Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Pre Wedding Festivities and Rehearsal Dinner

So we had quite a whirlwind of a wedding and then departed for our honeymoon soon after.  Joe and I soaked up every minute of it but we are also grateful to have life back to normal so that we can enjoy married life.  I wanted to take some time (and probably a couple posts) to review our wedding weekend for those that were not able to spend the weekend with us.  Joe and I both took off a portion of Thursday as we prepared for the weekend.  The first task was to drop off all of the goody bags for our hotel guests that would be arriving over the next couple of days.  Below is the list of what we put in our hotel bags.  The majority of the purchases were made at Costco.
  • 2 beers, one SweetWater and one Red Hare (local Atlanta beers)
  • 2 bottles of water
  • a granola bar
  • a pack of crackers
  • fruit snacks
  • a pack of gum
  • individually packed Advil
 After dropping off the bags with Joe's mom, we had to turn in all of our paperwork to the church.  To get married in the Catholic church you have to turn in your original baptismal certificate, 4 affidavits filled out by loved ones to confirm you are who you say you are, and a copy of your engagement retreat certificate.  I thought I had everything together, but after getting there it seems we misplaced Joe's baptismal certificate.   I ran home to check if it was at home but had little luck.  After a lot of back and forth, the church agreed to take a faxed copy from Joe's church.  After finally wrapping things up, it was already dinner time, so Joe and I headed to Buckhead Saloon to meet up with friends that had arrived for the wedding.  Courtney had already come into town as well as Steve, a fellow track athlete at GT so a lot of our friends met us there to enjoy dinner and drinks.  Although the others continued to hang out, Courtney and I headed home because we knew Friday would be a fun filled day!  We timed our arrival perfectly, because we were met by my parents who had also picked up my grandmother and aunt who had arrived all the way from Slovenia!  I am so blessed and grateful for both of them for making the long trip to America to see me on my special day.  I never really thought I would see my Grandmother in America again since she hadn't been here in almost 18 years!  We chatted for a short time before my grandmother, my aunt, and I headed to bed while Courtney and Andy practiced for their performance on Saturday and entertained my parents.  My parents stayed up very late and headed back to the airport for a second time to pick up my cousins who arrived after midnight, then headed to the hotel with them to get a good nights rest.  We are so thankful for my parents for being the taxi and putting hundreds of miles on the car throughout the weekend to insure that everyone arrived at the right place at the right time!

Friday morning was here before we knew it and Courtney and I headed out for a long walk to catch up.  After our walk, we found that my aunt and grandma were already up and had made themselves at home and made breakfast for themselves.  We all headed to the grocery store to pick up snacks for Friday so that we would not starve during the day since we had some time before my parents came back to our house.  My parents arrived shortly after with my two cousins who had also made the trek all the way to Atlanta from Slovenia.  We didn't have too much for them to do, so Joe departed for his parents house to help out with getting things together for the rehearsal dinner, and my cousin Jana, Courtney, and I headed out to get our nails done.  We met my sister, Ana, at the nail salon since she had just arrived and Doug dropped her off.  We headed to the salon while Doug headed to our house to spend some time with my parents and introduce Rose to my family in Slovenia. 
The best support system a girl could ask matter what the distance is between us!
I had so much fun getting pampered at the nail salon and they were so friendly!  After the nail salon, we headed to a jeweler to get my ring cleaned before heading home. Once we arrived home we ordered some pizza for the family and everyone enjoyed Papa Johns before we all went our separate ways.  My aunt and grandma went to take a nap while my parents and cousins headed to Joe's parent's house to pack up the car with all of the centerpieces and things to deliver them to the venue.  I enjoyed some relaxing time with Courtney as she manned my phone and made sure I did not get too stressed out (she really was a lifesaver!) with everyone calling about plans, timelines, etc.  We got dressed and ready to go as well as got packed for the remainder of the weekend.  We headed to Joe's parent's house around 3:30 to make sure that we did not arrive late, and sat in a bit of traffic. 
4 Generations!
We arrived at Joe's parents house where I saw Joe for the first time since the morning, and he was exhausted from a long days work getting set up.  We had made the decision a long time ago to have our rehearsal dinner at Joe's parent's house, which made Friday quite a busy day for them.  Everyone had pitched in to help get everything set up for the catering company to arrive.  Before we knew it, it was time to head to the church for the rehearsal.  We started at 6, and I am proud to say that all of Joe's groomsmen arrived on time, while a good portion of the bridesmaids were fashionably late.  Regardless, we started the rehearsal and practiced the ceremony. A very special shout out to my cousin for being our photographer at the rehearsal!  We love having pictures of every minute or our weekend!
The whole crew!
Dad giving me away for the second to last time!
It took about 30 minutes to get all practiced, and then we headed back to Joe's parent's house to enjoy great company for the remainder of the evening.  We had about 45 people attend since our wedding party was 14.  We made the decision to only invite our wedding party and dates, grandparents, and my family from Slovenia.  The set up was absolutely beautiful, with tall tables set up outside and in the living room, a live musician, a bar that was tended by a family friend, and beautiful signs designed by a family friend.  The meal started with appetizers, including an antipasti platter that was amazing and filled with cheese, salami, pickled veggies, and so much more.  We also had two amazing appatizers served by the catering company.
  •  Belgian Endive Leaf filled with Mango Curry Chicken Salad and Fresh Mint
  • Thin Crust Pizza topped with Duck Confit, Caramelized Onions, Fig Preserves,
    Roquefort Blue Cheese, White Truffle Oil and Roasted Garlic
After socializing for a bit, it was dinner time!  Below you will see the menu which was catered by a local caterer, Endive (  Below is the wonderful menu we had!
  • Strawberry Spinach Salad with Baby Curly Spinach tossed with Raspberry Vinaigrette topped with Sweet and Spicy Roasted Pecans, Dried Cranberries, Crumbled Maytag Blue Cheese and Fresh Sliced Strawberry
  • Seasoned Grilled Jumbo Asparagus Tips with Tomato Confetti and Crumbled Montrachet Goat Cheese
  • Four Cheese Macaroni and Cheese topped with Toasted Breadcrumbs and Aged Parmesan
  • Overnight Slow Roasted Moroccan Lamb Tagine with Cinnamon, Raisins and Honey served over Mediterranean Couscous
  • Blackened Cajun Seasoned Gulf Shrimp over Monterey Jack Cheese Grits
  • Barbecue Beef Brisket over Wilted Slaw
How cool is this!
My Beautiful Grandma!
Mom's and Grandmas!
Love these girls to the moon and back!
So much food!
Wedding Party Gifts!
Feeling the Love :)

All of the food was absolutely amazing and I think we all ate way too much! After enjoying dinner it was time to hand out gifts. I won't go into details since I will write a separate post with the details, but Joe and I loved getting to put a lot of thought behind each of our gifts.  We really hope that we did something that everyone will enjoy and use!  After dinner, it was time to cut the cake.  One of Joe's good friends, Nicole, had offered to make our grooms cake and wedding cake since she is quite the pastry chef.  Joe's request for the cake was chocolate on chocolate on chocolate with chocolate crunchies!  The design was to be GT themed.  The cake was absolutely amazing for all chocolate lovers and the buzz on the cake was perfect!
How cool is this!
Practicing cake cutting :)
 As the dinner wrapped up, I headed to the hotel with Courtney and Sarah Anderson to get a good nights sleep (thank you NyQuil!) while Joe and some of his groomsmen headed to a groomsmen's house right down the street to catch some Z's.  Both of us made sure that we wouldn't let nerves get the best of us and got 8+ hours of sleep to prepare ourselves for the long and exciting day we had ahead of us.

Everything about the dinner was above and beyond anything we ever dreamed of when we had initially decided to do it at Joe's parent's house.  We are so grateful for all of the hours they put into planning the dinner as well as all of the hard work to get everything together the day of.  We loved having room to mix and mingle during the dinner, and we were blessed with perfect weather outside.  We did not have any rain that evening and it was not too hot, making for an ideal setting.  The intimacy of the rehearsal dinner really made us feel so loved and was exactly what Joe and I had wanted to get from the evening.  Getting to spend some extra time talking to our closest family and friends really made us realize how lucky we are to have so much love and support in our lives! 

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