Highway to Happiness: Let’s Mingle

Wedding Recaps

Even though our plan had been to greet our guests as they arrived, the transportation mix-up meant that almost everyone had already arrived to greet us, instead. Either way, hugs and happiness overflowed our intimate gathering. The cheese, fruit, and pastries were hitting the spot as we had hoped, and I think there were just as many guests opting for coffee and tea and there were for Champagne or our signature cocktail. (Not wanting to risk a spill but finding myself suddenly parched, I stuck to ice water until after the ceremony.)

I especially love the overhead shots courtesy of the second shooter in the balcony. | All images via Pink Shutterbug Photography

I especially love the overhead shots courtesy of the second shooter in the balcony. | All images via Pink Shutterbug Photography

Roadie and I wandered among our guests and I admit to being a more than a little happy as they started complimenting us on our choice of venue as well as our decorations as they asked about several items. The small desk that held our ceremony programs in an antique from the one-room-schoolhouse days that Roadie and I refinished together–I’d grown up using it as a nightstand, but it predated that use by many years as we found out that Dr. Aunt had used it as a child, herself, and refinished it back when she was in high school. And if guests look closely at the corner of the lid they could still see the impression left by Brother Scooter’s front teeth from a long-ago bed-jumping incident. It may not seem exceedingly wedding-y, but it’s a part of our family’s shared memories, memories that were added to by Roadie and I working together to restore it, so it seemed right to have it serve a useful purpose as we started this next chapter of our own branch of the family history, you know?

It was great to see the little touches we'd plan work so well in the space.

It was great to see the little touches we’d plan work so well in the space.

Our cardbox got a decent workout during Cocktail Hour, but folks were, I think, a little stymied by the cork guest book (despite a sign to explain the hows and whys). We ended up with some signed corks, but less than expected. Oh, well, you win some, you lose some.

In the bottom picture you can see the golf cart that was supposed to pick us up acting as a piece of scenery.

In the bottom picture you can see the golf cart that was supposed to pick us up acting as a piece of scenery.

Now, there was  another hiccup during cocktail hour and that had to do with the music. I’d created playlists to run the allotted times starting with cocktail hour. I’d spend hours adding and removing songs to make the times work out just so, and labeled each playlist with the start time to make it virtually mistake-proof. I did this for a very specific reason as we’d planned to play  a specific song as the transition between cocktail hour and the prelude, and the playlists would easily flow from one segment to the next. And I’d gone over this musical cue with the DoC during our last planning meeting.


The wrinkle came when the DoC opted to start the cocktail hour playlist early–while they were still setting the area up and we were still taking pictures down the hill. I’d heard the music start, but hoped (since there was nothing to do about it from where I was) that she’d reset it at the appointed time.

I’m sure no one is surprised that she didn’t, and our transition song played at good 30 minutes early. *eyeroll* I remember hearing the opening measure and whipping my head around, looking for the DoC. She adjusted the playlist to an earlier track, but I’m afraid the damage was done. Instead of the distinctive intro to Europe’s The Final Countdown (yes, we did, we totally went there) sounding at 11:30, the DoC simply cut the music off completely. Instead of the gentle, gradual movement of guests (with chuckles from those who got the joke) from one side of the fountain to their seats on the other, the silence made everyone self-conscious about taking their time and they all rushed to their chairs.

The other songs I’d queued up for before the parents were seated? They got skipped, too. And this is how we found ourselves moving up the timeline a good 10 minutes.


The Road Trip Wedding Recaps:

Sweetheart Table: Oasis or Exile?

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

So. Sweetheart tables are a definite thing in weddings these days.

It's sweet and all, but doesn't it look a little lonely, too? | Image via Style Me Pretty | Photo by Anna Kuperberg

It’s sweet and all, but doesn’t it look a little lonely, too? | Image via Style Me Pretty | Photo by Anna Kuperberg

I’m not sure how I feel about this trend.

On the one hand…

If it’s been all day and you’ve just barely seen your beloved during the ceremony and pictures, having a little space of your own probably sounds like a good idea. A time to catch your breath together.

On the other hand…

How much time are you going to spend at that table, anyway, if the whole point of having a reception is to share your day with your guests? And while I love spending 1-on-1 time with Mr. Road Trip, I’m afraid I’d be distracted by the other tables around us anyway, not to mention wondering what they were talking about!

Sure, it takes care of the who-do-we-sit-with dilemma: parents? bridal party? people we haven’t seen for years who flew across country to spend a couple hours with us? But I’m not sure it’s the best solution. More like, if I can’t sit with everyone, I’ll sit with no one, and that sounds almost more spiteful than practical. (But, really, I can see where it’s the only sane option if tensions are running high.)

At the same time, if you’re constantly up visiting other tables and trying to say hellos and cutting cake and tossing garters and bouquets and catching various photo ops, that sweetheart table is just another still-life photo op in the waiting. A cute one, but you could stage any 2 chairs with signs for Mr & Mrs and have done with it.

Image via Style Me Pretty | Photo by Miki & Sonia Photography

Wouldn’t this just be amazing?! | Image via Style Me Pretty | Photo by Miki & Sonia Photography

Personally, I love the one long table option but that’s not really practical for all groups or all spaces. And Mr. Road Trip wasn’t really a fan of it, either, when I brought it up one night at dinner. But, then, as is usually the case, Mr. Trips had a brilliant idea that we–due to having changed our original plans for our reception vision–now cannot really use. But I’d like to offer it up to you as a possible solution:

Table. Hopping.

Now, not just going from table to table while everyone else is eating, but actually having 2 seats at every table reserved for the newlyweds so you can go from table to table, sit down, eat a little something, and converse a bit with your guests.

Granted, this works best with a tapas-style or tasting menu where there are as many courses as tables, but tasting menus are actually gaining ground in the catering world, so it’s not incredibly far-fetched. (Sure, they’re gaining ground now–2 years ago when I was approaching caterers with request idea everyone and their cousin was pushing stations, stations and only stations. Sigh…) It’s a little like speed dating at your wedding, but I still love this idea and think that guests would really adore it, too.

So, hive,  let this be a lesson: just because your groom-to-be isn’t all up on the latest wedding tricks and trends, doesn’t mean he might not have a brilliant, left-field suggestion ready to pop out as the perfect solution. And if you’ve done this or plan to do this, I totally want to hear how it went/goes!

But It’s MY Day, Or Is It?

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

Watching one of those train-wreck reality shows the other night where yet another whiny bride-to-be screams after her disagreeing groom “It’s MY DAY!” Todd shakes his head and asks, “What’s all this My Day stuff, isn’t it Our Day?”

I love that man.

Yes, more than anything it is Our day. I’ve never had the all-about-me desire that many brides seem to have (in fact, to tell the whole truth, being the center of attention for that long is a little scary!). But it’s not just us–it’s also for our guests.

And here’s where the real tightrope-walking comes in:

While it’s true that we want to do things our way and not be forced to go along with a practice or “tradition” just because everyone else does or certain people expect it, we also want our guests to enjoy themselves and, basically, be great hosts.

I know there will be the inevitable scrunched nose at some of our choices, but for every 2 steps we take off the beaten path, it’s probably a good idea to put out a familiar mile marker to our guests looking for the straight and narrow.

And something tells me I might need reminding of this magnanimous point of view when I get one too many scrunched noses or “what are the rest of us going to eat” responses but, really, if we didn’t care about our guests, we would have bothered inviting them, right?

Pretty Book and Flower Icon

Do you keep your guests in mind as you make wedding decisions
or do you see them just a captive audience?

If I’d Known You Were Coming…

Everyday Adventures

Oh, wait, I totally did! So I baked a cake.

Hidden Strawberry Cake

Hidden Strawberry Cake*

Alright Artsies (how does that sounds for a name for us? thoughts?), we’re going to have some new folks around the blog, today tomorrrow, because… tadaa! It’s Wedneday’s my SITS Day!

UPDATE: Due to some tech issues–they happen, we roll with it–my SITS day is now Wednesday, so if you come here on Tuesday and are a bit confuzzled, no worries, we’re just having a little fun with the timestream 😉

What’s SITS? It’s the Secret’s in the Sauce–a line from the movie Fried Green Tomatoes AND an amazing group of women that are all about supporting each other in the Blogosphere. If you’re a blogger and haven’t checked them out, you really might want to!

Cocktail, Anyone?

Cocktail, Anyone?

For those of you who have happened here because of that lovely linkie they gave me, today, welcome to Scraps of Life and the 64 Arts! I’m so glad you’ve stopped by. I love all things creative, about as much as I love lists (and crossing things off them!) and the 64 Arts is a list of accomplishments pulled from a very old source but it still pertinent to this day and age. To find out more, check out the beginning of this odyssey: A New Direction. For the cliff’s notes about what we’ve done so far, check out the Arts so Far for topics and some of my favorite posts.

But, silly me, can I offer you a drink before we get on with the getting to know me?

Bits and Scraps

My name is Jennifer but that name was incredibly popular in the mid-70s and, after being one of 4 Jennifer’s in my 3rd grade class I began my search for the perfect nom de plume. After buying this domain in 2003, I ended up stumbling into the screenname and nickname Scraps, so that’s what I go by online for writing and comics.

See, I have a very uncreative day-job…

I have a very understanding boss.

I have a very understanding boss.

And my need for a creative outlet (or 10) is immense. First it was food: I did double duty as a full-time bookkeeper and a full-time (evenings) culinary student and took a leave of absence to do my internship and beyond as a Pastry Chef. Funny thing, though, I like paying my bills (on time, even) and cheffing wasn’t being too helpful on that front. So I checked it off my master to-do list and went back to bookkeeping.

Next was art: More night classes and a plan to go back full-time but, divorce happened and I needed to support myself. I’ve always been a crafter and a long-time scrapbooker, and around the same time I started my autobiographical webcomic (like a blog, but with lots of drawings and fewer words) I became the Arts & Craft Expert (their title, not mine) for eHow.com. When the writing gig ended I got more time to do my own work, and that’s when I went a little blog-overboard.

Plenty to go Around

… and a little something for everyone!

I’ve now got 2 comics online: my life-inspired one, Cocktail Hour, and a geeky dating comic, Where the Geeks Are.

Even though they are both on hiatus, there’s plenty of archives to read through. Comics aren’t just for boys and they aren’t all super-heroes, either! Me? I’ve been described as the heroine in my own chick-lit novel.

Not that that’s a bad thing (keeps life interesting).

The reason they’re on hiatus is my current project: What to Feed Your Raiding Party. I’m combing my love of food and comics and the desire to help and creating a cookbook that half comic book, too! If this is something you’d like to know more about, feel free to check out the progress diary.

Speaking of food, I’ve got a dedicated food blog: Nibbles ‘n Bites. The occasional recipe (like the one for the Hidden Strawberry Cake, above) interspersed with plenty of foodie opinions and ideas.

And, if you’re in need of a drink, you might find my cocktail blog, Sips & Shots, to your taste. Each Friday I post a new drink recipe to get your weekend started off right.

Finally, if you’re like me and like music playing pretty much all. the. time. you might find yourself getting into some musical ruts. I like a wide variety of music and really love finding music no one (okay, few) have heard before. Get in on the secret at my monthly podcast: Random Acts Radio.

Okay, that’s Me!

Now, I’d really love to find out who you are! Comments are great and I do my best to respond (either via comments/email or by visiting your blog) to every one I get. Let’s get to know each other better!

Oh, and one more thing–If you like hand-knit items and want a chance to win one, check out last week’s post (Today’s Cowl)–all it takes is a comment (on that entry) to enter the drawing!



Répondez s’il vous plaît. Please respond. Such a simple concept but something that is so often overlooked.

RSVP, whether placed as corner copy on a larger invitation or as a separate response card intended to be returned by mail, is a simple request that your guests let you, as host[ess], know who will attend and won’t. Depending on the type of party, this information can be crucial to both planning and the budget.

For my parties, if it has a printed invitation, it has RSVP information included. The less formal a get-together the less I need a for-sure head count but most of the time there are rentals involved (tables and chairs) and a menu to plan–I like having leftovers but there’s a line between not having to cook for a few days after an event and just plain waste. So it can be frustrating when someone doesn’t pick up a phone or send an email to let me know they have other plans.

First thing to consider is how much lead-time your party may require. For a wedding with a sit-down dinner, for example, your caterer should be able to tell you when they need an absolute number. If you’re doing it all yourself, try to figure out how late you can squeeze in extra chairs or make one last trip to the grocery store. When you have that information, add it to the invitation or response card.

When you’re hosting a pot-luck or something where it’s just a case of adding another pizza to the order or a few more burgers to the grill, you can consider who you invited and deduct about 10%. Small dinner parties or game nights being the most common exceptions, any time you invite a group of people over for anything you can guarantee that at least a tenth will have other plans or just not come. If it’s a holiday or other big event day, it might actually be 15 to 20-percent.

If you have included RSVP information (a name and phone number for the short notations, emails are appropriate for less formal situations) and it’s a week or so before the party with the majority of your guest list unresponsive, it’s completely appropriate to call or email those you know well to as if they will be joining you at the party. But only do it once–hostessing isn’t about badgering the guests, after all. A quick note about how much you’re looking forward to seeing them again is a nice way to make them feel, truly, like an honored guest and not just a name on a list.

Still, if even that doesn’t work you’ve got 2 choices: prepare for those who replied or count the non-responders as maybes and prepare accordingly. Since my biggest nightmare of having a party is running out of food, I go with the latter and send leftovers home with willing guests.

One of my favorite scenes from the movie Clueless is the debate over Hatian refugees. In it, the main character, Cher, says

. . . when I had this garden party for my father’s birthday right? I said R.S.V.P. because it was a sit-down dinner. But people came that like, did not R.S.V.P. so I was like, totally buggin’. I had to haul ass to the kitchen, redistribute the food, squish in extra place settings, but by the end of the day it was like, the more the merrier!

And that’s what really matters, isn’t it? In a perfect world everyone would RSVP, there would be no glitches during party preparation and we’d all meet our guests at the door in a calm manner and not scrambling to get that last dish (or 2) out onto the buffet. Until then, we just have to deal.