Believe It or Not, a Red Bicycle Inspired This Rustic-Chic Rehearsal Dinner
Natalie Tkalcevic and Grant Mahan first met in Lake Tahoe in 2013, where they both spent summer vacations as kids. So, as they began to plan their big day after getting engaged in 2018, they knew exactly where it would be: Homewood, California, right on the western shore of Lake Tahoe.
To kick off their wedding weekend festivities, on August 1, 2019, the pair threw a delightfully rustic-chic rehearsal dinner for their family and friends at Homewood Ski Resort, located right across the street from where they would wed the following day. The space's natural beauty was aplenty, but the pair used one item in particular to drive the celebration's décor landscape. "Most of our vision revolved around a beautiful red bicycle that we knew we had to use as a main piece for the day," Natalie says. "From there, we went with bright, happy red hues to set the tone of pure joy for the entire weekend."
That evening, 70 of their nearest and dearest gathered for a hearty dinner followed by heartfelt speeches from family and friends; attendees were also treated to stocked welcome tote bags, filled to the brim with weekend essentials. After the next-level meal and toasts from the couple's parents and friends, the duo opened up the party to all 200 of their guests for Champagne and dessert. The duo's pre-wedding celebration was simple affair, packed with plenty of bright, energetic color and whimsical charm—and was the best way to kick off their nuptials. The best part? The evening wrapped by 9:30 p.m., so the revelers could prepare for the big day ahead.
A Red-Letter Day
Created by Underwood Letterpress, the rehearsal dinner's invitations featured watercolor red flowers that would ultimately set the tone for the bright, poppy event. "We used softer colors for the actual wedding day, so we felt that big and bright was the best way approach for kicking off the wedding weekend," Natalie explains.
The Rustic Setting
The meadow at the Homewood Mountain Resort provided the just-right locale for gathering their loved ones. "We really wanted to create a bright, happy, and energetic feel to our rehearsal dinner by creating a farm-to-table atmosphere with a little pop of charm," adds the bride.
A red vintage hutch held the evening's seating assignments—and the prettiest floral arrangements, placed on top of and inside the server's shelves and drawers—which were printed on upright slabs.
Bright buds arranged by Stems by Dianna popped against long wooden farm tables, where the pair's 70 attendees gathered for dinner and speeches.
Your Name Here
Cut-out menus by Underwood Letterpress doubled as place cards; boxes of fresh cherries acted as both tabletop décor and a preliminary snack for guests.
"My absolute favorite moment was arriving to the dinner," Natalie says. "As we stepped out of the car, our guests started cheering and clapping, and amidst the happy sounds, Grant and I were able to take in the beauty and absolute magic of the evening."
Acoustic rock musician Chi McLean serenaded the group as the couple arrived to the party and guests began to mingle.
Mouth-watering pork belly bao buns with sweet pickled cucumber, courtesy of Blend Catering, made the rounds before everyone sat down for the main meal.
Dinner Is Served
The group shared a delicious dinner comprised of fennel salad, focaccia, garlic-rubbed hanger steak, grilled mahi-mahi, twice-baked potatoes, and grilled asparagus. After, both Natalie's mom and Grant's dad gave toasts—and a few other close friends (including Grant's buddy, who actually introduced the pair) shared some words, too.
For dessert, guests could choose from mini meringue with berries and whipped cream; mini lemon tarts; and carrot cakes bites with cream cheese frosting. Churro donuts were also on the sweet treat list.
Photography, Sylvie Gil
Venue, Homewood Mountain Resort
Event planning, Elise Events
Catering and Cake, Blend Catering
Flowers, Stems by Dianna
Videography, Reel Eyes Media
Stationery, Underwood Letterpress
Music, Chi McClean
Bride's gown, Atelier Des Modistes
Bride's shoes, Steve Madden
Hair, Lindsay Workman
Makeup, Sheri Corona
Groom's suit, Tailor's Keep
Groom's shoes, Alden