Since almost all of our wedding party was from out of town and Brian and I both have pretty large families, we knew that we wanted to do something low-key and inexpensive for our rehearsal dinner. We decided on a back yard BBQ at our house with in-town family and friends bringing food potluck style. Including kids, we had around 30 people crammed into our house but I think it worked out really well! Brian and his friend Jeff made 45 burger patties (from scratch!) ahead of time and froze them so all we had to do on the day of was take them out and put them on the BBQ! Easy peasy. My mom brought the best potato salad I have ever tasted in my life (she added bacon…I think that was the kicker) and our MC’s Duncan and Erin brought a storage bin full of salad! I think they were under the impression people would only be eating salad ? 😉
The rehearsal dinner was also the time when Brian and I gave our wedding party their gifts. For my bridesmaids I got each of them with the same line, “Hey, I really need your opinion on the photos for the seating chart.” Worked like a charm and one-by-one I tricked them into coming downstairs with me so that I could give them their gift. Each bridesmaid got a handmade lace design makeup bag that I got off Etsy that was filled with a bunch of goodies. Each bag had in it:
– lip gloss
– hand lotion
– nail polish
– and a personalized compact mirror that had each of their names on it (for me and my sister, Windy, this is a big deal. Nothing ever had our name on it growing up)
Each of Brian’s groomsmen as well as both of our Dads got a pocket watch (also ordered off Etsy, that site is AMAZING). The watches were engraved with each of their initials.
For Brian’s two nieces who were our flower girls, they each got a necklace that had a little pink rose on it and a charm that had their first initial.
And finally for Brian’s two nephews who were our ring bearers, they each got a miniature baseball bat that said “Genuine Ring Bearer,” their name, and our wedding date on it.
The actual rehearsal was pretty seamless as we lucked out and had an amazing Justice of the Peace to conduct our ceremony. We did a couple run throughs of the ceremony but at that point I don’t think the reality of the situation had really sunk in yet.
Since we did not have a wedding planner, the main contact person for everything was myself. I had a lot of things organized a head of time but the rehearsal was just draining with questions that I hadn’t planned for. To help with this, I put certain people in charge of parts of the room. My little sisters were in charge of decorating the seating chart, my bridesmaids were in charge of decorating the head table and cake table, my dad, Windy’s dad, and other handy type guys were in charge of making sure the arch didn’t fall over on us during the ceremony, and friends that came to help out were given tasks such as putting the programs on the seats and setting up the centre pieces on the tables.
Naively, I was under the assumption that I would have all this time to be hands on and make everything “perfect”. But it turned out that I needed to be available to answer any and all questions from the hotel people, photographer (my step-dad), and the wedding party, friends, and family who I had delegated tasks to. I think it is important for Brides to have trust in the people around them and understand that they want your day to be perfect just as much as you do. And when it comes down to it, the guests are not going to be able to tell that the candles on the guest book signing table were supposed to be on the right and not the left. Just delegating tasks was exhausting and I remember standing and talking to the hotel coordinator and everything she was saying was going in one ear and out the other because I just couldn’t focus anymore.
For all the soon to be brides out there, I will fall under the cliche to say this, but honestly just relax and breathe. Everything will turn out great because you are surrounded by people who love you and will do anything to make sure that your day goes off without a hitch. I was very open with my wedding party and I gave them all an itinerary of what was happening on the day so everyone knew what time the flowers were going to be dropped off, and where people were supposed to be at a given time. You can coordinate all you want but when it comes to the day, just throw your hands up and let people help you. They know what you would want and they only have your best interests in mind. I was fortunate to have some fierce girls behind me and they handled a lot of stuff that went down on the day that I had no idea went on. Look how on top of everything they are!
Moral of the story: you can organize as obsessively as you want, but things are still going to happen that you didn’t plan for. The best thing to do is trust in the people around you and know that no matter what happens it doesn’t matter because you are going to marry the love of your life.