Welcome parties can be a fun pre-wedding event. They can replace a traditional rehearsal dinner or be added on to the end of one. If you are looking to keep the rehearsal dinner small then you can throw a welcome party on the day before to welcome all your friends and family.
Since welcome parties have become so popular you can make the event a chic, simple gathering with cocktails and/or dessert, or a more interactive affair. The possibles are endless and we have a few tips to keep in mind when planning.
Creating the Guest List
There are no set rules to follow when deciding whom to invite to your welcome party, couples hosting a destination wedding where everyone will have to travel often choose to include the entire group as a warm gesture of gratitude. For hometown events, it’s common to limit the guest list to out-of-towners. Keep in mind that welcome parties are a great way for your guests to meet and make friends before the wedding, so make it special for everyone.
Serve Food for Thought
Keep in mind your goal is for your guests to easily mix and mingle. Help make this happen by serving small, one-bite hors d’oeuvres, or sweets for a dessert reception following a rehearsal dinner. Have them passed on trays or arranged on an accessible buffet.
A welcome party can give you the perfect opportunity to go a little more casual—with, say, barbecued ribs and coleslaw for a get-together down south, or lobsters and corn on the cob for one in New England. Also think about incorporating foods that are an expression of the local culture, its the perfect conversation starter.
Make Your Party Multidimensional
Do something that highlights your interests or the location of the wedding, like a miniature-golf tournament or a wine tasting. An event built around activities might take place on the afternoon or evening before your wedding, depending on when guests will be arriving. Your welcome party should be about having a great time with friends and family.
Send Your Invites
Design your invitations with festive colors and creative wording to reflect your theme or activity. Make sure the invites convey to guests all they’ll need to know to prepare for the cool events you’ve planned. Be as descriptive as you can, including clothing and footwear suggestions, area maps and any phone numbers or Web sites that might be useful to your guests when planning their time for the wedding weekend. You want your guest to come excited and prepared for what they will be doing!