Believe It or Not, a Red Bicycle Inspired This Rustic-Chic Rehearsal Dinner

natalie grant rehearsal dinner couple red bicycle
Sylvie Gil

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.

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A Red-Letter Day

natalie grant rehearsal dinner invitations
Sylvie Gil

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.

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The Rustic Setting

natalie grant rehearsal dinner space venue
Sylvie Gil

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.

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Dashing Duo

natalie grant rehearsal dinner couple
Sylvie Gil

Grant wore a Tailor's Keep custom green suit to the party, while Natalie slipped into a custom-made Atelier des Modistes dress.

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Vintage Hutch

natalie grant rehearsal dinner red seating chart
Sylvie Gil

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.

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Farm Fancy

natalie grant rehearsal dinner long tables and chairs
Sylvie Gil

Bright buds arranged by Stems by Dianna popped against long wooden farm tables, where the pair's 70 attendees gathered for dinner and speeches.

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Your Name Here

natalie grant rehearsal dinner place setting
Sylvie Gil

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.

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Upon Arrival

natalie grant rehearsal dinner couple walking holding hands
Sylvie Gil

"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."

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Sweet Sounds

natalie grant rehearsal dinner guitar player music entertainment
Sylvie Gil

Acoustic rock musician Chi McLean serenaded the group as the couple arrived to the party and guests began to mingle.

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Passing Through

natalie grant rehearsal dinner food platter
Sylvie Gil

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.

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Dinner Is Served

natalie grant rehearsal dinner guests eating long tables
Sylvie Gil

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.

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Sweet Treats

natalie grant rehearsal dinner cherries dessert bites
Sylvie Gil

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.

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To-Go Bags

natalie grant rehearsal dinner welcome bags
Sylvie Gil

Welcome bags emblazoned with the phrase "Love Always in All Ways" contained weekend essentials (like Sunksi sunglasses, Swell water bottles, RX Bars, and Ritual chocolate) and prepared guests for the festivities to come.

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natalie grant rehearsal dinner couple holding hands
Sylvie Gil

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

Rentals, La Tavola linens; Found Rentals furniture; Theoni Collection tabletop

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

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