It’s time to take care of the last-minute details for your wedding, and you’re wondering how you’ll accommodate out-of-town guests. You don’t want them to have a long, tiring day, so we’ve put together some tips for making their stay as comfortable as possible.
When throwing a wedding, it is essential to understand the importance of acc out-of-town guests.
It is important to remember that many friends and family will travel miles to celebrate the happy event, so they deserve a proper welcome.
Here are some tips to make everyone feel at home and comfortable.
FIND ACCOMMODATIONS NEAR THE VENUE
When it comes to accommodations, the closer you can get to the venue, the better. If your platform provides accommodations, you should start there.
Contact the venue manager and ask about availability, room rates, and discounts. If your venue doesn’t provide accommodations or are too expensive, pick 2-3 hotels closest to the forum and book a block of rooms at 1 or 2 of them.
When you’re ready to book, you don’t have to know the final number of out-of-town guests, but you do need a pretty good estimate.
A general rule is to cut your out-of-town guest list number in half and book that number of rooms. (So, if you have 20 out-of-town guests, you would block ten rooms to start and add more rooms later.)
The most important thing to note is that hotels vary in terms of how they block rooms.
Some hotels require you to block a set number, pay a deposit, and be financially responsible for all unsold rooms you stopped.
That’s not an ideal situation, but it might be necessary if your wedding is in a town with limited accommodations or coincides with a huge event.
Some hotels can be more flexible and offer a discounted rate to guests without blocking a certain number of rooms, but you run the risk that the hotel could fill up before all your guests make a reservation.
On the bright side, some hotels can block a set number of rooms without a deposit and will guarantee those rooms and rates until a specific date. Because there are so many possibilities, we suggest you start your search early and encourage your out-of-town guests to reserve their rooms as soon as possible.
Please provide them with every essential detail.
One of the simplest (and most useful) things you could do for your guests is provided with a wedding itinerary.
After sending out your invitations, mail guests an additional clever, elegant or exciting communiquè with a complete rundown of the events leading up to and following your walk down the aisle (or include it in your invitation suite).
In addition, create a wedding website for an easily referenced one-stop-shop for guests to check up on everything you have planned.
In both cases, including critical times, locations, who is hosting, what to wear, and so on for each activity. Tell your visitors about any free time they’ll have, and provide suggestions for filling it.
There may be events you have in mind (such as a brunch the morning after the wedding) that travellers should know about in advance so they can schedule their trips around them.
Be aware that since many of your guests are taking to the skies, they may be turning your nuptial event into a weekend getaway or part of a vacation.
Also, remember some of your guests may have never visited the area before. You may want to add a “travel guide” to your pre-wedding itinerary to get guests excited about the journey.
For example, if there are some incredible sights to see or points of interest to visit, tell your guests if they’d like to do some exploring.
Do some research and investigate which museums will have unique exhibits showing if the local sports team will be playing a home game and what musical or other cultural performances will be happening.
BRAINSTORM TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS IN ADVANCE
Some hotels provide shuttle service to/from the airport, and some even offer shuttle service to/from specific destinations if they are planned.
When you call to reserve your room blocks, ask about any transportations services they can provide, as well.
The prices will vary by hotel, so make sure to ask the rate so you can let your guests know in advance.
If the hotel(s) don’t have a shuttle, take some time to consider how your guests can get to the hotel and the venue.
What is the best form of public transportation, where are the pickup and drop off points, and what are the rates? Is ride-sharing available in your city? Would it be possible to connect your out-of-town guests with in-town guests to set up carpools? Do you have a rental car company to recommend?
Most of your out-of-town guests can probably figure those out on their own, but it is nice to guide them so they can plan and don’t have to stress about it on the actual day or weekend.
Offer suggestions for accommodations and travel.
Though footing the bill for travellers’ overnight accommodations and flights aren’t your responsibility, you and your partner should offer suggestions for finding both (, and tips on scoring good deals will undoubtedly be appreciated).
Put essential details for airlines and hotels (websites, street addresses, phone numbers, directions and cost information) on an insert sent out with your invitation or post it separately on your wedding itinerary or a web page so guests can book their flights and rooms early and know how to get around once they arrive.
Recommend different places for guests to stay.
Look for locations near your ceremony and reception sites, and start calling around about six months beforehand to check on large-scale availability for the days surrounding your wedding and to inquire about special group rates.
To get the best deal for your guests, reserve blocks of rooms at a couple of hotels. Keep your guests’ probable budget range in mind and recommend a range of hotels for every budget.
For the best airfares, try getting in touch with the airlines directly. Inquire about frequent-flyer deals, special discounts and group rates for those who may all be flying in from the same place.
COMPILE A LIST OF MEANINGFUL PLACES TO EAT, DRINK, AND PLAY
While you’re focused on your big day, you’ll want your out-of-town guests to have plenty of things to do once they get into town.
So, put together a list of your and your fiancé’s favourite places to eat and drink and activities around the city.
You could even do a little research to determine if there are any festivals, live music, or special events that they might want to check out.
Sure, they could use Google to find places to go, but this is a great way to not only introduce your city to your guests but also get to share little nuggets of your everyday life with them.
Anyone can find a Starbucks for their morning coffee, but not everyone will know which coffee shop you and your fiancé love for your lazy Sunday coffee dates.
And we bet most of them would love to know that! So, when you’re compiling your list, consider adding a little note about why you recommended those places.
It’s that little something extra to connect with your guests and help them feel welcome.
Think about transportation.
Some out-of-towners will choose to rent cars (be sure to provide car rental info with your hotel and airline details), but for those who don’t, you’ll have to figure out how they’ll get to and from the wedding.
Cover all the bases: You can organise carpools among relatives, talk to the hotel manager to arrange for a hotel shuttle, hire a car or limo service, or rent a few vans or a bus.
It’s also a kind gesture to have someone pick up nondrivers from the airport—especially if they’re new to the area or get nervous travelling.
Recruit volunteers for this: parents, next of kin and friends are likely targets. Put together a roster of arrival times, and have trekkers greeted at the gate with signs bearing their names (be sure to let guests know you’ve arranged this, and clue them in on who to look for).
CREATE FUN AND INFORMATIVE WELCOME BAGS
Your out-of-town guests will be making an extra special effort to attend your wedding, so we think welcome bags are a must to show your appreciation.
The best part is that you can flex those creative muscles, and you don’t need to spend a lot of money to make something extraordinary.
At a minimum, you should include a little something to eat and drink to ease your guests out of their travel day.
Bottled water is a must, but you could also include a local beer, a bottle of bubbly, or another local favourite.
As for snacks, make sure to give a savoury and sweet option to satisfy every craving.
Then add a couple of personal details, such as a cute souvenir, a candle, or even a stamped postcard they can send home.
Round out all those goodies with the information essentials:
- A map
- The weekend itinerary
- Your list of local recommendations
- The information for your designated contact
Finish it all off with a personalised thank you note and wrap it all up in a cute paper bag or reusable tote.
A welcome bag is a simple, thoughtful gesture that your guests will love! Just make sure to let the hotel know that they need to give each guest a bag when they check-in.
Comfort the jet-lagged and travel-weary with a little something left in their hotel rooms. Imagine their delight—walking into their temporary living quarters and discovering a basket of fresh fruit, a tin of local chocolates or a bottle of chilled bubbly.
What you choose to give depends on your resources and can be as lavish as a free massage at the hotel spa or as simple as a plate of homemade chocolate-chip cookies.
The purpose is to let guests know you appreciate their effort to join you for your special day.
Create welcome packets of relevant information (phone numbers of the families of the bride and groom, the names of the other guests staying at the hotel, nearby hot spots to check out) to leave in guests’ rooms with another copy of your wedding itinerary, plus local brochures and sightseeing maps.
Enlist the aid of your wedding crew to assemble and distribute all these treats.
Finally, add that finishing touch and pen a personal note thanking each guest for coming to celebrate with you.
Could you do your best to keep them entertained?
Leading up to the main event, you may have plenty to fuss over, but out-of-town guests may not.
Please don’t leave them in the lurch with anything to do.
Have a welcome party before your rehearsal dinner, and make sure there isn’t too much time between your ceremony and cocktail hour or reception, so there isn’t too much of a lull.
If many guests are showing up the night before the ceremony, suggest ways, they can get involved.
Ask a friend or relative to host a gathering like a backyard barbecue or pizza party to help guests get to know one another or arrange to have everyone meet together at a restaurant or bar.
Better yet, have a more casual rehearsal dinner and open up the invite list to include everyone who might be around.
For guests who like to entertain themselves, supply a roster of your favourite restaurants, shops and local movie theatres as a thoughtful gesture.
PLAN A PRE-WEDDING AND A POST-WEDDING GET-TOGETHER
Inviting your out-of-town guests to pre-wedding and post-wedding get-togethers is another surefire way to make them feel welcome.
Do you and your fiancé love the outdoors? Invite your guests to go hiking or kayaking a day or two before the wedding.
Are you beer lovers who spend your weekends enjoying local breweries? Ask your guests to join you for a mid-afternoon pint.
We’ve even seen couples skip the traditional rehearsal dinner altogether and open up the feed to anyone in town.
And the party doesn’t have to end with your reception send-off. If you’re a night owl or just don’t want the party to end, ask your guests to head to your favourite bar for an after-party.
We also love the idea of wrapping up your perfect wedding weekend with a day-after brunch to spend quality time with anyone who is still in town and say your final goodbyes in a more casual setting.
MAKE A VISUAL TIMELINE OF EVENTS
One of the best ways to eliminate stress and limit the number of calls to your designated contact is to create a comprehensive timeline of your wedding events.
Whether your guests are invited to events over multiple days or just the wedding day itself, organising everything into a visual timeline is critical.
For each event, you should include the following: name of event, name and address of the venue, date, time, and dress code. We even recommend including the ceremony and reception information, so your guests have every detail they need in one handy place.
If your out-of-town guests are invited to pre-wedding or post-wedding events, make sure to let them ahead of time so they can pack appropriate attire.
Not sure where to start? There are some excellent wedding timeline templates on Etsy to help you create beautiful printables in no time!
PREPARE A TRAVEL PLAYLIST
You and your fiancé could make it a pre-wedding date night where you go through all your favourite music and create either physical CDs or a Spotify playlist that sets the tone for your weekend.
It’s the sweetest, most unexpected finishing touch that will make your out-of-town guests’ travel day so much more enjoyable, whether they are flying or driving.
PUT EVERY DETAIL ON YOUR WEDDING WEBSITE
You’ve got your hotel blocks set, your transportation ideas brainstormed, your schedule ironed out, and your list of recommendations ready. What do you do next?
Put all of that information on your wedding website!
Yes, all of it!
Even if you created printable itineraries and lists for your welcome bags.
Your website should be your one-stop-shop for all your wedding details — trust us, this will be your out-of-town wedding guests’ most used resource. If you’re not sure something should be included, the answer is probably yes.
But we’ve also got this handy checklist that has everything you need to include on your wedding website so you can triple-check yourself.
Make sure they know how much you appreciate them.
Remember, the reason these intrepid travellers have come is to see you, so make sure they do.
Pull them aside amid all the revelry for some one-on-one attention, or make it a point to tell them at your cocktail hour or to receive line how much seeing them means to you.
Raise your glass during toasting time to acknowledge those who have come from afar, and consider setting up something special for journeyers, such as a brunch the morning after the ceremony.
To end the festivities, it may be a nice touch to host a post-wedding brunch. It is an excellent opportunity to thank guests for travelling and bid a proper farewell.
If the couple has already left for the honeymoon, the parents or maid of honour should oversee the event.
A wedding can be a very stressful time. However, it is essential to consider the guests and ways to make them as comfortable as possible. Accommodating out-of-town guests does not need to be complicated. The above tips should help ease the burden and make the event as enjoyable as possible.