If you’re having a destination wedding or getting married away from your hometown, you’ll likely have guests traveling from near and far to celebrate you. Since they’re making quite the commitment for your big day, it’s important to make those out-of-town guests feel welcome and show your gratitude! Not only will it make them feel special, but it sets everyone for an unforgettable weekend with your wedding as the main event.
Here are some of our favorite tips to welcome guests to your destination wedding:
Create an Itinerary
One of the best places to start is by creating an itinerary for your guests. Make sure they know when and where each event is happening, as well as how to get to and from those events. You could include some of this information ahead of your wedding, like on your wedding website or with the invitation, but it’s great to have a more detailed version waiting for guests once they arrive to your destination wedding! Include information about each event you have planned, where it is, what time it begins and ends, as well as the proper attire so guests feel informed.
Don't Forget a Welcome Bag
Make your guests feel special with a welcome bag that’s waiting for them upon arrival. After a day of travel, getting to their hotel room to find a bag or box of local treats, bottled water, and a few other necessities will go a long way. This is a great place to tuck that detailed itinerary, too! Some other things you might include are a thank you note, vitamin C or electrolyte packets, pain relievers, custom koozies, mint or gum, and travel toiletries.
If you’ve chosen Nashville as your destination wedding location, our favorite shop for the best local gifts is Batch. Everything they sell is made right here in Music City—and not only do they have gift boxes already curated for you, but they sell each of the items separately, too!
Share Recommendations for Food & Activities
If your guests are traveling from farther away to attend your wedding, chances are they will extend their trip to explore the city. It's a good idea to leave them some recommendations for nearby restaurants and activities so they have an idea of what's around. This could also be included in the welcome bag! From the best art museums to hiking trails, local artisan shops and brewery tours, every city or town has something unique to offer that you can include in your list. Be sure to note if they are walkable from the hotel or might require a longer drive so your guests know what to expect.
Host a Welcome Party
Arranging a social event to kick off the wedding weekend is a great way to welcome your guests. It not only gives them something to do their first night in town, but it can be a really fun way to set the tone for the weekend. In terms of who to invite, this party should include everyone invited to the wedding, especially for a destination wedding. And depending on your budget, it can be as relaxed and informal as you'd like! Some couples opt for something more casual by choosing a large, nearby bar and telling everyone to gather there—and some prefer to rent or reserve a private space and have their own bar service. Your guests are going to love the opportunity to mix and mingle before the weekend ahead, so you really can't go wrong.
A great thing to consider providing for your guests is transportation. Now we aren’t saying to order everyone UberX rides during their entire stay, but it may be a nice gesture to offer a shuttle service for your destination wedding guests—at least from your designated lodging to the ceremony, reception, and back again. It's a good idea to check with the hotel when you're booking your room blocks, too, as they might already work with a shuttle provider. And while coordinating transportation may seem daunting, your wedding planner can help coordinate this for you!