On our last blog post, we shared some ways to include your out-of-town bridesmaids in the wedding planning. Including your gal pals in these events makes them feel like part of the wedding, even though they’re not close by. The same is true for your out-of-town guests, too—no matter what event you’re planning.
While out-of-town guests might not have a critical role, like a bridesmaid, it’s still important to consider their needs when planning an event—and to meet those needs up front. When the invitations go out, you should also include all the little details that will make their travel easier.
It might seem like a lot of work—after all, can’t they just Google it? But if your guests have this information, they’ll be more likely to attend your event. They will feel more comfortable, knowing what to expect during travel.
So, what exactly are your out-of-town guests looking for from you? Here are the details you need to provide to make the idea of traveling to a new place less daunting.
Start with the first thing they’re going to need when they arrive—transportation. If they’re flying, provide car rental recommendations or bus routes to easily get around. Be careful to only provide one or two options, and not an entire list. That will just overwhelm them!
If, at any point during the event, there is a car or shuttle service offered—definitely include that information. Be clear about the drop-off and pick-up spots, and the schedule.
Bonus Tip: Print the shuttle schedule on a small card that out-of-town guests can easily tuck into a pocket or purse.
If you have rooms blocked off at a hotel, provide the address and the reserve-by date. Also let them know who’s name the rooms are under, so they book in the right block.
If there aren’t reserved accommodations for your out-of-town guests, just like transportation, recommend a few places near the event. This is especially important in large cities—there may be a lot of hotels to choose from, and your guests will look to you for help narrowing their options down.
Let guests know if there is a welcome reception or scheduled get-together beforehand. April’s BFF arranged something similar a few days before her wedding. April is one of our Content and Support Advisers who’s been a bridesmaid in multiple weddings. For one of those weddings, she traveled from Texas to California. Thankfully, her friend planned some relaxing social events beforehand—because she was in a totally new place:
“[The bride’s] mom took me and the bridesmaids and the rest of the family out to dinner a few days beforehand just to relax. I hadn’t met all of the bride’s family, so it was a chance to meet all of them.”April I., Eventective Content & Support Adviser
While going out to dinner is a little more formal—and could be a little more expensive—you have other options. At a different wedding (this time, traveling from Japan to Australia!) April’s BFF ordered take-out for everyone the night before. This is nice if the budget is low, or there isn’t a lot of time to socialize before the event.
“We were treated to dinner from an Indian restaurant the day before. It was just nice to catch up; I hadn’t seen her family in 10 years, and I hadn’t seen [the bride] in years. It wasn’t a rehearsal; it was just us sitting in the hotel room relaxing.”April I., Eventective Content & Support Adviser
What is there to do in the area? Some out-of-town guests might stick around for a long weekend to make the most out of the trip. Give them some tourist spots to visit, but also include a few personal favorites as well. This gives your guests a personal view of the area they won’t find in any tour guide.
If there are a few out-of-towners staying after the event, consider planning something after the main event for everyone to do. Even if you’re not there, knowing that there is a winery tour scheduled, or a special movie screening, might encourage them to stay—or even attend in the first place!
It’s crucial that you consider your out-of-town guests when planning your event and sending invitations. You want the event to feel like a fun getaway, and not a burden they have to coordinate.
A simple way to include all this information—because we know it seems like a lot—is by creating a website for your wedding, or any event. All the information can be stored on the site, with direct links to various websites. If you choose this route, include the website with the invitation, and explain what type of information guests can find on it. Then have them do the rest!
Have you ever been an out-of-town guest? What information was given to you beforehand—and most importantly, what is enough?