Cece
Super November 2022

Going above and beyond for guests

Cece, on September 20, 2021 at 9:27 AM Posted in Planning 1 24
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I know we always hear about “properly hosting” our guests. But is anyone going beyond the minimum etiquette expectations in hosting? (Things such as extravagant favors, welcome bags, entertainment at the reception, paying for their travel expenses, premium bar, etc.)

24 Comments

Latest activity by Tina & Darren, on September 25, 2021 at 7:27 PM
  • Cece
    Super November 2022
    Cece ·
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    When I sat down at my computer to update our budget spreadsheet last night, I realized a huge bulk of our wedding budget was actually dedicated to our guests’ experiences. When I cut out all the “extras” for guests, our budget was literally 1/3 what it is now! When I told FH this, at first he was like “let’s cut back”… but once we actually evaluated each item, we decided to leave the budget as is. We really love the idea of creating a fun & memorable experience for our guests. Of course we are providing a full meal and alcoholic beverages for our guests free of charge, but we are also upgrading the meal. it was really important to me to have a nice plated meal, but I’ve heard some people on this forum complain that plated meals don’t have enough food. So, we are literally doubling the amount of courses guests will get to ensure absolutely nobody will be hungry after this meal! We also doubled up on hors d’oeuvres for cocktail hour. We upgraded our bar to a premium liquor open bar, free to guests all evening. We are hiring a character artist and a tarot card reader to entertain our guests during cocktail hour and the reception. We will also be hosting a thank you brunch with bottomless bloody Marys and mimosas the following morning. Each guest will receive a welcome bag upon arrival, and a guest favor at the reception. All members of our wedding party will be receiving rather extravagant gifts (based on the “norm” of gifts I’ve seen given), and their attire will be paid for by us. The groomsmen will be treated to an excursion the morning of the wedding (with the groom, since it takes them like no time to get ready!), and we will be paying for the bridesmaids hair and makeup that morning. We will only be inviting the wedding party, their significant others, parents and Officiant to the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, but we are toying around with the idea of hosting a private drinking tour for all guests afterwards- depending on whether it’s within the budget.
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  • Lisa
    Rockstar July 2022
    Lisa Online ·
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    We're doing hotel welcome bags since it's a semi-destination wedding, as well as an upgraded bar (my fiance's request, lol). Otherwise, everything else is just a standard wedding.
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  • Lisa
    Rockstar July 2022
    Lisa Online ·
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    Oh wow, those are some really awesome experiences you're planning for your guests! Love all of those ideas!
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  • Susan
    Devoted October 2021
    Susan ·
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    I am debating welcome bags myself!

    We have a professional photo booth at ours, open bar, full buffet dinner (at our guests' request, as they all wanted to eat as much as they wanted), cocktail hour with hors d'oeuvres, a chartered boat ride to and from the ceremony, and a nice favor they'll want to actually use (NYS maple syrup), plus a DJ, glowsticks, and goodies for the kiddos.

    We have 55 people coming, and 30 of them are invited to the rehearsal dinner. My uncle's birthday is the next day, and my dad is hosting a breakfast.

    It's a long trip for everyone coming, as it's near my hometown in NYS on the Canadian border. I want people to feel they really got to enjoy their time in this beautiful part of the world, and that they got treated right, but the welcome bags might be a little over the top, I'm not sure.

    Open to thoughts!

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  • Cece
    Super November 2022
    Cece ·
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    I love welcome bags for destinations/semi-destination weddings! I think it really starts things off nicely, letting guests know right away that you value them being there.
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  • Cece
    Super November 2022
    Cece ·
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    Thanks! We are having a destination wedding (here in the states, not overseas), so we wanted to make sure our guests felt appreciated for their travel, and had a fun time in the city!
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  • Lisa
    Rockstar July 2022
    Lisa Online ·
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    I personally have never been a guest at a wedding that had welcome bags, but I love the idea of them! Majority of our guests have never traveled to the area that our wedding will be in, so we figured we'd include a map, list of recommendations of restaurants/things to do in the area, as well as snacks, playing cards, and a welcome note (and whatever else I think of between now and the wedding to include, lol). I agree that it seems like a good way to welcome everyone and let them know we appreciate them taking time out of their schedules to travel and attend.
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  • Cece
    Super November 2022
    Cece ·
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    I don’t think welcome bags would be over the top at all! Like you said, it is a long trip for everyone coming, and I think welcome bags would immediately show guests that you truly appreciate them taking the time to travel for your wedding! I love that you are putting extra time and attention into ensuring your guests have a good time at your event. It’s awesome you are providing transportation to and from the ceremony. I couldn’t help but wonder though … what about guests who get sea sick on boats? 😳 I only ask because I attended a wedding that did this, and that is where I learned I get seasick LOL I was so horribly nauseous by the time we reached the ceremony site, I couldn’t even attend the wedding.
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  • E
    Super July 2023
    Eniale ·
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    We're having several things I feel like will make the guest experience very unique.

    Pre-ceremony drinks (champagne and sparkling cider, probably.)

    Animal meet-and-greet during the cocktail hour (there is a wildlife preservation organization partnered with the museum where we are having our vow renewal. This is actually an enriching experience for the animal, too - obviously no one gets to hold them or stress them out.)

    Food stations that will offer a very unique spread so people can either get a lot of one thing they like, or a little of everything if they so choose.

    Interactive dessert stations.

    Live band.

    Also, because the venue is a museum and we are renting the exhibits for each part of the night, our guests can explore the exhibits (such as while waiting for the ceremony to start, and during the cocktail hour and reception.) Since it's a vow renewal and we're not doing formalities, and the food station layout should encourage guests to walk around the reception area, I expect people will have plenty of time to explore the exhibits.

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  • Cece
    Super November 2022
    Cece ·
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    I have only been to a few weddings that had pre-ceremony drinks, but it was a hit with the guests. It just sets the standard immediately that guests will be taken care of. As an insane animal lover, I absolutely looooove the animal meet and greet! And I think your guests will really enjoy the unique aspect of being able to tour the museum exhibits
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  • Susan
    Devoted October 2021
    Susan ·
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    It's a short ride, only about 15 minutes, so hopefully they can keep it together for that Smiley smile Like, when you're at the reception site, you can see the island out the windows. My sister hates boats for some reason, and I did ask her before we made our plans if she was ok if we had the wedding out on the island, and she was very enthusiastic about it, so I think it'll be ok. No one else has expressed any concerns Smiley smile

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  • Melle
    Legend June 2019
    Melle ·
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    I feel like there were things i was trying to do that i thought would be nice like having a candy buffet bar with brand name candy, having a table filled with games so guests can be entertained, etc and in the end it felt like none of it got used really

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  • Cece
    Super November 2022
    Cece ·
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    That had to be very frustrating. Having to postpone our wedding twice now, I have been on this forum for quite a while and I must say it has been a huge help in a lot of ways. I have really paid attention to what past brides have said their guests have appreciated, what they didn’t like, and what went unnoticed. It has definitely helped me to choose what areas we want to splurge in and what things we can limit or cut out entirely when it comes to guest experience.
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  • Michelle
    Devoted August 2021
    Michelle ·
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    Hi Cece. I think you have created very thoughtful guest experiences and you and your partner are quite generous. I am not sure when you will have your drinking tour, but a casual drop-in may be a nice option so you, the bride, and your guests aren't too scheduled. You will have enough to worry about. I also enjoyed doing welcome bags for out of town guests. Writing the Welcome message was a highlight for my groom and I as we shared our love for our city. I used Amazon heavily for economical slippers, eye masks, post hydration packs, Advil, etc. We were "extra" with food and beverage. We had four food cocktail stations ala NY, and added chilled half lobsters to the raw bar. Then we followed with a plated dinner. I brought in my choice of champagne. With the band and 1 bar per 45 persons, we didn't need other activities except a polaroid guest book (the candids were a joy for us). Our thank-you cards will be deeply personalized with old school paper pictures inside. Best wishes! You really don't have to pay or schedule everything. I think guests remember quality food and notably time with the couple the most.

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  • Cece
    Super November 2022
    Cece ·
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    We are having a destination wedding, so a drop-in probably wouldn’t be convenient. Our wedding is on a Friday night, and most guests plan to arrive on Thursday. I wanted to properly greet our guests arriving on Thursday, but Thursday evening is our rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, to which we are only inviting wedding party (and their signification others), parents and officiant. So we are thinking of maybe scheduling a late night haunted tour of the city right after the rehearsal dinner for everyone at the RD, along with any guests who have arrived and want to join us. Just a fun way to greet everyone that has arrived! I think all of our guests will be staying through the weekend and leaving on Sunday, so they should have plenty of time to go off on their own and have fun. Like you, I am looking forward to putting together the welcome bags. I think they are always a nice personal touch for guests who have traveled for your wedding. Also like you, we are definitely spending a large portion of budget on premium food and alcohol. I completely agree those are two things (along with great entertainment) that guests always remember!
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  • CountryBride
    VIP April 2022
    CountryBride ·
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    We are doing top shelf liquor , hotel bags
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  • Rosie
    Rockstar February 2022
    Rosie Online ·
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    Guys, these weddings sound awesome! I want to come, haha!
    I don't think we're doing anything super extravagant, we're having the 'middle' drinks package because no rose was included in the base package and we both felt that at a winery, people should have pick of all colours that the vineyard offers - but we didn't do the premium package with several of each colour to choose from, because at my sister's wedding she paid for that, but neither I nor my partner was ever offered a choice, so it seemed like a rip off, even though we're having our wedding at a different venue who might handle drinks better.

    Our favours are smallish - just a little biscuit we're also using as the place name for each setting, in our wedding colours.

    We're doing a cocktail hour with hors d'oeuvres, but it's customary for the drinks served to simply be beer, wine and soft drinks, not actual cocktails as such.

    I am spoiling my bridal party - we've paid for their accommodation, dress, shoes, hair, makeup, accessories, robes, wraps in case it's cold, plus a grazing plate for the morning of, but those to me are just expected costs, not extras. As gifts I've bought them little personalised makeup bags, individual bottled cocktails in our wedding colour, cute little ginger biscuits, blister shields in case the shoes aren't comfy, slippers so they don't have to put the shoes on until the last minute and some perfume samples. I've also got personalized cards and will write them each a note to say thank you and why I appreciate them. The groomsmen will each get a little letter plus an individual bottled cocktail too.

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  • Cece
    Super November 2022
    Cece ·
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    I never even thought of blister shields! I will definitely be adding those to my emergency bag list!
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  • Samantha
    Devoted May 2022
    Samantha ·
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    Can I come to your wedding? Haha!

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  • Cece
    Super November 2022
    Cece ·
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    Haha! Thank you, this comment actually makes me feel like we are on the right track with providing a fun experience for our guests! I have literally thought more about our guests experience than anything else during this planning process. I know FH and I will have a blast, and we want to make sure everyone around us has fun too!
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