From the moment we booked our wedding location, we knew we wanted to have a 'welcome party' as opposed to the traditional rehearsal dinner. Mainly we just wanted more time to spend with all of our guests - it isn't too often you have all the people you love in one spot! And with many people traveling to our destination for the weekend, we wanted to thank them by having a second party!
Because we decided to have a larger party and invite everyone who is invited to the wedding, we had to keep it more low-key than we would if we were hosting just our immediate family and wedding party. In other words, we couldn't do a full-on sit-down dinner. And that is fine with my fiance and me since we will be having the sit-down dinner the next night.
Luckily we found a bigger venue that also happens to be a winery (score!) and we found our exact vision of the food we wanted - a traveling wood fire pizza oven. When we found the place that had a traveling brick oven, we knew we had to get them for our welcome party. It was just what we were looking for - casual and cost-effective, but, at the same time, quality, local ingredients, delicious, fresh food, and a fun vibe. If you are hosting an event in the Columbia Gorge, I highly recommend checking out Solstice Wood Fire Cafe!
I love rehearsal dinners/welcome parties because it's like a mini wedding, minus all the pressure! You can make it what you want. Go all out, or keep it casual. It gives the bride and groom a chance to greet guests and catch up with everyone before the wedding. It's a great way to ease into the wedding weekend and get into the relaxing frame of mind for the big day. And, the way I see it, the more time your guests have to get to know each other before the wedding, the more fun they will have the day of, right?
If you haven't noticed, I'm almost as excited for our welcome party as I am for the actual wedding.
What are you doing the day before the big day?! If you are having a 'welcome party,' how did you cut back so that you could host a bigger group?