Whether you’re planning a huge 300 person wedding or a small intimate affair, chances are that you’ll have some out of town guests. While most of your preparations revolve around the bride and groom, it’s important to spend some time deciding how you can make your guests from afar feel right at home.
The first thing to do is tell them how to get there and where to stay. There are a few ways you can do this — with a save the date postcard, in your invitations or on a wedsite. Many airlines provide cheaper fares when you have a group traveling for a wedding. For example, US Airways offers discounts of 5% off the lowest fare for groups of 10 or more. Also check with local hotels in your area to see if you can set aside a block of rooms. This usually provides cheaper rates for your guests if the entire block is reserved.
No matter where you live — a big, bustling city or a quite country town — there are probably some things for your guests to do when they’re not at the wedding. You’re probably used to seeing your town through the eyes of a local. Why not be a tourist for a day? Go to the museums, visit a park, grab a bite to eat at the local diner. Once you’ve come up with some of your town’s “must-dos” then do a short write-up on each. Provide information on how to get there, admission fees and other important information. Your guests will appreciate having the work done for them!
Another way to make your out of towners feel at home is with a guest goodie bag. Pick up some gift bags at the local drugstore and fill it with all the comforts of home — and then some. Is your town famous for its fudge? Do people come from far and wide for its foliage? Whatever your town’s claim to fame is be sure to include some aspect of it. Also put in some other items like bottled water, aspirin, soap, snacks, a map of your town, a wedding day itinerary, and a heartfelt note from the two of you thanking them for coming. And, don’t forget to include that write up of your town’s “must-dos” too! Drop the bags off at the hotel where your guests are staying the day before they get there. The hotel staff will have them waiting in their rooms upon their arrival!
There are other ways to make sure your traveling guests aren’t left in the dust. One is to assign a friend or family member to be their contact. That way if there is a lull between your ceremony and reception the contact can include them in their plans. Or, you may want to invite them to the rehearsal dinner or the morning-after brunch to give them something to do. How about organizing a group tour of your town? The night before the wedding rent a trolley and have a friend drive them around town to point out some hotspots. End the tour at a local hotspot for a drink. It’s a great way to acclimate them to your neck of the woods while also letting them get to know other guests.
For traveling guests, experiencing your town is an important part of their overall wedding experience so make sure they feel right at home!