As almost every wedding these days includes out-of-town guests, and it’s important to show your appreciation by offering them as much support as possible. While you certainly don’t need to pay for their travel expenses and accommodations, they will be grateful for guidance in the form of suggested hotels, a wedding itinerary, sightseeing recommendations, and other tips that will simplify their experience.
1. Create a wedding website with an itinerary.
A wedding website is a wonderful way to provide guests a go-to location to receive all wedding details. Make sure your website features a clear itinerary that includes the times and locations of wedding events, who is hosting said events, dress codes, accommodations and discount codes (if applicable), recommendations for restaurants and activities to fill the time between wedding events, and other details you feel are helpful. For events held in tricky-to-find destinations a GPS may not locate properly, include specific directions.
2. Block out rooms at one or two hotels.
Many hotels allow you to block off a number of rooms that can be offered to your guests at a discount. Guests often appreciate at least two options; one higher-end hotel, and another option that is more affordable. When you’re selecting these hotels, it’s ideal to choose options that are close to the site of your wedding events.
In addition, make sure you negotiate an “open” block of rooms, which means that the rooms will be held for a certain amount of time. When the time has expired, the rooms will be released at no charge to you. After you block off these rooms you’ll likely be able to select a special code guests will use when booking a room at one of your selected hotels.
3. Send an email with travel suggestions.
Even if your wedding website includes this information, it’s helpful to send an email to out-of town guests that includes details for accommodations and discount codes, airport information and suggested flights, details for transport, and a reminder to check the wedding website for itinerary details. It’s also helpful to request guests send you their flight information, as it could be helpful for the following suggestion.
4. Arrange transport for wedding events.
You can significantly simplify your guest’s travels by arranging as much transport as possible. For example, you can arrange to have shuttles transport guests to and from your selected hotels and wedding events. In addition, if numerous guests are arriving at the airport around the same time, you can organize a shuttle to take them to their accommodations.
5. Consider creating welcome packets and gift bags.
Because out-of-town guests are likely spending quite a bit of funds and time to attend your nuptials, leaving a welcome packet and gift bag at their accommodations can be a thoughtful touch.
The welcome packet should include a printout of the wedding itinerary, and any other relevant information. The gift big can be as simple or extravagant as you like, including everything from flowers and a few snacks to certificates for spa treatments. And remember, even if your budget only allows for a few affordable goodies, it’s the thought that counts.
6. Be sure to connect with each guest, and thank them.
It’s easy during wedding events, especially those that include a large number of guests, for the couple-of-honor to not have much time to connect with all guests. However, it’s especially important to make a point of greeting out-of-town guests, thanking them for the efforts required to attend your big day, and asking how their trip has been.
7. Help your guests with Joy’s Booking Assistant
We can help you help your out-of-town guests with our Booking Assistant, which allows your guests to easily book accommodations through Airbnb, Booking.com, Hotels.com and Kayak. In addition, this service aids your guests in finding the best deals on hotels near your venue through the Travel page on your Joy wedding website.
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Bailey Gaddis is a travel writer and author of Feng Shui Mommy: Creating Balance and Harmony for Blissful Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood. In addition, she works as a childbirth preparation educator and birth doula who supports mothers-to-be and new mothers. She is also a regular contributor to media outlets including Disney’s Babble, Working Mother, Pregnancy & Newborn, Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, and Woman’s Day. In addition to her childbirth-prep work, she volunteers for families in need of postpartum support. She lives in Ojai, California.