Wednesday, September 26, 2012

{Wedding Wednesday} Our Brunch Wedding Reception

Wedding Brunch Reception - Tables - Photo Courtesy of Brian Samuels Photography
Wedding Brunch Reception - Table Set-Up

You guys, I am so excited for today's post! Ever since Stephen and I returned from our honeymoon in Italy, I've been dying to share some details about our wedding back in August. Some of you have seen the wedding pictures I posted on Facebook, but I waited until today to post pictures of the food.


Wedding Brunch Reception - Yellow Gerbera Daisy Centerpiece with Coffee Beans by Lane & Lenge - Photo Courtesy of Brian Samuels Photography
Wedding Brunch Reception - Floral Centerpieces

Stephen and I love brunch -- it's our favorite meal and something we look forward to every Sunday. That's why, when it came down to planning our wedding reception, it made perfect sense to plan a brunch reception. Especially since our wedding ceremony was scheduled for late morning.

To create a more comfortable and laid-back atmosphere, we kept the decor simple, using bold colors to accent the gorgeous wooden features of our reception venue. White tablecloths and purple napkins brightened up the space without overwhelming it, and our luscious centerpieces of yellow Gerbera daisies gave the room a happy vibe.

Perfect for the joyous occasion.

Now, we all know that the littlest details often contribute the most to an event. Keeping that in mind, we used coffee beans to simulate dirt in our floral arrangements! The flowers were placed in 4x4 cylinder glass vases, which were then placed in 6x6 cylinder vases. Then the space between the two vases was filled with coffee beans. Genius, right? I mean, nothing screams "brunch" more than coffee, right?

Except maybe bacon.

Bridal Party with Bacon and Prosecco - Photo Courtesy of Brian Samuels Photography
Bridal Party Toasting with Prosecco and Bacon

Speaking of bacon, my bridesmaids and I were given a little treat prior to the ceremony. When we arrived back to our rooms after our appointment at the salon for hair and makeup, I received an email from Nikki, our catering manager:

Hi there! Hope you are well. Wanted to know if you needed anything. Prosecco, bacon? I am reachable in the servery, but if you can't get me, call the kitchen. They will find me.

I responded with an enthusiastic yes(!), and, a few minutes later, a very lovely man came by to deliver a tray of freshly cooked bacon and three bottles of Prosecco. Nikki is my hero. Despite the bounty, we were good and limited ourselves to just one bottle. I still had to make it down the aisle, after all!
Wedding Brunch Reception - Bloody Mary Cocktail - Photo Courtesy of Brian Samuels Photography
Wedding Brunch Reception - Bloody Mary

Michelle Judd Wedding Photo - Photo Courtesy of Brian Samuels Photography
Celebrating Marriage


In keeping with the brunch theme, we skipped the traditional open bar and arranged to have a Bloody Mary Bar set up for our guests. Mix-ins included:

  • Beef Jerky
  • Celery
  • Garlic-Stuffed Olives
  • Peperoncini
  • Pickled Green Beans
  • Radishes

This went over really well. As did the Bellini and Mimosa Bar. We could have gotten carried away with the Bellini options, but we limited the selection to just two flavors -- strawberry and peach.

Oh, and contrary to popular belief, I am not double-fisting Bellinis in the picture above. One of those glasses has water in it! Since we were serving unlimited brunch cocktails, I had to make sure I stayed hydrated. *wink*
Wedding Brunch Reception - Ahi Tuna Tataki and Mirin Mini Rice Cakes with Wasabi Drizzle and Pickled Ginger - Photo Courtesy of Brian Samuels Photography
Wedding Brunch Reception - Ahi Tuna Tataki and Mirin Mini Rice Cakes
with Wasabi Drizzle and Pickled Ginger


Wedding Brunch Reception - Vegetable Spring Roll Shooters with Duck Sauce, Beef Tenderloin Crostini, Filo-Wrapped Asparagus with Pesto, and Prosciutto-Wrapped Melon - Photo Courtesy of Brian Samuels Photography
Wedding Brunch Reception - Vegetable Spring Roll Shooters with Duck Sauce,
Beef Tenderloin Crostini, Filo-Wrapped Asparagus with Pesto, and Prosciutto-Wrapped Melon

Wedding Brunch Reception - Prosciutto-Wrapped Melon - Photo Courtesy of Brian Samuels
Wedding Brunch Reception - Prosciutto-Wrapped Melon

While the wedding party was busy taking pictures, our guests enjoyed a selection of light hors d'oeuvres meant to hold them over until the brunch service had opened.

  • Ahi Tuna Sashimi Tataki with Mini Mirin Rice Cakes, served with Wasabi Drizzle and Pickled Ginger
  • Beef Tenderloin Crostini
  • Filo-Wrapped Asparagus with Pesto
  • Fresh Fruit Skewers with Yogurt Dip (not pictured)
  • Mini Pretzel Bites with Mustard (not pictured, a tribute to Stephen's Philadelphia roots)
  • Prosciutto-Wrapped Melon
  • Vegetable Spring Roll Shooters with Duck Sauce

To make sure we didn't miss out on the goodies while we were being supermodels, Nikki sent a team of servers down to the chapel with trays of food and open bottles of Prosecco so we could snack in between shots.

Did I mention that Nikki is my hero?

(Yes, present tense. She's still my hero even though the wedding was over a month ago.)

But, the real star of the show, not including the actual marriage ceremony, of course, was the brunch spread itself. Seriously, we had enough food to feed an army.

Wedding Brunch Reception - Belgian Waffle with Blueberries and Peaches, Tater Tots, and Scrapple - Photo Courtesy of Brian Samuels Photography
Wedding Brunch Reception - Belgian Waffle with Blueberries and Peaches, Tater Tots, and Scrapple

Wedding Brunch Reception - Maple Syrup Jug - Photo Courtesy of Brian Samuels Photography
Wedding Brunch Reception - Maple Syrup Jug

Wedding Brunch Reception - Belgian Waffle with Vanilla Ice Cream and Fresh Fruit - Photo Courtesy of Brian Samuels Photography
Wedding Brunch Reception - Belgian Waffle with Vanilla Ice Cream and Fresh Fruit

On the breakfast side of things, we had a Belgian Waffle Bar, in addition to Texas French Toast. Toppings included:

  • 100% Real Maple Syrup
  • Flavored Whipped Butters
  • Fresh Fruit (Bananas, Blackberries, Blueberries, Cherries, Peaches, and Strawberries)
  • Fresh Whipped Cream
  • Vanilla Ice Cream

Yes, ice cream. Amazing, right?

And take a look at that first picture in the above set of three. Can you see the Tater Tots and House-Made Scrapple? Totally amazing.
Wedding Brunch Reception - Omelette Station - Photo Courtesy of Brian Samuels Photography
Wedding Brunch Reception - Omelette Station


We also had an Omelette Bar with freshly sliced breads with butter and jelly for those people who prefer eggs in the morning (myself included). Possible mix-ins and toppings included:

  • American Cheese
  • Avocado
  • Bacon (duh)
  • Bell Peppers
  • Black Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Cheddar
  • Chorizo
  • Gruyere
  • Ham
  • Monterey Jack
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Salsa
  • Sour Cream
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes

Understanding that some people don't want anything mixed into their eggs, we had Scrambled Eggs on the buffet, as well as Canadian Bacon, Traditional Bacon, and Sausage Links.

I bet, at this point, you're full after just reading about what we served at our wedding reception. But you know what? There's more!

Wedding Brunch Reception - Warm Goat Cheese Salad with Field Greens, Pecans, Peaches, and Balsamic Vinaigrette - Photo Courtesy of Brian Samuels Photography
Wedding Brunch Reception - Warm Goat Cheese Salad with Field Greens,
Pecans, Peaches, and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Wedding Brunch Reception - Short Rib Sliders with Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions, and Fontina Cheese - Photo Courtesy of Brian Samuels Photography
Wedding Brunch Reception - Short Rib Sliders with Mushrooms,
Caramelized Onions, and Fontina Cheese

Wedding Brunch Reception - Turkey Club Sandwiches - Photo Courtesy of Brian Samuels Photography
Wedding Brunch Reception - Turkey Club Sandwiches

Lunch offerings included:

  • Beef Tenderloin Salad with Mesclun Greens, Grape Tomatoes, Red Onions, Crumbled Gorgonzola, Walnuts, and Red Wine Vinaigrette (not pictured)
  • Grilled Vegetable Sandwiches (not pictured)
  • Short Rib Sliders with Sauteed Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions, and Fontina Cheese
  • Tortellini Salad with Spinach, Mozzarella, Tomatoes, and Basil (not pictured)
  • Turkey Club Sandwiches
  • Warm Goat Cheese Salad with Field Greens, Pecans, Peaches, and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Of all that food, I think Stephen and I ate approximately 10 bites total. That's 10 bites between the two of us. What they say is true -- talking to people during the reception takes precedence over eating. Nikki even tried to help us along by preparing plates for us so we didn't even have to leave our table, but we failed in the eating department.

We hear the food was excellent.

If Stephen and I had to do it all over again, then we would have asked Nikki to box up a little bit of everything for us to eat after the reception. Had we done that, we would have been able to have one of those Short Rib Sliders, a dish I requested specifically since it's a tribute to my favorite sandwich at Bouchon Bakery.

To the future brides and grooms reading this:

Have someone box food up for you to eat later. You'll want the food after things have settled down and you have time to think straight again.

Square Two-Tier Wedding Cake by JCakes with Flowers by Lane & Lenge - Photo Courtesy of Brian Samuels Photography
Square Two-Tier Wedding Cake by JCakes with Flowers by Lane & Lenge

Square Two-Tier Wedding Cake by JCakes with Flowers by Lane & Lenge - Photo Courtesy of Brian Samuels Photography
Square Two-Tier Wedding Cake by JCakes with Flowers by Lane & Lenge

Judd-Rittler Wedding Reception - Photo by Brian Samuels Photography
Cutting the Wedding Cake

Judd-Rittler Wedding Reception - Photo by Brian Samuels Photography
Cutting the Wedding Cake

After brunch had ended and the speeches were given, it was time for some dancing. And, more importantly, time for the cutting of our wedding cake. The cake, a golden layer cake with a mixed berry filling and buttercream icing, was simple, just two tiers decorated with a purple ribbon denoting the layers and an assortment of purple and yellow flowers. (If you haven't figured it out yet, our colors were purple and yellow.)

You may be wondering how we managed to have enough cake to preserve the top tier, to cut into, and to serve to 100+ guests. Our secret? We ordered a sheet cake and had the kitchen staff slice that in the back to serve to our guests. Far more economical than ordering a cake with three or four tiers.
Mini Birthday Cakes - Photo Courtesy of Brian Samuels Photography
Mini Birthday Cakes

Wedding Brunch Reception Goody Bag - Photo Courtesy of Brian Samuels Photography
Wedding Brunch Reception - Goody Bag


As it turned out, we weren't just celebrating a wedding on August 18, 2012. We were also celebrating my niece's 8th birthday. To surprise Emily, we brought in mini birthday cakes and had one just for her with a candle to blow out. All of our guests joined us in singing "Happy Birthday", and then the birthday girl helped us give the other children in attendance a cake of their own. More fun for them than plain, ol' wedding cake.

Each child also received a special goody bag full of small toys and treats to keep them entertained during the reception. The goody bags were my stepmother's idea and were hugely successful. Just one more "little detail" that made our wedding day unforgettable.

To close, I wanted to share just a few more photos from The Big Day. A tremendous thank-you to Brian Samuels (yes, that Brian Samuels) of Brian Samuels Photography for helping us capture the special moments throughout the day. All of the photos you see here are courtesy of Brian.


Michelle Judd - Wedding Dress by Mikaella - Purchased at Bliss Bridal - Photo Courtesy of Brian Samuels Photography
Wedding Dress by Mikaella

Wedding Shoes by Badgley Mischka - Banner Pumps in Plum Satin - Photo Courtesy of Brian Samuels Photography
Wedding Shoes by Badgley Mischka

Yellow Gerbera Daisy Bridesmaids Bouquets by Lane & Lenge - Photo Courtesy of Brian Samuels Photography
Yellow Gerbera Daisy Bridesmaids Bouquets by Lane & Lenge

Michelle Judd Wedding Photo - Photo Courtesy of Brian Samuels Photography
Pre-Ceremony Photo

Michelle Judd Wedding Photo - Photo Courtesy of Brian Samuels Photography
Post-Ceremony Photo

Judd-Rittler Wedding Party - Photo Courtesy of Brian Samuels Photography
The Judd-Rittler Wedding Party

Michelle Judd Wedding Photo - Photo Courtesy of Brian Samuels Photography
Post-Ceremony Photo


Judd-Rittler Wedding Reception - Photo Courtesy of Brian Samuels Photography
First Dance Photo

Wedding Dress: Mikaella / Bliss Bridal
Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Zappos
Bridesmaids Dresses: J. Crew
Flower Girl Dresses: The Children's Place
Hair/Make-Up: Elite Creations
Suits: Banana Republic

Ceremony: Seymour St. John Chapel / Choate Rosemary Hall
Reception: Hill House Dining Hall / Choate Rosemary Hall
Catering: ARAMARK
Alcohol: Ives Road Wine & Spirits
Wedding Cake: JCakes
Mini Birthday Cake: Big Y

Ceremony Music: O'Brien Strings
Flowers: Lane & Lenge
DJ: A-Game Entertainment
Photography: Brian Samuels / Brian Samuels Photography

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