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Etiquette

Welcome ... "event" ...?

Our wedding will be in CA with most of our guests (ourselves included) traveling from the east coast. FI's parents are paying for the bulk of the costs, and although they previously did not care at all, they've now decided we should host a welcome event of some kind. Great! I have no problem with this since I've been suggesting it for months. With that said, it could be over 100 people, so costs could get out of hand quickly. The day before the wedding we will be doing the rehearsal in the morning followed by lunch and tourist activites in San Francisco, so happy hour is out. Do you think an 8pm cocktail hour would be fine? Any other ideas? Everyone will likely be staying at this same hotel. 

ETA: what's the best way to spread the news about something like this? In invitations? Separate invitations? Something I leave with the front desk of the hotel as guests from our party check in? :-\
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Re: Welcome ... "event" ...?

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Do your FI's parents want you to do the hosting, or do they want to contribute money or other input?

    If the first, you can do it however you like.  I myself would send separate invitations and perhaps a reminder at the hotel desk.  If the second, especially if they want to pay for the whole thing, I'd let them handle things.
  • In Response to Re: Welcome ... "event" ...?:
    [QUOTE]Do your FI's parents want you to do the hosting, or do they want to contribute money or other input? If the first, you can do it however you like.  I myself would send separate invitations and perhaps a reminder at the hotel desk.  If the second, especially if they want to pay for the whole thing, I'd let them handle things.
    Posted by Jen4948[/QUOTE]

    They have no interest in hosting, but they are paying for it in full. Their words were, "You should do a welcome event or provide welcome bags."
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  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    It can be risky to leave it up to the front desk to communicate such an event.  Unless there is a specific reason, not every guest needs to "declare" that they are checking as part of the Bride/Groom party.

    If you are thinking about having your casual get-together in the hotel lounge or lobby, would it be possible to arrange for some sort of signage at or near the front desk?  If not, it would probably be easiest to send separate invitations.

    An 8 PM cocktail hour is nice.  Since most guests will have eaten dinner, another idea could be to host an after dinner drinks/coffee hour with simple/light desserts.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Do you want to host a party?  If you have the time and budget, by all means feel free to set one up!  My mom and dad did this when my brother got married.
  • I think an 8 pm cocktail is great. But, make sure you get enough sleep! If you have an earlier wedding, you may have to get up even earlier for hair. I'm sure you will want to be well rested for your wedding! We have an 8pm Welcome Cocktail...which means i probably will not be asleep until 11. Hiwever, our ceremony does not begin until 530pm the next day, so we can all wake up leusurely.
    "Always be kinder than you think is necessary, for you never know what personal battles people are fighting."
  • In Response to Welcome ... "event" ...?:
    [QUOTE]Our wedding will be in CA with most of our guests (ourselves included) traveling from the east coast. FI's parents are paying for the bulk of the costs, and although they previously did not care at all, they've now decided we should host a welcome event of some kind. Great! I have no problem with this since I've been suggesting it for months. With that said, it could be over 100 people, so costs could get out of hand quickly. The day before the wedding we will be doing the rehearsal in the morning followed by lunch and tourist activites in San Francisco, so happy hour is out. Do you think an 8pm cocktail hour would be fine? Any other ideas? Everyone will likely be staying at this same hotel.  ETA: what's the best way to spread the news about something like this? In invitations? Separate invitations? Something I leave with the front desk of the hotel as guests from our party check in? :-\
    Posted by emeejeeayen[/QUOTE]



    Oh. As far as spreading it, we had it on one of our invitation inserts. We also have it on our wedding website.
    "Always be kinder than you think is necessary, for you never know what personal battles people are fighting."
  • I'd view an 8pm cocktail hour as a.) right at dinner time, and b.) a chore, since I'd feel like I had to go, instead of going out and enjoying a great San Fran restaurant (seriously, y'all are winning the food lottery out there!).  I'd rather have a welcome bag, a happy hour event, a later drinks event, or a drop in breakfast the next day.  

    Nothing wrong with doing it of course if you like the idea, but I think sometimes people think they have to do something, so I like to throw the other viewpoint in.
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    We had a welcome event the night before the wedding.  We spread the word on the website and the welcome bags.  We also spread if via word of mouth via the big mouths of the families (come on, we all have a family member or 2 who spreads any news you need to get out.)

    Ours started at 8pm.  We just said something like "join us for cocktails between 8-10pm".    Most people had dinner and they made there way over to us.    Some were there at 8, others came in later.  More like an open house.  People coming and going. 

    It worked out great for us.  I loved being able to spend time with people before the night before.  It took some pressure off of us the next day.  Not that we didn't see everyone at the wedding.  But you didn't feel bad only spending 3 minutes with them because you spent a lot of time with the night before. 






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • I would think 8pm cocktails to be fine and a nice gesture. We're doing a welcome BBQ since everyone is coming in from out of town as well. And call me tacky if you'd like, but I tossed a second rsvp card into my wedding invitations for our Welcome RD BBQ, mostly because we need a actual head count for the caterer though. We also put the information on our website and have talked it up whenever we see or talk to people who are invited. 
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  • If welcome bags are an option, I would do that.  It sounds like your weekend is already commanding many hours of your guests' time, and if I was a guest - as much as I am sure they all  love you guys - I'd want to have some down time and some free time for planning my own adventures in a fun destination. 

    Also - wedding welcome bags (even really opulant ones) are almost certainly less pricey.  I have been working on our wedding welcome bag and the content (getting as many things done early as possible because now is when I have more time due to my work.)

    I priced out 25 welcome bags at being about $500.  This includes snacks, water bottles, toiletries (antibacterial wipes, sunscreen, asprin, tums, insect repellant, shout! stain remover etc.), a destination theme gift (Baltimore Crab Cake Old Bay mix and recipe), a door sign (please do not disturb...), a customized bag, a binder for a 12 page booklet (wedding party contact information, welcome letter, 2 stamped postcards, tourist guides from the Baltimore Tourism Bureau, map, tourist resources, take-out/delivery menus, wedding itinerary, wedding vendor information, etc.), disposable cameras. $20.00 per person is what I'd consider a mid-price-to-pricey welcome bag. If I had unlimited funds (which it sort of sounds like you do) I'd include a local wine with custom labels, canvas bags instead of poly-fiber, and discount tickets for the National Aquarium of Baltimore (for those who wanted them....could be on the RSVP card). 

    Why not do something like this - but do a really really wonderful version with wine or other gourmet inclusions, and have a 'drop in' hour where people who want to chat could find you - say at the pool before dinner?

    E
  • If most of your guests are traveling from east coast, then 8pm is their 11pm. They might not want to party and would like some rest. Plus, for your guests who have never been to San Francisco before, they might want to take an opportunity to wonder around the city a bit before the wedding. Plus, you'll have a rehearsal and tour in the morning. That sounds like a long day already for me. 

    I say welcome bags are a better idea. It give you and your guests some time to rest. You might have some last minute things to do or just rest up for your wedding the next day. No puffy eyes needed or a hangover. 

    Or maybe you can invite your guests to do the tour and pay for that? Then you can get together and still get enough rest before the wedding. 

    But if you are planning to throw a welcome party, I'd suggest to either email/evite/call your guests and see if they can come. The place you have in mind might not have the capacity to host 100 people. 
  • welcome bag in hotel rooms w/ a card that has info about all the weekend's events/timing/locations.
  • When my sister got married, there were two 'events' similar to this. They spread the word to family and friends via email and welcome bag insert that they would be at 'x location' at 'x time' and that anyone who wished to join them for a casual get together was welcome to. These were not 'hosted' events, but gave all OOT guests an opportunity to see socialize together before the wedding, and was a lot of fun. The hotel where we stayed was more of a resort, so a lot of the entertainment was free (live band Friday night, piano bar open nightly). We were all staying there, so it was really very convenient and didn't have far to stumble after we closed the bar down.
  • We're doing this.  Everyone is from OOT, so we included the info on our website, STD, and will have an insert with our invitation.  We opted against sending seperate invites for the Welcome Party and Brunch, because we thought it would up being too many invitations going out and then that many more to track down later.  So our guests have 1 RSVP that covers the weekend and we'll know what they're attending.  


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  • Thanks for all the responses!

    Not that it particularly matters, ha, but to clarify, our wedding is 1.5 hours OUTSIDE of San Francisco. So, while I think guests will want to explore SF possibly, it's not something I expect many to want to do at night. Our wedding is at 5pm the next day, so there's plenty of time for sleeping and exploring. 

    Also, this would certainly not be a mandatory event; rather, FMIL and FFIL have been getting a lot of requests from their side as to what activities we have planned. Since we are also coming from the east coast it's hard to offer anything super low-key like a backyard bbq or cocktails at our own house. My parents live in the bay area, but it's about 2 hours from the hotel. I think this will satisfy the requests sufficiently. 

    The reason I've nixed welcome bags is because I think compiling 100 welcome bags is more than I'm up for. I don't know where on earth the hotel would store them, either. Plus even if it's just $15 per bag, that's $1500. I'd rather spend that $1500 on some wine, fruit, cheese, etc. 

    I was mostly just worried about timing, but I'm happy for the feedback and ideas on how to make it more fun. Stage, I like the games idea especially because A) FI loves poker/trivia and B) it will help as an ice breaker. 

    Thanks again all!
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