Looking back on 2016 and I am often in awe that it’s even real. I remember the start of 2016 so well. The first day, my best friend and I went to Disney World (her first time ever!). So we definitely kicked off with a pretty magical start. Ending the year is always great, I love the holidays but this year with the wedding it was even more spectacular.
When I started planning our wedding, I knew I wanted the whole weekend to be special not just the actual wedding night. I have a very, very large family. Add in RJ’s family and it’s overflowing!! I’m not complaining but I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to enjoy everyone. I wanted to make sure the rehearsal dinner was the perfect start to a fun, family filled weekend.
We were very lucky to be able to have our rehearsal dinner at the venue. When we toured the Homestead at Cloudland Station, I fell in love with this little cottage and fireplace area. It was everything I ever dreamed of and part of the reason I choose our venue. The bridesmaids and I were staying in a different cottage on the property which meant once we arrived to the Homestead Friday afternoon, we would be there the whole weekend! I was so excited to not have to worry about driving back and forth all weekend and just being able to relax at the gorgeous property.
Since the location was so gorgeous, I wanted to keep decorations minimal and seasonal. Magnolia leaves, oranges, red berries, lanterns and lots of candles. For catering, we wanted to keep things light and delicious since we knew we would have a big day the next day with lots of food and wedding cake. We went with one of our favorite local Italian restaurants — think specialty pizzas + arugula and kale salads. We also had caprese salad skewers and a cold, roasted vegetable and pesto tortellini salad (always a crowd favorite!). We washed everything down with glasses and glasses of Christmas sangria, cold beer and red wine.
The whole night was absolutely perfect. Having so much of our family gathered together was the best feeling in the world, you could hear laughter continuously all night. It was so wonderful seeing RJ & I’s extended family getting along so well. We have so much family, with just our immediate family and bridal party we had almost 100 people there! I cannot explain how blessed we felt to have so many close family and friends.
We finished the night out with toasts from RJ’s parents, my dad and myself. Earlier this year my grandmother gave me her wedding book from her first year of marriage. If you don’t know me, I am extremely close to my grandma. She’s one of my best friends and we talk every day. Her and my grandfather have been married 65 years this June, so any advice or stories she has about marriage is such a blessing. Her wedding book was sort of like a diary, she wrote down things about her engagement, wedding day and honeymoon. She also wrote down little paragraphs from their first year of marriage and I was able to surprise her by reading it at our rehearsal dinner. Needless to say we both cried, there were so many happy tears that night and whole weekend.
Our rehearsal dinner, well really the whole weekend, is too much to even put into words. It was everything I’ve ever dreamed of and more. It was the perfect start to our weekend and I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into it. I seriously would give anything to relive that weekend over again!!
Stepping back from the rehearsal dinner and looking over everything we had accomplished, all our family and friends so happy, and all the anticipation and excitement to come is one of the best memories I’ve ever made. Soaking it all in was incredible.
Next week, I’ll be sharing the wedding morning + our ceremony so be sure to check back! To see more of our wedding fun, head here. xo
*If you are planning your wedding or rehearsal dinner and have more specific questions about decor, food or anything please email me at Riley@YesPleaseDaily.com
| Needle & Thread Midi Dress | Needle & Thread Dress (Maxi Version) *On Sale | Badgley Mischka Embellished Heels | Photography: Innerlight Photography Co. (Some shots are from my iPhone!) | Hair by Julie Thomas with StyleBar |