Saturday, March 1, 2014

7 QTF: Another Rehearsal Dinner Success Story

I haven't been here at the 7 Quick Takes Friday table for a while; but as always when I have lots of pictures to share, this seems like a particularly good place to show them off!  I'm a day late, but I know Jen graciously saves spots for late-comers like me.
So hi fellow Takers (and followers--if you're still stopping by my little blog, when the offerings have been so meager lately)!  I hope you enjoy these images from the Friday before son #4's wedding to my newest daughter-in-law, who shall be henceforth known here as Braveheart.  (She joins daughters-in-law Regina and Preciosa, adding another jolt of much-needed feminine influence to our formerly testosterone-heavy household.)

As the parents of all sons, it appears we will always have less to worry about when it comes to wedding preparations and expenses than the parents of the young ladies our boys marry.  No matter how modern the world has become since my husband and I got married 33 years ago, or how much wedding etiquette has evolved, that still seems to be the case.  Our biggest responsibility, therefore, is putting on a nice rehearsal dinner the night before the nuptials--a party that gets the families and friends of the bride and groom together for food and fun before the big day.  We have now put on three such dinners, and I have to say that this latest one turned out to be quite enjoyable for all involved.  My husband and I think we're getting pretty good at this rehearsal dinner stuff (excuse me for a moment while I give my own back an enthusiastic pat); but I'll share some photos of the event with you, my objective readers, and you can let me know if you agree with this assessment.

I must say, this dinner was pretty swanky.

Because our son got married in our old hometown in Upstate, NY, in a decidedly non-metropolitan area, we were limited as far as available venues to host a special dinner for a crowd of about 40 or so people.  But there is a successful restaurant in town that offers the most delicious and sophisticated cuisine, and they happen to have an event room off the main dining area that is just exactly the right size for the number of people we had invited, so we booked it several months in advance--and boy, are we happy that we did.  The room is so rustically pretty and elegant all on its own (and the proprietors promised to adorn the the tables with white linens, little vases of fresh flowers, and burning taper candles) that it really didn't require any extra decorating touches from us, so I didn't even bother to make centerpieces.  I had two photo banners made up at Walgreens, with pictures of the bride- and groom-to-be on them; but otherwise I left it to the owners to set the room up the way they usually do when there are private parties held there.

We were able to offer our guests six delectable entrée choices, so I typed up a mini menu on my computer as a Word document, and I printed copies out on card stock--to make it easier for guests to order and to also offer them a souvenir of the evening, if they wished to have one.

But not TOO swanky.
Lest you think we were all very staid and serious during this lovely, elegant dinner, rest assured: the Pearls like swanky, but they like it with a twist of humor and down-to-earth-ness (word? Yes or no?).  There was a good amount of laughter and goofiness at this party, in spite of the elegant surroundings.  One of the ways I kept the dinner from being too fancy-schmancy was by baking the rather silly cakes we served our guests for dessert, instead of having them choose high end confections from the restaurant's menu.

Baking cakes for our boys' rehearsal dinners has become a bit of a tradition for me now.  I baked a huge sheet cake decorated with tropical flowers for our oldest son's rehearsal dinner in December of 2009, because it was held in an enormous inflated tent-like building that housed a tiki bar and a sand volleyball pit.  I made a dinosaur-shaped cake for son #3's rehearsal dinner a couple of months ago, because I filled the souvenir English crackers our guests opened with little toy dinosaurs and because...well, because Pearl boys love dinosaurs!  For son #4's rehearsal dinner, I made his and hers character cakes--because the two of them share a love of kids' movies and cartoons (along with a love of science facts, nerdy jokes, and video games), and I knew just how tickled they would be by them.  Braveheart's favorite Disney character as a little girl was Ariel (the Little Mermaid), and my son was a dyed-in-the-wool TMNT fan (with a special affinity for Michelangelo).  So there you go.
These two kids are seriously not serious.
Those cakes crushed pretty much every other cake I've ever made, as far as decorating goes.  Just call me "Cake Boss."
Even my twin granddaughters were impressed.

And definitely not too swanky for small children.

Small children (and medium-sized children, and pre-teens, and teens, and most definitely BABIES!) are always included in the guest lists for major events in the extended Pearl clan--especially family weddings!  So our oldest son's three little lasses, including the two-and-a-half-year-old twins who were going to be flower girls during the ceremony the next day, were in attendance.

Our tiny granddaughter Little Gal caught a cat nap in the corner before joining the festivities...
while her older sisters Bonny Babe and Cutie Pie provided built-in entertainment for our delighted guests throughout the evening.
Doing "Cheers!" with the uncles.

The groomsman gifts were a hit, as always.

Are groomsman gifts always drinking-related, or is that just the way my boys roll?  Our oldest son gave his brothers and father the most amazing Viking-style drinking horns (which were made out of hollowed-out horns from real animals) on the night of his rehearsal dinner.  We have a cute photo of the guys all raising them before taking a drink.  Our #3 son gave all the guys in his wedding party tall beer glasses that had their names and the date engraved on them.  And we have a cute picture of them raising those, filled with beer from the brewery where the rehearsal dinner was held, before they took a drink.  So you will not be surprised to learn that son #4--who is not one to break with tradition--chose engraved glass beer steins with metal lids as gifts for his groomsmen.  And we got the requisite cute picture of them raising these steins for a toast.

My rehearsal dinner dress was an eShakti winner.

I loved the dress I wore to the rehearsal dinner.  It may, in fact, be my favorite dress of all time (and even though I'm one to use hyperbole about a million times a day, I am not exaggerating here).
This navy blue and black cotton dress with an illusion neckline is from eShakti, my new favorite website.  I had it custom-fitted using my measurements, and the $7.50 extra I paid to have that done was well worth it.  If you haven't checked out the eShakti site, I urge you to do so.  Their styles are so feminine and pretty, so delightfully retro, and the prices are reasonable.  This dress cost me less than $70, and that included the cost of the custom sizing and the shipping.

Of course, it looks even better in the above photo because it's accessorized by the six handsome men in my family.  But I seriously love this dress.

I love hosting rehearsal dinners so much, I can hardly wait for the next wedding in our family.

But no pressure, sons #2 and #5.  Really, no pressure.  Just know that your dad and I will do our best at your rehearsal dinners to see that everyone gets a great meal and that their cups are never empty.  And know that I will bake you a cake that will probably be cooler than any cake I ever made you for your childhood birthday parties, now that I've learned a few tricks from watching how the pros do it on TV.  But most of all, know that we will be thrilled to welcome the women you love into our growing family.

And here are a couple of last photos of the guests of honor, who were relaxed and happy the night before their big day.

Like all of God's creations, these two kids are absolutely unique--but what's best is that they are absolutely perfect for one another.  They make a great couple.  They really "get" each other.  They go together like peas and carrots...or like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and a Little Mermaid.  And that's a pretty great combo, as it turns out.

Now head on over to Jen's, where everyone else got their Quick Takes in on Friday, like they were supposed to!


  1. I love it! I can't wait to see and hear more from the wedding! I hope you are calming down and getting settled back to normal.

    1. There will be more to come...I just don't know where to start!

  2. Great post! Happy you're back!