Hosting a welcome party for your guests is such an important event for your destination wedding! If you’re on the fence about hosting a welcome party, or just curious about the “why” behind it, we’re breaking down our modern-day take on welcome parties for destination weddings, in this post!
Look, sometimes traveling can be a nightmare. And there’s nothing that you as the couple hosting the destination wedding can personally do to make sure your guests have an amazing flight or that their luggage arrives where it’s supposed to. Not that we’re alarmists, but you never know what you’ll encounter on a long flight or car ride. Of course, we can always hope for the best. But it’s still asking a lot for your friends & family to travel for the week or weekend of your wedding. Having a welcome party is one way to take the edge off travel. Allowing guests to kick back, relax and join in the festivities.
But it’s also a way for you to say thank you to them. Thank you for traveling all this way, thank you for celebrating with us, and above all thank you for being in our lives! During your welcome party, you can make sure that your guests start the experience of your destination wedding with fab drinks and deelish bites. It’s also the perfect time to give them the hand-curated gift bags that you put together for the trip. We love including little goodies like snacks, maps, water bottles, sunscreen, or fun sunglasses in welcome bags. But we’re sure you can add your own unique flair to the goodies you select. Either way, it’s yet another fun way to show your guests appreciation for their attendance.
One thing about a destination wedding is that your guests need to get acquainted, and fast! You’ll all be spending time together in a place far away from home, possibly even a different country. It can be a lot to expect your guests to travel and then go the extra mile to meet & mingle with people they’ve never met before. We’ll take care of most of the heavy lifting for you through your Guestie event. Through your Guestie event, guests can browse each other’s profiles and play the name game. They can “meet” and connect ahead of time. Once your welcome party arrives, they’ll be able to match faces to names in person!
Can you imagine stepping into your welcome party, drink in hand, side by side with your partner, only to see everyone you know and love already having a good time? It’s pretty amazing. The welcome party at your destination wedding won’t have to be used for forced introductions or awkward conversations that have guests looking for the exit. Instead, it’ll be a group of guests seeing familiar faces and having an absolute blast. Now that you’ve set the stage for an amazing welcome party, can you imagine what your reception will look like?
Set The Tone
A destination wedding is a whole week or weekend of events. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint” as Holland Taylor’s character said in “The Wedding Date”. Couples who plan destination weddings usually do so because they are focused on the overall experience their wedding provides for them and their guests. And a whole *heap* of planning, details, and elements go into creating an unforgettable experience! Setting the tone for your guests to have an amazing experience when they travel to be there for you on your wedding day is crucial in making sure they have a great time. And it all starts with your welcome party!
Because your welcome party is the very first event, you’ll get to kick things off in a fun meets laid-back atmosphere, before the formalities of your wedding day begin. You’ll get to literally invite your guests into your wedding experience with custom signage. Which, by the way, will also later help them later find their way around the resort on wedding day, because they’ll know what to look for! At your welcome party, you’ll get to introduce the theme of your decor and invite your guests to delight in the fresh local flavors. They’ll take in the melodic sounds of the live entertainment you’ve hired from the area while being pulled further into your destination wedding experience. So yeah, setting the tone through your welcome party, kind of a big deal!
So far all of the items on this list have definitely been focused on making sure your guests have an amazing time. Which, of course, is a huge part of your destination wedding. But you, as the couple getting married, need a little something to dive into and take the edge off as well! Have you ever heard of a pre-wedding photoshoot? It’s very common with destination weddings and typically happens right before you walk into your welcome party because you’ll be all dressed up and ready to go! Talk to your on-site or destination wedding photographer about including this in your package if you haven’t already, here’s why!
It’ll give you and your spouse some alone time together in front of the camera before your wedding. Especially considering this is probably your first time working with your wedding photographer. Also maybe-even-possibly your first time having professional photos taken. That is if you forewent an engagement photoshoot. A pre-wedding photoshoot will take the edge off of the wedding day nerves. So you don’t have to be a nervous wreck in front of the camera and the eyes of your guests. It’s also a great way to heap on the romance and give you and your partner a moment to be present with one another. Because who doesn’t want an extra minute to soak it all in?
A Side Note…
Your welcome party can be whatever you want it to be! We’re sure if you Googled what a wedding welcome party “should” be, you’d be met with a bunch of rules. Things like no formal sit-down dinner, cocktails & small bites only, semi-formal attire required, and on and on. And we are here to explicitly say forget all that! Your event can be whatever is true to you. It can be activity-based or it can be a sit-down dinner, it can be cocktails & small bites, or it can be pizza and beer. If you want to have a laid-back buffet dinner with live music, go for it! If you want to host a formal dinner with champagne in coupe glasses, why not?
Again, the biggest importance is for you & your guest to have an amazing experience. Everything else is open to interpretation!