With so many of our new clients being from out of town, or stuck with the burden of catering to out of town guests, we wanted to share some ways you can make the settling in process fit within the wedding festivities in a warm and seamless way.
First, we feel it is important to take the time to recognize the special efforts made by your airborne attendees! The following are few ideas the AWE team has compiled to ensure your guests get the welcome they deserve without putting a hole in your budget!
Home Sweet Home
One of the first steps to consider when expecting out of town guests is where will they stay? You can start by making your guests feel appreciated even before they arrive by setting aside a block of rooms at a local hotel that is close to either your residence or ideally your venue. Many hotels will offer reduced group rates (reduced even further when you work with a planner!), and since you know the area better than your out of towners, booking accommodations in advance is an overall great idea. In most cases the minimum number of rooms required to make a block is around 10 rooms per night. If your out of town guest volume is above this it is often a nice gesture to have 2-3 room rate options at various hotels so that you guests have the choice in price point when they decide to book. Once your selections are made you can include this information in your invitations, or on your wedding website for guests to refer to. Not only does this easy and small gesture save your guests the hassle of making travel arrangements, but shows them you appreciate their effort to attend your event.
Nothing hits home after a day of airplane food or take-out than a variety of yummy treats when your guests arrive at their hotel. But before you start researching on the standard fruit basket put some thought into the message you want to send.If you have a small list of family and friends why not specialize the treats to the guests? If you know your college friend likes to unwind at the end of a long day with a glass of wine, its a good idea to throw in a bottle of wine with a small cheese platter. Or if your favorite aunt has a soft spot for chocolate she may be thrilled to find a plate of her favorite kind upon arrival.If your out of town guest list is too large for this much personal attention, consider gift baskets stocked with local treats or that go with the theme of your wedding. It’s important to call the hotel ahead of time to work out with the front desk or concierge the best way to get the gifts into guest rooms before they arrive, as well as when they should be dropped off to the hotel.
The Little Travelers
If your guests will be arriving with the little ones in tow why not help out the parents with some post-travel trauma relief. Prepare activity packs with age specific games and activities to keep the kids busy while their parents can enjoy their weekend away. Busy kids will also be less disruptive to your weekend of events! Ensure that you consider all items including, batteries, pen and paper! Also be sure to avoid anything that can be too noisy or messy! In our experience large boxes of crayons are usually a safe way to go, and travel versions of board games work will if there are several children in the same age group.
The Survival Kit
It’s hard to imagine that after the catering, clothing and that to die for cupcake bar have all been paid for there is anything left over for welcome gifts. However, putting together a survival kit containing all the information your guests might need for their stay is an easy and inexpensive way to show them your appreciation.
Some things to include:
- A welcome note that greets your guests and thanks them for coming
- Directions to the nearest drugstore/convenience store if there isn’t one at the hotel
- Menus and directions to local restaurants (for an added touch put down your favorites!)
- A list of taxi and car rental services
- Brochures or a list of local attractions that they may want to look at while they are in town
- Maps and guides for public transportation – be sure to include directions to the closest pick up points
- Directions and phone numbers to the nearest same-day dry cleaners
- Local sources for fax, email, etc. Many of your guests will still be working while they are in town!
- An itinerary of wedding events
- Driving directions from the hotel to your wedding venue and back (if budget permits you may want to consider a shuttle for those guests without vehicles)
- Family contact information
Be sure to ask the hotel for help as they will probably have all of this information on hand already
Other Ways to Include the Out of Towners
- Invite them to your rehearsal dinner or to a gathering taking place after the dinner, or a pre-wedding function
- Arrange for a hospitality suite at the hotel that is stocked with snacks and drinks
- For those guests who couldn’t it make from out of town why not send them a wedding program with a note that says they were missed
- Now a day with technology on our side you can even ask your videographer if they can create a live stream broadcast online so that people can view your wedding from miles away right at home!
Happy Planning from the AWE Team!