Friday, April 16, 2010

10 tips for a great welcome reception

Southern Sweetie Bride was kind enough to let me "iphone photograph" her welcome recpetion for this blog post.  The reception at the Gasparilla Inn Beach Club was the perfect example of what a welcome reception should be- a casual event to kick off the weekend celebration.  Welcome receptions are the perfect opportunity to introduce all your friends and family to each other, so that by the time the wedding comes around- everyone knows everyone.  When guests bump into each other on the island (or where ever your destination wedding is), they'll be excited to see a friendly familiar face.

1. Do something unexpected.  This is Southern Sweetie with her Groom.  One of my priorities the entire length of this wedding planning was finding this dinghy for the welcome reception.  Hands down the best "bar" we've ever had!
2. Have a few great games if you've got the right crowd for it!  We had Bocce, Volleyball, and Cornhole.
3. Always a great idea if you're doing a beach event- provide flip flops for your guests.  They can use them again at the wedding reception for dancing shoes.  Oh, and no worries brides, you can still get "good" shoes to arrive in (you know, the shoes)...

4. Big tip: HAVE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHERS THERE!  This is a great night for candids & group photos
 These almost always turn out to be some of the best pictures because everyone is just so relaxed.
 This is Lauren gathering everyone for what I think is going to be one of the best laughing shots ever.

5. Provide seating for just chatting it up.  This may be the 1st time your guests have seen each other in a while- it's great to have conversation areas.
6. Hire a wedding planner so that when your dress literally starts to fall apart, she can sew you back up and get you back to the party.  Yes, this happened tonight.  No, it wasn't the 1st time. Yes, I confess I sewed right through my finger at one point.  Nothing a little nail polish can't fix.
7. Have your photographers take detail shots of everything, before they get "messed up" This is the firepit.  Why a firepit in Florida, at a beach welcome reception with an 80 degree temperature?  See below.
8. That would be for dessert.  Smores anyone?  Or if smores aren't your thing, perhaps a sundae bar is.  Complete with sprinkles in your wedding colors.

9. Serve food; welcoming food.  Serve the kind of food they can't get at home, but make sure there's something for everyone.  Tonight the biggest attractions at the dine around were the mini Snapper sandwiches, the Coconut Shrimp and the Schettani Sangria.

10. Have fun.  If your guests see you smiling and having a blast, so will they.

101 Destination Wedding Planning Tips

From the editors of Destination Weddings & Honeymoons