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rehearsal dinner: venue, florist, caterer

As parents of the groom, we did the rehearsal dinner.  With the bride at 29 and the groom at 34, they and their friends have been in lots of wedding parties recently so we wanted to do something over and above a restaurant rehearsal dinner.  Wow!  It was great!

The OCEAN INSTITUTE AT DANA POINT was so convenient after the rehearsal at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel.  And what a setting it was.  Renee Strong is the contact and a delight.

Our florist was FLOWERS & FRIENDS out of San Clemente.  Speak with Kevin.  A tiny little open-air stand near the railroad tracks on N. El Camino Real.  And you will not believe what they do!  We had a yellow & black construction theme(because they'd been "Under Construction 5+ Years...").  The containers were black tool boxes which he absolutely filled with yellow flowers and succulents - one was all sunflowers, another roses, another lilies, another spider mums.  We were blown away and the price was a dream.  I don't know how he does it, but we were thrilled.

Catering was provided by CREATIVE CUISINE out of Orange.  Speak with Marguerite.  Oh my goodness, it was incredible.  From gazpacho shooters, chicken quesadillas and more to a casual yet fantastic dinner of BBQ ribs, chicken with chimichurri sauce, roasted fresh veggies, mac & cheese(the bride's favorite), beautifully ripe fresh fruit and yummy cookies & brownies.  Every hors d'oeuvre, every dish brought absolute raves!  The wait staff was very helpful, very attentive without being intrusive - to me a sign of outstanding service.  Kudos kudos kudos!!!

Additionally, for dessert we brought in PINKBERRY since the bridal couple go for frozen yogurt every single evening.(Hey, mac & cheese, yogurt - how do they look so great?!)  What a treat.  What a surprise for everyone.

Choosing to not have entertainers such as strolling magician, pianist, etc. - I made a wheel of fortune with gifts ranging from bookmarks, nifty books, spa basket, tools(for the evening's theme), gemstone tree and globe, travel accssesories, fun kitchen & BBQ items, etc. etc.  We thought it would be fun, but who knew the guests would actually line up to take a spin.  What a hoot! 

Napkin "rings" were huge eye bolts, takeaway gifts containers were paint cans. Center of the room decor was a pyramid of building blocks of marriage(supported on sawhorses) with words such as "hugs", "listening", "friends & family", "jewelry" (the ladies loved that one), "laughter", etc. etc.

A terrific, fun, different rehearsal dinner evening.  Do yourself a favor and check out the above Orange County, CA vendors.
Gretchen Sherwin
Dove Canyon, CA

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