When guests are coming from out of town, show your appreciation with a little extra hospitality. Offer to arrange accommodations for their stay. Try to spend time with them before the ceremony, because you may not get much of a chance afterwards. If they arrive a day or two before the wedding, have them help you with last minute errands. You may want to include them in the rehearsal dinner party.
If you are expecting many close family members and friends from out of town that you don't get a chance to see often, consider giving yourselves one day to visit and relax before taking off on your honeymoon. It can be fun to get together the following day for brunch and to relive the wedding or open some gifts. The extra time spent with you will be well appreciated.
Welcome gifts are a wonderful way to extend a special thank-you to those guests who have traveled long distances to join you on your big day, and there are lots of options to choose from beyond the standard fruit basket. With a little extra time and energy, you'll be able to pull together a present that brings a smile to your travelers' faces without placing a sizable dent in your wallet. Whether you opt for humorous, helpful, or just plain delicious, you will ensure that your friends and family remember the wonderful time they had at your wedding, not the stress and aggravation of the preceding journey.
Put together a local survival kit; containing all of the information your guests might need for their short stay. Some items to include:
- Directions to the nearest sundries shop if there isn't one in the hotel
- Menus from local restaurants
- A list of taxi and car services, including phone numbers or provide for them
- Brochures for local amusements
- Maps and guides for local public transportation -- include directions to the closest pickup points
- Directions to the nearest same-day dry cleaners (accidents happen)
- Local sources for fax, email, and FedEx (work doesn't always stop because you get married)
- Driving instructions from hotel to rehearsal, from the hotel to wedding and reception locations and back again.
Food for Thought
A gift tailored to your friend or family member's individual tastes will often speak louder than a generic snack pack -- no matter how extravagant. A chocoholic might be thrilled to find a plate full of gooey brownies waiting with ice-cold milk upon arrival. If your out-of-town guest list is too extensive to afford such personal attention, consider gift baskets stocked with local goodies to give your guests a taste of the area.
Think about greeting your guests with an assortment of spa products geared towards soothing their tired aching bodies. Things to be included: aromatherapy, colorful bath salts, a mud mask for the face, and perhaps a gift certificate for a mini-massage -- if hotel offers.
The Best Medicine
You don't expect your wedding to be a solemn affair, so why not start the merriment early by greeting your arriving guests with a gift of the giggles-- the bride and groom's favorite hangover remedy. Put together a welcome basket that will prepare your loved ones to dance the night away at your reception. Stock the basket with vitamins, herbal energy boosters and nutrition drinks to fortify your guests for the party to come. Add an eye mask, aspirin, and some recommended steps for post-party recovery to send the message that your wedding will be as much about fun as formality.
If your guests will be arriving with small children, why not greet their parents with a little post-travel relief? Prepare a kid's activity pack with age-specific games and activities, extra large boxes of crayons and travel versions of board games these will keep the little ones busy while their parents take a well-earned rest.