FILED IN: Education
Posted By: Jamie Kutchman
When you’re the one getting married, it’s the one day that revolves around you and your significant other. But since the day is made that much more special with your friends and family present, it’s important to make your guests feel appreciated for making the effort to be there. Let’s face it, most weddings have a high percentage of out-of-town guests which means they’ve shelled out money for airfare, baggage fees, cab fares and/or rental cars, a few nights at a hotel, meals while out of town and very likely a wedding gift too!
Even though you may not have the coveted “sky is the limit” wedding budget, don’t fret. Here are some ideas that can make your guests feel like VIPs, in various price ranges. And, yes, even free! In years to come, your guests may not recall whether or not you served lobster versus chicken or whether or not you opted for peonies or poppies, but they’ll surely remember the overall feeling of being welcomed and appreciated.
Items for the Outdoors
Outdoor weddings are the best but can also come with some drawbacks. Thoughtful gestures like providing paper fans for guests on hot days or pashmina wraps on cold days are helpful and even especially beautiful when set-up as a display. Also consider bug spray and SPF for spring and summer soirees. Allow your friends and family to completely focus on your ceremony rather than the scorching sun or mosquito bites!
These days, you have the option of creating a custom wedding website but there are also several free options out there as well. Here’s your chance to make your guests fully informed about all details. Take the time to really tell your love story including your how met, the proposal, any key milestones in your relationship, etc. It will make your guests feel even that much more excited to attend your event. Also include plenty of suggestions for things to do while visiting the area in case they decide to stay an extra day or two (or more!) beyond your actual wedding. You may also take the time to introduce the wedding party and how you know each person.
Okay, so it's no secret that I love welcome gifts! Even if you don’t have a huge budget, it’s important to properly welcome your guests to town especially if they are making the effort to come in from out of town. It really sets the tone for a great weekend. Aim for at least one salty snack, one sweet treat, two beverages, some essential toiletry items such as Advil and tissues. And if the budget allows, you can treat your guests to a locally-inspired keepsake. It’s fun to add finishing touches such as ribbon and tag that correspond with your wedding color palette. It also shows extra thoughtfulness when the contents of your gift are locally sourced or in some way relate to interests of the couple. Go ahead, have fun with these! They really do make guests happy and can even act as a conversation starter between guests who may not initially know one another upon arriving to town.
If your budget doesn’t allow for traditional welcome gifts, then consider providing a local magazine in your guests’ rooms for them to enjoy upon check-in along with a newspaper and/or map of the city. You can bundle these together with ribbon and add a small tag reading “welcome”.
By providing transportation to and from the key events, you allow your guests to completely enjoy the festivities without having to worry about getting lost, hailing a cab or worse, risking drinking and driving. In certain cities, trolley cars are an adorable option. Charter buses and smaller commuter vans can even be used. You may consider adding bottled water or small snacks for your guests as soon as they hop on for the ride if it’s a lengthy drive. Make sure you provide pickup and drop-off times to the hotel staff since guests are likely to inquire about details at the front desk. You can also make the information available on your wedding website, as part of the details in your wedding invitation suite as well as an insert sheet in your welcome bags.
I suppose “amenity kit” is a slightly more refined way of saying “hangover kit”. After a night of open bar and dancing, a few packs of Advil and extra bottles of water left for your guests can go a LONG way.
Preparing restroom amenity baskets to be put on display at your wedding venue is a beautiful touch. Items like mouthwash, mints, hair spray, hair pins, hair ties, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, combs, stain remover, tissues and a small sewing kit are always appreciated. Also consider leaving a small sign reading “Compliments of the Bride & Groom” as the perfect finishing touch.
Hop over to this page, right here, to see so many of the wedding welcome guests we've designed. Guests always feel special when they receive them!
Post originally written for The DC Ladies.