For some of your guests, attending your wedding may require a significant amount of travel. It is important to remember that these guests are going the extra mile to be a part of your special day. It is your job to be a gracious host and make sure they are entertained. All is takes is a little extra planning on your part. Here are some tips to make sure your out-of-town guests are taken care of:
First, make sure you provide your guests with as much information as possible before the wedding. The easiest way to do this is to create a wedding webpage and include all of your wedding details. Websites such as Wedding Wire and Wedding Jojo are a great hosting site for your webpage. On your page you could consider adding a rundown of all the events leading up to your wedding and those that come after it. You also want to include any and all times, locations, dress code, and host information for each activity. This webpage is a good resource for all of your guests, but will be especially important to those that are not from the area. For your non-tech savvy guests, you should designate a point of contact for your out of town guests to contact should they have any questions. This could be the bride or groom's parents or a member of the bridal party. You can also choose one of your friends or family members as this contact person that is not in the bridal party to make them feel more involved and included in the wedding.
Some of these out of town guests might end up scheduling a mini-vacation around your wedding and will want to do some sight-seeing while they are there. Others might just be looking for what to do during the down times between your wedding festivities. You might want to consider including local attractions that your guests might want to visit. These could be anywhere from shopping centers, restaurants, parks, beaches, famous landmarks, sport venues, museums, and any and all things that you think an out of town guest might want to check off their vacation check-list. If you really want to go above and beyond, create sample itineraries for your guests who may want to do some exploring.
Finding a couple of different hotels near your ceremony or reception venue and setting up room-blocks is a great way to help out all of your guests. This is the best way to guarantee your guests are all located together and it will also allow them to book their rooms at a discounted rate. Sure, some guests might ultimately choose a different hotel, but this will save most of them the hassle of having to look for hotels themselves. It is also a good idea to make Welcome bags for your guests who will be staying at these hotels. You can include things such as: mints, aspirin, snacks, bottled water, suggestions for nearby attractions, directions to the ceremony and reception site, and rehearsal dinner, and always be sure to add a small personalized Thank You note for each guest. How you choose to distribute these bags is up to you. You can have the front desk hand them out to each guest upon check-in (if they are willing to provide this service) or we recommend having them placed in each room, since its likely that local guests who will be utilizing the room-block won't need them and you don't want them to feel left out if they see other guests getting them in the lobby and they do not.
Making the trip seem "worth it" to your out of town guests, some of whom could be taking off work and traveling across the country for your wedding, means that you might have to include them in more of the wedding festivities than just the ceremony and reception. You should consider inviting them to the rehearsal dinner and the day-after brunch (if you decide to have one). The entire reason for them coming out is to be a part of your special day and they want to spend as much time with you as possible. Make that happen by scheduling some time specifically for them. Don't forget to include a special thank you to all of them in your toast at your rehearsal dinner.