On August 1, 1981 I married my best friend and the love of my life.  On August 1, 2014 my groom of 33 years and I threw a huge party.  I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate our 33rd wedding anniversary – even though the party wasn’t for us.  The party was a rehearsal dinner for our oldest son Joseph and his fiancรฉ Julie.


Immediately after the wedding rehearsal at St. John Neumann Catholic Church, Bill and I welcomed our guests to Il Fornaio in Reston Town Center .


Il Fornaio’s private dining room was the perfect intimate setting for the wedding party to mingle and get to know each other, the parents, and grandparents of the happy couple.


Photo courtesy of Il Fornaio


 Bill first ate at Il Fornaio in San Francisco back in the 90’s when he was on a business trip in California.  Since it doesn’t seem at all like a chain restaurant (there are 19 locations), Bill was quite surprised when I told him a few years ago that I’d had lunch with friends at Il Fornaio in Reston.

Their website describes their food as the “most authentic Italian experience outside of Italy,” and having thoroughly enjoyed my dining experiences in Rome and Florence, their food comes the closest to that delicious food of any Italian restaurants I’ve tried in the DC area.

Once guests arrived, they were able to mingle with their friends, and make new friends while enjoying wine and beer.


And munching on antipasti of calamari, Italian meats, and cheeses.


In order to come up with the perfect dinner menu combination, Bill and I did what any good parents would do, and made several trips to Il Fornaio to try out different dishes to serve at the rehearsal dinner.  We started our little exercise back in January when we dined with Julie’s parents, and later when we invited Daniel, Joseph, and Julie to join us.  Our trips paid off, and Bill and I were able to narrow down the menu selection for our guests.


After about 30 minutes of visiting with our guests, it was time for us to sit down for dinner.  Being the parents of the bride and groom, we got the best seats in the house!


And from the looks of the plates of the guests of honor, I think our homework paid off, and our menu selections were spot on!


One last picture of our family of four about 20 hours before we became a family of five!


And of course I had to get a picture of Julie with her college roommates, and fellow running bloggers Becky and Kelly!


As a gift to Joseph and Julie, the parents, and grandparents, Bill made a video, The Story of Joseph and Julie.  It was filled with photos and videos of both of them from birth to present.  It was so fun to watch, and will be a keepsake forever!

Before showing the video, Bill thanked everyone for attending, gave a short little speech, and toasted Joseph and Julie.  Next, Becky and a few other friends toasted the happy couple.


And since it was our anniversary, Daniel, Joseph, and Julie surprised Bill and me with an anniversary cake, and some very sweet words!  It totally caught us off guard, and made me cry…  Happy tears, of course!


I seriously doubt we’ll be able to top this celebration for our 34th wedding anniversary!


  • Questions:
  • Married people, where did you have your rehearsal dinner? ~ Bill and I chose to have a BBQ at my parent’s home.
  • Have you ever eaten at one of the 19 Il Fornaio restaurants?  They are located in Virginia, Colorado, California, Nevada, and Washington.
  • What would you have chosen from the dinner menu?  What’s your favorite type of food? ~ I had the salmon, and it was outstanding!