Gone are the days of stuffy wedding rehearsal dinners, Gen Z couples want something more exciting, more in keeping with their upcoming nuptial experience. Taking the form of quirky cocktail parties, elaborate activities and informal cuisine options, the wedding welcome party is an integral part in saying ‘I Do’.

The ultimate wedding welcome party

Alongside offering our tips on how to create the ultimate wedding welcome party we chat to destination wedding planners and venues to get their insight into the growing trend and the exciting options available.

Why are wedding welcome parties so popular?

Quite simply a well planned welcome party makes wedding days run a lot smoother. Not only do they set the scene for upcoming celebrations but they give couples the chance to welcome family and friends in an inviting, informal setting.

Tips to create the best wedding welcome party

Welcome parties are not only a great way to introduce guests to each other but also provide the opportunity for you to introduce the culture and local cuisine of your chosen destination.

Ideally your welcome party should give guests a glimpse into your wedding style making them yearn for more. Try to keep he idea or theme of your welcome party in line with your actual wedding celebrations. For example, if your big day involves a beach ceremony in Mexico, your welcome party could involve cocktails overlooking the gorgeous coastline or seafood platters in a restaurant near to the beach you will say your nuptials.

Keep in mind, welcome parties don’t have to conform to any traditions, take your guests on an experience, hire a local musician, book paddle-boarding lessons or simply indulge in the regions wine.

Utilise your location to its fullest to make your wedding stay unforgettable from the onset.

When to host your wedding welcome party

Welcoming guests the day or evening before the wedding day is a traditional stance but when it comes to weddings abroad the trend for when to host wedding welcome parties is usually a couple of days prior to the big day.

Hangovers aside, you want to greet your guests when they arrive at your destination and the welcome party will set the scene for their entire stay.

Where to host your wedding welcome party

It may sound a tad obvious but your actual wedding venue. Many venues offer welcome parties as part of their wedding packages not only accommodating these needs but surpassing expectations to create epic mini events. In-formal garden BBQ set-ups are a great option.

You could also consider hosting your welcome party in the resort, boutique hotel or villa you are staying at (if this differs from your wedding venue) they all make excellent places to celebrate.

Try not to travel too far from your wedding venue or accommodation, the main objective is to make it as logistically easy and comfortable for your guests. Local restaurants and beach clubs would also make ideal settings.

What to spend on your wedding welcome party

This all depends on your intentions, extravagance vs low key informality. Nobody will or should expect anything apart from meeting the bride and groom-to-be, so you can dictate what part of your wedding budget to spend on your welcome party.

From providing several bottles of prosecco and chatting through the evening to hiring entertainers and taster meals or platters, your outlay will depend on your guest number, the location you have chosen and the finer details intended.

Keep your welcome wedding party authentic

Authenticity is the back bone of a great wedding welcome party as luxury destination event planners R & C Events explained to us;

“Nearly all of our couples who come to Crete for their destination wedding will ask for a welcome party the day before their wedding. The idea behind it is, since their loved ones are traveling so far, might as well make a whole weekend celebration of it! Having said that, we generally get requests for a more traditional Greek dinner for the welcome party.

Crete is famous for its cuisine and traditions, our couples really want to immerse their guests in that so they can get a true sense of what made the couple fall in love with the island. We have had of course other couples that want a cocktail party for the welcome, but even their finger food would be some kind of Greek meze!”

Tip: Where possible use local cuisine and traditions, it will give a more authentic feel to your wedding welcome party allowing guests to relax in their environment and to build excitement for your wedding celebrations.

Destination Wedding Welcome Parties

If you need a little more inspiration for your welcome party here’s two extraordinary destination wedding venues from our portfolio with an insight into what they can achieve especially for welcoming your guests…

An exclusive Spanish Mansion in Catalonia

Defined as a ‘rustic luxury’ setting Villa Catalina offers an impressive 400 acres of private grounds in an established Mediterranean landscape hosting up to 250 guests and accommodating up to 30, the mansion boasts; private courtyards, elaborate gardens, a curvaceous outdoor pool and a huge Bodega.

The venue’s manager ZoĆ« admits more and more people are choosing to start the festivities with a welcome party the day before the big day – proving to be a great way to break the conversational ice and bring a group together which, in turn, makes the wedding day itself feel more relaxed, like a meeting of friends!

Villa Catalina‘s couples often choose to take advantage of the beautiful Spanish sunshine to hold an informal late lunch lasting several hours. Catering partners, Cloud9 Barcelona suggest show-cooking paella for welcome events washed down with local wine to give guests an authentic experience which juxtaposes perfectly with the more formal wedding dinner most couples opt for on their big day.

It doesn’t stop there as the venue informs us that by giving couples the opportunity to incorporate their wedding day into a fantastic group holiday there’s also the chance to host a BBQ pool party, on the day after the wedding to end the festivities.

Discover more | Villa Catalina

A private clifftop venue in Southern Italy

Positioned on the cliff of Capo Vaticano, Il Faro provides a dramatic seafront canvas for exciting destination weddings featuring an array of wedding spaces from garden terraces to rustic wine bars and pizzerias. Hosting up to 130 guests and sleeping up to 30 in its nearby villa, the venue is an idyllic setting for inclusive wedding stays.

Il Faro’s founder Emma stated there has absolutely been an increase in couples asking for wedding welcome meals or parties.

“With destination weddings it is nearly a hand in hand scenario; the general feeling is that if you are asking guests to travel out and they are already there you might as well have a get together. Most importantly welcome parties give couples an opportunity to let loose, have a fun time and bond with close friends and family.”

The versatile venue offers a few different options when it comes to the must-have welcome party, dependent on a couples wedding style, preferences and budget. Pizza parties and BBQs prove popular especially when hosted at the venues nearby villa, allowing for a care-free relaxed setting.

If having the opportunity to blow off steam and dance away the final stresses of wedding planning sounds more like your type of welcome party, Il Faro teams up with a couple of venues to create a funky open air club vibe- it’s advised to host a more boozy get together at least a couple of nights before the actual wedding, to recover!

From pizza’s at sunset to beach brunches and clubbing in Tropea Il Faro certainly has all bases covered and the Calabria location is a talking point in itself- the perfect mix of Italian countryside and Mediterranean coastline.

Discover more | Il Faro

The ultimate Destination Wedding

So there you have it, both wedding planners and venues alike have proved wedding welcome parties are most certainly on the rise and if you are in the midst of planning your wedding abroad, you may want to consider hosting a suitable celebration for introducing your family and friends.

By keeping to local traditions and championing local dishes you will be able to create an introductory celebration that will have your guests full of anticipation to witness your ceremony.

Discover | Extraordinary Destination Wedding Venues