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My AHR Planning Thread & Review

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I've noticed that although many brides have an AHR, very few of us share the details involved with the planning. I don't know if the lovely moderators will want to move this to the planning forum but I figured it might stand out a little more here in the AHR forum.


Since most of DH's family was unable to attend our Moon Palace wedding, we decided that it would be a good idea to hold a reception for them to meet my family. About a month before our actual wedding, I started searching for a venue that would hold about 70 people. Of course, my parents live in Ottawa, his family is mostly about an hour South of Ottawa, and we live 6 hours East of Ottawa. This meant that I had to do all my research online, and hope that I would stumble across something suitable.


We debated on the style of our reception, and finally decided that since we didn't want his family to feel obligated to rent hotel rooms, we would host a luncheon reception. We found a beautiful, historic restaurant located in the Byward Market area of Ottawa. We were able to reserve the top floor of the Courtyard Restaurant:


Courtyard Restaurant


I sent an email request to the event staff and they were very quick to reply. They offered us a variety of available dates, unfortunately our preferred date got booked before we made a final decision. We had originally picked a Saturday afternoon, but ended up with Sunday. I think this worked out better because we had more time to prepare once we got into town. It would have been too rushed if we had to get everything done over night.


It did take a few emails to remind the event staff that we were out of town and that we would already be married by the time our reception took place. But eventually they figured out that we were not interested in missing a full day of work to attend a one hour planning session and tasting.


The restaurant offered a variety of menus. We settled on the wedding luncheon menu that included soup or salad, a choice of three entrees, and dessert. It also included a cocktail reception with cheese and crackers.

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I decided to do this thread in several posts, so that I wouldn't lose any information in between.


When guests entered the cocktail/bar area, they were greeted by my nephew that distributed drink tickets. We asked him to give one ticket to every adult. Since it was lunch, we didn't expect many people to drink. We also supplied an alcoholic and a non-alcoholic punch. My sister/bridesmaid was also there to welcome guests. We had set up our pro photo album, as well as two smaller photo books with pictures from my parents' camera. While guests were flipping through the photo albums, we asked them to complete a wedding mad-lib instead of signing a guest book.


I can't remember how I stumbled across this one, but it was great. My only regret is that we didn't read them aloud at the wedding. Some were very funny. It's amazing how many people think you should have lots of babies and name the babies after them. My plan is to put the completed mad-libs in a scrap book with pictures from our AHR. Of course, I forgot where I found it, but I will post it once I remember to bring a copy to work.


To decorate the dining room, we used the chair sashes and table runners from our Mexico wedding. I washed them all once we got home and really should have folded them, but DH said they looked great wrinkly. I love that he always says nice things like that so I don't stress. I also set up a candy bar in one corner.


For our candy bar, I purchased several glass jars from Winners, ranging in price from $5 to $10. We filled 2 jars with peach gummy hearts and mike and ike candies. I purchased kettle corn from a marked vendor, which is delicious. For those of you unfamiliar, it is popcorn that is popped in melted sugar and butter, so it is sweet and salty yumminess. I made chocolate dipped pretzel rods for another jar. I also made three flavors of cupcakes and iced them all in mounds of butter cream. We displayed these on metal cupcake holders that were purchased from Michaels. Finally, set upon a glass pedestal was our beautiful homemade wedding cake. I made the cake and while searching for inspiration, chose a rosette cake. We didn't cut the cake, but instead brought it home to indulge.


We also made favors for everyone that were set at each place setting. The favors were smores. We purchased strawberry and chocolate marshmallows which we packaged with graham crackers and a hershey bar. I made DH drive across the border with me so that we could purchase the marshmallows and chocolate. For our favor tags, we gave instructions for making smores in the oven and on the front I wrote a little poem.


More Hugs,

More Kisses,

More Memories, and

S'More Love to Share.


The food that they served at the Courtyard was delicious. I didn't hear any complaints and when we walked around between courses, it looked like everyone had cleared their plates. Overall, we had a wonderful afternoon. Our guests were all very thankful and it was a great opportunity for the two families to mingle. I'm glad that we didn't do a more simple reception because we were able to enjoy the time with our guests instead of worrying about getting food ready.


I will try to post some pictures as soon as possible. But sadly, it looks like our wedding journey is now over. As I told DH on our drive home, time to clean out the wedding room and get rid of all my wedding porn.

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Here's a few of the templates I used:


Mad Lib:

Dear Bride & Groom
I/we are so ________________for you! You two are _______________ together, and weâ€re ________________ to be able to ____________with you today. Your lives together will be full of ____________ and _____________ as long as you always____________ , never ____________, and remember to . Some advice for the future: When you have children, name them and
. Take a romantic vacation to ____________ together. And on your 50th wedding anniversary, donâ€t forget to ____________. I/we ____________ you both and wish you nothing but
____________ ____________________. Love _____________________________

And the nice pdf version:





Drink Tickets:


Drink Tickets.jpg







Drink Tickets.pub

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I am so glad to hear your guests enjoyed the Mad Libs!!  In Martha Stewarts last wedding issue she had a download for one - which I've done and had planned to include in my OOT bags.  Sounds like it could be just as fun at the AHR too!!  Sounds like everything went really well for you!   

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