Happily Ever After

First, I want to thank all of you lovely and supportive ladies for sharing this experience with me. I appreciate your advice and sweet comments, and I hope you’ve enjoyed following along in our wedding preparation and celebration.

My advice to the soon to be hitched is this: Savor. Every. Single. Moment. I know invitation construction can seem tedious and table assignments can get frustrating. I know you can feel overwhelmed by registries and cake flavors and playlists. But before you know it the “I dos” will be said and the first dance will end. You’ll look back on the months of planning and only remember the overwhelming love that surrounded you on your wedding day.

Now before I sign off, I want to share with you one more project and one more unexpected and memorable moment.

The Favors: It took 2,500 sheets of paper, 20 ink cartridges, eight sets of hands, and ten days to make our favors.

the culinary couple cookbook pages

the culinary couple cookbook pages

The idea took shape during a conversation with my sister-in-law. She suggested we incorporate our passion for food and cooking into our wedding day. And since we’ve been blogging about our culinary adventures since 2007, we had a plethora of recipes to choose from. Thus the Family Cooking cookbook was born.

We organized our recipes into the following categories: Hers (my family favorites), His (Nick’s family favorites), and Ours (recipes we’ve made together). We ended up with close to 60 recipes, and that was after thorough editing! Once we had collected and organized the recipes and photos (all taken by us), I laid out the pages in Adobe Illustrator.

wedding favor cookbook

Then, with MUCH help from Nick and my dear sister-in-law, we printed all 2,500 plus pages. It was incredibly time consuming, but it was more cost efficient than having the pages printed by a professional. (We wouldn’t have been able to print full color if we had gone the professional route.)

After the pages were printed, I toted them to my parents’ house for help with the assembly. It took four of us to properly stack all 125 books. And let me tell you, it was a relief when I dropped them off to be bound!

In addition to having the books professionally bound, we also had the covers professionally printed, with help from a photographer friend and a graphic designer friend.

Finally, sister-in-law once again volunteered to help wrap and label each book. She wrapped the books in kraft paper, tied them with red raffia ribbon, and attached cardstock name tags with our monogram stamp.

the culinary couple cookbook
{photos credit to author’s personal collection}

We were thrilled with the final product — both inside and out! We asked our day-of-coordinator to place each book on the appropriate table, and they were opened before we even entered the tent for the reception!

the culinary couple cookbook
{photo credit to Robert Winton}

I love seeing the cookbook displayed in the kitchens of our friends and family members. And I especially love hearing about the recipes they’ve tried: Dad’s Fluffy French Toast, Uncle Lloyd’s Potato Salad, Aunt Jane’s Apple Dumplings.

It’s something I know our guests will cherish forever.

The Finale: Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain.

By now you know we were not graced with the warm and sunny August wedding day that we envisioned. This caused several changes in our plans. Guests gripped umbrellas during the ceremony. The cocktail hour was moved under the tent. We had limited time for outdoor photos. And we were not able to use sparklers for our grand exit as Mr. and Mrs.

Nick and I spent hours assembling matchboxes and sparklers based on templates from Twig & Thistle.

sparklers and matches
{photo credit to author’s personal collection}

They were neatly displayed for guests to pick up at the end of the night and wave as we exited the tent and walked along a path of candles suspended from shepherds hooks. By 10pm we knew this was not going to happen.

While I was on the dance floor with my bridesmaids, my dear husband and devoted photographer wandered into the rain to get just one sparkler shot for me. That is love.

groom with sparklers

And so when the time came for the newlyweds to leave the party, our DJ asked everyone to form a “tunnel” while he played “Mexico” by James Taylor. (Yes, we honeymooned in Mexico.) Again, it wasn’t as we envisioned, but it was intimate and celebratory nevertheless.

bride and groom exit

My cousin — who graciously volunteered to drive guests to their cars in a golf cart provided by the venue — waited for us with an umbrella just outside of the tent. He helped us climb into the back of the cart, and then our photographer snapped the final photo of the night. Please note my muddy and disheveled dress and my shoes that were no longer red. But you know what? I was — and am — a  happily married woman.

rainy departure
{photos credit to Robert Winton}

You can continue to follow my newlywed adventures at Wiley Wifey. And best wishes to each and every one of you!