design darling white party

The Friday night after our rehearsal dinner and before our wedding, we decided to host a wedding welcome party in my family’s backyard to welcome all our friends and family to Nantucket. I’ve loved attending friends’ destination weddings over the years and always loved wedding weekends where there was ample time to make the most of the destination during the day and get to visit with everyone at an evening event, whether that’s an intimate rehearsal dinner or a bigger welcome party where you include your entire guest list. I can’t recommend a welcome party enough if you’re planning a destination wedding! It was so nice to spend time with all our wedding guests the night before our big day so we could spend our whole wedding night on the dance floor. It was the perfect low-key night before our wedding day and I’m so excited to share all the fun little details with you today!


design darling wedding sailboat

design darling nantucket welcome party

design darling drink sailboat

design darling beer boat

design darling monogrammed sailboat

We strung globe lights across the backyard and set up long white tables with cocktails and finger foods. My incredible sister and maid of honor Reilly and her friend Andy built the monogrammed sailboat as a bridal shower gift and it is one of my favorite details of our entire wedding. From the custom sail with our Kearsley Lloyd monogram to the bottle opener screwed into the side, it is one of the most personal and thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received. I know we’ll be using our new beer boat for many years to come!

design darling sunnycliffe bar

design darling bar detail

design darling family bar

Several of you asked to see the bar from my family’s original home on Nantucket, which I discussed in this post about what the island means to me. My late grandfather painted it during a storm and a friend of a friend was able to keep the front of the bar when my family sold the house. My mom and I tracked it down on the island this summer, and it meant so much to my Grandy to have it at our party. It’s painted with a variety of symbols that represent different sayings for being overserved — dead stiff, high as a kite, hitting the bottle, etc. — and was such a fun conversation starter.

design darling bridesmaids at welcome party

kate spade poppy embellished mini dress

kate spade poppy embellished mini dress on design darling-2

design darling welcome party

mackenzie horan amy havins

I thought it would be fun to make our welcome party a white party since I knew it would make for beautiful photos and I think every girl loves an excuse to wear a little white dress over Labor Day weekend! The vast majority of our guests showed up in white and it was fun to see everyone put their own spin on the dress code. I went with this Kate Spade dress — I couldn’t get enough of that floral neckline and the t-back! — plus pearl studs and Jack Rogers (clearly resting my feet for my wedding shoes the next day!).

custom cups with wedding crest

monogrammed beer boat

cocktail napkins with fun facts

amy havins

design darling monogrammed wedding cups

monogrammed wedding cups

ali schilling

striped straws

nantucket wedding koozies

nantucket koozies

custom wedding crest on plastic cups

I ordered custom cups with our wedding crest from Discount Mugs and was impressed with how well the watercolor design showed up. We also had striped straws and custom cocktail napkins printed with fun facts about the two of us and our families. And then we surrounded the beer boat with custom koozies featuring the outline of Nantucket. I live for these little personalized details and I love that we have plenty of extras to use at home!

millie's food truck nantucket

millie's nantucket

millie's food truck on design darling

The Millie’s food truck was a major hit with lobster rolls, fish tacos, and steak quesadillas. My cousins and siblings have all spent summers working at the restaurant in Madaket so it was a no-brainer to serve their food at our welcome party!

jessica sturdy and lauren nelson

I was so happy that my blogger girlfriends Jess and Lauren were able to make the trip! They’re the best.

maddie farrington kitt farrington mackenzie horan and wyatt horan

With my cute cousins Maddie, Kitt, and Wyatt.

paul hedrick mackenzie horan

Will’s best man Paul repping his cowboy boot company.

kelly carlin margo koch and grayson horan

My Bucknell friends / sorority sisters Kelly and Margo! Kelly is the one who inspired me to write my first 101 in 1001 list. 🙂

wade havins and david mehlman

carver queally emily driscoll chelsea stanley-brown and mackenzie horan

white party accessories



amy stone and ali schilling

nantucket lightship basket

natalie alvarez jane murchison hvidt and parker morse

maddie farrington

will beuttenmuller and samantha shannon

Just some of our wonderful family and friends. 💙

design darling welcome boxes

design darling monogrammed wedding cookies

design darling wedding welcome boxes

design darling welcome boxes for nantucket wedding

design darling monogrammed cookies for wedding

Because our family and friends were staying in houses and hotels all over the island (as opposed to a traditional room block situation), we handed out our welcome boxes at the end of the party instead of trying to get them to everyone’s rooms before they arrived. Our welcome boxes included two bottles of Nantucket Nectars half & half, Cape Cod potato chips, packets of Advil and sunscreen, and monogrammed cookies made by my mother-in-law Reggie (aren’t they incredible?!). I ordered the boxes here, the monogrammed stickers here (using the crest from our wedding invitations), and the striped grosgrain ribbon here.

mackenzie horan will beuttenmuller

design darling coach

design darling white party

I hope you enjoyed this peek into our welcome party! I’ll be back tomorrow to share photos from getting ready the morning of our wedding followed by our first look in this same backyard. Thanks so much for following along!

*Photos by Cameron & Kelly Studio

Keep up with Design Darling!

Instagram / Pinterest / Facebook / Twitter

You might also like:

48 thoughts on “OUR WELCOME PARTY

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

  1. Hi!! I know im way late but, I can’t for the life of me find how to make the monogram logo on the cups. Do you happen to remember how you did it?? So prefect by the way!!!!

  2. Where did you get the cups and napkins printed? Searching high and low to do this for our welcome party!!

  3. I’m dying to know where the white dress with the flutter sleeve is from?! The girl wearing it is on the far left in wedges of the first group photo

  4. I’m planning a welcome party in my family’s backyard in Sag Harbor. I love your welcome party–it’s so classic and organized, while still feeling casual. Do you mind sharing where you got the coolers and white table clothes? I’d love to do a similar theme.

  5. Every little detail was so perfect! Filing this away for when my day comes 🙂

    As a fellow Bucknellian who just graduated, I love seeing that you’re still close with friends from school! ‘Ray!

  6. Love the white dress code! So was your rehearsal Thursday, or Friday before the Welcome party? Love the idea of getting to see guests before the wedding.

  7. Mackenzie,
    Your welcome party looks like it was so much fun, I love the idea of a white dress code, especially for labor day weekend! We are trying to do a similar situation for our wedding in August and hoping to have a taco truck for the Friday night party, did Millie’s do all the set up and clean up of the back yard or was that you and your family? Did you have a bartender for the evening? Also, love the boxes, do you know what size the circle stickers you ordered were?
    Thank you so much!

    1. Thank you! Millie’s set up their truck in the driveway but we did the backyard and clean-up ourselves. The bar was pretty much self-serve but we had family members taking turns mixing margaritas and things like that. I believe the stickers were 4″ circles!

  8. Ok Mackenzie I thought yesterday’s post couldn’t be beat and you may have done it! I am so in love with all of the little details strung throughout all the events of your wedding weekend. Love how everyone wore all white. These photos are gorgeous, and the beer boat made by your sister!?! So awesome 🖤

  9. Mackenzie,

    Every single detail of your wedding has been absolutely perfect!! I have always wanted a destination wedding because I feel like it gives you more opportunities for all of the small details that are included in your planning. I will most certainly be using these posts as a reference for my own wedding when the time comes! Congratulations again!! I cannot wait for the rest of wedding week and I am so anxious for all the honeymoon posts!!