Why You Need a Welcome Party

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I have been planning several 2018 weddings lately, and the topic of welcome parties keeps coming up… which made me realize this would be such a great, informative topic for this blog! I always want to be a source of knowledge, inspiration, wisdom (as both a recent bride and a longtime wedding planner), encouragement, and brimming with insight as you plan your wedding. And now I’m here to convince you why you, too, need to have a welcome party the eve of your wedding day!

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A welcome party traditionally follows your rehearsal dinner, and it’s open to all wedding guests. I feel like welcome parties are becoming more and more mainstream and, quite honestly, a must for your wedding weekend. And I couldn’t agree more, especially thinking back to our superb welcome party!

For our wedding, about 80% of our beloved wedding guests were traveling from out of town. We have zero family in Raleigh/the Triangle, and all of our families, and many of our friends, were traveling from afar to join us for our wedding weekend in Raleigh. For a plethora of reasons, we immediately decided that hosting a welcome party was a must for our wedding weekend, and it was one of the best decisions we made! We wanted to spend as much time as possible with those we love the most, and this was the perfect opportunity to do so. I hadn’t met all of Rob’s (large) extended family, he hadn’t met many of my best friends from DC, and we wanted to soak up this precious time for as long as possible. Plus, it would give all of our wedding guests another opporunity to see us and to see family/friends that they, too, hadn’t seen in a long time! Family is everything to us, and we wanted to show them how much we love them by inviting all of our guests to a welcome party.

Our rehearsal dinner and welcome party were in the same private room at the Angus Barn in Raleigh, arguably Raleigh’s most well-know, premier, quintessential spot for special occasions. From the beginning, the Angus Barn was abolsutely the perfect spot for these celebrations, and it was an easy choice to host our rehearsal dinner and welcome party here. The Angus Barn made it so easy from start to finish, and we loved having part of our wedding weekend events here! It’s a very special place, in particular, to Rob’s family, and it’s also where we celebrated our engagement with both sets of parents. Plus, have you had their chocolate chess pie? It’s extraordinarily heavenly!!

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We (and by we, I mean Rob’s incredible parents!) hosted our rehearsal dinner from 6:00 – 8:00 on the Friday before our wedding, and then we opened up the event from 8:00 – 10:00 to all of our wedding guests for the welcome party. For the entire evening, we were celebrating our upcoming nuptials with those who love us the most, many of whom traveled great distances to be there to celebrate us. It was an endless stream of family and friends, and we estimate about 110-120 of our guests were able to make it to our welcome party! It was a preview of what was to come the following day, and it was surreal to have so many of our family and friends in one room. I remember smiling and talking nonstop for hours on end, and I never wanted the evening to end!

We provided appetizers, a groom’s cake (Buffalo Bills, of course!), and an open bar for the welcome party, and it wasn’t too much of an additional cost to extend the rehearsal dinner by a couple hours. The Angus Bar made it so easy for us, and hopefully any venue would do the same. We had the same room reserved for the four hours, kept the bar open the entire time, and the appetizers were refreshed during the course of the night. And I cannot emphasize just how fun, meaningful, and worthwhile it was to continue the celebrations past our rehearsal dinner and see so many of our family and friends on the eve of our wedding! It definitely took the pressure off of meeting and talking with every one of our (close to) 200 guests during our wedding reception, it povided us with a more intimate opporunity to catch up, talk with, and even meet our family and friends, and it was such a celebratory evening full of so much joy, excitement, and anticipation!

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On a logistical note, we included information for our welcome party on an insert card in our formal invitation suite. We wanted to ensure every guest knew how much we would love for them to join us on Friday night for a welcome party, and we wanted to ensure everyone knew it was an open invitation for ALL wedding guests. We didn’t ask for RSVPs, and I never thought we needed to… we wanted it to be a casual, drop-in type event for anyone who could make it.

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If you’re a bride-to-be, have I convinced you yet?! I sure hope so! I cannot emphasize just how much fun and wonderful our welcome party was, and I know so many other couples who feel the exact same way. It was such a minimal additional cost (a huge thanks to Rob’s parents for generously paying for it, though!!), and it was the most incredible way to spend our wedding day eve! I’d strongly, strongly encourage everyone else to consider hosting a welcome party for their own wedding, too!

Meet my newest intern, Lea!

Hi y’all! My name is Lea Burton, and I am one of Stephanie’s newest interns! I have worked with Stephanie on two weddings already, and I am beyond excited to begin creating content for her blog as well! Before we dive into the good stuff I want to tell y’all a little bit about myself.

I am from Asheville, North Carolina and I have lived there my whole life, however, I am living in Raleigh now for school. I will be a senior this year at NC State where I am majoring in Public Relations and minoring in Interior Design at Meredith College. Interior design is my passion, and I am thrilled to be pursuing a career in a field that I love. I am so excited to be able to combine my knowledge and love for interiors and tie that into weddings, style and everyday life (there is more to it than Pinterest)! I am a lover of golden retrievers, all things sweet, and spending time outdoors!

In terms of blogging, I will be posting content relating to interior design/styling, as well as how to take content/images/designs you like and how to use them as inspiration for your own space, personal style, or, of course… your wedding!

 

As I mentioned, I have already assisted Stephanie at two weddings and… WOW!! Growing up I was always one of those girls who dreamt about my wedding day and watched all of the TLC shows about weddings, but being on the other side of the process was unlike anything I could have imagined. All of the work and details that go into every single aspect of the big day is remarkable. Being prone to stress, I was blown away by how calm Stephanie stayed throughout the day (something I need to learn from). The two weddings were so different in so many ways, but each one was just as beautiful and special in its own way, which I think is what makes weddings so magical!

My next wedding with Stephanie is July 22nd, and I am thrilled to get to be apart of another couple’s big day!


I am so excited to have Lea on board as one of my interns this summer and fall, and she has been a tremendous help already! She was also sorority sisters at NC State with last summer’s intern, Janna, so it makes it a seamless transition and such a great fit. One of the very first things I tell all of my interns is that wedding planning is not – at all – glamorous most of the time. And I think Lea has learned that firsthand! I deeply, deeply love my job, which I think all of my clients know, but the role of a wedding planner is often glamourized to the outside world. When a potential intern comes to me and is interested in weddings and/or becoming a wedding planner, I love to show them the ins and outs of my job and my role, and they learn very quickly how much work wedding planning is… and how physically demanding, strenuous, and busy a wedding day is. It’s not for the faint of heart! Lea has picked up countless skills already and has been such an asset to my team, and I’m so grateful for the selfless ways she’s served my team and my couples on their wedding day. Stay tuned for lots of fun content from Lea over the coming months!