After the wedding reception ended, it was so convenient to walk the stone’s throw over to the Hawthorne Hotel, where Alastair and I would be spending the night. The hotel had been hosting another wedding that same evening, and party guests were making their way out of the lobby as we were making out way in.
The suite that we had in the Hawthorne Hotel was absolutely enormous. It was on the sixth (top?) floor, and had huge windows that looked out to Salem below. There was champagne and chocolate covered strawberries waiting for us when we arrived. As tired as I was, I couldn’t fall sleep while visions of the wedding ceremony and reception danced in my head. But, knowing that there were more festivities in store for us the next morning helped to ease my eyes shut.
The next morning we were hosting a brunch, open to all of our wedding guests, in the grand ballroom of the Hawthorne Hotel. Alastair and I made sure to get downstairs early. We wanted to set up crosswords and pencils at each table, and also to be there in case there were any other early risers. Many of our guests from out of town and abroad were staying in Salem, either at the Hawthorne itself or nearby.
I wish I had taken some photos, because the room was lovely in the morning light with views of the Salem Commons to the side, and the colors of Fall trimming the trees in the distance. The ballroom was set up with all of the floral centerpieces from the wedding reception, which made it feel elegant even if it was a casual brunch.
These are a few photos from Alastair’s groomsmen, Andy.
The breakfast was served buffet style as people trickled in. Some faces were alert and ready to take on the day, and others were still a bit sleepy from the late night dancing and in need of strong coffee. It was such a relaxed atmosphere, and I appreciated the time and opportunity to spend chatting with our friends and family that I didn’t get to see as much of at the reception. Nothing during the brunch felt rushed, and guests indulged in the overflowing breakfast buffet, exchanged silly stories about the night before, and even attempted to finish our crossword.
The crossword was a masterpiece done by our good friend, Seth. He is a legend at crossword puzzles and creates them for fun. Earlier in the year I had asked if it would be possible for him to do one using facts about Alastair and I. He graciously offered to give it try, and he did a fabulous job. Alastair and I love puzzles and games so it was a perfect gift for us to share with our other guests. Not everyone enjoys crossword puzzles, so we simply left them on tables for those who wanted to take up the challenge. The only thing I regret is not having a prize for the person who did it the fastest. I didn’t take into account the possibility that so many people would actually attempt to finish it! It was a hit :)
The greatest part about having the brunch was that I started to feel as if all of our wedding guests had become a huge family. So many people came from so many different places not knowing each other, but after the picnic on Friday, the wedding, and then the brunch, everyone was becoming familiar with one another. It was a pleasure to watch as two families, and friends from all over, joked and laughed with each other. In my heart, I felt that the wedding weekend was a huge success, especially since it began to feel as if everyone there had known each other for ages and not only for a couple of days.
The wedding reception had been an evening of fantastic extravagance, which had a formality to it, while the brunch, by contrast, was a relaxing gathering that had a familiarity to it. It was perfect morning with friends and family, and it didn’t even end there! Many of our friends from the U.K. extended the festivities by gathering at my mom’s house afterwards. We drank lemonade and tea in the afternoon sunshine, and visited with the chickens :)
Eventually, we said goodbye to many of our family and friends one by one, but we had a small bonfire in the backyard with some of those who still remained that evening.
Never have I ever felt so grateful and so blessed than I have after our wedding weekend. I wanted to relish in every memory of those three short, but meaningful days. Alastair and I were euphoric with all that had happened and I simply felt myself exhale and smile.