It's true what they say: despite the months (or years!) of planning, your wedding literally flies by. Sadly, it'll be a few weeks until we see our wedding photos, but I've been reliving every moment captured through the lens of family and friends' cameras.
Thankfully, I just received the photos taken at our wedding welcome party at the Ala Moana Beach. And let's just say they are more than enough to hold me over. These shots were all taken by the talented Bailey Makaimoku, whom I can't recommend enough (she lives on the Big Island now, but travels!) for photos of any kind.
In case you didn't know: instead of a formal rehearsal dinner, the husband and I opted for a "beer + pizza" style welcome party on our neighborhood beach. While the party took minimal planning (more on that later), it was a huge hit with all of our guests.
Here's how you can do it too:
Given the nature of a beach party, it's best to keep the invites very casual. We used Paperless Post to send out invites to all of our guests, specifically choosing the The Paperless Post x Gray Malin invites. Things to highlight: the meet up location (remember that some beaches go on for miles...), the timeframe (we invited guests to come and go as they pleased), and what to bring v. what will be provided (for example: we'll bring the food, you bring the sunscreen).
The trickiest part, at least in Honolulu, about throwing a beach party is picking the right location. Your perfect beach party spot equals some combination of empty space + easy locatable + shade available. In addition to these factors, you'll need to consider if your beach requires permits, allows tents, sanctions alcohol, etc.
We chose Ala Moana Beach due its close proximity to where the majority of our guests were staying. If our audience would have been different, say local friends, we probably would have picked a much less crowded beach.
SETTING THE SCENE
I had this brilliant idea to informally mark off our piece of the beach by laying out several dozen blue and white striped beach towels. Since I can't yet afford so many of these beauties, I turned to Amazon for a cheaper alternative. I searched "striped beach towels", found an adorable six pack, and added several to my cart. ...you should have seen my face when I opened up a box filled with 13 inch x 13 inch blue and white striped wash clothes. Wedding brain is real my friends!
That being said, it's still a good idea to distinguish a "party space" if you're on a public beach (which, FYI, is all beaches in Hawaii). Beach towels are a great pick if you'll have guests coming in from out of town and who may not have access to towels. Another great idea: letter balloons! "ALOHA", "WELCOME", or even your initials will be easy to spot. Plus, how great will the pictures be?
FOOD + DRINKS
Like I mentioned earlier, we went straight pizza for our party. It's the easiest thing in the world to call ahead and relatively inexpensive. Whatever your bring, you'll want something that can get cold and won't spoil after being left out in the sun (as oxymoronic as that sounds).
As for alcohol, I'd recommend you read up on your local beach park rules for the best information. In Hawaii, you simply can't drink on the beach. That's why we commandeered a little area away from the beach park to use as our pizza + beer station. It's also just best practice to nix the bottles and cans for cups. We went classic with red solo cups, but I love the look of monogrammed or customized cups too!
The only thing our party was missing: music! I'd recommend bringing a small portable speaker to play some tunes. It helps get set the tone of the party (say Jack Johnson vs. Lil John for example) and breaks up any awkward silence at the beginning.
Most importantly: have lots of fun.