PRE-WEDDING PARTY: Welcome Party

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Well guys, we finally reached the last pre-wedding party in the series, but before we wrap it up, let's take a look at the Welcome Party. 

Welcome parties are a fairly new wedding tradition and it can be take place of the rehearsal dinner or a separate event altogether. It is a fun pre-wedding party to welcome your our-of-state guests. There are a lot of different ways to host a welcome party. It can be a chic decorated event to a more fun interactive game gathering. The choice is yours. 

So, how do you throw a wedding welcome party?

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First thing you need to decide is who to invite. As the name states it is a way to welcome those family and friends traveling to your wedding. Welcome parties are a more relaxed and casual event than any of the other pre-wedding parties. And not to mention, a great event to tie-in your wedding theme and mingle with old school friends and family members who may have moved away. Some experts say to invite the same guests as you planned to invite to your actual wedding, but I say keep it to those out-of-town guests and thanked them for expanding the expenses to travel to your celebration.

And since this is a casual event, you as the hostess should dress the part. Forget the evening gowns and opt for something cute and chic. 


Who Pays: This one falls on the bride-to-be and groom. You can blocked hotel rooms for your guests with the understanding, they are responsible for all fees and costs. While it would be a nice gesture to pay for their hotel rooms, it is not expected from the host or hostess. Also whether you send invites or not is up to you, but I urge you to consider it. You could use your invites as a map or give directions where the party will be held and any additional wedding tidbits. Don't forget to let them know, this is a casual event and also if there will be any special activities that they may need to prepare for - that way they are dress appropriately.

When: The time frame is the same as a rehearsal dinner. A better idea is to host your rehearsal dinner a week before and your welcome party the night before. Heed the warning like with the rehearsal dinner and don't get wasted - not a good look for your wedding day.

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Here are a few bullet points to remember when hosting a welcome party:

  • Provide snacks and drinks if you're hosting at home or booked a private dining area at your local restaurant. Be sure to let everyone know this is NOT a prepaid dinner or lunch.
  • Put together a welcome gift bag or basket for each guests. In each bag, you can include a small first aid kit or travel size items, they may have forgotten, like toothpaste and soap.
  • Provide a list of local restaurants and hot-spots around town. Not sure of any hot-spots, grab a few brochures from your local city hall or chambers office.
  • Provide a complete itinerary for your out-of-town guests. Take the guessing  game out and avoid getting asked a bunch of questions.
  • Create small gift bags for your younger out-of-town guests.

Your guests will love you for it. The perfect welcome gift.

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In addition to the above, create some fun games (if venue permits) to get your guests interacting with each other. I've never seen a game of Jenga that wasn't super fun. Have some competitive guests? have them play a game of "Create our Signature Drink," and have each players compete to come up with the perfect signature drink for your big day. Make sure to have enough spirits, chasers and any garnishes that the players may use.

Here  is a smart budget-friendly tip:

If you're staying in the same hotel as most of your out-of-town guests, speak to the hotel event coordinator and see if a simple buffet can be set up for you and your guests. After all, you are making money for them along with free advertising. Think about it, if your guests checked-in on Facebook or take a few photos from the hotel with a #besthotel hashtag, they are sure to get more visitors and bookings. It's a win-win for everyone.

And that's all folks (in my Looney Toon's voice) 7 pre-wedding events, all leading to your big day. 7 party inspirations to draw from. Keep in mind that you don't have to have every single one of them, just picked the one one that works for you. I also know couples, who omit them all. Remember this your journey and which ever path you take, is up to you, the bride-to-be and groom - NO PRESSURES. 

Did you miss any of the posts in the pre-wedding series? Go back and read them all or better yet, share them all:

PRE-WEDDING PARTY: The Bridesmaids Luncheon





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