Solution? Do it anyway.
Our way to make that happen without breaking the bank was our Wedding Eve Open House, a come one come all, the more the merrier celebration on the night we were most nervous and excited.
I knew I wanted cakes. Not a big wedding cake, really. Mostly I knew I wanted Nan's multi-tier toasted coconut cake and built out from there. My mom's Gourmet Group and other friends all chipped in to make a decadent display, backed by mirrors reflecting the sugar buzz right back. German Chocolate, pavlovas, lemon poppyseed... I think there were 14 in all.
Not that I got to enjoy any of the cakes, or any of the dips for that matter (salmon dip sounded amazing). Our parents stood with us in the dining room and greeted incoming guests for... ever. In my head, I thought we'd greet people for maybe 45 minutes, but they just kept on coming. It's fun and exciting and exhausting and numbing to talk to everyone you know just about in the span of almost two hours. I wish I could have had a full conversation with most of these people, at least more than a hello, hug, thank you! enjoy! But I got to introduce them to my Porter man. And his guests got to meet me, which is the point. For these friends, just having a moment to say 'I'm getting married tomorrow!! Can you believe it!!' and for them to say 'I'm so thrilled for you!!' is most of the interaction we need.
I wanted the Open House at MY house, where it felt homey and personal (albeit crowded). My mom did a fabulous job of playing lights, framed photos, flowers and puff balls to make our house welcoming, elegant, and just what I wanted. Taper candles on the living room mantle, a HUGE rose arrangement on the piano, and flicker candles on the shelves above the cake table were my favorite. My dad built (and rebuilt and rebuilt thanks to rain and windstorms) a structure over the back deck to shield guests from the elements. Seriously hard work and it turned out great.
I think there might have been something going on in the basement?
Like I said, it was all a blur.
What I do remember, vividly:
*The line of visitors snaking through the living room. Inviting a few people to cut. Covertly trying to move some people along.
*Looking through the kitchen and just seeing BODIES. Looked like they were having a good time, but they were everywhere.
*When I first saw my flowers and realized that they were more beautiful than I could have ever hand-picked. I did pick the containers, and loved them. I kind of pointed at flowers, textures, and colors I liked with Nan at the wholesale flower market and she just made my random opinions into something majestic I couldn't have ever thought possible.
*How thrilled I was about my guestbook alternative idea: personalized decks of cards. And how well they worked out. We had created 4 decks of cards, one with our wedding date, one with our new family name (est. 2012), one with an engagement photo, and one with a painting that fit well with our wedding theme. The fronts of the cards were blank and guests signed them with advice, well-wishes, or memories, and pinned them on colored twine strung nearby. We actually play with these cards and it's so fun to see what people wrote!
I had ordered a pack of 5 sky lanterns months prior when I was still campaigning for a massive Tangled in Thailand style send-off. I think this might have been one of the only long-standing disagreements between Porter and I in the planning process. I needed lanterns and he just needed to care about the environmental impact. My mom and I tried out one lantern, and I tore another, which left... three... lodged in the chaos of my post-roommate pre-husband transitional bedroom.
I grabbed the three, found some matches and handed them off to Raelle (who knows how to work 'em) and Christie (always willing to help) and started telling people to make their way to meet us outside on the front porch.
Wax starters were lit and my parents, Porter's parents, and my soon-to-be husband and I each teamed up on a lantern. My parents' lantern lifted off, straight and up to full cheers from our crowd (and one rendition of 'At Last I See the Light'). The Kidders' got a rocky start (only a few comments about potential fire damange) but eventually gained steam and made it's way to the sky.
By the time we released our lantern, it was full of hot air and just near BLASTED out of our hands. Good luck, and prosperity, I'm sure that what it means.
Now, a quick change of clothes, out to dinner with the ladies (and my Portland boys, Trent and Sam who made it just in time for the send-off) at the oh so classy Sammamish Ale House (and only place open). And this sweet note on my bed when I got home. Cute husband of mine.
Second best night ever.