Couples often don’t realize that traveling for a wedding can be hard on guests. While friends and family who live an hour or two away may have no difficulties attending, hopping on a plane or making a long drive comes with a whole set of logistics to consider. Out-of-town guests face the cost of hotels, airfare, and other transportation costs. They may also need to consider taking time off from work. All this is not to say that you should move the location of your wedding to try to make everyone happy. At the end of the day, you decide where you want to have your perfect wedding. If you do end up having plenty of guests traveling from afar, here are 9 tips to help make travel easier for them!
1. Let them know well ahead of time
It’s important not to expect your loved ones to plan a big trip on short notice. Follow the proper etiquette for sending your save-the-dates and send them well in advance of the event. If a lot of your guests will be traveling, you’ll want to send them at least six months ahead of time, possibly earlier. The more time you can give them to prepare the better! Your save-the-dates and invites should also include the link to your wedding website so they can have all of the important travel details ahead of time as well.
2. Have your wedding at a hotel
If you’re having a destination wedding, choosing a hotel or resort as your wedding venue is often the most practical option. Not only does it make planning easier, but you get the added bonus of being able to provide easy accommodations for all of your guests. If you know most of your guests will be traveling far for the event, a hotel wedding can be a good choice even if your wedding isn’t taking place in some exotic, far-flung location.
3. Book a hotel block or guest house
No matter what kind of venue you choose, there’s plenty you can do to help with accommodations. If you have the ability, booking a hotel block for your guests is a great gesture. It’s worth noting that you don’t have to do this. It’s a nice gesture, but most guests will probably be fine finding their own place to stay. If you have just a few guests traveling from afar, it may be more economical to rent a guest house through a service like Airbnb. If you’re booking a hotel block or guest house, make sure your guests have all the info on your wedding website or app so they can take advantage with a minimum of frustration.
4. Help your guest find the best hotel deals with a Booking Assistant
For those who aren’t able to book accommodations for all their guests, giving them hotel suggestions can still be a great help. You can do the research and find the most convenient places to stay and if there are any special deals or promotions your loved ones can take advantage of. An even easier way to help guests find the best deals on hotels in the area is to use Joy’s booking assistant tool. Your guests can find the best deals from top booking sites to find the most convenient place to stay while saving time and money!
5. Suggest (or organize) activities
Suggesting things for out-of-town guests to do during their stay is another great gesture. If you have the time, it can be lots of fun to organize an event such as a hike or wine tasting to spend extra time with your loved ones. Even if you aren’t able to be there, you can give your guests lots of suggestions for restaurants, tours, and activities. Just use your wedding website to give them all the info they need!
6. Make sure they’re part of the rehearsal dinner
For any wedding, having a rehearsal dinner is a great way to actually spend quality time with your loved ones. You may think you’ll get to spend time with everyone on the wedding day, but with between the photos, the ceremony, and the dancing, it’s rare that the bride and groom are able to spend more than a few minutes with guests individually. Making sure your out-of-town guests are invited to the rehearsal dinner is a great way to show your appreciation for them making the trip to be a part of your big day.
7. Acknowledge their effort, individually
Make sure to acknowledge guests who have traveled far in your wedding speeches. If you can, acknowledge everyone individually rather than lumping all out-of-town guests together. It can really make them feel that their effort is appreciated. It’s also a good idea to mention these loved ones on your wedding website—your wedding party page can include all of your wedding’s MVPs with individual acknowledgements.
8. Give your guests souvenirs
The big event will be memorable enough by itself, or course, but wedding favors that serve as souvenirs of the location as well as the event can be a nice touch. This could be something special from the destination or paying for a wedding weekend outing for your guests.
9. Whatever you do, make sure they have all the necessary info!
If you’re taking steps to make things easier for out-of-town guests, then you want to make sure they have all the info they need conveniently located in one place. Your wedding website should include all the necessary info in the travel section, including transportation info, restaurants and activities, and hotel blocks.
Communication is important for any wedding, but this is especially so when you have lots of guest from out of town. Have a guest communication plan ready so your guests won’t be scrambling to get in touch with you while you’re busy with the final preparations. And if your guest are going to be navigating an unfamiliar location, a wedding app can make it even easier to get the info they need on the go.