Even though our wedding was not, in fact, a dance recital, and even though we would not be rehearsing in our “costumes,” I kept referring to the rehearsal festivities as “dress rehearsal.”
Backstage before an actual dress rehearsal with my dear friend L / Personal photo
We did run through the ceremony pretty thoroughly, however, costumes or no. Everyone involved in our wedding truly showed themselves as amazingly patient because it was quite a long rehearsal—but as not everyone had experienced a Catholic mass before, much less a Catholic wedding, I wanted to make sure everyone was comfortable with the flow of events. I wanted our lectors to have a chance to practice their readings in full so they would be comfortable the next day, I wanted our ushers to have a chance to practice organizing the Communion line (since we were only doing one main line down the middle instead of two), and, of course, I wanted our bridal party to practice entering and exiting the church. Everything went off without a hitch during the ceremony, so I think the practice was worth it…but, needless to say, everyone was very excited when it was time to pop over to the buffet in the social hall for dinner.
After rushing around like a madwoman all day, we finally made it to our rehearsal just a few minutes after 6:00. I should have been exhausted and I was probably stinky since I hadn’t had a chance to shower all day, but all I could think was how excited I was to just do this thing!
It’s been said here about a thousand times before, but I’ll say it again: Please rehearse! You’d be surprised at how hard it is to get a group of adults to walk down an aisle and stand next to each other. Especially in a space like ours (the beach) where there is no altar or aisle or anything to make the process easy, I cannot stress the importance of rehearsing it at least one time through.
After I managed to gather everyone and drag them down to the beach and got everyone in the somewhat correct order, we walked through our entrances.
Waiting ever so patiently
The Friday before our wedding, Mr. PT and I had to be at our venue no later than 1:00 PM to go over last-minute details and make our final payment. I dragged DOC E with us so that we could introduce her to the coordinator at The Fez.
A bonus that I just realized I haven’t shared: originally, Mr. PT and I booked the “medium” room at The Fez, the Balconade Room. It’s truly gorgeous and, true to its name, has its own balcony. About two weeks prior to our final meeting, I met with Debby to finalize a few things and go over paperwork-y stuff. At this time, she said that a wedding had not been booked in the Grand Ballroom and she would love to offer it to me at no extra charge. She said that our wedding was big enough that it wouldn’t get drowned (seriously, folks, this room is HUGE) and also that we would have a lot more space in terms of where to put the buffets and how many people we could fit at a table. The space also came with other awesome freebies, like monitors for picture displays and customized uplighting. “If you’re in love with the Balconade Room, of course you can still be there,” she said to me. PUHLEEZE. I jumped at it.
Moving along—after our meeting, we went into the Grand Ballroom, where the staff was setting up for an event that evening. The Fez does not offer evening rehearsals because their space is in such high demand, so everyone was slated to arrive at two. Standing there, knowing that we’d be back again in a little more than 24 hours to be married was a definite “Oh, this is real” moment.
Once people arrived (except for Best Man R, who was 45 minutes late and we rehearsed THREE times because of him; this is the only mention I will make of this because even though I was steamed at the time, it was not a huge deal and did not affect the rest of the weekend—ahem), we had a few awkward moments determining who was supposed to go where, who was supposed to be in charge, who was supposed to speak when, etc. Eventually, though, we got the show on the road.
*all photos from BM Y’s camera, taken by Friend B
Mr. Palm Tree and Rev. Fun went first.
Right, so. After our nail appointment (which kind of felt like it took forever) people scattered to various houses and hotels to get ready for the rehearsal. By then, more friends had arrived and my house was a mess of women getting ready, borrowing tights, swapping perfume, and zipping each other up. It was, in a word, awesome. McGlovin zipped me into my rented dress, and we were off to the church.
(Can I take a minute to plug Rent the Runway? It is seriously so convenient. First, they sent me a birthday coupon, which was magical. Second, I could sort dresses online into my body type. Third, reviewers frequently post photos, so you get to see real people wearing the dresses, instead of just size-zero models. Fourth, they send two sizes to ensure a good fit. Fifth, the next day you just toss it into the mailer and into the mail. Nothing has ever been better than Rent the Runway.)
The rehearsal reminded me how super, incredibly glad I was that we were having a Catholic wedding, if for no other reason than the absolute orderliness of the mass. I don’t know a whole lot about other services, but Catholic mass is always the same, no matter what, so you always know what’s going to happen, and when, and by whom. For someone who values order and routine as much as I do, this is perfection, especially on such a (potentially) stressful day. At our rehearsal, the priest led everyone through the processional, through mass, and through the wedding portion, and sent us on our merry way with a blessing. Perfect.
Hive, I have to tell you…I don’t remember much about the rehearsal dinner. It’s not that I had too much to drink or anything, it’s just that, I guess, I had other things going on in my head. What I can tell you is this: it was hosted by McGlovin’s incredibly generous parents, it was at an Irish pub that we like (to counterbalance the Italian-ness of the wedding), McGlovin’s mom created a really nice slideshow, McGlovin’s dad gave a lovely toast about being happy (or similar), and I passed out the cards with everyone’s personalized timelines on them. So, uh…here is some photographic evidence that this evening did exist:
Rehearsal dayyyyy! I could not have been more thrilled to wake up next to a softly snoring McGlovin. As always, I was the first one awake. As I wandered around downstairs, making coffee and straightening, I reviewed my day: tanning, mani-pedi, tuxes needed to be picked up, perhaps make a pie for the wedding? Then, of course, rehearsal and dinner. Funny, for a day that seemed so important, it really felt so so casual!
A softly snoring McGlovin and Howie
Once Shannon got herself out of bed, we went tanning. We’re Irish (read: supa pale), and manically opposed to fake-baking for skin cancer reasons, but love a spray tan. The place we go uses Versa-Spa booths, and I’ve never had a bad experience there. After tanning, we stopped by Bed Bath & Beyond because, at the last minute, I decided that I needed to whiten my teeth. Two things about this: first, when we were checking out (with teeth whitener and fake nails, in case I didn’t like my manicure) Shannon looked at me and said, “I can’t believe you’re getting married tomorrow!” and the adorable checkout girl exclaimed, “Omigod, you’re getting married tomorrow! What does it feel like?” and I laughed and thought about it, and the only thing I could think of was, “Welp, it feels like I’m buying teeth whitener and fake nails?” I mean, exciting, of course! But it was still just a Friday, and the sun was still rising and setting, as it does, and I still had to pump my own gas and…and it was really just another day in the world. Of course, crazy exciting, but, of course…also, just another day to live. It was weird, is what I’m saying.
The rehearsal time we were given by Embassy Suites was 8:00 PM (it was either that or 4:00 PM), and I think we started pretty close to on time, which was shocking considering the amount of interviews we were trying to cram into the hour of seven to eight o’clock. At first no one was sure what to do and the atrium looked like this:
Once I did quick head count to make sure everywhere was there, it was time for Pastor P to take over and begin the rehearsal.
The Saturday before the wedding was a gorgeous, winter day. It was probably more March-like than most of March has been in New Jersey this year, with highs in the mid ’50s, and lots of sunshine.
I started the morning with a few of my bridesmaids and my mom getting our nails done, which, despite my best planning, ran later than I had hoped. I still had a ton of wedding errands to run, like we still needed our photobooth sign printed and part of Mr. Ly’s gift for the next day needed to be printed as well. Of course, since I hadn’t had a day off in 12 days, I was rushing around on my only day off, which happened to be the day before the wedding. I arrived home after 11:00, and we needed to really be at the rehearsal lunch by 12:30, since it started at 1:00pm. I somehow managed to shower, do my hair & make-up and look pseudo presentable in time, and we weren’t terribly late to our own rehearsal lunch.
The lunch was wonderful. Since we didn’t have any true rehearsing until about an hour before the ceremony, the lunch was just more of a big meal with our nearest and dearest to get to spend some together before the crazy whirlwind of the following day. We had family traveling in as far as Hawaii and Arkansas, and we knew we wouldn’t get to spend too much time with them once the wedding was in full swing, so we were grateful for the time we got to spend together.
Getting started on the first course of the meal. We had four long tables of 10-12 guests at each. / Personal Photos
For our food options, we could choose from either a seated three course meal with the option of a fourth if we brought our own dessert, or a buffet with more options for the meals. We chose the seated, served meals because we thought the food options were plenty! Our guests started off with a salad, followed by a family style pasta course of penne vodka and ziti pomodoro. For the main course, the guests could choose between chicken parmigiana, chicken saltimbocca, and veal milanese. My mother-in-law and sisters-in-law generously made a ton of desserts as well, which were delicious!
Alright everyone. It’s almost here. Gulp.
(Gif via James van der Memes)
First, since we’re close enough, let’s take a look at the forecast:
After a lovely week leading up to the wedding (you know, after that whole dry-heaving incident), it was finally the day before. Um. What? How did time go by so quickly?? But I was ready. Let the wedding activities commence!
That morning, I dragged the moms, bridesmaids, junior bridesmaid, and several aunties to one of my favorite salons (Spa Scotta, which has apparently since closed?! sad times) to get our nails done. I emailed all of the ladies that were coming ahead of time to make sure I knew which services would be required, and made reservations for everyone. Since there were so many of us, we essentially booked out the little nail part of the salon. My mom and I brought some food and some champagne (OK, really my mom brought those things) and we all just chilled, ate, and got our nails done. It was such a wonderful, relaxing time with my favorite ladies! No stress allowed.
Auntie, BMs G and M
I’ve been promising to get the show on the road for a while now, and I figured there’s no better way to start out 2013 than with recaps! So, here we go! Presenting:
The day before the wedding was busy, and I neglected to take pictures. Bad blogger! Bridesmaid L came over around 10:00am, and we got our nails done together. Then we met up with Mr. T, Groomsman P, and our friend A for a quick pizza lunch. It was so nice to relax with good friends before the madness began. After lunch, my parents arrived. We loaded up the car with everything that needed to go downtown, picked up my dress from the seamstress, and loaded into the hotel. My brothers and I went to Whole Foods to buy the flowers for the bouquets, and then we picked up my sister/Maid of Honor from the train. We made our bouquets, changed, and walked over to the church for the rehearsal! Phew!
Note to future brides: Do not walk a mile in brand-new heels the day before your wedding. I did, and my feet still hurt the next day. No bueno.
The rehearsal went pretty quickly. My uncle/our priest and the chapel’s wedding coordinator took turns bossing everyone around, so I didn’t have much to do except go through the motions. It was kind of nice.
We practiced saying our vows…
OK, I’ll admit, I’ve always found rehearsal blog posts pretty boring. Predictably, there’s always something that goes wrong: people are running late; no one knows where they’re supposed to stand or what they’re supposed to do; the whole family is stressed about the next day; and people start getting hangry awaiting the post-rehearsal dinner.
All of those things happened at our rehearsal. There was an accident on the freeway just before the exit for our venue, so almost everyone was running really late. Our officiant couldn’t make it, so our day-of coordinator had to step up and help run things. We never talked about who does what ahead of time (other than running through the ceremony wording with our officiant the weekend before), so things got a little cray-cray. Also, it got dark before we even got down to the rehearsing part. Well, at least we looked cute for photos.
Waiting for everyone else to arrive, with Maid of Honor A, Mr. W, Maid of Honor N, and friend K. My eyes were casting daggers at anyone in sight. / Personal photo
We hadn’t planned on having a rehearsal, (our venue charges an extra $200 to have rehearsal the night before the wedding) but we wanted to do a very quick run through just to make sure everyone knew what order they were walking in/who they were walking with.
Once dinner had been cleared away, we rounded up everyone at the back of the room and Brother Scepter attempted to walk everyone through the order of the ceremony.
The morning of our rehearsal I woke up to the sound of a bride’s worst fear: rain. The week of our wedding, it rained nearly every day. Heavy rain. The forecast showed a slight chance of rain on the days of our rehearsal and wedding, so I went to bed Thursday night confident that the weather would cut us a break. But literally the second I woke up, I was filled with dread. I just knew our wedding would get rained out.
The weather was so intense that we were forced to hold the rehearsal indoors because the grounds were flooded. The rain didn’t look like it was letting up any time soon. As you can imagine, I was freaking out.
Ha, look at our faces!
Sadly, that was the only photo from the rehearsal. At one point we decided to line up outside when the rain was a bit lighter, but we ended up rained out almost as soon as we started. Eventually, we got all of the logistics down and headed back to get ready for the best part of the day: dinner!
Mr. Macs had a much more leisurely morning starting around noon with some Five Guys courtesy of groomsmen J.
When everyone finally arrived, it was time to open the first part of their gifts. Their initial enthusiasm was cut short when they realized a) they were shirts and b) they would need a good pressing.
As a choir girl, there’s one thing I have learned, and that is that rehearsal is important! Even if it is only walking into place. That is all a choir girl usually ever has to worry about in terms of movement. The singing is a whole ‘nother thing. So you better believe I cared about the rehearsal. Almost everyone who could make it came to our rehearsal.
With my cute ribbon bouquet from MOH Wino, ready to get the show on the road!
We did need some help from stand-ins.