7 Ways to Make Out of Town Guests Feel Welcome
Whether you’re having a destination wedding or you simply have a lot of out-of-town guests attending, there are certain steps you can take to make sure your guests feel welcome. And don’t worry, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg either. These are simple, thoughtful things you can do that will have your guests feeling appreciated and happy to be there.
Give Them Plenty of Notice
First things first, give your guests plenty of time to plan. Your out-of-town guests have to put a lot more effort into coming to your wedding than local guests. They may need time to ask off from work (even if your wedding is over the weekend they may have to travel Friday), save money, plan for childcare, buy plane tickets in advance so they don’t spend as much, and the list goes on. People will be more likely to attend, and less likely to complain about it, the more time you give them to plan. Pro Tip: Give your out-of-town guests a heads up even before you send out save the dates! This could be in the form of a text, email, or whatever form of communication you like best.
Create a Wedding Website
Having a website for your wedding is the easiest and quickest way to communicate with your guests. (Plus, you can create a wedding website for free on The Knot!) For out-of-towners especially, (but really for everyone) you want to make the weekend or day-of timeline super detailed so they know exactly where they are supposed to be and when. And, a website makes it easy to double-check the info (unlike trying to find the paper invitation only to realize you left it at home). Include a separate tab for out-of-town guests on your website. Here, you can list the option(s) for accommodation, your favorite things to do in the area, favorite restaurants close by, closest grocery store, directions to ceremony and reception locations, and other helpful information. This helps you out too, as it eliminates back and forth phone or text conversations with endless questions from guests – it’s all on the website!
Secure a Block of Hotel Rooms
Try to secure a block of hotel rooms nearby at a discounted rate. This is a great way to help your guests save money; weddings are expensive! Even for guests. It will also save your guests time. They won’t have to spend hours searching around for the best deals or the most convenient location. Most importantly, it just makes your guest’s lives easier – it’s one less thing for them to have to figure out. Plus, this way all of your out-of-town guests will be staying at the same place, making transportation to the ceremony much easier for YOU. Or, carpooling easier for them. And, they can all hang out and get to know each other before the wedding!
Give Welcome Gifts
Nothing will make your guests feel more welcome than a nice welcome gift! Don’t freak out- it doesn’t have to be as expensive as you think. Grab some 2 buck chuck wine from Trader Joe’s, some good snack food, water bottles, a cute thank you card and call it a day. It doesn’t have to be expensive to be thoughtful and something your guests will really appreciate. However, if you want to go above and beyond for your guests, feel free to include things like bath products, hangover kits & cures, inexpensive flats for dancing, and put everything together in a nice tote bag. Just remember they have to travel back with everything so it should be easily packable! Coordinate with the hotel to see if they can leave the gifts in the rooms before the guests arrive. Or, have them in the hotel lobby for the guests to pick upon arrival.
Invite Them to the Rehearsal Dinner
Inviting your out-of-town guests to the rehearsal dinner is an awesome way to thank them AND keep them entertained! You don’t want your guests to be cooped up in the hotel room the night before your wedding. The rehearsal dinner is the perfect way to make sure they have something fun to do. Plus, they will get to meet your family and close friends before the actual wedding. Which means, they’ll have more people they know and feel comfortable talking to at the reception. (Because we all know the goal is for your guests to mingle and have fun! Not sit at their own separate tables all night!)
Make a Toast
Another way to make your guests feel welcome is to make a toast in their honor. Have your father, husband, or whoever is making a toast at the wedding thank all of your guests for coming. Also, have them give a special shout out to the out-of-town guests for traveling all the way to your location to celebrate your marriage. Pro Tip: make it a point to talk to each out of town guest at the reception. Yes, we know you’ve got a ton of people you need to talk to. But, there’s nothing worse than paying a lot of money to go to a wedding and not even getting to speak to the couple. Try to snap a quick photo with them as well!
Send a Thank You Note
You know to thank your guests for the gifts you received, but remember to also thank your out-of-town guests for making the trip and coming to your wedding! Let them know how special it was to have them there. Make a plan to do this as soon as possible following the wedding or honeymoon. Sending them in a timely manner is just another way to show your appreciation.