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  • Writer's pictureAnwuli Anyah

Rehearsal Dinner at a Cidery

Updated: Aug 12, 2019

A rehearsal dinner is perhaps the most underrated wedding event. For my husband and I, the rehearsal dinner was truly enjoyable. It was the calm before the storm. We took this time to relax and to be in the moment. It is the perfect opourtunity to spend extra time with close family and friends. There was no wedding day stress, at least no yet. At the rehearsal, we were able to enjoy dinner which was great because, we didn't have time to eat dinner on our wedding day.

Planning the rehearsal dinner was very different from wedding planning. It was a team effort by my husband and his parents but Patrick and I picked the venue. Grand Rapids is Beer City. Although Patrick loves beer, I do not. We both love cider. Vander Mill is one of the few cideries in Grand Rapids and more importantly, they have amazing food. They have a seasonal menu from locally grown ingredients. They also incorporate apples into their menu in the most interesting ways. It was an easy choice hosting the dinner there.

We utilized the cidery's production floor. It was decorated with string lights overhead. There was a classic car decorating the space. In line with this theme, we did rustic floral arrangements for centerpieces. We used old milk bottles and mason jars as vases. Old barrels placed in strategic spots held additional flowers in bigger mason jars. The bar was also adorned with these flowers. It was all very shabby chic.

I designed the invitations online in a rustic style to match our venue. The invitation even had illustrated string lights, like the ones in the dinner space. This rustic invitation style matched our save-the-date cards.

For the Rehearsal dinner, we choose a vibe that was opposite that of the wedding. Our wedding was very elegant and polished while the rehearsal was cute and shabby chic. I liked the different events having different feels because it gave the guests a change and it just seemed refreshing.

We had about 40 guests for the rehearsal dinner. We utilized 5 round dining tables. The menu was printed out by the cidery and tucked into Napkins at each place setting. We had an interesting menu.

For appetizers, we had Brussel sprouts, crispy fries, and a summer salad. Our main courses were Ropa Veija, and spring pasta. Dessert was ham and donuts. It was all served family style. Cider and Beer was on tap for refreshments. The food was one of my favorite memories of the evening.

The dinner started at 6:30 pm. After the wedding party rehearsed at church, we headed over to the cidery to meet the rest of our friends and family. There was no real order of festivities. We just got to talk to everyone, spend time together and enjoy some good food. Patrick got to meet my uncle and aunt for the first time. Lots of hugging and maybe some crying happened here. It was all very sweet.

After the dinner, Patrick and I headed over to Atwater Brewery for a welcome event with our other out of town wedding guests who weren't at the rehearsal. After spending about an hour there, I headed back to our loft for a sleepover with my bridesmaids. One of my favorite moments of the day was when Patrick walked me back to my car, after the welcome event. It was the last time we would see each other before I walked down the aisle.

He was so sweet. He held my hand, we took our stroll slow and reminisced on how far we had come, from randomly meeting in Dayton, Ohio, to getting married. It felt so surreal. I could not believe how lucky I was to be getting married to him. I couldn't wait for morning. We ended the night with a kiss.

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