Photos by Adam Mason
I’ve written about how Michael and I decided to get married in the Bahamas at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, and I chatted a few weeks ago about how to plan a destination wedding (more to come in that department). Today I wanted to share a few top of mind pieces of advice on what to do before your guests arrive.
What to Do Before Guests Arrive
Michael and I arrived at the Hyatt Baha Mar on the Tuesday before our wedding. Most of our friends and family made a vacation out of the trip, and as a result, most everyone arrived on Wednesday afternoon or early Thursday. We planned a Welcome Party for everyone to attend on Thursday night (more on this event soon!).
Since it was a destination wedding, there were several things that we weren’t able to finalize until we were actually onsite. We arrived on Tuesday so that we could wrap all of those to-do items up prior to our guests’ arrival. So my first tip is to arrive a couple of days before your guests! 🙂
Final Walk Through
We met with our onsite contact at the Hyatt to do a final walk through of all of our events. We walked to the location of each event and went through the run of show and logistics for each. This was super helpful for a few reasons. One, Michael had never been to the resort and hadn’t seen where each event would be taking place. Two, it allowed us to talk through any last minute details that needed to be worked out. For example, making sure that we had the proper adapter to be able to play music via Spotify during the cocktail hours for each event through the speakers. (You can find our playlist here!) Lastly, the walk through helped to calm everyone’s nerves (mine included) about everything we had been planning for the previous 9 months!
Assemble Welcome Bags
With a destination wedding, you’re most likely not going to be able to bring all of the welcome bags or party favors with you already assembled. My mom did some ninja-type packing and was able to pack all of our welcome bag essentials so that we could assemble them onsite.
We ordered this custom paper set from Etsy that included a thank you tag to put on the bags, an itinerary card for the weekend, and a door hanger for our guests to use at the resort. We also included custom koozies, cups, Advil, Emergen-C, and snacks, including Kellogg’s snacks since Michael’s dad has worked at Kellogg’s for his entire career – hellllo yummy rice krispy treats! – and chips to munch on throughout the weekend. We topped the bag with tissue paper and a ribbon to tie the thank you tag on.
Michael, my mom, my aunt, and I formed an assembly line in our hotel room one morning and went to work. It didn’t take long to assemble the bags, but it was nice to get it out of the way before our guests arrived so that we could spend that time with them on the beach!
Meet with Officiant
The officiant situation is a bit odd if you’re opting for a destination wedding. Michael and I lucked out and had the most wonderful reverend officiate our wedding. He was truly amazing! However, we hadn’t met him prior to arriving for our wedding weekend. It was nice to meet him prior to the actual ceremony day and chat through a few items we wanted included in the ceremony itself.
Make Any Final Payments
Prior to guests arriving, you should take care of any final payments owed for the wedding festivities. Two reasons this is a good idea. One, so you don’t forget once the chaos beings, and two, it’s one less thing you have to worry about once everyone arrives. As an example, we had to make our final payment to the officiant. We scheduled a time to meet his assistant one afternoon to exchange the payment and provide her with a few notes to share with the officiant on how we would like the ceremony to run.
It’s important to think ahead about any last minute items that need to be taken care of prior to guests’ arrival. From my experience, once your guests begin to arrive, you will be swept away in all different directions (it’s the BEST having your friends and family there to celebrate!). Having everything taken care of ahead of time allows you to spend time with everyone and relax a bit prior to the big day!
Other destination wedding related questions?! Comment below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos by Adam Mason