Friday, February 8, 2013

Gettin' Hitched - Literary Style: DIY Rehearsal Dinner

Warning: Photo Dump. But good photos! Photos from our awesome rehearsal dinner! Since we got married in Michigan, we had a Wisconsin-themed rehearsal dinner in order to incorporate some of J's favorite things - beer, cheese, brats, and beer. Oh - and the Packers, Brewers, and beer.

I should begin with how we started that day though. It was obviously a very stressful day...

Basking in the sun

Enjoying the view
Grabbing a swim before guests started to arrive
Yeah - not. We were so relaxed! At this point the hardest part for us was already over - the 12 hour drive from DC! So we took the opportunity to soak up a couple of rays, go for a swim, and enjoy ourselves for a bit!

After a few hours of relaxing in the morning, my sister whisked me off to get our manicures and pedicures in the nearby town of Alpena. We were only gone a few hours, but that was all my mom and her crew needed was to convert the lawn next to our cottage into the perfect reception dinner BBQ site... and she didn't even look that stressed!

My mom deserves a humungous THANK YOU for pulling together such a fantastic rehearsal dinner. She had a lot of help from friends and cottage neighbors who all pitched in and hauled their picnic tables onto the extra lot and also donated the grills for the massive brat and burger BBQ that we had going! We did rent a tent (just in case!) and a porta-john (those cottage septics are tiny!), but otherwise the only cost was the food, beer, and paper products. The food was bought in bulk from the small, local general store in Hubbard Lake, and the beer was brought over from Wisconsin by J's family, since it needed to be authentic!

My Grandma painted that on scrap wood from my parent's acreage
The bear bride who greeted the dinner guests
I know that usually rehearsal dinners are for the families of the bride and groom and the wedding party, but because this was a bit of a destination wedding, we invited a lot more people! Plus since we were having it at my parent's cottage, all of our cottage neighbors were automatically invited (and recruited to help man the grills!)! It was perfect. Very casual, with good food and good beer, and surrounded by people that we love. And what better location than overlooking the lake on one of the longest days of the year?!

Part of the crew representing Wisconsin!
The Allan/Tuggle contingent

We also took the opportunity during the dinner to have the wedding party open their gifts.

For the MOH (aka my baby sis)
She liked it. :)

Jon's sweet BBQ apron. It holds a 6-pack. Priorities, people.
Once dinner started winding down, we headed across the lake for the wedding rehearsal at the Churchill Pointe Inn. Our wedding coordinator (who came with the site and was included in the ceremony fee AND was a rockstar) was there waiting, and ran us through the rough wedding a few times. 

My musicians (aka my cousin Amy on the flute, my Aunt Bonnie and our family friend Jacqui on the hammered dulcimers), also had the opportunity to run through a couple of songs together. They played at the wedding as the guests arrived and were seated, and then they played the processional - which was the theme song from On Golden Pond, the movie where my parents got my name... and the perfect song for a waterfront wedding on the lake where I spent most of my childhood summers!

True DIYers set up their own chairs during the wedding rehearsal. 

Our flower girl explaining the secrets of a successful marriage.
That girl cracks me up. 
Jilly inspecting our chair rows. Straight lines, people. STRAIGHT LINES!
Finally we got around to actually practicing...

She's always been the shy one.
This picture makes me grin. 

As you can see, we were very stressed at this point. Or not. We may have been cracking jokes about the flower girl ending up in the lake.
See though: we weren't joking around the whole time - love this one.

Like I said - the shy one.

After a successful rehearsal, we were able to relax more and soak up the gorgeous view.
Becky, Hailey, and Sue soaking up the gorgeous view!
And then we headed back to the cottage across the lake for a few more hours of relaxing and hanging out with friends and family. We all stayed up well into the night eating, drinking, and enjoying everyone who had come to help us celebrate one of the happiest days of our lives!
My dad made these out of old coffee cans. He spray painted them and then just nailed the pattern in!
**Side note: A HUGE thank you to everyone - we wouldn't have been able to pull this off without you! Cottage friends: thank you for donating your picnic tables, grills, kitchens, fridges, and time! Family and friends: thank you for bringing food, grilling brats, playing music, drinking beer, and for just being there. And lastly, to Erolia and Jeremy - thank you for bringing your big a$$ boat.

Ta ta for now!

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