Friday, May 22, 2015

Titanic Themed Rehearsal Dinner

One fall morning in the September of my 8th grade year, my parents called from the hospital to tell me I had a nephew.  And that's when my love affair with Cade began.  Circumstances brought him into our lives on a full-time basis when he was 14 years old and for lack of a better explanation Mr. Devilish Dish and I just refer to him as our son.  Needless to say, he's an extra special person to us, and when he announced his intention to get married the wheels started spinning with ideas for the rehearsal dinner.  When Cade studied the Titanic in the third grade, no one knew it would become a lifelong interest for him.  Some people have golf, some have gardening.  Cade has the Titanic.  You may think something as tragic as the story of the Titanic might make for a morbid wedding celebration, but from the beginning I envisioned a romantic, Edwardian-themed evening with some history thrown in.  No cheesy Jack and Rose "I'm the king of the world" business.  We're talking silver tea services and candles galore.  Cade chose McNellie's Public House as the location for the dinner and having the meal in a British-themed pub was ideal.  Since there isn't a lot for the pseudo-mother of the groom to do besides host the rehearsal dinner, I wanted to pull out all the stops and have a very Cade-centric evening.  He was totally surprised and really happy with the entire night, and I think you'll enjoy it too:

When we came up the stairs to enter the private
dining room this sign read, "Shots $3.50"
My friend Barbara suggested that we
change the board.  As she put it,
"Maybe $3.50 shots is NOT the first thing
the Baptist grandparents need to see."
Here's Cade admiring the decor.
He was genuinely happy and surprised
and I caught him several times looking closely
at the memorabilia.  He asked, "Where did you get that
model of the Titanic?" and I explained that I ordered it.
Then he wanted to know what I was going to do with
it after the dinner.  I gave it to him of course!

Cade lost his grandfather during his senior
year of high school.  He was a very important
part of Cade's life and a great influence on
the young man Cade is today.  I wanted a way to
honor his grandad and make his memory part
of our celebration.

Several years ago I purchased a pack
of Titanic paper memorabilia from Ebay that
I've used for various projects throughout the
years.  Thankfully I never throw anything away, so
the decor was inspired by these pieces.
I thought it fitting to include this on the memorial
table.  It is in memory of Titanic's Orchestra who
played their music to calm the passengers even
as the ship sank...

My daughter had this Union Jack trunk in her room.
It made a great addition to our table.
I ordered the Titanic replica from because
out of all of the decor I had, I didn't have an actual ship.
Cade has many in his collection but I wanted
to keep the theme a surprise.  Oh well, now he has
a new addition.
The doilies I've been collecting for some time now.
(I'm gathering them for another project)
To be honest I had almost all of the items I used
for the decor on hand.
Here's a little message for the memorial:
In honor of those
who are watching
from Heaven.

The restaurant had two decorating stipulations:
No confetti and No flames.
Thankfully I found these great
battery-powered candles
(including the votives and tea lights)
They flicker and give the ambiance of
real candles.  Bonus: they can be used
again later!
I've included the design that I used in the frame
as a FREE PRINTABLE for you.
Click on the image to enlarge.
Right click and save to your computer.
Open with the software of your choice
and print onto cardstock.  These images are
my exclusive artwork.  Please be courteous
when using these printables and remember
they are for personal use only.
In addition to being handsome, intelligent, outgoing,
successful, funny...(You get it.. he's awesome)
Cade is quite the artist.  He drew this very detailed
picture of the Titanic in the third grade. It was framed and hung
in his great-grandmother's room for many years.

I wanted to capture the elegance of travel by
ship, so I incorporated some vintage suitcases
and travel labels into the decor...

A party isn't a party without a party favor...
What's more appropriate for a Titanic theme than Lifesavers?
Get It?
I found rolls of Lifesavers at Sam's Club in boxes of 10.
I've included the poem I framed
and used for the party favors
as a FREE PRINTABLE for you.
Click on the image to enlarge.
Right click and save to your computer.
Open with the software of your choice
and print onto cardstock.These images are
my exclusive artwork.  Please be courteous
when using these printables and remember
they are for personal use only.
I've also included the wrappers for the Lifesavers
as a FREE PRINTABLE for you.  The Lifesavers
were the multi-flavor pack and the colors just didn't
go with my theme.  So like a crazy lady,
I wrapped 60 rolls of Lifesavers with
these printables using double sided tape.

Click on the image to enlarge.
Right click and save to your computer.
Open with the software of your choice
and print onto paper.
These images are my exclusive artwork.
Please be courteous when using these printables
and remember they are for personal use only.
I envisioned antique steamer trunks lining the room,
but neither my budget nor my husband would allow it.
When my great aunt passed away a couple of years ago
and we were cleaning out her house, I grabbed these
two old vintage suitcases.  They've been in the attic
awaiting a project, so I got them out, dusted them
off and put them to good use.
They still had my great aunt's actual luggage tag on them.
I left that on there in her honor.  She would have loved
the fact I was putting her old luggage to good use.
(Don't tell anyone but I had to pick the locks with a paperclip)
I found images for old travel labels online and
printed them onto sticker paper.   It worked perfectly
because that paper isn't too sticky and the labels came
right off and the suitcases are now back in the attic
awaiting a future purpose.
Here they are stacked up and ready for travel.
Imagine you are boarding an old steamship
for somewhere exotic...
Perhaps the Palace Hotel in Milan?
I used the smaller of the two suitcases to hold
the party favors.  Sadly the mirror was cracked,
but I hid that with another doily.
Isn't it just the cutest?
I've included the travel labels as a
Click on the image to enlarge.
Right click and save to your computer.
Open with the software of your choice
and print onto adhesive sticker paper.
I tried to include as many from
the White Star/Cunard line as possible.
That was the actual company that
owned the Titanic.

And a few others from exotic locales...
I wanted to give the illusion of
world travelers...

At first the labels that read "Not Wanted"
confused me.  Why would a label say
"Not wanted on ship?" Then I realized it
was used to distinguish the luggage the
travelers actually needed during their
voyage and the luggage that was simply
stored on the ship to make the trip
across the ocean.

I just love these old labels.

I considered going out and getting more
vintage luggage just so I would have a place
to stick all of the interesting labels I found.
The artwork is gorgeous.
Don't you wish travel were still that elegant?

I'd love to visit these places someday...
Alongside the party favors was:
Sign the Wine.
And of course a Titanic Menu.
This was the actual meal served to
First Class passengers aboard the ship.
Our menu had a few less courses...
Instead of a traditional guestbook, I saw an idea
for having guests sign a bottle of champagne for
the couple to enjoy on their first anniversary.
These two are serious wine connoisseurs, so
I got their favorite wine instead:
Elyse C’est si Bon
translation: “It’s so good!”

This turned out to be a really fun idea.
Of course the bridal party had the most fun
writing their inside jokes on the bottle.
It should be hilarious to read a year from now.
Here's the sign I framed inviting everyone to Sign the Wine.
I've included it as a FREE PRINTABLE for you.
Click on the image to enlarge.
Right click and save to your computer.
Open with the software of your choice
and print onto cardstock.These images are
my exclusive artwork. Please be courteous
when using these printables
and remember they are for personal use only.
The centerpieces were my favorite part of the whole evening.
I felt like they most represented my vision
for an elegant and romantic visit back in time.
Believe it or not the ONLY thing I purchased for the
centerpieces were the red glass votive holders and
the battery operated tea lights.
(and a few postcards...)
Everything else I had on hand.
Between my mother, aunt and I we had enough
silver trays for several rehearsal dinners!

Picture the pomp and circumstance of a traditional
English tea service that one might enjoy on a luxury liner
like the Titanic.

I used assorted silver trays, more doilies,

More of the Titanic ephemera.
When I ran out of the stuff I had
previously purchased from Ebay,
my daughter and I poured through boxes
of vintage postcards at the antique stores
to find things that looked English or nautical.

I have no idea who the gentleman in the picture is,
but doesn't he look like he's steered many a ship
in his lifetime?

Then I used every silver sugar bowl,
creamer or mini coffee or tea pot I could find...

The greenery is simply ground cover I cut out of
my flower beds.  I felt it would be wasteful
to buy fresh flowers to use for two hours.
The greenery provided the natural look
I wanted anyway...

I have no idea where or why I had all of these
glass stars.  Between my mom and I we had enough for
every centerpiece. I liked the pop of blue
it added to the table...

The guests really enjoyed reading the different
pieces of ephemera.  There were memorial cards,
menus, postcards and old boarding passes.

No two centerpieces were exactly alike.
And I was okay with that.  The pub had
an old wooden, mismatched theme. 
None of the chairs or tables were alike.
The vignettes really complimented the eclectic
and vintage vibe of the room.

I even had enough strands of pearls to add the
romantic feel to each tray.
(Hi my name is Candi and I'm a craft hoarder.)

Note:  If you don't hoard silver trays like the women
in my family, Dollar Tree actually has some neat
little metal trays that look engraved.  You could
get the same feel without spending a lot of money.
Of course the Bride and Groom to be needed
their own designated spot...
I created these "life preservers"
using foam wreath forms, strips of white canvas,
red ribbon and rope.
I wrapped the wreath form with the strips of
white fabric, securing with hot glue.
Then I used wide red ribbon to create the
look of the life preserver.
I added the rope for a nautical feel,
and wrapped some around the top so I could
secure it to their chairs.
I found these cute little metal chalkboard signs
at Hobby Lobby and used a chalk pen to write "Bride"
and "Groom"  If I were rich, patient and had started
making these when Cade was born,
I would have made one for every chair. 
That's how cute they turned out.
Here's the happy couple to be listening to a toast
from the Maid of Honor...
Here they are checking out the decor.
Aren't they a beautiful couple?

Here's my sweet nephew with his
groomsmen and ushers.
Some are childhood friends, most are fraternity brothers.
A great group of guys and lifelong friends.
So handsome.

I've always called Cade my "Personal Cabbage Patch Kid."
I've had him in my life and by my side since I was
fifteen years old.  Here he is getting a make over.
Whatever I, did he did.  If I painted my toes, he wanted
his toes painted, much to the chagrin of the rest of
the family.  But that's okay because he was My Guy.

If only I were that young, that skinny and that tan again.
Ah youth...
Look at those white feet!
All we did was play in the pool...
Or the lake...

When my husband asked me to marry him my reply was,
"I don't think you want to marry me.  There's a strong
possibility at some point in my life I will be responsible for Cade.
And I'm willing to step up and take that responsibility.
If you don't want us as a package deal then
I'm probably not the girl for you."  He simply said, "I'm in."
And he has been for years. 

I hope the pictures in this post convey how much Cade means to
our family.  It's been really hard giving my Cabbage Patch Kid
away to another girl.  I kind of liked being the only lady in his
life.  But Alison is a beautiful girl inside and out and if she
loves him only half as much as I do then they are well on
their way to a lifetime of happiness.

Best Wishes Alison and Cade!


  1. I am typing this with tears in my eyes. What an absolutely beautiful tribute to your special guy. You did such a wonderful job with EVERY aspect of that dinner, I am in awe of your talents. Truly in AWE. You are one of the sweetest and most dedicated people that I know. I can only imagine how everything you did, made Cade feel. Outstanding job, my friend!

  2. Thank you for the sweet words. He's a pretty special dude. I really enjoyed putting all of it together!

  3. Truly amazing pictures of your rehearsal party! It’s my sister’s wedding anniversary next month and want to give her a surprise party. Searching for exemplary venues in the town and have narrowed it down to few venues. Planning to book one soon.

    1. Thank you for your kind words. If you do a Titanic theme, please share pictures. You can email me at:


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