"I do not claim that I can tell a story as it ought to be told. I only claim to know how a story ought to be told." -Mark Twain


They Got Hitched!

 First, it took me forever to get my pictures to load.(I got my kitchen cleaned while waiting!) Then it would not let me switch them around. So, I give up. This post may appear disjointed, but it is because I am using the pictures to tell the story, instead of telling the story and adding pics.  Hopefully, you can follow along!
An overview of the inside of the barn before the party started.
 My rehearsal dinner is over. All those months of planning and wanting everything to be both perfect and memorable and it is over. It is kind of like Christmas.....All the buildup, then it goes by too quickly.
The "Welcome Wagon". What is more American than the Stars and Stripes and John Deere?
 I did make sure that I took the time to enjoy it.  The whole weekend was a very family centered event. It was wonderful.

As you made it to the barn, the hay bale and sign welcomed you on in.
 I work well under pressure. I do well because I am one of those procrastinators. I have had a lot of practice working well under pressure!  In the case of this rehearsal dinner though, I was well organized. I booked my Chuck Wagon man and his crew clear back in early July.  I checked in with him several times.  I talked to him last week once again. We had talked about the "off" chance there might be rain at the party. We had a Plan B.
We were lucky and scored these great cups after we had decided on a Chuck Wagon rehearsal dinner theme.
  To give you a little background info, my Chuck Wagon man is booked every single weekend doing his little gig. Apparently it is a very popular theme. Maybe it is an Oklahoma thing.  One thing that IS an Oklahoma thing is dramatic weather.  We are use to drastic, unruly, not-your-normal-weather.  So when we went from July to October with very, very little rain and the hottest temps on record, we were not surprised.  What did surprise me was that they put rain in the forecast for our rehearsal dinner and wedding week. WHAT????????????????
I used black disposable tablecloths, topped with a burlap grain sack on each table. We also had a lantern, our remade candles and peanuts and MandM's on each table in little bandanna boxes.
 The weather men wavered all week about the weather. Some put rain at 20 % on our rehearsal dinner day and some put huge thunderstorms at 80% on that night. One day they had us at 50 degrees, one day they had us at 80 degrees. I finally just quit checking the weather. It was too much. I figured we would have it no matter what, so it wasn't doing me any good to worry.
You will see more about these cards in later pics (some of the pics that I could not get to cooperate!), but this pic is a close-up of the cards that guests could sign and give ADVICE, a WISH or a PREDICTION for the happy couple.
 The Chuck Wagon man was cooking everything over the open fire. Even the dessert.  I just had to provide all the paper goods.  I had already decided to add a S'more bar and a few extra desserts.  I had found great paper goods at several different stores. It seems like those things came together easily.
Instead of a guest book at the party, we had one of those photo mats that guests could sign. Then we'll add a picture from the rehearsal dinner and the Happy Couple will have a lasting memory of the night.

 We had Fall Break from school on Thursday and Friday. That worked out perfectly.  I had planned to use it to get last minute things done, then have the rehearsal dinner on Friday evening.  That's before I got The Call on Thursday afternoon.  Thursday afternoon as in 24 hours before my dinner for 60+ people.
I made three "chalkboards" out of old boards and chalkboard paint. One was the welcome sign, one was a quote for the Happy Couple, and this one was a LOVE IS SWEET SHOPPE dessert menu board. Easy decorating!
 Twenty-four hours before my Big Dinner, Mr. Chuck Wagon called.  He wanted to know what my plan was for the bad weather that was forecast.  And I will admit the weather forecasters were painting a bad scenario. They had severe thunderstorms, strong winds, lightning, and possible tornadoes in the forecast.  The problem was, that in Oklahoma we usually don't get too worked up about the weather until it is on top of us. Literally.
Part of the S'more Bar fixins'.  Six flavors of marshmallows (did you even know they made that many?), three kinds of chocolate, three types of crackers and bananas completed the offerings.
 So when Mr. Chuck Wagon asked me what my plan was for the bad weather I was kind of caught off guard.  I reminded him that we had said I would just get him an open-sided tent to cook under and we (the party guests)  would eat inside the barn, instead of outside.  He said he didn't think he could cook in the bad weather. (Cue Charlie Brown disaster music here). My daughter was beside me as I was taking the phone call and she had quickly figured out what it was about. She told me to ask Mr. Chuck Wagon what cowboys in the "old days" did about rain!
The white buckets held the peanuts. The red buckets were the MandM treats.

 He told me that he just didn't feel comfortable cooking in the weather that was forecast, even with a tent. I could not believe it. I asked him to wait till Friday morning to make his final decision, and he said he would.
Miniature pumpkin pies from the Dessert Bar.
 In the meantime, I talked to my husband who was at the barn (2 hours from our home) cleaning and putting in hay and tables for everyone to sit. We figured we would go ahead and set everything up inside "just in case".  He too was shocked that someone could cancel something like that the day before, without any kind of warning.  My husband said what I was already thinking...."We'll just do it ourselves."  We were both very calm about it.
Red Velvet cheesecake and Gingerbread/Pumpkin triffle
 By that time it was late afternoon/early evening on Thursday. My daughter and I decided to go into town to get hamburger meat for the chili we (decided) on making. As we were driving in to town, we saw a bad one-vehicle wreck.  The SUV had hit a utility pole and knocked it down. The wreck had just happened as there were no rescue people there yet, only one patrolman. I remarked to my daughter off-handedly, "That means our electricity is probably out now." Then we drove on in to town and bought 5 large rump roasts and 32 pounds of ground beef....among other things.

Oreo balls. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm!
Sure enough, when we arrived back home our electricity was off and would remain off for about five hours. We tried to find other "prep" things we could do without electricity so we would be ready to go once we had it again. We drove by the wreck again to check out the progress and they were just drilling to put a new pole up, so we knew it would be a while.

Apple-struedel cake with apple cider icing. ...A big hit.
 We got our electricity back just as darkness set in. We then started browning the hamburger meat and baking desserts. We worked fast and furiously. We also had to pack up all the decorations. The items we were transporting (for our two hour trip) more than doubled once we had to transport all the food as well!

(Wagon) Trail mix.     
Friday morning arrived and I expected Mr. Chuck Wagon to call....like he promised he would. But he didn't. I called him and he said again that the weather forecast was just too bad. He did not want to risk it. I pointed out that it was not raining yet, but he was firmly set on his decision!

One of the roasters full of chili. We had chili with beans and without, a roaster of stew and a roaster of brisket and ribs. We had plenty for everyone.
 It was fine though, because by then I already had 15 pounds of hamburger meat cooked, and 5 rump roasts in the oven (for the stew meat). I also had a LOT of dessert made.

The Happy Couple.

So we loaded up all the food and all the decor and headed to our party. We had a full car of decorations before we loaded it down with food too. We ended up taking two cars full ....and they were packed to the brim!

Making a toast to Gettin' Hitched!

We got to our  party barn and my husband put the stew together and one of my sons made the two big pots of chili.
I started decorating the barn and all the tables.
It looked great by the time I got their, so I got to do a lot of fun ideas.
My niece and my two daughters were there to help decorate as well.

This was one of the hits of the night. We did our rendition of American Gothic. These are my daughters and nieces.
After all that, we finished with an hour to spare. I started to sit down and realized my feet hurt, so I got back up and started taking pictures. I knew I had better not sit down!

Oh my word!  My little niece was the bomb about keeping a poker face for the pictures!!! And, she got in as many pictures as she possibly could!
I bought two pair of overalls at Goodwill for the party. I also found two flowered dresses.  I had a pitchfork. I just needed a frame for my idea.  I knew I wanted it to be a satire of American Gothic. I had an old frame in my garage, but it was broken and needed put back together. After our chaotic day and evening, we never got that done. Then when my daughter and I were at the store buying all the food, I told her we needed to check out the dumpster for some boxes to carry the food back and forth.
Not only did we score terrific boxes that were sturdy and strong, we found a huge old picture in the grocery store trash.
We dumpster dive and bring it out and lo and behold,
not only is it a great big huge frame,
the picture that is in the frame is of a covered wagon.
OH MY GOSH! I knew then that God was telling me that He had my back and the party would turn out great!
If you go to my Facebook page you can see the original picture of the covered wagon in some of the pictures.
The spoof of American Gothic was great. Everyone participated and were goofy. The pictures will be priceless memories for the Happy Couple.

We also had a huge s'more bar for everyone to make their favorite kind.
People loved the s'more bar. There were lots of new inventions and creations for s'mores. It also got people up moving around and coming outside.  In addition to the s'more bar, we had huge round bales of hay outside that entertained many in the crowd.

My daugher and niece, Annabelle and Caroline. They were great hay bale jumpers!
All the young people and a few not-so-olds played on the hay bales. There were hay bale jumping races, longest leaps and three falls.  Everyone was fine though and got right back up.

Another idea  we used was (shown way up earlier) a choice of ADVICE, WISH, and PREDICTION cards to fill out. Caroline made sure everyone wrote at least one of the cards for the Happy Couple.  Then she hung them all on the tree, for others to read and for the Happy Couple to take home.

My husband's dishes when he was a little boy. We used them at the dinner. We tried to incorporate lots of family pieces in the dinner.

Another idea I used, but did not get a picture of, was that I got with the Bride's mom earlier and we came up with some interesting facts and/or stories about our children.
Since they did not know each other growing up, and neither family knew each other,
I thought this would give us a good way to find out
about the other!
I typed up the facts, one for him and one for her on each card and put a couple of them on each table.
It was fun to go around and read each tables facts.
It also had people mingling.
I am all about mingling and not sitting and not speaking to each other!

Fielding and his grandmother
After all the drama of the meal, everything turned out wonderful and went off without a hitch. And best of all, we did not get a single drop of rain. Not one. Not even a sprinkle. And I saved myself some serious money!!
The food was great, the party was better and the fact that we had close family members together to honor the Happy Couple was the best.

I stayed calm throughout the whole ordeal. (When someone leaves you a covered wagon picture in the trash, you know you're being looked out for!) Actually I was much calmer then than I have been trying to get this post out and fixing all the trouble I have had with Blogger today!
It was a night to remember for a very special couple!!


  1. Anonymous10/25/2010

    Bless your ever lovin heart Lori....OMG to have the chuckwagon man cancel on you like that, I would have been panicked but you had a great back-up plan. I'm so happy it went off without a hitch...LOL! I'm waitin for lots more pics!!


  2. Talk about a great bunch! Everyone pitched in and made it better than it would have been by working together. What a great family. Great pictures! Fantastic memories.
    And the stories you'll tell for years to come.
    Glad you handled it so easily.
    I'd like to punch the chuckwagon guy.

  3. How many time do we watch our weather men here in Oklahoma telling us what's not happening with the storm that they forecast? We are so blessed to live in Oklahoma. The rehearsal dinner was beautifully planned. I love the American Gothic and the s'mores bar...great ideas! Thanks for inviting us for a peak. I found you via Susan at between Naps On the Porch. Cherry Kay

  4. Oh my!!! I just loved reading your post. I saw it over at Susan's "Between Naps On The Porch" in her comment section about wedding things that did not go as planned. I'm so glad that you were able to put a link in your comment so I could come over and see your post. The rehearsal dinner looks like so much fun...y'all did a wonderful job on such short notice....with God's help.


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