We hosted our rehearsal dinner at the restaurant in the other hotel from our hotel block. In the welcome letters I crafted, I invited everyone who was checking in on Friday to our dinner. We did not want it to be a very formal affair, and we wanted our guests to stop in, have a bite to eat, and say hello.
Mr. Farmer and I decided to rent a limo bus to transport our bridal party from The Hotel Metropolis to Johnnie’s Italian Steakhouse. It wasn’t more than a 10 minute trip, but we wanted to make it as easy as possible. It’s the little things!
Mr. Farmer and me rocking our rehearsal dinner outfits. Living on the farm doesn’t allow us the chance to dress up often, so we completely took advantage of the opportunity to get nice and cleaned up. We all loaded up into the limo bus, and away we went.
After arriving at the Holiday Inn our friends and family headed to the reserved room, while Mr. Farmer and I attended to the gifts we needed to bring in. We had selected a cocktail type rehearsal dinner with the idea that everyone invited could come and go as they pleased, and we’d be able to mingle with guests. As such, the room was set up that way, without traditional table and chairs to seat everyone. Upon entering the hotel I was completely blindsided by family members who were very upset and confused about the lack of tables and chairs in the room. They didn’t understand the concept of the cocktail style reception. After some frantic panicking, and a very upset Mrs. Barn, we ended up having the event coordinator bring in some extra tables and chairs, and all was right with the world again.
It sounds minor, but it was stressful that people were so upset about the lack of tables. I had told everyone I thought I needed to about what kind of dinner it was going to be. Unfortunately, I guess I missed a few key players. Our poor event coordinator for the evening was caught right in the middle of the commotion, and I felt so bad for her. Guests started yelling at her when I wasn’t around, and it caused quite the emotional fiasco. A word of advice from Mrs. Barn: Make sure that everyone knows what is going on if you decide to do something outside of the norm for your family functions.
With the table and chair fiasco over with we were finally able to move forward with our rehearsal dinner. We had a fully hosted bar and various different appetizers. We served prosciutto wrapped shrimp with chimichurri, arancini, mini beef sliders, crab cakes, classic shrimp cocktail, caprese salad skewers, deviled eggs, and Johnny’s Italian bread with sausage. I feel like we had one other option, but I cannot think for the life of me what it was. We also had an assorted dessert display.
These are the only photos that I have of our food set-up because I was a horrible blogger and forgot to bring a camera. All our guests raved about the food, and I have to say I was pretty blown away. We tried to select things that were also kid friendly, since we had so many, and the children were the first to say how delicious all the selections were. Win for Team Barn (and yay for happy parents)! After everyone ate their fill and had a few cocktails we handed out gifts.
We didn’t really discuss what we were gifting our attendants, and that’s because I wanted it to be a bit of a surprise. I know a few of my gals read the ‘Bee. The first gift each girl received was a pair of shoes. In a blog post that never made the Weddingbee cut, I discussed how I got suckered into one of those side advertisements and found a pair of shoes that I thought were just way too fun. When I showed them to everyone they all agreed—we HAVE to wear those. No matter how silly and tacky they might be, we have to rock them. I gave them the chance to turn them down, but they all voted unanimously, “We want the crazy shoes.”
These are no longer available from the website where I purchased them, but for those who wanted to know the brand was AMI Clubwear. Those tricky ads, I tell ya! They were on mega clearance, so I made sure to tell each girl if they threw them in the trash the next day, my heart wouldn’t be broken. I am happy to report nobody has done so. I also gifted each of my ladies a bracelet that I made following Mrs. Rucksack’s tutorial (hey girl hey). I made mine slightly different, by using two different sized ribbons (sewed together) and changing it up a tad. I attached a card with a fun quote, and that was gift number two. It was also a great way to do something “wedding related” in the earlier months of our engagement.
The final gift I gave each of my girls was yet another find from Weddingbee. I happened to be perusing the boards when I came across a thread that was kind of intriguing. It was a Diamond Candle ring revel thread. Ummm, say what? Diamond Candle—must find out what this is! So I did a little digging and found out you get a ring inside each candle that is worth either $10, $100, $1,000, or $5,000. Needless to say, I thought hey what an awesome idea, so those were added to the list. Knowing that I was going to gift these to my girls, I signed up for their mailing list and only purchased them when there was a promotion going on so that I could be as thrifty as possible. Having a large bridal party can get expensive!
One of the final gifts each bridesmaid received was a Victoria’s Secret lotion. I know it might sound silly or insignificant, but I include one in just about every.single.gift.I.give to my friends, so I knew I couldn’t break tradition now. I also spent some serious time composing each of them a heartfelt message. I wanted them to know just how much I appreciated their love and support. Mr. Farmer did the same thing for his groomsmen and all of them commented on how awesome it was to receive such a well written card. Mr. Farmer gifted each of his groomsmen a set of custom suspenders and a bottle of alcohol, which was incredibly well received.
Fun story time. While Mr. Farmer and I were packing up each gift, we realized that we were one pair of suspenders short. Stupid Mrs. Barn didn’t even think to count the suspenders when I received them, to make sure they were all there. Sadly, it was such short notice that Irene was unable to accommodate an additional pair and quickly issued a refund. I frantically ran around town trying to find a gray pair of suspenders without luck. So unfortunately, Usher D rocked some black ones. I was a tad bummed we weren’t able to match, but I totally blame myself for the oversight.
Mr. Farmer gave Best Man N an extra special gift of an engraved pocket watch. I was pretty surprised because he picked it out all by himself and it was pretty awesome. I later found out from N’s girlfriend that N couldn’t even read the card because he started to get teary eyed. He waited until he got back to his hotel room to finish reading what Mr. Farmer wrote. Mr. Farmer, I tell you what, just a sentimental teddy bear!
I gifted Maid of Honor K and Matron of Honor Fluff something a little different as well. I really wanted Fluff to know how much I appreciated all the help she provided me and how much I value our friendship. I gifted her a few things above and beyond everyone else. Fluff also received:
A Coach weekender pack and tote and a pair of Kate Spade shoes. Mr. Farmer being a huge sweetheart also gifted Fluff something special because he wanted her to know just how much he appreciated everything she did for me. He told her it was a “thank you for keeping her [Mrs. Barn] sane.” Say it with me now, “Awwww.” Mr. Farmer gifted her a custom painted wine glass with the phrase “Girl’s Best Friend” on it.
K received a pair of Kate Spade shoes as well as a beautiful figurine from Mr. Farmer. I had an extra special gift that I wanted to give her, but I waited until the morning of the wedding. When it came to our parents we really struggled with what to give them, and we finally decided on a beautiful photo frame. We put an invitation in it with the promise of a formal wedding portrait to follow.
Up next, I reveal one of the biggest gifts of all. A special gift to Mr. Farmer…
Did anyone else have any unnecessary miscommunications? What did you gift your attendants? Did you do something special for your maid/matron of honor and best man?