Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Guest Post: Our At-Home Rehearsal Dinner

By Katie Womack

Hosting our rehearsal dinner at our home was an awesome choice for my partner Charles and me and I'm so happy to have the opportunity to share our experience with you all!

Our decision to host our rehearsal dinner - officially known as our welcome party - grew out of several factors. Charles's parents had already contributed significantly to our wedding fund and, since they tend to be traditional in some regards, we did not want them to feel obligated to also pay for the rehearsal dinner (as is traditional for parents of the groom). So, we quickly announced that we would be throwing a welcome party and then decided that it would be a great opportunity to invite all of our out-of-town guests to our home. It worked well for us because many of these guests had either never been to our house, or had not seen it since we'd begun renovating. Several people had told us they hoped they could stop by while in town for our wedding and we wanted them to. We love having people over, but we knew that we would not have enough time (or energy!) to host everyone unless we had them all over at once.

Some friends and family thought we were taking on too much by throwing a party the night before our wedding but, really, I just planned everything well in advance and we asked for help when needed and everything went very smoothly. There was a fair amount of work involved, especially as we were still working on lots of house projects, but opening our home to our friends and family that we don't get to see that often and getting to spend extra time with them was totally worth it. It was also good motivation for getting some house projects finished up sooner than planned!

We wanted our welcome party to be relaxed and, because of our budget, it needed to be inexpensive. The night before our wedding was also Halloween, my favorite holiday, so luckily the house was already decked out with decorations I already owned and it ensured that our out-of-town guests had something fun to do on Halloween night. It also meant we didn't have to miss out on handing out goodies to trick-or-treaters - and neither did our guests, many of whom pitched in if neither of us was immediately available to answer the door! To help convey the casual nature of the party we sent evites and let guests know that they could expect some home cooking and local flavor. I made vegetarian black bean soup (served in mugs), Charles made corn bread, and we brought in some of the local favorite barbeque, along with buns to serve it on. We chose this menu because it could easily be eaten at the dining room table, on the couch, or on the front porch. This was a necessity since we had about 30 people in our little bungalow and having everyone sit down together was just not an option. Tortilla chips, salsa, hummus, and cut up veggies rounded out the meal. I'd been buying beer and wine over the course of a month or two prior to the party to help spread out costs. Dessert was Halloween candy and cookies. We kept everything warm in crock pots and made a buffet on the kitchen counter, with the drink station on the kitchen table.

Getting a good night's sleep the night before the wedding was important to us, so we had the party end at 9PM and we were able to get everything cleaned up before heading to bed. I had never before thrown a party with a set end time, but in this case I am so glad we realized in advance that it would probably be a good idea (for us) to do so. I can be very grumpy if I don't have enough sleep!

It was a simple, fun gathering and a really meaningful way for us to honor the folks who had traveled so far to celebrate our wedding with us. And I can't tell you how great it was to look around at our wedding reception the next night and see guests who had met only the night before hanging out and having a great time together!

Katie is a museum professional and Charles is a painter. They recently moved from the 1924 bungalow they renovated together (also the site of their welcome party) in North Carolina to seek new adventures in Texas. Many BIG DIY projects await them in the Lone Star State!

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

We also had our 'rehearsal dinner' at our house, and it was the best decision for us! We love hosting parties, and many of our out of town family had not seen our house, so it was a great way to get everyone together to show where we have been spending all of our time (and money...lots of projects). Clean up was a breeze because we bought all compostable silverware, plates and cups, then brought it to a commercial compost facility.

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