Little lawn ornaments made a big impact at this pre-wedding party.
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carey eric rehearsal dinner gnome facts
Credit: Heather Selzer

Carey and Eric's Garden Gnome Party

The night before their elegant wedding at a museum in Chico, California, Carey Galliani and Eric Lowe invited 43 loved ones to the Parkside Tap House for a gnome-themed rehearsal dinner. The theme came to be from the bride's obsession with the famous garden figurine-which evolved after she saw her now-favorite movie, Amelie. On a family trip to Europe when she was 15, she made a mini clay gnome and brought him along, and included him in every photo she took. Ever since, she's collected them (mostly ones made of stone). And on Halloween the year prior to getting hitched, Carey and Eric dressed as gnomes. So, when it came to welcoming everyone to town for the festivities, it was appropriate to do so with tables decorated with mossy rocks, cute signs, and plenty of the little characters she's come to love. And since the bride and groom both have a soft spot of kitsch, it was a great excuse to indulge that as they set out on one epic weekend adventure.

carey eric rehearsal dinner invitation
Credit: Heather Selzer

The Invitation

The nearly gnomleyweds wanted a casual rehearsal dinner that was a reflection of the canyon home they purchased just after getting engaged. "I have always wanted a house that resembles a mystical forest" Eric says. "So when Carey planted a fairy garden, I knew we were home."

Like she did for the wedding and the other events surrounding it, Carey designed the stationery and details of the day, as she spends her days doing just that and helping design events for others through her company, The Idea Emporium. To set the tone for this fun festivity, the invitations were backed with a thick sheet of moss and tied with red and white baker's twine. Fern postage, address labels, and insert cards provided the details while adding to the natural feel of the suite.

carey eric rehearsal dinner escort cards
Credit: Heather Selzer

Find Your Seat

Carey laser-engraved guests' names into sheets of oak veneer as tiny sign posts. Along with her mother, and soon-to-be mother- and sister-in-law, they foraged tiny branches, fresh moss, lichen, and little rocks from the grounds surrounding the couple's home. Using artificial moss balls as an anchor and tiny mushroom picks for color, each guest's piece became a unique scene unto itself. These served double duty as a way to claim a seat for the rehearsal dinner and a small takeaway treasure.

carey eric rehearsal dinner place setting
Credit: Heather Selzer

The Place Settings

Tea-stained menus were designed by Carey to mimic vintage botanical prints, complete with the date spelled out in Roman numerals. Below, it outlined the delicious feast to come, including fried chicken from Parkside Taphouse. Red checkered napkins from La Tavola Fine Linen were tied in knots as a nod to what the couple would be doing the next day.

carey eric rehearsal dinner centerpieces
Credit: Heather Selzer

The Centerpieces

Antique silver goblets were filled with mounds of moss and finished with decorative mushroom picks. The groom harvested sheets of moss-covered bark from fallen trees surrounding their house, and the bride embellished these natural beauties with mushrooms and flowers.

carey eric rehearsal dinner gnome
Credit: Heather Selzer

Little Gnome Facts

Carey gathered 8 facts about gnomes from a copy of Wil Huygen's Gnomes book once belonging to her father, then numbered them and shared them by giving mini ceramic figurines educational signs to hold and placing them amidst the décor for the night.

carey eric rehearsal dinner gnomes on table
Credit: Heather Selzer

More Little Gnome Facts

Did you know that gnomes only get married when the moon is full? Or that gnome babies are always born in twins? What about that gnome children live with their parents until they are 100 years old? Or that they're nocturnal?

The bride modified ceramic gnome figurines from Wedding Star to share these folkloric bits.


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