The Rehearsal Dinner

20 Apr

The night before my cousin Lisa’s gorgeous wedding, the bridesmaids and groomsmen took a joyful walk down a flowerless aisle.

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practice makes perfect!

We spent about forty-five minutes reviewing the ceremony. People were everywhere, decorations were nowhere and the excitement for the upcoming day was palpable.

The next evening, when my cousin Jason and I received the cue, we walked arm in arm to our assigned spots just beside the beautiful chuppah. We were paving the way for a magnificent bride.

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What a difference from the night before!

Nearly four years later, and two months closer to walking down my own aisle, another rehearsal dinner is coming together. Much to my surprise, our dinner will not make use of a rehearsal. The wedding party will review all details of the aisle on the big day, rather than the night before. Apparently, I’m excused from the madness.

Our rehearsal dinner will take place at the hotel where our guests will stay, as opposed to the chateau. The short yet sweet evening will be filled with food, laughter and toasts. There will be no learning to line up. Leaving all instructions until an hour or so before the ceremony is a bit risky, right? I thought so too.

A couple things for brides to consider when planning a pre-wedding dinner:

Don’t make your wedding party rehearse speeches. 

I’ve learned that the rehearsal dinner is purposefully casual. However, the menu certainly requires careful selection. Perhaps there will be small flower arrangements on each table. When all planning is done, don’t be the bride who bosses the bridal party. They’ve been through enough. You’ve probably picked their dresses, hairstyles and seating arrangements. Let them live a little at this dinner. It’s their time to spill embarrassing stories without remorse. Essentially, the rehearsal dinner is a free pass.

Don’t overthink your glam plan.

Rehearsal dinners are intimate and calm. The wedding day is grand and pleasantly chaotic. Therefore, I have reconsidered wearing heels to the gathering. I may have my hair (professionally) thrown up with minimal makeup. While I still want to look like the bride, there is something special about saving the glitz for the white dress. The wow factor should be reserved for the wedding day.

Lastly, the bride has a bedtime.

When the final bite of dessert has been consumed, it’s the bride’s cue to say goodnight. Most likely, the groomsmen will just be beginning their night. It’s almost like a second bachelor party for the men. The bride, however, needs to prioritize beauty sleep over anything else remotely tempting.

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Rehearsal dinner = rest for the bride.

Photo credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/479422322805352490/

Showering Sarah

18 Apr

A few months back, if readers remember, I mentioned the idea of a couple’s bachelor(ette). After attending my own parties this past weekend, I will admit that I have grown immeasurably from the mindset of that post. I have transformed from a young (22), naïve fiancé to a still quite young (24) yet capable bride. My bridesmaids proved that although I will make a perfect Peterman, the solo Sarah will never lose her spunk:

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Since I am still pre-wedding, I can freely shout my feelings from the rooftops of Trump Soho (where I slumbered with my bridesmaids): I had the best two days of a bride-to-be’s life!

Here’s a peek into the festivities that taught me why every bride needs bridesmaids, both before and well after the wedding:

There’s no man who can replace the bond between women!

Every moment of this past weekend was filled with constant love and laughter (far too much to capture in words and pictures alone). Below, I have attempted to summarize a few of the most unforgettable highlights. These memories may serve as a guide for bridesmaids who are in the process of planning a celebratory weekend for their beloved bride. With that said, it doesn’t matter whether you’re the mother of the bride, the bridesmaids or the bride-to-be herself- the bachelorette and shower are happy occasions for all.

Here’s what you should do to make the most of each moment…

Laugh harder than you ever thought possible.

After checking into our chic downtown hotel, I was escorted to a workout class of sorts. Since I live in leggings, I was appropriately dressed for my first surprise adventure. I assumed I was attending a girly tuck session known as Pure Barre or perhaps a trendy hour of Bikram yoga. Truth be told, I was actually enrolled in a “twerk” class more commonly known as pole dancing.

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Posing amongst the poles with my girls during an incredibly silly hour of nonstop laughter and quite a bit of blushing!

The giggles were clearly contagious. One day later, at my shower, I found myself plucking undies off a clothing line right in front of my mother-in-law. Based on style and rhyming clues I was asked to guess the giver.

 

This game is a must for every bride at her shower! I love all my panties and the clever clues!

Make new memories and savor the old.

At the start of my shower I was presented with a gift that made my mascara run. One of my bridesmaids, Shonna, had asked each friend and family member to submit photos and a letter or note of love via e-mail. She spent countless hours creating a masterpiece.

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Each page was carefully crafted.

(surrounded by two of my bridesmaids, Mallory and Alexa)

The book of memories is titled, “Showering Sarah with Love,” and is unquestionably my favorite treasure from the weekend.

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The gorgeous heart behind my book of love- Shonna, my bridesmaid.

Take a moment to pause and look around.

Nearly one week later I can be found floating around my apartment in Savannah wearing my bridal sash and tiara. I can still very vividly feel the warmth and see the smiles from the women who shared in my happiness. Although I was absolutely showered in gifts, I have yet to start cooking with my food processor, blender, roasting dish and baking pan. Despite inching two months closer to the big day, I remain the same Sarah that my family and friends know too well; I’d rather use the kitchen for storage than cooking!

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Embrace the truth.

Dedicated to three incredible women who fill my life with beauty.

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Aunt Diane– Thank you from the bottom of my heart for planning the most magnificent bridal shower. Every detail was sparkling with love. I will never forget the pretzels you put on each table from the location of my engagement, Reading Terminal Market…wow!

Shonna– Thank you for putting so much time, affection and energy into a book I will adore forever.

Lisa– Thank you for showering me with sweetness, tiara’s and activities throughout the weekend. We shared some of our best laughs during these two days.

I love you all, endlessly!

The Value of a Veil

14 Apr

The majority of my second dress fitting was spent selecting a veil for the ceremony. The options were plentiful. Aside from choosing the length, I also considered design, fit and sparkle. I ended up ordering a medium length veil with rhinestones that will be woven into the fabric to compliment my dress. Kleinfeld Bridal is the queen of custom.

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Lace? Pearls? Sparkles? Kleinfeld has just as many veils as dresses!

The very next day, I had the pleasure of visiting Cantor Lee Coopersmith who will officiate our wedding alongside a Pastor. I have known the Cantor of my congregation for most of my life. In fact, Cantor Lee was my teacher and mentor in preparation for my Bat Mitzvah (the ceremony where I officially entered adulthood).

It was incredibly meaningful to sit down with my Cantor, ten years later, as I prepare to take the vows of marriage. Our meeting was spent exchanging memories, reviewing the program, and discussing the progression of blessings. At one point, Cantor Lee mentioned the veiling ceremony known in the Judaism as Bedeken. Before I walk down the aisle, JB will cover me with the veil as a confirmation that I am the right bride!

In the Biblical story, Jacob unintentionally marries his bride’s sister, Leah, who was wearing a veil. Only after the wedding ceremony was performed, did Jacob notice the gravity of his mistake.

I will gladly participate in the veiling ceremony…

© Casey Fatchett Photography - www.fatchett.com

After all, I am the one and only bride for JB. No tricks please!

Photo credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/216735800791124568/

After meeting with the Cantor, I assigned a new value to my veil that had everything to do with marriage and nothing to do with sparkles.

~Dedicated to Cantor Lee Coopersmith. Thank you for always providing an important perspective to major milestones. Your kind words, vast knowledge of religion, open mind and heart have filled me with a profound appreciation for Judaism and Christianity. I am confident that both faiths will unite us as one.~

Birthday Bride!

10 Apr

Yesterday, I spent my twenty-fourth birthday wearing two tiaras. After all, birthday hats never go out of style.

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a timeless accessory and a forever friend.

Bridal tiaras, however, are treasured because they are ephemeral. This was my last birthday as a single Sarah.

Aside from waking up to two-dozen pink roses on my doorstep, I opened a very special wedding themed birthday gift; My Pnina Tornai gown arrived in the mail just in time for fitting two.

My birthday was celebrated at Kleinfeld Bridal with my amazing mom and happy grandmother. Although I felt honored to return to the beloved home of Say Yes to the Dress, my appointment took more time and work than expected. Every bride-to-be approaches their second fitting with high hopes and expectations: will the dress fit a little better? How close to perfect will everything fall? Is there enough time to make dramatic changes such as adding or removing straps?

I advise brides to bring mom, bridesmaid, grandma or friend(s) to the fitting. A support team helps suppress bridezilla.

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my team.

Truthfully, ever since I stepped off the plane from Savannah to New York City, this past weekend, I have been glued to mom. Thankfully, the MOTB keeps me organized, focused and seriously busy! Although I continue to smile in every bridal picture, posh readers should be forewarned: the steps leading to the dreamy walk down the aisle are far from glamorous. Planning takes patience. Patience takes practice for every bride.

This weekend, however, I will be excused from all wedding duties; Saturday and Sunday are solely dedicated to bachelorette and shower festivities planned by my thoughtful bridesmaids. For the very first Saturday since my engagement, I will have zero decisions to contemplate.

But the pins always precede the party. My team spotted a few minor details that still require tweaking.

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Don’t peak behind the curtain…my dress is there!

(extra perk: I was placed in room 9- a lucky coincidence on my birthday, April 9th!)

Here’s my advice for fellow brides who may fear their next fitting:

  • Bring wedding shoes (make sure they are the right heel length before the tailor starts to hem!)
  • Wear Commando (visible panty lines do not flatter brides.)
  • Contemplate face coverage (finalize the length and design of your veil/headpiece, if you decide to wear one at all!)
  • Back away from the dress (after fitting two, remove everything bridal. Take a stroll around the boutique before leaving. Brides should avoid rash decisions regarding alterations.)

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Inside the box: a jeweled memory from my second fitting.

“Happiness (is) only real when shared.”

8 Apr

Christopher McCandless from Into the Wild

Last Saturday, I spent two hours in traffic devoted to wedding planning instead of reflecting on the purpose of my destination: to celebrate Passover in the company of fifty plus family members.

Passover commemorates the liberation of Israelites from Egyptian slavery…

In other words, it’s not the appropriate time or place for wedding worries.

Apparently, the swatch for the bridesmaid dresses went missing. After giving the green light to send our invitation list to print, the mother of the bride caught several mistakes. Lastly, a specific flower that I have been admiring for the ballroom will be out of season come June. Three strikes?

And so, regretfully, I entered my annual Seder with wedding woes on the mind. Thankfully, hours later, with a full belly and a restored appreciation for the holiday, my exit appeared far less dramatic.

Since this past weekend was devoted to Passover and Easter celebrations, I thought it fitting to shift the focus from the bride to her family. Color coordination is ideal when walking down the aisle. Flawless invitations are well received. Beautiful flowers are picturesque. But what’s the wedding without the family?

Fortunately, religious gatherings serve as a reality check for every bride who has been distracted by wedding planning. This past Saturday was a sincere reminder that despite months of endless preparation, the wedding day will come and go. Family is forever.

Snapped on Saturday night:

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Four Generations of Drew’s- we are happiest when together.

Wedding traditions such as wearing “something blue” are exciting to embrace. Family traditions, however, are invaluable. I urge every bride to stop overthinking trivial details and instead, treasure those who will share in the happiness of the big day.

~Dedicated to my amazing Aunt Zindy. Thank you for always cooking the most delicious egg noodles and soup on Passover. Your warm heart and commitment to family traditions is admirable.~

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Aunt Zindy:

Queen of family feasts and fashion (what a fabulous combo)!

Wedding Season is Upon Us

6 Apr

The Huffington Post began a recent article with a bold warning: Ladies and Gents, “Run for your (social) lives. Wedding season is here.”

Unfortunately for the ladies in the wedding party, no matter how fast they run, the bride will surely catch every one of them!

Here comes the bride…

As a bride-to-be, I am thrilled to learn that wedding season is approaching. There are less than eighty days before I walk down the aisle! Apparently guests are joining the countdown for dramatically different reasons. They are savoring the days before:

  • Forfeiting their social lives for an entire weekend
  • Arranging outfits, transportation and a hotel
  • Memorizing a corny wedding hashtag such as #meetthepetermans
  • Acknowledging that Sarah’s Pure Barre routine is working wonders!
  • Considering their own timeline (Is the engagement clock ticking?)

Truth be told: until June 20th has come and gone, my friends, family and even strangers will most likely refer to me as the bride-to-be, before Sarah. As if the title wasn’t enough, I document every bridal appointment and wedding decision with enthusiasm, not once, but twice a week.

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How my friends most likely feel.

Lucky for my guests, the day after the wedding, I’ll be off the radar for a week. Apparently, the honeymoon suite we’ve booked does not include Wi-Fi. When I return as Sarah Peterman, I will no longer be able to perch on a bridal pedestal.

Today, I’ve swapped my sparkly bridal slippers for ones that my guests might wear. The two-minute video below helps the bride understand how it feels to be in the shoes of those in the audience rather than at the altar.

Press play… it’s worth it!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/30/wedding-season-is-coming-video_n_6971082.html?utm_hp_ref=weddings&ir=Weddings

After watching, I sympathize with guests who wonder whether or not they will have to do the Macarena at the reception? Dancing in front of big groups can be intimidating.

BuzzFeed makes an interesting point: for the bride-to-be, wedding planning is pure bliss mixed with moments of self-induced stress. From the perspective of guests, however, tying the knot is frightening and potentially contagious should you be the one friend to catch the bouquet.

So, how will you prepare to handle wedding season?

Pondering programs.

1 Apr

My parents recently attended a gorgeous wedding in Palm Beach, Florida. From what I could see, my favorite detail was the big bow that cascaded down the back of the bride’s dress. I adore a bold bow! Since mom was both a guest and a wedding planner on a mission, I received a full recap of the dreamy affair with plenty of pictures. Visuals are key when planning.

With three months left until the big day, there’s not much time to spare for new inspiration. With that said, we are still debating the necessity of programs for our short, yet very sweet ceremony. The question of the week is as follows: Are programs just another piece of paper to bejewel before being tossed, or will guests be puzzled without paper?

Below is an image taken by mom just minutes before the ceremony commenced…

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Gaze across the aisle…

At first glance the romantic floating candles consumed my attention. If you look closely, however, you will spot a guest in a seafoam gown studying the program rather carefully.

Since our wedding will include an interfaith ceremony, it might be helpful to provide an explanation of blessings and rituals, both Jewish and Protestant.

The Jewish tradition of breaking the glass can definitely alarm guests if caught off guard!

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(My cousin Bryan and his beautiful bride Jamie are pictured above)

The program also included a list of people who walked down the aisle. It’s nice to introduce the entire entourage from the proud grandmas to the rambunctious best man. Stella, my two-pound Chihuahua, just might make an appearance down the aisle (escorted by the ring bearer) should I decide to include friends with paws.

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Bridesmaids come in all shapes and sizes.

The program concluded with a small note of love and gratitude from the elated couple. It expressed appreciation for those who watched the ceremony with love from either side of the aisle.

After considering the information guests may wish to know, I am excited to map out a program for our wedding.

Below I have summarized my main reasons to push a program. Hopefully, some of these thoughts resonate with other brides-to-be:

  • If guests arrive early they will have engaging reading material
  • Religious blessings/traditions can be explained
  • Honorable members of the wedding party can be properly introduced
  • Guests will feel included in the intimate moments of the ceremony such as the vows

I am no longer indecisive when it comes to pondering a program.

~Dedicated to Bryan Drew. Thank you for breaking the glass which welcomed a true beauty (inside and out) to the family!~

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