that Jon had picked. When it was time to boogie, the DJ got things going and kept the dance floor packed all night, playing everything from shag music to ’90s boy-band pop to hip-hop from the aughts.
If our guests weren’t on the dance floor or by the bar, odds were good that they were hogging the camera at the Smilebooth – an extra that I insisted upon (and paid for) despite initial naysaying from Jon and my dad. This photo booth was a huge, hilarious hit! (Jon and Dad both said as much after the fact.) It was also a great way to get a record of who all came to the wedding without sending a photographer around to each table – not to mention the pictures have a lot more personality than typical table shots would! Our reception would certainly have been awesome even without the Smilebooth, but pretty much everybody has commented on how much fun it was. It’s the best party invention ever! Here are a few gems from the Smilebooth:
These details that reflect the things we love – Southern hospitality, good food, excellent music, photography and of course all of our friends and family – are what I hope our guests will remember about our wedding!
*photos by Our Labor of Love/Smilebooth