I have yet to share what we’ll be doing the day before our wedding day. Mostly because that had been up in the air until recently. When Mr. Ly and I first started to think about what to do for our rehearsal dinner, we looked at restaurants in both Philadelphia and South Jersey. We knew we definitely wanted to have it the day before and not on Thursday or Friday, because there would be too much space between that and the wedding, and we wanted to be able to include as many of our out of town guests as we could. Add in the factor that we’re not actually having a rehearsal until about an hour before the ceremony with a quick walk through so people know where to stand, so there was no real need for a rehearsal dinner.
We wanted to have a meal, though, with family and friends—those people coming in from far distances who we might not get to spend a ton of time with on the wedding day. And also to thank our bridal party and parents for all they’ve done for us. We ran into a few problems right off the bat. First, being a Saturday night in Philadelphia it was very difficult to get a reasonable price for a large group (we were expecting about 50 people originally), and it was looking more like a mini-wedding rather than just a nice dinner in the city. So we expanded our search to New Jersey. Since most people are local, and we could arrange for rides over the bridge, we thought dinner in New Jersey might be a more affordable option. We stuck mostly to BYO restaurants, but did consider a few restaurants with full service bars as well. The BYOs wanted us to buy out the restaurant for the entire night, which was going to be over our budget. We found some reasonable restaurants, but to add on the open bar, again was going to cost us too much.
Finally, one of the BYOs we were considering came up with a better option for us. They could open specially for lunch, when they are not open to the public, and we could have the entire space for half the price. This was perfect for us, and since we weren’t having a rehearsal that night anyway, the time was flexible. So, we decided on Bistro di Marino, a BYO Italian restaurant in Collingswood, NJ. It’s so close to the city, very easy for all our guests to get to, and we’ll have the whole place to ourselves. The food there is delicious, and one of my bridesmaids had her rehearsal dinner years ago when she got married, so I already have an idea as to what it will be like.
Bridesmaids Debbie & Alissa with me at Alissa’s rehearsal dinner at the same spot we will be having ours.
Once we got that settled and a huge weight was lifted, I realized what I’m really looking forward to with a lunch rather than a dinner is that we will get the night to spend how we want. Whether we go out for dinner or drinks in the city, or just relax at the hotel and do nothing, I’m glad to know that there will be that time that isn’t already scheduled.
I bought some clearance DIY invitations at Michaels a while back to use for rehearsal invitations, and this past weekend we (FINALLY) did something with them. I wanted them to have a fun, casual look to them, very different from our wedding invitations because the rehearsal will be casual and fun, and just a time to enjoy ourselves with those that mean the most to us before the big day. After a bit of playing around in Word, and some frustrations with the printer, this is what I came up with:
After printing about 10 of these, I realized that the line on the right extended a bit too far, and quickly corrected them for the last 15 that we printed. I wish I had taken a picture of the corrected one, but this was such a minor detail I was not going to sweat it. We popped them in the mail today (I apologize if any of my bridal party reads this before you actually get your invitation) and even though we are cutting it close, we are sure most of our guests will be there.
I think the lunch was the perfect (and most affordable) option we could have found, and I am almost as excited for our rehearsal lunch as I am for the big day! Is anyone else taking a non-traditional route for your rehearsal dinner/meal?