After the bridesmaids luncheon, we all walked back across the street to my house and hung out a bit before it was time for the Rehearsal. Mama and I went to the church earlier than everyone else to meet Luke so we could hear our musicians practice. We had a pianist/organist and violinist as well as three of our close friends sing/play guitar – Meg, Andrew, and Parker. Luke and I spent much time praying and deliberating over our music choices, as we are both very musical, so this time was so special for us to hear it come together. We wanted traditional components (organ/violin) for our prelude and processionals and we also wanted to use the amazing gifts our friends have for the contemporary worship during the actual ceremony. Having a few minutes to just hear them practice and worship was such a peaceful moment for us before all the events really got rolling!
One of my favorite memories on that night was receiving selfies of all my bridesmaids in the 15 passenger van that we rented for the weekend on the way to the rehearsal with my Daddy driving. They were just the cutest
As everyone arrived, and Lindsey handed me my adorable bow bouquet, I was like …”ok, wow, we are rehearsing for OUR WEDDING…what!?” All of our plans and details thought out over the past 11 months were coming to life and it was the most exciting.
After the rehearsal, we headed to First Baptist Church for the rehearsal dinner. It was held in the auditorium where Luke and I had youth group every Sunday night growing up. It was in that very room that we truly met for the first time, as the youth group was getting ready to go on a mission trip to Rochester, New York in the summer of 2009. To see a very auditorium-like setting turned into the most beautiful, twinkly, magical rehearsal dinner setting was just incredible. Mrs. Hamilton and the crew at The Watershed Pavilion did such an outstanding job.
Mr. Hamilton gave the sweetest welcome, detailing how Luke and I met at First Baptist and how he and Mrs. Hamilton met as First Baptist as well. The tears had already started flowing and those sweet, happy tears continued throughout the night. We got our food and it was THE BEST – shrimp and grits, stuffed mushrooms, salad, green beans, potatoes, and carved roast beef.
For dessert, we had Luke’s groom’s cake – the most amazing Clemson paw cake with 5 different flavors – each part of the paw a different one! When everyone settled with their dessert and coffee/cider, the slideshow started. Mrs. Hamilton really put so much effort into the slideshow and it was so beautiful and something we will treasure forever. It chronicled our lives as we grew up and our six year dating relationship so well. She surprised us by inserting a video clip of our proposal into it, which made it extra special.
After the slideshow, the toasts started with Mr. Hamilton and Lindsey. From there, Luke and I soaked up the kind words and love from our friends and family from so many different points in our lives, and it was just beautiful. Ashley and Logan surprised us with the “shoe game,” which I would recommend at any rehearsal dinner, which brought so much laughter in between the toasts.
The most memorable part of our Rehearsal Dinner was the surprise that Luke’s groomsmen put together for him. I’ve never seen my sweet husband cry like he did in the moments that Drew and Seth brought out the “man box” as we lovingly call it in our house. It was a custom made wooden box, made by Seth, with “Kreesy” carved onto the top (Luke’s Camp McCall name). As they brought out the box, they explained that each of them had put something in the box that reminded them of Luke, spoke to his character, or just something they thought he would enjoy. Some of the contents were: a super nice shaving kit, 9mm rounds, a leather journal, a knife, cigars, golf balls, a necktie, several books, and a new shotgun. IT WAS JUST PLAIN AMAZING. That’s the only way to put it!
After our rehearsal dinner, my precious Nanny pulled me aside and gave me the two most thoughtful gifts I may have ever received. The first was this blue handmade pottery platter with a tree painted on it, and within the tree, it had Caroline + Luke, February 27th, 2016. The second present was UNBELIEVABLE and I could do nothing but cry. Back story: as a baby, my Nanny made up a song for me and sang it to me all the time. To this day, I still have her sing it to me and there’s nothing sweeter. It goes,
“A tiny turnip nose
Two cheeks just like a rose
So sweet from head to toe
My baby Caroline.
No one will ever know
How much I love her so
She sits upon my knee
She means the world to me
To me she’ll always be
My baby Caroline.”
The present was these very lyrics, written in HER HANDWRITING, carved onto a pretty piece of wood, made for hanging. Just wow. Waterworks. She’s an angel.
After this, all of the bridesmaids and groomsmen practiced our choreographed dance for the reception and it was hilarious and so fun. After the girls left, the boys played basketball and spent the night at the church. When the girls got back to my house, it was almost midnight and so we rung my birthday/wedding day when it turned 12:00 by dancing around and drinking champagne. IT WAS FEBRUARY 27th, 2016!! MY 23rd BIRTHDAY AND WEDDING DAY!! GO TIME!!