Beyond the sea: Cocktail hour

21 February 2013

I planned the time between our ceremony and reception very carefully, because I knew we didn’t have much with which to work. First, we sped off as soon as possible from the church. Philip and Tanja rode in the car with us (John driving!), and MacKenzie and Tia followed in their own cars. Second, we took a slight shortcut to our venue while directing guests to the slightly longer route to buy us a little extra time.

eugene oneill theater center

The goal was for Tanja and Inkspot to have time to record the cocktail hour and reception details in daylight, before they were enjoyed by our guests. While they worked on that, John and I headed down the hill to our pre-selected tree. Our caterer, A Thyme to Cook, assigned us a special friend for the night, Dina, and if we’re being honest, I’m pretty sure that was one of John’s favorite parts of the wedding! He thought it was the coolest thing. Anyway, Dina brought us a picnic basket of goodies and two glasses of something to drink, and we enjoyed the next twenty minutes or so chatting about the day and sampling our cocktail hour snacks. Perfection!

wedding picnic

It was so fun looking up the hill and watching our guests arrive for cocktail hour, too!

eugene o neill theater center wedding

By the way, this was their view out to the ocean. Glorious! I could stare at that every day.

eugene oneill theater view

Our guests were greeted with raspberry lemonade and prosecco with blackberries as they arrived. We offered a limited bar on the porch, and then opened it up to a full bar once under the tent. We paid our bar tab on consumption, and I think this was something that helped us keep our costs down!

Em for Marvelous

Aside from passed pigs in a blanket with violet mustard (trying to class the pigs up a little), the main gustatory attraction at cocktail hour was our Southern Favorites table.

southern favorites

Though born and raised in New England, John and I have spent the past three and a half years in the South, and we wanted to treat our guests to a little Southern comfort. We served biscuits (with our favorite North Carolina blackberry jam!), corn muffins with honey butter, mini pulled pork bites, and Tex Mex deviled eggs.


Em for Marvelous

Em for Marvelous

The final addition to our Southern table was mini glasses of Cheerwine. For those of you who are not familiar, Cheerwine is a distinctly North Carolina product that is similar to but not quite like cherry Coke. It does not, in fact, contain alcohol, something that confused many of our Northern guests!

olive branch centerpiece

Em for Marvelous

Yes, the ink blot on the “L” still annoys me :)

As a side note, I loved our olive branch arrangement — a great choice for something like a bar area, where you want a larger arrangement to make an impact. Greenery instead of blooms = money savings.

Once Tanja and Inkspot had finished with the details, they came to collect us for a few more portraits. We had to scurry to catch the remaining daylight, and I mean that literally!

Em for Marvelous

That’s what I call hustling your bustle!

You may be wondering why dear Philip is sitting in the trunk of a car. To expedite things, Tanja and Tia drove us the short distance from our tree to the beach. Philip had planned to come along to film, but seeing as there was no more room in the 4-door car, he began to demur. The dynamic duo of Tanja and Tia, however, insisted that he ride in the car trunk for the short trip (I should have known something like this was going to happen — they are, after all, the infamous chicken suit duo). Once Philip agreed, they took off at an alarming pace down the bumpy dirt road, all of us laughing our heads off. Thankfully, the trip was short and Philip made it in one piece!

beach wedding portrait

I can’t blame Tanja for wanting to catch the light, because it certainly was magical!

tanja lippert

It’s funny how certain photos catch your eye the first time you look through your wedding photos, and other favorites don’t surface until a second or third trip through. The one above was not at all on my radar at first, but now, it’s one of my most beloved.

Now, I’m only sharing this next photo because I love y’all, and I want to make a point.

beach wedding ideas

One of the reasons that I believe Tanja is an artist, and why her photos are so magical, is because she is not afraid to TRY things. And, she works with clients who are willing to try things, too. Not everything she tries works every time, but it’s only when you push the envelope that you sometimes come out on the side of amazing. Sometimes, of course, the trial ends up being a dud, but in my opinion, no duds = no amazing.

All this to say, while the above photo was a bit outside my comfort zone (can you tell I’m more of a smile-y person?), we were game to try and allow Tanja to do her artist thing. She probably hated us a little bit because most of the photos from this pose ended up like the one below, but at least we tried :)

beach wedding photo

September 15th had the softest, pinkest sunset — I think it was chosen especially for me!

sunset portrait

We ended our beach time with a walk along the water, just the two of us. Perfect.

sunset beach portrait

P.S. A tip. I know some people don’t like the idea of plastering their wedding photos all over their walls. If you’re lucky enough to have a photographer who took gorgeous environmental photos, I’d highly recommend them as an alternative! We’re considering enlarging one of these, because they take us back to that moment as much as the ones with us in them do…

connecticut coastline

Em for Marvelous

Photographer: Tanja Lippert / Videographer: Inkspot Crow Films / Day-of-Coordinator: Diana Chouinard of Jubilee Events / Reception Venue: The Sunken Garden at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center / Tent: Sperry Tents / Dance Floor, Chair, Basic Linen, and Catering Rentals: Liberty Rentals / Lounge Furniture Rentals: Rentals Unlimited / Linens: La Tavola Linen / Flowers: Blush Floral Design / Hair and Makeup Artist: Tia Reagan / Catering: A Thyme to Cook / Signage: Em for Marvelous / Bride’s Gown: “Brisa” by Christos / Bride’s Earrings: “Toulouse” by Nina / Bride’s Necklace: Blue Nile / Bride’s Veil: Chaviano Couture / / Groom’s Attire: Tuxedo by Tommy Hilfiger from Macy’s / Groom’s Bow Tie: Bows N’ Ties / Groom’s Suspenders: J. Crew

Wedding Week
Rehearsal Dinner
Wedding Morning
First Look

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Victoria C
February 21, 2013 8:37 am

I love your veil so much! It fits you so well. Thanks for sharing all of these. I’m loving hearing all about your day! :)

February 21, 2013 8:51 am

So beautiful!

February 21, 2013 9:01 am

Stunning! Love all the tips you provided along the way, too : ) And yes, totally agree with taking risks with photos. If you get one wonderful picture out of them it’s totally worth it!

February 21, 2013 9:08 am

Gosh, this is my favorite set of photos so far. And I love what you said about finding pics on the 2nd or 3rd (or 15th, for me!) round of looking through the photos. I think the one of y’all laughing while laying down is just darling. The best photos are the ones where your personality really reveals itself, and it does just that in that particular photo. Those landscape photos are to die for. Oh, and poor Philip!

February 21, 2013 9:37 am

Absolutely magical!

February 21, 2013 9:44 am

Your picnic is just the sweetest thing–I really love that idea, and the pictures of you two sitting under the tree are so lovely. And don’t even get me started on the beach portraits :) You were such a gorgeous bride!

February 21, 2013 10:55 am

I can’t get over that photo, with John’s hand on your face… WHEW! And of course that PINK! EEK! I also love the olive branches too! :)

February 21, 2013 12:18 pm

Oh my that photo of you laying on John’s lap is STUNNING!!!!! Wow! So beautiful!

February 21, 2013 12:20 pm

Wow, these photos are gorgeous. Wow, wow, wow. The light on the beach was really magical. Also, you look stunning in the photo of you leaning back on John.
And the photo of Philip (and your story!) made me laugh!

February 21, 2013 3:05 pm

THis is so beautiful eM :)

February 21, 2013 3:48 pm

Ah, these are so beautiful and have me daydreaming about my own wedding one day!

February 21, 2013 5:51 pm

I am completely in love with the photo of you and John enjoying your private picnic by the big tree! I love how you two not only incorporated such a fun evening for guests, but also made sure to enjoy it yourselves- from the first look to the private picnic to the sunset beach walk. And, like everyone else, those beach portraits are to DIE for Em :)

February 21, 2013 9:23 pm

All the photos are great, but the “cheek caress” photo is enough to induce tears.

February 22, 2013 6:47 am

I’m new to your site, I know the wedding was a few months ago, but just wanted to say congratulations! Your wedding looks absolutely perfect, I love the small details and your photos are gorgeous! All the best as you enjoy married life!

February 22, 2013 9:38 am

stunning!! everything is perfect :)

February 22, 2013 7:36 pm

Oh my GORGEOUS–every photo is stunning. I can’t imagine how you’d narrow down favorites!

PS–You can imagine what a shock it was to walk into class during the first weeks at a new school only to meet Mrs Chicken Suit–turns out, she’s even more fabulous than those photos suggest!

February 24, 2013 2:27 pm

Your photos came out so gorgeous!! The pink sunset and soft colors seem to be everything that represents you as you show on Em for M. LOVE!

February 25, 2013 12:09 pm

The photo of y’all’s picnic under the tree is to die for!! Swoon! Love all of these!!