As we began our search for a reception site, we had one criteria in mind: originality. Although we've been to many beautiful weddings in hotel ballrooms, we wanted something different, unique, and with a hint of history. So you can imagine how excited we were when we found a historical mansion that was large enough to hold all our guests and fell within our budget range!
We knew there would be some challenges to holding a wedding reception in a mansion, but we were confident that with a creative and problem-solving attitude, we could make it work! One problem in particular was how our guests would find their way around the multiple roomed mansion. A ballroom is pretty easy - you can see the whole reception hall, but what do you do when the reception is spread out amongst 12 or so rooms? You make a map!
I have always loved maps and Katrina began her college career in pre-architecture, so the idea of mapping out a floor plan seemed very "us". Aside from just being fun to make, we figured it would be really helpful for our guests to find their tables and make sure they didn't miss out on anything like our history room because they hadn't found the second floor. We had two sides to our maps:
Here's where we made a floor plan of the main level and second level (the lower level was pretty self-explanatory with just one big ballroom and bathrooms) along with a box for important times (dinner, cake, dance) and a "have you found?" section which was a mini scavenger hunt for the children, young at heart, or anyone who was feeling bored (gasp!).
Here's where we got to brag about our awesome Groomsmen and Bridesmaids. Behind that we made a map of the US with "Important Places to Us" like our trip to NYC, snowboarding excursion and location of our first kiss.
We designed it in black and white and used some antique-looking paper from Kinko's (we bought a whole ream to save money and used the extra sheets in the children's room at the reception for making drawings or paper airplanes!) Using our cheap printing tips, the whole project came out to under $50. We folded them up accordion style like a map and had our ushers hand them out after the ceremony, leaving extras in a basket for guests arriving at the reception front door.
Although this wasn't an extremely necessary wedding need, we loved making the maps and knew that thoughtful projects such as this really helped set the intimate ambiance for the reception, reminding our guests how glad we were for their presence!
Like this idea? Check out our other DIY Wedding posts!