February 19, 2014

Our Wedding: Rehearsal & Dinner Recap

It's wedding week here on the blog, so we're rewinding back to early summer and recounting all the events leading up to our big day. Today we're continuing where we left off yesterday, sharing some of our favorite family photos from the ceremony rehearsal and rehearsal dinner that Friday evening. As with yesterday's luncheon post, today's entry is a personal recount of the fun we had and the time we spent with family while gearing up for the big day.

We met up downtown at the Edgar Allen Poe Museum where the ceremony would take place to rehearse. The Poe Museum is housed in a small stone building that happens to be the oldest still standing in Richmond's history. It was an exciting feeling as everyone arrived, feeling like all the plans we'd made for the big day were finally panning out. There were 22 of us in the total wedding party — so small enough to feel a little private, but big enough to be a little boisterous (especially with the addition of all our excited nieces and nephew).

When walk into the garden space of the Poe Museum here in Richmond, it's like an intimate secret garden in the middle of the city is opens itself up you — this feeling is exactly why we chose this space for the ceremony.

While a bit informal, the actual rehearsal did have a serious feeling — exciting and surreal at the same time. Some of our favorite shots from the rehearsal and the wedding itself were these of myself, dad, brother and son standing together:

I'm not sure if it's just a southern tradition, but Mary used some of the ribbons from various wedding gift boxes we'd received as a rehearsal bouquet. She gave it to our small nieces to take home and play with when we were finished.

Our ceremony and nuptials were a more traditional style, which allowed us to have fun weaving other untraditional elements throughout the other elements of the wedding and party.

Since were in an outdoor setting (in the city to boot), we were reminded that we'd need to speak up when saying our vows so everyone would be able to hear.

The ceremony rehearsal was immediately followed by our rehearsal dinner. For anyone wondering, we decided to keep the rehearsal and dinner paired down to the those in the wedding party (and their spouses). I'm not sure how it's done universally, but in the south there is sometimes the expectation that the rehearsal dinner be a much larger event. Since we had a very small guest list for the actual wedding and our wedding party consisted of 1/4 the entire list, we felt like the best fit for us would be keeping the dinner as intimate as possible. We realize this might not be the right choice for everyone, but thought it might be worth sharing how we went about it.

The rehearsal dinner was held at Azzurro Restaurant here in Richmond. The location is sentimental to us since it's where we first met. We'd originally thought we'd try to host the rehearsal dinner at our own home with catered food from Azzurro, but as planning slowly took over our lives, we realized that having there would take a lot of stress off our plates. This turned out to be such a great decision — we ended up having the entire patio space lit up with glowing string lights to ourselves as we toasted and laughed the evening away.

As everyone arrived, we had a bit of a cocktail hour and took a bunch more family pics.

The award for best photobomb of the evening goes to yours truly:

I tossed this pic in since I love how real it is to how life is — pictures and social media. I love that both Stephanie and Brandon were there and wanted to share so much from everything going on:

The patio was set up so beautifully for the dinner, with coordinating menus and the wine place cards Mary and Stephanie had made were all in place. Dropping these off earlier that day was one of the errands us guys ran, so it was fun for me to see how they'd put it all together too:

Mary and I had fun planning the menu for the dinner with the Azzurro team — we chose a mix of all our own favorite dishes and tried to mix in enough other options that everyone dining could find something they liked. The personalized menus with our name at the top were a fun surprise for us.

This is probably our favorite shot from the night:

We closed out the evening by standing up to give a little toast of our own, thanking everyone there for all the hard work and planning that led up this weekend. Most of all — just to let everyone know how meaningful it was to have them be such a large part in the wedding and more importantly, our relationship.

Instead of taking the party elsewhere, we headed straight home for an early night. At the end of the evening, Mary carefully picked this enormous amount of bobbypins out of her hair as we chatted about how much fun we had at dinner and we tried to get a good night's sleep in preparation for the next day:

Mary told me it felt like Christmas Eve when you are a child — so excited she couldn't sleep. I'm a lucky guy.

Thanks to all of you that have been interested in following along with the events of our wedding. Next up we'll be sharing one of the final DIY projects Mary whipped together the morning of the wedding (yes, she says you can call her crazy), so stay tuned!

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