Friday, January 29, 2010

A Matter of Tayst (aka The Rehearsal Dinner)

We interrup this blog post to say something that isn't often in this southern gal's vocabulary:

IT'S SNOWING! And I'm talking those big honkin' flakes that look like somebody just shook a snowglobe on little ole Nashville. I see the creation of a snowman in my future. It's days like this that make me so very happy to have absolutley NADA on the weekend agenda - no thank you notes left to write (aside: in case I've forgotten someone, which I am rather terrified I'm going to do, and you happen to read this blog, please feel free to shame me in the comments section. I think I've been keeping good records, but I am a little paranoid I missed someone with the flurry of gifts that came in around the holidays), no wedding plans to finalize, no budgets to review and fret over, no nothing. I'm feeling so good, in fact, that I just might be a little domestic diva and make a gigantic pot of chili for the hubs and his buddies, so they can come over and watch the Vandy/UK basketball game. Now let it be said that I am not nearly as big a fan of basketball as I am of football (again, roll tide) but since Mr. T played basketball in college, coaches a little league of 7 year olds in YMCA basketball, and even continues to play in a winter league with a bunch of other has-beens (only kidding if you're reading this, dear - I know you guys are awesome) so needless to say, he definitely has an interest in the sport. So I guess the least I can do is be the dutiful, supportive wife that I vowed to be before God and 200 witnesses about three weeks ago, and watch the occasional game with him if it makes him happy. So that is exactly what I'm going to do tomorrow. Yes, that sound you hear is me patting myself on the back.

So on to other subjects, namely a recap of our absolutely wonderful, so very touching rehearsal diner at Tayst. Mr. T has ties to the fabulous chef, the highly acclaimed Jeremy Barlow, since Tayst is a proud sponsor of Vanderbilt Athletics, for which my hubby sells corporate sponsorships. So imagine our delight when he generously offered to let us use the entire restaurant on a Friday night all to ourselves - and on New Years Day to boot. I'm sure the staff hated us after their late shift on New Years Eve, but they couldn't have been better to us. We felt like royalty! Talk about starting the new year off on the right foot. Jeremy, we love you and the Tayst staff to death and can't thank you enough! And P.S. you should get a patent for your Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding. It is like a piece of heaven in your mouth. Not exaggerating.

Being the event planner that I am, I decided that while our wedding would be an all-white affair, I wanted to play on the beautiful rich red walls of the restaurant, so I pulled in lots of fun touches to play them up. However, you'll have to use your imagination because I was having so much fun I forgot to take a lot of photos. And our photographer also came up a night early to take pictures for our little Nashville Lifestyles feature (yay!) so I didn't think my little digital would matter much. Now I'm wishing I had been thinking about how great they would be for blog purposes! Oh well. For example, I took childhood photos of the Mr. and myself and framed them in rustic wood frames (bought half off at Michael's - score!) and hung them in place of the artwork that is usually displayed on the walls. I also found these to-die-for aluminum cowboy boots at Fabu that were painted red and had little star cut-outs - too perfect for welcoming folks to Nashville! We placed candles inside and used them as centerpieces on the bistro tables in the bar area, which you saw when you first walked in. The other item that was a major hit with our guests was our guitar that doubled as a guest book. I ran across this idea forever I go right after we first got engaged and decided right then and there I had to do it. We had silver sharpies for the guests to sign it with, and it was the perfect way to get signatures started with our family and close friends before we unveiled it at the reception! Check the little guy out...

I also found these ah-dorable placecard holders online, which added a nice little western touch...

And one of my MOST favorite things was the wonderful entertainment we lined up for the cocktail hour - a banjo and fiddle duet! One of these sweet gentlemen works in the Vandy Law School library, and ever since I discovered he played the banjo, I've asked him to play several times! The young and old loved hearng those bluegrass tunes played the minute they walked in the door, and I noticed many feet were tapping along!

We enjoyed some drinks to warm up from the winter weather and passed hors d'oeuvres for the cocktail hour and then sat down to a lovely dinner, complete with a hoppin' john appetizer of gourmet cornbread and black eyed peas for good luck (a tradition in our house growing up - every pea supposedly brought a dollar in the pocket in the coming year, so I was always sure to eat every bite of mine). We had the most delicious menu typed on parchment paper and beautifully placed at each place setting. Our selections included:

First Course:

Signature Salad
mixed greens, goat cheese, toasted walnuts, sundried cherry vinaigrette
Butternut Squash Bisque
topped with cinnamon marshmallow

Main Course

chicken risotto, thyme~tarragon glaze, pumpkin seeds

Bison Brisket
butternut squash, greens, bacon, reduction

Lamb Leg
winter squash napoleon, cider reduction

Just For Luck…

Hoppin’ John
black eyed peas & cornbread

Sweet Course

Hazelnut Chocolate Cake
chocolate mousse, chocolate syrup

Roasted Apple
smoked caramel, vanilla crème anglaise, caramel lace cookie

Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding
doughnut, vanilla milkshake

Delicious, no? So after dessert was served, my handsome husband to be made a toast that basically started with him thanking both of our parents, went on to say how blessed he felt, and ended with him telling the story of how when we got engaged, we called our parents first. Mine of course knew what was coming since Craig had asked their permission, but his had no clue. So his Dad's reply to Craig? "I'm just glad you're not gay." Which Craig shared with the crowd. Nice...

After that, several of our sweet friends made toasts as well, and words can't describe how touching they were to hear. I basically started crying at the first one that my best friend and MOH did, and didn't stop through the next six. I mean I was a mess. All those emotions and nerves and stresses from the last few days finally caught up with me, and I ended up laughing and crying for a solid thirty minutes. It went something like this: Friend Stands Up, I smile. Friend Starts Speaking, I feel tears forming. Friend Finishes, I am straight up crying. Friend Sits Down, we all toast at the table. New Friend Gets Up, process starts again.

So when Keith Colbert, a long time friend of Craig's family who was able to make the trip at the last minute, got up and said he would be honored if his son turned out like Craig, well Craig got a little choked up too. I've never seen the boy shed a tear (though he claims he had tears in his eyes during our vows - I couldn't see them because of the tears in mine) but I'm glad he can balance me out since I am clearly such a basketcase. I mean, the boy has a bet with me that I won't make it five minutes into Extreme Home Makeover before shedding a tear. I never do.

Anyway, all the toasts we showed a montage of our childhood photos that turned out perfectly. This was also done by the super fab Jennifer Fritz at Dynamic Video who did the sneak peek of our wedding footage that I posted a few days ago. I debated whether or not to include that in our dinner, since I had seen it done so much, but I think it is truly something everyone enjoys and I for one never get tired of seeing them. So here's the link to ours, in case you want to waste a few minutes of your Friday with a trip down memory lane. I must say, the song selections couldn't have turned out better. That last song by Keith Urban had me in tears the first time I heard it. Shocking, I know. Man, I am such a crybaby.

All that to say the night was simply lovely in every way, and we loved being able to celebrate such a fun occasion with the people who are closest to us. I can honestly say I will always remember those toasts, and I most certainly will always remember that evening. So, here are a few photos I did manage to capture. Hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I enjoy reliving them.

With my new niece, Amber and sis-in-law, Treva

Chuck, Craig's brother, giving their dad some love

My sweet parents, Gail and John. Love them!

My brother, niece, and sister-in-law
Craig's mother and precious niece, Carly

Craig's other brother, Chris, and his son, Logan - such a ham!

All the way from Louisiana, my fabulous Aunt Martha Lou and Uncle Ron

Andrea, Catherine and my namesake Lilly at the Kids Table (don't feel bad for them, we gave them a kid-friendly menu and a bandana bag full of coloring books, crayons and candy.

One of my favorite people on earth, Aunt Margaret. Who prefers to be called Pretty Margaret.

McKenzie, Carly and Courtney in their matching dresses.
So you see, the recaps may be a long time coming, but aren't they worth the wait? Happy Friday!

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