• Emily Gustafson

#wednesdaywidsom - Let's talk rehearsal dinner


Photo courtesy of Brittany Conner Photography

Hey everyone! I had a wonderful week away at the beach with family, but now I am back in beautiful East Tennessee. Today, I'm going to share some photos from our spectacular styled shoot with Eternal Ivory and Brittany Conner and also share some tips for that wedding event that often gets left to the last minute - the rehearsal dinner. Tips for rehearsal dinner planning are at the bottom of the post after all the pretty photos.




First, let's delve into the styled shoot. Eternal Ivory is an online boutique based here in Knoxville, that specializes in providing the perfect dresses and ensembles for all of your "bride-to-be" events like showers, bachelorette parties, rehearsal dinner, teas, and so on. Lauren and Patrick who own the boutique do a wonderful job of curating a selection of unique, beautifully made pieces that speak to the style of every bride.



Photo courtesy of Brittany Conner


Our shoot at Meadhaven was done in support of their new Summer Collection which will be available online at www.eternalivory.com TOMORROW! So, grab your beautiful attire quickly, because I think that these beauties are going to sell out fast!





When Lauren contacted me about helping to coordinate these season's shoot, I was thrilled to work with her. When she told me that the amazing Brittany Conner would be shooting, I was even more thrilled! I then contacted a few additional stellar vendors from our area and we put together a classic, elegant, waterfront rehearsal dinner shoot at Meadhaven in Louisville, TN. If you haven't seen Meadhaven, it's worth a trip. The house and grounds are stunning and full of historical charm. We chose a spot out on the point for our "dinner," while the pros at Southern Sirens pampered our brides-to-be (real-life engaged couples) and Lauren selected the perfect dresses for each of them.





The light was perfect and the flowers from Samuel Franklin with the beautiful farm table, chairs, chargers, china, linens, and decor from Anderson Party Rentals made for a truly dreamy setting. My friend Erin from Scruffy City Lettering and Signs lettered on my mirror to create a shot I'd been dreaming of since I heard about this shoot and I got to spend an evening with her, which is always a treat! We all chatted the evening away, sipped champagne, and even shared the delicious cake from Kimmie's Kitchen for a yummy snack.





Each of these couples exuded the excitement of the engagement season with lots of big plans and life changes, even an international move, in their bright futures as married couples. It's always so nice to spend time with couples in this season of life because the possibilities for them are endless and wide open. But, they go forward bravely knowing that they have chosen a partner for their adventures. It always makes me smile and remember that time in my life too. Congratulation and best wishes to each of you for a joyful life together!




Now on to the tips for your rehearsal dinner! This is an event that often falls to the groom's family to plan, but involves a lot of moving parts if you are having many out of town guests at your wedding. Here a few basic tips for making your rehearsal dinner a fun-filled evening:


1. Go with the vibe of the wedding - if you are having a relaxed backyard wedding, then keep the rehearsal dinner casual and relaxed. If you are having out-of-town guests at your rehearsal dinner, then they might not have packed formal clothing and could feel out of place at a fancy affair. Keep the feel of your wedding weekend cohesive so that guests know what to expect.


2. Simplicity is key - With all of the events going on around your wedding day, you might be ready for an easy-going evening. If you're a bride reading this, communicate your wishes with your future in-laws for a simple evening. Keep the commute time between rehearsal and dinner as short as possible, choose menu items that are crowd-pleasers and limit your choices. A lot of couples are in full-on decision fatigue and just want to take a break from choices. Make that happen, even with your dinner. Seriously, just keep it simple, simple, simple.


3. Consider building it into your contracts with your caterer and venue - if you love your venue and they're open for the evening, would you also like to host your rehearsal there and even use your wedding caterers? If your venue is open for the evening, they might give you a deal if you choose to host your rehearsal dinner there.


4. Don't make it an all-nighter - Keep your rehearsal dinner short and sweet. It doesn't need to be a seven course meal with wine pairings. Sometimes the groom's family can get REALLY excited about hosting their portion of the weekend and make the rehearsal dinner an all-night, late-night party, which is awesome. I'm not complaining about generous hosts, here. But, if it's gonna be a rager, you may want to excuse yourself early. You want to be fresh and ready for your big day. So, keep the alcohol light, drink lots of water, and get some sleep!


Thanks for reading and be sure to check out Eternal Ivory's beautiful summer collection!


Happy planning,








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