Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Our Wedding Part 2: Reception at SweetWater Brewery

Part 2 of our wedding day!  I love being able to go back and think about the day and all the details.  Hopefully by writing them down I'm not going to forget in years to come.  If you want to read about our Courthouse Ceremony, click here.  This post will be about our reception and all of the details and vendors of the party part of our day.  

After we took pictures with our photographer around Grant Park and Turner field, Stephen and I had about 90 minutes before we needed to head out to dinner so we went back to the house to feed the dogs and play with them a little bit.  It was nice to have some alone time at the house where we could relax before the big party began.  If you can fit some alone time in before the reception, without your photographer, I highly recommend it.  

Before I get into all of the details I wanted to say that the night was absolutely perfect.  It was so amazing to be in a room where every single person was someone you care about.  I had a hard time getting around to talk to everyone which in reality isn't a problem at all.  There was so much love in the room - I had to stop and look around every now and then.  We had people fly in from Ohio, Texas, New York and Florida.  It was such a special night for us, I wouldn't change a single thing.  

Our reception was held at SweetWater Brewery in Midtown Atlanta.  Stephen and I love the beer and we love the atmosphere at SweetWater, it was such an easy choice for us when choosing our venue.  We worked with their event coordinator, Nicole, to schedule the event.  I wish I could say she was very helpful, but there were multiple times I was pretty frustrated.  I'd have several questions for her and I'd only get one word emails back from her.  Email was definitely her preferred way of communication.  She did stay after work to meet with us twice at the venue so we could take some pictures and measure a few things which was super helpful.  However, we were still thrown a curve ball the day before the wedding with the A/V equipment.  On our last visit to the brewery to meet with her I specifically asked if she'd be there for the set up of the reception and she said, "I'll be here.  That's what we do."  She was NOT there for the reception.  I can't say how frustrating that was for our one hour set up time.  I expected her to be there to talk to the vendors, as she said she would be, and she wasn't.  

Once the set up was complete, the most stressful part of the entire day, everything went 100% perfectly.  I highly recommend SweetWater for any special event.  The staff (who was there) was so helpful and the venue has such a great vibe.  We only had 70 people at our reception but the building can definitely hold close to 10x that many people.  I was so thankful for the SweetWater bartenders, they were fantastic.  Because of the giant walls of windows in the main tasting room, we didn't have to do much decorating at all, it's that pretty.  We had problems with their DVD player and they actually went out and bought a brand new one for us to use during the event.  Amazing and well beyond what we expected from them.  

There is a giant bar in the tasting room and we wanted to add a few touches to make it our own.  These mugs are from Anthropologie and we put some fake flowers in them to spice them up a bit.  These live on one of the mantels in our house.  For our flowers, we didn't want to go nuts, we are in a brewery for goodness sake.  We kept it simple with 20 mason jars and vases filled with baby's breath and placed them around the venue on our high top tables and along the bar.  They were gorgeous against the dark colors of the brewery and the darkness of outside.

My favorite college roommate, Kristin.  She flew in from Ohio to be with us and I have her to thank for all of these pictures!  I'm so lucky to have her in my life!

I picked the top layer cake and design, Stephen picked the bottom layer.  We are very different people!
Do you love our wedding cake as much as we do?!?!  Our cake was made by Gabriel's Desserts in Marietta.  Good friends of ours used them for their wedding cake and we knew they had to do our cake, too, long before we were even engaged.  I could eat this cake every single day for the rest of my life.  It's so delicious.  My layer was a vanilla cake with strawberry filling and Stephen's layer was a carrot cake.  We each picked our icing design, I think they were great representations of who we are.  

We found the little blue bird cake topper on Etsy and we LOVE it.  The birds have a permanent place on our hutch now that their big reveal is past.  Bonnie put the birds on the cake and I thought she did a great job!  I know she was a little nervous :)

Cutting the cake
Here we go! 
Stephen is saying "Oh my gosh, it's so good"

Our first dance
We didn't do too many "traditional wedding" things at the reception but we did want to have a cake cutting and first dance.  Stephen gave a great, short speech thanking everyone for coming and then our friend, Richard, ran upstairs and started our song, A Thousand Years by Christina Perri.  We went to a Christina Perri show when we first started dating and we love her.  This song bring so much happiness to my heart, I had to have it as our dance.  (I had NO idea that it was used in Twilight, I'm glad I didn't know before looking up the music video for this post!)  The lyrics are so perfect, I fall in love with the song each time I hear it and I automatically think of Stephen.  Just perfect.

In the above pictures you can see my dress!  I LOVE this dress and I can't wait to find ways to wear it again.  Maybe with a dark blazer or something... Not sure, but I love it too much to have it sit in a closet forever.  Is that wrong???  I found the dress online at Nordstrom and ordered it immediately.  I took it out of the box and it fit perfectly.  Not a single thing needed to be done to the dress, nothing.  I wasn't even wrinkled!!  I'm so happy I found it, at such a great price, too.  I had so many compliments on the dress, I'm so happy.  You can also, sort of, see my shoes in the dancing picture.  Here is a better picture:

Badgley Mischk's Salsa shoes in Teal Satin
I found them on after a pair of shoes that I loved from a different website didn't fit.  I'm so glad I picked these shoes!  They were so comfortable, and we did a LOT of walking, all day.  I'm normally not one to wear any sort of sparkle on my feet (or anywhere) but I had to go all out for my wedding day!  I will absolutely be wearing these shoes again.  We have a wedding next weekend and I have a feeling I'll be breaking out these babies for a second time.

Before we go into details about the rest of the reception, I also wanted to mention my hair clip.  I got that on Etsy as well based on a recommendation from one of my good friends in Orlando who is getting married in October.  She is using the lady from the Etsy shop for all of her wedding flowers so they will last forever - what an amazing idea!  You can't tell in these pictures, but I was also wearing a beautiful diamond hair clip with the flower that was lent to me by my step-mom.  She wore it in her wedding to my dad and my step-sister wore it in her wedding last year.  It was such a special piece of jewelry to have on such a special day.  I was honored to wear it.

Hair clip made from recycled fabric and lace found on Etsy
Now onto the rest of the details.  As I mentioned before we chose to have a photo matte for our sign in "book".  You can see it below.  It's going to be such a fun addition to our house.  Our friends are pretty funny and there are some classics written in permanent marker.  Also, lots of mentions of babies...

We wanted something fun for cards from our guests and we found the adorable lantern below at Z Gallerie.  It was perfect.  When it was time to pack up we just closed the little door and put it in the car.  And we can definitely use it somewhere in the house after the wedding with a pillar candle.  Random note:  we've been watching The Bachelor Pad (roll of the eyes, I know) this season and these lanterns are all over the set's house.

Our guest sign in table with favors and card lantern

Below you can see our cute sign that a friend of ours made for us.  We had this sign with us at the courthouse so we could take some pictures with it right after we were married.  Little touches like that made the day so much more unique and special for us.  

You can also see our favors in the photo below, the mason jars.  We filled the mason jars with all of the dry ingredients needed for cookies.  They had flour, oats, white and brown sugar, m&m's and chocolate chips.  Silly us, we never made the cookies we were handing out to our loved ones, but we've heard they turned out great!  I got the idea from Pinterest and this website.  

While at a brewery, we expected most people to drink beer.  However, we knew that there would be some wine drinkers and even some non-drinkers who would want some non-alcoholic options so we hired a bartender through our caterer to serve wine and other drinks.  We had to provide the wine so we went to Trader Joe's and bought a case of white wine and a case of red wine.  We wanted to personalize them so we had some labels made to match our invitations and the sign above.  Our little Georgia icon was everywhere - I love it!  The labels were water proof so the white wine could be chilled without ruining the labels!  We have a case of wine left over and we aren't complaining!  We soaked the bottles in their original labels in a bucket of water with some dish washing detergent and the labels came right off and we were able to add our own.

Personalized wine labels

We didn't serve a dinner at the reception because it was so late at night, we didn't start until 9:00pm.  We didn't want people to go hungry, so we had a dessert bar set up.  We use Soiree for our catering and I'm so happy with how everything turned out.  I will admit that I didn't have a single bite to eat during the reception besides a slice of cake, but we had tons of leftovers and we got to snack on the food until we left for the honeymoon.  The staff from Soiree was fantastic and everything was set up just as we had discussed and pictured.

The final detail, and a last minute one, was the photo booth we had set up in the back of the brewery tasting room.  We found a deal on Living Social (again) and jumped on the chance to add something a little different, trendy, to the reception.  With our deal we got a CD of all of the photos that were taken - beyond hilarious.  Below is the strip of photos of me, our photographer and close friend, Jenn, and my good friend, Kristin.  The photo booth guys from Promo-Photo arrived early and were the first ones set up.  They were so easy to work with and really looked like they were enjoying the night as much as we were.  They brought props for us to use in our photos and everyone got their own printed copy of the pictures.  Such a great take away from the night.

Jenn, me, Kristin having fun in the photo booth
Our three hours at SweetWater flew by.  We danced, played with sparklers outside on the patio and spent time with friends visiting from far away places.  I couldn't be happier with how everything turned out.  Four months of planning was crazy stressful, but in the end I wouldn't change a single thing.  We got married our way.  We didn't do a huge ceremony and focused more on the party and spending time with friends.  We saved money on things that weren't important to us so we could have money to do the things we wanted - the photo booth and fun venue.  I'm so lucky to have found someone with the same priorities and ideas on what is important.  I'm so in love.  


  1. I am so glad I found your blog. My fiance and I have been searching forever for a venue for our wedding. We love Sweetwater and I think this is where we have decided to get married. Your reception was beautiful and I love the laid back atmosphere and fun vibe the brewery gives off. :)

    1. Congrats on your upcoming wedding! I don't have a single regret about having our reception at SweetWater, you'll love it. The staff was super helpful and if you enjoy the laid back atmosphere, you can't go wrong with a brewery.
      Once you have your venue picked out the rest starts to fall into place. Enjoy the fun of wedding planning!

  2. A great post! These wedding reception ideas are beautiful and quite confused with which one to choose. I think second one is best. I am looking for affordable wedding venues but getting quotes which are beyond my budget.