Make it easy on your long-distance guests. They have come a long way. A “Save the Date” card should be sent out as soon as you have finalized your planning, usually four to six months before the wedding date. Make deals with local hotels or motels. Ask for a special group rate and be sure to communicate it to your relatives and friends.
It doesn’t take much to do a little extra for your out of town guests, and we’re certain they’ll appreciate your extra thoughtfulness.
Do your part to keep your guests safe. Consider partnering with a hotel with a shuttle service between the wedding reception site and the hotel. Send a card with your invitation offering a special rate at the hotel for your guests with the headline, “Don’t Drink and Drive!” Arrange for the privilege of having your guests hop on a shuttle at half hour intervals for guests that want a “designated driver.”
Include a phone number for hotel reservations of several area hotels and resorts. You may want to include some travel tips for guests. Some out-of-towners will choose to rent cars. Be sure to provide car rental info with your hotel and airline details.
Provide a map in your invitation to help your guests get familiar with the area.
Create a wedding web page for an easily referenced one-stop-shop for guests to check up on everything you have planned. Give them a complete rundown of the events leading up to and following your walk down the aisle. Include key times, locations, who is hosting, what to wear, and so on for each activity. Tell your visitors about any free time they’ll have, and provide suggestions for how to fill it.
Comfort the jet-lagged and travel-weary with a little something left in their hotel rooms. Nothing hits the spot more after a day of airline food or rest-stop take-out then an assortment of yummy treats waiting on the hotel dresser – especially ones your guest won’t be billed for by the item. For guests traveling with children, provide a smaller bag with age-appropriate toys, activity books and kid-friendly snacks along with the grown-up’s goodies.
“Create welcome packets of relevant information (phone numbers of the families of the bride and groom, the names of the other guests staying at the hotel, nearby hot spots to check out) to leave in guests’ rooms with another copy of your wedding itinerary, plus local brochures and sightseeing maps. Enlist the aid of your wedding crew to assemble and distribute all these treats. Finally, add that finishing touch and pen a personal note thanking each guest for coming to celebrate with you.” ~ The Knot
If your wedding is in Arizona, always include bottled water in you welcome packets. It’s important for your guests to be hydrated while they are in the Valley of the Sun (Greater Phoenix area). Find an adorable keepsake to stuff in the bag that is unique to your wedding’s locale. You may want to include a “Recovery Kit” (for hangovers). Give your guests a little love and make sure they’re stocked in aspirin and water. Perhaps even a custom do-not-disturb door hanger is in order. A month before your wedding, ask your local Chamber of Commerce to send brochures of area attractions to your visiting guests so they can plan their activities during their stay.
Long pauses between the ceremony and reception are generally a bummer to your guest. Schedule the cocktail hour immediately following the wedding ceremony. Arrange to take lots of your wedding photos before the wedding so you can make an appearance at the cocktail hour. Brides and grooms usually miss the cocktail partner because they are off somewhere with the photographer taking photos. Consider a “First Look!”
Some couples have a small appreciation brunch or dinner for traveling guests. Usually held after the wedding, the meal is an additional way for the bride and groom to personally thank these attendees. If a small celebration after the wedding is out of the question, consider inviting them to the rehearsal dinner. This will make your guests feel extra special and welcome.
Although the Minister will be at the wedding, to help you keep track of guests, remember to send him/her a wedding invitation. If you have invited him/her to the reception and you have assigned seating, remember to list his/her name on the table cards.
Let the concierge at their hotel know the details of your wedding; such as where they are registered, the time-line, and where it is being held. This way if guests have questions the hotel staff is prepared with the answers.
Pamper your out-of-town guests. A wedding can cost out of town guests between $500 to $1000 per person when you factor in the airfare, hotel, car rental, activities, food, and lost time at work.
Having lots of out-of-town guests takes a little extra effort. Remember to get your bridal party involved in relieving you of some of things that need to be done.
Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 445 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Check Larry’s availability.
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