In an ideal world, your wedding would take place in a spot that was convenient for every single guest on the invite list. Unfortunately, we’re not living in that utopia, and you’re likely to have at least a handful of people traveling to take part in your big day.
You can and will profusely thank them for their attendance, of course, but there’s so much more to do to make sure your out-of-town guests get the most out of your wedding weekend. To ensure every minute is comfortable and enjoyable for them, avoid the following five planning mistakes often made when hosting attendees from far-flung places.
1. You Don’t Give Them a Proper Hello
After a long day of travel, your out-of-town wedding guests will want nothing more than a nice meal — and perhaps a drink, too. It’s up to you to make this a reality by planning a wedding welcome party where your guests can make this wish come true.
You don’t want the evening to be too overwhelming since they have just traveled from far and wide. However, a casual cocktail party, outdoor game night or a trip to the local brewery will bring everyone together in a relaxed setting. Make sure there’s plenty of good food on-hand, no matter where you choose.
If for some reason you’re not able to host this type of event, make sure your out-of-town guests are taken care of anyway. Set up a hospitality suite at their hotel, where they can find snacks and drinks to tide them over. Or, make dinner reservations for them, so the night they arrive is as stress-free as possible.
2. They Have Nowhere to Stay
Long before you schedule the first-night festivities, you need to think about where your guests will spend the night(s) before your nuptials. In fact, as soon as you have your venue booked, you should start searching for lodging options for your wedding attendees.
Once you’ve honed in on a few destinations, take steps to reserve a block of rooms. Be sure to include this information on your wedding website or alongside your save-the-date and invitation. That way, a big part of their planning is already done — they just have to figure out they’re getting to and from the hotel.
3. You Over-Curate Their Weekends
You might think you’re doing your out-of-town guests a favor by planning everything for them. But imagine arriving for what’s supposed to be a joyous — yet relaxing — weekend getaway and realizing every minute is jam-packed with stuff to do. It’s sure to overwhelm the people you’re trying to entertain.
This isn’t to say you should leave the planning entirely in the hands of your guests, either. One must-do activity a day is a nice compromise for everyone. If you feel like you have to give everyone an itinerary, send them a list of suggestions in advance so they can pick and choose their entertainment. You’ll find this makes your life easier, too — you can focus on planning your wedding while they plan their weekends.
4. Your Communication Is Lacking
Perhaps you’re planning an outdoor wedding, but you see on the news that a rainstorm is headed your way on the date of your nuptials. What are you going to do? Chances are, you already have a rain plan in place — you’re either going to cover the aisle with a tent or move the ceremony indoors to an entirely different location.
No matter what your plan B is, you need to clearly and quickly communicate plans with your guests. A simple email will not suffice, especially for those who are traveling and keeping busy with those activities mentioned above. Instead, have a member of your bridal party call everyone to tell them where and when everything will go down, so your out-of-town visitors aren’t left to wonder.
5. You’re Not a Part of It
We touched on this with the welcome party, but it’s common throughout a bride’s wedding that she’s MIA before her big day. It’s normal to have nerves or things to do. However, putting off vendor meetings until the last minute can take away the time you should be spending with loved ones. This will especially hurt your out-of-town guests, who have traveled far to see you and probably hope to spend more than a few minutes at the reception saying hi.
So, stay in the moment as much as possible. Attend a few of the events you’ve planned for your guests and be sure to say “thank you” as many times as you can to everyone who makes your wedding as unique as it’s sure to be. Your out-of-town guests play a big part in that, and, with these five tips, you’re sure to make the weekend as memorable for them as it is for you.
About the Author
Kacey Bradley is the lifestyle and travel blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Along with writing for her blog, she frequently writes for sites like US Travel News, Thought Catalog, Style Me Pretty, Tripping.com and more!