A welcome dinner can be a great way to kick off wedding festivities for a couple and their guests who have traveled to celebrate the big day. There is no better way to say ‘thank you for coming’ and to show how excited they are than to bring everyone together on the first night! With that, let’s take a look at some tips for throwing a flawless welcome dinner.
What to serve
Typically, the welcome dinner menu is in contrast to what will be served at the wedding. With guests flying in from all over, this is a great opportunity for the couple to showcase a number of different cuisine types from the area. For example, if the menu for the wedding is geared more toward fine dining, then the welcome dinner should run a little more casual. A buffet of local favorites or interactive food stations are always a crowd pleaser.
“Lounge areas are perfect for guests to relax on and catch up with other wedding attendees, while activities like lawn games or a fire pit (if allowed) can work as icebreakers for those trying to get to know one another.”
How to decorate
In general, the décor for a welcome dinner is not going to be the emphasis of the event. Guests will have just arrived and are excited to see the couple and other family and friends. Lounge areas are perfect for guests to relax on and catch up with other wedding attendees, while activities like lawn games or a fire pit (if allowed) can work as icebreakers for those trying to get to know one another.
Incorporating the rehearsal dinner
Welcome dinners can work in a couple of ways. Some choose to host a welcome dinner in addition to the rehearsal dinner and plan it for the day prior to the rehearsal. For example, if the wedding were set for a Saturday, then the welcome dinner would be Thursday evening, with the rehearsal dinner taking place on Friday.
The other option is to turn the rehearsal dinner into one large party. With this, the key is to see when most people are arriving. If there aren’t going to be many guests arriving Thursday, then it makes more sense to have the welcome dinner on Friday, combined with the rehearsal dinner. If the couple has a destination wedding specialist, they will be able to coordinate either option. If there isn’t a specialist, the couple can easily obtain the hotel room list and make an informed decision about the ideal date and time.
Sharing the details
Keeping guests in the loop for any wedding is important, but especially for a destination wedding. Couples should be as clear as possible with those attending to prevent scheduling issues and guests booking incorrectly. Event information should be listed on the couple’s wedding website, with all details including transportation and attire guidelines.
With these tips in your back pocket, the ideal welcome dinner for your couple and their guests is just around the corner!
Megan Velez is the Vice President of Product at Destination Wedding Travel Group, the world's leading destination wedding and romantic travel planning company. Destination Wedding Travel Group, which encompasses GayDestinationWeddings.com, DestinationWeddings.com and LuxuriousDestinationWeddings.com, has worked with nearly 25,000 couples and half a million guests to plan dream destination weddings around the world. For more information, visit DestinationWeddings.com.