Weekends are for Weddings: Wedding Party Events

Weekends are for weddings!  If you’re like me, with 9 weddings each year, the weekends are, quite literally, for weddings (attending them, that is).  Also if you’re like me, the weekend is a time to think about planning your own wedding.  Lots of people carve out a certain time each week for wedding planning (Wedding Wednesday seems to be very popular).  It ensures the wedding doesn’t take over their whole lives; however, I find that confining wedding planning to a specific time is too pressure-filled and bicker-prone.   I plan my wedding when inspiration strikes.  Weekends, in particular, offer the time to let my mind roam and plan my own wedding in a stress-free environment.  In this series, I’ll take you through some of my major planning steps – hopefully this will help you plan your own wedding!

I’m not sure if this is a Southern thing, but where I come from, weddings often turn into weekend-long affairs.  On Friday, Albert and I each had events for our respective dudes and dudettes.  For us, it was a nice way to hang out with our friends and family; for our guests, it was a way to show them the city a bit and offer a way to relax that didn’t mean sitting in the hotel room.

For his part, Albert hosted a golf tournament.  This event was much bigger than mine.  It was pretty much open to any guy who wanted to play.  Not everyone could make it in town in time to make the tee time, but there were still about 30 people there.  The guys were able to let off steam and do who knows what else.  What happens on the golf course is none of my business, I’ve learned.

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The boys played with golf balls that had been customized with the custom illustration from our wedding invitations

I tried to surprise the guys with a Chick-fil-A breakfast, but the course did not permit outside food.  My father did, however, arrange for all the players to receive a little swag bag with tees, ball markers, and other fun stuff.  They finished with plenty of time to go back to the hotel, relax, grab food, and [for those in the wedding party] get ready for the rehearsal dinner.

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Some of the golf swag, generously donated by some of the vendors my Dad works with

My event was way smaller.  I wanted to host a luncheon for my bridal party, but my grandmothers offered to serve as hostesses.  So generous!  They wanted to do something special, but they didn’t necessarily care to do the planning so I picked the venue, menu, and, together with my Mom, the invitations.

Choosing a venue for this event was actually fun!  Our group was bridal party and immediate family only, which came to a total of 16 people.  So much of our wedding weekend featured large groups so I had grown accustomed to hearing we wouldn’t fit in the places I liked.  With 16 people, we could go anywhere!  My first thought was The Grey.  The restaurant is really cool looking with fun private rooms and a funky family style menu.  Unfortunately, that cool private room did not have handicap access, which was no bueno for our group.

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From there I pivoted to the complete opposite style of restaurant.  While The Grey is modern, The Pink House is very traditional.  It’s true old school Savannah.  The restaurant is in an 18th century Colonial home and they serve wonderful Southern cuisine.  At first I thought choosing The Pink House was too #basic.  It’s the site of many a bridal luncheon.  But that’s for good reason.  It’s lovely and they offer a large set of options for events.  They were also a breeze to work with.  In addition to being handicap accessible, they didn’t roll their eyes when my Mom asked if she could bring my grandmothers there for a “planning visit.”  Of course, as native Savannahians, my grandmothers know what the venue looks like and my Mom and I had already chosen the menu so there wasn’t much to plan.  The point was to make them feel included as the official hosts.  Not all venues would be so accommodating.

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I was pleasantly surprised to see the restaurant customized menus for us – what a nice touch!

I culled down the menu to offer the group four entrée choices:

  • Fried Chicken Chopped Salad (with red wine vinaigrette, tomato, cucumber, red onion, hearts of palm, blue cheese, bacon)
  • Shrimp Gumbo (with okra, tomato, sausage, and rice)
  • Fried Quail (with honey glaze, Southern succotash, spiced peanuts)
  • Veggie Burger (with black bean, avocado, feta cheese, brioche)

I chose those items specifically because they were on the lighter side and also different from a lot of the food we were serving the rest of the weekend.  For dessert, there was a choice of a mini praline almond basket or house made fresh fruit sorbet.  Though we didn’t need it, we were able to have the room all day (til 4 PM), which was very nice.  We were just having a luncheon, but it would be a perfect location for a full bridal shower.

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If anyone is generous enough to throw a bridal luncheon or shower in your honor, recognize that that’s a BIG deal.  It means they put so much thought into doing something just for you.  It also means they spent a lot of money.  Make sure you let them know how much they appreciate it by giving them a hostess gift.  My grandmothers are not easy to shop for, so I just got them a small token.  I knew more than anything they would want to commemorate the weekend so I got embroidered handkerchiefs with our names and wedding date on them.  My grandmothers happen to love hankies and it serves the added bonus of giving them something to dry the happy tears they’ll inevitably cry at the wedding.  I got the handkerchiefs at Mark & Graham, a fabulous source for all things preppy and embroidered.

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