Friday, July 27, 2012

Wedding Week: Rehearsal After-Party

Sorry this is a pictureless post - someone took a lot of photos at our after-party...but I can't seem to get my hands on them!

Mom Busy Bee and FMIL planned a get-together for all our guests staying at the hotel for Friday evening.  It actually started before we returned from our rehearsal - so when Mr. C and I arrived, there were about 60 people in the hotel conference room  FMIL's friend had been kind enough to offer to help set up, so things were rolling by the time we got there.

It was amazing to see all these faces for the first time - and they actually cheered for us when we entered the room.  MBB and FMIL planned to have sandwiches, snacks, drinks, and anything you could think of.  People who were just getting into town were grateful to have free food available and the ease of not having to go out into a town they weren't as familiar with. 

Mr. C and I also found this to be an amazing opportunity to catch up with people we hadn't seen in sometime, to giggle with excitement with the people who were almost as anxious as we were, and to take in the special feeling knowing that all these people were here to celebrate our union.  It really was amazing.  I would highly recommend some sort of event if you could swing it for your out of town guests.

Brother M finally returned from his football game, so we were able to gift him his groomsman gift and took some family photos with Mr. C's family and my family.

Although I was having an amazing time and I did not want to leave, I swore that I was going to leave the party by 11:30.  I gathered up the bridesmaids and my family and herded them to the car.  it was hard to leave such a hopping party, but I was really dead set on getting a solid night's sleep.  I begged Mr. C to go to bed soon (apparently, he didn't listen) and said my goodbyes to many of our guests who were still hanging out.  

The girls and I headed back to my parent's house.  BM J and I shared a bed, and BM S slept on the floor, and BM S and BM Y shared a bed and MOH J slept on the floor in their room.  It was amazing to have these really special women so close to me mere hours before my wedding day.  I was glad they decided to stay!  (Poor BM A couldn't stay because her allergies would have been a mess!)

I thought I would be too anxious to sleep, but I passed right out with my alarm set for 7 the next morning.  Tomorrow I would be getting married.

Missed out on our wedding week recaps?  Catch up here:
I Come Out of Hiding
Wedding Week Begins
Wedding Week: Wednesday
Wedding Week: Thursday
Wedding Week: Friday
Wedding Week: Friday Rehearsal 
Wedding Week: Time to Rehearse

Monday, July 9, 2012

Wedding Week: Time to Rehearse!

 This is an absurdly long post, so feel free to just scroll through.  I'm trying to be as detailed as possible for my own recollection, plus there were so many details I didn't blog about before the wedding, so I'm hoping some of the ideas (such as bridal party gifts) are helpful!

When I arrived at the church, I was so happy to see so many of our loved ones in from all over... our bridal party, our readers, our family, and of course, Mr. C!

The church coordinator was there to meet us and to finalize details with Mr. C and I.  Then it was time to rehearse the processional and to figure out how the heck we were getting that wagon into the church and down the aisle.

Unfortunately, the lighting in the church didn't work well with my camera, which I had handed off to my Aunt, so I have only limited pictures of our actual rehearsal, but the real deal the next day was what really mattered.

Mr. C and Best Man M were too tired to stand while we practiced our processional


Pretty excited!
Here comes the star of the day!

I couldn't believe we were already here.  And my cousin practices standing for my entrance!
This is the clearest of the photos from my camera.  We're getting lectured by the wedding coordinator

There was a lot going on at the rehearsal; we brought our unity candle, programs, decor.  We did our processional and discussed the whole ceremony.  We used the wagon with Baby J and our readers did a quick read-through.  It was so exciting and everything was feeling more real.

If I could re-do our rehearsal at all, I would say to give a camera to someone who is pretty handy with cameras, so if your lighting isn't ideal, they'll be able to figure it out.  Secondly, keep a list with you of what you're responsible for at the rehearsal. We forgot a few things and had to send my uncle back to my parents' house to bring it back to the church.

After an hour, we gathered everyone in cars and headed to our rehearsal dinner.  We were having a family style dinner at an Asian restaurant.  We were expecting about 60 or so people, including everyone involved in the wedding ceremony and grandparents.  We chose not to invite out-of-town guests, because that would have been about 75% of our wedding guests!  We stuck with those directly involved.  A faux pas?  Maybe, but I also think it would have been a hassle for the out of town guests to try and make it to the dinner on time.  I was happy with our guest list - it truly was our nearest and dearest!

Mr. C and I drove over together, pulled into the parking lot and (sadly) still were busy finalizing some of the gifts!  It was really pathetic on our part, but we were so behind!

When we got into the restaurant, most of the guests were already seated.  Mr. C and I sat with the majority of our bridal party.

Table 1

Table 2

Table 3
As hostess, my MIL made adorable place cards and favors for all our guests.  There were scratch tickets as favors, and Mr. C and I both won some cash (which, we failed to cash in ever...whoops!).

I don't think I ever told you about my rehearsal dress, but it was such an awesome find!  I was shopping at Bloomingdale's looking for dresses for my bachelorette party (yes, way back then) and found this Ralph Lauren dress on sale.  It was $40, in my size, and in our wedding colors.  It was a bit more appropriate for spring rather than fall, so I added a warmer cardigan and felt like I had succeeded in making the dress fall-appropriate.

Appetizers were served first, and there was so much we all initially thought it was the main meal!  While people were snacking on apps, I walked around and took lots of pictures.  I was so excited!

MOH Sister J photobombs us.  Mr. C tries to prevent it
Our last day as fiances!

Bridesmaid Y and Date C

Best Man M and Reader L

Bridesmaid A and Date D

Groomsman E and Bridesmaid J

Date J and Groomsman B

I can only say: SMH

Sister J and I pose for some lovely pictures
I had to step out with my Aunt B for a bit, and Mr. C started to wonder what we were up to...

The rest of our bridal party.
While everyone finished up dinner, I got shots with each of the wonderful ladies who had been so supportive throughout the wedding planning process

For dessert, I surprised Mr. C with a cake decorated with the Syracuse University mascot, Otto.  He was only half surprised (he had guessed something was coming, especially when he spied Aunt A and I out in the hallway) but I was really pleased with how the cake came out.  I ordered the cake from Konditor Meister, the same bakery that did our wedding cake, and Aunt A was kind enough to pick it up for me (they didn't do delivery for orders under $100).

We used the opportunity to practice our cake cutting skills, which we never really perfected.

Once cake had been doled out, Mr. C and I took the opportunity to thank everyone present for everything they had done for us.  We thanked our readers (and promised they would get gifts from us soon), and started to hand out gifts to the bridal party and our parents.  I sadly didn't take any pictures of the final products, but I hope the recipients saw the thought and care we put into their gifts.

For Ring Bearer W, we got him a pillow pet and a gift card to Toys R Us.  He was very excited to step into the middle of the room and open it for everyone.  He even read his card aloud!  He's such a ham.

The groomsman all got something a little different from Mr. C to fit their personalities, along with the ties we were hoping they'd wear the next day.  Groomsman B got a poker set, Groomsman E got two lift tickets (one for Mr. C!), and Groomsman Bro M and Groomsman BIL D got tickets to a Celtics game.

For the girls, I did gifts that matched more.  Each of the gifts came in a reusable tote in pretty colors.  Each girl got a monogram necklace (which I found on sale at Macys...however, they didn't have any letters "Y" so I asked Birdhouse Jewelry to make one to match and she did an amazing job!), monogrammed mugs from Anthropologie (found here) and a print that I thought suited their personality (found here).  I also made each of the girl a tank top I was hoping she'd wear the next morning in pictures.  The tanks had their name and "role" on it.  Thanks to the Old Navy tank sale and some old iron on letters, this was a cheap and easy project!  Finally, I made a hanger for each lady with her first initial on it.  I was hoping we'd get some good photos of all our dresses hung in a row!

Mr. C and I wanted to do a little something different for our Best Man and MOH.

For Best Man M, Mr. C got him cufflinks that matched a pair he'd bought for himself and a Kindle.  We wanted to show that we recognized how much Best Man M had done for us, and how grateful we were to him for taking on that role.

MOH Sister J received a Coach purse as her little something extra.  I see her use it every so often now, and I'm glad it's something she can use that reminds her of our special day.

Although Baby J wasn't at the rehearsal dinner, we had her parents open up her gift: an engraved frame for a wedding picture with her FAVORITE aunt and uncle after the big day.  Needless to say, Sister J pretty much lost it after opening that.  Who'd have thought SHE would be the biggest crier of the day?

We next wanted to thank our parents for raising us, making us the AMAZING people we are, and recognizing that it's not so often anymore that both sets of parents are still married, so thanking them for being great examples of what marriage is: no matter how many ups and downs you may face!

As part of our pre-cana marriage classes, a couple who had been married for 45 years told us the key to marriage was date nights: put away the phone, shut off the TV, and hire a babysitter.  Date nights were for you and your spouse alone, and they are important to have at least once a week.  We decided as our parents were such examples of great marriage for us, we wanted to gift them with their own dates nights.

Mr. C's parents received tickets to a show and a gift certificate to a local restaurant.  For my parents, we got them tickets for a champagne brunch cruise out of Boston.  We hoped that these were tickets they wouldn't typically purchase for themselves, but could use to spend some alone time together after the craziness of the wedding had worn out.

After we were done, MOH J and BM M got up and took over.  They took the opportunity to thank everyone for coming and for doing their biding throughout the planning process.

Next thing I knew, everyone was making speeches!!  This was entirely unexpected, so I don't have many photos, but there was a lot of laughing, crying, and heartfelt congratulations.

One of my favorite speeches was from Aunt A, who went first.  She decided to present us with our first wedding gift of the weekend.  She talked about how she and Mom Busy Bee had discussed this and it was a gift from both my Aunt and Uncle and my parents.  She told me about how her wedding video is one of the things in her life she treasures most, how she watched it after the wedding, she's watched it with each of her four boys, and she loves re-living those moments.  She knew throughout the planning process that videography was something we just could not fit into our she and Uncle S and my parents made it happen for us.  They hired a videographer and there would be someone coming the next day to film those moments for us.

I lost it when she told us this.  I couldn't believe the generosity, the thoughtfulness, and how involved each of these family members had been in the planning process to know this was something important to Mr. C and I.  We've watched the video a number of times since our wedding, and I will ALWAYS be grateful to Aunt A, Uncle S, and my amazing parents for making it possible.  It was such a wonderful, wonderful gift.

Although I had felt the love all week so far, and all throughout our rehearsal, this was one of those moments of the entire weekend that I will never forget: this moment when my family showed me how much they care and love Mr. C and I, it truly blew me away. 

Here's a final picture from our rehearsal dinner...look at this sharply dressed wedding party!!

After the dinner, it was time to head back to the hotel for a welcome-to-our-wedding-weekend-party.  Things weren't quite over yet!

Do you have moments from prior to your wedding day when someone truly blew you away?

Missed out on our wedding week recaps?  Catch up here:
I Come Out of Hiding
Wedding Week Begins
Wedding Week: Wednesday
Wedding Week: Thursday
Wedding Week: Friday
Wedding Week: Friday Rehearsal

All personal photos.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Wedding Week: Friday Rehearsal

Thanks to anyone who has kept me in their Google Reader or still randomly checks out my blog to see if I'm keeping things up to date.  My life has been absolutely wild in the past few months - Mr. C matched for his residency in March for a program in Rochester, NY.  Since that time we've had to make lots of plans, lots of moves, and said lots of goodbyes.  We celebrated Mr. C's match in March, relished every moment in NY in April, honeymooned in May, and three weeks ago, Mr. C moved up to Rochester and left me in Brooklyn to finish out the term of our lease.  With lots of time on my own and lots of memories from our wedding starting to fade away, I am determined to finish our wedding recaps - more for myself than anyone else!  If you still happen to be reading along, I'd love to hear from you!

When I got back from the nail salon, out-of-town guests were congregating at my parent's house.  Mr. C showed up with Best Man M and Groomsman E.  They were picking up the out of town bags, grabbing some of Mr. C's stuff and quickly headed back to the hotel.  It was beyond exciting to see people from near and far gathering and to talk about the excitement of the next day.

Baby J excited for her upcoming role as Flower Girl

My Uncle and Dad Busy Bee put together the wagon for Baby J

Practicing her role!

"What the heck is this thing?"

Smile and look pretty? Can do!

Unfortunately, Mr. C and I were really far behind in writing thank you notes and wrapping gifts, so while everyone else was catching up, we were upstairs frantically stuffing envelopes and creating printouts for our parent gifts.

Mr. C headed out with his guys, the guests started to trickle back to the hotel, and I changed into my rehearsal dinner dress.  It was time to rehearse!

Missed out on our wedding week recaps?  Catch up here:
I Come Out of Hiding
Wedding Week Begins
Wedding Week: Wednesday
Wedding Week: Thursday
Wedding Week: Friday