We’ve made it!  Or, I guess I should say, you’ve made it!  This is our last day of rehearsal dinner week.  We are going to close out the week featuring real rehearsal dinner advice from the bride.  So far this week, we’ve heard from the local wedding pros in the DC area.  But, it is high time we heard the engaged couple’s perspective!

Liz and Matt were married in May at the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) in Washington, DC.   The night before they hosted an intimate rehearsal dinner and welcome party at local DC favorite Hudson restaurant.  They had some help from Alex from Cherry Blossom Events and invited their wedding photographer, Deb Lindsey, to take pictures of this festive night so they could savor their whole weekend.

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On choosing a venue: We actually looked pretty extensively for a location, and ended up choosing Hudson, because of its proximity to the hotel we chose for our guests (Mayflower Hotel) and because it was easy for our grandparents to get to (being on the first floor with no stairs).  We also felt that the manager, went out of his way to accommodate our party and make sure that the evening was special for us, while staying within our budget, said Liz.

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On the flow of the eventing: We hosted our wedding party and immediate family for cocktails with a rolling slideshow of us as a couple (growing up, college, friends and family, as well as our time together), followed by a sit down dinner with many southern favorites.  At the end of dinner we had an “open mic” where our closest friends and family could stand up and say a word or two about us as a couple or offer their wedding advice.  After dinner, we had an open bar and dessert bar for extended family and out-of-town guests, said Liz.

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On tips for other couples planning a rehearsal dinner: Choose a place that is willing to accomodate both your needs and your budget, with a responsive and attentive manager or event coordinator.  The rehearsal dinner sets the tone for the weekend, so choose a restaurant with an accomodating staff helps ensure that everything will be perfect, without you having to worry or do extra work.  It’s the day before your big day — you have enough to worry about.  Also, spending a little money on professional flowers or centerpieces for the rehearsal dinner is an easy way to add ambiance.  And, we found that seating cards were a huge help in quickly getting people seated and fed!

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On the extra touches:  I would also suggest spending a little extra having your wedding photographer come to the event.  It is worth the money to have beautiful photos of the whole weekend.  Deb did a lovely job and we were very glad to have her with us!  And, we were glad our florist, Helen Olivia, suggested using flowers that complimented the space, not our wedding because we feel it gave the event its own unique look.

Congrats Liz and Matt!  If you want to see more, check out Liz and Matt’s wedding pictures on Deb Lindsey’s blog.  A gorgeous, cherry blossom wedding, for sure!

The following Washington, DC wedding professionals contributed to Liz and Matt’s rehearsal dinner:

Venue:  Hudson Restaurant & Lounge (Contact Emily Pitocchelli)
Photography:  Deb Lindsey Photography
Floral Design:  Helen Olivia
Coordination:  Cherry Blossom Events

Don’t forget to visit our vendor guide for more fabulous Washington, DC area wedding professionals!

Photo Credits:  Deb Lindsey Photography

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