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Author Topic: Looking for ideas... help!  (Read 12014 times)

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Looking for ideas... help!
« on: April 20, 2013, 02:32:00 PM »
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

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Re: Looking for ideas... help!
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2013, 02:55:17 PM »
I'd start mentioning the photog now, so people have time to decide if they'd want to purchase extra shots or not.
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Re: Looking for ideas... help!
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2013, 03:03:00 PM »
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".

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Re: Looking for ideas... help!
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2013, 03:09:44 PM »
Definitely include water since it sounds like there will be a lot of outdoor activites.  The RSVP request would be fine.


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Re: Looking for ideas... help!
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2013, 03:35:55 PM »
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.

Black Delphinium

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Re: Looking for ideas... help!
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2013, 04:12:03 PM »
What about, instead of a "wearable", you added a customized, BPA free water bottle?
When angels go bad, they go worse than anyone. Remember, Lucifer was an angel. ~The Marquis De Carabas


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Re: Looking for ideas... help!
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2013, 09:24:18 PM »
i would mention that you and dh are hosting/paying for the events on your itinerary.  Definitely include RSVP information so you know who will be coming and not to wait around for stragglers.

I would do a separate note on the beach dinner since that is the main thing.  Mention the photographer==a pp had a nice wording.

I agree with consumables/water bottle for the bags.


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Re: Looking for ideas... help!
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2013, 09:54:28 PM »
I think your plans sound lovely!


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Re: Looking for ideas... help!
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2013, 10:25:17 PM »
I would include a small bottle of something, maybe with aloe to help with sunburn and maybe something for an upset stomach.  I also have a small bottle of alcohol handwash that I carry with me for emergencies and that might be nice for people to have.


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Re: Looking for ideas... help!
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2013, 09:05:32 AM »
Is the resort in an area where mosquitoes will be a problem? I have gone to some places only to find there are tons of bugs and I have no spray! If you think it'll be an issue, include bug spray in the baskets.


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Re: Looking for ideas... help!
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2013, 01:11:39 PM »
I think your plans sound lovely!


I almost think you should mail out your preplanned itinerary before the trip instead of including it in with your welcome basket.

My thinking is that guests probably will go to the resorts web site in order to see what events are available and plan or make reservations (do they have to pay in advance?) for their own time. It might be a case of "Oh! Happy couple is planning on snorkeling on this day/time, let's do that with them instead of doing this on our own."

Sending out your itinerary prior to the trip allows people to schedule around your plans.

I also think that you should include the photographers info (like what JenJay said) with your itinerary.

Asking for an RSVP is perfectly fine.

Maybe this is a bit out there, but for organizing 35 people for many events? Possibly include a "ticket" for each event and request that the tickets be turned in 2 hours/the day before/whenever your reservations need to be turned in prior to each event so there isn't any confusion ("Oh, wait, did Mark and Mary say they were snorkeling with us?" "I don't remember, maybe it was just Mary" type of thing.)

For the wearables . . . what about a customized beach towel?|6256|beach%20towel%20printed||S|p|19031437682&gclid=CJHZsKKs3LYCFegWMgodunMA7w

This was one site that I found that doesn't charge a set-up fee. $14.00 each, probably the price you'll pay for tee shirts, but far more expensive than cheapy flip-flops, which might be fun. However, this will probably be a remembered and often used keepsake from the event. Just a thought.


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Re: Looking for ideas... help!
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2013, 08:47:36 PM »
I think sunscreen is a great idea: If flying, it's hard to travel with a large enough bottle of sunscreen to last a few days (unless you check bags, something I prefer not to do).

Enjoy your celebration!


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Re: Looking for ideas... help!
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2013, 12:46:50 PM »
Thank you so much for all the helpful suggestions... and please keep them coming if anyone has anything to add!  I love love LOVE the beach towel idea and we're definitely going to include it.  I also like the bug spray thought - we might do a mini-kit of after sun lotion, sunscreen, bug spray to be included in the bag. 

I think maybe emailing an itinerary out to our guests as a "just FYI" and then including a printed copy as well should cover us.  Doing it ahead of time is a good plan.


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Re: Looking for ideas... help!
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2013, 08:05:27 PM »

Personally, I'd skip the bug spray/sunscreen etc.  The problem is that unless people know that you're providing it, they will bring their own in the first place, so it becomes redundant, so you've gone through a lot of effort to provide something that won't get used, and may even be thrown out before leaving if luggage space is tight. Same with clothes or shoes, and then you have size issues.

I'd lean towards edibles. If it's appropriate for your crowd, a bottle of a local drink (plus mixer if appropriate), alcoholic or not, and some snacks.  If there are kids, some sort of cheap beach toy or colouring book for entertainment.

The towel idea is a good one, if it's a non-specific design (ie, towels with your wedding date printed on them don't have much re-use value). Another option would be sarongs - I have some I picked up in Thailand, and I love them for vacations - you can use them as a towel to sit on at the beach or on the grass, wear them to and from the pool, make an improvised head covering when riding a camel in the desert, carry stuff in them, and they pack really small and dry really quickly (avoid tie-dyed ones, though, because they leak colour).

I have a mixed view of goodie bag stuff. Part of me gleefully says "Oooh, free stuff!!!", but another part of me recognizes that about 80% of the time the contents of the basket of free stuff eventually gets thrown out unusued.   


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Re: Looking for ideas... help!
« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2013, 07:19:14 AM »
I would definitely send out the itinerary in advance. And I'd present it something like this:

Dear Fellow Travelers,
Here are the events at Vacation-Spot that we will be hosting. Please let me know by xx-date which you will be able to attend so that we can make appropriate reservations.

As far as the photographer, I'd probably ask for feedback in advance.
We have hired a professional photographer to take a group photo and will be distributing one 5x7 to each family as our treat. The photographer has offered to do additional individual photos at a cost of $xx per photo if there is any interest. If you might be interested in setting this up, please let me know. If there is no interest I can let the photographer know that it will just be the one group shot.

I have planned group trips (on a much smaller scale) and my experience is that the more information people have in advance, the more smoothly things go. It's good to know what times you are expected to hang out with others and what times you'll be on your own. Also, whatever activities you plan might help your guests decide what they want to do with their free time. For example, if you're going snorkeling on Monday, they know they already have one snorkeling outing scheduled and can plan accordingly.

Regarding the goodie bags, no matter what you end up putting in, some of it will end up being redundant or unneeded by some of the people and some of it will get used. Some people will forget the bug spray/sun screen/aspirin and be grateful you've provided it and others will have brought everything they need anyway. But to me, it's the thought that counts so the very fact of receiving a goodie bag in addition to all the other stuff you are hosting incredibly thoughtful. So I wouldn't sweat those little miscellaneous items too much.