wedding wednesday: the rehearsal dinner!
It’s been nearly four (!) months since my favorite boy and I got hitched. I’ve gotten an overwhelming request to share all the intimate details from our wedding, so I’m launching a new series today: Wedding Wednesdays!
Why a series? Great question!
1. There’s a lot of of details to talk about! We incorporated DIY touches into nearly every aspect of our wedding, so naturally, there’s a lot I want to show you everything!
2. There are a TON of photos. Like, a ridiculous amount of amazing, sweet, gorgeous, hilarious photos. I’ve been dying to share them with you, and it’s gonna happen. I might overshare, who knows?
3. I spent two years planning our dream wedding and countless hours making it a reality. It would really be a shame not to give our wedding the proper write-up I think it deserves!
Each Wednesday, I’ll be sharing a piece of our wedding with you, beginning with the rehearsal dinner the evening before, and all the way until the last dance. It’s going to be a little bit epic.
And when I’m done with wedding recaps, the next series will be all about our amazing European honeymoon! Now you have plenty of exciting things to look forward to, right?
Okay, let’s get this show on the road!
We held our rehearsal dinner the evening before the wedding at 310 Lakeside, a wonderful restaurant in the heart of downtown Orlando, right across from Lake Eola. Our parents, bridal party, and family from out of town who arrived that day were in attendance.
For those of you who live in or are planning to travel to the Orlando area, you’ve got to make a stop at 310! They have seriously amazing food…especially their burgers. My heart is aching for one as I type this!
I don’t know if I can really say that our wedding had a definite “theme.” Here are some words I can use to describe said theme: vintage, antique books, library, soda shop, old timey, retro candy shop, laughing, shabby chic, mismatched, mason jars, sprinkles, words, desserts, colors. So, yeah. Needless to say, I had a hard time finding invites, decor and everything else that could possibly go along with our theme, so we made nearly everything ourselves, from scratch.
We did a crazy amount of DIY projects for our wedding, and a huge amount of time was spent creating all of the wedding invitations, menus, programs, and other miscellaneous print-outs. I designed everything using Adobe InDesign CS5, which I basically taught myself how to use during the process. I’m kind of an expert now!
For the rehearsal dinner invitations and menus, I had them printed on thick cream-colored card stock, which I adhered to pieces of thick scrapbook paper. All of the menus had different designs but similar color schemes, which played into our vintage-retro-hodgepodge-whatever theme.
We wanted the focus of our rehearsal dinner to be our family and friends, who’d been so amazing, loving, supportive and generally awesome throughout the entire planning process.
I can’t tell you how many hours I spent with my bridesmaids hollowing out books to make book safes, running all around town to secondhand shops and antique stores to find knick knacks, old jars, cake plates and a million other pieces of decor for the wedding. Seriously, I never could have pulled off this wedding without our wonderful bridal party!
That’s me with my maid of honor, Sam. She’s my BFF, and I would be completely lost without her! We drank delicious drinks, made hilarious faces and pretty much just laughed all night long. Not just Sam and I, everyone did those things. It was great!
I was feeling so stressed out, anxious, scared, terrified and excited that entire day. Our wedding rehearsal that afternoon was…interesting. Our wedding planner didn’t seem to know what she was doing, my dad was cracking jokes with my friends and getting on my nerves (love you Dad!), and it was really hot out.
Did I mention the wedding was in December? When it’s supposed to not be hot? Nobody wants to be a sweaty bride. True story.
So basically, I had a million knots in my stomach and was stressed out to the max that day. It was so great to relax a tiny bit that evening before the wedding, surrounded by a great group of amazing people.
The food was amazing, and crazy little me had decided that not only did I want to prepare all of the desserts for our wedding dessert table, but I also wanted to make the desserts for our rehearsal dinner.
Why am I so crazy? We’ll never know.
I made a lemon marscarpone torte, a vanilla bean New York cheesecake, a tiramisu cheesecake and two (!) peanut butter brownie tortes. Shh, don’t tell anyone, but I made them all way, way in advance and froze them! That’s the beauty of most desserts, you guys. They freeze beautifully, especially anything with a high fat content, like cheesecake or anything with peanut butter.
The desserts were a hit, which made me feel even better. I don’t know why, but I still sometimes worry that people won’t like things I’ve baked. Even though I’m in culinary school, studying baking and pastry, and I’ve been baking my entire life. It’s silly, I know.
Okay, this is one of my most favorite things from our rehearsal dinner! On a last-minute lark the day before the rehearsal dinner, I decided it would be fun to make a wedding Mad Lib for everyone to fill out at dinner. You know, because I didn’t have enough things to do or worry about.
Luckily, it was super simple to make using InDesign. I might be in love with that program a little.
While most people think Mad Libs are just silly and fun, they’re actually a huge part of Ryan and I’s relationship. We have about 12 books of Mad Libs that are completely filled out from road trips we’ve taken over the years since we’ve been together. They are wacky, non-sensical, and absolutely hilarious. Hysterical, uncontrollable, tears-rolling-down-your-face hilarious.
Also, we don’t totally play by the standard Mad Lib rules. It’s way more fun that way. We’re overly-descriptive (what do you expect? We’re both writers!), inappropriate, random, foul-mouthed and generally not very G-rated at all. It gets real.
We’ve also done Mad Libs with our friends over the years, and they totally play by our rules. too. We didn’t get a chance to read these until after the wedding, and Ryan and I were both in hysterics. I like having funny friends. I’m planning on pasting these into a scrapbook so we can save them and keep laughing for years to come–these Mad Libs are such a fun memento of the evening, and I’m so glad I decided to make them!
At the end of the meal after everyone had eaten way too much cheesecake and all the speeches were done, we surprised our bridal party with gifts! There was no way I’d be able to find one gift that would suit each of the six bridal party members perfectly, so we got them each things we thought they would love.
It felt more special for me to give each girl something I knew they’d love, rather than hoping they’ll like some generic necklace or something. We also wrote a personal note for each girl, thanking them for being so insanely awesome. Well, the cards were more eloquently worded than that. I think.
Also, it was really fun shopping for each of the girls! I love buying presents for people, so the task of buying the bridal party gifts was a responsibility I was more than happy to do!
Sam was my maid of honor, and she and her boyfriend Cliff love soup. A lot! They make it all the time, so I got her a beautiful Le Creuset enameled cast iron pot for all her soup-making needs. She loved it!
Gabbie was one of my bridesmaids, and she loves baking and adorable things. So I got her a few things that fit the bill: a set of really adorable, limited edition Le Creuset Berry Casseroles, which are SO CUTE by the way. I am super jealous and I wanted to keep them for myself, but I love Gabbie and I am not a jerk. I also gave her a lovely wooden spoon, a bottle of pure vanilla extract and a sweet book.
Samantha was my other bridesmaid, though I never ever call her that. Her last name is McCool, so obviously that’s what I call her. Come on, greatest last name ever, right? She’s also a teacher, so she’s Ms. McCool, too.
Ms. McCool is also a writer, a lover of words, and a connoisseur of fine whiskey. No writer should be without a nice decanter to hold their spirit of choice, so I got her a really beautiful decanter and a bottle of Johnny Walker Black. Ryan was jealous.
Onto the groomswomen! Ryan had a groomswoman of honor and two groomswomen, and all of them are amazing women who I am proud to call dear friends of mine. His best man, Brandon, was unable to make it to the wedding. He’s a Marine, and was deployed during our wedding. But he was totally there in spirit!
One of Ryan’s best friends, Kelly just happens to be Brandon’s wife! Ryan actually introduced them. Matchmaking! Kelly was Ryan’s groomswoman of honor, and she stayed with us the week before the wedding, helping out with anything and everything either one of us could ask her to do. She saved the day in so many different ways, and we’re so grateful for her help!
Kelly loves to cook, so we got her a beautiful Le Creuset brasier (again, jealous!), a cookbook, and a tube of umami paste! She told me the umami paste is really good in Bloody Marys. Want! Brandon and Kelly are actually moving to Japan next month for three years, and it was absolutely wonderful to spend as much time with her as we did during the wedding festivities.
Marilyn was one of Ryan’s groomswomen, and a newlywed herself–she actually got married the month before our wedding! She lives in NYC and is such a warm, funny awesome lady. She and her husband are obsessed with coffee (us too!), so we got her a really nice Burr grinder (again, super jealous) and a really nice bag of beans to grind up. Apparently, they’d been wanting a Burr grinder for a while–sometimes I am psychically awesome at giving gifts!
Last but certainly not least, Jenn was Ryan’s second groomswoman. She is an amazingly talented jewelry designer and a gifted musician with a great palate and a love of unique flavor combinations. Can you see why we totally get along?
Jenn and her wife Cara recently moved back to Orlando from California with their far-too-adorable baby boy, Jude. Since it gets wicked hot here and they love spending time in the kitchen, we got Jenn a beautiful stainless steel ice cream maker, a set of china bowls and long-handeled silver spoons. I am definitely going to their house for an ice cream party soon!
After the gifts were opened and the floor was littered with wrapping paper, we slowly said our goodbyes to everyone. Ryan and his groomswomen went out for a night on the town, and Sam and I headed to the hotel on the wedding venue property. We stayed up until 3am with my mom, finishing up last minute projects, chatting with random out of town wedding guests who were enjoying the night breeze and chatting nervously about the following day.
Our rehearsal dinner was so much fun, and I am so grateful that we got to spend a relaxed, fun evening surrounded by the people we love!
Stay tuned for the next installment of Wedding Wednesday, where I’ll babble on incessantly about the morning of the wedding, getting fancied up and waiting until the last minute to write my vows!
A huge, enormous, special thank you to Gabbie and her wonderful boyfriend Albert for providing the wonderful photos from the rehearsal dinner! I didn’t even think to take any, so thank you for saving the day! I love you guys.