Tag Archives: traditions

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.~

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!~

Just How Sweet is a Sweetheart Table?

30 Mar

There are so many details to consider when preparing the seating chart for your wedding. Who should be seated closest to the dance floor? Is it okay to mix colleagues and college friends at the same table? Although all of these questions are legitimate, I have learned that there is no perfect formula for assigning seats.

In fact, a wedding that my friend attended a few months ago made use of bar stools, rather than the traditional round tables to avoid structured seating. Seating was determined on a first-come, first-served basis. Apparently, the wedding felt like a fancy game of musical chairs. Guests simply swapped stools with those who visited the buffet or hit the dance floor. Interesting idea, right?

At the moment, the most important discussion related to seating is whether or not the groom and I will make use of a sweetheart table. If not, will we sit with our wedding party, or just with our parents and siblings? Every group seems to have their own opinion. But, what will the sweethearts decide?

Here are my current pros and cons of sitting pretty as a couple:

PRO: the sweetheart table will truly compliment the purpose of the affair…

to celebrate the bride and groom!

At my cousins wedding, a few years back, I loved how the bride and groom shared a sweetheart table at the edge of the dance floor. Side note: They barely sat during the wedding. The Drew family takes dancing very seriously. However, when my cousin Lisa and her lovely groom, Todd, sat down to enjoy their champagne and heartfelt speeches, every guest could see their emotional faces.

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Lisa and Todd embracing the sweetness.

The sweetheart table definitely enhances the spotlight for the bride and groom. It is certainly wonderful to highlight the happy couple in the presence of their family and friends.

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A beautiful sweetheart table courtesy of Posh Petal and Pearls

CON: I’ve heard it’s possible to feel disconnected from your guests…

What couple would volunteer to be isolated at their wedding?

Plenty of people have said it: you have your entire married life to spend in the company of your spouse. Why invite three hundred guests if you plan to sit far from them?

With that said, I believe a sweetheart table can work well and look quite charming in an intimate dinner setting. Our wedding, however, may prove too big to make use of this seating arrangement. On the other hand, if the room is grand and the guests are plentiful, wouldn’t it make sense to have a special area for the bride and groom? We can be easily located for a congratulatory hug!

Here are some questions to consider before deciding whether to sit sweetly or not:

  • How big is your wedding?
  • What shape and size is the dance floor?
  • Are you planning to sit pretty for multiple speeches?

In conclusion, here’s a thoughtful compromise to a sweetheart table: my future mother-in-law recently purchased antique “Mr.” and “Mrs.” hand-painted signs that are intended to hang behind our chairs. We will be able to make a statement as the bride and groom of the party while still sitting nice and close to our loved ones.

For now, these beauties separate my side of the closet from his…

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Soon, however, they will be placed on the back of our chairs at the wedding!

When Traditional Meets Trendy

24 Feb

In preparation for my trip home this week, I have been obsessing over all things Kleinfeld Bridal including Facebook official updates, “Say Yes to the Dress” re-runs and the store’s customer service line which remains on speed dial. My dress should be arriving from Israel any day now. Will I have my first fitting this week? Possibly.

In anticipation of Pnina’s arrival, I will be heading to Kleinfeld Bridal sometime this week to try on potential shoes and pick a veil that will compliment, rather than clash with my dress.

A few days ago Kleinfeld’s social media page shared a clip from ABC news. The short video entertains a bridal debate that is currently trending: to ditch or not to ditch traditional gowns for shorter options with far less coverage? Take a peek:

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/brides-ditching-traditional-gowns-shorts-29073984 

Don’t worry, potentially conservative MOTB’s, Terry Hall, the Fashion Director Kleinfeld explains how this trend is not necessarily intended for long walks down the aisle. Hall hinted that some brides may opt to wear a jeweled jumpsuit to the reception, after party, or even on the plane as a pre-honeymoon fashion statement. I happen to love the last idea.

If Savannah brides-to-be are searching for the middle ground between a crop top and a traditional princess gown, I suggest popping by BleuBelle Bridal Boutique to try on a look similar to the one pictured below:

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The jeweled back is the latest bridal treasure.

http://www.bleubellebridal.com/index2.php#

With that said, if southern belles have the opportunity to fly north, I recommend camping out at Kleinfeld Bridal. Whether brides are looking to be traditional, trendy or a combination of both, the options are endless. Most importantly, Kleinfeld Bridal and the sister stores are open to accommodating just about every and any request.

For example: During one of the more recent episodes of SYTTD, Lori (a fierce bridesmaids consultant) entertains a bride with a daunting twenty-two bridesmaids. Half of these girls are intended to light the aisle for the bride as “biblical bridesmaids.” Most likely, bridesmaids with a religious purpose will not be sporting high fashion attire with particularly low cuts. Luckily, Lori was able to fit the biblical bridesmaids in very pretty, yet highly appropriate wedding wear.

This week, while home, I will be visiting Bella Bridesmaid, a local dress shop with stores around the country for my cousin’s first fitting. Lisa is ready to say “yes” to my choice of dress, although she is still debating straps verses strapless.

Back to the news: ABC’s discussion as whether or not brides still qualify as traditional in a three-piece suit or shorts does end in a very happy union. Here’s the Tuesday moral, no matter the material: Brides, “It’s your day, so be you!”

Dancing with the Stars- bridal edition.

17 Feb

I did a pirouette this past Christmas when JB’s mother presented us with dancing lessons. There is something enchanting and timeless about watching couples waltz together. Before opening our gift, I viewed ballroom dancing as an elegant treasure of the past.

I never imagined that my spear fishing, hunter hubby-to-be would choose to rumba with me in a classroom setting (and enjoy it)! From the bias perspective of the bride, I believe we stole the floor and may have a future on Dancing with the Stars- but first, allow us to master our slow dance.

So far we have attended two, thirty-minute sessions with the energetic team at Savannah Ballroom Dance Studio. Meet our peppy personal instructors: JaeLynn Fulks and Gabriel Alexander.

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The dream team.

When we entered the studio, the team at Savannah Ballroom instantaneously calmed our nerves by playing “Stand by Me,” which was the song that solidified our proposal.

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12/8/13: At that moment, I had no idea we would be dancing to this song at our wedding!

For our first lesson we focused on learning the box step, a routine which appears effortless after memorizing the mechanics. Since I come from a ballerina background, I entered the studio with camera-ready confidence. Although the posture of a ballerina does mirror that of a ballroom dancer, the steps, rhythm and mindset are considerably different. The first half of our lesson was spent missing the floor and instead, stepping on each other’s toes. I definitely regret wearing my snakeskin heels. Luckily our instructors are painfully patient and love to laugh just as much as they love to dance. It’s also probable that they’ve seen worse…

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When all else fails…just laugh.

This past Friday we waltzed into our second class with increased confidence. During the week we had practiced our steps in the hallway of our apartment, on the sidewalks of Savannah’s whimsical streets and of course, in our heads.

For our second class I showed up in far more casual attire. Although I believed yoga pants would be most fitting for moving with freedom, my instructor handed me a floor length skirt that felt less like a breeze and more like a bag of sand. The purpose was to simulate the weight of my wedding dress. In reality, my gown has incredible volume and intricate details, which will make it challenging for JB to latch on and lead with ease. I was thankful to dance with the imagination of wearing my own dress.

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“Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high heels.” ~Faith Whittlesey

After two entertaining classes, the need to extend our package proved obvious. Hopefully, the additional classes will allow us to master our first dance. Here’s the good news: our instructors believe that we will waltz with wonder on the big day. As a bridal blogger, I highly recommend the Savannah Ballroom Dance Studio for couples at any and every dance level.

Brides- rumba while remembering: the lady always leads with her right foot, because she is always right (sorry, JB).

~Thank you Mama Peterman for encouraging me to dance with my star!~