Welcoming Out of Towners
Making Your Out of Town Guests More Comfortable
For many wedding guests, your big day is more than a celebration; it’s a journey. Making out-of-town guests comfortable and welcome is imperative, and a gift to the loved ones who’ve come so far to share your joy.
A great way to start is by mailing out-of-towners an insert with their invitation or in a letter sent separately. Use this note to provide guests with a complete itinerary of pre- and post-wedding activities, including parties, brunches, and any special events, like a group hiking trip or softball game. If your rehearsal dinner is only for close friends and relatives, schedule one cocktail party or picnic for the newcomers. Since this party serves as their introduction to the affair, make sure you mingle with all guests, and introduce them to one another.
Use your OurWeddingDay.com personal Wedding Web site as a wedding guest resource, with a complete list of activities, scheduled times, dress codes, and maps. If there is any downtime for out-of-towners, point out sites to see in your area—museums, great restaurants, beaches. On your Website or in the mailed insert, offer cost-cutting tips on their travel—do the research about 6 months’ prior on cheap airfares and hotels, and call about group rates.
The out of towners.
Wherever you’re getting married, list the best ways to get around, whether by taxi, bus, or subway. Provide names of rental car agencies and taxi services if you think they’ll need them. (Also, reassure non-drivers that someone will pick them up from the airport. You can “hire” members of the wedding party to help, or arrange for shuttle service.)  Keep budgets and various interests in mind when you make local recommendations. Some couples might want to flock to the nearest opera, while others would prefer a hip, local bar.
Finally, provide guests with welcome baskets in their hotel rooms. What you put in them depends on your budget; chocolate’s a great idea, as is champagne, but you can always go with something simpler like movie or museum passes, or certificates for manicures (guys can get these too). Practical items like subway cards can be added as well. It’s a good idea to, once again, provide a list of activities, as well as phone numbers of wedding party members.
When you finally meet your out-of-town guests, go out of your own way to tell them how much you appreciate their long journey to your place of love.
-David Toussaint