When the countdown comes to an end and your wedding day has officially arrived, it can feel like there’s so much going on. As you’re getting ready, doing your hair and makeup, donning your beautiful dress, and taking photos, it’s important that you’re not distracted by the thought of having to greet all of your guests.
Greeting your guests as they arrive for your wedding is absolutely important, but it can be done in a huge variety of ways that make them feel welcomed and valued, while allowing you to still focus on, well, you! "Welcoming guests to a wedding celebration sets the tone for a warm and comfortable experience and is a perfect way to create an initial connection point," says Aleah and Nick Valley, founders of Valley & Company Events. "Whether you're designating a greeter, staging a full-out festive welcome happy hour before the ceremony begins, or setting up a simple spa water or lemonade station, these touches can help to make an impact."
Meet the Expert
Aleah and Nick Valley are the founders of Valley & Company Events, a wedding and event planning company in Seattle, Washington.
No matter the wedding size, whether you’re having 10 guests or 100, greeting your friends and family members is an important part of kicking off the festivities and setting the tone for the big day. "This warm welcome really is setting the bar for how your wedding day can unfold," they add.
From simple to elaborate and entirely celebratory, read on for 13 wedding guest welcome ideas that are sure to please.
Pass Pretty Popsicles
Want to jump into the celebration with a splash of fun? Offer refreshing popsicles to set the tone. Opt for beautiful pops served in pouches, or even pair a popsicle with a glass of prosecco for easy mingling.
Sign a Sweet Note
Welcoming your guests to your celebration with a note straight from the heart can go such a long way. This is an easy idea to pull off, especially if you’re hosting an intimate wedding where guests will all be staying in the same place. Display the note in their rooms so they'll feel welcome right upon arrival.
Enlist Live Music
Imagine your guests walking into your venue while tuning into live music. You could set the tone with a beautiful acoustic guitarist or embrace something livelier with a bit of jazz. Either way, kicking off the celebration with music is sure to make guests feel like they’re part of the party.
Interact With Apps
Serving up a fun, interactive appetizer is a great way to get things started. According to the Valleys, one of their most memorable welcome moments was a wedding with roaming oyster shuckers to greet guests. Of course, having them accompanied by a Champagne cocktail tower made it all the more welcoming.
Pop the Bubbly
Why wait until the party’s coming to an end to open the Champagne? This is one of the simplest ways to kick things off on a high note. Pour glasses of bubbly and offer them at a bar with a simple setup, have someone pass a tray, or decorate a portable cart. You may even consider pairing this sipper with a snack of popcorn.
Wow With a Welcome Bag
Welcome bags and boxes have certainly gained popularity in recent years, and the concept isn’t going away any time soon. Plus, there are so many ways to pull this off to suit your wedding. It may not be as attainable for a larger wedding, but for a destination celebration or an intimate affair, it’s definitely doable. Put together a bag of local treats, a welcome note, and even include an area map to make sure guests feel welcomed and grounded.
Offer An Artistic Greeting
This option may not be possible for a wedding with a larger guest list, but you can definitely pull it off as a lovely welcome for a more intimate celebration. Hire a talented artist to capture what your loved ones look like as they arrive at your wedding. "For one intimate wedding, guests got a chance to sit down with two fashion illustrators who drew their sketches as a keepsake," the Valleys reveal.
Serve Simple Sips
Making your guests feel welcome doesn’t have to be terribly elaborate. Keep things simple with a small gesture such as a cool drink. Setting up dispensers of spa water, punch, or lemonade with cute cups and a welcome sign can go such a long way.
Have Fun With a Photo Booth
Want your guests to jump into the fun right away? Allow them to have their photos taken as they arrive on-site by setting up a photo booth station. Either work with your photographer to plan this activity, or hire a separate photo booth vendor to pull it off. Just be sure you have a fabulous backdrop that exudes the aesthetic of your wedding to make it all the more special.
Designate Your Parents
Allow your parents to be your designated greeters. This is such a sweet way to get your parents more involved and put them front and center on your big day. "Perhaps the most memorable welcome we’ve planned over the years was our couple's parents standing on a bridge leading the way to the estate ceremony, eagerly waving at guests coming down the walk and embracing them in joy and hugs," the planners share. "It was such a memorable sentiment!"
Set the Schedule
Planning to host multiple activities throughout the day or weekend? Welcome your guests with that knowledge. Have your designated greeter hand out a beautifully designed schedule of events, or even include the itinerary with a few goodies in a welcome box. That way, guests know exactly when and where to be at the right time.
Serve a Boxed Snack
If your guests have made a trek to get to your venue, it may be high time for a little snack upon arrival! There's no need for an elaborate spread, especially if you're planning dinner later on. However, a pre-boxed option with a few simple nibbles such as focaccia with olive oil and balsamic can serve as the ideal way to welcome guests, along with holding them over until dinner service.
Live It Up With Lawn Games
Want to kick off the fun right away and get your guests moving? Set up a variety of lawn games, including cornhole and giant Connect Four, with personalized monograms. Of course, these games can be left set up so the competition can keep going strong during the reception.