Yay! You've made the decision, you and your love, are going to say "I do" in a gorgeous place that is not your home. How exciting! But oh, wait now you have all these people flying in for your wedding day and you'll want them to feel welcome, but are hesitant to pull together a huge blowout dinner party the day before you have that huge blowout ceremony and dinner party (ie: your wedding day).
Well, have no fear, This next sweet couple is here to show you what they did to combat that urge to make their rehearsal/welcome party too big. And this cute little Hawaiian welcome dinner also features some of our Free Printables which you can check out for yourself, AND there is a full gallery of photos from this cute party for your to fall in love with thanks to the photo talents of James x Schulze.
Make A Plan
Hosting a destination wedding means hosting all of your guests for the rehearsal dinner too. We had 86 people flying all the way to Maui, Hawaii from around the world so we not only wanted to show everyone a great time, but something authentic to the island too. We also didn’t want to have the large bill of hosting a second wedding back-to-back so we looked at alternative ideas to a long, formal dinner with all the bells and whistles required.
At first we toyed with a sunset sail or a plantation-style dinner or luau but in the end, we wanted something more casual, fun, and kid-friendly (since the wedding wasn’t) that could serve as our rehearsal dinner and our welcome party. We decided to do a sunset-timed cocktail party on the lanai at Maui Brewing Co., about ten minutes from our wedding venue and guest accommodations, Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea. Maui Brewing Co.’s beer is a favorite of many of our guests from California so people were excited to visit the actual brewery once the invitations arrived in the mail.
Keep It Fun
We kept the party just that – a party. No speeches or sit down meal, just heavy pupu (a Hawaiian favorite) and of course local beers, wines and tropical drinks. The venue brought out wine barrels for cocktail tables that we adorned with gold pineapples, white leis and other tropical florals by Maverick Events.
We decided to embrace all things Hawaii at this event since our wedding was going to be more formal and less tropical. We asked our guests to wear their ugliest Hawaiian shirts or most festive island dresses while the two of us wore all white in a sea of color and prints. This was so much fun to see! Our friends and family really got into shopping for the ugly theme and because of it, we decided to have a contest for the ugliest Hawaiian shirts in the crowd. The gentleman won a case of Maui Brew Co. beer and the lady won a hand painted bottle of champagne, designed by one of our junior bridesmaids.
Play To Your Crowd
The venue had lots of lawn games to keep the kids happy throughout the evening (giant jenga, corn hole, life size connect four and more) and the adults mingled while a live guitarist performed. We used Wedding Chicks printables to weave in the pineapple and tropical theme to bar and buffet signs and we created a giant welcome sign out of the motif too, which was hung on the gate to the garden area.
The event was so much fun, in part because it was the opposite of what people come to expect from a rehearsal dinner. We kept it short and sweet so everyone would get a good night sleep and we tossed out all tradition. We embraced the destination, right down to the guest attire and just visited with the people we love most. Guests got to walk around and get to know one another before the weekend began and old friends caught up without the typical formal meal interruptions. It was just perfect. And the sunset was pretty spectacular too!