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Pre-cruise Welcome Dinner at hotel?

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#1 HKdolphingirl

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  • 30 posts

    Posted 22 June 2012 - 11:28 PM

    My fi and I estimate we will have close to 100 people (based on tentative talk from guests so far) at our embarkation day wedding on the Carnival Paradise in Tampa. (many cruising, some not).


    We really like the idea of having a welcome party since half of our guests will be travelling over 1000 miles, just to get to Tampa, before we even cruise. Also, we know the reception will be a whirlwind and we think it's important to spend time with our non-sailing guests. I also want to use this time to distribute the OOT bags for the cruisers...and some sort of favor for the non-cruisers which of course includes an itinerary for the next day (I am so afraid people are going to be late!)


    The ever present concern is budget. We were thinking of doing something at the hotel where we'll have a block of rooms. The wedding is on a Monday, so we were thinking late Sunday afternoon. Possibly having an unofficial "pool party" and bringing in munchies like chips and dips and non-alcoholic beverages, or maybe tapas or possibly even getting a couple giant party subs or pizza, so people could have something more substantial. We want it to be very relaxed and low-key, not dressy, not formal, just fun mingling!


    My concerns:


    1) I have no idea how early people will plan on arriving at the hotel the day before the wedding...i.e. is it dangerous to plan an afternoon event? Or is it something where, we plan it and put it in the invites and people can choose if they want to arrange their travel early enough to make it


    2) Will we look cheapo if we don't do a full on dinner and drinks?


    3) Has anyone ever heard of hotels allowing something like this? I haven't booked our block of rooms yet...but I'm looking at the embassy suites since they provide free hot breakfast...


    Other thoughts you guys have would be greatly appreciated as we are in the early planning stages!



    #2 2bmrstremblay

    • Jr. Member
    • 155 posts

      Posted 29 June 2012 - 09:40 PM

      Hi there and congrats on your upcoming wedding. I have thought about doing this for our wedding in Nov 2013 but we will have only about 25 guests and all will be sailing with us since we're going to be coming all the way from Canada. I am basically making it not an option to arrive on the day of the cruise because it really isn't an option with an embarkation day wedding...if they want to get early boarding with us then they have to be at the port at 9:30 in the morning. 


      I was thinking about finding a nice restaurant nearby the hotel where we will all stay and having a dinner but after your idea of something more casual I think I might look into that. Since we'll all be cruising together we will have plenty of opportunity to eat together on the ship but I would still like a chance to hand out the OOT bags I will be making for everyone and go over the boarding instructions with them...


      Perhaps look into someone who could cater something at an affordable rate for you and bring it to the meeting area in the hotel?Or you could go and pick a large order of something up? Then you have the food aspect but you could keep it casual....


      anyways good luck and keep us posted on your plans!

      #3 LadyLove

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      • 29 posts

        Posted 30 June 2012 - 10:26 PM

        Hi there HK! I believe the Embassy Suites also has a cocktail hour in the evening (I think before dinner) where their provide drinks for their guests. Maybe you could utilize this time and have a meet and mingle for your guests. I don't think it's cheap to have giant subs or pizza as everyone should be considerate that your wedding will be the main expense. I think evening is ideal time to plan something. Afternoon is too early, but with the wedding the next day you don't want this event to be too late either. Also, it is hard to plan something like this. We had the thought to do something pre-cruise at our hotel the night before for all our guests too and eventually scrapped the idea because it would be adding another thing to plan. As well, guests were coming in at various times (we had a bunch who's planes came in at midnight) and those who were there early planned to explore the city rather than spend the day at the hotel. However, I definitely think that given the amount of rooms you would have to book for the amount of guests you anticipate talk to the hotel group coordinator to see what they can offer you. When we had our wedding cruise 35 of our 41 guests stayed at the Hyatt Place in Fort Lauderdale. I arranged a group rate and was able to get free transportation from the hotel to the dock ...and it was great because they provided us with a coach bus. I'm sure this would help ease the fear of some people being late. You may also want to tell people the wedding time is earlier than it actually is, maybe an hour or half hour earlier to give them leeway if they are late. Another idea is you could inform your guests where you'll be the night before the wedding at the hotel. For example: you and hubby to be will be having poolside snacks from 8-10pm and your bridal party can remind and encourage guests to join you. That way people can come in and get settled, be responsible for their own dinners and then relax with you guys. However, since this is more informal, you may want to assign someone to then give the OOT stuff and favors out after the wedding ceremony. I think it's nicer for your guests to have something to takeaway after your wedding than getting it the night before IMHO. I hope something I've mentioned helps you! Good luck!
        Don't worry! It's gonna be the perfect day.

        #4 shanandcal

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        • 103 posts

          Posted 01 July 2012 - 03:43 PM

          I think that is a great idea to have a pre wedding get together. I too want to do the same thing at the hotel. I thought of it as a great way to have a quick rehearsal as well. Pizza and subs are a good Idea. You may want to look at a local restaurant to see if they will cater something, it may be less expensive than pizza. I think you should definitely shoot for an evening get together. Some hotels will pass out your OOT bags for you when your guests check in to the hotel. You may want to check what the hotels will do for you as a perk for blocking the rooms, that may also help determine which hotel to pick.

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