Liam and my first wedding anniversary is drawing near and I cannot believe how fast this first year of marriage has gone, or that I have posted so little about the wedding! Our destination nuptials in Portugal were fantastic, but we wanted to celebrate with our more extended friends and family in Ottawa too. So, early last September, we held a cocktail reception to do just that. Here are the details:
We wanted a venue that reflected our personality as a couple. Liam and I enjoy the finer things in life but tend to gravitate towards a more casual and relaxed atmosphere. Especially after having such an elegant wedding, we really wanted a fun, comfortable place to continue the celebration. Sidedoor, with its ideal Byward Market location, historic stone walls, and funky wine glass chandeliers fit us perfectly. A big bonus were the flat screen TVs all around the space that had our wedding video playing on a loop.
Having a beautiful venue meant we did not need to do much … but in the age of Pinterest, no wedding is complete without a few DIY details. At least if you love DIY details like I do. This hand-made rustic wood sign was the first thing to greet guests at the entrance to the courtyard.
Playing up the wine theme, I made a dozen chalkboard-look wine bottles with funny little sayings about wine. These were grouped on tables and served as lighthearted centerpieces as well as fantastic conversation starters.
In addition to petals scattered everywhere, a few small flower arrangements adorned the cocktail tables and bar. These were in soft pinks and vibrant blushes that contrasted nicely with the stone and dark decor of the restaurant. Even a few flowers were enough to make the party really feel like a wedding. The Food
Passed canapés kept guests nibbling all night on the Asian-fusion fare the venue is known for. There was also a [very Canadian] poutine bar that came out later, as well as a cupcake tower for some traditional sugary wedding fun.
We would have loved to have treated our guests to an open bar, but that was just not in the budget. We did the best we could by offering everyone a glass of white or red wine as they arrived. On the stem of each glass was ticket for a second drink at the bar. The Guest Book
It took months of wine drinking (yay!) and help from our boozy friends to collect hundreds of red wine corks for our shadowbox guestbook. Etched on the glass of the frame is our last initial, first names, and wedding date. Guests signed and wrote little notes on the corks and dropped them in the box which is now displayed in our home.
Friends and family got to take home a waiter’s knife corkscrew printed with our names and wedding date. Each were tied with purple ribbon around gold heart “thank you” charms and displayed on actual wooden grape crates.
Local Ottawa cover band One Vision rocked all night long with pumped-up renditions of pop/rock classics. Their energy was infections and kept guests moving on the dance floor. Purple glow-sticks added a playful element and were a throwback to Liam and my “rave days”.
We also (apparently) made a speech, which neither of us can much remember. We probably only intended to thank everyone for coming, but the pictures make it look like we are a comedy duo … who are really in love. At least we thought we were funny.
We obviously enjoyed ourselves. I lost my voice and both my big toe nails (sorry, over-share) that night but it was totally worth it. Planning a big event can be a lot of fun when the pressure is off. Everything had been set up before hand, the wedding was said and done, we were three weeks married and just ready to party with pretty much everyone we knew. And party we did.
Venue: Sidedoor Contemporary Kitchen & Bar
Photographer: Christine Aubrey Photography
Bride & Groom hair: Fernando Cellini
Floral: Weekly Flowers
Shadow Box: Etsy
Favours: Wine Openers.ca
Band: One Vision