The Extras

by Anna Jones

All About You Entertainment’s photo booth. Photo Courtesy All About You Entertainment

The Details

You’re engaged! You’re thrilled. You’re in love. You’re ... overwhelmed. Whether you’ve dreamed of the big day your whole life or never thought about it until the moment you said yes, the actual process of planning your wedding is uncharted territory. Let this guide be your road map — and leave the details to us.

A SOUTHERN WELCOME

In the South, welcome bags are as much of an expected element as cutting the cake. Each bag should have the necessary amenities — bottles of water, ibuprofen, a box of mints — but this is an opportunity to introduce your guests to their surroundings so they can understand your appreciation for this place.

“Local is the key — I don’t really think this is a trend as much as a necessity,” says Christine Wrobel, marketing and public relations manager for Montage Palmetto Bluff. “For a destination wedding, brides and grooms want their guests to truly experience the destination in every detail, all the way down to the welcome gifts or amenities.”

Start with your favorite snack from a local vendor — like pralines from River Street Sweets in Savannah — and pair it with something unexpected, like a small bottle of olive oil from Georgia Olive Farms. Include a map of the city, important phone numbers and a weekend itinerary. Wrap up your surcees in a canvas bag with your new initials as a couple printed on the front, and you’ve created a warm welcome that will be the pride of any Southern hostess.

Emily McCarthy monogrammed koozie and bottled water. Photo by Kelli Boyd

NEW EXPERIENCES

Once upon a time, a bride and groom were born, raised and married in the same small Southern town. These days, guests travel far and wide for weddings, so make it worth their while and show them a good time. “A bride and groom are now hosting weekends in destination cities to allow their guests to experience the area,” says Austin Wright, events manager at Telfair Museums. “From cornhole tournaments to wildlife boat tours, guests can expect more than just a ceremony and reception — it makes the wedding a more memorable experience.”

Couples are even creating fun experiences at the event itself, says Alysse Sweeney of Design Studio South in Savannah. For example, instead of passing out pralines as guests depart, Sweeney suggests inviting River Street Sweets to make pralines at the reception for an interactive experience guests won’t forget — and that they can take home with them. As for wedding favors, Sweeney says to make sure they are usable or edible, like a koozie to keep drinks cold or a cookie with your wedding hashtag on top.

One way to truly capture the moment is with a wedding reception photo booth. All About You Entertainment’s Jeff Brown has a range of photo booth options, including an open-air booth that can fit up to 10 to 12 people … and all the costumes, hats and props they can carry. Brown adds each photo strip to an album, allowing guests to leave a snapshot and a little message for the bride and groom.

Many couples add an itinerary to their welcome bags, sharing their favorite local places to eat, drink, shop and explore. Make it interactive by turning the weekend into a scavenger hunt — the guest who completes the most activities wins a prize.