Wedding welcome parties are here to stay! Whether abroad, or just outside their hometown, more and more couples are hosting destination weddings. The idea of traveling for a wedding comes with a full weekend experience and a slew of fun pre & post-wedding events. And kicking it all off is the welcome party! While wedding welcome parties are not necessarily a new idea, they have evolved. So we are breaking down everything you need to know about hosting a wedding welcome party. Keep reading for more!
- What is a wedding welcome party
- Where do we start
- Importance of hosting a wedding welcome party
- When to host your welcome party
- Where to host your welcome party
- Who should we invite to our welcome party
- My guests will be meeting for the first time
- Attire & dress code for a welcome party
- How to include something unique
- What happens at a welcome party
- What about….
What is a Wedding Welcome Party?
A wedding welcome party is pretty much exactly what it sounds like! A party to welcome all of your guests to your wedding weekend experience. But, at the same time, there’s much more to it than that! A wedding welcome party is a way to thank your guests for joining the celebration, spend a fabulous night with them, and move them from digital introductions through your Guestie event to meeting other guests in person!
I Think We Want to Host a Wedding Welcome Party, But We’re Not Sure Where to Start
Doesn’t hosting a wedding welcome party sound like such a fun idea? Couples hosting experience-based weddings have made wedding welcome parties the backbone of hosting an immersive weekend wedding experience, and we love the vibe! But, we know the idea of adding another event to your wedding weekend can feel like an overwhelming thought. So the first thing you’ll want to consider is whether or not this is “doable”. And by doable we mean, are you already at max capacity?
If your stress level is rising and your budget has already been blown to smithereens, then you probably don’t need to add anything else to your plate right now. However, if hosting a welcome party seems like the perfect way to enhance the rest of your wedding weekend and you’ve already earmarked a portion of your wedding budget for an event such as this, then you have the green light to start planning! The first thing you’ll want to do is get realistic about what you are able to spend, before talking to your wedding planner. From there, you’ll need to sort out a guest list, location, menu, entertainment, and any additional interactive elements! But don’t worry, we’ll go over all the details with you below.
The Importance of a Welcome Party
Are you having an amazingly fab destination wedding? Whether you are marrying abroad, or in an unforgettable destination domestically that is just outside of your hometown, wedding welcome parties have become part of the landscape for destination weddings. Are you having a wedding in your hometown with guests traveling in from out of town? You can absolutely still have a wedding welcome party.
Hosting a wedding welcome party is a fantastic way to introduce your guests to one another IRL. After your virtual introductions have been made through your Guestie event your guests will get the chance to mix and mingle in person, without all the formalities of your wedding day at hand. Additionally, hosting a wedding welcome party is also an amazing way to say thank you to your guests. You know, without the run-of-the-mill thank you card. You get an extra evening to spend time with your guests enjoying amazing bites, crafted cocktails, and handing out welcome bags (if that’s your thing). The night of your wedding welcome party will be spent in the company of your guests without ping-ponging back and forth between timeline events. There won’t be any rushing off for photos or getting pulled away because it’s time to cut the cake.
The other reason we love a fab wedding welcome party? It will set the tone for the rest of your wedding weekend! Because a wedding welcome party is typically the first pre-wedding event for destination weddings, you can use it as an opportunity to set the pace and experience for the rest of your wedding weekend (or week)!
When Should I Host My Welcome Party?
When to host your wedding welcome party will of course depend on a few factors! The first is whether or not you are hosting a rehearsal dinner. The rehearsal dinner typically takes place the night before the wedding. So if you are hosting a rehearsal dinner the night before your wedding, your wedding welcome party may need to be pushed to at least two days before your wedding and added to your itinerary accordingly. Another option is to have an early rehearsal dinner the night before your wedding with the people who have roles in the ceremony and follow that up later in the evening with a welcome party where the rest of the guests can join.
Additionally, some couples opt to forgo the more traditional rehearsal dinner and use their welcome party in its place. Which, of course, is totally allowed if you’re asking us! Opting to use your wedding welcome party in place of your rehearsal dinner opens up the night a bit more. It gives you space to invite all of your guests instead of just the ones included in your ceremony, and it sets the vibe for the night as an event made for all as opposed to a few.
Again, there is really no wrong answer here. But if a wedding welcome party is on your radar, discuss the most optimal time with your wedding planner. Lastly, be sure to properly communicate the details of your wedding welcome party to your guests. A formal invite isn’t needed for your welcome party. You can include it on the week/weekend itinerary, or you can openly communicate the details to your guests on the message board of your Guestie event!
Where Should I Host My Wedding Welcome Party?
Where you decide to host your wedding welcome party is 100% up to you. It will largely depend on your overall budget and ease of access for your guests, especially if your wedding is abroad. We love hearing from our couples on the unique elements that they blended into their wedding to show off their personality. So there really is no “wrong” place to host your welcome party.
Are you having a destination wedding in an amazing location known for its wine? Why not host your wedding welcome party in the wine cellar or through a vineyard tour? If you are both avid bowlers, there is nothing wrong with renting out the local alley (most have full buyouts) and welcoming your guests with a night of bowling, appetizers, and cocktails. Getting married in a dreamy beachside destination? Inquire with your planner about the option to host your a wedding welcome party on the sand by the shore or on a rooftop that provides a sweeping view of paradise. Any option that fits your budget, can accommodate your total guest count, and is able to set the vibe for the night you’re envisioning is always what will work best. At the same point, don’t be afraid to get creative!
Your wedding welcome party will be a reflection of your personality, but also of your wedding. So drawing on those details will be crucial in creating an immersive experience for you and your guests.
Who Should I Invite To My Welcome Party?
Are you having a destination wedding that requires all of your guests to travel? Then the invite list for your wedding welcome party should be identical to your guest list. Remember, one of the goals of your wedding welcome party is to welcome in your guests and that means everyone!
Hosting your wedding a little closer to home? Then the guest list for your wedding welcome party will be similar to that of your rehearsal dinner. You’ll want to invite your wedding party, immediate family members, and all guests who have traveled to be at your wedding.
I Think This Is The First Time My Guests Will Be Meeting!
Your wedding welcome party will more than likely be the first time all of your guests are meeting in person, and that is super exciting! Can you picture everyone you know and love in the same room together celebrating? It’s an awesome dream. But, it can also be one of mass confusion and awkwardness if your guests have no social compass. Digitally introducing your guests to one another ahead of your wedding weekend is a great way to break the ice. It’s also a fab way to show your guests how much you care about creating a fantastic experience for them.
More than likely, you will not have time to walk around and personally introduce everyone. Furthermore, who wants to spend their once-in-a-lifetime wedding weekend doing that? No thanks. You can, however, introduce your guests to one another in advance. The best part? It takes less time than finding your way to the open bar! Through your Guestie event you can introduce your guests to each other. Here, in addition to introducing your guests, they can get the party started through conversations on your message board, all while getting a glimpse of who is who. Forgoing all the awkward in-person introductions. That way, when it’s time to celebrate at your wedding welcome party, everyone will arrive ready to have a fab night with a room full of faces they already know. The vibe will be high and the energy will be a max volume, kicking your wedding weekend into high gear!
What Kind Of Attire Is Appropriate For A Welcome Party?
Your attire and your guest’s attire will be entirely dependent on what you’ve planned for the evening. As the couple and the hosts of the event, you have the option of choosing something wedding adjacent or blending in with what is expected of your guests. Say, what about your guests? How will they know if they need to arrive in cocktail attire, or their best “no shoes required” beachy vibes-only outfit? Well, that part will be up to you. The first thing to consider when communicating attire for the evening is the location. Will you be beachside, at the vineyard, in a formal reception space, or on a boat? It’s easy to see how each of these circumstances translates into a different choice of attire.
Once your location has been selected, what will the evening bring? Will it be a formal sit-down dinner, cocktails and light bites, or an all-hands-on-deck participatory event? With location and the evening’s events nailed down, you’ll need to communicate expected attire to your guests. Here are two easy ways. First, on your outlined itinerary for the weekend, next to the bullet for your welcome party you’ll want to add a one-liner such as “cocktail attire” or “beachside bash”, you get the idea. Next, you’ll want to elaborate on this a bit more to give your guests a full understanding of what the evening will bring. Take to the message board of your Guestie event to create a discussion among your guests on what to pack ahead of time. Bonus points from us if you have a mood board to share!
I Want To Include Something Unique At My Welcome Party, Is It Appropriate?
As long as it’s age-appropriate for all of the guests in attendance, we say go for it! Your wedding welcome party should be a reflection of who you are as a couple, but also of your wedding. If something super specific comes to mind that you envision as a perfect added element to your welcome party, we say do it! There is no better way to surprise and delight your guests than to include an unexpected element of surprise.
If you’re thinking about adding an interactive element to your welcome party like a guided tour, or a cooking class, you’ll want to make sure that the experience is best suited for the total number of invited guests. Additionally, you’ll want to communicate the night’s events to your guests in advance so they arrive knowing what to expect.
What Is Supposed To Happen At A Welcome Party?
You and your guests are supposed to openly mix and mingle while enjoying the night’s activities and menu. Aside from that, now is the time to gift your guests with those amazing welcome bags you put together and for you and your partner to give a quick thank you toast in your guest’s honor. Outside of that, it’s really up to you what happens at your wedding welcome party!
You get to decide if it’ll be a night of cocktails with the area’s best salsa band, or if it’ll be a sit-down dinner with a menu that treats your guests to all the best local dishes. Maybe it’ll be a boat tour of the amazing coast where your wedding will be hosted. Or a night of lawn games and fantastic food truck fare. Whatever goes down at your wedding welcome party, is totally up to you! But, if you’re looking for us to sum it up for you, we say these 4 elements are a home run: welcome gift, thank you toast, fab menu, and activities or entertainment!
Is it ok if…..?
You might be asking yourself, “Is it ok if….?” Is it ok if my welcome party is like a second wedding? Is it ok if my welcome party is at the same venue as my wedding? Or, is it ok if my welcome party is a round of darts with pizza & draft beer? Is it ok if, I don’t invite everyone? Basically, the answer is pretty much always going to be yes. You and your partner are going to know what best fits your vibe, your budget, and your intended guest experience. So maybe you didn’t see the idea you have for your welcome party trending on TikTok or you have an idea for something so unique, you’re sure it’s not been done before. All the more reason to go for it and make this one-of-a-kind experience an unforgettable event!