With more and more guests traveling from out of town for a wedding, your rehearsal dinner could easily be the size of your reception if you followed tradition and invited all out of town guests. Because of this, welcome receptions have become more popular in recent years. A welcome reception serves as a casual and fun way to welcome your guests into town and kick off the celebratory weekend in style. Taking place the day before your wedding, here’s how to host the perfect welcome reception.

Keep it casual and fun. For a welcome reception, choose a location that’s unique yet close to where most of your guests will be staying. Your favorite local bar with the great patio, the tasting room at the craft brewery or even around the pool at your hotel are great options. You’ll want some place where guests don’t feel like they have to get dressed up, can relax and get to know each other before the big day.

Make sure there is food. While you don’t need to feed your guests a full dinner, having a few hors d’oeuvres for guests to snack on is a good idea.

Play your favorite tunes. But not too loudly. If you’re in an environment that won’t have any other music, you could bring in an acoustic musician or create a playlist. Background music is always a nice touch but you won’t want it to be so loud guests can’t carry on a conversation.

Host it early. With a big day ahead of you, you’ll want to end the night early. Start in the early evening wrapping up around 9 or 10 pm. This allows guests to stop by before or after dinner and enjoy some time with you before heading home to rest up for the next night of celebration.

Thank your guests for coming. Your welcome reception is the perfect time to thank your guests for making the trip to support you on the big day. It doesn’t have to be long, but a short speech mid party is encouraged. This is also a great time for members of your wedding party to give their toasts if they don’t want to do it during the wedding reception.

Keep it simple. Between last minute errands and your ceremony rehearsal, you won’t have a lot of extra time to pull together a detailed event. Keep it simple and choose a location that can handle the majority of the details for you. This way all you have to do is show up and celebrate.

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Photographer credit Lauren Tina Photography

About Sincerely Pete

Sincerely Pete is a full-service wedding planning and design company in Washington, D.C. and Alexandria, VA who believes in a personal, curated & customized approach to each wedding couple we work with, taking their values & personalities into account and keeping the relationship as the focus of the wedding. We plan Washington DC weddings, Virginia weddings, Maryland weddings and destination weddings all over the world. 

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