After a very hectic rehearsal in the dark, our wedding party and families piled into cars and caravan-ed to Américas Restaurant for the rehearsal dinner. Mr. W and I were the last to arrive (since we had to basically lasso our moms into their cars after the rehearsal—those two are chatty Cathys!). We walked into the private room that we had reserved in the restaurant, where there was a romantic glow from the flickering of candles, soft Brazilian music playing in the background, and all of our closest friends and family settling in and getting to know one another. I wrapped the strap of my cross-body purse over the seat of a chair and started doing the rounds. I got to catch up with my sweet little brother, J, who I hadn’t spent much time with the week of the wedding, since he was wrapped up with mid-terms at his university. Hive, meet my brother:
Little Bro J and me / Personal photo
J and I were cracking jokes and having a good time—and anticipating the yummy Brazilian steaks that were supposed to be coming out soon—when the drama started. I wish I had a photo of what occurred next, because only a picture or video would really do it justice, but…here goes.
The week before the wedding, Mr. W kept saying that he wanted us to create a seating plan for the rehearsal dinner. I dismissed the idea, arguing that it would be a great time for our families and friends to mingle—why not allow the rehearsal-dinner guests to seat themselves wherever they like at this event? So, since we already had our hands full with other wedding-related tasks, we never got around to devising a seating chart for the rehearsal dinner.
Back at the dinner, guests were beginning to seat themselves. The waitstaff had set up about six tables that seated eight, so there was plenty of space for guests to spread out. Mama Wallaby wasn’t happy with how the seating arrangement was panning out, though—so she called in a waiter to request a new table arrangement. All of the guests who had seated themselves had to leave their seats, and we all stood against the wall as the waitstaff rearranged the modular tables several times, until they formed a large U shape. All of the tables couldn’t fit into one U, so they also created two tables of eight. I felt so bad—all of our guests were standing up against the wall the whole time, and it felt like things were really out of Mr. W’s and my control. No one knew what was going on.
Finally, when the tables were rearranged and the chairs were moved to their new positions, people started to seat themselves again. A little more drama occurred over the seating, and, finally, everyone was seated.
And the wine was finally poured—can you read the excitement and relief in the faces of my grandma and her best friend?
Menus were passed out so our guests could choose an entree and a dessert. Y to the um.
Remember our rehearsal-dinner tasting? Here’s the final menu. / Personal photo
We got in some quality practice posing for photos (a tough job, let me tell you).
And Mr. W got some time to goof off with his nephew, D, who made his debut as our ring bearer the next day.
We made a heroic effort to get a photo of everyone at the rehearsal dinner. This is the result:
After we took some group photos, I suddenly realized that we hadn’t handed out our gifts to the wedding party and our families. Mr. W helped distribute the gifts to the guys, and I hand-delivered a gift to each pretty lady.
For the girls, I ordered soft, cozy, monogrammed robes. When they arrived in the mail, I kind of regretted ordering an expensive Pretty Plum Sugar robe for myself—these cotton robes were so soft! Anyway. I also picked out a pair of Kate Spade earrings for each girl, and wrapped them up with a mini “bridesmaid survival kit” that consisted of tissues, bobby pins, hair ties, and a few other girly odds and ends.
Four of the pairs of earrings I gifted my ’maids. Clockwise, from top left: Putting on the Ritz earrings, Signature Spade crystal stud earrings, All Wrapped Up pearls drop earrings, and Fragment pearl drop earrings / All photos via Kate Spade
Mr. W ordered the guys personalized Leatherman knives. He said that every guy needs a good knife. I think it was just an excuse for him to buy a knife for himself.
A personalized Leatherman knife for one of the groomsmen / Personal photo
All of the gifts were a big hit. Here’s Maid of Honor A posing with her robe:
Even the dads got gifts—Mr. W ordered monogrammed pocket knives for them, just like the groomsmen. My dad used his to cut things the rest of the weekend—it made my heart melt.
Father-in-Law Wallaby (left) and Papa Wallaby, showing off their new shanks weapons pocket knives / Personal photo
Sometime after midnight, we were all worn out and ready to turn in for the night. I think some of our friends continued the party at the bars, but Mr. W and I needed our beauty sleep. Especially Mr. W. He drove me back to our house, and I savored every moment of it—our last time together before the wedding. We both got a little emotional, and Mr. W later told me that he was choked up the entire drive from our house to his parents’ house (where he spent the night).
*All photos personal except where noted
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