The majority of families don’t have the luxury of living together in the same town. Jobs and other factors pull them to different cities and states, but they all return home when it’s time for a wedding.
It’s so special when family members drive or fly back to attend your wedding. It isn’t easy to take time off work or get away from their daily lives, but they do it because they love you and want to celebrate your upcoming marriage.
Everyone is bound to have fun once they arrive, but they may need a little bit of help. Read on to learn how you can use these seven tips to host out-of-town wedding guests. With a little extra thought and care, all your guests will feel welcomed and ready to celebrate.
1. Put Everything Online
You’ll spend time putting together invitations and RSVP notes to send out to your guests, but the reality is that many of your guests will end up losing their invite in the months leading up to your wedding. That’s why it’s smart to put everything your guests need online by making a wedding website. You can do it for free and only give the URL out to those on your invite list. Make dedicated pages on the site that outline things like:
- Where they can fly into
- Which highways lead into town
- Where they can stay
- Where and when your wedding will take place
Don’t leave it up to your guests to remember everything on their own. They can easily check your website if they have any questions and save you from having to handle confused phone calls on your wedding day.
2. Make Welcome Bags
Welcome bags are an adorable way to make your guests feel comfortable after they’ve travelled. Make them by hand and choose a bag theme, like including local products or midnight snacks. Print out notes that explain what’s in the bag, and work with the hotel they stay with so the housekeeping staff can leave the bags in their rooms before they arrive.
3. List Transportation Options
Depending on where your wedding will take place, guests will have different transportation options at their disposal. Will they know how to use any available public transit in your city? Is there a shuttle they can take into town or a taxi service you’d recommend? Smaller towns may only have rental car options, so make sure your guests know how to get around by listing transportation methods on your website.
4. Reserve a Hotel Block
One of the best things you can do for your out-of-town wedding guests is to reserve a hotel block so they don’t have to worry about where they’ll stay. Talk with hotels around your wedding venue to see what discounted room rates they can offer for your guests. After you get a quote you like, reserve a block of rooms and provide the room discount code to the guests who RSVP. They’ll appreciate the cheaper room rate while still staying somewhere comfortable.
5. Provide Entertainment Options
Some wedding guests may arrive a few days early for your wedding, especially if they’re part of the ceremony and need to rehearse. They’ll want to do something more than relax in their hotel. Make a list of entertainment options around where they’ll be staying, so they know what’s available.
List things like movie theaters, bowling alleys, restaurants and even local fairs happening while they’re in town. At the same time, don’t overbook your guests with events, or they’ll feel exhausted. Writing everything out for them gives them the freedom to do what they want when they want.
6. Think of Their Needs
How long will your wedding guests be in town? They may be there only a few days, or your wedding festivities could stretch over a week or two if it’s in a destination spot. Think of what your guests will need while they’re there. Will they need to have laundry done? Toothpaste replaced? A refill on their shampoo and conditioner? Negotiate with the hotel they’ll stay at to see what services the hotel staff can include to make things easier for your guests.
7. Keep Communication Open
It’s essential to maintain a line of communication between you and your wedding guests. Let them know you’re there to help, and when you’re unavailable, give them the contact information of someone they can call. Your parents, future in-laws or your wedding planner could all be great resources to talk to ahead of time as people guests can reach out to if they need anything.
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Imagine you’re an out-of-town guest attending your wedding. What would you want to know about the venue area and what might you need help with? Put yourself in your guests’ shoes to get ahead of their needs and provide early solutions. Things like booking a hotel block or listing transportation options are easy ways to get ahead of the game and solve problems before they happen.