Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Rehearsal Dinner Recap (and Photo Dump!)

I can't believe it's been almost a month since our youngest son got married, and I still haven't blogged about it.  I can remember back in the early days here at String of Pearls, when I would wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, itching to get at my laptop.  I'd be writing a post before my first morning cup of coffee had time to get cold--even when I didn't have anything particularly important to write about (like, say, the wedding of my baby boy!!!).

I think this sort of life-changing event deserves some blog love.  So I'm going to give a little recap of the rehearsal dinner we hosted on Sept. 6.  Knowing this would be our last time playing the roles of parents of the groom (as this was our last boy to get married), we were hoping to go out with a bang on this one.  And I think we did.

After our son popped the question in March, we only had six months to plan, so right away I got on the Internet and Googled "rehearsal dinner venues in Traverse City, MI."  The first establishment I contacted was a microbrewery that specialized in brick oven pizzas and craft beers, but they really weren't big enough to accommodate our group.   (Two big families coming together meant a big wedding party.)  My second try was a place called the Little Bohemia, a family-owned restaurant/tavern located downtown.  I thought the pictures of its charming wood-paneled interior had such a vintage appeal.  I contacted Nancy, the owner, and to my delight was told that yes, they were available on that date--and not only that, if we had at least 60 people (which is almost exactly the number we had on our guest list), they would close the place down to other traffic and it would be ours for the night.  How perfect that sounded, especially since there were going to be so many little ones in attendance (including 11 of our 14 grandkids, between the ages of one and 8).  We knew it would make the event much less stressful for their parents if they knew the kids could wander around the restaurant at will without disturbing anyone.

Nancy said that the Little Bohemia could put on an Italian buffet of homemade lasagna, chicken alfredo, spaghetti, bread, and salad, with their special cherry bread pudding--once featured on the Food Network--for dessert.  It sounded perfect to us, so we put down a deposit immediately, and from then on I felt sure that our party was going to go off without a hitch.  Nancy and I had a friendly back-and-forth via emails, and she said I was welcome to bring table decorations, posters, and a sheet cake (which I had to make for my youngest's rehearsal dinner, because I'd done that for all four of his brothers).

My husband and I met up with Nancy the Wednesday before the wedding.  We stopped by the Little Bohemia when we got into town and had dinner there, and we were pleased to find that the food was indeed fantastic. The ambiance was also so warm and inviting.  And Nancy was just about the friendliest person on earth. She said to drop off any decorations ahead of time, and she and her staff would put them out for us.  (Son #5 is an incurable movie buff, so I got plastic popcorn containers as centerpieces, and these were filled with either popcorn or movie theater-style boxes of candy.  I also had some "movie posters" made up.)  When we said goodbye to Nancy, she asked, "Are you huggers?"  We laughed and she hugged us both.  It was like we had a new best friend--perhaps it's true what they say about Midwesterners being the friendliest people!

Okay, without further ado, here are some pictures.

Here's the cake--which was brought iced and frozen from VA and decorated in a MI hotel (not my best effort, but I got it done!).  One of the guests from the bride's side was teasing about the "Take 1," saying that as this was going to be a Catholic marriage, shouldn't it say something like "Final Cut"?  (I probably should have thought it through better...)

I had one of the couple's engagement pictures made into a faux movie poster.

The Oscar statuette says "Best Performance as a Couple."

Here we are with the groom-to-be and three of his brothers.  (Missing was our #2 son and his wife and three little boys; one day, I will write about the reason they couldn't be there for the wedding weekend, but suffice it to say it was a good one and they were with us in spirit.)

For so many years I was a boy mom; then I kept getting all these great girls.  And this latest one is a keeper.

Our bookend boys.  Our oldest son is his youngest brother's godfather; and he was also chosen to be his best man.

My husband, who is a comfortable public speaker, traditionally makes a short and heartfelt speech at our rehearsal dinners, welcoming the new daughter into our family.  This time was no different.

What was different is that I decided that I wanted to make a little speech, too.  (I am not a comfortable public speaker--talk about the understatement of the century!--and this is so out of character that I figured my son would be completely shocked.)  I had seen this beautiful passage about marriage on Instagram, and I wanted to read it aloud for my boy and his bride-to-be.  But I warned my husband that if I couldn't get through it, he would have to finish for me.  And...about two words in, I was too choked up to go on, so he read it.

These two are troopers.  They drove from VA to MI and back with their 2-year-old triplets (and she's due with baby #4 at the end of October!).

Papa--and baby harnesses--helped to keep these two monkeys corralled throughout the weekend.  (These identical twin boys, who have a triplet sister, are our second set of identical grandchildren.  Identical twins run in our family, apparently!)

A good time was had by all!

We couldn't have picked a better place to have this event, the last of its kind for my husband and me.  That's it for us--it's a wrap!


  1. I love this, and wish we could have been there to celebrate with you!!

  2. Laura, what a great story! I am glad planning from afar went so well. It looks like it was a beautiful celebration weekend.

    1. It was the best weekend. This son has been a joy all 26 years of his life--I'm so glad he had such a beautiful and enjoyable wedding celebration!!

  3. I am in awe of your cake and that it was put together in a hotel room! I think it looks great. What a wonderful rehearsal dinner you had, how special you had the place to yourselves so the parents wouldn't have to worry so much, that was incredibly thoughtful of you as a Grammy. I am proud of you for attempting a speech even if you couldn't make it through.

    1. Ha ha--thanks for the compliments on the cake. It was the best I could accomplish, given the circumstances. And the speech--I had a feeling I would get teary-eyed and not be able to finish, and I was right! But I tried, anyway. I thought since this was my last time seeing a son get married, it was time to get brave and go outside my safety zone a little. But I just can't say emotional things out loud without breaking down.

      It's so good to see you here again. I've missed you!