I had this vision for an intimate 'secret garden' feel for our rehearsal dinner and it was so fun to have it come to life! We only invited the people that were in our wedding and it enabled us to get some more quality moments with those people. The decor all turned out exactly how I hoped that it would. Most importantly, I could feel the love and the excitement from the people around me. The night just had an intimate feel to it and it was everything that I could have asked for and more.
We started off the day by rehearsing at the venue. It was so fun to show my bridesmaids the place that I was getting married! I got chills when I practiced walking down the aisle towards my groom. Then, I went back to my parent's house and some of the girls came back with me. Jay took one for the team and dealt with anti-fun issues with shuttles and what not. I was sick of dealing with problems by that point and was happy to just have fun. I was also trying to rest my back as much as possible for all of the events so my friends, mom, sister, dad, mother in law, and groom all stepped up to pick up and drop off things at various places. I got a massage on the deck and they laid out on the deck so we chatted. I felt like myself the entire time and felt very calm...I think that a lot of that is because it all felt so 'normal.' It was just like one of the other million times that I've hung out with those same girls on that same deck. The massage was a great move as well!
Since it wasn't logistically easy for us to take photos on the beach on the wedding day, we planned to take photos on the beach before the rehearsal dinner. Of course RIGHT before we were supposed to head to the beach in front of the house, it started to pour! So...we reluctantly told the photographer to call off the plan. All of our guests were already on their way to our house, so we ended up having an impromptu pregame. It was so unexpected, really funny and so fun! There were a few groomsmen (plus their awesome +1s) that had never seen the house before, so we were happy that we got to have them over. Everyone drank and mingled there for a little while. We also gave all of our bridesmaids and groomsmen their gifts. It worked out well to give them the gifts in advance because they wore some of the gifts on the wedding day. I also liked getting to see the guys open their gifts because let's be real, I played a big role in picking them out! We gave the girls a pair of earrings and gave the guys a pair of navy suede shoes and their ties for the wedding. The guys knew that they were getting shoes and a tie (so that they didn't buy one for the wedding on their own), but they all seemed really pumped about the shoes! I also got Jay a suede ring box that he calls the 'Mr. Ring Box' (he got me a Mrs. Ring Box when he proposed). He loves it and it proved to be very useful on the honeymoon.
I was so happy to roll up to The Gables and see this picture in my head come to life. They had to put an awning over the space due to the rain, which wasn't as nice as the open air (obviously). I was just so grateful that we got to have it outside though that I didn't care! I had this idea for the table numbers I think that they turned out so cute! The floral design was just like I pictured it and I loved working with the florist throughout the planning process. I actually had a lot of fun taking photos with Jay...it was nice to sneak away for a moment alone to do them. We had seats reserved for us at two tables for the dinner: 1 at the biggest bridesmaid table and 1 at the biggest groomsmen table. It was a solution to the problem of 'whose friends do we sit with?' Obviously every single person at that party was both of our friends so it was a win-win but the 'largest table for each group' plan was easy. We mingled and moved around a lot and probably ended up sitting for only half of the party. Our friends' baby came and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to squeeze her. I am so grateful that our family and friend's are so fun to be around because I laughed hard. I also LOVED the food, which wasn't surprising since the dinner was held at our favorite restaurant on the island. My favorite memories from the night are of the speeches. Jay's mom and dad each spoke. Jay's mom talked about how his favorite song as a kid was 'Down By The Bay' by Raffie so it was only suiting that our wedding hashtag was #CarlyandJayByTheBay, which I thought was so funny. My best friend since I was 2 years old also gave a speech at the end of the night. She talked about how we played wedding and creating wedding binders as kids after watching the friend's episode with Monica and Rachel's wedding binders. It felt like a big 'full circle' moment. It was so much fun that I wish that I could go back and relive this night over and over again.
I went back to the house and some of my bridesmaids came with me. My parents built that house when I was 12 years old and my best friends from when I was 12 are still my best friends now. It was probably my billionth sleepover with these girls at that house...only this time it was the night before my wedding. It was very surreal! Jay got a room at a hotel on the island and slept there for the night. It felt so weird to not sleep together and to know that the next time we would see each other would be on our wedding day.
I am in the market for a time machine to take me back to this night. Until then, I will be staring at the photos on repeat. If you'd like to see the rest of the gallery, you can go to https://anncoen.shootproof.com/gallery/4762687/ and enter the password: robinson. Below is all of the information about our rehearsal dinner. Feel free to leave comments or shoot me an email if you have any questions about anything!
Venue: The Gables
Bride's Hair: Bleu Salon
Bride's Hair Piece: Custom design of fresh flowers by Reynolds
Bride's Dress: sold out from BHLDN
Place Card Setup: Wire clips from here and
Place card calligraphy and printing: Stephanie B. Design