I’m so excited to share this Whispering Pines Wedding Reception with you today!
Last September Carly was searching for a photographer to capture her spring wedding reception and one of her bridesmaids (shout out to Cassie!) thought of me. Cassie and I follow one another on Instagram, chat from time to time, and just generally keep up with one another. (The lesson here is never underestimate the power of connections made through social media!)
While wedding receptions aren’t typically what I photograph, Carly and I got to chatting and after discussing her vision for the event photography, I felt I could serve her well. Towards the end of April, Carly and I got together in person to chat through the particulars of her event, timelines, details, shot lists etcetera. Our meeting felt effortless; like chatting with a friend. I loved Carly’s vision for the reception and all of the special details. I left our meeting inspired and giddy over the idea that I was her photographer and the next time I would see her would be at her dream reception.
Now you may be thinking – what about the wedding ceremony? Well, Carly and Andrew tied the knot last year! While they didn’t initially dream of a two part wedding, the pandemic challenged them to reimagine what their wedding day looked like. Knowing they could not wait to begin their lives as husband and wife, they had a lovely, intimate ceremony on May 15, 2021 and planned for their celebration to continue at the big reception they imagined, a year later.
It’s poetic that Carly and Andrew chose to have their reception one year after their wedding ceremony. Weddings represent the union of two people committing to one another and starting a life together as husband and wife. Anniversaries represent the continued commitment to one another day after day, week after week and year after year. Anniversaries are a time for reflection to consider the path you’ve traveled together, the accomplishments, good times and hardships. By choosing to host their reception leading into their first anniversary they get to celebrate both their union and their anniversary with all of their friends, family and loved ones. What’s even more exciting is that they also get to celebrate their growing family. Thats right! On Valentine’s Day Carly and Andrew announced that they are expecting Baby Schwartz this August! So much to celebrate!
Ethereal, breath-taking and elegant are just a few words that came to my mind when I walked through the double doors of Whispering Pines Event Center in Poynette, Wisconsin for Carly and Andrew’s wedding reception. Throughout the day I heard multiple attendees commenting about how they wish Carly could have or could design their wedding or event, myself included. Carly did a phenomenal job planning and designing the event and nailed every single detail. Every selection she made perfectly complimented the next resulting in a cohesively elegant feel, perfect for their continued celebration.
The most exquisite periwinkle and seafoam water tones were chosen for her and Andrew’s reception, captivating guests, guiding them though the venue, creating a calm, relaxing experience similar to a leisurely river flowing on a gorgeous spring day. Walking in the doors guests were greeted by a gorgeous floating sign, with flowing script, over a beautiful blue/green background, hung on a white minimalist sign stand, draped in foliage leading to a lovely table complete with guest book, blooming bridal bouquet by Alluring Blooms, photographs of the bride and groom and framed pressed florals, preserved from the bride’s bouquet from part one of their wedding experience. The entrance hall was complete with many other special details: a reception timeline sign in the same style and presentation as the welcome sign, a wooden string art initial sign the couple created during their ceremony to symbolize their unity, culminating with a custom double arch seating chart board with a depth-adding, three-dimensional laser cut floral design on the bottom finishing with the couple’s personalized wedding monogram in the lower right corner.
Through the corridor guests are immersed in grand event space. The vibe was crisp, clean, glowy, dreamy, and flowing. To the right – a full bar with a Schwartz neon sign hanging overhead, complete with custom arch menus, cocktail stirrers, and a fun bartending crew; twenty-four foot buffet filled with traditional Italian fare from Upstairs Downstairs; dessert table, decorated with a precious cartoon wedding party illustration, florals, photos, candles and foliage placed alongside an arch dessert display filled with delicious white chocolate raspberry, chocolate chip and confetti bundtinis from Nothing Bundt Cakes. To the left – a dining area filled with round dining tables adorned with elegant florals, wooden vases and candlestick holders turned by Andrews father, luxurious blue and white pillar candles, tea-lights, golden lanterns, name tags, dinner menus, and place settings; a modest gifts table, rose gold mirrored card box, honeymoon fund turned baby fund bank, timeless canvas portrait and white pillar candles. As guests gaze through the room, in awe, they were slowly brought to the head table set for sixteen, embellished with gold-edged glass candle boxes filled with pillar candles, bridesmaid bouquets, and sprinkled with tea lights. The final detail, the piece de resistance – if you will – was a spectacular levitating floral ceiling installation meticulously crafted by Amanda from Alluring Blooms complete with floating tea lights.
I’m still swooning over the whole set up if you cant tell!
After guests arrived and took in the venue, the reception officially kicked off with a grand march to introduce the wedding party. Everyone made their way to their seats for a welcome given by Ryan, the wedding officiant and lifetime close friend of the groom. Tables then made their way through the buffet after taking a photo with the bride and groom. (This is an absolutely genius idea by the way if you or someone you know is planning an event.) During dinner three heartfelt speeches were given by the best man, Chas; bridesmaid, Jena and Carly’s father, John. Everyone joined in watching a beautiful slideshow put together by Carly and Andrew showing their separate life journeys through the years that their lives came together.
Dances kicked off first with the bride and groom sharing their first dance followed by a shared dance between the bride with her father and the groom with his mother. These dances are my favorite. Through my own experience I realized it’s a time to spend together, enjoying each other, the beauty of the event and slow down to reflect on everything leading up to that moment.
Then the DJ turned it up and the dance floor was hot. Guests jammed and danced enthusiastically to all the best Pop and Dance music. Then, just when I thought this event was the most perfect event I could have imagined, the Ben’s Soft Pretzel truck arrived. Now, if you’ve had a Bens Pretzel you know why this is a big deal, if you haven’t, you need to go hunt down the Ben’s Soft Pretzel truck and get one! I, myself have attended a Wisconsin Badger football game at Camp Randall for the sole purpose of getting a Ben’s Soft Pretzel. Go Sports!
To close the evening, the bride and groom shared a dance at midnight celebrating their official first anniversary. Perfection!
As you can tell, I could go on and on, but I am going to take some advice that Jena shared in her speech, which was graciously given by her elementary school students. “It’s okay to just say “The End.” So without further ado, the end.
Carly & Andrew,
Thank you so much for choosing me to capture your wedding reception. I had such a great time!