When it comes to getting married, nearly every couple I have ever spoken to has out of town guests they are anxious to get RSVPs from. It’s the world we live in today; not everyone you love will live just down the street. People move, they travel, they spread their wings. And some of the guests who are most important to you, will have to travel the furthest to get to your big day.
Even if you’ve planned that big day right in your own hometown.
The thing about weddings is, they’re expensive to travel to. While all your guests likely had to make some sacrifices to attend your big day (re-arranging schedules, hiring babysitters, or even just giving up what could otherwise have been a beautiful day spent outdoors), there’s no question that your traveling guests are sacrificing the most. The cost of airfare and hotels alone make their venture to your big day a sacrifice worth acknowledging.
So if you want to make your traveling guests feel special, and to let them know how glad you are they made the trip, here are a few ways to ensure they go back home grateful that they made those sacrifices in the first place.
Do Some Scouting
It won’t take much to call around and find a few hotels (hopefully at different budget levels) that are willing to offer a group rate to your guests. If you have a wedding planner, he or she may already have those connections. But by making this effort, not only are you able to provide hotel recommendations to your traveling guests in your invite (thereby saving them the calls, and hopefully a few extra bucks), you’re also able to communicate that their presence means something to you.
Greet them With a Gift
Work with the hotels to ensure your guests have a “Welcome To…” basket waiting in their room upon arrival. This might include a short, but personalized note from you, an itinerary for the events to come, a few local gifts (perhaps a bottle of wine from your favorite local vineyard, or some sweets from a local bakery), brochures and discount coupons for local attractions, and maybe even a hangover kit (water and aspirin) for the wedding morning after.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with this… the more personal the touches, the more obvious it will be that you cared enough to thank them for making the trip.
Host a Welcome Event
In the days leading up to your wedding, you’re frantically busy. Everyone knows that, and no one expects you to go too out of your way with any additional planning. But if possible, invite your guests to some sort of casual event in the day or two prior to your wedding, where you can spend some time with them outside the chaos of your actual wedding day. This could be as simple as happy hour at a local bar, a BBQ at your parent’s house, or pizza at the beach. The beauty here is that you will also get them all mingling together, so even if you have to jet off early—you’ve helped to introduce your traveling guests to each other.
Personalize the “Thank You”
When filling out your thank you notes, add an extra line or two to thank your traveling guests once more for making the trip. Yes, they’ll appreciate being thanked for the hand towels or mixing bowls as well, but being reminded that you truly appreciated their travel will show them that the gift of their presence was what meant the most to you.