The wedding "events" began Friday with a bridal luncheon followed by the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. It was a day that was as busy as could be, scurrying to take care of last minute details but somehow seemed a little more relaxed and a time to be able to hang out with our family and friends while anticipating the bigger day to come.
In true wedding fashion, Friday started out at a local salon here in Carytown. It was one of those times where I felt like we could just really do it up for the entire weekend since it would be a once in a lifetime excuse to really spoil ourselves. My bridesmaids included my sister, best friend (Emily) and Stephanie (Tim's daughter) — who were all there to join in on the fun. I ended up getting bright red polish for a matching mani/pedi and decided since I was going wear my hair down for the wedding, that this day would be perfect for a big ole updo:
After the salon that morning, we headed back to the house to quickly get dressed for the bridal luncheon. My mother planned and hosted such a fun all-girls get together at The Virginia Museum of Fine Art's Amuse Cafe. I'd forgone an engagement party, bridal shower and bachelorette party throughout our engagement, so this luncheon was really a fun time to just be girls, and talk about all those stories and advice that come with the best of wedding parties.
It was one of those times where so many people from the different areas of your life intersect — from immediate and extended family, to your childhood and adult friends. Everyone had fun catching up and connecting those familial dots with one another.
The space was just amazing. The museum cafe is in a modern setting with floor to ceiling windows that open up to a terrace overlooking the Richmond city neighborhood where we live. Mom had made individual place settings with giant cookies from Montana Gold (a local favorite), wrapped in cellophane bags and finished with bright ribbons that coordinated with the luncheon invitations. The cookies doubled as parting favors — I sure do have a clever mother.
My favorite part of the luncheon was the toasting. On the invitations, my mother included a line about "bringing your best toasts and maybe a light roast in celebration of Mary."
My beautiful mother (above) kicked off the toasts. They ran the gamut of sentimental, funny and even a couple embarrassing stories made their way out onto the floor:
I was thrilled that some took the roast part of the invitation to heart. Hey, the wine was flowing and what would a good round of toasts be without some of those good stories? There were lots of laughs and even a few tears shed — most of all, I just really felt the love from everyone there to celebrate.
After the luncheon, many of us headed back to our house for a few hours before needing to meet up downtown for the rehearsal. We had about 3 hours in-between, which gave us enough time to rest up a little, work on the DIY portion of the flowers we'd planned, and change for the rehearsal and dinner that evening.
Just before heading back to the house, Emily and I stopped by the Flower Market on Boulevard to pick up all the loose flowers we'd ordered for the DIY arrangements. They let us back into the cold storage room to pick everything up which also gave me a chance to get a first peek at all the bouquets, corsages and main reception arrangement we'd had the floral designers craft for the wedding. I'm not sure if this will make sense, but it was the moment I saw the completed flowers that the wedding events got real for me.
To give some background, I'd pinned many wedding florals as inspiration for the feel we were going for, but it was one of those things I had to trust they would be able to interpret. So when I saw the final flowers and how they nailed what I was hoping for even beyond what I could have imagined, it was a very emotional moment for some reason.
The Flower Market even provided some additional loose greenery and peonies for the cake designers to embellish the cake with, so we picked all of those up at this point too. In a hurry, we left all the completed florals in the cold storage to pick up the next morning, took all the loose flowers back to the house and got busy!
Putting together the floral arrangements that day was another one of my favorite memories. We'd made many floral vases in prep for the wedding (like these gold dipped mason jars and these hanging mason jars) and our floral designer helped keep our budget in check by letting us know which elements would be best professionally arranged and those that we could easily accomplish on our own. We decided to have the bridal bouquets, mother of the bride & groom corsages and one large focal reception arrangement professionally made. Each of the remaining arrangements, like the mason jar bouquets lining the ceremony aisle and each of the smaller table arrangements scattered across the reception we put together on our own during this timeframe between the luncheon and rehearsal.
We were working with an array of pink peonies, baby green hydrangeas, and hypericum berries. To add a little shimmer, we added spirals of glittery twigs and faux gold floral berries we'd picked up from the craft store. I'd pulled out all the mason jars and various vintage vases we'd been storing for the wedding and everyone pitched in to help cut, arrange and embellish until we had the dining room filled with perfectly imperfect arrangements. My mother-in-law gets the award for attention to detail and helping keep us all on track with the timing.
I loved the way these smaller arrangements turned out and how they tied together all of our colors so perfectly:
This shot was a really simple one taken with a phone while Emily touched up my sister's manicure, but it's another one of my favorites from this day. It's just one of those candid shots that really captured the feeling, plus it's two of my favorite people!
Emily had come in from out of town and hadn't seen my wedding dress in person yet, so I took this opportunity to show it to her and get her opinion on the color of 2 pairs of the same shoes I'd picked out to match the dress:
Once dressed and ready, we all snapped some
Love this blurry pic below — when Emily and I were in grade school we'd dream and chat about being in each other's weddings when we were grownups. The fact that our friendship has not only remained, but grown over the past nearly 20 years is something I am so proud and feel blessed to have in my life:
We'll save all the details from the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner for our next post, so stay tuned!
P.S. For those wondering what the guys were up to Friday afternoon, Tim, his dad and son (Brandon) also ran a few errands before lunching and tossing a few oysters back at Rappahannock.