Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Traditions: The Rehearsal Dinner

Honestly, I can’t even remember the only rehearsal dinner that I’ve attended. Methinks I must have been at one for my Aunt Jana’s wedding way back in the day—also my only participation in a wedding, as flower girl—but I was about 4 years old, so I don’t recall if it was a fancy affair or not. What I do remember are my sister Rach's bangs, eegads.

I assume that, like all aspects of wedding madness, the rehearsal dinner is another potential stressball and money-suck for most people. Eric and I didn’t budget for a dinner, but when his parents offered to host a rehearsal dinner, we took them up on it, grateful to pass the buck to someone else. We agreed that the campground would be a great place for a casual dinner after the rehearsal. The campground didn’t really have any gazebos to rent, so Mel and Rick just rented an extra campsite and set up an event tent that they bought for the occasion, all while entertaining the evilest dogs west of the Mississippi.

The fellas set up the tent in the morning, whilst I picked flowers for all the peeps with E, my mom and Mel. After a short breakdown in Elizabeth’s apartment and a subsequent argument with Elizabeth about gun control (that’s how high tensions were), I started randomly honking at people in my truck to release some of the stress. Thank God for my peeps, who helped me forget my troubles by wholeheartedly contributing to the Bridezilla/Momra joke.

Arriving fashionably late to the rehearsal, I found Eric had gallantly already started organizing our peeps. After a really good run through (what a relief), we piled into the cars and caravanned the three miles to the campground. On the drive over, the sky opened up and torrential rain dumped down on us all the way to the campground. My peeps and I hung out in my truck until my brother ran up with some garbage bags for us to fashion into ponchos. They didn’t help that much. But once we were out of the truck, all hands were on deck to put up the sides of the big tent to provide some crowded shelter for the early arrivals.

Like most summer storms in DC, this one just had to scream and cry hard for a few minutes and before it gave way to a cool, purple evening—perfect grilling weather. Mel and Rick's longtime family friend Mr. Wright manned the grill.

The Wright family were there in full force for wedding festivities. My mom said it best: We'd be very lucky if we all had friends like the Wrights. Look at the bike setup they had to help with our Just Married Bike Parade.

With some food and beer in our bellies, we started to mingle and dry off. The spread was great—salads, chips, burgers, veggie burgers, chicken and lots of sweets. As evening fell, lights came on in the tent (thanks to Eric’s sister Ramie’s decorating) and all of a sudden our picnic-style rehearsal dinner started looking like a very classy affair.

Eric’s parents put on a slideshow of pictures they put together for us, and after a while people started filtering back to their hotels, apartments and campsites. The women in my family started assembling the flowers for the big day, and Eric and I and all of our peeps were off to do last-minute preparations before popping half a Tylenol PM. We had a big day ahead of us.

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