Welcome Party

Most people thought I was crazy. Actually, I thought I was crazy at times too… but having a welcome party at our house instead of a traditional rehearsal dinner was one of the best ideas about the whole wedding weekend.

Before I get into the party itself, I want to quickly tell you about the week leading up to it. I’ve already blogged about the crafts and wedding-related tasks that filled our house the week of the wedding and how much a blessing it was having my sister and step-mom staying with us for a week before the big day. What I have not mentioned is the other visitors we had coming in and out of our house that week. Not family members, not friends, but instead? Contractors and workmen. Let me just put it this way:

Do NOT do major construction the week of the wedding unless you want to spend 50% of your time running back and forth between various home improvement stores, staying up until 7am painting, and installing toilet paper holders instead of being able to truly enjoy your manis and pedis rehearsal day.

The point of my story? It was absolute chaos leading up to our welcome party, making the fact that the party was a total success even more incredible! So, even though we had a lot of stress leading up to the day, here is what made our welcome party a success:

1. We hired help: I was hesitant at first since it would mean an extra expense, but I was *out of my mind* thinking I could play hostess to 80 people in our home and still be able to enjoy myself. My mom had suggested that we hire someone to be in charge of all the small stuff: setting up, clearing empty plates, refilling the food, taking out the trash, making sure fresh bottles of wine and beer were chilling, and all the things that I would have spent the entire evening doing if we hadn’t had our angel, Elvira. It made it possible for me to still enjoy getting a manicure with my step-mom and sister even though it made us about 15 minutes late to the party…I knew everything would be taken care of! I was actually a guest at our own party :)

2. Amazing but low-maintenance food: A friend of ours just graduated from the CIA. As our wedding present he did the food for the party. We wanted fancy barbecue food but it was important to us that most of it was grab-and-go: you could either eat with your hands or just a fork. The resulting menu? 4 different types of sliders (pineapple-mango, caramelized onion-blue cheese, plain, and barbecue I think?), lots of grilled veggies, bratwurst, a salad with a wonderful light vinaigrette, and other easy-to-devour goodies.


I hate to say it, but the food at our party was way better than the food at the reception.

3. Inviting everyone: Being able to spend time with everyone before the reception made the whole weekend so much more relaxed and enjoyable and gave us another opportunity to see our out of town friends and family.

Reunion with out of town friends!!

4. Inviting the neighbors: If you invite the neighbors who usually call the cops about EVERYTHING, they’ll be too busy downing sliders to notice that your great uncle is double parked in the street :)

5. Enough seating: Seems like a small and obvious detail, but since we had the party at our house, we had to make sure we had room enough to seat lots of people. We were lucky enough to have a family member who had access to a bunch of folding chairs and tables…can you imaging grandpa and grandma sitting on the ground? Yeah.

6. Help from family members and friends: buying food, drinks, setting up, cleaning up…it was all about delegating! The party would definitely not have been a success if everyone hadn’t pitched in to help!

{all photos by the author}

My mom and Me!

Did anyone else choose to do something aside from a traditional rehearsal dinner? How did it go? Would you do it the same way again?