Hostesses With The Mostest > Entertaining and Hospitality

Looking for ideas... help!

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DH and I are having a destination celebration this summer at an all-inclusive resort.  We invited friends and family to come with us and we're looking at a group of about 35 at this point.  If anyone has input or thoughts, I'd be interested in hearing about it on several points:

1.  I want to put together "Welcome" bags for everyone that the resort will give them at check-in, nothing ostentatious, but kind of a goodie bag.  So far I want to include:

-A small bottle of local liquer
-A box of locally-made cookies
-Some kind of local candy/sweet (still looking for this)
-Some kind of wearable - we have gone between flip-flops, hats, tshirts (which I find cheesy)... debating this still!
-Any other ideas (small sunscreen, neat local toiletries...?)

2.  We are also putting together an events list.  Our group reservation is a week long and I want people to have time to do their own things along with getting together with the group.  In the gift bag I want to include an itinerary, for example:

Monday:  Snorkeling @ 11am, meet at xyz location
Tuesday:  Private tequila tasting @ 8pm, meet at xyz location
Thursday:  Beach dinner @ 7pm, ...
(I'm sure you get the idea)

These are events hosted by DH and I, meaning we are paying any extra costs associated with said events.  People are not obligated to attend but of course we hope they will, esp the beach dinner as this is the "main" event and we're paying per head, ahead of time.  Can I include a request for RSVP at the bottom of the itinerary, or is that just too nit-picky for a relaxing vacation?

3.  We have a photographer coming to the beach dinner.  For each guest, we are purchasing one 5x7 "group" shot (to be sent to them in a photo frame post vacation).  The IDEA was that guests will have the chance to have individual/family shots taken as well, which they can purchase themselves through the photographer.  It has occurred to me that people might find it tacky, or feel pushed to pose/buy individual photos.  If that's the consensus, I'd happily just do the group shot and tell the photog to forgo the rest.  I don't want people to go, "Ah, nice beach dinner - surprise money-grubbing guy!" 

I'm happy to hear any thoughts people have on the above topics.  Thank you!

Black Delphinium:
I'd start mentioning the photog now, so people have time to decide if they'd want to purchase extra shots or not.

sounds lovely

1. for the welcome bags - this may just be me but less is better and eatables are better. remember - people know they are coming to a week-long event at a resort, they will undoubtedly have their own flip flops, hats, and sunscreen. These are things I wouldn't put in - remember, your friends will have to toss them or bring them back on the plane (where airlines are allowing less and less weight in your luggage).

so stick with the local goodies and a bottle of water, map etc.

2. photographer - it seems to me that nowadays everyone just pulls out their camera/phone/i-whatever, and take their own photos which they then post on FB etc. at a wedding i was at recently, that was what everyone was doing. so, i don't know how much people are going to want to purchase photos. but if you do - then as Black Delphinium said, make sure they know upfront.

3. for the events list - i would also let people know in advance that (a) there are all kinds of activities and (b) that you are paying for these things. I think there is no problem asking for an RSVP - "please let me know by Friday morning which events you will attend".

Definitely include water since it sounds like there will be a lot of outdoor activites.  The RSVP request would be fine.

If the photographer isn't a surprise you could mention ahead of time that you've booked him to take a group photo at the dinner, you're purchasing everyone a 5X7 as a gift, and then add something like "He's also available to do smaller sittings if anyone is interested. For pricing information call (number) or visit his website at (address)." That way nobody feels pressured, you don't end up with people asking for extra pics under the assumption you've already paid for them and the photographer has a good idea going in how much time and materials he should expect to plan for.


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