Every couple wants an epic wedding weekend and what better way to get the party started by throwing a welcome party! Whether your a local Seattleite or having a destination wedding in Seattle, it’s always a good idea to plan a gathering for your guests. For your local guests, it’s an excellent way to hype up the main event. And for your out of town guests, its a way to say thank you for traveling here for us. Either way, it will make all your guests feel involved with the weekend festivities and it gives you the chance to mingle before the big day. No matter what you have in mind, your guests will certainly appreciate your generous hospitality.
Welcome Party Etiquette
Let’s start off by saying there is none! There’s no proper etiquette in throwing a welcome party because they are meant to be very casual affairs. You can host it a day before your rehearsal, assuming all your out of town guests should be in by then, or the evening after your rehearsal dinner. This event doesn’t even need a separate invitation, you can add the information on an enclosure card on your wedding invitation, or just add it to your wedding website. Just don’t forget to add a separate RSVP for it. And unlike wedding rehearsals, everyone on your guest list is invited. Keep in mind the point is to have your guests socialize and/or meet each other, so try to keep the atmosphere simple and comfortable.
Consider picking a venue that’s already pleasing to the eye, so you can cross decor off your list. If you need to decorate and you’re on a budget, keep it minimal, just a few vases of flowers and you’re good to go. If you’re not a budget, don’t let us hold you back, we always love a beautifully decorated venue. But decor is not high on our priority list for this type of occasion, its perfectly fine to keep the venue as is.
When we say casual, this goes for the menu as well. It’s not expected to have a sit down meal, this is more of a cocktails and appetizers only kind of event. If you opt for a simple soiree at your parents house or rent a venue, set up a self serve bar and a spread of all your favorite finger foods. Or if you decide on a restaurant or bar, try sticking to signature cocktails and appetizers.
Entertainment and Gifts
This is definitely optional for both. We don’t believe it’s absolutely necessary to have entertainment, maybe just light music in the background that your iTunes playlist can handle all on its own. Or you can always choose a bar/ lounge that has a live band playing for the night.
As for gifts/ favors, some would consider the welcome party in lieu of welcome bags. But if want to shower your guests with presents then we won’t stop you. Filling a tote/ basket with Seattle goodies is always a brilliant idea, or you can pick just one of your favorite locally made or grown item and pass them out at your event.
Out of the ordinary
Seattle is a foodie paradise so its inevitable that you will find the perfect bar or restaurant to host your event. Now that you have somewhat of an idea of how to throw a welcome party, the great thing about it is how versatile it is. So if you’re feeling inspired and want to do something out of the box, here’s a few ideas up our sleeves.
Game night - Are you the fun and wacky couple of the group? You might want to consider a game night instead of a restaurant. It’s all about what your preference in games are. If you want a low key backyard bbq, theres many rental companies that have yard games you can rent. And if you have the open space, they also have giant sized games that can be extra silly. But if you want to crank it up a notch, maybe an adult only party with booze games will you suit you better. Glow in the dark beer pong anyone? There’s really no bad way to go, let the kid inside of you play before you tie the knot!
Food truck - This is a fun alternative for catering, and a little easier on the pockets. Food trucks are all the rage right now. If no one feels like cooking, try contacting your favorite food truck to rent for the night. Most food trucks will accommodate for events. You can even go crazy and get multiple food trucks if you have a large guest count, or just prefer to have multiple food options. So if you want something different and trendy, seattlefoodtrucks.com has all the information you need to know about all the registered food trucks in Seattle.
Adventure - Are you more of an adventurous couple and enjoy the great outdoors? There’s no doubt that the Pacific Northwest has amazing landscape. And there’s a few ways you can share that with your guests. If you like to hike, try coordinating a hiking day. Luckily there’s many trails not too far from the city, and it’s an activity for the whole family to enjoy. Or you can also look into renting out an adventure park. Adventura in Woodinville is a great choice. It’s literally a giant playground for adults, and it’s complete with ziplining. The only downside is not all your guests might not be fit to attend, you might want to try an alternative if you want your grandparents present.
Rent a boat - This option is not as budget friendly. If you want to be extravagant, you have to pay EXTRAvagantly. Unless you know a friend or relative that owns a yacht/ boat large enough for your guest count that will generously let you borrow it, be ready for a hefty price tag. It’s not just the boat you’re renting, but the crew as well, and your food and drinks on top of that. We are so fortunate to have the city right by the water, and luckily there’s plenty of companies that offer party boat rentals. So if you’re looking to wow and spoil your guests, this would be a winner. Who wouldn’t want to go on a sunset cocktail cruise with the Seattle skyline as your backdrop?
Tastings - Do you enjoy wine? Coffee? Or both? Now we’re talking! If you enjoy wine, take a trip to the east side. Woodinville is considered to be our wine country, and you can find all the winery’s in the same vicinity. Just choose your favorite winery and host a tasting there. Or if you prefer coffee, like a true Seattleite, there’s a few roastery’s in the city that offer coffee tastings. Starbucks Reserve Roastery is one of them, and yes they do accommodate private events. What better way to welcome your guests to Seattle than a one of a kind coffee experience at the most iconic coffeehouse chain in the world!