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|
|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|
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.
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|
|The rest of our bridal party.|
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.
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?
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.
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 budget...so 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