{rehearsal dinner, turned} Welcome Party

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?

Wedding Websites :: Getting Social

This week I'm looking at wedding websites! They have come a long way in the last few years. The main point of the website for me (and probably most engaged couples) is to have a place our guests can go and see the travel information and wedding weekend events. I want the weekend to be a time when our friends and family get to spend a lot of fun times together and feel relaxed! I am the sort of person who likes to know what I'm doing, when and where...is that considered type A or control freak?? I'm not sure. But when I know these details, I feel like I can relax and just enjoy myself. So, I want the wedding website to be a place people can go and see everything; the travel information, events during the weekend, things to do in the area, etc. By the time the wedding comes around, they can just sit back and enjoy. There are a ton of wedding site options, but I'm loving the social element of the newest one on my radar - Weduary. I first learned about it through our very own Allison of E&I in her post here and also in the Style section of the SF Chronicle, I work at SFGate - article here. Weduary was created by a fellow Bay Area lady (and her then-fiance, now-husband). Leave it to Silicon Valleyers (not sure if that's a term) to bridge the gap between wedding website and Facebook.  And I think it's a great idea! I would love for my guests to connect before the wedding and maybe find out they have things in common or mutual friends.


Another company bringing the wedding website scene into 2012 is Appy Couple. This option also integrates the social features by connecting with Facebook and Twitter, but the focus is on the mobile side.


Not only have these sites come a long way as far as features, they also seem to have much cuter template options and also seem more customization (it's about time!).

This makes me wonder if at some point in the near future 'save the dates' will be no more. The point of save the dates (besides the obvious saving of the date) are to inform guests of your wedding plans so they can arrange travel and to direct them to your wedding website where more details can be found. If you can send them a virtual save the date, do you really need the paper version? On the other hand, I don't think paper wedding invitations will ever go out of style. There are some things that technology just can't replace.

Well I'm off to Oregon for the weekend for a wedding. The bride was my roommate in college and a great friend ever since and the groom has been a close friend since high school. Needless to say this is going to be a fun wedding and I can't wait! Updates next week.

Until then, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the newest wedding website options. Have you used one of them? Do you plan to send out physical save the dates in addition to using the social elements of their sites?