Articles

Great Advice for Wedding Planning

Pampering Your Out-Of-Town-Guest

by Katie Day

Silverfox Photography

Finding that perfect place for your guests is within your reach with a little bit of planning and preparation. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for your guest to attend your wedding.

One way to accomplish that is to do a bit of research and provide them with a list of various hotel accommodations. If you or your groom are from the area, you'll know better than your out-of- town guests which hotels are convenient. Taking the guesswork out and providing a list of options for your guests is your best bet.

When reserving a room block at a more upscale hotel, be mindful that your guests will have different budgets, so you may also want to provide your guests alternative price points. A wedding website is an easy way for you to convey all of the necessary information. When it comes to out of town guests, more information is better.

"We find it's best to give guests all of the details," says Renae Ouellette, Area Director of Catering at Kimpton Hotels of Alexandria. "This includes cost, the deadline for booking, a link to make reservations, and hotel details such as the address, distance from airports or train stations, distance from other wedding activities, and the check-in and check-out times."

Depending on how far your guests will be traveling, they may need to take time off of work, book plane tickets, or make other arrangements. These things may take time, so the sooner you provide them with key information, the better chance they'll have of attending your wedding.

"In our experience, room blocks should always be set up as soon as you book your wedding venue," recommends Ouellette. Booking early will ensure you don't run into issues with availability and you can give your guests ample time to make plans.

"Ames Boston Hotel is a small boutique hotel, so we typically can only offer up to 25 guest rooms per night for a wedding block, and room blocks are often secured up to a year prior to the wedding," says Grigelevich. This doesn't just go for smaller hotels. If your wedding is during a holiday, or another popular travel time, the bigger hotels will also book up quickly. Make it a point to put room blocks at the top of your list.

In addition, once you've set up the room blocks, the planning doesn't stop there. While this is not required, it's a nice gesture to have a welcome goodie bag for out-of-town guests and a couple of activities planned for them. Your guests have spent time and money to travel to your wedding, so take some time to show your appreciation and make them feel welcome.

"It's fairly standard that out-of-town guests receive a welcome bag," says Grigelevich. "It usually has some snacks, possibly wine or champagne, and information about the wedding festivities and the local area."

"Keep it authentic and don't overthink it," recommends Elise Kolle, Events Director at PINKBOXE Weddings and Events. "It's a nice touch to incorporate something about your local wedding area or wedding theme in the bags. Recently, a couple we worked with decided in lieu of welcome bags, they would send a donation on behalf of their wedding guests to create goodie bags for deployed soldiers, which everyone loved."

Couples usually host pre and post wedding events for out-of-town guests. All of our experts recommend doing so if the budget allows. It's a nice gesture and will give you more one on one time with your guests. One popular pre-wedding event is a welcome reception.

"The welcome reception usually takes place the day before the wedding," says Kolle. "It sets the tone, gives your guests a chance to unwind after their travels and to think about the fabulous weekend ahead." If you'd prefer to catch up with your guests after your big day, consider hosting a post wedding brunch.

"Wedding parties are finding brunch to be a great way to recap the weekend's activities, chat with friends and family members you only saw briefly on your wedding day, and yes, finally eat," says Ouellette.

Check and see if your hotel has a signature restaurant where guests can gather for a drink or an event space where you can host the welcome reception or post wedding brunch. It will be more convenient for guests to attend festivities at or near the hotel. It will also save you the time and effort of having to provide additional addresses and directions.

"It is best to book these pre and post events immediately after you book your reception venue, just to guarantee the dates, times, and spaces you desire," Kolle says. "If you're opening the events to everyone, send it along with your formal wedding invitations."

If you're only inviting out-of-town guests to the pre or post events, then a separate invitation is preferred. Grigelevich also noted that you can notify guests of these events via a welcome letter in their welcome gift bag.

When it comes to these wedding events, more isn't always better. "I have seen couples who feel like they have to entertain their out-of-town guests every minute of the day," says Grigelevich. Don't worry about consistently having planned activities. While it's great to spend time with your guests, you'll want a bit of down time throughout the wedding weekend. If you're worried guests will get bored, create a page on your wedding website or include brochures for local attractions in the welcome bag. That way if your guests want to do an activity they'll have plenty of options.

"We suggest clearly indicating what is considered a group activity and part of the wedding festivities and what is optional," says Ouellette. If wedding festivities aren't clearly indicated you run the risk of guests getting confused. You'll have plenty to think about during your wedding events. It would be best to avoid having to be fielding questions from your guests about where they need to be or what they're supposed to be doing.

One of the most common concerns brides and grooms have when it comes to out-of-town guests is transportation. If your wedding day festivities will be held in the hotel within walking distance away, your guests won't need transportation. If your ceremony or reception is further from the hotel, you may want to provide transportation for your guests.

"Remember that many generations of families are typically present at weddings," says Kolle. "This means varying levels of familiarity with ride sharing apps, navigating the roads in an unfamiliar area, and public transportation. Providing transportation for out-of-town guests is a great way for everyone to chat and interact pre-ceremony and reception and a lovely touch for their convenience."

If providing guest transportation isn't in your budget, consider creating a local guide for your guests that includes the ceremony and reception location, along with the full address and directions of how to get there. Include multiple options for your guests, some may prefer to use ride sharing, while others may want to drive themselves.

No matter what you have planned for your out-of-town guests, be sure to take time to enjoy their company. Your wedding is a great time to catch up with friends and family that you may not see that often, or who haven't seen each other in a while. Have fun with your wedding festivities and enjoy your guests!

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Finding that perfect place for your guests is within your reach with a little bit of planning and preparation. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for your guest to attend your wedding.

One way to accomplish that is to do a bit of research and provide them with a list of various hotel accommodations. If you or your groom are from the area, you'll know better than your out-of- town guests which hotels are convenient. Taking the guesswork out and providing a list of options for your guests is your best bet.

When reserving a room block at a more upscale hotel, be mindful that your guests will have different budgets, so you may also want to provide your guests alternative price points. A wedding website is an easy way for you to convey all of the necessary information. When it comes to out of town guests, more information is better.

"We find it's best to give guests all of the details," says Renae Ouellette, Area Director of Catering at Kimpton Hotels of Alexandria. "This includes cost, the deadline for booking, a link to make reservations, and hotel details such as the address, distance from airports or train stations, distance from other wedding activities, and the check-in and check-out times."

Depending on how far your guests will be traveling, they may need to take time off of work, book plane tickets, or make other arrangements. These things may take time, so the sooner you provide them with key information, the better chance they'll have of attending your wedding.

"In our experience, room blocks should always be set up as soon as you book your wedding venue," recommends Ouellette. Booking early will ensure you don't run into issues with availability and you can give your guests ample time to make plans.

"Ames Boston Hotel is a small boutique hotel, so we typically can only offer up to 25 guest rooms per night for a wedding block, and room blocks are often secured up to a year prior to the wedding," says Grigelevich. This doesn't just go for smaller hotels. If your wedding is during a holiday, or another popular travel time, the bigger hotels will also book up quickly. Make it a point to put room blocks at the top of your list.

In addition, once you've set up the room blocks, the planning doesn't stop there. While this is not required, it's a nice gesture to have a welcome goodie bag for out-of-town guests and a couple of activities planned for them. Your guests have spent time and money to travel to your wedding, so take some time to show your appreciation and make them feel welcome.

"It's fairly standard that out-of-town guests receive a welcome bag," says Grigelevich. "It usually has some snacks, possibly wine or champagne, and information about the wedding festivities and the local area."

"Keep it authentic and don't overthink it," recommends Elise Kolle, Events Director at PINKBOXE Weddings and Events. "It's a nice touch to incorporate something about your local wedding area or wedding theme in the bags. Recently, a couple we worked with decided in lieu of welcome bags, they would send a donation on behalf of their wedding guests to create goodie bags for deployed soldiers, which everyone loved."

Couples usually host pre and post wedding events for out-of-town guests. All of our experts recommend doing so if the budget allows. It's a nice gesture and will give you more one on one time with your guests. One popular pre-wedding event is a welcome reception.

"The welcome reception usually takes place the day before the wedding," says Kolle. "It sets the tone, gives your guests a chance to unwind after their travels and to think about the fabulous weekend ahead." If you'd prefer to catch up with your guests after your big day, consider hosting a post wedding brunch.

"Wedding parties are finding brunch to be a great way to recap the weekend's activities, chat with friends and family members you only saw briefly on your wedding day, and yes, finally eat," says Ouellette.

Check and see if your hotel has a signature restaurant where guests can gather for a drink or an event space where you can host the welcome reception or post wedding brunch. It will be more convenient for guests to attend festivities at or near the hotel. It will also save you the time and effort of having to provide additional addresses and directions.

"It is best to book these pre and post events immediately after you book your reception venue, just to guarantee the dates, times, and spaces you desire," Kolle says. "If you're opening the events to everyone, send it along with your formal wedding invitations."

If you're only inviting out-of-town guests to the pre or post events, then a separate invitation is preferred. Grigelevich also noted that you can notify guests of these events via a welcome letter in their welcome gift bag.

When it comes to these wedding events, more isn't always better. "I have seen couples who feel like they have to entertain their out-of-town guests every minute of the day," says Grigelevich. Don't worry about consistently having planned activities. While it's great to spend time with your guests, you'll want a bit of down time throughout the wedding weekend. If you're worried guests will get bored, create a page on your wedding website or include brochures for local attractions in the welcome bag. That way if your guests want to do an activity they'll have plenty of options.

"We suggest clearly indicating what is considered a group activity and part of the wedding festivities and what is optional," says Ouellette. If wedding festivities aren't clearly indicated you run the risk of guests getting confused. You'll have plenty to think about during your wedding events. It would be best to avoid having to be fielding questions from your guests about where they need to be or what they're supposed to be doing.

One of the most common concerns brides and grooms have when it comes to out-of-town guests is transportation. If your wedding day festivities will be held in the hotel within walking distance away, your guests won't need transportation. If your ceremony or reception is further from the hotel, you may want to provide transportation for your guests.

"Remember that many generations of families are typically present at weddings," says Kolle. "This means varying levels of familiarity with ride sharing apps, navigating the roads in an unfamiliar area, and public transportation. Providing transportation for out-of-town guests is a great way for everyone to chat and interact pre-ceremony and reception and a lovely touch for their convenience."

If providing guest transportation isn't in your budget, consider creating a local guide for your guests that includes the ceremony and reception location, along with the full address and directions of how to get there. Include multiple options for your guests, some may prefer to use ride sharing, while others may want to drive themselves.

No matter what you have planned for your out-of-town guests, be sure to take time to enjoy their company. Your wedding is a great time to catch up with friends and family that you may not see that often, or who haven't seen each other in a while. Have fun with your wedding festivities and enjoy your guests!

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