Taking Care of Out-of-Town Wedding Guests

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There will more than likely be guests coming to your wedding who live hours away. By plane. I’m talking serious travelers, here. People will hustle to your wedding ceremony coping with sleeping off jetlag in an unfamiliar bed. While you, the bride and groom, are not obligated to pay for any of their extra expenses, it’s just simple courtesy to do what you can to make traveling less of a chore for your out of town wedding guests. How can you make your out of town wedding guests’ time in your hometown as comfy as possible? Here are some easy ideas:

* Research hotels in your area and post them on your wedding website. Find two with good reputations and different price ranges and reserve a block of rooms at each. Send the hotel information with your wedding invitations. By reserving the rooms in bulk, everyone on your guess list can score a discounted rate.

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* Send out a wedding newsletter early on.You can include travel tips and things to do, of course, but if you’re feeling ambitious take it to the next level with a multi-day schedule of events (e.g., a pre-wedding barbecue or a post-wedding brunch).

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* Of course, that means scheduling events. Ask your mom or a friend to host a pre-wedding cocktail meet and mingle for the bridal party and out of town guests.Just don’t go overboard – give out of town wedding guests a chance to relax, too.

* Provide them with rental car information. And if you can afford it, arrange to have a car service pick them up at the airport. It’s a nice way to welcome guests and take one thing off their plate.

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* Provide them with transportation to and from the wedding. This is a really nice gesture for your out-of-town guests that don’t know their way around your city or town. It is also good for any elderly guests that might have trouble driving. A mini-bus or van can be rented for the day and you can ask a friend to be the chauffeur.

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* Put gift baskets or bags in your out of town wedding guests’ rooms before they arrive.The best welcome bags and baskets are fun and useful. Maps are good, as are toiletries hotels don’t usually provide. Local delicacies, from wine to spice blend or even specialty candy, are always appreciated. Don’t forget to include a thank you!

* Don’t go too crazy, though, unless your budget allows. Most welcome bags for out of town wedding guests are a little treat rather than a big to-do. One way to make simple welcome bags special is to choose cloth totes with your state or some other form of personalization on them.

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* Finally, consider inviting out of town wedding guests to the rehearsal dinner. It’s not a necessity but it is nice!

(Images via Be Collective, An Exercise in Frugality, 23Eleven Events, Anne Elizabeth Designs, Lion in the Sun, The Indigo Bunting)

christa terry author of iDo