Sunday, June 5, 2011

FORE!!!!! Tips for your Wedding Outing

Making your “wedding weekend” special involves a lot of planning, for you guests, your wedding party, and the two of you. Depending upon the day and time of your wedding, you may have “down times” during the weekend that you want to fill with some organized activities for some or all of your guests.
One of the activities that is mentioned often is the idea of having a golf outing for the golfing members of your guest list. This can be great fun for the groomsmen, or larger groups that might involve some of the guests.  It's a wonderful "mixer" for guests, relatives and friends that might not know each other.  There's nothing like a round of golf to make strangers into lifetime friends! 

Here are my TOP 10 TIPS to consider when you arrange your outing:

1. Consider the time of your outing very carefully. Keep in mind that it will probably be a little longer than your usual round. Don’t schedule things too close to rehearsal times or other activities where the bride might need you to attend! The last thing you want to do is tick off the bride right before the wedding! Of course, if the bride plays golf, there's no reason to exclude her or her attendants from the outing, but most brides and bridesmaids prefer to use this time to get the mani's and pedi's taken care of, and maybe have a nice lunch together.  It's nice to make the offer to the girls though.

2. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure—take a change of clothes with you and your toiletry kit, just in case you do get caught short of time and need to change at the course to save time. And make sure that your groomsmen follow suit! Be prepared for unexpected delays.

3. Consider the format. Especially if you have some duffers, think about a scramble format to speed up play and make it more fun for everyone. If you have a couple of non golfers in the wedding party, they can always be designated cart drivers, or score keepers if they don't want to be left out of the fun.

It’s nice if the groom has an opportunity to spend some time with everyone who participates in the outing. This can be done a number of ways, but one of the easiest is to have the groom play a couple holes with each foursome. Particularly if you use a scramble format, having a fifth player for a couple holes shouldn’t slow down play. So if you have 16 people playing in addition to the groom, or 4 foursomes, the groom would play the first 4 holes with the first group, then drop back and play the next 5 with the 2nd group, then after the turn, play the next 4 with the 3rd group, then drop back and finish up the last 5 holes with the 4th group. Of course, the number of groups you have will determine how many holes he joins in for. If you have a small outing, you might have two foursomes. Maybe you could put the groom in one foursome and the best man in the other, and they could switch at the turn, so that the groom gets some time with everyone.

4. Be respectful of other golfers. Try not to slow down play. Keep the alcohol under control, so that you can participate in other wedding activities later in the day.  In a word guys, don't be stupid. :)

5. It’s fun to provide a little goodie bag for each of your golfers. You can get as crazy as you want to with this one! Custom embroidered golf towels in the wedding colors, imprinted tees with the bride and groom’s names and wedding date, imprinted golf balls, golf shirts, caps; you name it! Bag tags, pencils, umbrellas, T-Shirts, divot repair tools, the sky is the limit! Obviously, you probably don't want to do everything, but a couple of nice imprinted items in the "wedding colors" with whatever theme you are using, help to add a little festivity to the day. You can also include a small snack, a bottle of water, maybe a short written explanation of the format, some wrapped hard candies, a damp iced wash cloth if it's a hot day, whatever . Assemble everything in a small gift bag that can be placed on the cart for each golfer before the round begins.

A quick note about personalizing and imprinting;  Decide what you want to imprint and how many, then find companies that will do multiple items if possible to save on set up costs.  For example, I have linked the clothing items above to which is an amazing site to purchase small quantities of caps, shirts, and lots of other items in small quantities at great prices.  If you have a "wedding logo" or motif that you want to use, you'll be paying a set up charge, either in the cost of each item or in a separate set up charge.  Also consider the shipping charges into the total cost.  If one company does multiple items, your shipping will probably be less than if you purchase from multiple companies.  There are, of course, many companies that imprint and personalize items.  I've had good luck with the companies that I linked, however it never hurts to shop around!

6. Green fees can be a bit of a touchy subject. Some grooms pick up the cost of the round for their participants, others expect everyone to take care of their own greens fees. It kind of depends on the budget. Some grooms include the outing for their groomsman as part of their groomsman’s gift. In any case, however you decide to handle it, make sure that everyone knows in advance whether they are paying their own greens fees and how much it will be so that there are no nasty surprises.

7. Provide prizes for the winning foursome.  Extravagance isn't necessary--it is, after all, the crowing rights that are important here!  Some fun things for prizes: a golf umbrella, a putter or driver, coupon for a free round in the future, a golf shirt, golf glove, cooler bag, you name it.  Remember that you need to think about having 4 of a prize if you have a scramble, as the winners will be the foursome and not necessarily an individual. 

8. Games on the course are fun, a prize for the longest drive, longest putt, closest to the pin, can spice things up.  The first group out can place the signs and the last group can pick them up as they go.

9.  Photographs of the event are always a wonderful keepsake after the big day.  The photos can be included with your wedding weekend photos, or assembled separately into a book or album to reminisce over in years to come.  Some photos to be sure you get:
a nice intro shot of the clubhouse or the sign at the entrance
one of each foursome with the groom
detail photos of any special items you provide for the outing--imprinted items, goody bags, shirts, etc.
carts leaving for the first tee
Teeing off photos
Action shots on the course
pictures of the prize winners with their prizes
19th hole shots as everyone enjoys a cool drink after the round

10. Most importantly, HAVE FUN!  Let the details take care of themselves the day of your outing.  If you have planned carefully and covered all your bases, you should be able to relax and enjoy the company  and companionship of all the people who love you and are thrilled to spend this time with you.  As with everything having to do with weddings, it's all about you and your guests, and the joy of being together at this happy time.  Everything else is window dressing.

The Course at Aberdeen, and their manager, Chad Hutsell, are anxious to help you with your outing plans. Aberdeen is very convenient to the Manor, for those of you having your weddings with us. It is a beautiful track, with lots of what Jim calls “interesting little golf holes”! Their pro shop is staffed with folks who can hook you up with anything you need, and they will make advance tee times for wedding outings so that you can make sure your timing is good. Aberdeen also has some nifty discounts for our wedding outings!! They have beautiful practice facilities, with a huge driving range, putting green, and chipping area. They also have a top shelf locker room with showers and locker storage in case you need to change clothes after your round.

Give Chad a call at 219 462-5050, or send him an email and get your outing plans started today! The Course at Aberdeen will help you make your wedding outing a fabulous event, and a special memory of your wedding weekend in the future!

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