Remember that little golden rule to 'treat others as you would like to be treated'? Simple, right? When it comes to your big day, it's easy to get distracted by they chaos of everything, but keeping that rule in mind will be seriously appreciated, especially by your out-of-town wedding guests!
Put yourself in their shoes: You're invited to an out-of-state event and took the time and money to book airfare, a hotel, transportation, a gift, and to top it all off, the bride and groom say a whole five words to you while you're there. Money well spent, right? It's your duty to ensure that your guests feel welcomed so take the time to make that happen! From invitation etiquette to creating a wedding website, we have some easy ways to help make their experience more enjoyable.
Invitation etiquette for your out-of-town wedding guests.
First and foremost, the more notice of the event, the better. Being able to plan ahead is going to be huge for your travelers so make sure you can provide them with all the necessary information that they will need to plan their trip.
Save the dates can be sent the typical 6-8 months in advance and should provide enough info so that travel arrangements can be made. While you don't have to include the exact venue on your save the date, giving a city and state is necessary. Including your wedding website is also ideal, but we'll get more into that in a bit.
The invitations themselves are usually okay to be sent 6-8 weeks in advance, but your out-of-town wedding guests will appreciate more of a heads up. Plan to send these three months before the big day. This should include the exact location, the time, any hotel or parking accommodations, and a map (if needed.)
Organize details with a wedding website.
The easiest way for your guests to get all of the deets (and not accidentally throw it in the recycling!) is to create a wedding website that they can access whenever, wherever! Don't fret - there's tons of free options and it just takes a little bit of time to set up. You can include things such as: your engagement story, pictures, info about the bridal party, times and locations, a map, nearby hotels and attractions, parking information, the menu, and any extra details you want. The options are endless! Some websites (such as The Knot) even allow your guests to RSVP online. Genius!
Help organize travel arrangements.
Being able to help in even the smallest way possible is going to be greatly appreciated. Start by simply researching nearby hotels and room rates. The less work your travelers have to do, the better! If you want to go a step above, block out a certain number of hotel rooms so all they'll have to do is call and book one. You can also help with their transportation by either planning a shuttle or cabs (at the end of the night) that go back to the hotels. And as long as the hotel allows it, leave your out-of-town wedding guests a 'thank you' gift in their room. It can be something as fancy as a fruit basket or bottle of champagne to something as simple as a plate of homemade cookies or at the least, a handwritten note.
Don't forget to simply thank them.
Remember: your guests are traveling to be there in celebration with you, not just for you. They are taking the time and money to take part in your day and deserve to be recognized for that - as does everyone! The simplest and most important thing you can do (at the very least) is merely acknowledge them for all being there. If you can't get around to talking to everyone individually, make sure to address all of your guests in a speech and thank them for traveling from near and far.
We want to know: what did you do to help make accommodations easy for your travelers? Did you book hotel rooms, create an itinerary, seek out airfare, etc.? Let us know in the comments below!