Anna Post, Guest Author
Many couples invite wedding guests from near and far to join them on their special day. Providing an experience that makes out-of-town guests feel at home and welcome will create a lasting memory for everyone. Give guests ample time to plan, suggest places to stay and eat, and if time and money permits, throw in a few weekend extras.
Save the date cards are especially important for guests who may be traveling to join you on your special day. Usually mailed four to eight months in advance, they allow out-of-town guests to book plane tickets and hotel rooms with plenty of time.
If you are planning a dinner or get-together for out-of-town guests at a local club or restaurant, include this information for these guests on a separate card within your wedding invitation. It is also ideal to include this information in a tab on your wedding website that lists the schedule of wedding events.
Provide a list of suggested hotels in close proximity to your ceremony and wedding reception site. You can add this information on your wedding website as soon as you know it so guests can book early. Offer a few selections at different price points, or you may be able to hold a block of rooms at one or two hotels at a special price. Couples often ask a few close friends or family members if they would be willing to host an out-of-town guest or bridal party member at their house for the weekend.
At the selected hotels, consider leaving a welcome letter for your arriving guests. Include a personal note thanking them for joining you and showing your excitement. This is also a good place to include a timetable of events, relevant addresses for venues, links to online map sites, telephone numbers and any information about transportation services if they will be provided.
While by no means a must, a goodie bag is a popular way to welcome out-of-town guests. These are often DIY projects and can incorporate whatever your time and budget allow. Some suggestions include bottled water, restaurant suggestions, mints, small candies or chocolates, granola bars, tissues, sunscreen wipes, maps, and brochures of local activities.
When wedding guests will be staying several nights, couples often organize or suggest ways for out-of-town and even local guests to spend their free time. These plans can include things such as golf outings, reserved tennis courts or could get as creative as a trolley tour of the city where your wedding is held. It is important to note that it isn’t the responsibility of the couple to pay for these activities; however, it should be clearly communicated that guests are expected to pay if they attend. Choose activities that align with what your guests are interested in, what they can afford and what makes sense with the schedule of other events for the weekend.
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