Wedding Weekend: The Welcoming Party

Lets talk, Tradition and Wedding Etiquette…

Traditionally, the day before the wedding you have your rehearsal. At the rehearsal you run through how the ceremony will go, as briefly or as detailed as you wish. After the rehearsal you then have your rehearsal dinner. It’s wedding etiquette for the groom’s family to plan and fund the rehearsal dinner. The rehearsal dinner traditionally includes both groom’s and bride’s immediate family and the full wedding party.

My Wedding...

My wedding was anything but traditional. I didn’t have a wedding party. My wedding was very small, only a total of 46 people. Whether they came from near or far, all of my wedding guests traveled. Because of this we decided on having a Welcoming Party in place of the traditional rehearsal dinner.

This was the best idea ever. Let me explain… The group of guests invited to my wedding were my closest best family and friends. Because everyone was so close to me, and because everyone traveled to come celebrate my groom and I, there was absolutely no way I would exclude anyone. The Welcoming Party allowed me to start the partying early. It also gave people the opportunity to reunite after years of not seeing each other, and meet those who they didn’t know. That way everyone could immediately feel comfortable and let loose quickly at the wedding.

Planning: The Welcoming Party…

Planning the welcoming party was not an easy task. I was busy and focused on the final details of the wedding, so I was dreading one more thing to plan. Traditionally, the groom’s side plans the rehearsal dinner, including every detail, down to the invites. The majority of my friends who have gotten married, told me they weren’t involved in the rehearsal dinner planning at all. ¬†Well, for me it was the total opposite.

Because my wedding was a destination, my groom was not familiar with the area. My mom and I had traveled out to San Francisco and Wine Country, at the end of April, to meet my vendors, but he did not come with me. While I was out there, I checked out a couple possible venues for the welcoming party. Because of this, it only made since for me to take control and plan the party.

One of the first suggestions, made by my wedding planner, was to have the welcoming party at my Aunt’s ranch, The Tejada Ranch. ¬†However, The Tejada Ranch was my wedding venue. I did not want my guests to see the ranch before the wedding. Because the ranch is so charming, I wanted to leave the ranch a surprise for the wedding day. I was nervous that by having the welcoming party at the ranch my wedding day would be less special, because it would almost be like a repeat of the night before. I wanted my guests to experience something different.¬†

As I explored wine country, my aunt, mom, and I came up with two other options.  The Blue Wing Saloon, or The Lodge at Blue Lakes.

The Blue Wing Saloon is the restaurant affiliated with the gorgeous Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake. The cool idea about using The Blue Wing Saloon was that we could do wine tasting at The Tasting Room.

Convenience always wins…

However, after a lot of debating, my groom and I finally decided on The Lodge at Blue Lakes. The Lodge at Blue Lakes is where I blocked off rooms for my wedding guests. A big chunk of my wedding guests were staying there, which made it super convenient for them. This convenience was very important to me. I didn’t want my guests to arrive to wine country after a 3 hour drive form San Francisco, and then immediately have to get back in the car to find another place, when they may be tired. Instead, they would arrive to the hotel, relax a little, and get ready, and then head to the back deck of the hotel for the welcoming party.

A review on The Lodge at Blue Lakes…

The Lodge at Blue Lakes is the cutest Lodge in Upper Lake. The best part of this hidden gem is the Blue Lake, which you can swim in. The back deck of the lodge wraps around the lake – it was there that we had the Welcoming Party.

Maryann is the owner of the Lodge. I’ve never emailed someone so many times. Booking the room block with her in January was easier than planning the event. When it came to planning the event, there were times when she immediately emailed me back and then there were times that I didn’t hear back from her, so I would have to call. Turns out she is a really busy lady. And although, I was nervous and had mixed feelings about her during the planning process, she came through. Her team was amazing. The food was delicious. Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better Welcoming Party.

The Welcoming Party: ¬†Words and Photos…

I couldn’t have asked for a better day. Maryann’s team was concerned about it being to windy outside on the deck. But nope, I wanted my party outside. It turned out perfect. The sun was shining. There was a slight breeze. And¬†I wasn’t exaggerating when I said the Blue Lake was beautiful. Look at that lake.

 

 

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Erik and I couldn’t have been happier.¬†We were all smiles!¬†Getting close friends and family together is our favorite thing to do. The Welcoming Party allowed us to do that, and start our wedding celebration early.

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Everyone seemed to have a really fun time, reuniting, and meeting each other.

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Speeches made me speechless…

The best thing ever happened two of my best friends surprised me with speeches. 20140724-210828.jpg

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I will never forget their sweet words. They brought me to tears. Happy tears. I also will always remember looking at my groom and seeing his amazing reaction as well.

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Mariana – who now lives in Sri Lanka, Rachel, Me, and Elissa – who now lives in Thailand. I am so lucky my closest friends came even Mari and Elissa who live in Asia.

Hanging¬†with my favorite (Dorsey) cousins…

Another awesome thing was getting to be with my favorite cousins.

20140724-211249.jpgRachel and I…

Me and ColleenMe and Colleen 2Me and Colleen

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Hanging out with more of my favorites…

Em, Me, Jax, Aunt KathyDorsey sisters with Aunt Kathy!

Erik, Elisabeth, Jax, meBride, Groom, Erik’s mom – my new mother in law, and Jax.

SistersSisters, Dorsey girls!

In the End…

Once again, The Lodge at Blue Lakes was the absolute perfect place to throw The Welcoming Party. Maryann the owner, came though and it was fantastic. Erik and I couldn’t have been happier.

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Thank you…

I want to say a special thank you to Erik’s parents for helping out with The Welcoming Party. I also want to thank Maryann for letting me and my groom celebrate at The Lake at Blue Lodge– it really was beautiful. I want to thank Mariana and Rachel, for the kind words and amazing speeches. And most importantly, I want to thank all of my guest for coming to share this special time. Lastly, I want to thank Erik, my groom, I am lucky to have you in my life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

© sweatdaily 2014

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. The Blonde July 30, 2014

    Our weddings sound similar! Nick and I got married in a small Colorado mountain town, had about 70 guests (our closest friends and family), and had no bridal party. We didn’t plan a formal welcoming party, but we did confiscate an outdoor fire pit at a local restaurant and had everyone meet us there for drinks and catching-up. The whole weekend was intimate and perfect. Sounds like yours was as well! ūüôā


    • dorseyml August 1, 2014

      Yes, small weddings are the best. The fire pit sounds amazing!


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