Remember that gorgeous light I spoke about in Part I? Here it is again in these divine portraits from Adam Barnes! Absolutely dreamy!
A mini-food fan, I know our Emily was completely smitten when she first peeked at Tami + James’ reception. I love how T + J not only served adorable and yummy food, but it came complete with a story — the best part! Each course was a customized culinary trip through their lives, from “Childhood Favorites,” “Southern Comfort” and “Old Bay,” all the way to “The City That Never Sleeps.” What fun!
P.S. Be sure to scroll all the way down and read about T + J’s Great Gatsby moment! So cool!
We had an outdoor cocktail hour among the Carriage House and Gazebo at the Thomas Birkby House, where we served our signature cocktail, a strawberry mojito and oysters in mini Ball jars with individual Tabasco pairings.
What was your reception like? It was a tented reception where guests enjoyed our personalized four-course dinner and dancing afterward. When planning the wedding, I wanted to incorporate something that would blow James away, and decided to surprise him with a cigar roller and scotch bar, which ended up being a huge hit at the reception! The cigar roller did his thing on the patio, just outside of the tent, where many of our guests congregated after dinner to enjoy the last few minutes of sunlight and socialize among the trees and carriage house. For an added unique touch of evening ambiance, we projected a romantic 1920s silent film in the background against the carriage house. The scene of bow-tied gentlemen enjoying cigars while entertaining each other and their lovely ladies was magical, drawing a comment from one guest likening the evening to one of the many painted by Scott Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby.
Food is a big part of our lives. Growing up, we both had family dinners on Sundays and everyone always seemed to be in and around the kitchen enjoying the food and drink that day’s host was preparing. As a continuation of our quest to make our wedding personal, we took the opportunity to come up with a menu that reflected the path of our lives. We started with a “Childhood Favorites” course of Lobster corndogs, grilled cheese and tomato soup shooters, and a side of gold fish crackers. Then on to “Southern Comfort,” a nod to my Southern roots with white cheddar, gruyere and truffle oil mac and cheese, a country biscuit with Virginia ham, and shrimp and grits. The third course was “Old Bay,” a nod to James’ hometown and late night college years with Maryland crab cakes and a mini philly cheesesteaks with shoestring fries. To finish the meal and kick off the toasts, we ended with our fourth course, “The City That Never Sleeps,” which was a manhattan, the city where we currently make our home.
Describe some of the decorations or décor elements you used: We used vintage scales, vintage cigar boxes, homemade painted wooden signs, ball jars with burlap wrapping, homemade burlap silverware holders with individually sewn flowers, and a homemade “sweets” sign over the dessert bar
Describe your centerpieces: They were a mix of pale pink peonies, hydrangeas, dahlias and roses in vintage wood boxes, vintage tins and apothecary jars. They were arranged around stacked antique books and vintage tea cups with tea light candles inside. The table number signs were designed to reflect specific parts of our personalities and story, including a Christian Louboutin pump, a bull and bear (James works on Wall Street), golf clubs, a Virginia peanut, and more.
My favorite detail of the wedding was the custom farm table my mother and father built for us to serve as the “head table.” We weren’t allowed to see it until the day of the wedding and we were truly blown away. The most special part was that they engraved T + J on the top! It is something we can’t wait to move into our home (once we leave the cozy confines of the West Village) and incorporate into holiday family traditions.
Tell us a bit about your first dance. We danced to Jason Mraz’s “Lucky,” which we liked because it was light and fun, and we both feel that we are each other’s best friend. James tried to organize us for dance lessons a few weeks before the wedding, but we had too many other things to take care of. We faked our way through it and just had fun with a couple of “homemade” twirls and dips. None of our guests noticed the lack of dance skills, or at least we don’t think so!!
Describe your wedding cake: We used Maggie Austin’s ruffle cake design, a beautiful white cake with sugar peonies and dahlias to match our wedding flowers. It was the classic Maggie Austin cake with meticulously molded hand-ruffled layers. We had two flavors: peanut butter butter-creme and white velvet cake with raspberry preserves. The cake served as the centerpiece of our dessert bar, surrounded by mini strawberry milkshakes, pop-tarts on a stick, cake pops and other sweet treats.
What was Southern about your wedding? Everything from the country music playing in the background, the sweet tea served pre-ceremony, and the “Southern Comfort” menu complete with shrimp and grits, mac and cheese and a delicious country biscuits with Virginia ham.
What was the most memorable or touching moment about your wedding day? James’ speech, welcoming everyone to our wedding and hearing him talk about the first time he saw me and how he knew good things were to come. It was quite the tear-jerker for all of the ladies at the wedding.
What were some of the highlights? The personalized menu was a hit with everyone — definitely something bespoke that had the intended effect of sharing with our guests the formative times in our lives. Our guests also loved the scotch bar and cigar roller!
What was the funniest moment? What was the scariest? The funniest moment was trying to get the ring bearer to sit with the wedding party for group pictures. Lou, James’ best man ended up grabbing the back of his overalls to keep him from exploring the gardens! The scariest moment was standing up in front of all our family and friends and taking the leap!
Were there any family traditions you included in the reception? No, but James’ father gave a beautiful blessing before dinner.
Did you toss the garter or bouquet? Both. James tossed my garter to Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady,” a fitting tune, especially given James’ love of the guitar and Jimi Hendrix in particular. His college band mates got a kick out of it!
Tell us about your grand exit. As a parting gift, and to keep the party rolling, we made s’mores kits for all our guests. We all piled into a trolley enjoying whatever cocktail happened to be in our hot little hands at the end of the night and proceeded to the fire pit at the resort where everyone was staying. It was the perfect way to end the evening, where guests who hadn’t had a chance to catch up could banter about their latest happenings and new friendships made that evening were solidified. James and I were a few of the last to leave, enjoying everyone’s well-wishes and hearing about their personal evening highlights.
Groom’s favorite detail of the wedding: The custom cigar labels Tami had made for our scotch and cigar bar!!
What was the biggest challenge you faced when planning your wedding? Time management. We wanted everything to be perfect and spent a lot of our time focused on the details. As the date neared, we weren’t quite sure we could get it all done. But, thanks to a combined family effort, everything went off without a hitch!
What range did your budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
Did you take a honeymoon? If so, where? We took a wonderful trip to the Amalfi coast in Italy, spending time on the island of Capri and the coastal towns of Ravello and Positano. We loved the casual glamour of the Mediterranean, and of course the food and wine!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We are tremendously blessed with many opportunities that may either keep us in New York, or take us somewhere new. But, for now, we can’t wait to make the most of our time as a young couple in New York City.
Adam Barnes is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!