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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Wedding Review: Jamie and Chris' Vintage Garden Wedding

A Beautiful, Autumn Day in Santa Ana for a Wedding...

 Oh, hello everyone. Its been quite a while but here we are again and with the exciting first wedding review on SGIEWW. Considering this blog is primarily about weddings and NOT about me bitching about all the terrible dates I go on, its about time that I kick off my year(s?) of wedding mania with the wedding of my Phi Mu grandbig-sister and mentor, Jamie, and her awesome husband, Chris.

Jamie is one of the most important people I met in college. She was the one who convinced me to join Phi Mu, who initiated me into the Chapter, who kept me in line (still does, in fact) and drank countless mugs of beer at the Malt Shop together. Way more than a friend and a sorority sister to me---those words don't even cut it.

The beautiful Gbiggie bride and I at the reception

Anyways, Jamie and Chris' wedding was in Santa Ana, California, which is not where I live. In fact, its a 6 hour drive from Phoenix to LA, so I conned my Phi Mu little sister, Rachel, into flying from Philly into Phoenix to make the road trip with me. She's a good little.

God, we are so pretty.
So, let's start from the start of this epic wedding weekend. Rachel and I drove on Friday afternoon into Santa Ana. We were starved and thirsty by the time we got to the hotel, so we dropped our bags and immediately headed to the liquor store. After we bought the entire store, equipped with red wine, bloody mary mix, a handle of vodka, champagne and orange juice, we headed to Seasons 52 for a fabulous but entire too late night dinner. After a big meal and a few drinks, we were passed out in our hotel room at midnight. Party animals, eh?

Saturday morning, we were up early and in the gym getting our fitness on because we're very responsible adults (pshhh). After a quick stop at the bridal suite to make sure Jamie was looking absolutely gorgeous (CLEARLY), we popped the bottle of champagne and got pretty. There was a shuttle from the hotel scheduled for 5pm, so we had to start extra early since between Rachel and I, we have a habit of running 2-3 hours behind schedule at all times. Missing the shuttle was not really an option since a.) we started boozin' at 1pm b.) you have to drive EVERYWHERE in Orange County. It doesn't shock me that Lindsey Lohan has like 50 DUIs at all.

We headed down a bit early and met up with a ton of our friends from college. While we all stood around outside laughing and shoving our vodka bottles into Rachel's big purse, the first shuttle came and went, full of people. Turns out, it was 30 minutes before we needed to be at the venue and the shuttle still hadn't come back to get us. Next thing we knew, we were piling into the hotel van with one of the other wedding guests driving us and another guiding us on GPS....we might've been the last ones to arrive but hell, we were still on time.

The wedding was held at the Bowers Museum, which is absolutely beautiful. The ceremony space was held in a large courtyard surrounded by high, white walls and a cascading staircase for the bridal party to walk down. 

The bridesmaids and groomsmen started the procession soon after we took our seats, followed closely by the bride and her parents. I really like that, both parents walking their daughter down the aisle. I suspect that is also what I will be wanting in the future. The ceremony space was lightly decorated, which was perfect because the lush green landscaping was plenty gorgeous for the dusk wedding. The ceremony itself was fairly quick and very personal. The Rabbi was not only hilarious, but added many personal stories about the couple. He offered wise words of advice mingled with light humor that did not take away from the seriousness of the ceremony. After 45 minutes or so, Chris stomped on the glass and we shouted MAZELTOV...which is basically my favorite part of any Jewish wedding because the only other time I can get away with saying it is while singing that overplayed "I got a feeling" song by the Black Eyed Peas.

Let's chat for a quick minute about Jamie's dress and the bridesmaid dresses. First off, Jamie looked AMAZING. Her dress was perfectly fitted to her and her sassy red suede platforms were great since the grass was a bit mushy from the previous day's rain. If she had been in heels, she would've sunk right into the ground (much like the rest of us did). Her tee length dress and lace shrug were both beaded and lace with a corseted lace up back. I love the look of the classic lace with just a bit of bling to really set the dress apart. Jamie's bridesmaids wore a light navy blue linen dress in the style of their choice. All looked gorgeous and the blue contrasted with the orange Rose and Mum flowers in their bouquets and centerpieces. I thought it was awesome how they came down the stairs-- they stood out so nicely against the white walls and green grass!

So, now its happy hour. Bowers Museum unfortunately does not has a liquor license but there was open bar with beer and wine, which I certainly will never complain about. We brought our own vodka anyways....some things just don't change after college. THEY JUST DON'T. Cocktail hour was highlighted by these amazing little passed plates of appetizers. I don't have any photos of them because we were too busy shoving them in our mouths. Some of my favorites include shrimp on stick with a light, crunchy shell and a honey glaze ("shrimp popsicles"), sauteed mushroom crustinis and crunchy pastries filled with goat cheese and roasted red and yellow peppers. I actually could not stop eating in between my glasses of Chardonnay.

Before long, we were summoned to dinner, which took place in the same area as the ceremony space, where they had moved out all of the garden chairs for white table clothed tables. All of us sorority girls and college friends had tables in the very back where we couldn't offend anyone with our loud, vodka filled mouths---its for the best. The tables were organized by the names of books that the happy couple loves in lieu of table numbers. On the tables themselves, there were orange rose and mum flower arrangements on top of a stack of books, sticking with the table number theme. What a great personal touch for a book worm like myself.

All the Beautiful Phi Mu's (and Andrew--our honorary Phi Mu) enjoying Shrimp Popsicles and Goat Cheese Pies
Dinner was fairly tradition, plenty of short but very sweet speeches and champagne being poured plentifully. The actual dinner service started out with a deconstructed garden salad with a light vinaigrette dressing (great for those saving our calories for alcohol consumption) with a long cracker piled high with ricotta, avocado and caramelized onions. The next course was a braised beef on top of mashed polenta and carrots. IT WAS ACTUALLY THE MOST AMAZING THING I HAVE EVER TASTED EVER IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. The beef was incredibly tender and glazed lightly in a tangy sauce. The mashed polenta was also lightly seasoned and complimented the beef without being overwhelming. So, I basically licked my plate. 

After dinner, we all hit the vodka in the bathroom and hit the dance floor full force. We had a rousing rendition of Gangnam style pony dancing that even Psy might be proud of us. I really just can't help being the center of attention on the dance floor. Eventually they did the first dance and all that coupley shit that I hate because I'm single, so Rachel and I hit the dessert bar.

As many couples are now doing, Jamie and Chris opted for mini cupcakes, tiny creme brulees and cake lollipos. They did have a small cake and did the traditional cutting of the cake. Its hard to see in the photo, but they had an adorable cake topper made from little Lego men. Love, love, love. The cupcakes had a peanut butter flavor or a pumpkin flavor, while the cake lollipops with a lemon cake with a white chocolate crust. I really can't complain about anything except for the 5 pounds I likely gained while consuming these tiny little indulgences. 

All in all, this was one of the best weddings I have ever attended. Jamie and Chris both looked fabulous and planned a wedding that was beautiful, classy and really frickin' fun all at the same time. The food was very far above par, served hot and fresh, and I can't imagine anyone didn't enjoy it. The DJ kept the music flowing and the bartender (Ken--like the Barbie doll---we were clearly on a first name basis) had the beer and wine flowing. There was even pony dancing. #notashamed

Congrats to the happy couple! I was so thrilled I got to be a part of celebrating their very special day, especially surrounded by my amazing Phi Mu sisters and college friends.

La Belle Family Values
Join us later this week for WTF Wednesday: Brandon #3 and Blue Martini Monday, a Wedding Inspiration for Andrea and How I met Honey Boo Boo. You're salivating in excitement, aren't you?


  1. Yes! You got pics of the dessert table...I was so sad I hadn't seen any.

  2. Can you put these pics on FB???? I look drunk but adorable in all of them. Also I HOPE I ATE CREME BRULEE BECAUSE I DON'T REMEMBER IT AT ALL.

  3. Thanks for telling us all about Jamie's special day!! My niece Brittany was
    maid of honor and I havent had a chance to talk to her yet, so Im glad you posted this!! It sounds like it was a great day!!!!!