Friday, October 18, 2013

Becoming The Breen's #5 -- Bachelorette Party, Fling Before the Thing & Rehearsal Dinner

Hello, friends! 
If you've been following along then you're familiar, but if not... Our 1st anniversary is Sunday, October 20th! To celebrate this past year of marriage, we're posting all the details about our wedding experience! This is the 5th installment & today you'll get to read all about my bachelorette party our "Fling Before the Thing" & our rehearsal dinner!

My Bachelorette Party: 
My bachelorette party was September 15th 2012! My girls & I hit the Niagara Wine Trail in a school bus (yes, a school bus! You can rent them for a decent price on the weekends!) for a super exciting day of wine & fun! My MATOH made delicious jello shots & my MADOH made this incredible wine punch so there was plenty to drink in between wineries as well. Plus we had sandwiches, fruit/cheese kabobs, cookies shaped in inappropriate ways & lots of chips/pretzels to fill our alcohol-filled stomachs. Everything was delicious! My cousin Jeanine also bedazzled some wine glasses, painted the bases with chalkboard paint (which allowed us to write our names on them to keep track of them!) & provided the wine glass lanyards. SUCH a cute idea & everyone got to keep their glasses at the end of the tour, kind of like a momento of the awesome time we all had together on the wine trails! I couldn't have been more excited about it & I've since used mine on other wine tours I've been on! 

Of course things got kinda rowdy at times. My sister in law made a super fun party CD that we all sang along to. It was packed full of Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys, Earth Wind & Fire & naturally there was some Cindy Lauper on there! There was lots of booty shaking! Also, the girls all signed a giant, blow-up man-part for me with well wishes! I had a lovely crown made out of duct tape that my friend Kelly made that said "Bride 2B" & a purple, veiled crown (that kind of resembled the statue of liberty's crown...) that had male genetalia hanging on the veil & as the spikes in the crown. I looked ultra classy. Finished up with a sash, I was quite a hit! Haha. 

We went to a total of 9 wineries (I think...?) & then headed back to the bar my MATOH & my brother in law own, The Ski Lodge for some more drinks, some food & to play games! The games were hysterical. One required participants to put clementines into stocking legs (to represent balls...) & then players were required to kick a ball from one side of the parking lot to the other using just their "balls." There would be 2 players at 1 time and whoever crossed the parking lot faster was the winner! Watching them play this was literally one of the most entertaining things I'd ever seen. I'll share. 

My MADOH Jeri & friend Kelly play the Ball Game
Everyone on the trail was fantastic to us. All of the wineries were super fun & wished me well. One winery even took a picture of us & put it on their Facebook page because they thought we were so much fun. I definitely enjoyed seeing that once I sobered up! It was such a fantastic day with my girls & I enjoyed every minute of it! I'm not really a downtown, clubing kind of gal so the wine tour was the perfect amount of exciting for me. I still got to enjoy some drinks (okay, LOTS of drinks) with my girls, make some crazy memories & have an AMAZING time without having to deal with roofies. Haha. Kidding. Kind of. :-)

The "Fling Before the Thing:"

Before my in-laws got married, they had a joint bachelor-bachelorette party that they referred to as "The Fling Before the Thing." It basically involves food, drinks, music, dancing & a whole bunch of fun! They asked us if it was something we'd be interested in & since Andrew really wasn't having much of a Bachelor Party, we decided this might be a fun way to get together before the wedding. So, October 6th, 2012, 2 weeks before our wedding, my in-laws hosted the 2nd ever "Fling Before the Thing" in their basement. 

There were tons of drinks ranging from beer to mixed drinks, wine & liquor, lots of food with a Halloween theme & appetizer-ish foods including taco dip & chicken wing dip! We had our bridal party & their spouses there, my dad, my aunt & Andrew's cousins & parents. His dad & brother DJ'd the event & there was lots of dancing! It was pretty much a huge warm-up for the big day. We had a blast throwing a few back, laughing & catching up with our family. Lots of them were interested in how the wedding planning was coming along & we had the opportunity to give them all the details. Plus, we got to have a practice-run of our first dance which was pretty sweet! This was such a cool "Bach-Alternative" so I'd highly suggest it if you're at all opposed to "his & hers"nights out before the wedding! 

Our Rehearsal Dinner: 

We got married in a church where there was an event the day before our wedding. So our rehearsal dinner was Thursday, October 18th 2012. I was off of work that day (my last day of work was 10/17/13) but Andrew had to work. The rehearsal started at 5:30, but he didn't get out of work until 4. He then ran up to Tuxedo Junction to get his tux & by the time he came home & showered we were late, late, LATE! I was a bit stressed because I knew everyone was waiting on us. But once we were there, everyone was chatting & in good spirits. The priest (who is just an amazing man in general, but was SO fantastic during our wedding planning process...) was keeping everyone entertained. We got there & began our walk-through which was very, very exciting for us. All the months (in our case, years!) of planning came together at this moment. We were just mere days away from doing this for real. The excitement was just off the charts! 

Our rehearsal dinner was in the church's basement which they allowed us to rent for almost nothing. My in-laws had it catered by DeFlippo's Italian Restaurant which was absolutely delicious! My father-in law used to be a DJ so he has a ton of speaker/PA equipment which he brought with him to the hall. We were able to easily make announcements & play music that way. It was such a nice night! My grandparents were in attendance along with our entire bridal party + their spouses, our parents & 3 of my aunts who were actively involved in the wedding (1 was singing, 2 were doing readings). It was a decent sized gathering & it was so nice! 

One of the best decisions we made that night was bringing the photomat & plate we wanted signed at our wedding. I can't take credit for thinking of this though. This was suggested to me by our DJ, Brent Powley from Beamin' Sounds Entertainment at one of our last meetings before the wedding. Our "VIP" guests were all able to sign them that night. This was so important to us since a lot of times at weddings the bridal party & parents are too busy to get a chance to sign these items. I now have the plate displayed above my cupboards & the signed photomat is in my bedroom. They mean so much! 

There was a lot of picture taking, lots of group shots, lots of hugs & kisses & well wishes. Being able to share this day with so many of our loved ones just made the excitement THAT much more intense. We went home that night knowing that in just 2 short nights, we would be walking down that aisle for real! 

This was also the chance to give our bridal party their gifts. We opted to purchase the majority of them from Things Remembered which was kind of pricey. But we used coupons to try & keep the cost as low as possible. We still ended up spending a pretty good chunk of money on the gifts. But seriously, after everything they did for us, it was COMPLETELY worth it. For the girls we bought them their jewelry (earrings & a necklace with a solitaire pear-shaped stone) & personalized jewelry boxes. For the guys we found these really cool wind up radio/flashlight things that are super practical (good for in the car!) & had them personalized as well. I wrapped everything up in pretty wrapping paper, purple ribbons & a punched, purple maple-leaf tag to go along with the fall theme. Everyone loved their gifts & it was SO exciting to see their faces as they opened them! We also bought gifts for our parents. Now these were a BIT more involved. We really wanted them to have something special & personalized. Both gifts we also purchased from Things Remembered. For my new in-laws, I bought just a regular crystal office plaque & had it inscribed to say "Mr. & Mrs. Breen, May I call you Mom & Dad? Love, Rene -- October 20th 2012" Then, Andrew bought my dad this globe with a base on which he had inscribed "Kevin, Thank you for trusting me with the most precious thing in your world. I promise she'll always be the most precious thing in mine as well. Love, Andrew -- October 20th 2012"  

As I'm sure you can imagine, there were plenty of tears. But it was so meaningful to all of us. Both sets of parents have these items displayed in their homes to this day, so money well spent! 

After the gift giving was over, my father-in law played a song for us & we danced. ("This is the Time to Remember" by Billy Joel who I ADORE!) then it was time to hug, kiss & leave. But not before taking a zillion pictures with everyone! Some of the pictures are my favorite though. They're so much fun! 

When we left the night of our rehearsal dinner, we realized that this was our last night together before the wedding. We laid in bed & talked for a few hours just about how far we'd come & how long we'd been dreaming of our big day. Keep in mind that at this point we'd been engaged for over 2 years! As we talked & just held hands while reminiscing about our past, I couldn't help but dream about the future. Who would we be in a decade? How many children would we end up having? What will the house look like that we raise our children in? Will we have a family dog? Will I be the type of mom who has recipes to pass down to her daughters? Will we take family vacations to Disney? Will our kids someday look back & say "Wow. Our parents really, REALLY loved each other." My head was so full of the possibilities that existed for us in the future we were beginning. But one thing was absolutely sure -- I felt SO lucky to be marrying this amazing man! :-)

The next installment will be the preparations the day before the wedding & the night before! Then it's time for the details of the big day! :-) 

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