This is a bit lengthy…it was a multi-faceted dinner.
The Antler offers a designer incredible opportunities to be creative. The property alone can be used in a myriad of ways. Then there are the existing buildings. We used Grey Manor for Cocktail Hour and we used The Grand Hall for Dinner. This is how we first saw The Grand Hall just 200 days before.
Here’s the sketch of what they promised it would be.
Here’s how I found it on the morning of June 25th.
And, here’s what the guests saw upon arrival the evening of June 28th.
The plan was for the parents to welcome the guests as they walked in for dinner. However, when the parents arrived they joined the guests for cocktails in Grey Manor. It proved a real challenge to get them away from what was already a really fun party atmosphere. When I finally got them to The Grand Hall the guests followed them and at that point…I had no control…dinner was served.
Here’s the hall when I walked in on Wednesday.
And, here’s how it looked when the Bridal Portrait welcomed guests to dinner.
Initially, I wanted the dinner to feel very personalized…a seat for every guest. I quickly realized that we didn’t have room for that. Plus, all my resources told me that the majority of guests wouldn’t want to sit. Well, I laughed out loud as guests came in and began to hoard seats…well, actually entire tables. It all worked out but when a setting is aesthetically designed for comfort and conversation; everyone wants a seat. Even more funny…it was the young crowd fighting for seats.
The design of the hall was organized for maximum capacity and flow. The right side of the hall brought the outdoors in with rose balls, lanterns and strung dendrobium orchids hanging from 12′ dogwood trees. Urns and cache pots filled with phalaenopsis orchids, roses and hydrangea rested around the base of the trees.
This was also the side of the room with the lounge and four food presentations.
Guests had selections. One guest called it a buffet and I gave a crash course on the meaning of a buffet. However, while not presented on a steam table and certainly not prepared from cans or boxes…it was a veritable buffet of traditional wedding foods knocked out of the park by Angele and the staff from Tallahatchie Gourmet. We had fried chicken and biscuits with mac and cheese and watermelon salad. There was also tuna or chicken tacos with mexican slaw, pico de gallo and guacamole. There was a tiered presentation of pork tenderloin with polenta, marinated beans and asparagus and tortellini salad. Finally for those that can’t go to a Southern party without red meat…beef tenderloin with roasted potatoes and sautéed spinach. I wish I had room to give you all the foodie details but suffice to say this was not your typical wedding buffet.
The center of the room was reserved for a beverage presentation created from farm tables and shelving from Busylad. We offered wines and beers selected to pair with each of the food tables.
Remember the roses from the dress…they appear again on the chair covers on the left side of the hall as well as the favors at each place setting. The favors were ribbon rose sachets. Instead of filling them with lavender we filled them with monogrammed cookies custom designed by Mary McGuire.
This was the left side of the hall when I arrived on Wednesday.
And, this is how it looked appropriately appointed for presenting the wedding cakes. Once again, Rosemary and the staff at Jody’s gave the guests WOW factor like most had never seen. The 92 year old grandfather of the bride stated we set a new standard for Tupelo weddings.
Holly at Creative Cakes took my sketches and made cakes that had the guests standing in awe…as if gazing upon a master work of art.
The bride was honored with five tiers of traditional white cake and buttercream wedding cake magic. We gave Holly a swatch of the rose lace from the brides gown and she created an exact replica of the lace in fondant and buttercream.
Lighting is everything!!!
The perfect string work and brides monogram was enough decoration to highlight the architectural design of the offset tiers.
Stewart carried a bouquet of Cattleya Orchids so Holly handcrafted the same orchids from gum paste.
The grooms cake was a symphony of chocolate. The base of the cake was soldiered with white and dark chocolate “cigarettes”. The second tier was bathed in chocolate ganache, wrapped with a gold “band” and accented with an M medallion. The top of the cake was a stack of music scores from the groom’s favorite composers. Each score was covered in marblelized chocolate fondant and the titles were shown in gold leaf. Resting on the corner of the cake was the appropriate “program” Le Nozze di McMillan.
The perimeter of the room featured bar height tables.
The tables were covered in chalkboard table runners and accented with brilliant Orchid Lamps..custom created by Jody’s.
Artist Rick Anderson of Clinton, MS was on hand to capture the spirit of the evening on canvas. The painting is for the newlyweds from the parents of the bride.
Tradition says, if it rains on your wedding day it’s showers of blessings for a long and happy marriage. Clearly, the blessings powered just at the time we had scheduled the couples Grand Hall entrance. Luckily, Bucky came prepared and we stayed dry as we walked the couple from the cabin to The Grand Hall.
Mr. & Mrs. McMillan were welcomed with boisterous applause.
Although every eye was on them…they danced like no one was watching.
The parent dances displayed the depth of love that can only be shared by parent and child.
They cut the cakes…and I think some people were offended…like they had defaced the Mona Lisa. However, everyone rushed to taste these masterpieces.
Emcee Rob Rice offered a toast…”forever starts now”.
And with that…I released Stewart and Victor McMillan to their adoring friends and family. Happy, Happy, Happy!!!
The house was lovely and a good time was had by all…UNDERSTATEMENT!!!