The Rehearsal Dinner

I cannot believe tomorrow marks exactly one year since we hosted our rehearsal dinner leading up to our wedding! One year ago marked the start of our incredible wedding weekend at Sunstone, and I am amazed at how fast time flies. One year ago, we were just less than 24 hours from officially becoming man and wife.

Surrounded by olive trees and vineyards against a romantic sunset, we knew hosting the rehearsal dinner at our wedding venue was the best option. My mom, aunt, sister, and brother-in-law had flown into LAX two days before and Tor’s family drove in from Arizona the day before. We all hopped in our cars after gathering for breakfast on that sunny Friday morning, and we drove the 2.5 hours out to our stunning wedding villa for the weekend at Sunstone. Everyone gasped as we pulled up, including myself despite having been to the venue three times before for planning. This time, this was really it. I was arriving to our wedding venue as Alyssa Campanella, and I would be leaving two days later as Alyssa Coombs.

The villa boasts five gorgeous bedrooms which would be taken up by my mom, my aunt, my sister and her husband, my bridesmaid Addy and her friend, our wedding planners, and myself (and our two cats – of course they were there!). I am a traditionalist, so Tor and I were not going to spend the night together. However, we did get ready together in our suite for our rehearsal dinner.

Our rehearsal started at 2 pm, and then everyone began getting ready for dinner around 3:30 pm. Dinner was scheduled for 6:30 pm, so that gave everyone a chance to get their hair and makeup done. Our planners and vendors began to set up for dinner, since the location of our dinner setting would be the aisle I would walk down the following day and we needed it during rehearsal. After getting my hair and makeup done, Tor and I took some photos together. It was during these photos that it really began to hit me that I was being kissed and embraced by the man who would become my husband in less than 1 day. I could not stop looking at him or giggling with excitement as the prospect of spending forever together was suddenly becoming a reality. After some time to ourselves to reflect, we made a grand entrance to join our family and bridal party for the rehearsal dinner.

Our rehearsal dinner inspiration was “California Elegance.” Our wedding colors of green, white, and gold were featured in the dinner, but we also incorporated a bit of blue to reflect my sapphire engagement ring. Just like our wedding reception the following evening, we chose to have one long table instead of multiple tables. Our guests dined on stuffed chicken or locally caught fish and pureed cauliflower. Dessert was chocolate balsamic covered strawberries, but the real dessert would happen on the back patio following dinner.

After dining out front amongst the olive trees, everyone retired to the back patio where our wedding reception would be held the following night. There’s a massive fireplace back there, so you can guess what we did – we all roasted marshmallows and made s’mores! It was a perfect starry night, although a little bit chilly, so the fire was welcomed. As much as everyone wanted to keep the evening going, eventually I began to feel like it was time to settle in for the evening. By 11 pm, everyone else was ready to tuck into bed. I kissed Tor goodbye, since he was going to spend the night with his best man and his groomsmen. The next time I was going to see him when I would be walking down the aisle. I went upstairs to our suite and cuddled my fur babies as I embraced my last night as a single woman.

Photography: The Why We Love
Venue: Sunstone Villa, Santa Ynez, California
Wedding Planners: Cake & Punch
Flowers: Anna Le Pley Taylor Flowers
Calligraphy: Linen & Leaf
Tableware: Otis & Pearl
Table and chairs: Archive
Catering: Omni Catering
Hair and Makeup: The Blushed Company
Skirt and top: Rosa Clará
Accessories: Stuart Weitzman shoes, Kate Spade clutch (similar here), Edenluxe Bridal crown , Illuminum perfume (similar scent here)

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  1. Wow!! Time does fly. What and beautiful wedding!

    Posted 3.31.17 Reply
    • The A List

      Thanks! This was just the rehearsal dinner. The wedding post is coming shortly 🙂

      Posted 3.31.17 Reply
  2. Marine

    The photos are amazing and you look just like a princess !
    I wish you all the hapiness in the world !!

    Posted 3.31.17 Reply
    • The A List

      Aww thanks, Marine!

      Posted 3.31.17 Reply
  3. Such an exquisite venue you choose and your photos are stunning! Happy Anniversary to you both!


    Posted 3.31.17 Reply
    • The A List

      Thank you, Lisa! It really was the perfect venue.

      Posted 3.31.17 Reply
  4. Klea Hysaj

    The story of how you met, of how you panned your wedding, the rehearsal dinner and the one of your wedding day brought tears to my eyes! I truly wish you happiness with your always and forever love! The pictures are perfect, I am amazed!

    Posted 4.1.17 Reply
    • The A List

      Awww, thank you so much!!!

      Posted 4.1.17 Reply
  5. Lily

    Absolutely lovely blog! am so excited for the anniversary blog!

    Posted 4.1.17 Reply
    • The A List

      Thank you, Lily!

      Posted 4.1.17 Reply
  6. Okay, this is beautiful enough to be your actual wedding. SO stunning! <3

    Posted 4.1.17 Reply
    • The A List

      Thank you, Maggie!

      Posted 4.2.17 Reply
  7. Sabrine

    That gave me chills 💙
    Your writing is beautiful!!
    Why did you choose to write this only one year later?

    Posted 4.4.18 Reply