The drinks reception was one of my favourite parts of our wedding day.
The nerves from the ceremony had gone, we had taken all of the family pictures and I was excited to properly chat to our friends and family (and drink a glass of fizz)!
I remember being filled with so much happiness when I walked through to the little walled garden and could see everyone playing the lawn games, drinking Pimms and laughing in the sun. The String Duo were playing Oasis’ ‘Whatever’ and suddenly our friends were rushing over for hugs and pictures.
THE RECEPTION ROOM
After what felt like no time at all, we were being ushered into the Orangery for our wedding breakfast. It was lucky that Marc and I chose to do a receiving line, where you welcome guests into the next room as a couple, as we hadn’t had much chance to be together at this point. (I’m going to echo the advice of many married couples who advise you to take 10 minutes to yourselves on your wedding day, as it goes so quickly and there are so many guests to speak to!)
Marc, his father and the groomsmen had been busy decorating the room that morning with plenty of bunting, lights, tassel balloons and a polaroid guestbook station. We also had a ‘message in a bottle’ where we asked guests to write down their suggestions for how we should celebrate each anniversary, which we will open on the 2nd September each year. Judging by what was written in the guestbook, I am a little worried as to what the answers will be..!
For the tables, we had centrepieces full of greenery surrounded by mercury candlesticks (that we hired from the fab Nerissa Eve) with grey table runners and napkins. We had also created menus to tuck into each person’s napkin, that we laid sprigs of rosemary and thistle on, before tying their luggage label name tags around with twine. (I had attempted to write in a calligraphy style after my modern calligraphy class at Quill London but some names were definitely easier than others…)
We displayed the table names on pieces of brown card slotted into corks, in wine bottles that we had spray painted gold. As we have moved around the country together and as Marc is often travelling with work, we decided to choose meaningful locations for our table names, with a funny/memorable polaroid picture from each place.
We chose to do speeches first, so that the gents could relax and enjoy the meal. They all did so well and there wasn’t anything too embarassing that cropped up, although my Dad got close!
We had chosen the caterers at White Truffle to do our food as they are one of the main partners of Northbrook Park and were one of the few Surrey caterers that were flexible in price.
We had chosen to have family style sharing boards of chicken salad, with chunky roasted sweet potatoes, lemon and herb chicken and bowls of salads, coleslaw, olives and breads, with veggie skewers for the vegetarian option. Dessert was a deconstructed Eton Mess (or ‘Easton Mess’ as a clever guest suggested. We are not so clever).
The sweet potatoes and boards were great but we were a little disappointed with some of the food – e.g a bowl that was meant to come with roasted Mediterranean veg, like peppers and aubergines, actually came with chunks of carrot and brocolli. Having had this experience, I would definitely recommend any future brides and grooms to have a tasting with your caterers beforehand and to be super specific on the details.
After food, it was time to mingle and welcome the evening guests. Even though our wedding was fairly small, with about 90 guests, it was still difficult to get quality time with everyone and I felt like I had just 10 mins with each person. So for future couples getting married, try and mingle as much as possible!
After the evening guests had arrived around 7pm, it was time to cut the cake.
On the advice of one of my friends Lucy who got married herself this year, we actually got our wedding cake from Waitrose. It was the 5 tier naked wedding cake that we decorated ourselves with berries, icing sugar, a gold wedding cake topper and sprigs of gypsophelia. We presented it on a log slice (also hired from Nerissa Eve) and all of this ended up being much cheaper than ordering from an independent bakery (who were usually charging upwards of £400!) and looked just as good. As Lucy mentioned, the cake is only on show for about 10 minutes and when people come to eating it later that evening, they are normally too drunk to care what it is!
After the cake, it was time for the first dance. We don’t really have ‘a song’ but we chose Ellie Goulding’s ‘How Long Will I Love You’ as this was what was playing when Marc proposed. We also love Oasis so made sure Wonderwall was the last song played of the night.
We booked our DJ through local company Farnham Light and Sound as they do weddings at Northbrook Park almost weekly. I’m not sure if I would fully recommend them though as the DJ tripped the sound limiter fuse box three times (which turned off the lights as well as the music) and at one point, didn’t take a request from me!
All in all though, we had such a fun night and carried on with an after-party in one of the on-site cottages until 1am, before a driver came to transport our weary bodies to the bridal lodge on the nearby lake.
I will be doing some more wedding-related posts, so do let me know if there is anything in particular you would be interested in hearing more about!