Sunday, March 15, 2009

Rehearsal Dinner and Rehearsal

As with everything else, we decided to shake things up a little at the rehearsal dinner because goodness knows we can't do anything just... normally.

Since we were paying for the whole thing ourselves, we knew we had to cut corners and figured the rehearsal dinner was one place to do it. I decided that we couldn't have both fancy food at our rehearsal dinner AND invite all of our out of town guests. I know it's not mandatory to invite all out of towners to the rehearsal dinner, but it was important to me so we decided that a low key casual pizza party would work. With all the rooms that we had booked at the hotel, we got the use of one of the banquet rooms for free. Getting into the facility the night before was not a possibility so we decided that having it at the hotel would be easiest for all the out of towners and those not included in the wedding party. We figured instead of the usual rehearsal and then the dinner, we would do the dinner first and then let everyone go who did not need to be involved in the rehearsal.

It was so nice to see Jay when we got to the hotel. I had hardly seen him the day before (he had breezed in between work and the bachelor party) and I hadn’t seen him at all that day. He looked so handsome as usual and had everything under control. When the door was locked he let us know that he had already contacted the front desk and that someone was on their way. The pizza arrived very soon there after as did most of the other guests. We had a wonderful time mingling and chowing down. I was proud of myself because I actually ate. It was the first time that day other than a bagel early in the morning. My dad and brothers all got along for the most part which was so nice. I know it was all for me, but I still appreciated it.

Since so many people would be meeting for the first time, and I obviously didn't have enough to do the week of the wedding, I made name tags for everyone attending the rehearsal dinner. We were having a celtic wedding but were trying not to just go with the cliche 4 leaf clovers and such, so I decided that the name tags were a great place to bring in the more cheesy side of being Irish.

I printed the name tags on simple square shipping labels that I already had on hand from shipping... something. Don't feel that you always have to buy something new, infact before you buy something new take stock of what you already have and what you can use to accomplish what you want.

Oh but the wonderfulness doesn't stop there! I'm not sure why having personalized stuff was so important to me for the weekend, probably because I'd been reading too many bridal blogs with girls throwing $50,000+ weddings, but anyway... was my favorite site for the prewedding stuff. I had a tank top made that said, Irish Bride, as well as matching sweatshirts for Jay and me with our wedding monogram on the front and the date. On the back was our alternative wedding monogram. Also, mine said "The Future Mrs. Jeremy Stafford" and Jay said, "The Future Mr. Bonnie Stafford". They were so much fun and I wear mine to this day as a wonderful reminder. Unfortunately, it was hot in the rehearsal dinner room so jay didn't really wear his. Oh well. We showed it off at least.

And yes of course, the fonts and monograms match the invitations which matched the programs which matched the other signage at the wedding. Yes, I'm just that Type A and detailed!

So, the dinner was awesome. Everyone enjoyed getting to know each other which made the wedding day easier since the core people had already met and spent time together.

My awesome brothers, and Jen, our Irish authenticity coordinator.

Jay and I then gave out all the presents (Jmom cried when she opened her handkerchiefs) and everyone was really excited about their gifts. Then we toasted everyone and thanked them for all the hard work they had already done and all the hard work they were going to do the next day setting up and tearing down the wedding.

He always makes me laugh. It's one of the things I love the most about him!

Our wonderful cookie baker, Darby, and her husband Kyle, and, Shannon, the beautiful wife of our best man all listening intently. And Jess laughing at one of my not-so-funny jokes.

Of course all toasts by the bride and groom must be ended with a kiss. ;-)

Then it was time to get the show on the road!

I laid out the rules very early on. Either pay attention and do it my way...


Just kidding. :-) I have no idea what I was saying but those two pictures make me look like a freaking slave driver! And everyone was wonderful and really paid attention to what they needed to do. It really made the next day go very easily.

My wonderfully handsome and amazing groom with his signature carobiner and keys. He's been wearing something like that for the entire 12 years I've known him. Just goes to illustrate how wonderfully consistent he is, which is a wonderful complement to my crazy, stressed out, whirlwind existence.

Maid of Honor and Best Man

Yes, I'm aware of the fact that my mom and I look so much alike. But this picture really show the extent to which we look alike. She my mom looks just like her mom, so I know exactly what I have to look forward to. It's nice to have two beautiful women in your lineage to look to. And don't those guys look awesome, either that or like they have something planned up their sleeve. You really never know with those three.

Once everyone was comfortable with what they needed to do the next morning, the boys gratefully offered to clean up the banquet room since they were staying at the hotel anyway and were still waiting on some key people to arrive.

So, us girls loaded back up and headed back to my house for some more girl bonding time and last minute final projects.

Tips: Make the rehearsal dinner something you are comfortable with, both financially and in all other ways. If you want a big fancy dinner, and you have the money then go for it, but if all you have is enough for pizza and beer, then go with it. People, especially those from out of town, will appreciate not having to worry about finding a meal in a strange city more than they will be picky over the food that is served.

Secondly, stress, stress, stress to your wedding party how important it is to not only be at the rehearsal on time, but to be there AT ALL. We had a groomsman that was totally MIA and our sound guy left before the rehearsal started which only made his job harder the next day. Make sure people know your expectations ahead of time so they can let you know whether or not they can meet them. If they can't, that fine, but you'll be much happier to find that out 6 months before the wedding than the night before.

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